Would the British Empire have been stronger if they won the War of Independence?

Apr 2013
61
New Zealand
#1
In the 19thn century after Britain lost the war of independence. Britain was a global superpower. It was because of the their defeat in the war of independence that Britain felt like it should expand in Asia and Africa to make up from losing America. They created the largest empire the world had yet seen all after losing its 13 colonies. But if the British won would the empire be a global superpower today what do you think would have happened?
 

funakison

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,381
Between a rock and a hard place
#2
In the 19thn century after Britain lost the war of independence. Britain was a global superpower. It was because of the their defeat in the war of independence that Britain felt like it should expand in Asia and Africa to make up from losing America. They created the largest empire the world had yet seen all after losing its 13 colonies. But if the British won would the empire be a global superpower today what do you think would have happened?
I am not sure that losing America had anything to do with either the scramble for Africa or the expansion of the British empire elsewhere in the world. Britain is an island nation and as such needed a strong navy to protect the trade routes necessary for its survival. It was this maritime tradition that drove events not the desire for world domination. This maritime supremacy allowed the setting up of trading posts in all corners of the world. Indeed much of what was to become the British empire had already been taken over by the East India Company long before Mr Washington and his chums stirred up rebellion in the 13 colonies.
The formation of the empire was almost accidental, conflict with the French and other European powers saw a need for the British navy and army to protect these lucrative and increasingly important trading posts. Soon larger and larger forces were needed to protect these growing outposts which then required more and more land and more and more goods to pay for the troops. This in turn put the British in conflict with the local populations who began to resist the British presence, which meant more troops were need to protect British interests. So trading posts tuned into small settlements, and small settlements into larger ones.

[ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_India_Company]East India Company - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]
 
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Jim Casy

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
4,420
Scotland
#3
I am not sure that losing America had anything to do with either the scramble for Africa or the expansion of the British empire elsewhere in the world. Britain is an island nation and as such needed a strong navy to protect the trade routes necessary for its survival. It was this maritime tradition that drove events not the desire for world domination. This maritime supremacy allowed the setting up of trading posts in all corners of the world. Indeed much of what was to become the British empire had already been taken over by the East India Company long before Mr Washington and his chums stirred up rebellion in the 13 colonies.
The formation of the empire was almost accidental, conflict with the French and other European powers saw a need for the British navy and army to protect these lucrative and increasingly important trading posts. Soon larger and larger forces were needed to protect these growing outposts which then required more and more land and more and more goods to pay for the troops. This in turn put the British in conflict with the local populations who began to resist the British presence, which meant more troops were need to protect British interests. So trading posts tuned into small settlements, and small settlements into larger ones.

East India Company - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Good post^^.

I've always thought there was more of a chance of Britain losing trade (globally) if it had 'won'.
 
Last edited:
Nov 2011
634
United Kingdom
#5
Not sure Britain was a Global superpower in the 1780's.
Yeah I thought Britain's time was once Napoleon's France bit the dust. Until then it was strong but not the top dog. I don't even think the concept of a 'Global Superpower' existed back then.

It would all depend on how America and the British Empire developed afterwards. If both continued the way they did in real life with the only difference being the British running America, then the UK would be undoubtedly even stronger. Adding American resources and manpower to the British Empire would result in an extremely overpowered/near invisible nation. Of course it could mean that Britain focuses more on developing its American colonies instead of expanding into Asia, we could see a French India.
 

funakison

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,381
Between a rock and a hard place
#6
Yeah I thought Britain's time was once Napoleon's France bit the dust. Until then it was strong but not the top dog. I don't even think the concept of a 'Global Superpower' existed back then.

It would all depend on how America and the British Empire developed afterwards. If both continued the way they did in real life with the only difference being the British running America, then the UK would be undoubtedly even stronger. Adding American resources and manpower to the British Empire would result in an extremely overpowered/near invisible nation. Of course it could mean that Britain focuses more on developing its American colonies instead of expanding into Asia, we could see a French India.

The french had been pretty much kiched out of India beofre then, by Clive and the forces of the British east india company
 
Nov 2011
634
United Kingdom
#7
The french had been pretty much kiched out of India beofre then, by Clive and the forces of the British east india company
I was under the impression that the French were battered in India during the 7 years war but maintained a reduced presence. If the British focus on the Americas I see no reason why the French couldn't claw it back.
 

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,665
Stockport Cheshire UK
#8
Yeah I thought Britain's time was once Napoleon's France bit the dust. Until then it was strong but not the top dog. I don't even think the concept of a 'Global Superpower' existed back then.
I think the end of 1763 is the year most historians regard the UK as becoming a global superpower. The end of the 7 years war saw Britain make major gains in America, India, and Africa at the expense of the French.
 

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,665
Stockport Cheshire UK
#9
. . But if the British won would the empire be a global superpower today what do you think would have happened?
Depends, if the British won early in the campaign and learnt from their mistakes the Empire might have been stronger, but if they had won the war after a long struggle in which a large section of the population had been alienated, the 13 colonies might have been a running sore which weakened the Empire.
 

funakison

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,381
Between a rock and a hard place
#10
I was under the impression that the French were battered in India during the 7 years war but maintained a reduced presence. If the British focus on the Americas I see no reason why the French couldn't claw it back.
The French did hang on in places like Pondicherry but after the 7 years war the French East India Company was wound up limiting their ability to levy native troops and with British in control of the seas there was no way back for the French.
 

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