1815-1914

The British Empire

Lord Salisbury was Prime Minister during he period of New Imperialism when European powers sought to establish empires. He favoured avoiding war and commitments in favour of diplomacy but he presided over the Second Anglo-Boer War. Read on

Hugh Clifford was a colonial administrator who like so many at the time claimed the  Empire was a force for good but must have known that it existed only with the threat of violence not far from the surface.

Read on

Wolseley was perhaps the greatest general of the Victorian era. Only General Roberts who succeeded Wolseley as Commander-in-Chief can rival Wolseley in his achievements. His fighting career covered many of the small colonial wars of the time including the Battle of Te-el-Kebir and the attempt to free General Gordan.

 Read on

Flora Shaw


One of the most influential women of her day, Flora became the first woman to be given the editorship of a newspaper, becoming colonial editor of the Times in the 1890s. She was a strong advocate of British expansion and together with her husband Frederick Lugard worked to extend British control in west Africa. Read on








Emily Hobhouse


The Boer War was supposed to be a ‘White Man’s War’, but not for Emily Hobhouse, above, who travelled to South Africa, learned of the British concentration camps, and then sought to expose their existence to the British public. Hobhouse was just one of many women who made the war anything but a ‘White Man’s War’’. Read on



Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling was one of Britain's greatest imperialists. He was a child of the Empire and spent many years living and working in India before crossing the oceans of the world.His verse evoked the sights, sounds and smells of the British Empire.

Read on

You will find here links to pages on those people who took some part in the creation of the British Empire of the c19th. The presence of someone in this category does not indicate that they made a greater contribution than someone who is not here. It is just an indication that I am adding pages in a random fashion.






Empire makers

Cecil Rhodes

In the last quarter of the c19th Cecil Rhodes was the embodiment of empire for successive generations of Britons. Read on


William Des Voeux



William Des Voeux was a colonial governor who gave a lifetime of service to the Empire. He was typical of the men the Colonial Office sent to the colonies in that he tried to ensure that his administration favoured no one group of people. He was particularly concerned to see that the local population and indentured labourers were not exploited and had full access to the law. Read on

Lord Salisbury

Hugh Clifford

Frank Swettenham

Frank Swettenham gained a cadetship in the Straits Settlements and through hard work and an aptitude for dealing with local rulers together with a love for the local people rose to become Governor of the Straits Settlements. The British Empire provided opportunities for resourceful young men like Swettenham to devote themselves to the Empire and act as rulers over hundreds of  thousands of local people. Read on

Frederick Lugard

Frederick Lugard was one of the most colourful character in late 19th century and early 20th century British imperial history. He didn’t have the advantage of having gone to one of the top public schools but he was a man of adventure, courage, determination, ambition and used these qualities to the full in a life that included being a big game hunter,soldier, explorer and Governor. Read on

Sammy Marks

General Garnet Wolseley

James Hannington

James Hannington was brought up to work in the family shop business but James could not settle to what he regarded as a humdrum existence. He eventually became a missionary for the Church Missionary Service and was sent to east Africa. On his second trip he was taken prisoner on the orders of the King of Buganda and murdered.

The British Empire provided the chance for thousands of men like Sammy Marks who started life with virtually nothing but found opportunities in the Empire to better themselves through luck and hard work. Read on to find out how Sammy was later in life to play a key part in the Treaty of Vereeniging which ended the Second Anglo-Boer War.