1815-1914

The British Empire

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

Aga Khan III was the effective leader of around twelve million Muslims and was part of the British Indian delegation to the Round Table Conferences to determine the future of India.


James Aggrey was a teacher from Ghana who was a pioneer of racial equality.


William Angliss was an Australian businessman who built up a chain of meat suppliers and  pioneered the export of refrigerated meat to England.


Leopold Amery was a writer-statesman who wrote a history of the Second Boer War and later drafted the Balfour Declaration.


Baden-Powell was a British soldier in charge of the defence of Mafeking and founder of the Scout movement.


Alexander Burnes was the most famous of the ‘Great Game’ players. He explored the area between Kabul and Bokhara before becoming a victim of British diplomacy.


Bahadur Shah Zafar was the last of the Moghul emperors and was on the throne at the time of the IndianRebellion.


Olaf Caroe was the last Governor of the North West province in India at the time of partition.


High 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.


Arthur Conolly first used the tern ‘The Great Game’ during his exploration of the land north of India and ultimately paid for playing the game with his life.


Emily Hobhouse helped to expose  the horrors of the concentration camps in South Africa.


James Hannington was a missionary to eastern equatorial Africa where he was assassinated on a trip to spread Christianity north of Lake Victoria.


Mary Kingsley was a writer and explorer who helped to demystify European preconceptions about African culture.


Rudyard Kipling was the Imperial Laureate and spokesperson for the Empire who brought home to he general public exactly what the conditions were for the soldiers and civil servants who were spread all over the empire.


Frederick Lugard was hailed by Sir Harry Johnstone as the Clive of India and the Warren Hastings of Africa.  Frederick Lugard was an imperial hero who captivated the public's imagination in the 1890s and early years of the 20th century.


Sammy Marks was typical of the thousands of migrants who started life in the colonies with virtually nothing but found opportunities in the Empire to better themselves through luck and hard work.


Cecil Rhodes  was towards the end of the c19th one of the most powerful men in the British Empire being Prime Minister of Cape Colony, Chair of the British South Africa Company and one the richest men in the world through his diamond and gold holdings.


Lord Salisbury was Prime Minister of three cabinets during the period 1886-1902 when the Empire acquired vast new territories especially in Africa and the Far East however  he was a reluctant expansionist and viewed with distaste the grand designs of imperialists like Chamberlain, Rhodes, Lugard and Milner.


Flora Shaw was the first female editor of a major national newspaper when she became Colonial editor of The Times. She became a fervent supporter of the empire and was though to have suggested the name Nigeria for the new colony. She married an imperial hero in Frederick Lugard.


Frank Swettenham  saw little of his father until his mother died and was not able to go to university because the family had insufficient money. He did though manage to get a scholarship in the Straits Settlements where he developed a love of the region and its people and he rose from being an interpreter to becoming a Governor of the Straits Settlements.


William Des Voeux was an excellent example of the imperial civil servant who served the empire through a sense of duty and climbed to the highest post available to him. He tried at all times to ensure that native people were not exploited by business and worked in acceptable conditions.


General Garnet 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 the Crimean War to the Boer War and he commanded campaigns in Canada, West Africa, Egypt and the Transvaal.