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QUEEN VICTORIA’S EMPIRE: The Moral Crusade/The Scramble for Africa
Airdate: 2012-06-26

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“The Moral Crusade”: By 1861, Britain is the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth. However, the death of Prince Albert weakens Victoria, and many of his political ideals fade from importance. David Livingstone’s explorations of the African interior captivate the British public. Disraeli and Gladstone battle for control of the British government and debate the course of the empire. The purchase of the Suez Canal solidifies British presence in the Middle East, igniting a stampede for the colonization of Africa.
“The Scramble for Africa”: The Suez Canal is threatened by a holy war in the Sudan, and General Charles Gordon, killed by the rebels, becomes an “imperial martyr.” Cecil Rhodes prospects diamond deposits in southern Africa and asserts British control in the region. However, as Victoria celebrates her Diamond Jubilee, the empire is on the verge of its darkest hours. The Boer War leads to devastating losses and a reassessment of British purpose. Finally, in 1901, the death of Queen Victoria marks the end of an extraordinary era.