Science & Technology

Science and Technology and the British Empire

Science and Technology played a number of roles in the life of the empire. The products of industrialisation were disseminated to every part of the globe as traders and missionaries travelled the world, often with the administrator not too far behind. The comparative advantage of industrialisation meant that few non-Europeans had much of a chance against the well-equipped modern ships and soldiers that Britain could call to arms. And, once colonised, the means of transportation and communications that Britain could call upon meant that she could effectively administer enormous tracts of the world with a minimum of manpower.

Of course, initially, Europeans could have serious health problems in these exotic parts of the world. The advances in the medical sciences would greatly aid the cause of Empire, opening up whole new areas to soldiers and administrators as medicines were developed to protect them from deadly tropical diseases.

The Imperial period also provided thinkers who would constantly challenge and add to the scientific knowledge of mankind. One of the most famous being Charles Darwin. This section looks at the complicated interactions of Science, Technology and the Empire and how the startling changes of the era affected the lives of the people who populated it and the landscape they lived in.


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by Stephen Luscombe