The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates,
mandates, and other territories ruled or administered by the United
Kingdom, that had originated with the overseas colonies and trading
posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.
At its height it was the largest empire in history and, for over a
century, was the foremost global power. By 1922, the British Empire
held sway over a population of about 458 million people, one-quarter of
the world's population, and approximately a quarter of the Earth's
total land area. As a result, its political, linguistic and cultural
legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, it was often said that
"the sun never sets on the British Empire" because its span across the
globe ensured that the sun was always shining on at least one of its
numerous territories. The growth of Germany and the United States
eroded Britain's economic lead by the end of the 19th century.
Subsequent military and economic tensions between Britain and Germany
were major causes of the First World War, for which Britain leaned
heavily upon its Empire. The Second World War accelerated the decline
of the Empire. Within two years of the end of the war, Britain granted
independence to its most populous and valuable colony, India. During
the remainder of the 20th century, most of the territories of the
Empire became independent. After independence, many former British
colonies joined the Commonwealth of Nations, a free association of
independent states. Fourteen territories remain under British
sovereignty, the British overseas territories.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Martin Luther married Katharina von Bora , against the celibacy
discipline decreed by the Roman Catholic Church on priests.
King Ludwig II of Bavaria was found dead in Lake Starnberg near Munich
under mysterious circumstances.
The Yukon Territory was formed in Canada, splitting from the Northwest
Territories after the area's population substantially increased due to
the Klondike Gold Rush.
The New York Times began to publish the Pentagon Papers, a 7,000-page
top-secret United States Department of Defense history of the United
States' political and military involvement in the Vietnam War.
In one of the worst fire tragedies in recent Indian history, 59 people
died and 103 others were seriously injured during a premiere screening
of the film Border at the Uphaar Cinema in Green Park, South Delhi.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
1. (British, slang) To speak in a soft, indistinct manner, mutter.
2. (British, slang) To grumble, complain
Wikiquote quote of the day:
So long as all is ordered for attack, and that alone, leaders will
instinctively increase the number of enemies that they may give their
followers something to do.
--William Butler Yeats
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