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The British World Economic Order has also been called the Pax Britannica, or “world peace of Britain.” What is often overlooked amidst the grandeur, splendor, and sheer military power of the Empire was that it was essentially an approximately 150 year lasting economic order that held sway over most of the planet in one form or another from 1763 at the end of the Seven Years War to the outbreak of World War I in 1914.
The empire itself originally began as an amalgamation of commercial projects which relied heavily on private-party risk and -provided capital to succeed. This was true with the colonizing of the original American 13 colonies, the Hudson Bay Company in Canada, and the East India Company and its ruling of the largest territory in the world (the Indian subcontinent) while still operating as a publically traded stock company on the historic London Stock Exchange. In essence, for the first hundred years or so of the East India Company, an investor could purchase shares in the whole country, land, resources, and population of India.
This changed because of the American colonial revolt in 1775 and the Sepoy Rebellion in India that had to be brutally put down by a previously disinterested and laissez faire styled government which reluctantly took over the reigns from the economic pioneers and their succeeding commercial enterprises. Despite this radical shift in the British World Economic Order, private ventures like the founding of Singapore by British businessman Sit Stamford Raffles in 1819 and the build up of unimportant fishing island backwater Kowloon into Hong Kong in China still occurred with enormous success throughout much of the 1800s. This “Britannic Century” following the final defeat of Napoleon in 1814 saw the zenith of the British World Economic Order which expanded, prospered, and flourished all the way until the outbreak of the financial ruinous and devastating First World War in 1914.
In practice there were four different versions of the British Empire from the end of the Napoleonic Wars to the end of World War I. The first were self governing dominions of the empire in far flung places such as Australia, Canada, the Caribbean islands, and New Zealand. The second was the crown jewel of the empire— the Indian subcontinent. This strategically-centered, massive, and unquestionably wealthy territory allowed the British to project vast power and influence both militarily and economically from lands and islands extending from the Persian Gulf all the way to the South China Sea.
Third was the ragtag collection of smaller territories which were nonetheless important as way stations along the sea route to India or the new world. Among these were the great trade depots and eventually financial centers of the world like Singapore, Hong Kong, Bermuda, and the Cayman Islands as well as smaller enterprise beachheads including West and East African ports that had little impact on the vast interiors of the continent (at least for several generations until malaria could be conquered as a territorially-limiting disease).
The last type of empire was the purely commercial and diplomatic one, an unofficial realm that extended through such lands as Egypt, China, Hawaii, and Argentina/Uruguay. Investment, commerce, and shrewd diplomacy assured the British power and influence was almost as potent and lasting in these various quarters as it was in places like the Caribbean and Africa.
British commercial ventures enjoyed such historically unparalleled success throughout the world because of the uncanny British Imperial ability to substantially involve and include local elite rulers and minorities alike as willing and helpful partners in their endeavors. British law, rule, and investment may have built up Hong Kong and Singapore into the titans they have become in the world today, yet it was local Chinese hard work, enterprising nature, and all around partnership that ensured the necessary other critical ingredients were there for success. Great credit is deserved by the grand British Imperialists for their unquestionable genius in diplomacy with cultures, nations, and continents from one corner of the world to the other extreme.
Technology helped to assure the ascendency of this British World Economic Order and to bind together what they established with such hard-won efforts. This started with railways and faster steamships which could transport officials, armies, supplies, and armaments (when necessary) on both land and sea with unprecedented speed, effectiveness and importantly, cost efficiency.
Later they developed the telegraph and finally telephone which made it not only possible but relatively easy to police, govern, communicate with, and expand this one quarter of the world sprawling empire that stretched from the South Pacific islands through the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean all the way to the North and South Atlantic Ocean territories and islands. They accomplished this remarkable feat with the smallest army and administrative class of any massive empire in the history of the world. At one point, the British World Economic Order and Empire covered fully 90 percent of all islands on the earth and nearly one-quarter of the world’s entire population
The British Empire and British Economic World Order they established in the 1800s had a noble purpose that was achieved in large measure all around the globe. Slavery was abolished by the might and power of the British navy, commercial influence, and diplomatic pressure where necessary working together to pursue a noble and enlightened agenda of the earliest human rights. Besides this, the Imperialists effectively spread scientific and technological advances and progress, free trade, the values and morals of Christianity, and the rule of law, order, and good governance. Without any doubts, these agendas were in the ultimate best interests of all tribes and peoples of mankind everywhere.