British Empire

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The British Empire is a term used to refer to the group of colonies, dominions, mandates, protectorates, and other territories ruled by the United Kingdom. It originated from trading posts and overseas territories established by the Kingdom of England in the 16th century. After the loss of the American Thirteen Colonies in 1776, the British turned their civilising mission to Asia. In 1922, the British Empire spanned than 33,700,000 square kilometres (almost a quarter of the globe), and 458 million people (one-fifth of the world's population); generally, its peak is considered to be roughly within the Victorian era (1837 - 1901) before its slow demise in the two World Wars. The colonies were governed either indirectly or directly by the Colonial Office in London. Most possessions of the first and second Empires are now members of the Commonwealth of Nations, whose symbolic head is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Unlike the Dominion of Canada, Singapore is not a Commonwealth realm, which means it does not recognize Her as Head of State.

Singapore in the Empire

Singapore was founded by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819. It was formally ceded to the British East India company in 1824, and became part of the Straits Settlements in 1826, together with Malacca, Prince of Wales Island (now Penang) and Dinding. From 1830 to 1867, the Straits Settlements were a residency (sub-division) of of the Presidency of Bengal in British India. This meant that the Governor of India was in charge of the Straits Settlements, rather than a separate Governor, as in the case of a Crown Colony. Bureaucracy, red tape, and lacklustre administration on the part of the Bengali Presidency invoked requests from the merchants of Singapore to establish her as a separate Crown Colony, receiving orders directly from the Colonial Office in London. This was granted on 1 April 1867.