Detailed Map of British
by James Mayfield (Chairman, European Heritage Library)
this Article About
the Author Bibliography/Sources
Below is one of our exclusive
and detailed maps of the British Colonial Empire from the
establishment of the first colonies in the 17th century until
the eventual dissolution borne of the post-war liberalism
and decolonization movement. This EHL map shows the dates
of colonial rule, the provincial administration structure
(such as the division of the New World into New Spain and
New Granada), and each province's ultimate fate (transfer
to another power, independence, etc.). Disparate trading settlements
are not shown; only full colonial possessions are marked.
The British empire was arguably
the greatest, largest, and wealthiest empire the world has
ever seen, dominating more land, cultures, religions, ethnic
groups, and kingdoms than the Mongol empires, the Romans,
or any other European maritime competitor. Even where the
British did not formally exert colonial authority, their influence
seldom failed to reach even the most remote parts of the world.
This map discerns between "puppet" colonies and
formal colonies: the former retained a face of autonomy but
were altogether influenced by or dependent upon the British.
The British, French, and Dutch still retain colonies to this
day. The Commonwealth structure still exists today as a legacy
of British global supremacy and nation-building, and functions
as a network of mutual economic and political cooperation.
This map considers the colonial
conquests of New Zealand, Australia, and Canada as part of
the British empire because each of the three were largely
dependent upon the British Crown until after World War II.
Click the below map
for the full-size version! Click on the map again to zoom.
If an error has been made,
please notify the EHL Staff.
James Mayfield is a historian
and the Chairman of the European Heritage Library. I have
a Cum Laude BA in History with a Minor in Germanic Studies
(language and history), am presently working for my Masters
in History, and plan to immediately progress to my PhD Doctorate.
I have a special academic interest in Europe's diverse ethnic
identities, languages, and cultures, and the political struggles
of native European and immigrant minority identities. See
my staff entry for more information.
The image used as the basis
for the map is widely redistributed and is not protected.