One extraordinary illustration of the breadth and diversity of the British empire is the fact that the first Black man to be awarded the Victoria Cross was a Canadian child of former American slaves fighting in India. The History Guy recalls a story of adventure in the Age of Empire.
Field Marshal Sir Evelyn Wood was the type of officer upon whom the growth and maintenance of the British Empire depended. Nearly suicidally brave, he distinguished himself in numerous conflicts of the Victorian era, despite chronically suffering “face-ache.” From being stepped on by a giraffe to being bitten by a horse and a literal nail in his heart, Sir Evelyn Wood persevered to become one of the most famous officers of his era.
Most Americans don’t seem to realize that the American Revolution sparked a broader war that engulfed the world, not just in North America, but in Europe, the Caribbean, Africa, India, and the island of Jersey. The 1781 Battle of Jersey only lasted about half an hour, but it represented the breadth of the empire that Britain had to protect. The competing needs of the empire helped America win its independence.