British Empire

Hearts of Darkness

The incoherence of the British Empire

Was there ever really a British Empire? Cartographers certainly wanted you to think so. Starting in the late eighteenth century, British mapmakers colored territories ruled by the British in red or more often in pink (for contrast with the typeface). At the height of Britain’s global power, imperial pink tinted a quarter of the map. Suspended on the walls of schoolrooms around the empire, the map became one of the most memorable icons of British dominance.

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