The British Empire
When the British Empire was at its height in the early 1900s, it included over 20 percent of the world’s land area and more than 400 million people—the single largest empire in the history of the world since time began. This remarkable achievement by a country half the size of France, was a tribute to the superb organizational skills of the White empire builders of that nation: the saying that the “sun never set on the British Empire” was very close to the truth: because of its geographic spread, some territory, somewhere, was always in the daylight hours.
This astonishing empire was never undone in the way that the Roman Empire was: instead it dissolved peacefully, by mutual consent, and the British, apart from creating the world’s largest empire, also had the privilege of being the only empire builders not to be destroyed in their far flung empire itself.
The British Empire only finally started dissolving after the First World War, with the process being speeded up dramatically in the aftermath of the Second World War. The primary reason for the dissolution of the empire was economic and political rather than racial: after the Second World War, Britain was simply too impoverished to continue holding on to an empire created in a previous century, and it was easier to grant independence to the far flung colonies, especially when some of these turned violent.
The process of decolonization is reviewed later: suffice to say here that the dissolution of the British Empire eventually led to waves of Third World immigrants settling in Britain itself, the consequences thereof being dealt with later in this book.