James Cook's Contribution to the Development of the British Empire

5369 Words Mar 13th, 2005 22 Pages
JAMES COOK'S CONTRIBUTION TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE

I) Introduction

The purpose of this paper is to describe the life and the contribution to the development of the British Empire of one of the most important English explorers. It was in the second half of the 18th century when James Cook, originally a poor farm boy, explored and mapped vast uncharted areas of the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean. However, James Cook was not ‘only' an explorer. He can also be called a scientist – he managed to introduce new principles into seafaring and cartography.

For better understanding, the paper is divided into five chapters. The first chapter is the introduction, which throws light on the purpose and
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The core of the First British Empire was American colonies, Canada, India and the West Indies. The trade between Britain and its colonies flourished and many people made vast personal fortunes. By the 1750's, a whole new leisured class had been created in Britain. The East India Company making business in India became so rich that it had to be subjected to the special Department of the British Government. In the West Indies and American colonies the leading role was played by the production of cotton, sugar and slave trade. Step by step, Britain gained the supremacy in the world commerce.

Not only rich people profited from Britain's world supremacy but also ordinary Britons felt superior; in comparison with the other European nations they were better fed and had better dwellings. The feeling of superiority was supported by the government propaganda. However, not only England took advantage of the colonial trade. The Scottish towns got even richer in it.

A triumphant and expanded empire meant new responsibilities and new costs. The British government and Parliament wanted the American colonies to pay for their protection. It led to some extra local taxes which appeared perfectly fair in Britain but which made the American colonists upset and they united against the mother country. The most hateful taxes were a Stamp Act (1765), Townshend Acts (1767) and the so-called Intolerable Acts (1774). These

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