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4 years ago

Empire How Britain Made the Modern World - Maxim Force Ep 5/6 HD

Documentary Films
Maxim Force

The 'Scramble for Africa' by competing European nations during the last years of Queen Victoria's reign is the compelling tale of this programme.

We learn how 10,000 independent African kingdoms became 40 European colonies over the course of two decades, in a drastic redrawing of the map. Indeed, by 1900 Britain owned half of Africa.

No longer dominated by moral and religious concerns, this new era was about power and the economy as the battle for raw materials progressed.

Power was in the hands of bankers and industrialists such as Rothschild and Cecil Rhodes, as illustrated by their use of the new Maxim guns to keep any opponents in check.

By this stage it was businessmen doing the colonizing and not governments.

This was a time when young men from elite schools were sent to work in the colonies, with the sports fields of England used as training grounds for a career in the army. Images of heroes overcoming the native warriors were very popular.

Archive film from this period, of battles such as Omdurman in Sudan, illustrate the power of British military tactics and show a complete disregard for supposedly inferior races.

The Boer war and subsequent treatment of the Boers brought a moral backlash in Britain that signalled a new era for the British empire.

About the Series

Historian and presenter Niall Ferguson takes us on a fascinating journey in both time and space to explore the impact of the British empire on the modern world.

From the earliest British settlers in Virginia to the decline of the empire in the aftermath of the two World Wars, positive and negative aspects of the empire are illustrated through key events and players.

Niall Ferguson uses a wealth of original sources such as quotes, documents, film footage and photographs, as well as taking a contemporary look at key locations and drawing parallels with recent history, such as the USA's war against terrorism.

The documentary series is highly entertaining, informative and thought-provoking, and provides an excellent and balanced overview on the history of the British empire and its continuing legacy in the world.

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