British Empire/Timelines

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A timeline (or several) relating to British Empire.

First empire

  • 1562 John Hawkins makes the first British triangular trade voyage[1].
  • 1583 Walter Raleigh is given a royal charter to plant a colony in North America.
  • 1600 English East India Company gets a royal charter..,
  • 1606 The Virginia Company[2] gets a royal charter.
  • 1607 Jamestown Virginia is founded by the Virginia Company[3].
  • 1620 Voyage of the Pilgrim Fathers[4].
  • 1623 British settlements in the West Indies[5].
  • 1660 Tenures Abolition Act[6] gives legislative recognition to the decline of the feudal system.
  • 1713 Treaty of Utrecht[7] - cedes Gibraltar to Britain.
  • 1754 The beginning of the French and Indian War of the British Army and British colonists against the forces of the French colony of New France
  • 1756 The beginning of the Seven Years War A global Anglo-French conflict fought in Europe, America and India.
  • 1757 Clive wins the Battle of Plassey [8], a decisive stage in the struggle between French forces and the army of the East India Company for access to the Indian market.
  • 1759 Wolfe defeats French at Heights of Abraham in Canada[9].
  • 1763 The Treaty of Paris of 1763[10] Marked the victories of Britain over France and its allies in the Seven Years War. Britain was awarded Quebec, Cape Breton Island, Dominica, Tobago, Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Minorca and Senegal, from France, together with nearly all of its possessions in India.
  • 1773 Boston Tea Party
  • 1775 American War of Independence
  • 1776 American U.S. Declaration of Independence
  • 1783 The Paris Peace Treaty of 1783[11] establishes independence of the United States

Second empire

  • 1787 Sierra Leone is established as a colony for freed slaves
  • 1788 New South Wales founded as a penal colony[12].
  • 1805 The Battle of Trafalgar establishes British naval supremacy.
  • 1807 The Slave Trade Act ends British slave trade[13].
  • 1814 Cape of South Africa ceded to Britain[14].
  • 1819 The East India Company buys Singapore[15].
  • 1824 The Anglo-Dutch Treaty[16] withdraws Dutch objections to British occupation of Singapore, and assigns Malacca and its dependencies to Britain.
  • 1826 The British settlements of Malacca, Penang, and Singapore are combined to form the Colony of the Straits Settlements.
  • 1828 Official declaration of war against the aborigines of Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmnia)[17] marking the British Governor's approval of what is alleged to have been a genocide.
  • 1838 Invasion of Afghanistan
  • 1840 Treaty of Waitangi An agreement between the British Government and the Chiefs of the local Maori population ceding sovereignty to the British Crown.
  • 1842 Treaty of Nanking[18] ends the Opium War of 1839–1842, opens Chinese ports to trade and cedes Hong Kong to Britain.
  • 1845-51 Irish Great Famine.
  • 1857 Indian Mutiny[19][20].
  • 1858 Government of India Act 1858. The British Government takes over the administration of India from the East India Company.
  • 1867 The British North American Act confers Dominion status on Canada
  • 1869 Opening of the Suez Canal.
  • 1875 Britain buys about half of the shares in the Suez Canal company.
  • 1878 The Congress of Berlin[21] resolves the disputes over navigation and commercial rights in the Congo River basin and sets the rules for further African acquisitions by European powers. Britain acquires Cyprus.
  • 1879 Zulu War
  • 1881: Defeat of Britain in first Boer War
  • 1882 Arabi Rebellion[22] British army puts down an attempted coup d'etat against the ruler of

Egypt and assumes de facto control (although Egypt remains nominally within the Ottman Empire

  • 1884: The Imperial Federation League[23] is founded in London with branches in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Barbados and British Guiana.
    Acquisition of British Somaliland.
  • 1887: The first Colonial Conference beginning a series of consultations between Britain and its colonies.
  • 1888: British South Africa Company is granted a Royal Charter
  • 1889: Rhodesia is conquered.
  • 1890: Uganda and British East Africa (now Kenya) acquired.
  • 1894: Northern Rhodesia created.
  • 1896 The Federated Malay States[24] the states of Perak, Selangor and Sungei Ujong are taken under British Protection under the terms of treaties with their rulers.
  • 1898: Conquest of Sudan
  • 1899-1902 British victory in Second Boer War[25][26][27].
  • 1902: The Treaty of Vereeniging :establishes South Africa as a British Colony.
  • 1901 Dominion status is conferred on Australia.
  • 1907 New Zealand is granted Dominion status.
  • 1910 South Africa is granted Dominion status.
  • 1914 Britain declares Egypt to be a British Protectorate after the Ottoman Empire enters WWI on the German side.
  • 1919 The Amritsar Massacre[28] British and Gurkha troops massacre at least 379 unarmed demonstrators.
    The Paris Peace Conference transfers the former German East Africa colony of Tanganyika (now Tanzania) to Britain.
  • 1920 Palestine is mandated to Britain by the League of Nations.

From Empire to Commonwealth

(The dates of independence quoted below come from Entering and Exiting the British Empire, and the History Today Companion to British History is the source of other statements, except where otherwise indicated. )

  • 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty establishes the Irish Free State (now the Republic of Ireland), an independent Dominion of the British Crown with full internal self-government rights, partitioned from Northern Ireland which remains part of the United Kingdom.
  • 1922 Irish Civil War
  • 1926 The 6th Imperial Conference established the Dominions as equal communities within the British Empire, with a common allegiance to the Crown.
  • 1929 Colonial Development Act 1929 the first of a series of enactments authorising aid to agriculture and industry in the colonies.
  • 1930: First Commonwealth Games held in Hamilton, Canada.
  • 1931 Statute of Westminster confirmed the equality of Britain and the Dominions of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, and Newfoundland.
  • 1934 Status of the Union Act The legislative statement of South Africa's independence by its government.
  • 1936 The Anglo-Egyptian Treaty[29] provides for the withdrawal of the British army from all of Egypt except the Suez Canal zone.
  • 1946 The Caine-Cohen report maps out a four-stage transfer of power resulting in full self-government for the African colonies.
  • 1947 India Independence Act under which India becomes independent and the Dominion of Pakistan is created[30].
  • 1948 Burma, Ceylon become independent. The Malay settlements become the Federation of Malaya.
    End of the Palestine mandate
    British Nationality Act 1948 conferred the status of British citizen on all Commonwealth subjects and recognised their right to work and settle in the UK.
  • 1949 The London Declaration - extends the concept of Commonwealth to include nations that become republics after independence.
    Ireland leaves the Commonwealth
  • 1952 The Mau Mau uprising[31] in Kenya
  • 1954 Anglo-Egyptian Agreement. British troops leave their Suez Canal Zone base in Egypt.
  • 1956 Suez crisis[32] A frustrated invasion of Egypt following its nationalisation of the Suez canal.
  • 1957 The Federation of Malaya becomes independent[33].
    Gold Coast becomes independent.
  • 1960 Leeward Islands become independent.
    The Wind of Change speech[34] "The wind of change is blowing through this continent, and whether we like it or not, this growth of national consciousness is a political fact. We must all accept it as a fact, and our national policies must take account of it."
  • 1961 British Cameroons, Sierra Leone, and Tanganyika become independent.
    South Africa leaves the Commnwealth
  • 1962 Jamaica, Uganda become independent.
  • 1963 Kenya and Sarawak become independent.
    The British colonies of Singapore, Sarawak, and Sabah join the Malayan Federation, which is renamed Malaysia.
  • 1964 Malta and Northern Rhodesia become independent.
  • 1965 Gambia becomes independent
    Singapore leaves Malaysia to became an independent republic.
  • 1966 Barbados and British Guiana become independent
  • 1973 Bahamas and Turks and Caicos become independent
  • 1974 Grenada becomes independent
  • 1975 British New Guinea becomes independent
  • The Waitangi Tribunal[35] is set up to investigate alleged breaches of the Waitangi Treaty by the British Crown,
  • 1981 British Nationality Act 1981
  • 1994 South Africa rejoins the Commonwealth following the end of Apartheit
  • 1997 Hong Kong is returned to China.
  • 2002 British Overseas Territories Act 2002
  • 2011 Report of the Waitangi Tribunal[36] acknowledges Maori grievances.