- May 11, 2008
Ruling Britannia: The Golden Age of the British Empire
Table of Contents:
Prologue: The Birth of an Empire
Chapter One: Victoria Imperatrix
Chapter Two: Early Days
1936 - 1837
1838 - 1839
1840 - 1846
Chapter Three: A Change In Direction
1848 - 1852
1853 - 1856
Chapter Four: Ambition and Expansion
1857 - 1858
1859 - 1862
1863 - 1866
Chapter Five: Reassessment of Matters
1869 - 1876
Chapter Six: Noninterference and Inaction
1877 - 1886
Chapter Seven: The Great Empire Builder
1888 - 1893
The Birth of an Empire
In these days of global turmoil it is good to look back upon history to not only learn from it but to realize the potential present in our civilization. The concept of a wide spanning Empire has been a part of English, and eventually British, culture since the days of the Hundred Years’ War. Now, over two hundred years since the declaration of our first Emperor, the British Empire stands atop Earth as the dominant power. We have our rivals; make no mistake, rivals that could spell disaster for our Empire. But they are nothing new; the British Empire has faced challenges like these before and emerged victorious. To ensure the continuation of our way of life and glory for all subjects of the Empire, we need only look to the past.
King George III (1762)
King of Great Britain
As 1774 came to a close, the Kingdom of Great Britain was shocked to hear some most unexpected news. King George III, ruler for barely fifteen years, had died. Although modern forensic investigates discovered high levels of arsenic in his body, no conclusive reason had ever been discovered, leaving the exact reasons behind his death a mystery. At only thirteen years of age, his son George IV was crowned his successor. A Regency Council was established, effectively leaving Great Britain to the government of Lord North, until George IV reached maturity.
John Dickinson (1782)
Author of the Olive Branch Petition
Meanwhile, protests and eventually open rebellion broke out across the British colonies in North America. The reasons were many and varied, ranging from high taxes to lack of representation in Parliament. In July of 1775, a delegation from the colonies lead by John Dickinson sent a petition to the British government asking for an end to hostilities. Hoping to reconcile with Great Britain, Dickinson’s so called Olive Branch Petition requested that the British government resolve the issue peacefully. The more romantic version of events goes that the young king, upon receiving the petition and seeing the pain his subjects were enduring, immediately ordered his government to reach a resolution. To most historians however, this story is seen as apocryphal. Even though George IV was viewed as a meddler in the affairs of government, this was only until after he came of age. In reality, the instability of the government brought on by the sudden death of George III meant that Lord North was more willing to seek an easy way out of the problem. The story may have changed but the ending stayed the same, revolution had been averted in North America.
Emperor George IV (1816)
Emperor of the British and Irish
On the first of the New Year, 1801, the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland were merged to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. To celebrate this, it was suggested that King George IV, by now of age to rule on his own, be crowned Emperor. He agreed with this notion, using the growth of the British Empire at home and oversees as justification. So on 1 January 1801, George IV was proclaimed Emperor of the British and Irish. It is this date that was retroactively chosen as the start of the Britannia Era calendar inacted at the turn of the millenium. As the subjects of the British Empire reveled for their new Emperor, across the English Channel in France, things were about to take a turn for the worse.
Napoleon Bonaparte (1801)
Self Proclaimed Emperor of the French
Having overthrown its monarchy and executed King Louis XVI in 1793, the French rallied behind the fledgling French Republic. In 1804 a young military officer named Napoleon Bonaparte would seize power and crown himself Emperor of the French. After which he sets upon a massive campaign of conquest across Europe, lasting a nearly decade, which only ended when a British-led coalition marched into Paris after a failed French invasion on Russia. Napoleon abdicates and is exiled to the island of Elba. The Napoleonic Wars are at an end and the former monarchy is reinstated with Louis XVIII as King. The next year, Napoleon escapes exile on Elba and returns to France to amass a new army. He is soundly defeated by the British under the command of Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington. However, as Napoleon attempts to flee France onboard a ship, it is attacked and sunk by British Imperial Navy vessels with him presumed killed.
Emperor William IV (1833)
Emperor of the British and Irish
With peace restored to Europe, the British Empire enters a period of relative stagnation. Emperor George IV dies in 1830 and is replaced by his brother. Emperor William IV reigns for another seven years before dying of heart failure at Windsor Castle. As William IV has no living legitimate issue, the crown of the Empire would pass to the woman who would serve as the architect for the period known as the Golden Age of the British Empire.