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Articles on British Empire

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Remnants of polychrome colouring were scrubbed from recovered ancient Greek sculptures and artists created new all-white marble sculptures seen as continuous with an imagined past. (Shutterstock)

How whiteness was invented and fashioned in Britain’s colonial age of expansion

Western fashion, laundering and style reflected the racialized politics dramatically shaped by profound global transformations bound up with slavery, colonialism and modernization.
Leaders in New Delhi agree on the plan to partition India: From left, Jawaharlal Nehru, Hastings Ismay, Louis Mountbatten and Ali Jinnah. Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

75 years ago, Britain’s plan for Pakistani and Indian independence left unresolved conflicts on both sides – especially when it comes to Kashmir

The fate of the so-called princely states was a particularly contentious issue during India’s Partition, which killed about 1 million people and left millions more displaced.
The screen in Piccadilly Circus is lit to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s accession to the throne. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee comes amid her declining health, royal backlash and a colonial reckoning

This year’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations will draw on traditions that have bolstered support for monarchs since the early 1800s — it could help this year’s celebrations succeed again.
Members of the Hindu nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh take part in a march in Ahmedabad, India. Sam Panthaky/AFP via Getty Images

How one atheist laid the foundation of contemporary Hindu nationalism

A scholar on South Asian affairs traces the growth of Hindu nationalism, started by an atheist anti-colonial revolutionary, to the one adopted under Modi’s government.
An allegorical painting depicted the British Empire taking in American loyalists in 1783. Benjamin West’s portrait of John Eardley Wilmot, 1812. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection

Refugees after the American Revolution needed money, homes and acceptance

When people fled the new United States in the 18th century, they were taken in by the British Empire but became disillusioned by unfulfilled British promises.
Former Gov. Gen. Julie Payette invests Jeanette Corbiere Lavell, from Wikwemikong First Nation, Ont., as a Member of the Order of Canada outside Rideau Hall in Ottawa in September 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

The search for a new governor general is tough in a disparate nation like Canada

Canada’s new governor general will have to fuse the British, French, American and Indigenous elements of Canada that together are the core of the country.
The East India House, 1928. From ‘A History of Lloyd’s,’ by Charles Wright and C. Ernest Fayle. Macmillan and Company Limited, London, 1928. Photo by The Print Collector/Getty Images

How the needs of monks and empire builders helped mold the modern-day office

The coronavirus epidemic has made us all rethink our workspaces. But the needs of the times have always influenced the office space – whether for the colonial empire or a growing commerce.

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