What if the British Empire Never Existed?

An Alternate History: What if the British Empire Never Existed?

The British Empire was the greatest empire of all time. In just 2 centuries, it went from a small island to the sole superpower on Earth.

What if the British Empire Never Existed?

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Its language ultimately becoming the 3rd most spoken now. The empire has been so influential, that the modern world would be unrecognizable without it. That...is an interesting concept.

What if the British Empire never existed?


Say, for some reason, none of this is ever colonized by the Brits. The maximum they EVER controlled is their little island.

In this article, I'll try to craft one scenario. Theorizing about what I believe could've happened. This scenario will be an alternate timeline, one that diverges from a point in our own history.

This point would require to be before the Act of Union, the creation of the United Kingdom. Because the English and Scots had some abroad colonies in North America, even before there was a British empire.

So, in this alternate timeline, there are never any overseas colonies from Scotland or England. There can be many reasons why the British don't create colonies.

Maybe the attempted efforts failed horrendously. Every venture created simply ends up like Roanoke. Colonies become too much of a risk. Simply placed, for whatever cause, the British empire doesn't exist.

So... What happens? In this scenario, we see the main cast of other empires to fill in space instead.

Spain, Portugal, The Netherlands, and France, at least in the 17th century, are the central powers. Now, this is the key point.
Since the British don't rise, it's only reasonable that their rival would just take their place instead. Yes, that's right. Get out your croissants and dust off that tricolor.

In a world without the British empire... ...France is a global superpower. Shocking, I know.

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This alternate world is HEAVILY influenced by the French. Brits and Germans just cry out in sheer terror. There are many causes why France, and say not Spain or Portugal, who also had their own empires, would be the powerful instead.

What if the British Empire never fell

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France had a colonial empire just like the 2, but it was capable to adjust and consistently remain prominent. Intelligent economic policy kept it alive, while Spain, on the other hand, died from silver inflation, and Portugal just couldn't maintain its own empire.

France was the birthplace of Mercantilism, and it used this philosophy when it extended into The New World, establishing its own dominion on North America, called New France.

By the 16th century, North America was a continent of free potential- (if you don't count the native Americans). Since the British don't settle the land, and the 13 colonies don't exist, everything east of the Mississipi is totally open to France.

Except for New Amsterdam, yet they aren't much of a threat. By the alternate 17th century, the continent and its natives are split between two European zones: New Spain (yellow) and New France (purple). Spain's authority was much like a candle: it burned hot, and then faded very quick.

The Spanish grew and fell without the British, originally because they weren't very good with economics. Good thing they got that fixed.

The Spanish's wealth was from the silver mines of South America, but this was destroyed because of silver inflation.

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Spain's fate isn't too far different in this alternate timeline, and their fate isn't too relevant to talk about. I'm only stating that you shouldn't worry about them.

If there was a competition between the French and Spanish in North America, there would be a clear winner: France.

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When watching in New France, its size is vast. But it's also pretty misleading. The French never had a population as the British did in North America, and they didn't even have colonists in most of the region.

The settlement was in tiny forts, primarily around the Great Lakes and rivers. These were centers to control trading routes and friendly alliances.

The French don't even bother to take the Native American land. It benefits them to make allies and friendships instead of conquering them.

Now, the French didn't spare the natives out of the goodness of their own heart. They didn't need a farming colony in Virginia, as the British did.

They already had their own gold mine, in Haiti. But the one point that North America had that Haiti didn't was fur, originally beaver fur.

And the people that knew where to get the beavers were the Native Americans. And so, a trade relationship was born.

Over time, trade relationships grew into political friendships. The system of being under French trade is beneficial to Native Americans, since they don't get kicked out.

But when you have numerous tribes competing over limited resources, like fur, it can lead to violence. In this alternate timeline, there are large battles among tribes fighting for hunting grounds.

The tribes that win these fights become the powerful, and some band together to form alliances. Over centuries, New France is a highly multi-ethnic colony.

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Enclaves of French colonists populate small towns and forts on the St. Lawrence River, Great Lakes, Louisiana, and Eastern Coast.

These become very related to the Quebec of now. The majority of the community remains Native American, split into tribes and alliances under the New France realm.

The natives have begun to recover from the massive population loss, from smallpox, generations ago.

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As the natives aren't deported by the 18th-19th centuries, that means tribes have had interactions with the French for a few hundred years. I think by this time, a few questions would start to be asked.

Are the French partners, or leaders of the natives? Does New France have control over the tribes? Do tribes have equal rights in New France?

In our timeline, New France never got populated enough for these purposes to be relevant. But, as the population grows, and interaction extends farther than just trade, these questions would have to be answered. Conflicts could easily occur.

A weak New France could fall under tribal conflict. North America might easily become a poverty-stricken region if these questions aren't answered soon enough, and tribal conflicts aren't prevented.

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North America would be seen by Europe like we see sub-Saharan Africa today. France was not a bastion of tolerance centuries ago, unless.

They aren't even tolerant of other Europeans. So as both groups, Native Americans and French, start to craft a society together, everything could get ugly.

Until those problems appear, France would apply this wealth from North America to bring itself about as a global power. Unsurprisingly, also using this wealth to fund alternate wars, probably against Britain as well.

France remains the prominent power in a world without the British Empire. The French culture and Catholicism are a universal trait across the earth.

What this also affects is religion. As the British don't build the U.S, Protestantism is not spread as far. The French and the Spanish, however, are left to expand Catholicism as far as they want.

Catholicism (if missionaries were successful) far outpopulates Protestantism, which simply remains an enclave in Northern Europe. French becomes the universal language of commerce, as France controls the business throughout much of the world.

But wait for a second... Ironically, for an article talking about the British, why did I spend most of the time talking about the French?

For the last few centuries, the rivalry between these 2 people has been a determining factor in world history. Had one lost colonially, the other one would've succeeded.

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This was the basic theme...at least till the last century. And in our timeline, Britain was the social victor. In this scenario, English NEVER becomes a successful language without this empire.

This "English" language is only contained to one small island off the coast of Europe. The biggest change of all is for Britain itself. They'd be COMPLETELY at the whim of their opponent.

The British could never challenge the French, who would use their colonial power to dominate the island. Ironically, in the biggest twist of fate, the only way to stop themselves from being conquered was to conquer others.

Even though now, they seem to be close allies, these 2 nations affected each other's legacy in the world. It only makes sense, had one side never even been in conflict in the first position, that the other would spread its influence and culture, after all.

One of the most influential factors making this article was the idea that only 200 years ago, where I was born, Ohio, was considered foreign land.

But over generations, people settled, my ancestors moved here, and eventually led to me. Had Britain never built their empire, I unsurprisingly wouldn't exist.
What if the British Empire Never Existed? What if the British Empire Never Existed? Reviewed by What IF on May 30, 2019 Rating: 5

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