Learning Exercise

Queen Victoria's Empire

This PBS website offers students the opportunity to better understand the circumstances which led to Great Britiain acquiring the world's largest colonial empire. The site is divided into a History of Queen Victoria's Reign, biographical information on Queen Victoria, information about seven leading figures who shaped the empire, and the perspective of leading historians who specialize in this period of history.
Course: History of World Civilization

Mirroring the PBS series, interactive site focusing on the people, places, events, and trends of the British Empire... see more


"The sun never set on the British Empire" affirmed that at the end of the 19th century and during the reign of Queen Victoria, Great Britain acquired the largest colonial empire in the world. To learn more about the British Empire and its leading figures, go on line and type in the web address www.pbs.org/empires/victoria/empire/index.html .

Click Secrets of the Empire. Look closely at the world map and list all the countries colonized by Great Britain.

Click Timeline. Record all the important dates in which Great Britain isi nvolved in a foreign country.

Click on History of the Reign, Her Majesty, and The Changing Empire. After carefully reading each of three sections, answer the following questions by writing a paper totaling 5-7 pages.

1. What were the circumstances that led Great Britian to have the largest colonial empire in the World?

2. Did Queen Victoria contribute to Great Britain's preeminences as a colonial power? If so, explain how she influenced colonial policy.

3. Explain how each of the following individuals changed the nature of the British Empire: Disraeli, Gladstone, Gordon, Livingstone, Nightingale, Prince Albert, and Rhodes.

4. What do the experts in British and colonial history concluded about the origins, nature, and changes within the British Empire during the 19th century?

5. What final conclusions can be made on this topic?


World Civilization
Great Britain

Learning Objectives

To identify countries around the world colonized by Great Britain.
To explain the circumstances leading to Great Britain's acquisition of the world's largest colonial empire.
To examine the influence of Queen Victoria and other leading British figures in the shaping of the Empire.
To examine how the Empire changed over time.
To evaluate commentary by leading historians on Britain's Empire in world affairs.