Reflections on the British Empire

For some inexplicable reason, the hotel we stayed at in Sicily last month had a rather magnificent reproduction of this 1886 map of the world, depicting the extent of the British Empire:

British Empire Map

It's a real Ripping Yarns-type map, with gathered natives and animals from our conquered/discovered lands standing around the edges, looking remarkably happy with their lots. The imperial territories are marked in red: the British Isles (including Ireland), the Falklands, Canada, India, Southern Africa, Australia, New Zealand…

After studying the map for several minutes, an interesting thought occurred to me: how jolly clever of us only to conquer countries that speak English!

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


  1. Well I'll be damned! The world isn't pink any more. and worse I haven't got her a card. Being an optimist though I reckon that the cadburies cream egg will do the trick. We can't wait to see the chocolate turn into a map of Britain. We've wanted one ever since we've seen it on the advert during coronation street

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