British Empire

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The British Empire comprised the territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1922 the British Empire held sway over one-fifth of the world's population and covered almost a quarter of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. After WWII most of the territories were given independence.

Jewish influence

A less often mentioned aspect is the large Jewish influence. Jews had been admitted back by Oliver Cromwell in 1656 after having been expelled in 1290 (in one of the many Jewish expulsions).

Jews gained a large economic influence. In the years before World War I, despite comprising less than three tenths of 1% of the population, Jews constituted over 20% of non-landed British millionaires. All of these belonged to the "Cousinhood" which was an ethnic network of about twenty closely inter-related and mutually supportive Jewish families. The wealth was derived from the fields of “banking, finance, the stock markets and bullion trading".[1]

However, political influence was limited by legal restrictions until the lifting of legal restrictions on religious minorities in the middle of the 19th century.[1][2]

The Jewish political influence has been argued to have been used to support a variety of pro-Jewish activities such as placing Jews from the Cousinhood in many of the most significant administrative positions in the Empire, financial manipulations and scandals, support for the Second Boer War (highly beneficial to Jewish mining operations in South Africa), support for the Ottoman Empire (while it was persecuting Christians but was friendly to Jews), and using exaggerated pogrom propaganda and economic funding in order to support a large Jewish migration to and rising Jewish influence in the United States.[1][2]

Jewish influence has also been argued in relation to the Opium Wars.


Jewish financial and business interests were important participants in the imperialist enterprise. For example, the Indian railroad network that the Sassoons helped to finance was closely integrated into the imperial administration, and Julius Reuter's wire service functioned as the command and control mechanism of the colonial government. Upon occasion, the British government also turned to Jewish banking houses to finance imperial expansion. Disraeli's purchase of the Suez Canal in 1878, for example, was made possible by Henry Oppenheim's extensive contacts in Egypt and a four million pound loan from Lionel Rothschild. The role played by Jewish capital in the creation of Britain's nineteenth-century empire was not lost on its critics. In his classic work, which became the basis of Lenin’s theory of imperialism, J. A. Hobson argued that "men of a single and peculiar race, who have behind them centuries of financial experience," formed "the central ganglion of international capitalism."

Benjamin Ginsberg, The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State, 1999.

Empire, of course, was also a field for pursuit of profit. The house of Rothschild concerned itself mainly with loans to governments and public bodies. However, in the 1890s it became heavily involved in diamond and gold mining on the Rand. When Alfred Beit and Julius Wernher floated Rand Mines in February 1893, Rothschilds were alloted 27,000 of the 100,000 shares. The scandals that beset the Edwardian Jewish plutocracy also illustrate Jews' involvement in the empire as a money making enterprise. The Marconi scandal of 1912, is it well known, centered on the allegation that four Liberal cabinet minister stood to profit from a contract awarded to the English Marconi Company. Two of the cabinet ministers in question — Sir Rufus Isaacs and Herbert Samuel — were Jews. The head of the English Marconi Company was Geoffrey Isaacs, the brother of Sir Rufus.

David Feldman, Jews and the British Empire, 2007.

Jews have made themselves so closely connected with the British peerage that the two classes are unlikely to suffer loss which is not mutual. So closely linked are the Jews and the lords that a blow against the Jews in this country would not be possible without injuring the aristocracy also.

—L.G. Pine, Tales of the British Aristocracy, 1956.

How can you make out that we are in this country for any purpose except to steal? It’s so simple. The official holds the Burman down while the businessman goes through his pockets. The British Empire is simply a device for giving trade monopolies to the English — or rather to gangs of Jews and Scotchmen.

George Orwell, Burmese Days, 1934.

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Free to Cheat: “Jewish Emancipation” and the Anglo-Jewish Cousinhood, Part 1
  2. 2.0 2.1 Free to Cheat: “Jewish Emancipation” and the Anglo-Jewish Cousinhood, Part 2
Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.
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