British Colonial Wars (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: At issue: Expansion and consolidation of the British Empire. Result: Expansion of the British Empire in India as well as into Asia, Australia, New Zealand, the West Indies, and much of Africa.
In the Treaty of Paris (1783), Britain formally agreed to the loss of its thirteen American colonies. This defeat, while catastrophic, did not mark the end of the British Empire. The victors and their French ally did not dictate terms. Britain retained Canada, India, and the rest of its colonies. Though humiliated, Britain was neither mortally wounded nor ruined. Its dominance of worldwide trade remained unshaken, and its maritime superiority remained largely unrivaled.
Taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the French internal squabbles and revolutionary entanglements, Britain expanded and consolidated its overseas holdings. On January 18, 1788, a small military force commanded by Captain Arthur Philip arrived in New South Wales (Australia) with 756 convicts, laying the foundation of what government critics described as “a new colony of thieves and ruffians…under the Southern pole.”
Determined to prevent the strategically important fortress at the Dutch Cape Coast Colony of South Africa, “the Gibraltar of the Indian Ocean,” from falling to the French, England hastily equipped and dispatched three separate forces led by Major General...
(The entire section is 1975 words.)
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