Century of progress
Britain's development between 1714 and 1837 had an important international and military dimension. An empire based on commerce, sea power and naval dominance consolidated British overseas settler societies.
At the beginning of the 18th century, Britain possessed colonies along the eastern seaboard of North America, numerous sugar islands in the Caribbean and a foothold in Bengal. Georgia became a British colony in 1732. Britain acquired the Ceded Islands in 1763.
Despite the disastrous loss of the 13 North American colonies in the American War of Independence in 1783, Britain subsequently acquired settlements in New South Wales, Sierra Leone, Trinidad, Demerara, Mauritius and the Cape Colony. She also extended her hold over Bengal and Madras.