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What are the big questions when we study the history of the British
Why did the British empire decline?
There is no simple answer to this question. The empire changed
throughout its history. In the 19th century, some parts of
the empire became Dominions. These were states that were still
part of the empire, but ruled themselves. In most cases this
happened peacefully, although there was serious violence in
The First and Second World Wars left Britain weakened
and less interested in its empire. Also many parts of the empire
contributed troops and resources to the war effort and took
an increasingly independent view. This led to a steady decline
of the empire after 1945. In the Asian and African colonies,
nationalist movements used a range of methods to end British
rule. By the late 1960s, most of Britain's territories had
become independent countries.