The REAL British Invasion: U.K. has invaded 90 percent of the world's countries
Of the 200 countries in the world, only 22 have never been invaded by British forces
Britain remains a formidable military force today, but it will never reach the heights it enjoyed in centuries past. A new study has shown that Britain has invaded a wide majority of the world's nation, a substantial 90 percent.
Among the many British military incursions highlighted in a new book is that of Iceland in 1940 after the neutral nation refused to enter the war on the Allies' side. The British invasion force, of 745 marines met with strong protest from the Iceland government - but was not met by any resistance.
"All the Countries We've Ever Invaded: And the Few We Never Got Round To," a new book comes against the background of maps which show that at its height the Empire ruled over almost a quarter of the world's population.
To research his findings, the book's author Stuart Laycock worked his way around the countries on the globe alphabetically to see if British forces had ever strayed into each territory. Only a very small proportion of his total list of invaded countries made up formal dominions of the Empire.
The remainder of the countries were included if a military incursion was achieved through force, the threat of force or by negotiation or payment.
British pirates, privateers and armed explorers were included in the book if they were found acting on the behalf or approval of the government.
Many countries that once formed part of the Spanish empire and seem to have little historical connection with the U.K., such as Costa Rica, Ecuador and El Salvador, made the list because of the repeated raids they suffered from state-sanctioned British sailors.
The earliest known invasion by British forces was an incursion into Gaul, northern France, at the end of the second century.
Clodius Albinus led an army, thought to include many Britons, across the Channel in an attempt to seize the imperial throne. The force was defeated in 197AD at Lyon.
Other military incursions highlighted in the book include that of Iceland in 1940 after the neutral nation refused to enter the war on the Allies' side.
The British invasion force, of 745 marines met with strong protest from the Iceland government - but was not met by any resistance.
Laycock, who previously published books on Roman history, began the two-year research after being asked by his 11-year-old son how many countries the British had invaded.
"I was absolutely staggered when I reached the total," he said. "I like to think I have a relatively good general knowledge, but there are places where it hadn't occurred to me that these things had ever happened. It shocked me.
"On one level, for the British, it is quite amazing and quite humbling, that this is all part of our history, but clearly there are parts of our history that we are less proud of. The book is not intended as any kind of moral judgment on our history or our empire. It is meant as a bit of fun."
The only other nation which has achieved anything approaching the British total -- is France - which also holds the record for having endured the most British invasions.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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