Informal Empire


By Neil Simpson



Year

A Note on Sources

 

It is necessary to recognise the problems when dealing with figures for exports and imports. As Miller notes the value of British exports to Latin America increased only 0.2% per annum between 1814 and 1846, while that volume rose by 3.4%. As a result a decrease in the value of exports does not necessarily mean a drying up of trade; indeed it could well mean Latin America became overwhelmed with cheap British imports.[1]

Appendix 1 also highlights the problem of looking at the percentage value of exports alone, and how exports can increase, while percentage of total exports decreases.

Imlah has also noted that official values (for imports or exports) are calculated from very old prices. Thus Coffee at £3 per kg in 1750 would be measured at a similar rate in 1850, and as a result official calculations often overvalued exports in the aggregate by 120%! Crucially this distorts figures and leads to the (false) assumption of a rise in the value of British exports to match the rise in industry.[2] Furthermore there are issues in looking at financial exports. While company A might invest £x in Indian Tea, and company B invests £x in the Indian tea distributor at home, only company A appears as having a vested interest in empire, when in fact they both do.[3]

 

 

Appendix 1. British Exports to Latin America 1804 – 1856 (in £000) Source: Davis, Industrial Revolution, pp.96 – 101 in Miller, Rory Britain and Latin America in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Longman, (London 1993), p.73.

 

Year

Cotton

Linen

Wool

Metals

Others

Total

% of British Exports

1804/06

595

35

115

94

286

1125

2.3

1814/16

1353

89

426

177

431

2476

5.2

1824/26

2825

366

751

409

658

5009

12.6

1834/36

3206

270

720

333

518

5047

10.9

1844/46

3037

524

1023

440

610

5634

9.7

1854/56

4522

593

1266

1016

1577

8974

8.8

 

 

 

 

Appendix 2. Declared Value of British Exports in £000 Source: GR Porter The Progress of the Nation (London 1912) in Mitchell, B.R., Abstract of British Historical Statistics, Cambridge University Press, (Cambridge, 1962), p.313.

 

 

Year

Europe

USA

British North America, West Indies, Foreign West Indies, South America

1820

North=11,290 South=7,140

3,875

Br.N.A & W.I=5,757; F.W.I=940; S.Am=2,921

1825

N.E = 8,548; S.E = 6,099

7,019

Br.N.A and W.I= 5,847; F.W.I = 908; S.Am = 6,426

1830

N.E = 8,377; S.E = 7,234

6,132

Br.N.A and W.I = 1,857 and 2,839 respectively; F.W.I = 940; S.Am = 5,189

1835

N.E= 10,303; S.E = 8,161

10,568

Br.N.A = 2,158; W.I = 3,188; F.W.I 1,153; S.Am = 4,887

1840

N.E=12,283; S.E = 9,208

5,283

Br.N.A = 3,048; W.I = 3,575; F.W.I = 1,115; S.Am = 6,202

1845

N.E=15,092; S.E=11,211

7,143

Br.N.A=3,551; W.I= 2,784; F.W.I = 1,464; S.Am = 5,986

 

 

Appendix 3. Proportion of securities on the London Stock Exchange which were government bonds. Source: Ferguson, Niall, The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World, 1700 – 2000, Basic Books, (New York, 2000)

 

Year

Percentage

1853

70.2%

1863

53.6%

1873

37.6%

1883

24%

1893

16.5%

 

Appendix 4. UK rates of savings and investment as a % of GNP, 1830 – 1914

Floud, Roderick and Johnson, Paul (eds.), The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain Volume II: Economic Maturity, 1860 – 1939, Cambridge University Press, (Cambridge, 2004), p.193.

 

Year

Percentage

1830-39

0.91

1835-44

0.91

1840-49

0.76

1845-54

0.92

1850-59

2.05

1855-64

2.55

1860-69

2.81

1865-74

4.67

1870-79

4.00

1875-84

2.99

1880-89

4.72

1885-94

4.94

1890-99

3.37

1895-1094

1.97

1900-09

3.66

1905-14

6.51

 

 

Appendix 5. The Distribution of British Investments in Latin America (%) Source: Miller, Rory Britain and Latin America in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Longman, (London 1993)

 

Year

1865

1875

1885

1895

1905

1913

Government

76

74

66

47

45

38

Railways

12

14

22

36

34

34

Public Utilities

1

5

4

3

6

12

Shipping

3

3

1

1

1

2

Finance

3

2

2

7

7

8

Raw Materials

3

1

3

3

4

3

Industrial and Miscellaneous

1

1

2

2

3

3

 

Apppendix 6. Imports, Exports and Re-Exports to Argentina 1846 – 1918 (£million) Source: Mitchell, B.R., Abstract of British Historical Statistics, Cambridge University Press, (Cambridge, 1962), pp.321 – 323.

 

 

 

Appendix 7. Egyptian Cotton Exports 1835 – 1914 (Thousand Egyptian Pounds) Source: Mitchell, B.R., International Historical Statistics: Africa, Asia & Oceania 1750 – 2000, Fourth Edition, Palgrave Macmillan, (London, 2003), pp. 637 – 641.

 

 



[1] Miller, R., Britain and Latin America in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, (London 1993), p. 72.

 

[2] Imlah, A. H., Economic Elements in the Pax Britannica, (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1958), pp. 20 – 23.

 

[3] Davis, L. E and Huttenback, R. A, Mammon and the Pursuit of Empire: The Political Economy of British Imperialism, 1860 – 1912, (Cambridge, 1986), pp.33-34.

 


Informal Empire?




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