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The Oxford History of the British Empire is a major new assessment of the Empire in the light of recent scholarship and the progressive opening of historical records. From the founding of colonies in North America and the West Indies in the seventeenth century to the reversion of Hong Kong to China at the end of the twentieth, British imperialism was a catalyst for far-reaching change. The Oxford History of the British Empire as a comprehensive study allows us to understand the end of Empire in relation to its beginnings, the meaning of British imperialism for the ruled as well as the rulers, and the significance of the British Empire as a theme in world history. Volume IV considers many aspects of the 'imperial experience' in the final years of the British Empire, culminating in the mid-century's rapid processes of decolonization. It seeks to understand the men who managed the empire, their priorities and vision, and the mechanisms of control and connection which held the empire together. There are chapters on imperial centres, on the geographical 'periphery' of empire, and on all its connecting mechanisms, including institutions and the flow of people, money, goods, and services. The volume also explores the experience of 'imperial subjects' - in terms of culture, politics, and economics; an experience which culminated in the growth of vibrant, often new, national identities and movements and, ultimately, new nation-states. It concludes with the processes of decolonization which reshaped the political map of the late twentieth-century world.
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