The British Empire

2092 Words9 Pages
How far do you agree that changing attitudes to Empire within Britain explain both expansion and the dismantling of British imperial power in Africa? The British Empire began to expand into Africa in 1880 and by 1913 the empire had control over 458 million people and 25% of the world's land. However by 1981 the British Empire had come to an end after it could no longer afford the maintenance of such a big Empire. British involvement in Africa was a period that saw many changes, some economic, some international and political changes, which in turn led to many adjustments in Africa itself. In turn these changes affected attitudes of the British government and public opinion and undoubtedly influenced key decisions about both expansion and dismantlement in Africa. Britain's first intervention in Africa occurred in Egypt. Egypt was part of the Turkish Empire in 1882 but discontent lead to national revolts that scared Britain. Following the purchase of the Suez Canal shares in 1875, British financial and trading interests had grown in the area. Britain could not allow her investments in Egypt jeopardized, as Egypt was a vital route to India. As a consequence of trying to protect these investments Britain occupied Egypt for 40 years longer than anti imperialist Gladstone had hoped. This resulted in further territorial control for Britain; unconsciously Gladstone had expanded the British Empire and ignited the change from informal rule to formal occupation in North Africa. This was all necessary as it was done to protect economic interests of the empire, as well as securing the route to India. The expansion into the Sudan was comparable to that of Egypt as it was unintentional. Once again Britain got drawn in due to an uprising in the area. Gladstone's first initiative was to put down this unrest as he sent General Gordon who was an experienced and valued soldier
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