The British Empire

A Chronology of the British Empire

1815    Congress of Vienna. Britain retained most of her conquests made during the Napoleonic  wars, including the Cape of Good Hope, Malta and Mauritius

1819      Raffles acquired Singapore

1820      5,000 settlers arrived in the Cape Colony

1824      First Burma War (to 1825)

1829      'Suttee' abolished in Bengal

1834      Abolition of Slavery in the British Empire

1837      Canadian Rebellion

1838       Lord Durham's mission to Canada resulting in the Durham Report

1839      'Opium War' between Britain and China

Wakefield settlers settled in New Zealand

1840         Upper and Lower Canada united

                    New Zealand annexed

1841      Britain wins the 'Opium War'. China paid £1.3 million war indemnity, opened five ports and  ceded Hong Kong.

1843     Natal annexed

                Maori wars against Britain in New Zealand began

                 Sind conquered by General Napier

1845      First Sikh war (to 1846)

1846      Kaffraria and Labuan annexed

                Repeal of the Corn Laws

1848       Nova Scotia first colony with responsible government

                   Second Sikh War

1849      Navigation Acts abolished

                   Annexation of the Punjab

1852       New Zealand received responsible government

                   Second Burma War

                  Livingstone exploration of the Zambesi area

1854      Bloemfontein established Independence for Orange Free State

1856      Second Chinese War (to 1858)

                 Annexation of Oudh

1857      Indian rebellion began at Meerut

1858      British Columbia established

                  Queen Victoria's Proclamation of British Rule over India

                 Government of India Act

                 Burton and Speke discovered Lakes Tanganyika and Victoria

1859     Queensland became a separate colony

1860      Second phase of Maori Wars

1861      Select Committee on Colonial Military Expenditure recommended cuts in British troops in  the colonies.

                 Lagos annexed

                Gold discovered in New Zealand

1865     Commons Select Committee recommended no more annexations in west Africa.

                Morant Bay rebellion in Jamaica

1866     West African settlements united

1867     British North America Act established the dominion of Canada.

1869      Suez canal opened

                  Hudson Bay Company ceded its right to territory to the government of the Dominion of  Canada.

1870      Ruskin's 'Imperial Duty' speech at Oxford

                  Riel's rebellion in Canada

1871       Stanley met Livingstone in Ujiji

1872        Responsible government granted to Cape Colony

                    Disraeli's Crystal Palace speech

1873       The Ashanti war began

1875        Disraeli purchased the Khedive of Egypt's shares in the Suez Canal

1876       Queen Victoria proclaimed 'Empress of India'

1877      Transvaal annexed

1878      Congress of Berlin

                 Afghan War began

1879      Zulu War

1880      First Anglo-Boer War

                  Annexation of Griqualand

1881      British defeat at Majuba Hill led to British withdrawal from Transvaal.

1882      Wolseley's defeat of Egyptian forces led to British occupation of Egypt.

1883      Publication of Seeley's 'Expansion of England'.

1884      West Africa Conference in Berlin decided rules for partitioning Africa.

                 Conference of London confirmed Transvaal's independence.

1885      General Gordon died at Khartoum.

                  Indian National Congress founded.

1886      Gold discovered in Transvaal

                  Niger Company received royal assent and control of Nigerian coast.

1888       Imperial East Africa Company chartered

1889        British South Africa Company chartered

1890       Treaties between Britain and Germany over east Africa and Britain and France over west  Africa

                   Cecil Rhodes became Prime Minister of Cape Colony

                   Zanzibar acquired from Germany in exchange for Heligoland

                  British East Africa formed

                 Pioneer column settled Mashonaland and founded Salisbury.


1893      Natal given responsible government

                  Expedition against the Matabele

1895       Joseph Chamberlain became Colonial Secretary

                  Jameson Raid ended in failure

1897      Lord Milner appointed High Commissioner for South Africa

1898      Chamberlain announced Five Year Plan for West Indies

                  Battle of Omdurman

                 'Fashoda Crisis' with France

                  Lord Curzon became Viceroy of India


1899      Bloemfontein Conference failed to resolve Anglo-Boer issues

                  Second Anglo-Boer War

1900       Kitchener replaced Buller in South Africa and March on Pretoria

                    Relief of Mafeking

                   Royal Niger Company replaced by protectorates over Southern and Northern Nigeria

1901         Queen Victoria died

                     Emily Hobhouse made public the conditions in the Boer concentration camps

                     Federation of Australia

1902         Treaty of Vereeniging ended war in South Africa

                     Anglo-Japanese Alliance

1903          Chamberlain resigned as Colonial Secretary to form the Tariff Reform League

1904         Anglo-French Entente

                     Empire Day began

1905         Bengal partitioned

                    Milner replaces as High Commissioner of South Africa

1906        Liberals won General Election

1907        Anglo-Russian Entente

                   Self government for Transvaal and Orange Free State

1909       Morley-Minto reforms in India

1910       Union of South Africa formed

1911        Delhi Durbar for the coronation of George V

1914         First World War began