Q:

What countries were part of the British Empire?

A:

Quick Answer

Approximately 60 modern countries were formerly colonies of the British Empire. Notable modern countries among these include Australia, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Nigeria, Malaysia, India, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and the United States. The empire was so vast that it spawned the saying, “The sun never sets on the British Empire.”

Know More
What countries were part of the British Empire?
Credit: Ashlee Ralla / Staf Getty Images Entertainme Getty Images

Full Answer

The beginnings of the British Empire trace back to 1578. During the latter parts of the Empire’s reign, the British frequently clashed with the Netherlands over land in Asia. Additionally, France was a significant adversary at the time, as both nations tried to conquer as many areas as possible. The British Empire began collapsing shortly after World War I. Several factors contributed to the collapse of the empire, including the unwillingness of some of the colonies to continue to accept British rule and the incredible cost of maintaining such a vast empire. The signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 made it difficult for Britain to exercise control over its colonies. Accordingly, the empire was dissolved and replaced with a voluntary union, called the Britain Commonwealth of Nations.

In September 2014, the citizens of Scotland voted to reject a proposal for independence from the United Kingdom. This represents the first time a country voted to stay aligned with the former empire.

Learn more about United Kingdom

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How did the British Empire begin?

    A:

    The beginnings of the British Empire can be traced back to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and the continuing competition for markets and resources which existed between England and the continental countries of France, Spain and Holland. In 1578, Elizabeth I granted Humphrey Gilbert a patent for overseas exploration and discovery. Although he claimed the island of Newfoundland for England in 1583, it was his half-brother Walter Raleigh who established the first overseas colony for England, called Roanoke, in 1584 on the coast of modern-day North Carolina.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is an OBE award?

    A:

    The Order of the British Empire, or OBE, is an award granted by the government of the United Kingdom and awarded, typically in person, by the current king or queen of that nation to individuals who have performed excellent work in arts, sciences, public services and charitable efforts. The full title of the award is Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, although it is commonly shortened to Order of the British Empire or OBE. This is the second junior most award granted in the United Kingdom's order of chivalry, which also includes knighthood.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What were the countries of the British Empire?

    A:

    The British Empire held Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji, Western Samoa, India, Burma, Papa New Guinea, Malaya, Sarawak, Brunei, Oman, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Northern and Southern Rhodesia, Tanganyika, Zanzibar, Mauritius, the Maldives, South Africa, Swaziland, Nigeria, Gold Coast, and Sierra Leone, among other countries during its reign. It has also held a portion of the present day United States and China.

    Full Answer >
  • Q:

    Are there any countries of the British Empire today?

    A:

    Countries that are in the British Empire today include Falkland Islands, Anguilla, Bermuda, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, the Virgin Islands, St. Helena Islands and Cayman Islands. These places are also known as British Overseas Territories.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore