The British Empire
A Historical Encyclopedia [2 volumes]
by Mark Doyle, Editor
June 2018, 706pp, 7x10
2 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-4197-2
$208, £160, 181€, A285
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-4198-9
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The British Empire was the largest empire the world has ever known, encompassing at its height nearly one-quarter of its landmass and nearly one-fifth of its people.

An essential starting point for anyone wanting to learn about life in the largest empire in history, this two-volume work encapsulates the imperial experience from the 16th–21st centuries.

From early sixteenth-century explorations to the handover of Hong Kong in 1997, the British Empire controlled outposts on every continent, spreading its people and ideas across the globe and profiting mightily in the process. The present state of our world—from its increasing interconnectedness to its vast inequalities and from the successful democracies of North America to the troubled regimes of Africa and the Middle East—can be traced, in large part, to the way in which Great Britain expanded and controlled its empire.

The British Empire: A Historical Encyclopedia addresses a broader range of topics than do most other surveys of the empire, covering not only major political and military developments but also topics that have only recently come to serious scholarly attention, such as women’s and gender history, art and architecture, indigenous histories and perspectives, and the construction of colonial knowledge and ideologies. By going beyond the “headline” events of the British Empire, this captivating work communicates the British imperial experience in its totality.


  • Provides primary sources that give voice to the people who ran, opposed, and were subjects of the British Empire
  • Consolidates the most up-to-date research from established and emerging scholars in the field in many countries and at many institutions
  • Includes a detailed introduction that succinctly puts the British Empire into historical context
  • Offers a chronology of events and episodes important to both the rise and fall of the British Empire
  • Provides a broad range of perspectives that focus not only on the white men who controlled the British Empire but also on the many people—such as women, indigenous peoples, poor Europeans, and Christian missionaries—who formed it
  • Avoids simplistic assessments of British imperialism as merely "good" or “bad," emanating an objectivity that enables readers to develop their own ideas about the nature of the empire
Mark Doyle,, PhD, is associate professor of history at Middle Tennessee State University. He is the author of Fighting Like the Devil for the Sake of God: Protestants, Catholics, and the Origins of Violence in Belfast and Communal Violence in the British Empire: Disturbing the Pax.


"[T]his well-edited work is an essential compendium of information on a compelling and still relevant topic. VERDICT For libraries serving secondary and college students, this accessible and engaging tour of extensive terrain fills a gap and provides a stepping stone to further research."—Library Journal, October 15, 2018

"Recommended for high school, college, and public libraries."—ARBA, October 9, 2018

"Notably, these entries are not all about white men: there is a plethora of entries focused on women and colonized people from all over the empire. Throughout the encyclopedia, the text is historically objective and informative. . . . Overall, the set is broad in its coverage. . . . Recommended for all types of libraries."—Booklist Online, October 29, 2018
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