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Wars and Revolutions: the Making of Britain and the British Empire 1660-1900 (Non-credit)

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

This course will build a clear picture of how Britain grew from relative insignificance at the end of the 17th century, to ruling an Empire where the sun never set. The impact on politics, culture and society worldwide and in Great Britain itself will be addressed.

Course Details

Content of Course

1. Introduction.

2. Unfulfilled Potential: 1660-1668.

3. Britain becomes a great power: 1689-1714.

4. The British Empire is born: 1714-1760.

5. Troubles at home and abroad: 1760-1788.

6. The Fight for Survival: 1789-1815.

7. The Workshop of the World: 1815-1851.

8. The ‘Indian Mutiny’ and the end of the liberal Empire: 1851-1860.

9. The Zenith of Empire: 1860-1900.

10. Course conclusions and review.

Teaching method(s)

Lectures and class-based discussion.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of key themes and events in British domestic and imperial history from 1660-1900;

  • Evaluate the impact of the Empire on the politics, society and culture of Britain;

  • Evaluate the various types of primary and secondary source which informs knowledge of this period.


Core Readings

  • Blanning, Tim, 2007. The Pursuit of Empire: Europe 1648-1815. London: Allen Lane.

  • O’Gorman, Frank, 1997. The Long Eighteenth Century. London: Arnold.

  • Ferguson, Niall, 2007. Empire: How Britain made the World. London: Penguin.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.