Britain's Splendid Isolation

Imperial Europe

Europe 1898.0919

Britain's Splendid Isolation

Imperial Europe (19 September 1898)

Historical Map of Europe & the Mediterranean

At the close of the Nineteenth Century, Great Britain was still Europe's foremost power but was facing ever greater competition from the other nations as its lead in industrialization was eroded. The United States had already overtaken Britain economically and was now asserting itself in the Pacific and Caribbean, while recent German industrial and population growth had turned it into the most powerful nation on the continent. However Britain's vast empire meant its most frequent disputes were with France and Russia, its biggest competitors in Africa and Asia.

Main Events

First Sino-Japanese War

Great Powers land troops in Crete

Spanish-American War

After the USS Maine mysteriously exploded in Havana harbor, in the restive Spanish colony of Cuba, the United States declared war on Spain. In the ten-week Spanish-American War, the US defeated Spain in both the Caribbean - where it invaded Cuba and Puerto Rico - and the Pacific - where it defeated the Spanish fleet off Manila. As a result, the Spanish ceded Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the US.

Fashoda Incident

In September 1898, the British and Egyptians recaptured Khartoum from the Mahdists, restoring control over most of Sudan. At Fashoda, however, the British encountered a French military expedition seeking to extend France’s influence to the White Nile. In Europe, the standoff caused both nations to prepare for war, but the dispute was soon peacefully resolved in Britain’s favor.

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