British Empire in fiction

The British Empire has often been portrayed in fiction. Originally such works described the Empire because it was a contemporary part of life; nowadays fictional references are also frequently made in a steampunk context.

William Dyce-Neptune Resigning to Britannia the Empire of the Sea
Neptune Resigning to Britannia the Empire of the Sea by William Dyce, 1847.

Historical events

This section includes fiction that attempts to re-create historical events.

This is an incomplete list. Please add significant examples in order of date published

Prose

Films

Set in Africa

Set in Australasia

Set in Europe

Set in India

Set in the United States

Television

  • George Washington (1983) TV miniseries starring Barry Bostwick.
  • Benedict Arnold: A Question of Honor (2003) is a dramatization of the life of Benedict Arnold who plotted to surrender the American fort at West Point, New York to the British during the American Revolution in 1780.
  • John Adams (2009) TV drama series portraying the life of the future president; before, during and after the American revolution.

Period fiction

This section deals with fictional characters set within the wider backdrop of the British Empire.

This is an incomplete list. Please add significant examples in order of date published

Prose

Set on an isolated Island Robinson Crusoe (1719) by Daniel Defoe: Crusoe finds himself stranded on an isolated Island. From a few belongings he rebuilds English civilization and christens a tribesman. A drama fueled by capitalism, Christian faith and efforts to 'colonialize' and 'civilize' both the island and the tribesman.

Set in Africa

  • King Solomon's Mines (1885) introduces Alan Quatermain - a British explorer, but who displays a remarkably modern attitude to de-colonialization, and shows a great respect for the African cultures. Nevertheless, he is a patriot.
  • Heart of Darkness (1899) a reflection on the savage Belgian empire compared to Britain's and the many kinds of evil perceived to be in Africa.
  • The Four Feathers (1902) by A.E.W. Mason tells the story of British officer Harry Faversham, who resigns his commission from his regiment just prior to the Battle of Omdurman, in the Sudan, in 1898. He questions his own true motives, and resolves to redeem himself in combat, travelling on his own to the Sudan.
  • Sanders of the River (1911) by Edgar Wallace, highly popular at the time, and its various sequels - The People of the River (1911), Bosambo of the River (1914), Bones of the River (1923), Sanders (1926), Again Sanders (1928) - focus on the adventures of a British governor in a fictional African colony loosely modeled on Nigeria, where British power in maintained by gunboats sailing up and down a major river. The protagonist is not gratuitously cruel, and by the standards of his time is open-minded towards the culture of the African tribes under his rule. Nevertheless, he (like the author and the general British public at the time) takes for granted the right of Britain to rule over the natives and the necessity of using brute force against any attempt at rebellion.
  • Weep Not, Child (1964) by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o

Set in Asia

Set in Australasia

Set in Canada

Set in Europe

Set in the United States

Set in various locations

  • Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days (1873) is in many ways a travelogue of the British Empire as it was at the time of writing - as symbolised by the fact that the protagonists travel halfway around the world and still remain within British territory where British law runs, (and then they go to Japan which at the time of writing was under strong British influence, and from there to the United States, a country created by breakaway British colonists).
  • The Aubrey–Maturin series by Patrick O'Brianis a sequence of 20 nautical historical novels, and one unfinished, set during the Napoleonic Wars and centering on the friendship between Captain Jack Aubrey of the Royal Navy and his ship's surgeon Stephen Maturin, who is also a natural philosopher and secret agent. The first novel, Master and Commander, was published in 1969 and the last finished novel in 1999. The 21st novel of the series, left unfinished at O'Brian's death in 2000, appeared in print in late 2004.
  • The Light that Failed (1890) by Rudyard Kipling. Most of the novel is set in London, but many important events throughout the story occur in Sudan or India.
  • The Flashman Series (1969 onwards) by George MacDonald Fraser shows the British Empire between 1839 and 1891 and from the eyes of the dastardly Flashman - the bully from Tom Brown's Schooldays. Many famous people from the time are mentioned usually in a bad light, or with flaws (e.g. Lord Cardigan, in Flashman and Flashman at the Charge)
  • The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough (1977) Set in various places including New Zealand at the end of 18th century.
  • The Sharpe Series (1981 onwards) A series of books which follow the career of Richard Sharpe from India, through the Napoleonic Wars and beyond.

Theatre

Audio

Films

Set in Africa

Set in Asia

  • The Green Goddess (1923 film) and The Green Goddess (1930 film) are two films depicting a group of British citizens who crash in India and are threatened with execution by the local Raja.
  • Bonnie Scotland (1935) A comedy which sees Laurel and Hardy join a Scottish regiment and sent to India.
  • Gunga Din (1939) loosely based on the poem by Rudyard Kipling combined with elements of his novel Soldiers Three. The film is about three British sergeants and their native water bearer who fight the Thuggee, a religious cult of ritualistic stranglers in colonial India.
  • Kim (1950) An adaptation of the Kipling novel starring Errol Flynn.
  • King of the Khyber Rifles (1952) A half-caste British officer in 19th-century India battles the prejudices of both his Army colleagues and the local populace while trying to help put down a rebellion led by a greedy local ruler. Adapted from the Talbot Mundy novel.
  • Bhowani Junction (1956) is an adaptation of the novel set amidst the turbulence of the British withdrawal from India.
  • Carry On... Up the Khyber (1968) is a comedy film starring Sid James as Queen Victoria's Governor in the British India province of Khalabar near the Khyber Pass.
  • Shatranj Ke Khilari (1977) based on Munshi Premchand's short story of the same name, set in 1856 and shows the life and customs of 19th century India on the eve of the Indian rebellion of 1857.
  • Junoon (1978) chronicles the period of 1857 to 1858 when the soldiers of the East India Company mutinied and many smaller kingdoms joined the soldiers in the hope of regaining their territories from the British.
  • Kranti (1981) A film taking place in 19th century British India and is the story of the fight for independence from the British in the years spanning from 1825 to 1875. It tells the story of two men who led the war against British Rule, Sanga (Dilip Kumar) and Bharat (Manoj Kumar) both of whom call themselves Kranti.
  • A Passage to India (1984) film of the book of the same name.
  • Kim (1984) A second adaptation of the Kipling novel.
  • The Deceivers (1988) a film of the novel by John Masters on the Thuggee movement in India during British imperial rule.
  • Earth (1998) is set in Lahore before and during the partition of India.
  • Hey Ram (2000), a film set against the backdrop of the Indian Independence movement.
  • Lagaan (2001), set in late 19th century India, follows a cricket game between British officers and local Indian villagers.
  • Kisna: The Warrior Poet (2005) set during the last days of the British in India.
  • Water (2005) a film set in 1938 India and a sequel to the 1998 film "Earth".
  • Gunga Din(1939) a film about three British sergeants and Gunga Din, their native bhisti (water bearer), who fight the Thuggee, a cult of murderous Indians in colonial British India.

Set in Australasia

Set in the Caribbean

Set in Europe

Set in the United States

Television

  • The Buccaneers (1956) A series about a reformed pirate in the early 18th century.
  • Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans (1957) one of several dramatizations loosely based on the Leatherstocking Tales series. Another well known adaptation is the 1971 BBC version.
  • The Swamp Fox (1959–1960) TV series produced by Walt Disney and starring Leslie Nielsen. Nielsen played the role of American Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion.
  • Daniel Boone (1964–1970) TV series loosely depicting the life of Daniel Boone.
  • The Recruiting Officer (1965 and 1973) Two adaptations of the play.
  • The Young Rebels (1970–1971) Television Series about a group of youthful guerrillas fighting on the Patriot side in the American Revolutionary War.
  • Sandokan (1976) is a loose adaptations of the novel series, with the hero a prince fighting for independence for his island from the British.
  • The Far Pavilions (1983) a three part television adaptation of the book.
  • The Jewel in the Crown (1984) is a reflection on Indian independence and the post imperial feelings in Britain when the series was produced. Based on the first book of The Raj Quartet.
  • Noble House (1988) is an adaptation of the novel set in the late 1980s.
  • Sharpe (1993 onwards) Adventure TV series starring the dashing Richard Sharpe, played by Sean Bean. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, the series regularly attracted high-profile guest stars.
  • The American Revolution (1994), TV miniseries starring Kelsey Grammer and Charles Durning; directed by Lisa Bourgoujian.
  • Hornblower (1998 onwards) is a series of loose adaptations of the novels.
  • All the King's Men (1999) BBC dramatization of the disappearance in action of men of the Royal Norfolk Regiment at Gallipoli in 1915.
  • Liberty's Kids (2002 onwards) A 40-part children's animated television series produced by DiC Entertainment set during the American Revolution.

Other fiction

This section also has works with fictional characters set in the Empire, but also include supernatural or fantastical elements.

This is an incomplete list. Please add significant examples in order of date published

Prose

  • The War of the Worlds (1898) by H.G. Wells is a classic novel in which Martian invaders land in the early years of the 20th century, occupy London and much of England for several months and use the inhabitants as food animals.
  • The Anubis Gates (1983) by Tim Powers shows the exploits of the empire in Egypt lead to a magical revenge plotted by Egyptian natives, but their failure to destroy the Empire leaves gates in time, which are exploited by businessmen in the twentieth century.
  • The Tales of Alvin Maker series (1987 onwards) takes place in an alternate history of the American frontier in the early 19th century, where the United States is much smaller and New England is still a colony of a republican England where the Restoration never occurred.
  • Great Work of Time (1991) by John Crowley, a secret society created by the will of Cecil Rhodes attains time travel, enabling it to prevent the two World Wars and preserve the British Empire until the end of the twentieth century - though creating difficult new problems.
  • Anno Dracula (1992) by Kim Newman takes place in a world where Count Dracula was not killed by van Helsing and has gone on to court and marry Queen Victoria, ushering in a new age of vampirism in the world.
  • Soldier of the Queen (1996) by Barbara Hambly is a spin-off from the Wells classic The War of the Worlds included in the War of the Worlds: Global Dispatches anthology. It depicts the Martian invasion of India and ends with Gandhi using the situation to gain Indian Independence nearly fifty years ahead of our timeline.
  • Dowager Empress of China (1996) by Walter Jon Williams Another story in the War of the Worlds: Global Dispatches collection. It ends with the Chinese using the same situation to successfully shake off British and other European colonial tutelage, and become a major world power already in the early 1900s.
  • In Darwinia (1998), by Robert Charles Wilson, Europe (including Britain) suddenly disappears in 1912 and is replaced by a strange land, of roughly the same shape but without humans and with very strange flora and fauna. In the resulting world, Lord Kitchener manages to hold together the British Empire despite the loss of its centre and despite revolts in Egypt and other colonies, and embarks on the re-colonization of Britain (the rebuilt London is mentioned as "a wild frontier town of several tens of thousands' population").
  • The Witches of Chiswick (2003) by Robert Rankin is a time-travelling adventure story taking place primarily in the 19th and 23rd centuries.
  • The Bartimaeus Trilogy (2003, 2004, and 2005) by Jonathan Stroud is set in an alternate present in which magicians are the ruling-class of Britain and its Empire. Open rebellion at home and in the American colonies takes place in Ptolemy's Gate, the third book of the trilogy.
  • Larklight (2006) by Philip Reeve is set in a Victorian era universe, where mankind has been exploring the solar system since the time of Isaac Newton.
  • The Temeraire series (2006 onwards) by Naomi Novik is set during an alternate history version of the Napoleonic Wars, in which dragons not only exist but are used as a staple of aerial warfare in Asia and Europe.

Comics

Audio

  • Jubilee, a 2003 Doctor Who audio play, is set in an alternate world in which a new "English Empire" emerged after the Doctor defeated a Dalek invasion in 1903.
  • The Space 1889 audio dramas (2005 onwards) are based on the roleplaying game where Thomas Edison invented a means of traveling between planets and the major European powers have each established colonies in space.

Films

Television

  • The Time Tunnel episodes The Last Patrol (1966), The Night Of The Long Knives (1966) and Raiders From Outer Space (1967) all feature the protagonists travelling to periods involving the Empire.
  • Doctor Who story Pyramids of Mars (1975) is partially set in Egypt in 1911.
  • Sandokan (1992 and 1998) are two children's animated versions of the novel series, with the hero a prince fighting for independence for his island from the British.
  • The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1992–1993) features several episodes set in the British Empire.
  • The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne (2000) a science fiction television series depicting the revelation that Jules Verne did not merely write the stories behind his famous science fiction classic books, but actually experienced these adventures personally.
  • Doctor Who story Empress of Mars (2017) sees British soldiers occupying Mars in 1881, assisted by an Ice Warrior.

Computer games

Alternative histories

The alternate history section details books that examine what would have happened if history had unfolded differently. A common feature of stories written by American authors is a British victory in the revolutionary war. For novels in which Britain is defeated by Nazi Germany in 1940, see Axis victory in World War II and Category:Alternate Nazi Germany novels.

This is an incomplete list. Please add significant examples in order of date published
  • Anno Domini 2000, or, Woman's Destiny (1889) by former Prime Minister of New Zealand Sir Julius Vogel is set in a speculative future. In the 2000 depicted by Vogel, women have gained full suffrage and hold many positions of high authority, the main protagonist Hilda Fitzherbert becoming Undersecretary for Home Affairs, Imperial Prime Minister and Empress Consort during the course of the novel. Also, the British Empire federated, gained territories in the form of northern France, Belgium and the United States (but lost Ireland) and has a migratory unicameral Imperial Legislature.
  • He Walked Around the Horses (1948) by H. Beam Piper features alternate history timeline where the American War of Independence and the French Revolution were both suppressed and there were no Napoleonic Wars.
  • Bring the Jubilee (1953) by Ward Moore is set in an alternate reality where the Confederacy became independent in 1864, conquering all of Latin America and becoming a world power by the Twentieth Century whilst the United States became a backward, impoverished rump state. The British Empire is mentioned in passing several times, being ruled by William V during the early Twentieth Century and allied to the Confederacy, with British America never becoming Canada, India being granted self-government in the Nineteen Thirties by a Labour government and a Zionist state being established in Uganda.
  • The Warlord of the Air (1971) by Michael Moorcock concerns the adventures of Oswald Bastable, an Edwardian-era soldier stationed in India, and his adventures in an alternate universe wherein the First World War never happened and the British Empire, knit together by airships, still dominates the world and acquires new territory. (Ecuador is mentioned as a British colony.)
  • A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah! (1972) by Harry Harrison. The American War of Independence fails and mainland America and Britain are joined by a tunnel.
  • For Want of a Nail: If Burgoyne Had Won at Saratoga (1973) by Robert Sobel depicts an alternate history in which John Burgoyne emerged victorious from the Battle of Saratoga, ultimately defeating the American rebels.
  • In The Alteration (1976) by Kingsley Amis the Reformation did not happen, with the Catholic Church becoming an international secular power and 'Schismatic' religion being practiced only in the Republic of New England in North America. The English Empire is mentioned to include West England (Ireland), North England (probably Scotland), India and Indochina (which it won from the French in 1815).
  • The Difference Engine (1990) by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling posits an alternate reality where Charles Babbage successfully built a mechanical computer, setting the information revolution into full swing by 1855. The British Empire is more powerful in this timeline, having America split into several other countries (namely a rump United States, the Confederate States, the Republic of Texas, the Republic of California and a terra nullis), opening up Japan to Western trade and holding an entente with the Second French Empire.
  • The Two Georges (1995) by Harry Turtledove & Richard Dreyfuss depicts an alternate history world in which the American War of Independence did not take place thanks to a constitutional settlement worked out in the early 1770s. By 1995, the North American Union is a self-governing dominion within the British Empire subject to terrorist acts by the nativist and separatist Sons of Liberty. The British Empire also includes Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, large sections of West Africa and protectorates over Hawaii, the Ottoman Empire and China.
  • The Southern Victory Series (1997-2007) by Harry Turtledove is set in a universe where the Confederate States successfully broke away from the United States in 1862 with the two nations becoming sworn enemies. Throughout the series, the British Empire is allied with the Confederacy.
    • In How Few Remain, Great Britain pressured the United States into recognising Confederate independence in 1862. Later, the British Empire, alongside France, aids the Confederacy in fighting to U.S. by launching naval bombardments against Great Lakes towns and San Francisco and a cavalry attack from Saskatchewan during the Second Mexican War (1881-1882) (albeit on the condition that the Confederacy abolish slavery).
    • In the Great War trilogy, the British Empire and the Confederacy are Entente Powers fighting the Central Powers (including the United States) during the First Great War (1914-1917). Due to a Central Powers victory, the U.S. annexes most of Canada (with George Armstrong Custer as governor-general), Newfoundland, the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Sandwich Islands and forces Britain to recognise the Republic of Quebec and a unified Republic of Ireland.
    • In the Settling Accounts tetralogy, the British Empire, the Confederacy and the other Entente Powers (mostly headed by authoritarian, nationalist governments) fight the Central Powers in the Second Great War (1941-1944). Britain fights the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires on the European continent and attempts to re-annexe Ireland, whilst Canadians fight a guerrilla war against the U.S., employing the use of technicals and people bombs. After Japan failed to capture the Sandwich Islands and Midway from the U.S., it abandoned the Allied war effort and annexed several European colonies in Asia (including British Malaya). The British Empire is ultimately forced to surrender after Germany drops superbombs on London, Norwich and Brighton.
  • The Peshawar Lancers (2002) by S. M. Stirling, has a timeline where a heavy meteor falls in 1878 devastating the northern hemisphere, with survivors degenerating into savagery and cannibalism, but the British Empire succeeded in moving its centre to India. With its capital in Delhi, what is now known as The Angrezi Raj is still the dominant world power in the 21st century, controlling India, Australia, New Zealand, Southern Africa, Madagascar, the Batavian Republic and colonial outposts in Britain, Ireland, Northern Europe and North America. In the Viceroyalty of India, the ruling classes increasingly tending to adopt Indian cultural traits such as the taboo on eating beef.
  • The Year of the Hangman (2002) by Gary Blackwood, an alternative history in which Washington was killed and the rebels lost the War of Independence.
  • The Code Geass anime series (see below) contains the novel Our Days (2006).
  • 2012: The War for Souls (2007) by Whitley Stieber: The British Empire is one of four empires in an alternate universe, which also includes the French Empire, the Russian Empire, and a small American Empire.
  • Pax Britannia (2007 onwards) by Jonathan Green and Al Ewing is a novel series published by Abaddon Books set in a modern steampunk world where the British Empire, and Queen Victoria, still rule the world.
  • TimeRiders: The Eternal War (2011) by Alex Scarrow, in which Britain entered the American Civil War on the side of the Confederacy, turning the war into an unending stalemate. Without the United States to challenge its dominance, the British Empire continued to expand, and by 2001 it controls half the world.
  • In the short story "The Charge of Lee's Brigade" by S.M. Stirling, included in Alternate Generals, volume 1, the American Revolution never happened, so Virginia and most of North America remain under British rule; in the mid 19th century, Brigadier General Sir Robert E. Lee and his lieutenants, including Jeb Stuart, fight against the Russians in an analogous Crimean War. The background shows Queen Victoria far more ambitious than in our timeline, having already annexed both the Ottoman Empire and Japan.
  • In the timeline of Richard C. Meredith's At the Narrow Passage, first volume of his Timeliner Trilogy, the British had suppressed both the American Revolution and the French Revolution, the second leading to their annexation of France. In the 20th Century, American colonial troops serve Britain loyally in a decades-long trench warfare waged on French soil against the armies of the centralized Holy Roman Empire. Other Americans support the underground ARA (American Revolutionary Army) and plot rebellion.
  • In the post-apocalyptic alternate history Emberverse novels by S. M. Stirling, where suddenly the laws of nature changed and modern technology stopped functioning, there is a new British Empire consisting of Britain, part of Ireland and Prince Edward Island in Canada, as well as France and Spain (which were less able to adjust to the great change). With modern technologies gone, this Britain reverted in many ways to earlier times, with the Monarch once again wielding real power and knights wearing armor and fighting on horseback.

Comics

  • Ministry of Space (2001) depicts a world where the British benefited from Nazi technological research instead of the US and Russia, seeing them win the space race and preserving the Empire.
  • The Code Geass anime series (see below) contain the manga books Lelouch of the Rebellion, Suzaku of the Counterattack and Nightmare of Nunnally all published in 2006.

Audio

  • The Code Geass anime series (see below) contain the radio series' The Rebellion Diary and Lots about the Rebellion broadcast in 2006.

Television

Speculative futures

There are many examples of speculative fiction were a British empire different from the historical empire is featured, but these cannot be called alternative realities, as they are not written from the point of view of a change in the past but as speculations about the future.

This is an incomplete list. Please add significant examples in order of date published

Prose

  • The Battle of Dorking (1871) by George Tomkyns Chesney established a new genre of fiction relating to the Empire - invasion literature, in which various powers attempt (or succeed) to invade Britain or the Empire. In The Battle of Dorking this is an unnamed power that happens to speak German, catches Britain off guard and leaves Dorking devastated for fifty years.
  • The Great War in England in 1897 (1894) by William Le Queux is another invasion literature novel depicting the invasion of Britain by the French with their Cossack allies, with the invading forces penetrating into London - but the British saved in the nick of time by the intervention of their staunch German allies led by the Kaiser...
  • Last and First Men (1930) by Olaf Stapledon, a vast vision of humanity's future, mentions the British Empire surviving well into the twenty-first century but becoming increasingly loose, until a cataclysmic war with the United States in which Britain (and the whole of Europe) are destroyed by poison gas. In this war Canada sides with the US; South Africa, India and Australia declare neutrality; while New Zealand remains loyal to Britain and wages a year-long hopeless resistance.
  • The Shape of Things to Come (1934) by H. G. Wells, is a future history at the time, The Second World War ends in 1950 with a stalemate and a general collapse of all warring sides. The British Empire retains a shadowy existence (an explicit comparison is made to the last years of the Roman Empire), and until the end of the 1970s sends occasional "Imperial Envoys" to what it still claims as its colonies and protectorates - but exercises little actual power, and is eventually swept away by an emerging world state.
  • The Death Guard (1939) by Philip George Chadwick, is a future war story in which a near-invincible army of artificially created soldiers - the flesh guard - falls into the hands of an untrustworthy power, continental Europe forms an alliance and invades Britain. The resulting carnage reduces whole cities and towns in Britain to smoking rubble. The story also features atomic war.
  • Warday (1984) by Whitley Strieber and James Kunetka features the United States and Soviet Union devastating each other in a nuclear war in October 1988 as a part of the novel's fictional (then-future) history. Western Europe remains untouched by the war, allowing Britain to step into the vacuum and once again establish itself as the dominant world power (alongside Japan), with the Royal Navy ruling the world's oceans and Britain maintaining an effective tutelage (though no formal rule) over the broken remnants of the US, as well as in other parts of the world (for example Argentina). This is widely regarded as a revival of the British Empire, though the British refrain from using the term.

Films

  • Mutant Chronicles (2008) is a film based on the Mutant Chronicles role-playing game. Set in a distant future, where traditional nation-states of the world have merged into huge corporations. The British faction is called Imperial, and is nominally led by Her Serenity the Queen.
A Lodge in the Wilderness

A Lodge in the Wilderness is a 1906 political quasi-novel by the Scottish author John Buchan.

British Empire

The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913, the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23% of the world population at the time, and by 1920, it covered 35,500,000 km2 (13,700,000 sq mi), 24% of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.During the Age of Discovery in the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal and Spain pioneered European exploration of the globe, and in the process established large overseas empires. Envious of the great wealth these empires generated, England, France, and the Netherlands began to establish colonies and trade networks of their own in the Americas and Asia. A series of wars in the 17th and 18th centuries with the Netherlands and France left England and then, following union between England and Scotland in 1707, Great Britain, the dominant colonial power in North America. It then became the dominant power in the Indian subcontinent after the East India Company's conquest of Mughal Bengal at the Battle of Plassey in 1757.

The independence of the Thirteen Colonies in North America in 1783 after the American War of Independence caused Britain to lose some of its oldest and most populous colonies. British attention soon turned towards Asia, Africa, and the Pacific. After the defeat of France in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (1792–1815), Britain emerged as the principal naval and imperial power of the 19th century. Unchallenged at sea, British dominance was later described as Pax Britannica ("British Peace"), a period of relative peace in Europe and the world (1815–1914) during which the British Empire became the global hegemon and adopted the role of global policeman. In the early 19th century, the Industrial Revolution began to transform Britain; so that by the time of the Great Exhibition in 1851, the country was described as the "workshop of the world". The British Empire expanded to include most of India, large parts of Africa and many other territories throughout the world. Alongside the formal control that Britain exerted over its own colonies, its dominance of much of world trade meant that it effectively controlled the economies of many regions, such as Asia and Latin America.During the 19th century, Britain's population increased at a dramatic rate, accompanied by rapid urbanisation, which caused significant social and economic stresses. 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. Canada, Australia, and New Zealand became self-governing dominions.By the start of the 20th century, Germany and the United States had begun to challenge Britain's economic lead. Subsequent military and economic tensions between Britain and Germany were major causes of the First World War, during which Britain relied heavily upon its empire. The conflict placed enormous strain on the military, financial and manpower resources of Britain. Although the British Empire achieved its largest territorial extent immediately after World War I, Britain was no longer the world's pre-eminent industrial or military power. In the Second World War, Britain's colonies in East and Southeast Asia were occupied by Japan. Despite the final victory of Britain and its allies, the damage to British prestige helped to accelerate the decline of the empire. India, Britain's most valuable and populous possession, achieved independence as part of a larger decolonisation movement in which Britain granted independence to most territories of the empire. The transfer of Hong Kong to China in 1997 marked for many the end of the British Empire. Fourteen overseas territories remain under British sovereignty.

After independence, many former British colonies joined the Commonwealth of Nations, a free association of independent states. The United Kingdom is now one of 16 Commonwealth nations, a grouping known informally as the Commonwealth realms, that share a monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II.

Burmese Days

Burmese Days is a novel by English writer George Orwell. It was first published in the United Kingdom in 1934. It is a tale from the waning days of British colonialism, when Burma was ruled from Delhi as a part of British India – "a portrait of the dark side of the British Raj." At its centre is John Flory, "the lone and lacking individual trapped within a bigger system that is undermining the better side of human nature." Orwell's first novel, it describes "corruption and imperial bigotry" in a society where, "after all, natives were natives—interesting, no doubt, but finally...an inferior people".Because of concerns that the novel might be potentially libellous, that Katha was described too realistically, and that some of the characters might be based on real people, it was first published "further afield", in the United States. A British edition, with altered names, appeared a year later. When it was published in the 1930s, Orwell's harsh portrayal of colonial society was felt by "some old Burma hands" to have "rather let the side down". In a letter from 1946, Orwell said "I dare say it's unfair in some ways and inaccurate in some details, but much of it is simply reporting what I have seen".

Invasion literature

Invasion literature (or the invasion novel) is a literary genre most notable between 1871 and the First World War (1914) but still practised to this day. The genre first became recognizable starting in Britain in 1871 with The Battle of Dorking, a fictional account of an invasion of England by Germany. This short story was so popular it started a literary craze for tales that aroused imaginations and anxieties about hypothetical invasions by foreign powers, and by 1914 the genre had amassed a corpus of over 400 books, many best-sellers, and a world-wide audience. The genre was influential in Britain in shaping politics, national policies, and popular perceptions in the years leading up to the First World War, and remains a part of popular culture to this day. Several of the books were written by or ghostwritten for military officers and experts of the day who believed that the nation would be saved if the particular tactic that they favoured was or would be adopted.

List of films about the American Revolution

This is a list of films and TV films about the American Revolution.

A Canadian historian has evaluated twelve Hollywood films featuring the American Revolution from 1939–2002. She compares the fictional versus the scholarly components of popular entertainment as they impact the treatment of heroes and villains, Patriots and Loyalists, social structure and social conflicts. She compares cinematic understandings of the Revolution with the interpretations of historians to reveal thematic consistencies, variations, and conceptual gulfs between filmmakers and historians.

1776, or The Hessian Renegades – 1909 film by D.W. Griffith

1776 – 1972 film starring William Daniels, Howard Da Silva, Ken Howard, Donald Madden and John Cullum. Directed by Peter H. Hunt.

Alexander Hamilton – 1931 film starring George Arliss and Directed by John G. Adolfi.

America – 1924 film; epic directed by D.W. Griffith and starring Lionel Barrymore.

April Morning – 1987 starring Chad Lowe, Tommy Lee Jones, and Robert Urich.

Benedict Arnold: A Question of Honor – 2003 film starring: Aidan Quinn as Benedict Arnold and Kelsey Grammer as George Washington.

Beyond the Mask –2015 film

Cardigan – 1922 film

Drums Along the Mohawk – 1939 film starring: Claudette Colbert and Henry Fonda; Directed by John Ford

Independence – 1976 docudrama film directed by John Huston, narrated by E. G. Marshall and starring Eli Wallach, Pat Hingle, Ken Howard and Anne Jackson; shown continuously at Philadelphia's Independence Visitor Center.

John Paul Jones – 1959 film directed by John Farrow, starring Robert Stack and Charles Coburn

Johnny Tremain – 1957 film adaptation of the 1943 Esther Forbes novel starring Hal Stalmaster and, among others, Walter Coy. Directed by Robert Stevenson

La Fayette – 1961 film

Liberty's Kids – 2002–2004 PBS animated series.

Revolution – 1985 film starring Al Pacino. Directed by Hugh Hudson

Scouting for Washington – 1917 Edison Studios

Sons of Liberty – 1939 film starring: Claude Rains, Gale Sondergaard; Director: Michael Curtiz.

Sons of Liberty – 2015 miniseries starring Ben Barnes, Rafe Spall, Henry Thomas, Dean Norris and Jason O'Mara; Director: Kari Skogland; produced for broadcast by The History Channel

The Crossing – 2000 film starring: Jeff Daniels, Roger Rees, Director: Robert Harmon; screenwriter Howard Fast based on his novel; produced for broadcast by the Arts and Entertainment cable television network

The Devil's Disciple – 1959 film adaptation of the play by George Bernard Shaw; starring Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, and Laurence Olivier. Directed by Guy Hamilton

The Devil's Disciple – 1987 TV film adaptation of the play by George Bernard Shaw; starring: Patrick Stewart, Director: David Jones

The Howards of Virginia – 1940 Starring: Cary Grant, Director: Frank Lloyd

The Patriot – 2000 film starring: Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Director: Roland Emmerich

The Rebels – 1979 TV miniseries based on the novel by John Jakes, starring Andrew Stevens

The Scarlet Coat – 1955 film directed by John Sturges, focuses on Benedict Arnold

The Spirit of '76 – 1917 film

The Time of Their Lives – 1946, Abbott and Costello Comedy. Directed by Charles Barton.

Turn: Washington's Spies – 2014–17 AMC television series

Where Do We Go from Here? – 1945, Comedy. Directed by Gregory Ratoff, starring Fred MacMurray.

Williamsburg: the Story of a Patriot – 1957 film shown at Colonial Williamsburg continually since 1957. Directed by George Seaton, starring Jack Lord.

John Adams is a television miniseries that was aired on HBO in 2008. The miniseries was directed by Tom Hooper and starred Paul Giamatti as John Adams and Laura Linney as Abigail Adams. The miniseries takes place before, during, and after the American Revolution.

Lokotown and Other Stories

Lokotown and Other Stories is a collection of nine short stories by Nigerian author Cyprian Ekwensi, published in 1966 as the 19th volume in the African Writers Series. Looking at Nigerian city life, his stories show excitement and dissolution.

One Man, One Matchet

One Man, One Matchet was written by Nigerian author T. M. Aluko and published in 1964 as the 11th book in the Heinemann African Writers Series. The novel tells the story of a community in Western Nigeria during the end of the colonial period and beginning of independence. Set in a small community where the majority of the inhabitants are dependent on the revenue from their cocoa crops, the story looks at the role of the semi-literate Benjamin Benjamin in the small community.

Sandokan (TV series)

Sandokan is an Italian six-part television series directed by Sergio Sollima, based upon the novels of Emilio Salgari.

The Far Pavilions

The Far Pavilions is an epic novel of British-Indian history by M. M. Kaye, published in 1978, which tells the story of an English officer during the British Raj. There are many parallels between this novel and Rudyard Kipling's Kim that was published in 1900: the settings, the young English boy raised as a native by an Indian surrogate mother, "the Great Game" as it was played by the British Empire and Imperial Russia. The novel, rooted deeply in the romantic epics of the 19th century, has been hailed as a masterpiece of storytelling. It is based partly on biographical writings of the author's grandfather as well as her knowledge of and childhood experiences in India. It has sold millions of copies, caused travel agents to create tours that visited the locations in the book, and inspired a television adaptation and a musical play.

The Malayan Trilogy

The Malayan Trilogy, also published as The Long Day Wanes: A Malayan Trilogy in the United States, is a comic 'triptych' of novels by Anthony Burgess set amidst the decolonisation of Malaya.

It is a detailed fictional exploration of the effects of the Malayan Emergency and of Britain's final withdrawal from its Southeast Asian territories. The American title, decided on by Burgess himself, is taken from Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poem Ulysses: 'The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks: | The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep | Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends, | 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.' (ll. 55-57)The three volumes are:

Time for a Tiger (1956)

The Enemy in the Blanket (1958)

Beds in the East (1959)The trilogy tracks the fortunes of the history teacher Victor Crabbe, his professional difficulties, his marriage problems, and his attempt to do his duty in the war against the insurgents.

The Man Who Would Be King

"The Man Who Would Be King" (1888) is a story by Rudyard Kipling about two British adventurers in British India who become kings of Kafiristan, a remote part of Afghanistan. The story was first published in The Phantom Rickshaw and other Eerie Tales (1888). It also appeared in Wee Willie Winkie and Other Child Stories (1895), and numerous later editions of that collection. It has been adapted for other media a number of times.

The Peshawar Lancers

The Peshawar Lancers is an alternate history, steampunk, post-apocalyptic fiction adventure novel by S. M. Stirling, with its point of divergence occurring in 1878 when the Earth is struck by a devastating meteor shower. The novel's plot takes place in the year 2025, at a time when the British Empire has become the powerful Angrezi Raj and is gradually recolonizing the world alongside other nations and empires that were able to survive. The novel was published in 2002, and was a Sidewise Award nominee for best long-form alternate history.Stirling also wrote a novella, Shikari in Galveston, which is set in the same background as The Peshawar Lancers, but occurs several years earlier. It was published in the alternate history collection Worlds That Weren't.

The Singapore Grip

The Singapore Grip is a novel by J. G. Farrell. It was published in 1978, a year before his death.

In 2015, The Straits Times' Akshita Nanda selected The Singapore Grip as one of 10 classic Singapore novels. She wrote, "Neatly weaving in snappy, comic summaries of Singapore history as well as the commercial and cultural forces that shaped the trajectory of World War II in South-east Asia and China, The Singapore Grip is also a powerful cure for post-colonial malaise with its details of the British elite's snobbery towards people of Chinese, Indian, Malay, Eurasian and American descent."

Waltz in a White Dress

Waltz in a White Dress (円舞曲は白いドレスで, Walts wa Shiroi Dress de) is a Japanese shōjo/josei manga written and illustrated by Chiho Saito in 1990. The story is set in late 1930s Asia, on the eve of World War II. After four volumes in 1990, the series later continued with the spin-off Lilac Nocturne (紫丁香夜想曲 LILAC NOCTURNE, Shiteikō Yazōkyoku: Lilac Nocturne) in 1992, the three-volume sequel Magnolia Waltz (白木蘭円舞曲) in 1994, and an epilogue included in Love Stories (恋物語, Koimonogatari) in 1995.

Weep Not, Child

Weep Not, Child is Kenyan author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o's first novel, published in 1964 under the name James Ngugi. It was the first English novel to be published by an East African. Thiong'o's works deal with the relationship between Africans and the British colonists in Africa, and are heavily critical of British colonial rule. Specifically, Weep Not, Child deals with the Mau Mau Uprising, and "the bewildering dispossession of an entire people from their ancestral land." Ngũgĩ wrote the novel while he was a student at Makerere University.The book is divided into two parts and eighteen chapters. Part one deals mostly with the education of Njoroge, while part two deals with the rising revolutionary, anti-colonist turmoil in Kenya.

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