Opinion: The British Empire: A legacy of violence?
The British Empire has been criticized on many grounds. The most common accusation is that the colonial Empire was a blood-soaked institution that used and abused its colonies (even though it was often the colonial natives who were the ‘grievances’ for the colonials). Others have pointed out the hypocrisy of the British Empire (which allowed Indian independence to take place despite the ‘Indian problem’). This piece would like to suggest something interesting, as well as something which could help us understand the colonial past better.
The British Empire, or the white man’s world did not start with the Anglo-Saxon invaders. It started with the ancient Greeks, who were also the first colonizers. The Greeks saw themselves as spreading knowledge to the world. However, for the Greeks, knowledge came first and it was their slaves that spread their knowledge to others. The Greek civilization was one which spread knowledge, but the Greeks were not so benevolent as other colonizers. The Greeks had no problem with conquering other countries (especially their neighbours), but there was a lot of jealousy from colonies towards the Greek civilization. When the Greek empire fell apart, most Greek colonies were destroyed. And, of course, the Jews who populated the Greek colonies were considered as Greek to the Greeks, which led to more hatred from other colonies towards the Jews.
Once the Greeks started to conquer other lands, their empire grew. But this was not without a cost. The Greeks had to kill many others (like the Indians), and they had to enslave many others. The Greeks had to be careful of those people they conquered, because they were seen as less than humans and had to be made into slaves. After centuries of this, the Greeks were the leaders of their nations. They were seen as benevolent and they treated their colonies with more care and respect, in order to ‘civilize’ them. However, the Greeks weren’t the only ones that had to deal with the British world. England had to deal with other countries, and they had to overcome their differences with one nation after another.
When the British Empire started to grow in the mid-19th century, it had to battle with Germany, France, and Russia. This created a divide in the white man’s world. The British world saw Russia as their enemy and Germany as their enemy. This caused