Britain began to become an empire as early as the seventeenth century, and it lasted until the mid nineteenth century.The Empire survived many obstacles and rulers.Some rulers however strengthened the Empire and Britain in general.During the seventeenth century Britain fought several very successful wars against the Dutch, French and Spanish.As Kelley Ross claims in her article The Worlds Greatest Empires, these campaigns left Britain with much of the eastern coast of North America, the St. Lawrence Basin in Canada, parts of Africa for slave acquisition, areas of the Caribbean and political interests in India (24).
At this point the British Empire had begun formation.The Empire lasted through many rulers, gathering more colonies and power with the passage of time.However, no ruler controlled and caused as much growth in the vast empire as Queen Victoria.The British Empire was formed with mercantilist ideas, headed by Cromwell and the Stuart's; however the empire was at its peak during the reign of Queen Victoria.But because of twentieth century superpowers like Germany and the USSR, as well as uprisings in attempts at independence by many of Britain's colonies, the Empire fell in the mid twentieth century. "The growth of the British Empire was due in large part to the ongoing competition for resources and markets which existed over a period of centuries between England and her Continental rivals, Spain, France, and Holland (Sears 23).
"England'sfirst empire was a mercantilist one, led by both Cromwell and the Stuart's.They outlined ideas for the further colonization of Europe, and their mercantilist views held true until the late eighteenth century.As R.A Huttenback, author of The British Imperial Experience writes, thefirst British Empire came to an end after the American Revolution.However the purpose and policies of the Empire stayed the same (26-27).
They were to gain …