Empire and Nations

In 1750, the British Empire in America included almost two million free and unfree Europeans and Africans living in 23 colonies from Newfoundland to Jamaica. But they were not alone: French, Spanish, and Native American empires competed with the British for control of North America. The resulting clash of empires from 1754 to 1763 was a global conflict that created a British American world unprecedented in its size, the diversity of the nations it contained, and in the potential for conflicts among its peoples.

  • Governing an Empire

    Stretching from the eastern coast of India to the interior of North America, the British Empire contained a remarkably diverse population governed by constitutional authority negotiated between London and the provincial capitals.

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  • Many Nations, One Continent

    The population of British North America was an extraordinarily diverse racial, religious, and ethnic collection of nearly two million Native American, European American, African American, and African peoples.

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  • An Empire of Trade

    The British Empire was built by dynamic global trading networks that connected the products and peoples of Britain's far-flung empire to European and colonial markets and consumers.

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  • Cultures and Commons

    British Americans, although diverse and diffuse, were tied together and to Great Britain by powerful bonds of culture and a common identity shaped by social, religious, and historical experience.

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  • Great War for Empire

    Fought between 1754 and 1763, the Seven Years War was the first world war, pitting the British Empire against the French and Spanish in an unprecedented battle for supremacy in Europe and on the North American continent. British victory in the bloody conflict transformed the Atlantic world and set the stage for the American Revolution.

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