1960s‎ > ‎

The Decline of the British Empire

By 1921 the British Empire covered about a third of the world's surface and had a population of around 470-570 million people.

The heavy cost of the war effort during WWII and its aftermath, however, made it hard for Britain to maintain its vast Empire.

De-colonisation therefore became a regular event as more and more territories wanted their independence from the Empire.

Once Britain felt that a democratic government was available to transfer power to, many peaceful disengagements took place in the 1960s such as:
  • Nigeria (1960)
  • Jamaica (1961)
  • Trinidad (1962)
  • Kenya (1963)
  • Malta and Gozo (1964)
  • Barbados (1966)
Almost all of the former British colonies joined the Commonwealth of Nations, which replaced the notion of an 'empire'.