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Empire 01 - Why Britain ?
Empire - How Britain Made The Modern World - Full
Empire 01 - Why Britain ?

« Empire - 05 Doing Good

Empire 02 - White Plague »

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Empire - How Britain Made The Modern World

Episode One

Why Britain ?

Professor Niall Ferguson tells the full story of the rise and fall of the British Empire, charting how a small rainy island in the North Atlantic came to rule a quarter of the planet, creating many of the modern world's key institutions in the process, including a common language and globalised capitalism. He begins by asking how Britain was able to build the world's biggest empire, revealing how the country gradually overtook its rivals with a combination of intimidation, imitation, luck and flair.

The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates, and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom, that had originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1922, the British Empire held sway over a population of about 458 million people, one-quarter of the world's population, and covered more than 13,000,000 square miles (33,670,000 km2): approximately a quarter of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, it was often said that "the sun never sets on the British Empire" because its span across the globe ensured that the sun was always shining on at least one of its numerous territories.

British Empire
 
The areas of the world that at one time were part of the British Empire. Current British overseas territories are underlined in red.

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