Empire: How Britain Made The Modern World
Professor Niall Ferguson travels from Ulster to America and from the Caribbean to Australia to explore the mass migration that first created the British Empire, as more than 20 million people left Britain to set up home in colonial outposts. Although the most valuable colonies were lost during the American War of Independence, lessons learnt from this ensured white colonists in far-flung Australia, Canada and New Zealand remained loyal to the Empire, with their adopted homelands still attracting migrants to the present day.
During the Age of Discovery in the 15th and 16th centuries, Spain and Portugal pioneered European exploration of the globe and in the process established large overseas empires. Envious of the great wealth these empires bestowed, England, France and the Netherlands began to establish colonies and trade networks of their own in the Americas and Asia. A series of wars in the 17th and 18th centuries with the Netherlands and France left England (Britain, following the 1707 Act of Union with Scotland) the dominant colonial power in North America and India. However, the loss of the Thirteen Colonies in North America in 1783 after a war of independence was a blow to Britain, depriving it of its most populous colonies. Despite this setback, British attention soon turned towards Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Following the defeat of Napoleonic France in 1815, Britain enjoyed a century of effectively unchallenged dominance, and expanded its imperial holdings across the globe. Increasing degrees of autonomy were granted to its white settler colonies, some of which were reclassified as dominions.
A replica of The Matthew, John Cabot's ship used for his second voyage to the New World