Today in history we learned about how, by the end of the Victorian era, Britain controlled an empire – the largest in the history of the world – that covered almost a quarter of the surface of the Earth and included almost a quarter of its people. We discussed what was meant when it was said that “the sun never set on the British empire.”
We talked about how Britain became rich from trade with the empire and London became the world’s largest and wealthiest city and port. We looked at images of the wharfs and warehouses along the Thames at that time and at some of London’s grand, iconic Victorian buildings.
On Monday, we’ll continue the lesson by looking in more detail at the British control of India – the so-called “jewel in the crown” of the empire – when we’ll try also to see the empire from the point of view and through the experience of the Indian nation and people. Several members of the class come from families that once lived in countries formerly part of the empire. If there is any family history that they could share, then that would be incredibly valuable to our learning.