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Anchors of Empire

  • Barry Gough
Part of the Britain and the World book series (BAW)

Abstract

Naval power resides not only in ships and men, and on finance and national will; it rests on secure and adequate refuges and positions for repair, recuperation and resupply. In the age of Pax, when Britain took it upon itself to carry out policies of enforcement of the abolition of privateering, the suppression of the slave trade and the protection of seaborne commerce, strategically located naval bases were the direct result of the global nature of British interests. The state of Britain’s foreign relations was always the commanding factor, and here again, power and profit went hand in hand. The selection of the sites of such bases and the construction of the same remain part of the imperial naval story relatively unappreciated as a subject of inquiry. Yet investigation of this shows how the prosperity of British trade and empire depended mightily on the projection overseas of human skills, architectural design and engineering know-how. Moreover, it discloses why statesmen, far from acting in a fit of absentmindedness, were willing to enlarge the imperial estate bit by bit so as to give strategic advantage to the whole.

Keywords

Slave Trade Naval Basis British Trade Royal Mail Naval Power 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Roger Willock, Bulwark of Empire, Bermuda’s Fortified Naval Base (2nd ed.; Bermuda: Bermuda Maritime Museum Press, 1988), 83.Google Scholar
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  4. 4.
    On Esquimalt, international rivalry pressures, strategic shifts and technological changes mandating a new base there, see Barry Gough, The Royal Navy and the Northwest Coast of North America, 1810–1914: A Study of British Maritime Ascendancy (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1971).Google Scholar
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    See Ian Stranack, The Andrew and the Onions: The Story of the Royal Navy in Bermuda, 1795–1975 (2nd ed., Bermuda: Bermuda Maritime Museum Press, 1990).Google Scholar
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    The paternalism of the British Government has been demonstrated. See Gertrude Carmichael, History of the West Indian Islands of Trinidad and Tobago, 1498–1900 (London: Alvin Redman, 1961), 136.Google Scholar
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    Each colony of the British Empire was formed of special circumstances, though there existed model templates as to the types of colony. Trinidad and Tobago had a mixed European population (Spanish, French and English) and was in need of labour for development. The Colonial Office, battered by long battles with the planter class in other West Indian colonies, did not want an extension of this kind of influence to Trinidad and Tobago. Nor did it want, on the grounds of the power exerted by the anti-slavery lobby, to extend slavery. Eventually, indentured labour from India was resorted to. The important thing here is that the Crown maintained its dominating power. Eric Williams, History of the People of Trinidad and Tobago (London: André Deutch, 1964), 51–85.Google Scholar
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    Quoted in Lance C Buhl, “Maintaining ‘An American Navy’ 1865–1889”, in Kenneth J. Hagan, ed., In Peace and War: Interpretations of American Naval History, 1775–1984 (2nd ed., Westport, Ct.: Greenwood, 1984), 155.Google Scholar
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    Quoted, Peter Padfield, Rule Britannia: The Victorian and Edwardian Navy (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981), 4.Google Scholar
  26. 33.
    R.B. Pugh, Records of the Colonial and Dominion Offices (London: HMSO, 1964), 8. This work explains the new administrative requirements of this enhanced, diversified empire, the particulars of which are not the concern of this book.Google Scholar

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© Barry Gough 2014

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  • Barry Gough

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