In 1815, the British controlled the seas. Before the end of the nineteenth century, they ruled Australia, India, New Zealand, half of Africa, half of North America, and islands all around the globe. Theirs was the most powerful empire the world has ever known.
Here is the story of how the English acquired their vast domain; how they ruled, maintained, and exploited it; and how, within decades, they presided over its dissolution.
Here are Britain's triumphs and also her stinging defeats, her heroes and her scoundrels. It is a full and fascinating chronicle of the growth of the British Empire and its people and of the impact that empire had on the rest of the world.