Opinion: The British Empire: A legacy of violence?
The British Empire continues to be the world’s main exporter of military technology and military personnel. One of its crowning glory is Sir Winston Churchill’s famous quote “We must either make our peace with honor or we shall not be worthy of it”. There are many people who would like to rewrite history. I believe that Churchill was speaking to the whole world, rather than the British Empire.
This Empire was built on violence. The first violent act of the British Empire was at the Battle of the Narrow Seas. The English and Dutch had invaded the island of Batavia (now Indonesia) from where the Dutch East Indies then grew. On October 30, 1780, the English had taken Port Dickson from the Dutch. Thereafter the Dutch and British set up a series of bases on various islands in the area. In fact from the very early on, the Dutch had tried to defend their colony but they had been thwarted by English aggression. In fact, the Dutch East Indies was divided into three main protectorates, the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) and the Dutch East Indies (now Malaysia). This division is not that the Dutch had wanted nor the English wanted. The Dutch East Indies had been colonised by Dutch and Germans. When the British gained control of the island, the Netherlands was now a colonial power. It was now in the hands of the Dutch East Indies the British saw as its sphere of influence.
The Battle of the Narrow Seas
In the Battle of the Narrow Seas on August 29, 1780 the English had come up against the Dutch East Indies. The British were sailing in a large fleet and had attacked the Dutch with 14 ships. During the battle, the Dutch fleet was attacked by a British frigate. On the way the Dutch had been harassed by the English. This was the first of many violent encounters between the two navies. The Dutch had had experience fighting the British in the Caribbean. The Dutch East Indies was a weak colony and the only way to ensure its security was to keep the British away. In fact, the Dutch East Indies was in a sense the last refuge for the British, who were then seeking to gain control of the vast trade network of the Indian Ocean. Britain, France and Spain were rival colonial empires. The French had been on their way to India when they were stopped by Napoleon