Pax Britannica

Ref: C2224410

For much of the eighteenth and nineteenth century, the British empire was a colossus that stretched across the world map. This course is an introduction to the history of the British Empire. It begins with Britain’s seaborne empire of the sixteenth century, Imperial Britain's rise to superpower status and then its sudden decline after World War 2. Studies will include exploration and discovery; the loss of America; India and Africa in the nineteenth century; the impact of two world wars; and the experience of decolonisation.

Course aim

The purpose of this course is to chart the rise and fall of the British Empire focusing on key events that shaped its rollercoaster path from being a maritime power to world superpower and the difficult end of imperialism.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • identify the roots of the British Empire, 1500-1700
  • evaluate the impact of the British Empire in America, India, Africa, and other parts of the world
  • analyse the development and impact of the British Empire in the Nineteenth century
  • identify the key reasons for the decline of the British Empire

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full Course information sheet

Pax Britannica


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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