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Colonial Expansion of England

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Colonial Expansion in England

After the loss of the American colonies in 1783 Britain began to look for new colonies in order to find cheap sources of raw materials. The 19th century brought about the greatest prosperity in Britain. Its sources lay in colonial expansion, industrialization, improved transport, and social reforms.
At the beginning of the century Britain was at war with Napoleonic France. In 1806, Napoleon issued the Berlin Decree forbidding any country under his control from trading with Britain. In the following year, the British issued Orders in Council, granting the right to seize neutral shipping bound for French controlled ports. This decision led to a war with the USA (1812-1814). In 1815, the Duke of Wellington (1769-1852) defeated Napoleon at Waterloo near Brussels, and after the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Britain became the greatest and richest power in Europe. The British controlled world trade.
In the 19th century the population of Britain increased rapidly. By 1815 it had reached 13 million and London was one of the largest cities in Europe (1 million inhabitants). By 1850 half the population lived in towns and London had more than 2 million inhabitants. Between 1750 and 1850 the population of Britain increased threefold.
Victoria, daughter of the Duke of Kent, a younger son of King George III, succeeded her uncle, William IV, in 1837. Her reign lasted until her death in 1901, and it was marked by a steady growth of national wealth and expansion of the empire. Britain held the unchallenged position of world economic and political leadership. A popular saying of the time was that the sun never set on the British Empire, which was so vast.
In the 19th century the empire included India, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, large parts of Africa, and many smaller territories. In the second half of the 19th century Britain was transformed...

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