Why couldn’t the French maintain control over their colonies like the British?

By Sunil Kumar

Possible reason according to me: turmoil in France compared to relative stability in Britain.

In 1789; France had a bloody revolution when most of their royals lost their heads; i.e were guillotined. After that France saw the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte; who after many initial successes lost in continental Europe to an alliance led in part by the British. They had periods of republics and intermittent monarchs who were again thrown out by the French public(1848 and 1871)

In contrast Britain only had the madness of King George III(a monarch who was crazy); another George and then Victoria for a long time from 1838 to 1901; by which time she had succeeded in becoming the grandmother of Europe i.e a lot of European royal families had intermarried with her sons and daughters. Maharajah Duleep Singh; colorfully described Victoria as a thieving Mrs. Fagin; for the British Governor Dalhousie’s robbery of the Kohinoor from the Indian Sikh prince. Apart from Spain in America; no other nation has systematically looted an entire country; like the British in India. For an island which derives from the Latin word for stupid or brutish; self-interest took on a new meaning.

Colonial thugs including Cecil Rhodes were lauded and supported by the Victorian establishment for expansion in Africa; and against the equally vicious Dutch Boers in S. Africa. (Real reason: the newly discovered(then) biggest diamond deposits). The wealth and manpower of India was used in British operations across the globe.

English: The child Maharajah of Lahore, Duleep...

Visit sunil-kumar.co.in English: The child Maharajah of Lahore, Duleep Singh enters his palace in Lahore, from the Parade Ground, accompanied by an escort of British troops commanded by Brigadier Cureton, following the First Anglo-Sikh War (1845-46). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

E.g: British Indian army deployments: China(1860, 1900–01), Ethiopia(1867–68), Malaya(1875), Egypt(1882), Sudan(1885–86, 1896), Burma(1885), East Africa(1896,1897,1898), Somaliland(1890, 1903–04), South Africa(1899) and Tibet(1903).

Any country which is more stable politically regardless of whatever protests happen internally; has a better chance of hanging on to its external empire. Also; the British succeeded with English becoming more prevalent worldwide; (also due to the USA); and London was more of an internationally renowned center than Paris. Francophone countries by contrast suffered due their insular language and their rulers(in my opinion) were not as devious and manipulative like the British; who hid their subversive wickedness with the stiff upper lip. Vietnam and Algeria can disagree.

Cecil Rhodes attempted to expand British terri...

Visit sunil-kumar.co.in Cecil Rhodes attempted to expand British territory northward into the Congo basin, presenting a problem for Leopold. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The French were certainly imperialist and exploitative; but hindered by internal turmoil.

 

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