For better or for worse, the British empire of the late 17th century to the late 19th century was one of the most powerful entities on the face of the earth. While Britain’s expansionist power was often less than benign, it represented a social, political and economic force that the world had never seen before. So, in order to understand it clearly, one needs to examine this expansionism closely. Initially, Britain expanded much of its power towards nations that were close in proximity to its homelands.
For example, the “Acts of Union” established a unification of Britain and Scotland much to the chagrin of the indigenous Scottish people. This led to a consolidation of political and social order within what geographically would soon be known as the United Kingdom. Such consolidation of power would later lead to a desire for imperialism that would expand far beyond the initial borders of Britain’s European geography.
In fact, the British Empire would then expand its territory by a massive colonial expansion through the use of its navy. Britain would go on to establish colonies in North America, Asia, Africa and other parts of the world where it would establish colonial pillaging as the primary way it would support its economy and monarchy until a series of colonial revolutions in later time periods would reverse Britain’s sphere of power.