Ferguson. post colonail and modern state

Ferguson. post colonail and modern state - Why we ruled the...

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Why we ruled the world By Niall Ferguson The British Empire covered 25 per cent of the globe and, as the world's biggest investment banker, its influence stretched even farther. In his new book, Niall Ferguson argues that the Empire was a force for global good, and that its demise was caused less by nationalist movements than by the cost of its efforts to keep more malign imperial powers at bay. IN 1897, the year of her Diamond Jubilee, Queen Victoria reigned supreme at the apex of the most extensive empire in world history. The figures are astonishing. In 1860 the territorial extent of the British Empire had some 9.5 million square miles; by 1909 the total had risen to 12.7 million. The British Empire now covered around 25 per cent of the world's land surface — making it three times the size of the French Empire and ten times that of the Germans — and controlled roughly the same proportion of the world's population: some 444 million people lived under some form of British rule. Not only had Britain led the scramble for Africa, she had been in the forefront of another scramble in the Far East, gobbling up the north of Borneo, Malaya, and a chunk of New Guinea, to say nothing of a string of islands in the Pacific. According to the St James's Gazette, the Queen- Empress held sway over “one continent, a hundred peninsulas, five hundred promontories, a thousand lakes, two thousand rivers, ten thousand islands”. Maps showing its territory coloured an eye-catching red hung in schools all over the country. The extent of Britain's Empire could be seen not only in the world's atlases and censuses. Britain was also the world's banker, investing immense sums around the world. By 1914 the gross nominal value of Britain's stock of capital invested abroad was £3.8 billion, between two-fifths and a half of all foreign-owned assets. That was more than double French overseas investment and more than three times the German figure. No other major economy has ever held such a large proportion of its assets overseas. More British capital was invested in the Americas than in Britain itself between 1865 and 1914. Small wonder the British began to assume that they had the God-given right to rule the world.
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Not all of the British Empire was formally under British rule: the maps underestimated the extent of the imperial reach. The immense amounts of capital sunk into Latin America, for example, gave Britain so much leverage — especially in Argentina and Brazil — that it seems quite legitimate to speak of “informal imperialism” in these countries. Nor was it only through investment that the British extended their informal Empire. Commercial
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Ferguson. post colonail and modern state - Why we ruled the...

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