At its peak at the start of the 20th century, the British Empire controlled nearly a quarter of the earth’s land and population. Now, one violent century later, Britain has no empire and with Brexit will soon depart the European Union. How can we understand the current challenges in terms of Britain’s global history? This course covers 500 years of imperial and post-imperial history. We will examine the evolution of the Empire from origins to the commonwealth, its post-war decline and ultimate end in 1997 with the withdrawal from Hong Kong. We will then discuss post-colonial Britain and the Empire’s legacy and impact on our world today. Focusing on the economic dimensions of the Empire from trade to taxes, we also explore the political and social forces that shaped Great Britain, from the question of international trade and its impact on British consumption habits to the question of national identity in the colonies. Meets with BUA 300.4.