The British Empire - The British Empire(1603 The Stuart...

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The British Empire (1603 --) The Stuart dynasty, Kings of Scotland and England from 1603, always considered themselves Kings of Great Britain. It is thus reasonable to talk of the British Empire from 1603, and it is usual to think of this as the trans-oceanic dependencies of an Insular state. However, it is worth remembering that for almost the whole time from 1689 to 1820 the monarchs of Britain also ruled considerable continental territories, just as in the period from 1016 to 1453. The trans-oceanic British Empire, begun in the first Elizabethan age (1558-1603), ceased to exist in the second Elizabethan age (1953-??).On the death of the childless Elizabeth in 1603 the kingdoms of England and Ireland fell into the lap of her nephew James Stuart, king of Scotland. In this way the British Isles came under one monarch for the first time. Although James considered himself king of Great Britain (and Ireland), the parliaments of England and Scotland considered otherwise and maintained the distinction between the two countries. Shortly afterwards the first really successful English colony in North America, was established. The town was named after James, and the colony after his predecessor, the Virgin Queen. The rule of lord protector Oliver Cromwell between the execution of James' son Charles (1649) and the restoration of Charles' son Charles II (1660) did little to interrupt the growth of the Empire. The American colonies continued to grow at the expense of the native Americans, and, increasingly, at the expenses of other European powers (Jamaica taken from the Spanish in 1655, New York from the Dutch in 1664). Meanwhile the Catholic Irish were treated little better than the native Americans, with almost all of the land reserved for protestant landlords from Britain. In 1688 Charles' brother James II, the last Stuart king to reign in Britain, was overthrown because of his Catholicism and the birth of an heir to a Catholic wife. In a prime example of the "Whig interpretation of history", this has become known as the "glorious revolution". James' daughter by a previous marriage, Mary, and her solidly
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