The Empire on Which the Sun Never Sets

Perhaps a vibrant society can be interpreted as a positive outcome from Britain’s imperialist past. Former colonies provide the city of London with an identity second to none. Conversations in a collection of different languages surround the bustling streets. Enticing aromas, stemming from the assortment of Indian, Asian, and Middle Eastern shops and restaurants, fill the air. Ancient Egyptian statues and sarcophagi, Greek pottery, Roman sculptures, and other nations’ artifacts acquired over time line the British Museum. The British often recognize the expansiveness of their former world dominance, appearing eager to cite that one out of every four persons on earth served the crown in the early 20th century. The Brits fondly advertise and think of the Empire as a period of British preeminence without taking into account the evils of imperialism.

Some museums and sites give credit to former colonies for their aid in maintaining and extending Britain’s success and prestige. The Imperial War Museum acknowledges India’s, Africa’s, and other colonies’ contributions of both manpower and resources in both World Wars. While the British recognize these additions to the Empire, they fail to grasp that their status was built on the forcible taking of land and the exploitation of other people. The appearance of one big happy empire rings hollow; it is foolish to think that colonial residents eagerly left their homes and families to fight and die in a far-off land “for king and country.” The British Empire’s presence and influence remains evident when observing the national character of Britain today. However, it remains to be seen if they will change the presentation of their history and explain how they achieved this rich culture.

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