David Killingray
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Guardians of empire
in Guardians of empire
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Recruitment policies, ethnic divisions and new foci of loyalty ensured that in most colonies there would always be men ready to enlist as guardians of Empire. Imperial authority rested ultimately on military power and the ability of Empire to mobilize its metropolitan and colonial armed forces. The majority of recruits for colonial armies came from specific ethnic groups and peoples whom the Europeans perceived as 'martial races'. Colonial police forces, which often began life as paramilitary units, invariably divided into separate military and civilian bodies. In the nineteenth century, the British Empire was based on the idea that metropolitan control over white settler colonies would eventually be surrendered to local rule. Throughout the colonial empires, police surveillance increased as nationalist activity grew, first in the Asian colonies and then in Africa.

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Guardians of empire

The armed forces of the colonial powers c. 1700–1964


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