Category Archives: Colonialism

The sun may never set on British misconceptions about our empire | Ian Jack

An Oxford don wants Britons to stop feeling guilty about colonialism. But evidence suggests it already inspires more pride than shame

What did we learn about the British empire at school? In my case, which is the case for a generation born just before the empire’s long collapse, nothing very much. My parents and elder brother knew from their schooling about the battles of Arcot and Plassey and the lives of Robert Clive and General Gordon of Khartoum; but though I was aware of these people and events, from family conversations and old books that lay around the house, I was never formally taught about them.

At school in Scotland, we got the Tudors and the Stuarts, Turnip Townshend and the spinning jenny, and endless weeks of the Franco-Prussian war. Though the empire lived among us in the form of tea chests, “IND. IMP.” (Indiae Imperator, or emperor of India) on coins bearing the late king’s head, and steam locomotive names (Union of South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago), these never found their linking narrative in the classroom.

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Source: gad