Biggest British Empire Countries

Name the modern-day countries with the most territory that was part of the British Empire.
Based mostly on this map
Not including territory held for less than 10 years
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: December 15, 2019
First submittedMarch 6, 2017
Times taken29,023
Rating4.27
2:30
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%
km2
Country
100
10,000,000
Canada
100
7,700,000
Australia
100
3,200,000
India
25
2,400,000
United States
100
1,900,000
Sudan
100
1,200,000
South Africa
100
1,000,000
Egypt
%
km2
Country
100
950,000
Tanzania
100
920,000
Nigeria
100
890,000
Pakistan
100
830,000
Namibia
100
750,000
Zambia
100
680,000
Myanmar
100
650,000
Afghanistan
+2
Level 69
Mar 6, 2017
Only a quarter of the USA was part of the British Empire? I thought it was more. I know some was under French control and a fair bit was still owned/controlled by native Americans, but that 25% figure surprised me.
+5
Level 63
Mar 7, 2017
If I'm not mistaken the 25% refer to the area in km² today. So it may seem like a small number.
+8
Level 67
Mar 7, 2017
well, Alaska was russian controlled, Florida and a very big part of the south west were spanish/mexican, france had Louisiana which was far more then just the state of Louisiana. basically england only controlled new england, most of the eastcoast, the south minus louisiana and florida and the big lakes
+4
Level 70
Mar 7, 2017
Britain not just England
+4
Level 82
Nov 28, 2019
If you think Wales and Scotland were calling the shots against England pre-1781, that's funny.
+2
Level 52
Jun 24, 2020
English possessions in what is today the USA were very small. Nowhere near the 25% the British Empire eventually controlled. I'm not sure about Wales but Scotland's contribution to the empire was enormous. To downplay other nations involvement is disingenuous. Not only does it reek of English superiority, but it also absolves Scotland of responsibilities committed by the Empire.
+2
Level 19
Jun 23, 2020
I'm surprised it was anywhere near as high as 25% of the modern day country. Would have guessed it was closer to around 15%. It was the 13 colonies after all, which is a quarter the number of states that currently exist. Factor in how all those east cost states are much smaller than west and central ones and I'm still surprised the British territories took up as much as 25%.
+3
Level 74
Mar 6, 2017
Amazing how the UK itself is way smaller than all of these countries.
+3
Level 82
Jun 18, 2017
Yes, the UK itself was my first guess. Didn't realize the British Empire controlled such large portions of so many other countries. For those wondering, the UK is 242,500 sq km.
+2
Level 63
Sep 9, 2017
That's why Thomas Paine wrote "Common Sense" in the first place
+1
Level 65
Mar 7, 2017
I guess Pink Floyd was wrong.
+4
Level 57
Mar 21, 2017
just wanna know, when did Britain controlled 100% Afghanistan?
+1
Level 52
Jun 16, 2017
From what Wikipedia has told me Afghanistan was a British Protectorate from 1879-1919.
+3
Level 65
Sep 29, 2018
Did someone tell the Afghans about it. If I recall they handed the Brits one of their worst defeats sometime in the 1830s.
+4
Level 68
May 23, 2020
A lot happened between the 1830s and 1879.
+5
Level 39
Apr 18, 2017
Quizmaster, I believe Afghanistan never became part of the British empire, it was a buffer state between russians and the british.
+6
Level 70
Jun 16, 2017
Yeah; that map QM used as a source is misleading. PARTS of Afghanistan were territory of the Empire, but only small bits, mostly areas around their military bases. They never controlled the whole country.
+9
Level 71
Sep 9, 2017
Neither have the Afghanis.
+3
Level 70
Jun 16, 2017
The status of the "white dominions" was fuzzy, but I think that South Africa's independent status had reached approximately that of Canada's by the end of WWI. And then, I think, German South-West Africa (Namibia) was transferred directly to South Africa under the mandate system. Could be wrong.
+1
Level 58
Jun 16, 2017
Yes, South Africa basicly governed it after 1918. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Namibia
+4
Level 29
Jun 12, 2018
Yes, Namibia was not under British rule as SA was already a dominion when the mandate over the former German South-West Africa was given to it. It shouldn't count imo.
+1
Level 47
Jun 16, 2017
Good quiz, master.
+1
Level 38
Jun 17, 2017
I never knew Britain once ruled the whole of the Canadian territory? I thought parts were once part of the French empire, for example Quebec, hence why French is an official language there
+9
Level 43
Jun 19, 2017
French people were the original settlers to Canada, the British came after and conquered it from the French. The highest concentration of french people at the time of British colonization were in Quebec and Acadia (what's now New Brunswick and parts of Nova Scotia). Quebec fiercely defended their French culture and resisted assimilation for many years and when Canada became an independent country, French was given official status to accommodate the Quebeckers

I'm skipping quite a few steps in there but that's the gist of what happened. Source: Canadian with French heritage.

+1
Level 70
Jun 23, 2020
Well, the British claimed sovereignty over the whole area, but had transferred a huge portion (Rupertsland) to the Hudson Bay Company in 1670, without ever having "ruled" any of it. The company held it until it was sold to the government of Canada in 1869. So, it's fuzzy, like so much else about sovereignty.
+1
Level 50
Jun 23, 2020
In theory, you could even argue that most of Arctic Canada were only claimed but never controlled by anyone before Canada's independence.
+1
Level 44
Sep 29, 2017
The one with India is incorrect. Parts of India like Goa were part of Portugal, while Pondicherry French, Sikkim was an independent Buddhist Kingdom like Bhutan.
+6
Level 16
Aug 16, 2019
I believe (I may be mistaken) that Sikkim was eventually under British rule, and my guess about the other European colonies is that they are very small, so that the percentage is closer to 100%
+1
Level 57
Jun 25, 2020
I wouldn't say that. The parts of Pondicherry, Chandannagar, Goa et cetera are really very small... So yeah maybe UK didn't controlled 100% of India but it had nearly 99% of it
+2
Level 55
Mar 24, 2018
Namibia was never a British Colony. There were some British settlements but that's all.
+2
Level 65
Sep 29, 2018
If it was anyone's colony, it was the Germans. But I think that South Africa overran the place in 1914 and it became a mandate of South Africa.
+1
Level 67
Mar 27, 2020
Namibia with part of the British Empire, being a South African mandate.
+1
Level 37
Jun 1, 2020
I Agree. In fact, It was a german colony.
+3
Level 37
Jun 1, 2020
Quizmaster, If you haven't realised. The map which you told us in you caveat doesn't say Afghanistan in it.
+3
Level 83
Jun 23, 2020
Yeah it does. What map were you looking at?
+1
Level 61
Jun 23, 2020
Can we check the numbers on Libya after ww2 which was french and British controlled?
+2
Level 53
Jun 23, 2020
What's most upsetting as a Brit is that if we hadn't treated the inhabitants of those countries so appallingly we might still have the majority of those countries.There's a lesson for all empire builders right there (*cough* Russia, *cough* China)
+1
Level 20
Jun 23, 2020
How the heck did I forget USA??
+1
Level 47
Jul 3, 2020
excellent quiz.