The sun never sets on the British empire. Or so the world has been told time and time again. The old phrase goes back to the day when Britain held dominion of land all around the world, but new research shows that the extent of British dominance over the years is much greater than previously anticipated.
Stuart Laycock, the author of a new book All The Countries We’ve Ever Invaded, trekked across the globe to research each country’s history to determine if it was under British dominion at any point. His research shows that over time, Britain held 90 per cent of the countries on Earth, i.e. only 22 of the 200 countries researched were never invaded.
Not all the countries were expressly included in the British Empire, but they had some sort of British military presence by “force, the threat of force, negotiation or payment.” Additionally, the actions of British pirates, privateers and armed explorers are also included in the count so long as they were acting under the authority of the British government—think of them as contract invaders.
Laycock got the idea for the book after being asked by his 11-year-old son how many countries the British had invaded. It took two years of research and the results were staggering. “I like to think I have a relatively good general knowledge. But there are places where it hadn’t occurred to me that these things had ever happened. It shocked me,” Laycock told the Telegraph
The methodology isn’t precise as it defines invasion loosely and uses modern geo-political borders which misrepresent the actual territories invade, or rather generalize the region based on the invasion of a small portion of it. But all things considered Britain’s 88 percent invasion is an impressive feat of time-independent world domination.
The exclusive non-invaded club:
Central African Republic
Congo, Republic of
Sao Tome and Principe