The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
South Africa the Republic of South Africa, is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation, it is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status; the remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European and multiracial ancestry. South Africa is a multiethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures and religions, its pluralistic makeup is reflected in the constitution's recognition of 11 official languages, the fourth highest number in the world. Two of these languages are of European origin: Afrikaans developed from Dutch and serves as the first language of most coloured and white South Africans.
The country is one of the few in Africa never to have had a coup d'état, regular elections have been held for a century. However, the vast majority of black South Africans were not enfranchised until 1994. During the 20th century, the black majority sought to recover its rights from the dominant white minority, with this struggle playing a large role in the country's recent history and politics; the National Party imposed apartheid in 1948. After a long and sometimes violent struggle by the African National Congress and other anti-apartheid activists both inside and outside the country, the repeal of discriminatory laws began in 1990. Since 1994, all ethnic and linguistic groups have held political representation in the country's liberal democracy, which comprises a parliamentary republic and nine provinces. South Africa is referred to as the "rainbow nation" to describe the country's multicultural diversity in the wake of apartheid; the World Bank classifies South Africa as an upper-middle-income economy, a newly industrialised country.
Its economy is the second-largest in Africa, the 34th-largest in the world. In terms of purchasing power parity, South Africa has the seventh-highest per capita income in Africa; however and inequality remain widespread, with about a quarter of the population unemployed and living on less than US$1.25 a day. South Africa has been identified as a middle power in international affairs, maintains significant regional influence; the name "South Africa" is derived from the country's geographic location at the southern tip of Africa. Upon formation, the country was named the Union of South Africa in English, reflecting its origin from the unification of four separate British colonies. Since 1961, the long form name in English has been the "Republic of South Africa". In Dutch, the country was named Republiek van Zuid-Afrika, replaced in 1983 by the Afrikaans Republiek van Suid-Afrika. Since 1994, the Republic has had an official name in each of its 11 official languages. Mzansi, derived from the Xhosa noun umzantsi meaning "south", is a colloquial name for South Africa, while some Pan-Africanist political parties prefer the term "Azania".
South Africa contains human-fossil sites in the world. Archaeologists have recovered extensive fossil remains from a series of caves in Gauteng Province; the area, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has been branded "the Cradle of Humankind". The sites include one of the richest sites for hominin fossils in the world. Other sites include Gondolin Cave Kromdraai, Coopers Cave and Malapa. Raymond Dart identified the first hominin fossil discovered in Africa, the Taung Child in 1924. Further hominin remains have come from the sites of Makapansgat in Limpopo Province and Florisbad in the Free State Province, Border Cave in KwaZulu-Natal Province, Klasies River Mouth in Eastern Cape Province and Pinnacle Point and Die Kelders Cave in Western Cape Province; these finds suggest that various hominid species existed in South Africa from about three million years ago, starting with Australopithecus africanus. There followed species including Australopithecus sediba, Homo ergaster, Homo erectus, Homo rhodesiensis, Homo helmei, Homo naledi and modern humans.
Modern humans have inhabited Southern Africa for at least 170,000 years. Various researchers have located pebble tools within the Vaal River valley. Settlements of Bantu-speaking peoples, who were iron-using agriculturists and herdsmen, were present south of the Limpopo River by the 4th or 5th century CE, they displaced and absorbed the original Khoisan speakers, the Khoikhoi and San peoples. The Bantu moved south; the earliest ironworks in modern-day KwaZulu-Natal Province are believed to date from around 1050. The southernmost group was the Xhosa people, whose language incorporates certain linguistic traits from the earlier Khoisan people; the Xhosa reached the Great Fish River, in today's Eastern Cape Province. As they migrated, these larger Iron Age populations
First Boer War
The First Boer War known as the First Anglo-Boer War, the Transvaal War or the Transvaal Rebellion, was a war fought from 16 December 1880 until 23 March 1881 between the United Kingdom and the South African Republic. The war resulted in defeat for the British and the second independence of the South African Republic. In the 19th century a series of events occurred in the southern part of the African continent, with the British attempting to set up a single unified state there. Three prime factors fueled British expansion into southern Africa: the desire to control the trade routes to India that passed around the Cape of Good Hope the discovery in 1868 of huge mineral deposits of diamonds around Kimberley on the joint borders of the South African Republic, the Orange Free State and the Cape Colony, thereafter in 1886 in the Transvaal the gold rush the race against other European colonial powers, as part of a general European colonial expansion in AfricaOther potential colonisers included: the Portuguese Empire, which controlled Portuguese Angola in West Africa and Portuguese Mozambique in East Africa the German Empire, which came to control the area in Southern Africa which in 1884 would become German South West Africa further north, the Kingdom of Belgium, which controlled an area in Central Africa which in 1885 would become the Congo Free State the French Third Republic, in the process of conquering the Merina Kingdom and, pursuing the areas which in 1895 and in 1910 would become French West Africa and French Equatorial Africa a series of Boer republics expanding into territories north of the British sphere of influence in the CapeBritish attempts in 1880 to annex the Transvaal represented their biggest incursions into southern Africa, but other expansions occurred.
In 1868 the British Empire annexed Basutoland, following an appeal from Moshesh, the leader of a mixed group of African refugees from the Zulu wars who sought British protection against both the Boers and the Zulus. In the 1880s, became an object of dispute between the Germans to the west, the Boers to the east, the British in the Cape Colony to the south. Although Bechuanaland had at the time no economic value, the "Missionaries Road" passed through it toward territory farther north. After the Germans annexed Damaraland and Namaqualand in 1884, the British annexed Bechuanaland in 1885. Following the Battle of Blaauwberg Britain had acquired the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa from the Dutch in 1815 after the Napoleonic Wars. Certain groups of Dutch-speaking settler farmers resented British rule though British control brought some economic benefits. Successive waves of migrations of Boer farmers, probed first east along the coast away from the Cape toward Natal, thereafter north toward the interior establishing the republics that came to be known as the Orange Free State and the Transvaal.
The British did not try to stop the Trekboers from moving away from the Cape. The Trekboers functioned as pioneers, opening up the interior for those who followed, the British extended their control outwards from the Cape along the coast toward the east annexing Natal in 1843; the Trekboers were farmers extending their range and territory with no overall agenda. The formal abolition of slavery in the British Empire in 1834 led to more organised groups of Boer settlers attempting to escape British rule, some travelling as far north as modern-day Mozambique. Indeed, the British subsequently acknowledged two new Boer Republics in a pair of treaties: the Sand River Convention of 1852 recognised the independence of the Transvaal Republic, the Bloemfontein Convention of 1854 recognised the independence of the Orange Free State. However, British colonial expansion, from the 1830s, featured skirmishes and wars against both Boers and native African tribes for most of the remainder of the century; the discovery of diamonds in 1867 near the Vaal River, some 550 miles northeast of Cape Town, ended the isolation of the Boers in the interior and changed South African history.
The discovery triggered a diamond rush that attracted people from all over the world, turning Kimberley into a town of 50,000 within five years and drawing the attention of British imperial interests. In the 1870s the British annexed West Griqualand, site of the Kimberley diamond-discoveries. In 1875 the Earl of Carnarvon, the British Colonial Secretary, in an attempt to extend British influence, approached the Orange Free State and the Transvaal Republic and tried to organise a federation of the British and Boer territories modelled on the 1867 federation of the French and English provinces of Canada; however the cultural and historical context differed and the Boer leaders turned him down. Successive British annexations, in particular the annexation of West Griqualand, caused a climate of simmering unease in the Boer republics. There were other more pressing concerns for the Boer Republics; the two territories of the Orange Free State and the Transvaal were squeezed between the British-ruled Cape Colony to the south and west, Zululand to the east and Matabeleland and Bechuan
15th The King's Hussars
The 15th The King's Hussars was a cavalry regiment in the British Army. First raised in 1759, it saw service over two centuries, including the First World War, before being amalgamated with the 19th Royal Hussars into the 15th/19th The King's Royal Hussars in 1922; the regiment was raised in the London area by George Augustus Eliott, 1st Baron Heathfield as Elliots Light Horse as the first of the new regiments of light dragoons in 1759. It was renamed the 15th Regiment of Dragoons in 1760; the regiment landed in Bremen in June 1760 for service in the Seven Years' War. The regiment were responsible for the victory, suffering 125 of the 186 allied casualties at the Battle of Emsdorf in July 1760. Lieutenant Colonel William Erskine, commanding the regiment, presented King George III with 16 colours captured by his regiment after the battle. During the battle the French commander, Major-General Christian-Sigismund von Glaubitz, was taken prisoner; the regiment charged the French rear guard twice at the Battle of Wilhelmsthal in June 1762 and returned home in July 1763.
In 1766 it was renamed for King George III as the 1st Regiment of Light Dragoons, the number being an attempt to create a new numbering system for the light dragoon regiments. However, the old system was re-established, with the regiment returning as the 15th Regiment of Dragoons in 1769; the regiment landed at Ostend in May 1793 for service in the Flanders Campaign and fought at the Battle of Famars in May 1793. It formed part of the besieging force at the Siege of Valenciennes in June 1793 and formed part of the covering force at the Siege of Dunkirk in August 1793 and at the Siege of Landrecies in April 1794, it undertook successful charges at the Battle of Villers-en-Cauchies in April 1794 and at the Battle of Willems in May 1794 and was present, but not engaged, at the Battle of Tournay in May 1794. The regiment returned to England in December 1795 and was next in action at the Battle of Alkmaar in October 1799 during the Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland; the regiment was reconstituted as a hussar regiment in 1807 as the 15th Regiment of Dragoons.
It landed at Corunna in November 1808 for service in the Peninsular War and defeated two regiments of French cavalry at the Battle of Sahagún in December 1808. At the battle two French lieutenant colonels were captured and the French 1st Provisional Chasseurs à cheval, who lost many men captured, ceased to exist as a viable regiment. However, the commanding officer of the 15th Hussars, Colonel Colquhoun Grant, was wounded in the battle; the regiment embarked at Corunna for their journey home in January 1809. The regiment were ordered to support Sir Arthur Wellesley's Army on the Iberian Peninsula and landed at Lisbon in February 1813, it took part in the Battle of Morales in June 1813 and the Battle of Vitoria in the month. It pursued the French Army into France and supported the infantry at the Battle of Orthez in February 1814 and at the Battle of Toulouse in April 1814, it returned to England in July 1814. The regiment was recalled for the Hundred Days and landed at Ostend in May 1815: it took part in a charge at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815 and returned to England in May 1816.
The regiment played a pivotal role in the notorious Peterloo Massacre in August 1819, when a 60,000 strong crowd calling for democratic reform were charged by the Yeomanry. Panic from the crowd was interpreted as an attack on the Yeomanry and the Hussars were ordered in; the charge resulted in as many as 600 injured. The title of the regiment was simplified in 1861 to the 15th Hussars, it was stationed in Ireland between July 1824 and May 1827 and between April 1834 and May 1837. It was stationed in India between spring 1840 and 1854; the regiment returned to India in 1867 and moved on to Afghanistan in 1878 for service in the Second Anglo-Afghan War before being deployed to South Africa in January 1881 for service in the First Boer War. The regiment, stationed at Longmoor at the start of the First World War, landed at Rouen in France on 18 August 1914: the squadrons were attached to different infantry divisions to form the divisional reconnaissance element: A Squadron was attached to 3rd Division, B Squadron was attached to 2nd Division and C Squadron was attached to 1st Division.
On 14 April 1915, the squadrons returned to regimental control and the regiment was placed under the command of the 9th Cavalry Brigade in the 1st Cavalry Division. The regiment remained on the Western Front throughout the war, it participated in most of the major actions. They were used as dismounted troops and served as infantry. On 11 November 1918, orders were received that the 1st Cavalry Division would lead the advance of the Second Army into Germany, by 6 December 1918, having passed through Namur, the division secured the Rhine bridgehead at Cologne. After service in the First World War, the regiment, retitled as the 15th The King's Hussars in 1921 was amalgamated with the 19th Royal Hussars into the 15th/19th The King's Royal Hussars in 1922; the regimental collection is held by the Discovery Museum in Newcastle upon Tyne. The regiment was awarded the following battle honours: Early wars: Emsdorf, Villers-en-Cauchies, Egmont-op-Zee, Vittoria, Waterloo, Afghanistan 1878-80 The Great War: Mons, Retreat from Mons, Marne 1914, Aisne 1914, Ypres 1914'15, Langemarck 1914, Nonne Bosschen, Bellewaarde, Somme 1916'18, Flers-Courcelette, Cambrai 1917'18, St. Quentin, Rosières, Albert 1918, Bapaume 1918, Hindenburg Line, St. Quentin Canal, Pursuit to Mons, France and
Raid on the Medway
The Raid on the Medway, during the Second Anglo-Dutch War in June 1667, was a successful attack conducted by the Dutch navy on English battleships at a time when most were unmanned and unarmed, laid up in the fleet anchorages off Chatham Dockyard and Gillingham in the county of Kent. At the time, the fortress of Upnor Castle and a barrier chain called the "Gillingham Line" were supposed to protect the English ships; the Dutch, under nominal command of Willem Joseph van Ghent and Lieutenant-Admiral Michiel de Ruyter, over several days bombarded and captured the town of Sheerness, sailed up the Thames estuary to Gravesend sailed into the River Medway to Chatham and Gillingham, where they engaged fortifications with cannon fire, burned or captured three capital ships and ten more ships of the line, captured and towed away the flagship of the English fleet, HMS Royal Charles. Politically, the raid was disastrous for King Charles' war plans and led to a quick end to the war and a favourable peace for the Dutch.
It was one of the worst defeats in the Royal Navy's history, one of the worst suffered by the British military. Horace George Franks called it the "most serious defeat it has had in its home waters." In 1667 Charles II's active fleet was in a reduced state due to recent expenditure restrictions, with the remaining "big ships" laid up. The Dutch seized this opportunity to attack the English, they had made earlier plans for such an attack in 1666 after the Four Days Battle but were prevented from carrying them out by their defeat in the St James's Day Battle. The mastermind behind the plan was the leading Dutch politician Grand Pensionary Johan de Witt, his brother Cornelis de Witt accompanied the fleet to supervise. Peace negotiations had been in progress at Breda since March, but Charles had been procrastinating over the signing of peace, hoping to improve his position through secret French assistance. Based on these assumptions De Witt thought it best to end the war with a clear victory, thereby ensuring a more advantageous settlement for the Dutch Republic.
Most Dutch flag officers had strong doubts about the feasibility of such a daring attack, fearing the treacherous shoals in the Thames estuary, but they obeyed orders nevertheless. The Dutch made use of two English pilots who had defected, one a dissenter named Robert Holland, the other a smuggler who had fled English justice. On 17 May the squadron of the Admiralty of Rotterdam with De Ruyter sailed to the Texel to join those of Amsterdam and the Northern Quarter. Hearing that the squadron of Frisia was not yet ready because of recruiting problems, he left for the Schooneveld off the Dutch coast to join the squadron of Zealand that, suffered from similar problems. De Ruyter departed for the Thames on 4 June with 62 frigates or ships-of-the-line, about fifteen lighter ships and twelve fireships, when the wind turned to the east; the fleet was reorganised into three squadrons: the first was commanded by De Ruyter himself, with as Vice-Admiral Johan de Liefde and Rear-Admiral Jan Jansse van Nes.
The third squadron thus had a second set of commanders. Baron Van Ghent was in fact the real commander of the expedition and had done all the operational planning, as he had been the former commander of the Dutch Marine Corps that now was headed by the Englishman Colonel Thomas Dolman. On 6 June a fog bank was blown away and revealed the Dutch task force, sailing into the mouth of the Thames. On 7 June Cornelis de Witt revealed his secret instructions from the States General, written on 20 May, in the presence of all commanders. There were so many objections, while De Ruyter's only substantial contribution to the discussion was "bevelen zijn bevelen", that Cornelis, after retiring to his cabin late in the night, wrote in his daily report he did not feel at all sure that he would be obeyed; the next day it transpired however. That day an attempt was made to capture a fleet of twenty English merchantmen seen higher up the Thames in the direction of London, but this failed as these fled to the west, beyond Gravesend.
The attack caught the English unawares. No serious preparations had been made for such an eventuality, although there had been ample warning from the extensive English spy network. Most frigates were assembled in squadrons at Harwich and in Scotland, leaving the London area to be protected by only a small number of active ships, most of them prizes taken earlier in the war from the Dutch; as a further measure of economy, on 24 March the Duke of York had ordered the discharge of most of the crews of the prize vessels, leaving only three guard ships at the Medway.
Battle of Singapore
The Battle of Singapore known as the Fall of Singapore, was fought in the South-East Asian theatre of World War II when the Empire of Japan invaded the British stronghold of Singapore—nicknamed the "Gibraltar of the East". Singapore was the major British military base in South-East Asia and was the key to British imperial interwar defence planning for South-East Asia and the South-West Pacific; the fighting in Singapore lasted from 8 to 15 February 1942, after the two months during which Japanese forces had advanced down the Malayan Peninsula. The campaign, including the final battle, was a decisive Japanese victory, resulting in the Japanese capture of Singapore and the largest British surrender in history. About 80,000 British and Australian troops in Singapore became prisoners of war, joining 50,000 taken by the Japanese in the earlier Malayan Campaign; the British prime minister, Winston Churchill, called it the "worst disaster" in British military history. During 1940 and 1941, the Allies had imposed a trade embargo on Japan in response to its continued campaigns in China and its occupation of French Indochina.
The basic plan for taking Singapore was worked out in July 1940. Intelligence gained in late 1940 – early 1941 did not alter the basic plan, but confirmed it in the minds of Japanese decision makers. On 11 November 1940, the German raider Atlantis captured the British steamer Automedon in the Indian Ocean, carrying papers meant for Air Marshal Sir Robert Brooke-Popham, the British commander in the Far East, which included much information about the weakness of the Singapore base. In December 1940, the Germans handed over copies of the papers to the Japanese; the Japanese had broken the British Army's codes and in January 1941, the Second Department of the Imperial Army had interpreted and read a message from Singapore to London complaining in much detail about the weak state of "Fortress Singapore", a message, so frank in its admission of weakness that the Japanese at first suspected it was a British plant, believing that no officer would be so open in admitting weaknesses to his superiors, only believed it was genuine after cross-checking the message with the Automedon papers.
As Japan's oil reserves were depleted by the ongoing military operations in China as well as industrial consumption, in the latter half of 1941, the Japanese began preparing a military response to secure vital resources if diplomatic efforts to resolve the situation failed. As a part of this process, the Japanese planners determined a broad scheme of manoeuvre that incorporated simultaneous attacks on the territories of Britain, The Netherlands and the United States; this would see landings in Malaya and Hong Kong as part of a general move south to secure Singapore, connected to Malaya by the Johor–Singapore Causeway, an invasion of the oil-rich area of Borneo and Java in the Dutch East Indies. In addition, strikes would be made against the United States naval fleet at Pearl Harbor, as well as landings in the Philippines, attacks on Guam, Wake Island and the Gilbert Islands. Following these attacks, a period of consolidation was planned, after which the Japanese planners intended to build up the defences of the territory, captured by establishing a strong perimeter around it stretching from the India–Burma frontier through to Wake Island, traversing Malaya, the Dutch East Indies, New Guinea and New Britain, the Bismarck Archipelago, the Marshall and Gilbert Islands.
This perimeter would be used to block Allied attempts to regain the lost territory and defeat their will to fight. The Japanese 25th Army invaded from Indochina, moving into northern Malaya and Thailand by amphibious assault on 8 December 1941; this was simultaneous with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which precipitated the United States entry into the war. Thailand resisted, but soon had to yield; the Japanese proceeded overland across the Thai–Malayan border to attack Malaya. At this time, the Japanese began bombing strategic sites in Singapore; the Japanese 25th Army was resisted in northern Malaya by III Corps of the British Indian Army. Although the 25th Army was outnumbered by Allied forces in Malaya and Singapore, the Allies did not take the initiative with their forces, while Japanese commanders concentrated their forces; the Japanese were superior in close air support, armour, co-ordination and experience. While conventional British military thinking was that the Japanese forces were inferior, characterised the Malayan jungles as "impassable", the Japanese were able to use it to their advantage to outflank hastily established defensive lines.
Prior to the Battle of Singapore the most resistance was met at the Battle of Muar, which involved the Australian 8th Division and the Indian 45th Brigade, as the British troops left in the city of Singapore were garrison troops. At the start of the campaign, the Allied forces had only 164 first-line aircraft on hand in Malaya and Singapore, the only fighter type was the obsolete Brewster 339E Buffalo; these aircraft were operated by two Royal Australian Air Force, two Royal Air Force, one Royal New Zealand Air Force squadron. Major shortcomings included a slow rate of climb and the aircraft's fuel system which required the pilot to hand pump fuel if flying above 6,000 feet. In contrast, the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force was more numerous and better trained than the second-hand assortment of untrained pilots and inferior allied equipment remaining in Malaya and Singapore, their fighter aircraft were superior to the Allied fighters, which helped the Japanese to gain air supremacy. Although outnumbered and outclassed, the Buffalos were able to provide some resistance
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was established by the Acts of Union 1800, which merged the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom, having financed the European coalition that defeated France during the Napoleonic Wars, developed a large Royal Navy that enabled the British Empire to become the foremost world power for the next century; the Crimean War with Russia and the Boer wars were small operations in a peaceful century. Rapid industrialisation that began in the decades prior to the state's formation continued up until the mid-19th century; the Great Irish Famine, exacerbated by government inaction in the mid-19th century, led to demographic collapse in much of Ireland and increased calls for Irish land reform. The 19th century was an era of rapid economic modernisation and growth of industry and finance, in which Britain dominated the world economy. Outward migration was heavy to the United States; the empire was expanded into much of South Asia. The Colonial Office and India Office ruled through a small number of administrators who managed the units of the empire locally, while democratic institutions began to develop.
British India, by far the most important overseas possession, saw a short-lived revolt in 1857. In overseas policy, the central policy was free trade, which enabled British and Irish financiers and merchants to operate in many otherwise independent countries, as in South America. London formed no permanent military alliances until the early 20th century, when it began to cooperate with Japan and Russia, moved closer to the United States. Growing desire for Irish self-governance led to the Irish War of Independence, which resulted in most of Ireland seceding from the Union and forming the Irish Free State in 1922. Northern Ireland remained part of the Union, the state was renamed to the current "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" in 1927; the modern-day United Kingdom is the same country as the one from this period—a direct continuation of what remained after the secession—not an new successor state. A brief period of limited independence for Ireland came to an end following the Irish Rebellion of 1798, which occurred during the British war with revolutionary France.
The British government's fear of an independent Ireland siding against them with the French resulted in the decision to unite the two countries. This was brought about by legislation in the parliaments of both kingdoms and came into effect on 1 January 1801; the Irish had been led to believe by the British that their loss of legislative independence would be compensated with Catholic emancipation, that is, by the removal of civil disabilities placed upon Roman Catholics in both Great Britain and Ireland. However, King George III was bitterly opposed to any such Emancipation and succeeded in defeating his government's attempts to introduce it. During the War of the Second Coalition, Britain occupied most of the French and Dutch overseas possessions, the Netherlands having become a satellite state of France in 1796, but tropical diseases claimed the lives of over 40,000 troops; when the Treaty of Amiens ended the war, Britain agreed to return most of the territories it had seized. The peace settlement was in effect only a ceasefire, Napoleon continued to provoke the British by attempting a trade embargo on the country and by occupying the city of Hanover, capital of the Electorate, a German-speaking duchy, in a personal union with the United Kingdom.
In May 1803, war was declared again. Napoleon's plans to invade Great Britain failed, chiefly due to the inferiority of his navy, in 1805 a Royal Navy fleet led by Nelson decisively defeated the French and Spanish at Trafalgar, the last significant naval action of the Napoleonic Wars. In 1806, Napoleon issued the series of Berlin Decrees, which brought into effect the Continental System; this policy aimed to eliminate the threat from the British by closing French-controlled territory to foreign trade. The British Army remained a minimal threat to France. Although the Royal Navy disrupted France's extra-continental trade—both by seizing and threatening French shipping and by seizing French colonial possessions—it could do nothing about France's trade with the major continental economies and posed little threat to French territory in Europe. France's population and agricultural capacity far outstripped that of the British Isles, but it was smaller in terms of industry, mercantile marine and naval strength.
Napoleon expected that cutting Britain off from the European mainland would end its economic hegemony. On the contrary Britain possessed the greatest industrial capacity in the world, its mastery of the seas allowed it to build up considerable economic strength through trade to its possessions and the United States; the Spanish uprising in 1808 at last permitted Britain to gain a foothold on the Continent. The Duke of Wellington pushed the French out of Spain, in early 1814, as Napoleon was being driven back in the east by the Prussians and Russians, Wellington invaded southern France. After Napoleon's surrender and exile to the island of Elba, peace appeared to have returned. Napoleon reappeared in 1815; the Allies united and the armies of Wellington and Blücher defeated Napoleon once and for all at Waterloo. To defeat France, Britain put heavy pressure on the Americans