Militarisation, mobility and the residencies of power
in The British Empire through buildings
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The extension of empire involved the militarisation of landscapes everywhere. Fortresses of various types became the principal expression of the imperial presence on almost every continent, notably in North America, India (already a country of indigenous forts) and elsewhere in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean islands. Forts came to represent the baleful horrors of the slave trade and also the struggle among European imperial powers for conquest and economic gain. But empire always illustrated the tension between stasis and mobility. Forts were replaced by major military barracks, while the supreme illustration of mobility lay in the extensive use of tents, by the military, administrators and in early settlements. Tents were also vital in ceremonial and diplomacy, particularly in India. Government houses eventually became the major expression of the dispersal of Crown authority since they were, in effect, royal residences (for the representatives of the monarch), created everywhere and performing a whole range of vital functions in diplomacy and the expression of power.

The British Empire through buildings

Structure, function and meaning

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