Examples Of British Imperialism

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Although it is inaccurate to limit the governance system of British imperialism throughout the 19th and 20th century as indirect, it is relevant to underline that the British majoritarly pursued indirect colonialism especially in Africa. Indeed, after centuries of settler and direct colonialism, British imperialism soon came to realize the advantage of an indirect type of rule in their newest colonies when considering the economic benefits but also the pre-colonial societies of Africa. Indeed, most of these African states were characterized by complex and highly populated pre-colonial areas and this discouraged many British settlers and more importantly perhaps, discouraged British institutional establishments in those countries. This led…show more content…
Indeed, in many states British imperialism took place under the form of ‘hybrid colonialism’ which consisted of a combination of both direct and indirect rule. The most notable example of this rule was under colonial India where the vastness of territories as well as the high population of the country first led the British to a form of indirect rule headed by the British East Indian Company prior to 1857. However, in May 1857 the Sepoy Mutiny - a major revolt from Indian soldiers against the rule of the British East Indian Company, compelled Britain to make India an official colony under control of London and the crown making an attempt to switch form indirect to direct colonialism. Types of colonialism varied in time and the British Empire did not hesitate to switch colonial practices to direct rule when local leaders resisted colonial rule as it was the case in 1857 in India. However, due to the very large number of states which composed India, types of colonial rule also varied geographically within the country. ‘Some 600 princely states comprising approximately two-fifths of colonial India were ruled indirectly. The remainder of the colony continued to be dominated by a direct form of administration’. And therefore this once again illustrates that limiting British imperial activities to ‘indirect’ ones would be far too simplistic as it would already ignore three…show more content…
Indeed, Malaya was divided in the Malay States which were under indirect British rule as well as the Straits Settlements that were place under the authority of the British crown and the colonial office in London. The nine Malay States were ruled by monarchs or sultans until the British empire created the Federate Malaya State in 1895 after agreeing with four of these state leaders. Once again, the British benefitted of a strategic location in Southeast Asia that had natural resources and yet did not need require direct rule because local leaders were able to keep control while cooperating with the British colonial power making it once again an example of indirect colonialism. However, the other part of Malaya was made of the Straits Settlements originally administered by the East Indian company and which were later directly administered by the British Empire through the late 19th and mid 20th century as local Malaya leaders were replaced by British officials and pre-colonial institutions replaced by British structures. This happened because both economic and military interests were too much at stake in the Straits Settlements and therefore only direct rule could ensure the British interest in the region. Therefore, Malaya was geographically ‘hybrid’ in its colonial practices as different regions called for different colonial strategies and can as such, constitute an interesting study case of both
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