Talk:British Empire

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The main reason for the creation of the British Empire was to ensure a secure supply of tea.--Bobbing up 14:45, 20 February 2009 (EST)

I have added scones , with jam and cream and cucumber sandwiches , viva le Empire ! Hamster (talk) 20:29, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

The empire of evil[edit]

As much pain and misery as the British Empire caused, I think it's a little ridiculous that no one has mentioned it here. To quote Ali G, the British empire is "fully more eviler than Skeletor"

All those other villians we love to hate are just cheap henchmen compared to what the British wrought. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

While the British Empire did cause a huge amount of suffering and misery, it's open to question whether we were notably worse than, say, the Romans. I'm not discounting the bad things we did or saying "everyone did it", I just think it's rather pointless to say that any particular empire was "the worst ever" - Ebon (talk) 06:01, 22 June 2010 (UTC) 06:01, 22 June 2010 (UTC)


On the other hand, the British Empire was largely built on slavery, and as a result of British meddling, cultures and peoples around the globe were suppressed, if not outright exterminated.

I would like to hear the justification for this quite frankly offensive statement. I'll concede the slavery bit, but don't forget that the British Empire was also the main reason that the international slave trade was eventually abolished (With our warships). Also, native Africans were the ones selling the slaves in the most part, we were just buying them. Doesn't excuse it of course but I do think a little proportion of blame is required. ProudTory (talk) 21:48, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

That was very nice of them to do. Really swell. Theory of Practice "...and we do love you madly."
So you admit that the British Empire ended slavery? Or does that offend your worldview? (All about colonialism being some great evil etc.) Will you please justify your BS about 'extermination'? ProudTory (talk) 21:52, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
"A little proportion of blame", it isnt the place of this article to go into detail on the sins of those who dealed with the colonial powers. --Mikal 21:51, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
Extermination. And there are many economic historians of the West Indies who argue that the British ended slavery more for reasons having to do with economic advantage than for unbridled humanitarianism. Fittingly, "Inglan Is a Bitch" just came up on the shuffler. Theory of Practice "...and we do love you madly." 21:59, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
The brits didn't end slavery becaue of anything moral, the cost of the wars between france and spain was getting simply to high. and hello, THEY AND THE REST OF EUROPE FUCKING DESTORY THOUSANDS OF CULTURES. God, you're a good little troll, hum?Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 21:59, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
What's next, the "Ayrabs did it too!" defense? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 22:10, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
I heard a few Native American tribes fought with each other once. Clearly they deserved their genocide. Blue Talk 22:14, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
British settlers and their African allies killed during Mau Mau: 200. Kikuyu killed during Mau Mau: 12,000-20,000. Totally proportional. Theory of Practice "...and we do love you madly." 22:18, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
I don't disagree that some terrible things happened throughout the history of the British Empire, and any loss of life is of course deeply regrettable and to be condemned. In a modern context, it would be utterly inexcusable. But this was the Imperial age, a lot of great things happened under the Empire too, and we mustn't forget about that. Some truly magnificent things. A pax Brittanica, where people could walk in safety throughout huge sections of the world, and trade in peace, and speak freely, and educate their children, all in the name of progress. Easily the most humanitarian and open Empire in the history of mankind. Rome without as many centurions. ProudTory (talk) 23:18, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
Only if you were British. How do you think the Aborigines in Australia enjoyed your "Humanitarian and open Empire"? What about the Indians? Also, please sort out your indentation so it is in line with others. DamoHi 23:24, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
Sure we did lots of bad things, but its all ok because we spread the glowing light of civilization to the savages! im sorry, but no amount of "great things" will be able to cut the edge off all the terrible things, it only reminds people that the world is not black and white. --Mikal 23:21, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
I, for one, reject murder and war as appropriate tools of national policy. But I do recognise that the British Empire did a lot of good as well. It is only fair that we recognise and celebrate that contribution to the improvement of the human condition. Many of these primitive cultures were incapable of improving themselves in isolation anyway. How do you think Europe developed initially? Because of the Roman invasions! What about the Meditterean world? The Greek colonies! A lot of good can happen when a superior civilisation interacts with an inferior one. (Nothing to do with race by the way, just an observation about the relative sophistication of various cultures) ProudTory (talk) 23:27, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
The use of "superior" is where you and me will never have meaningful dialogue.--Mikal 23:31, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I forgot about political correctness (Though people will essentially make the same argument using kinder words, so really the only difference is your squeemishness and antagonism towards reality) ProudTory (talk) 23:35, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
By "superior" I presume you mean "more muskets". Interesting way to view history I suppose. Refreshingly honest. DamoHi 23:38, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
More weapons certainly, but also an advanced economic, social, cultural and political system by any system of comparison. Thats the honest part of it. ProudTory (talk) 23:41, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
what would you blame the currently numerous problems of africa on, my proud friend?--Mikal 23:44, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
Much of Africa is booming economically as we speak, just beginning to get over decades of misgovernance. Africa has the resources to be as wealthy as any other part of the globe. For too long, western guilt over colonialism gave dictators a carte blanche to do what they liked to their own people. We should have intervened, militarily, and installed more amenable transitional regimes after the formal process of decolonialisation began. ProudTory (talk) 23:53, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
In other words, more imperialism. Do you even care what the African people might have thought of that? Theory of Practice "...and we do love you madly." 00:01, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
Seeing as they are inferior, what they think clearly doesn't matter, TOPGreen mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 00:42, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
African people suffered more under post colonial dictatorships than they did under British rule. Don't let facts get in your way. Such an inconvenient thing, is a fact. Also, Godot, do not seek bad intent where it is not there. Nowhere did I say the Africans were 'inferior', biologically they are the same as us. For a variety of geographic and historical reasons their societies were less developed is all. ProudTory (talk) 00:50, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
Ahh, less developed societies, the best solution is to conquer them with our military and force them to be like us. Nevermind what they want. --Mikal 00:56, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
I would beg to differ that they "suffered more", though i know nothing about Africa, i'll leave that to TOP. i can talk about Native Americans and how wonderfully well European colonialize treated them, and continues to treat them today. The cultures were not "inferior", they just hadn't developed in the same way - and may or may not have. giving people technology is frankly, quite different than handing them a Book of Order and saying "worship or die", which is largely what Europeans in general said and did.Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 00:59, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
In some ways the approach in Australia was more humane. You just pretend that no humans lived there. That way you don't have to worry about any issues of land theft or genocide - there are no people to steal from or kill. You also don't have to worry about granting them citizenship or letting them vote till the 1960's. Simple solution. DamoHi 01:08, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, because Americans treated Native Americans so well. ProudTory (talk) 01:09, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps is Britain had done its job as lord of the world and intervened militarily, it could have been stopped./ or perhaps had Britain not taught us that treating the natives that way was perfectly ok... --Mikal 01:16, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
You do understand that the treatment of native americans is largely a British thing (well, european), since, you know "americans" were european colonizers. It's not like "americans" were the native Lakota speaking people saying 'iyaya, wisichakun'. just saying....Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 02:07, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

Legacy of the British Empire[edit]

There are multiple problems with this section. Attributing the spread of democracy and industrialisation to the British Empire specifically, rather than wider cultural, political, social & economics shifts within the European world and its sphere of influence, is rather facile. Plus the list of "some of the strongest democracies" presented here includes Malaysia and Singapore, which our articles actually identify as dictatorships in all but name. The British Empire's "quest to uplift the rest of the world" is also rather a romantic view of activities, & I'm not sure how accurate the statement about hunter-gatherer peoples is. I'll try & look at revising this tonight, but if anyone wants to make an effort to sort it out in the meantime, please be my guest. WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 14:13, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

That whole section was added by an MC sock on a trolling binge. It's gone now. PowderSmokeAndLeather (talk) 14:22, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Oh yeah, his fake plastic Tory. Good riddance. ωεαşεζøίɗWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:30, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

The British Empire, racism and associated issues[edit]

Moved here from Talk:Imperialism#British by ScepticWombat (talk) 10:44, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

Don't understand if it's a joke or not, but the section on Britain talks about racism and how the non-Whites (I don't believe in race as a biological fact) doing all the real work. This is false, and if Britain was as racist as claimed how do people explain John Perkins of the royal navy and John Duck, who was kept by Native Americans while the Europeans were let go after loyalists from a mutiny were intercepted. Also, the West Indian regiments were not really treated different and they had religious freedom. Britain gave China religious freedom after the opium wars and fought to end slavery/the trade. It was illegal in Scotland, Wales/England and Ireland (Ireland wasn't in the UK yet however until after the 1798 rebellion called for closer control) in 1772 and the trade itself was illegal in 1803 (throughout the Empire I think) and in the 1830s all slavery was illegal, the practice itself of slaves in the fields was made illegal anywhere Britain controlled. Sure, Blacks were kept for sugar in some places BEFORE that but this wasn't really racism as Scots and Irishmen were as well due to the harsh sentences they were given for petty crimes like stealing which was virtually the same thing as official slavery.

Also, Lascarmen were allowed to serve on British ships and sepoys were hired as well and most of the East Indian army was at one point at least minority European. British Indians started their own communities in Britain and the Royal Navy fervently hunted down slave trading ships and freed thousands of slaves this way, but also freed thousands while raiding the American coasts towards the end of the Anglo-American 1812 conflict and don't forget all the thousands of Loyalists of darker skin that went to Britain after 1783 and started their own communities elsewhere.

While Britain may have been imperialistic and evil this wasn't really racial, judging by how much of the world they took from anything that may be classed as a race.

Also, a few Indian ships (armed merchantmen) chose to engage the French navy instead of surrendering, not something a person who hated Britain would do (i.e. 4 August 1800 or Pulo Aura etc).

Britain even had European land under it's control: Ionian Islands, Gibraltar, the Channel Islands (Normandy) and infamously fought numerous other powers for control.

Please explain how the British and their Empire were racist, or remove it. Especially when Britain traded with China and India LARGELY!! Ignoring all the Blacks in 1812 who joined up to repulse the Americans out of Canada. At New Orleans, there were 5 West Indian Regiments (don't quote me on 5 please).

Also, in the Saint Domingue blockade and even James Walker's naval ships helped overthrow the French control of Haiti although this probably was at least partially about the ongoing war with Napoleonic France.

British units in India also adopted local customs. All I'm asking is for a trusted source. Not trying to rant, not even British (I don't really like their Monarch either, but that's a personal thing)I forgot to mention the Gurkhas as well, if it is not fixed I will fix it in 7 hours unless somebody says something.Kosterortiizbrock (talk) 19:52, 27 June 2015 (UTC)

Going to give ample time, please explain the positions. Also, why is the French part so clean in comparison? This is another reason I see bias, as if I remember correctly the British and the French had a slight rivalry (a significant reason the French helped the colonials in the revolution). Did the French not fight wars against native peoples, as well i.e. the Fox Wars or the closings of the French and Indian wars? The British were slaughtered and the French hardly worked to prevent this if anything like that can even be said at the Fort George massacre. If anything, the British agreed to accept French laws and customs staying in Canada after decisively conquering it. Hell, one of the Intolerable Acts was ABOUT Canada being given some territory the colonials wanted. And for the Americans, why does it exclude Manifest Destiny?

Again, please explain how this was racist? I agree Imperialistic (as were many Eurasian countries) but not racist. Also, until somebody can provide insight on how the British in their hats sat around with the non-British natives doing all the work. The British at these times did not endorse racist slavery (in fact they disposed tribes who continued to sell Africans), so.... unless you're saying they liked the British so much they took the initiative to do all the labor for them I really don't understand your point. The British were not forcing the locals of places they conquered to do anything for them..

In fact one of the worse British put-downs of a rebellion was the conflict known as the Boer Wars, the atrocities absolutely disgusting and introduced concentration camps. But these people, actually had largely European ancestry (they were called Boers). Again, I agree Britain was imperialistic but these two claims I dispute

1. It was based on racism.

2. People in territory it took did all the work while the British did nothing.

Kosterortiizbrock (talk) 06:52, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

1. It clearly was. Sure, the British would happily rely on divide et impera, but always supervised by (white) British officers and administrators. In short: Top spots were reserved for white people. Also, before the British changed their opinion on the slave trade, they had been among the most enthusiastic slave trading states. PS. Racism was pretty prevalent in all of Europe and most of the Americas (among the ruling classes at least) from some time in the 18th or 19th century until well after WWII.
2. Sure, some Brits toiled in conditions hardly better than in some of the colonies (as any reading of Dickens will reveal). However, in the colonies it was usually the natives or imported slaves who did the hardest work (the major exceptions were Australia and New Zealand which were colonised too late for slavery to be a factor, had natives which were difficult to exploit in this way and thus British convicts were initially used instead). Again these "toiling hordes" in the colonies were mainly non-white.
3. Note what the article actually says (hint: I've bolded the important qualifier): "At the height of the Empire its image was that of mustachioed men wearing silly white helmets and sipping tea while the dark-skinned people did all the hard work."
Btw, if your complaint is about the treatment of the British Empire (only) why not post your comment on that article's talk page? ScepticWombat (talk) 07:59, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

1. No, they were based on British superiority and Imperialism absolutely not racism whatsoever. British leaders led the colonies taken from the Dutch in South Africa during the Napoleonic wars and the colonies taken from the French during the French and Indian war. Top spots were reserved for Anglo-Saxons. 2. The British did not nearly have an empire in their slave trading days, the British did not exist until 1707 and slavery was already illegal in 1772. 3. What slaves doing work? In what colonies, please? Tell me, because the major British places like India had no real slavery, the Canadian history was extremely small and insignificant being rare special cases hardly occurring. America was lost in 1781 and was at CONFLCIT with Britain in ideals LARGELY hence the revolution. Australia and New Zealand were discovered and plans made to colonize before America even existed years before the revolution was over. The British largely had their colonies here taken from beaten enemies, not going out on ships and colonizing random places. 4. The British had no issues with beating Natives, if they wanted to enslave them they would've. Do you even know about the Black wars, the Australian frontier wars, the New Zealand Wars and all the other colonial Australian victories over them where overly aggressive Natives attacked colonists for xenophobic reasons and were swiftly beat? 5. What work? Some of the most industrious cities were mostly lighter skinned. Glasgow, London, Belfast. What are you talking about, the poor oppressed supposedly conquered doing all the work???? I literally do not understand you. 6. Maybe the Victorian era and the burden but the British were established during Anne and the greatest colonies taken during the Georgians where slavery was outlawed and this was not even the peak of the Empire. 7. It is not just this article of course, but the other is beyond fixing. 8. The elite rich had the power, not your everyday British citizen. The rich people had monopolies and or titles and families/etc and all forms of wealth, they didn't get random so called White people to rule over them because they were so called White. British troops jeered abuse at Dutch troops who marched too much like the French, in columns (after decisively smashing the Dutch, who are by most people considered to be White in numerous battles the worst being Copenhagen where they massacred European civilians including Women and children)

Conclusion: it was based on pure Anglo-Saxon supremacy, despite this people still rose to power like John Perkins of the royal navy (a surprisingly equal place, where Brits had to earn things through merit and seniority and the purchase of officer commissions was nonexistent unlike the army)speaking of equality, many of the colonists in the revolution DISAGREED with the facts they couldn't just steal Indian land and it was a major reason to the revolution do you know what the Intolerable acts were? Do not avoid it, yes or no do you know? Do you know about the Ohio territory, the Mountain men some of the most violent outlaws who resisted British law and troops to settle on Indian territory?

P.S. The Australian colonists were criminals transported because of Britain's prisons being overworked and the excessive death penalty. The loss of the 13 colonies were a major reason they were used for this. It wasn't evil some British mustached conspiracy for slavery since the Natives were too difficult to enslave (How?) or there is absolutely no proof of such.

While this may seem petty it is a pure factual ERROR.

EVIL and Imperialistic, absolutely correct. Racist, built on the work of pure non Whites? Not so much.

I disagree with the notions of Anglo-Saxon supremacy, being pseudoscientific to say the least, but researching the British empire after being surprised by the 1812 conflict extensively, I find no notion of what you are saying please enlighten me so I can know more if it is indeed true.

Footnote: when I say peak, I am referring to the post-WW1 situation of the Empire where it was the Empire where the sun never set. Also, do you agree the major British colonies that formed the backbone were Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the jewel in the Crown India? If yes, they were found during the Georgian times!!! Even the Opium Wars resulting in more and more British control in China, all Georgian.

Kosterortiizbrock (talk) 09:24, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

Despite the claim by Kosterortiizbrock that this article "is beyond fixing", I've moved the topic here, since it's about the British Empire (BE), not Imperialism
Okay, I think we need to subdivide this a bit, because these walls of text are not conducive to a clear and easily comprehended debate. So here goes (ScepticWombat (talk) 10:44, 29 June 2015 (UTC)):


Anglo-Saxon superiority is not incompatible with racism. Indeed, it merely put the Anglo-Saxons at the head of the "upper category" of white people, followed by "coloured" (e.g. Indians, as in the subcontinent, not Native American) and with such groups as Aborigines etc. at the very bottom. This was formalised through the special rights granted (mutually) to citizens of other European empires in their respective colonies (take as an example the Shanghai International SettlementWikipedia and such partly overlapping tools as extraterritorialityWikipedia and most favoured nationWikipedia status).
The racism of the "peak" British Empire (BE) as defined by Kosterortiizbrock (ca. 1918-'49)Note that The empire on which the sun never setsWikipedia sobriquet actually preceded this period was definitely racist, just look at Churchill's derogatory depiction of Ghandi: "It is alarming and also nauseating to see Mr Gandhi, a seditious Middle Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well known in the East, striding half-naked up the steps of the Vice-regal palace ... to parley on equal terms with the representative of the King-Emperor."Wikipedia Indeed, there are plenty of Indian novels and short stories dealing with the topic of British racism too, if you prefer to get your impressions that way.
I'm pretty surprised that Kosterortiizbrock has apparently never come across any of this since it's hardly new or obscure material, though it might be because Kosterortiizbrock defines racism in such narrow terms that only extreme formalised systems such as the Jim Crow laws, Apartheid or the Nuremberg LawsWikipedia qualify as "real" racism, but then I'd suggest that it's the definition that's flawed.
Also, while Kosterortiizbrock has mentioned various native forces of the BE, (s)he has apparently failed to notice that their officers were always white. Just as other racist entities have had no problem employing such "inferior" allies to run their periphery (in what the late Chalmers JohnsonWikipedia called the "sepoy strategy") doesn't make them non-racist. Indeed the notion that only white men were to be officers and that apart from them, units should be segregated lingered until quite recent times (e.g. in the US armed forces which did not fight as a desegregated force until during the Korean War, when the last USMC units were desegregated in practice). ScepticWombat (talk) 10:44, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

And to the Nazi comment, I didn't know the Nazis had Jewish officers, entire Jewish units and Jews mixing in their navy with the rest of the Germans.
First, I'm not entirely sure which "Nazi comment" Kosterortiizbrock is referring to, but since this section is the only one even tangentially touching on Nazism I assume it's this one and have pasted his response here. For some reason, Kosterortiizbrock seems to think that because Nazi Germany didn't have Jewish officers, it couldn't have employed the sepoy strategy. Apparently, Kosterortiizbrock is of the opinion that only the Jews were considered inferior in Nazi Germany and/or haven't heard of such phenomena as Hilfswillige,Wikipedia the "Vlasov Army",Wikipedia or indeed the Indian LegionWikipedia - all composed of people considered "racially inferior" by the Nazis, yet the regime decided to let them fight for it. ScepticWombat (talk) 21:27, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
There is absolutely no reason to believe the British empire was institutionally racist- by your definitions, important people holding racist thoughts made it racist? By your standards, if I was an anti-Irish or anti-British president of the USA-America would be effectively racist. Nice logic. Did the Nazis adopt local Jewish customs, as was done with facial hair and the Indians? Absolutely not.
Did the British specifically intern Blacks and others in camps or any other place, just because they were Black? No, but they did to White Boers and Blacks who sided with them- not having to do with race at all. The Nazis did this to people who were Jewish, stop trying to compare the two.
Again, if you can just prove the empire was racist in operation I would instantly agree. I simply see no reason for it to be racist, it actually seemed to be not racist in it's actions as explained previously. Please just prove it was, the burden of proof is on those making the claim.
Also, why the British fought beside the first nations a lot imagine the Nazis/Wehrmacht fighting directly beside Jews, even in desperate situations? Your comparison goes out the window- actually it smashes through it and then gets run over by a car when it lands in the street already devastated by impact. Kosterortiizbrock (talk) 23:15, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
Ah, as I thought, Kosterortiizbrock defines "real" racism as, effectively, Nazi Germany. Okay, so Apartheid wasn't racist, because it didn't send all its black (second class) citizens to the camps? And where on earth did the "local customs" thing come from? Which "facial hair" customs were adopted and by who(m)? If this is a reference to "cohabitation" between colonists and natives in North America, then I really fail to see what relevance this has. Are we to believe that if an imperial power adopts certain alien customs it can't be racist? In that case I'll direct the attention to recurring vogue for Oriental exoticism between the 18th and 20th centuries, but perhaps Imperial Germany wasn't racist either, because it didn't solely target non-whites (hint: WWI)?
Just because the British found it advantageous to enlist native allies doesn't mean that they were viewed as equals.
I'm also unsure what Kosterortiizbrock thinks that "my definitions" are, but if you view Irish or English as racially or similarly innately inferior (as indeed was a quite prominent view among Englishmen vis-a-vis Irishmen until comparatively recently, i.e. a generation or two ago), yes I think it's fair to call that racism - even if it doesn't fit Kosterortiizbrock's quite narrow definition of what's essentially an extreme form of racialism. ScepticWombat (talk) 21:27, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
And British officers were NOT always White, White men were usually rich simply due to the type of jobs they had and many of the upper class were landlords basically- there was not a significant Black population in Britain yet only Indians i.e. lascarmen in coastal towns so mostly Whites could purchase British officer commissions- this was simply an unrelated result of the demographics making more Whites living in Britain by far, so many more of course would exist in Britain and be able to become wealthy- this commission buying did not exist in the navy (merit and experience promotions) which had Black Officers such as John Perkins of the Royal Navy. The wealthy were not most British people, they were the elite- so obviously not relatively many, making it even less likely for them to have a lot of diversity as few existed in the first place- and even less non-Whites in Britain. Kosterortiizbrock (talk) 23:15, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
And because you could find unusual examples of non-German officers, such as Vlasov, in the Nazi war machine, Nazi Germany wasn't as racist as usually depicted.

In fact, the native Tecumseh appeared to like/respect General Isaac Brock, and instantly disliked his replacement due to combat inability. In fact the Brits funded the Natives in resisting U.S. expansion, yes they were using them as their patrons more often than not but can you imagine true racists doing this? Natives even interacted with the British
I discovered that one [U.S.] boat was badly managed, and was suffered to be drawn ashore by the wind. They landed by running hard aground and lowered their sail. The others passed on. This boat the Great Spirit gave to us. All that could, hurried aboard, but they were unable to push off, being fast aground. We advanced to the river's bank undercover, and commenced firing on the boat. I encouraged my braves to continue firing. Several guns were fired from the boat, but without effect. I prepared my bow and arrows to throw fire to the sail, which was lying on the boat. After two or three attempts, I succeeded in setting it on fire. The boat was soon in flames. About this time, one of the boats that had passed returned, dropped anchor and swung in close to [the] one which was on fire, taking off all the people except those who were killed or badly wounded. We could distinctly see them passing from one boat to the other, and fired on them with good effect. We wounded the war chief in this way. Another boat now came down, dropped her anchor, which did not take hold, and drifted ashore. The other boat cut her cable and drifted down the river, leaving their comrades without attempting to assist them. We then commenced an attack upon this boat, firing several rounds, which was not returned. We thought they were afraid or only had a few aboard. I therefore ordered a rush toward the boat, but when we got near enough they fired, killing two of our braves-- these being all we lost in the engagement. Some of their men jumped out and shoved the boat off, and thus got away without losing a man. I had a good opinion of this war chief, as he managed so much better than the others. It would give me pleasure to shake him by the hand.
We now put out the fire on the captured boat to save the cargo, when a skiff was seen coming down the river. Some of our people cried out, "Here comes an express from Prairie du Chien." We hoisted the British flag, but they would not land. They turned their little boat around, and rowed up the river. We directed a few shots at them, but they were so far off that we could not hurt them. I found several barrels of whisky on the captured boat, knocked in the heads and emptied the bad medicine late the river. I next found a box full of small bottles and packages, which appeared to be bad medicine also, such as the medicine men kill the white people with when they are sick. This I threw into the river. Continuing my search for plunder, I found several guns, some large barrels filled with clothing, and a number of cloth lodges, all of which I distributed among my warriors. We now disposed of the dead, and returned to the Fox village opposite the lower end of Rock Island, where we put up our new lodges, and hoisted the British flag. A great many of our braves were dressed in the uniform clothing which we had taken from the Americans, which gave our encampment the appearance of a regular camp of soldiers. We placed out sentinels and commenced dancing over the scalps we had taken. Soon after several boats passed down, among them a very large one carrying big guns. Our young men followed them some distance, but could do them no damage more than scare them. We were now certain that the fort at Prairie du Chien had been taken, as this large boat went up with the first party who built the fort.
In the course of the day some of the British came down in a small boat. They had followed the large one, thinking it would get [stuck] fast in the rapids, in which case they were sure of taking her. They had summoned her on her way down to surrender, but she refused to do so, and now, that she had passed the rapids in safety, all hope of taking her had vanished. The British landed a big gun and gave us three soldiers to manage it. They complimented us for our bravery in taking the boat, and told us what they had done at Prairie do Chien. They gave us, a keg of rum, and joined with us in our dancing and feasting. We gave them some things which we had taken from the boat, particularly books and papers. They started the next morning, promising to return in a few days with a large body of soldiers.

We went to work under the direction of the men left with us, and dug up the ground in two places to put the big gun in, that the men might remain in with it and be safe. We then sent spies down the river to reconnoitre, who sent word by a runner that several boats were coming up filled with men. I marshalled my forces and was soon ready for their arrival. I resolved to fight, as we had not yet had a fair fight with the Americans during the war. The boats arrived in the evening, stopping at a small willow island, nearly opposite to us. During the night we removed our big gun further down, and at daylight next morning commenced firing. We were pleased to see that almost every shot took effect. The British being good gunners, rarely missed. They pushed off as quickly as possible, although I had expected they would land and give us battle. I was fully prepared to meet them but was sadly disappointed by the boats all sailing down the river. A party of braves followed to watch where they landed, but they did not stop until they got below the Des Moines Rapids, where they came ashore and commenced building a fort. - Black Hawk of the First Nations Kosterortiizbrock (talk) 23:15, 10 July 2015 (UTC)

I have no idea what this excerpt is supposed to demonstrate, but I assume it's a red herring related to the stuff I've already responded to: Just because the British relied on native allies is no more a knockdown argument against racism in the British Empire than the existence of the Vlasov Army is evidence against racism in Nazi Germany (sorry for the Godwin, folks).ScepticWombat (talk) 21:27, 11 July 2015 (UTC)

Slave trade[edit]

Ah, so the British Empire (BE), which was run from London and was English to a far larger extent than it was Welsh or Scottish, had nothing to do with slavery, because that all occurred prior to the Acts of Union 1707Wikipedia - why? And no, slavery was definitely not "already illegal in 1772", even the slave trade was not abolished in the BE until 1807Wikipedia and the first European state to abolish slavery in its colonies was France in 1794Wikipedia during the French Revolution (Napoleon then reintroduced it in 1803), whereas slavery was only abolished in the BE in 1833.Wikipedia Kosterortiizbrock asks in which colonies the slaves worked, well that's easy: In the lucrative "sugar economies" of the Caribbean,Wikipedia arguably the most profitable bit of the whole BE (especially considering their diminutive size) during the 18th and early 19th century. Asking this question suggests a really gaping lack of knowledge of the history of the BE or deliberate obfuscation. Citing India as an example is silly, because the BE there was run on a brilliant "tack on a BE superstructure on pre-existing feudalism"-model, allowing the British to run India with a skeleton force of the aforementioned officers and administrators but still able to extract wealth, especially in the guise of land taxes, from, ultimately, the Indian peasantry. Also, in the Imperialism article referred to by Kosterortiizbrock it didn't say that it was slaves who did the work, but "dark-skinned people" (i.e. the natives in the colonies). Citing the industrial revolution is a red herring, since it doesn't imply that such dark-skinned people were imported into the British Isles to work, but that they "did all the hard work" in the colonies - something that not even Kosterortiizbrock seems to dispute. ScepticWombat (talk) 10:44, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

And yes, the effect is much different from the reason- the British were able to beat the locals and would've just enslaved them if they planned on it. The reason had absolutely nothing to do with slavery- it just proved convenient. Also, again, it was mostly White convicts in Australia. If this actually made any sense, then they would use whatever they could to have slavery- so it means race was not as important as previously stated by yourself- just having slaves? Slavery =/= racism. Kosterortiizbrock (talk) 23:15, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
Again, Kosterortiizbrock takes as his point of departure that only full-blown Nazi style racialism is "real" racism. The "but white people were treated badly too" is a red herring, because it assumes that racialism is the only mechanism in effect and any non-racialist mistreatment is taken as evidence for the absence of racism. By that logic, the killing of white sympathisers in the Jim Crow American South is evidence that racism wasn't the prime motive, or that because both white and black criminals were executed in the Jim Crow era, racism wasn't important - I hope the flaw is obvious. ScepticWombat (talk) 21:27, 11 July 2015 (UTC)

Beating up the natives[edit]

Kosterortiizbrock apparently thinks that the best way to extract wealth from a colony is to enslave all the locals and that, because the BE didn't do that, it wasn't racist. Never mind the rather gaping hole in the argument that conflates non-slavery with non-racism (by this definition Apartheid wasn't racist either...), but it's pretty obvious that there are far more profitable ways to extract wealth than outright enslavement. Again, the Indian example will do: Because they didn't have to supply the "muscle" to keep down an enslaved local population, the subcontinent could be run with far fewer expenses, making for a better bottom line. This is why practically no European empire outright enslaved the entire local populace in their colonies: Keeping it down by force would've been far more expensive than a divide et impera strategy, which indeed was the typical one pursued.
And yes, I do know of such conflicts as the New Zeeland Land Wars etc. One of the reasons the Maori were able to regain much of their territory and/or indemnities with far greater ease than the Australian Aborigines was exactly because the former had almost fought the British to a stand still, forcing the BE administration to deal with them through formal treaties that the Maori could later invoke in a court of law. The rather odd interpretation that such conflicts were examples where "overly aggressive Natives attacked colonists for xenophobic reasons" sounds like Kosterortiizbrock retroactively justifying European/British land grabs. Tell me, what "right" did the British have to colonise Australia or New Zealand in the first place? ScepticWombat (talk) 10:44, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

The Maori under no definition fought Britain to a standstill, they lost massive amounts of territory and had no decisive victories that stopped them from getting steamrolled. Kosterortiizbrock (talk) 23:15, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
Again, the reason the Maori were treated with respect was that they tended to be costly and difficult to subdue. If you check New Zealand WarsWikipedia you'll see a conflict lasting on and off for almost 30 years and pitting three times the number of "Redcoats" as Maori warriors. Sure, the end result of this grinding conflict was land confiscation, but "steamrolling" is hardly the picture either the troop numbers or the duration of the conflict indicates. However, I agree that I had mixed the outcome with the prior Treaty of WaitangiWikipedia which has been the legal basis for Maori indemnity efforts, but the willingness to agree to it from the British side was exactly because of the difficulty of simply grabbing the land (as happened in Australia). ScepticWombat (talk) 21:27, 11 July 2015 (UTC)

Class distinctions[edit]

Sure, the BE was run by the British upper classes, but how exactly is this in any way relevant? And again Kosterortiizbrock decides to red herring the hell out of the issue by pointing out that the BE also warred with other white people, so it couldn't be racist. Brilliant, so I guess that because Nazi Germany mostly killed white people, it wasn't racist either? (Yes, I know this is Godwin territory, but it illustrates how silly this argument it). ScepticWombat (talk) 10:44, 29 June 2015 (UTC)


Kosterortiizbrock thinks that because the intention behind transportation may not have been to provide cheap labour for colonisation, the effect couldn't amount to that. Why? I have no idea. And yes, I do know that British law tended to be very liberal with death penalties on the books, but that in practice judges commuted these to transportation, but so what? Again, the effect was to provide a cheap labour force, something which was especially useful in the early colonisation of Australia, since it attracted few volunteer colonists (they tended to go to the Americas instead). ScepticWombat (talk) 10:44, 29 June 2015 (UTC)


Again, the British empire was started in the Georgian times and it's future was set off from there, the Jacobites were put away securing Britain's protestant future and the navy had beaten all other European foes and the industrial revolution was giving the empire even more wealth and Ireland was officially made into the empire and the most important colonies were found. Kosterortiizbrock (talk) 23:15, 10 July 2015 (UTC)

I have no idea what's this supposed to prove. Perhaps that because Kosterortiizbrock thinks that racialism is the only "real" racism around and that since it generally post-dated the Georgian era, the British Empire couldn't have been racist? ScepticWombat (talk) 21:27, 11 July 2015 (UTC)

Summary & further discussion[edit]

Accidently clicked, lost a lot of writing, in a nutshell of my last paragraph: do you consider 18-19 century America to have been racist then as well? I think we all know the answer to this. And yes, slavery WAS outlawed in 1772. Somerset v Stewart (1772)I refuse to accept they were racist unless you accept even the Creek War as a racial conquest. Kosterortiizbrock (talk) 13:11, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

Oh, for f***'s sake, Somerset v StewartWikipedia only pertained to The British Isles, not the British Empire nor did it impact the slave trade, so it was of negligible relevance since slavery in the British Isles was practically non-existant even before the verdict. Highlighting this verdict is like using elephant bane in New York and extolling the virtues of this strategy because there are no elephants: It's an illusory solution to an illusory problem. Hell, an even better example of why this claim it bunk is to apply it to the (not yet) United States where Rhode Island made slavery illegal in the 17th century - did that mean that "slavery WAS outlawed in" 1652? Yes, but only in Rhode Island, not in the U.S. or the Thirteen Colonies or whatever definition you'd like. And outlawing slavery in a tiny colony which practically had none, was as important step towards US abolitionism as outlawing slavery in the British Isles which also had practically no slaves: It was a nice symbolic gesture with approximately zero actual effects.
Was 18th/19th century America racist? Eh, yes. Note how only black people were enslaved, specific restrictions on Asian immigration, etc. etc. etc. Seriously, why do anyone have to ask that question? What's the point you're trying to make? Or is it because you're only considering the so-called "scientific" racism of the 19th and 20th centuries to be real racism? If so, that's simply a(nother) problem with your definition, if not, colour me confused. ScepticWombat (talk) 17:34, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
Britain also made the trade illegal in 1803 in Britain which was indeed majorly affecting Britain, the actual trade by ships and taking them into the harbors. Then, in 1830, it was illegal through all of the empire. Kosterortiizbrock (talk) 23:15, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
How exactly did the 1803 decision to outlaw the non-existent slavery in the British Isles "indeed majorly" affect Britain? At most it simply moved the slave trade from ports in the British Isles to ports in the Empire and elsewhere. And again, this conflation of the ban on the slave trade and slavery is getting rather tiresome. ScepticWombat (talk) 21:27, 11 July 2015 (UTC)


Well, your perception of the NZ wars is misinformed, but I realized I don't understand if you are trying to say the British leaders of the time were racist making the empire commit racist actions in EFFECT or if it was officially on paper a racist organization? I disagree with the later not the former. Kosterortiizbrock (talk) 02:41, 19 July 2015 (UTC)

Forget it, you are firmly held in your conviction and honestly a few articles on something doesn't really affect me. I am done arguing with you, I forfeit my claims. I do not have any resentment towards you, I hope it is the same vice versa. I am no longer in favor of any changes. Kosterortiizbrock (talk) 05:15, 19 July 2015 (UTC)

I've already been pretty clear about the kind of racism I'm referring to: Unlike your apparent definition of racism (as far as I can judge from your comments), I'm not narrowing racism down to either racialism or legally formalised discrimination, which is what I've been trying to get across from the beginning. ScepticWombat (talk) 05:46, 19 July 2015 (UTC)

Alright, that is what I was referring to. You probably know this but virtually every European country during this time period would be racist by today's standards, not that it excuses it. It seems you are a fan of presentism. Fair Enough.Kosterortiizbrock (talk) 05:59, 19 July 2015 (UTC)