Impact of the British Empire on Western Culture
From the seventeenth century onward, the histories of Britain and the world became increasingly intertwined. Yetmainstream British history still neglects the world’s influence upon domestic developments, and British overseas history remains largely confined to the study of the British Empire. This series takes abroader approach to British history, seeking to investigate the full extent of these influences.
The seventeenth century saw the establishment of British settlements in the Americas and tradingoutposts in Asia. It also witnessed the last invasion of Britain, with the arrival of King William of Orange, the establishment of a half-Dutch monarchy, and the infusion of Dutch banking. In theeighteenth century, Britain’s influence on the world and the world’s influence on Britain touched the lives of millions: from British goods and governance overseas to foreign foods and fashions at home. Bythe nineteenth century, these influences and the spread of ideas had a profound impact on Britain and the wider world. In the twentieth century, the world came to Britain through the process ofdecolonization as millions of immigrants from the colonies flocked to Britain for work and a new life.
Today, no area of the world remains untouched by Britain and its Empire, and no part of Britainremains untouched by the world. English is the world’s language for business, education, and politics; parliamentary houses can be found throughout the world; British common law is used on everycontinent; and British networks of telegraphs, ports, railways, and financial flows have shaped the way we communicate, travel, talk, and trade. This globalization of Britain occurred primarily through itsformal and informal empires. The gold standard was adopted in many countries because of British advisors in foreign governments. Mines and infrastructure in Argentina, Thailand, and China were...