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The British Empire: a setting sun.

The sun never sets on the British Empire" was a popular saying for more than 100 years. Why? Britain once ruled an empire that stretched around the world and into nearly every time zone. It included Canada, Australia, India, and many colonies in Africa and the West Indies.

All that has changed now, as the map above shows. The U.S. was the first British colony to gain independence, in 1783. Canada became self-governing in 1867, and Australia in 1901. After World War II (1939-1945), most British colonies in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean gained independence.

Today, many former British colonies belong to the Commonwealth of Nations, which includes about 50 independent countries that once lived under British rule. The members cooperate in trade and other matters.

Study the map and the key to see which areas used to be British colonies and which are colonies today. Present-day colonies are shown in red with boldface names.


1. What was the United Kingdom's largest possession in Asia?--

2. What continent did the United Kingdom once rule?--

3. British North America included what two large present-day countries?--

4. Name the former British colony on the southeastern coast of China.--

5. Most of the United Kingdom's present-day colonies are islands in which ocean?--

6. Which continent had the largest number of British colonies (not counting offshore islands)?--

7. The United Kingdom still rules what colony on the European mainland?--

8. Which claimed British territory is located the farthest south?--

9. Argentina and Britain dispute ownership of the Falkland Islands, which are located in which ocean?--

10. Which former British colony in the Middle East does the United States now control?-

GeoSkills Questions, p. 20

1. British India 2. Australia 3. Canada, U.S. 4. Hong Kong 5. Atlantic 6. Africa 7. Gibraltar 8. British Antarctica Territory 9. South Atlantic 10. Iraq
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Title Annotation:Geoskills
Publication:Junior Scholastic
Date:Sep 29, 2003
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