Chapter

‘This Small Island’: Britain, Size and Empire

Linda Colley

in Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 121, 2002 Lectures

Published by British Academy

Published in print December 2003 | ISBN: 9780197263037
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734007 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197263037.003.0006

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

‘This Small Island’: Britain, Size and Empire

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This lecture discusses the British Empire and how it has generally been imagined and presented in history books and atlases. It draws attention to the connections over the centuries between size, national self-image, power, and British Empire. The lecture was prompted by a conviction that British domestic historians must look more closely and imaginatively at imperial and global connections. One of the realizations presented in this lecture is that it was Britain's small size that prompted them to engage in overseas aggression and invasions.

Keywords: British Empire; size; national self-image; power; imperial connections; global connections; overseas aggression; invasions

Chapter.  8720 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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