Up to World War II and beyond, the British ruled over a vast empire. Modern western attitudes towards the imperial past tend either towards nostalgia for British power or revulsion at what seem to be the abuses of that power. The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire adopts neither of these approaches. It aims to create historical understanding about the British empire on the assumption that such understanding is important for any informed appreciation of the modern world. Through striking illustration and a text written by leading experts, this book examines the experience of colonialism in North America, India, Africa, Australia, and the Caribbean, as well as the impact of the empire on Britain itself. Emphasis is placed on social and cultural history, including slavery, trade, religion, art, and the movement of ideas. How did the British rule their empire? Who benefited economically from the empire? And who lost?