When the British Empire was at its peak, it was the largest union in the history of mankind. It controlled over one fourth of the planet’s population. This list compiles the top 10 British colonies in terms of their economies and the benefits that the Britons derived from them.
1. Australia (1788 – 1911)
Australia served as Britain’s penal colony for exiled murderers and thieves. But the British stopped using it for this purpose when they realized that it was cheaper to ship convicts to Ireland. After the Brits invasion of this continent, 90% of the Aborigines and their native culture became extinct.
2. Canada (1764- 1867)
Canada was initially known as British North America, as this name pleased Queen Victoria. In 1867, Upper and Lower Canada merged to form Canada. Gradually, Canada loosened her ties with Great Britain. It was only lately in 1963, that the Canadian flag, was adopted by the country.
3. Singapore (1867- 1963)
Before Singapore was occupied by the Europeans, it was a Malay fishing site. It grew to become the primary hub of the colonial regime in South East Asia and served as a military and commercial port. Singapore became a republic in 1965. This young nation is the 5th wealthiest in the world, in terms of per capita GDP. It is also the 10th most expensive place to live in.
4. Hong Kong (1842- 1997)
Its official name is Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The sovereignty of this dynamic domain was handed over to the Peoples Republic of China in 1997. Under the British, it was a successful nation in drug dealing, primarily opium. Despite being ceded to the crown, they have developed their identity, principally as a flourishing tourist estate.
5. South Africa (1806-1910)
Britain transported over 3.5 million slaves from Africa to America. The racial discrimination in Africa began at the time of commonality rule and later grew as Apartheid. Presently, this is the only polity in the world which has voluntarily given up its nuclear weapons program.
6. India (1857-1947)
This was the most populous and valuable settlement under the Raj. It began as a trade establishment by the East India Company and eventually stripped India of its riches. Under them, India experienced some of the worst famines in which 10.3 million people lost their lives. Their clever policy of Divide and Rule split India into two nations, India and Pakistan. The consequences of this are being borne till date in the form of cross border terrorism and external unrest.
7. New Zealand (1840-1948)
78% of New Zealand’s citizens are European descendants. In 1893, it became the first state in the world which allowed women to cast votes. Elizabeth II, the Queen of New Zealand is the Head of State, but possesses only symbolic power.
8. Maldives (1887-1965)
This is the smallest predominantly Islamic region in the world. Tourism is the main industry of its economy. The 2004 tsunami, caused damages equivalent to 62 % of the GDP.
Ireland was the first Brit colony. Exploitation of its resources, for over three centuries has been an exorbitant source of income for the Crown. The most substantial export from Ireland was humans-to provide cheap labour. It is now divided into two countries The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The Republic is totally independent of the Queen’s control, whereas Northern Ireland is still part of United Kingdom.
10. Mauritius (1810-1968)
Mauritius is a culmination of French, Dutch and British influences due to its colonization by the three regimes. Mauritius is the best governed nation in Africa and has a high Human Development Index. It does not possess a standing army.