The British colonies, which contributed the lion’s share of Britain’s geographical expansion during the nineteenth century, also provided the largest material contribution to Britain’s industrialization, and much-needed ecological relief (in the form of land), through trade. Nevertheless, not all types of colonialism mattered equally. The biggest land relief came from the settler colonies in British North America and Australasia. The slave-based colonies were not as instrumental in alleviating Britain’s land constraints as the nineteenth century progressed.

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