"We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat. They do not exist."
- – Queen Victoria
"The sun never sets on the British empire, because even God couldn’t trust the Englishman in the dark."
- – Indian nationalist
The British Empire was formed in 1707 under the Acts of Union, merging the Kingdom of England (which included poor, forgotten Wales) and the Kingdom of Scotland with their respective empires into the United Kingdom. Over the next 200 years, the empire would swell to become the largest overseas empire in history. The empire, while criticized for its colonialism and numerous atrocities committed against its subjects and enemies, is credited for its major role in ending the slave trade, creating and expanding infrastructure throughout Africa and Asia, introducing English as the world’s Lingua Franca, and maintaining international stability across the world. The empire is typically believed to have dissolved in 1997 with the loss of Hong Kong, it being the last major economic and demographic outpost of the United Kingdom outside of Europe. It might no longer be "The empire on which the sun never sets" on account of it no longer being an empire, but if you include its overseas territories, the sun still does not set upon the United Kingdom.
Like the Roman Empire, the British variant is often used as a setting in many fantasy games. While not being as totalitarian and corrupt as its Latin counterpart, colonialism and intense patriotism and jingoism are often used traits for both antagonistic and protagonist settings. Any steampunk game ever made is based on a model of Victorian London. Scampi and all. Also very important, tea, jolly good tea. TEEAAA!!!! Even the Commissar likes tea! Yes I do so I will not blam you today.. oh oops!
British Empire Analogs in Fantasy
- The Empire in the Elder scrolls series is a mash up of Roman and British Empire culture. Examples of this include the "East Empire company", based off the British East India company.
- Note for discussion: the Praetorian and Varangian Guard are both Roman Empire (or East-Roman aka Byzantine) concepts.
- Dwarfs in fantasy typically have an isolationist view of the world which parallels with Britain's "Splendid Isolation" wherein it did little to make alliances and focused on expansion. They are also were modeled after Yorkshire stereotypes.
- The gunpowderphiliac Giff race in D&D's Spelljammer setting are so British they may as well have been birthed of Queen Victoria herself. Aside from being giant anthropomorphic hippos.
- Bretonnia was blatantly named after Brittania, a national personification of the United Kingdom, but otherwise the region is pretty blatantly French, due to being Warhammer's pastiche of the Arthurian Mythos.
- The Empire in Warhammer Fantasy is based more on the German Holy Roman Empire, but certain elements of it are certainly British; Altdorf takes influence from both Vienna and every bad stereotype of London (ala Ankh-Morpork, except less funny), and every single Empire character is given a British accent in every Warhammer Video game (see Mark of Chaos and Total Warhammer: War).
- The High Elves in Warhammer Fantasy has a lot of similarity to the British Empire. Back before Malekith's betrayal as well as the war of the beard, High Elves have settled across the globe through their seafaring superiority and have established trade with various races like the Dwarfs. Just like the British Empire, they've built colonies on islands all over the world, be it near Cathay or Lustria. Like the English, they are viewed as perfectly mannered, well dressed, arrogant, suffering from a superiority complex and easily corrupted (corruption exists in all society really, but high elves suffered the most because of their higher sensitivity to magic). They even have their own American counterpart called the Dark Elves, a race of cruel Elves who enjoys war, automatic weapons (darkshards), sail on giant aircraft carrier ship (Black Ark) and lived on a continent that is similar shaped to America. The High Elves are also known for their expansionist attitude similar to the British in that era and love to look down on the minor races, which (with a little help from Malekith) led them to fought the most devastating war against their equally strong ally (the Dwarfs), similar to how the British Empire fall. It doesn't take much imagination to see the High Elves, especially the more arrogant ones, as satirical portrayals of posh high-class Tories from the 80s. Also, their capital is called Londo... erm, Lothern.
- A posh British accent is often used in fantasy settings to show a character's wisdom, experience, nobility or evil nature.
- A cockney British accent is often used in fantasy settings to show a character's shittiness, untrustworthiness, scumminess, toughness, lovability, or just to make them as annoying as possible. Most commonly the latter two, because cockney accents are always either the most lovable thing in a setting, or the single most ear-gratingly annoying thing in the setting.
- Many wargaming companies are/were originally based in the UK such as Games Worskhop. Truly the
best worst bestworst thing to come out of the Empire.
- The city of Dunwall in Dishonored is heavily influenced by Victorian Liverpool and London.
The previous "Britain" page was deleted because
I am an Anglophobic American who hates the idea the modern world was made by someone else it was irrelevant to /tg/. Any in-depth historical analysis should be kept to Wikipedia. Also, we already have a page for general outlines of historical empires.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sSnJSUU_7q0, for if you want to see questionable Czech propaganda that conveniently ignores much of the slaughter and genocide of native peoples performed by the British in the name of Empire.