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What are the big questions when we study the history of the British
4. How did a small country like Britain rule so much territory?
Historians are still arguing about this question! There is no doubt that Britain was powerful. It used its wealth, its armies and its navy to defeat rival European countries and to conquer local peoples to establish its empire. However, the empire did not just rely on force. In most of the empire Britain relied heavily on local people to make it work. The empire was a very sophisticated network of nations and peoples, linked by trade, by political systems and sometimes held together by force.