With the surrender of Fort Amsterdam in 1664, England gained control of the Dutch colony of New Netherland, renaming it New York. It was immediately followed by the outbreak of a civil war between the Arabs and Jews of Palestine, and British forces withdrew amid the fighting. , After the Fall of France in June 1940, Britain and the empire stood alone against Germany, until the German invasion of Greece on 7 April 1941.  In 1681, the colony of Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn.  A deal was reached in 1984—under the terms of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, Hong Kong would become a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China, maintaining its way of life for at least 50 years. American independence was acknowledged at the Peace of Paris in 1783. The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates, and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. Today it is the primary language of up to 460 million people and is spoken by about one and a half billion as a first, second or foreign language. By midcentury, “1,500 British mercantile houses were trading around the world, and nearly two-thirds of them were based outside the European mainland, with 41 in Buenos Aires alone.” As Cannadine says, the British had found the secret by which they could “operate as a global hegemon on the cheap.”. The Irish Republican Army simultaneously began a guerrilla war against the British administration. 602 pp. A book like this one is particularly valuable in an age when history undergraduates often startle their teachers by their ignorance of basic facts. Both claimed in 1908; territories formed in 1962 (British Antarctic Territory) and 1985 (South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands). In 1808, Sierra Leone Colony was designated an official British colony for freed slaves.  To seek new markets and sources of raw materials, the British government under Benjamin Disraeli initiated a period of imperial expansion in Egypt, South Africa, and elsewhere. At its peak, the British Empire was the largest formal empire that the world had ever known. Canadians viewed the Battle of Vimy Ridge in a similar light. "Constitutional Amendment in Canada". , Most former British colonies and protectorates are among the 52 member states of the Commonwealth of Nations, a voluntary association of equal members, comprising a population of around 2.2 billion people.  It was not only Britain's position on the world stage that was at risk: Napoleon threatened to invade Britain itself, just as his armies had overrun many countries of continental Europe. Protestant Empire: Religion and the Making of the British Atlantic World by Carla Gardina Pestan, p. 185. He mentions the publication of Mill’s “Utilitarianism” in 1863, but not another and surely more important event that year, the meeting at a London pub that drew up a common code for association football. 15. The primary aim of these companies was to tap into the lucrative spice trade, an effort focused mainly on two regions; the East Indies archipelago, and an important hub in the trade network, India. British withdrawal from the southern and eastern parts of Africa was not a peaceful process. A History of the British Empire at Its Peak The victors at Waterloo, Wellington and Blucher, meet on the battlefield.  Eden infuriated US President Dwight D. Eisenhower by his lack of consultation, and Eisenhower refused to back the invasion.  To facilitate this trade, forts were established on the coast of West Africa, such as James Island, Accra and Bunce Island.  In 1620, Plymouth was founded as a haven for Puritan religious separatists, later known as the Pilgrims.  Similarly, the Australia Act 1986 (effective 3 March 1986) severed the constitutional link between Britain and the Australian states, while New Zealand's Constitution Act 1986 (effective 1 January 1987) reformed the constitution of New Zealand to sever its constitutional link with Britain.  Independence had been delayed due to the opposition of the Sultan, who had preferred British protection. , The Caribbean initially provided England's most important and lucrative colonies, but not before several attempts at colonisation failed. , In 1695, the Parliament of Scotland granted a charter to the Company of Scotland, which established a settlement in 1698 on the Isthmus of Panama. A joint force of British and Egyptian troops defeated the Mahdist Army in 1896, and rebuffed an attempted French invasion at Fashoda in 1898. The French were still majority shareholders and attempted to weaken the British position, but a compromise was reached with the 1888 Convention of Constantinople, which made the Canal officially neutral territory. The countries continue to commemorate this occasion on Anzac Day.  The British Empire expanded to include most of India, large parts of Africa, and many other territories throughout the world. Cabot led another voyage to the Americas the following year but nothing was ever heard of his ships again. 17: 6. More than that, it was also an age of astonishing literary fecundity and intellectual vitality, scarcely surpassed since. Eisenhower applied financial leverage by threatening to sell US reserves of the British pound and thereby precipitate a collapse of the British currency. In 1983, the British Nationality Act 1981 renamed the existing Crown Colonies as "British Dependent Territories",[note 1] and in 2002 they were renamed the British Overseas Territories. There were military victories, against Napoleon, the Russians and the Boers, not to mention numerous often defenseless peoples in Asia and Africa.  A third bill was passed by Parliament in 1914, but not implemented because of the outbreak of the First World War leading to the 1916 Easter Rising. For a while it appeared that another war would be inevitable, but the two countries reached an agreement on their respective spheres of influence in the region in 1878 and on all outstanding matters in 1907 with the signing of the Anglo-Russian Entente.  The Australian colonies became profitable exporters of wool and gold, mainly because of gold rushes in the colony of Victoria, making its capital Melbourne for a time the richest city in the world and the second largest city (after London) in the British Empire. The British Mandate for Palestine officially terminated at midnight on 15 May 1948 as the State of Israel declared independence and the 1948 Arab-Israeli War broke out, during which the territory of the former Mandate was partitioned between Israel and the surrounding Arab states. The US declared war, the War of 1812, and invaded Canadian territory. , With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, goods produced by slavery became less important to the British economy. – Find cities with a similar climate (2050) The American Revolution began with rejection of Parliamentary authority and moves towards self-government. Tensions remain between the white settler populations of these countries and their indigenous minorities, and between white settler minorities and indigenous majorities in South Africa and Zimbabwe.  The British Empire was territorially enlarged: from France, Britain gained Newfoundland and Acadia, and from Spain Gibraltar and Menorca.