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Pax Britannica

The Pax Britannica (modelled after "Pax Romana") refers to a peaceful period of British imperialism after the Battle of Waterloo and War of 1812, which led to a period of overseas British expansionism. During the period the British Empire controlled most key naval trade routes and enjoyed unchallenged sea power. During this period Britain dominated overseas markets and favored a strategy of informal colonialism, that is controlling markets like China's without direct formal colonal administration.

This led to the spread of the English language, British Imperial system of measures, and rules for commodity markets based on English common law. When colonies had the capacity (but not the right) to trade directly with each other, challenges to central rule erupted, and the New Imperialism largely arose as a response. Pax Britannica was weakened by the breakdown of the continental order established by the Congress of Vienna and the consequent establishement of new nation-states in Italy and Germany after the Franco-Prussian War. The industrialization of Germany and the United States also contributed to the decline of British industrial supremacy following the 1870s.

See also: commodity markets, British Empire



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