Australia’s First Peoples & Britain’s ‘Empire in the South’

‘That the fighting against France in what was originally and essentially a European war should have spread so swiftly to the tropics was a result of many factors, most of them predicable’. Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery, Fontana Press, 3rd Ed. London, 1976

The invasion of New Holland, now Australia, and the establishment of a ‘Second British Empire’ followed on quickly from America’s War of Independence 1775-1783.

Britain’s loss of her ‘Empire in the West’ the thirteen (13) ‘middle colonies’ – New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Carolina North and South, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island drove that invasion.

‘The administration of the 24-year-old Prime Minister William Pitt was under no illusion about the pretensions of its enemies. In early October 1784, Lord Carmarthen, the Foreign Secretary, stressed the necessity of knowing the extent of the proposed French and Dutch forces in India.

The information was essential, he added, ‘in order that we may ascertain the number of ships to be employed by us in that quarter of the world’. Michael Pembroke, Arthur Phillip Sailor Mercenary Governor Spy, Hardie Grant Books, 2013

Westminster: In order to speed the ‘spread to the tropics’ and building a ‘second British Empire’ under the administration of the Younger William Pitt (1783-1801) Britain took pre-emptive steps to secure alternate sea-routes to and from India, Asia and, via the Southern Oceans, Spain’s rich South American colonies.

Britain’s humiliating defeat in the American war was due in large part to French money, men, munitions and military know-how.

New Holland would compensate for lost ‘bases and colonies’ and reposition for the next inevitable conflict with France and ‘a century-long race‘ with an eye to India, China, the Philippines and Spain’s South American treasure colonies, in order to establish Britain’s supremacy over the Indian, Pacific and Southern oceans. See: A Riddle – When was an invasion fleet not an invasion fleet? When it was the ‘First Fleet’.

‘Parallel to, and dependent upon, the Anglo-French duel for command of the sea went their struggle for overseas bases and colonies; here too, the culminating point in a century-long race was reached, with Britain emerging in 1815 with a position so strengthened that she appeared to be the only real colonial power in the world’. Kennedy. ibid.

New Holland:  The invasion of New Holland, announced by King George 111 in Parliament in August 1786 and confirmed by him on 25th April 1787, should be seen and treated as a continuum of the American War of Independence 1775-1783.


‘The short term consequences of the American War of Independence] were less than many expected.Though Britain’s eclipse as a world power was confidently predicted her economic recovery was swift, and the colonial development of Australia, New Zealand India and part of Africa went some way to compensating for the loss of the first British empire’. Professor J.A.C Cannon, Oxford Companion to British History, ed. John Cannon, 1997


The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars 1793-1815 ended in Belgium with England’s Duke of Wellington’s defeat of France’s Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo in 1815.

Then with French ‘pretensions‘ out of the equation Britain turned rapacious eyes on India – the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of Britain’s second Empire.




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