Why British Empire was a good thing… according to contemporary newspapers

Posted on January 26th, 2016 by BNA

A recent study showed that 44% of people in Britain people think that “we should be proud of British colonialism”. Considering the Empire’s sketchy past of violence and massacres, this was a shock result.

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At the time, as today, people were mainly supportive of British rule overseas, though it would be fair to assume they didn’t know the full extent of the chaos it wrought. For some, the empire’s steady decline after World War 2 would have been incomprehensible.

Cambridge Daily News - Monday 09 January 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Cambridge Daily News – Monday 09 January 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

But it wasn’t all bad in the Empire on which the sun never sets. British rule overseas did bring some good things into existence…

1. A great opportunity for fancy dress

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Tuesday 25 May 1909 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette – Tuesday 25 May 1909 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Derbyshire Courier - Tuesday 31 May 1910 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Derbyshire Courier – Tuesday 31 May 1910 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

2. An excuse to attend fancy dinners…

Cambridge Daily News - Monday 09 January 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Cambridge Daily News – Monday 09 January 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

3. …and make long speeches

Cambridge Daily News - Monday 09 January 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Cambridge Daily News – Monday 09 January 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

4. Endless possibilities for eye-catching graphics

Dundee Courier - Thursday 20 September 1900 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Dundee Courier – Thursday 20 September 1900 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What have you found on the British Empire? Drop us a line in the comments below…

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