The few thousands

The British Empire is the exercise of the authority and legal right of the British Crown and Government over sundry territories situated in all parts of the globe, and over the various states, governments, peoples, nations, tribes, and settlers located therein

The extent of this Empire can be expressed either in terms of territory or in the number of its inhabitants. It comprises an area of approximately 13½ million square miles which is populated by some 460 millions of human beings. These are drawn from all the principal sub-divisions of the human race:—white, black, red and yellow, and (as its name indicates) the ultimate dominion over this vast mass is exercised in theory and practice solely by the British with their white colonial kinsmen. These number a little more than the odd 60 millions; so that on the most favourable view 400 millions of variously coloured peoples are subjected beneath the rule of 60 millions—mostly living at other ends of the earth.

This view, however, misrepresents the actual state of affairs completely. The overwhelming majority of the whites are congregated in a few main centres: 47 millions (approximately) in the British Islands, and the bulk of the remainder in Canada, Australia and South Africa. The greater part of the “coloured” races therefore are ruled in practice by the few thousands of white persons who form part of the official machinery of the British State.

(source)

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