How did the British overrule the rulers of a nation and colonized said nation?


Asking this for my 5-year-old niece. I, myself am 21 years old, don’t know how exactly they did it and am exceptionally bad at Humanities.

I don’t quite understand how the Britishers convinced/bewitched/overruled the rulers of a nation. From what I understand, they struck deals and what-not. Can you please explain a **bird’s eye view** of the entire situation so that I can explain it to my niece?

In: 203

They invaded those countries they conquered them they forced those places to surrender and then turn them into vassal States.

Basically they went in and they kept killing people until they said “hey this is our land and you can live here as long as you give us all the stuff you have.”

It wasn’t like they smooth talked them out of their land and property they conquered them and they took it.

Imagine you are living in a country and one day a bunch of people show up on your shore and setup a camp.

You don’t really mind because there’s plenty of space, and you even trade with them. It turns out that they’ve got a lot of high tech stuff that will make your life easier and by chance they want the products that you make.

But more and more of them keep showing up, and they really want the stuff that you make.

Eventually you decide that this isn’t a good thing and you try to stop them from coming but they respond by showing up with guns, kill your leaders and basically take over the country. They have such overwhelming military force that you can’t really do anything, and if you try them murder a lot of you.

Next thing you know they are kicking you off your own land to make room for their people. So long as you do what they tell you they treat you ok, but if you don’t they imprison or murder you. Or worse kidnap you, ship you half way across the world and force you into slavery.

Colonization was not pretty…

Generally, the lands the British colonized were not united. Suppose they land in a place with 10 warring kingdoms. None of the 10 kings have big enough armies to gain control of the whole land. But now the Brits show up with their ships, guns, and soldiers. And they are willing to support your side as long as you agree to all sorts of conditions, like letting them take what they want from your rivals. You get richer and more powerful than you were before (because the Brits declare you the ruler of the whole country), and most of the stuff they take is from people you didn’t really rule before.

If you say no, there are 9 other kings out there who might say yes.

European military technology was superior to most of the rest of the world. It will be Muslim nations like the ottoman empire that was on par.

Taking over land that is already occupied by other people likely requires force. Kill the ones that live there, force them away, force them to accept that you are the one in charge. People will likely resist that and then the result is violence. If you have enough technological advantage you do not need a lot of people to take control of a large area.

That said it is possible that is all starts with peaceful contact that initially is trade. Then you can get the right to set up a trading outpost and to use the land around too. You will likely need to pay for that. If you later what to control all of the land which usually is the case you need lily need at some point to use force. The trade outpost did not always grow large, Hong Kong and Macao in China did not. There was small French and Portuguese territories in India, Goa was the largest of them.

You can also exploit already existent grievances between different local groups. If you support one and arm them they can help you in conquering the land of their enemies. Give them some of the land and take the rest for yourself. You can let the one that cooperates with you remain semi-independent and under your protection. Total control is not always needed or what is best for you.

If you look at a map of India before 1947 you can see that a large part of it are princely state If the option for a leader is a war that you likely lose or not war but you loose some of your independence but you can still continue to live you like mostly like before it is not surprising that a lot of sovereign rulers selected to submit to the British. It is the independent nation of India that was formed in 1947 the take direct control of all of India.

The Europeans conquered the Americas with disease. From the wealth they gained by occupying now mostly empty land (casualty rates from disease were anywhere between 90-99%), Europe had an explosion of technological growth. There are very good arguments that Enlightenment thinking also stems from Native American thinkers as well, but that’s a whole rabbit hole. It is important though because paired with The Scientific Method and wealth, Europe had an explosion in technology that allowed them to take over the world. It’s hard to fight dudes with machine guns when you’ve got bows and arrows, or old muskets.

The Spanish were unable to hold their massive empire together because the technological gap between Spain and the colonies wasn’t large, and as population grew back in the colonies, they were able to break away and eventually fight some awful wars amongst themselves. Britain had a very different colonial model early on, by allowing colonists to own property and be armed. They maintained their British culture in the Anglosphere but the Brits couldn’t colonize places like Africa and India the same way because they were already highly populated and they couldn’t tolerate the disease as well, South Africa being a notable exception.

Contrary to popular belief, a lot of the places Britain conquered actually were united, or at least had a history of being united. The Indian subcontinent and cultural sphere was not fully united but shared a common culture, and had been kinda wrecked by wars with the Mughals. Three European powers fought for dominance over India, which has never been particularly expansionist and did not have matching military tech. Africa was behind in tech by the mid 1800s, whereas they hadn’t been so much in the 1500-1600s. That’s part of why the colonization of Africa hadn’t happened until later, along with a lack of navigable rivers.