British Empire homepage
British Empire
British Empire Overview
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Why should we study the British empire?
How big was the empire?
How long did it last?
How did a small country like Britain rule so much territory?
Was the British empire a force for good or not?
Why did the British empire decline?
What has the British empire left behind?
 
british empire overview
What are the big questions when we study the history of the British empire?
 
3. How long did it last?

There is a lot of disagreement about when the empire began. Some historians say it was as early as the 12th century, when the Normans moved into Ireland. Others say the start date should be the 1490s, while other historians date the empire from the early 1600s. The end of the empire came in the years after World War 2, with most of Britain's colonies ruling themselves independently by the late 1960s.
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