Political map of Europe & the Mediterranean 19 September 1898 (Britain's Splendid Isolation): At the close of the Nineteenth Century, Britain was still Europe's foremost power (Pax Britannica) but was facing ever greater competition from the other nations as its lead in industrialization (Industrial Revolution) was eroded. The United States had already overtaken Britain economically and was now asserting itself in the Pacific and Caribbean (Spanish-American War), while recent German industrial and population growth had turned it into the most powerful nation on the continent. However Britain's vast empire (British Empire) meant its most frequent disputes were with France and Russia, its biggest competitors in Africa and Asia.