⒈ British Colonies Influence

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British Colonies Influence

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How did The British Empire rule the World?

Being separated from the mother country by thousands of miles of ocean during the age of sail, the North American colonists felt the hand of government very lightly. Virginia led the way in establishing a governance system that eventually applied to all the American colonies. The first Virginia assembly met in , and it continued to function intermittently until Charles I formally granted the Virginia colony the right to have an assembly in In those early colonies where the struggle for survival was paramount, the details of governance were not a high priority. Over time, however, systems of government for the colonies developed more formal structures, though they varied significantly because there was no set procedure for managing colonies in the British government system.

At the head of each colony was a governor, either a proprietary governor or a crown governor appointed by the King or Queen. The proprietary colonies were established under charters from the Crown, and the companies appointed the governors. In the Crown colonies the governors were appointed by the King or Queen and were responsible to the monarch for governing the colonists. The governors who actually resided in the colonies, or their selected deputy or lieutenant governors, although responsible to the crown, were nevertheless dependent upon the goodwill of colonists for pay, support, friendship, and so on.

Thus they often found themselves in a middle position where sensitivity to the needs of the colonists might clash with responsibility to the King. Governors held power over various judicial officers, sheriffs, and other officials, all of whom were royal agents who tended to support the Crown. Although some governed well, the colonial governors were not a particularly impressive lot. Aristocrats with political ambitions competing for prestigious posts within the government would not have considered an appointment as a colonial governor to be a plum assignment.

Furthermore, they were subject to the will of the Crown, but they had few resources with which to enforce the mandates they received. Resistance to Royal policies from the colonists, often expressed through their assemblies, could be difficult for governors to resolve. Colonial assemblies were generally elected bodies, with members coming from the wealthy, landed classes. They often served for long periods. Because the colonial assemblies were quasi-democratic in the colonies most white males who were free from indentures could vote , officials could not act without reference to public opinion. The assemblies held the purse strings of the government, however, and the governor could not rule without reference to their wishes.

The assemblies could pass laws which had to be signed by the governor and sent to the king for approval. The process could be time-consuming, as bills had to be sent to England, where they might languish for weeks before being reviewed. British monarchs overturned about five percent of colonial legislation—not much, but it was a constant irritant. Often vetoed laws would be immediately re-passed in slightly different form, and the whole process would begin again, and colonists soon learned to take advantage of loopholes in the system.

As a result, the colonists got in the habit of doing things their own way—often as a result of royal neglect. Theoretically the legislatures did not have much power, as everything they did was subject to review by the crown, but they dominated nearly every colony. As the colonial era moved closer to the Revolution, tension between the colonies and Parliament tended to grow more rapidly. The court system developed more slowly, and it was not really until the U. Supreme Court was created by the Constitution that the governmental triad of executive, legislative, and judicial branches moved toward the coequal powers that we now take for granted. The Economic System.

As we have noted elsewhere, the the economic fortunes of the colonies were heavily controlled by King and Parliament within the context of British Mercantilism. Governing the Empire according to mercantilist principles was supposed to lraise the level of British prosperity with the notion that a rising tide lifts all boats. In reality, however, the interests and needs of British subjects located on English soil had the highest priority, so that when it was deemed practical, the interest of the colonies were subordinated to those of the mother country.

And although the colonists sometimes objected to various practices incorporated into the navigation acts that restricted colonial trade, they did not question the theory that the Empire had the right to be governed as its leaders saw fit. The Colonial Governments. Government in the American colonies starting with the early days of settlement evolved slowly. In the first settlements such as Jamestown and Plymouth, the numbers of inhabitants were so small that no organized government was necessary.

In those early colonial structures, government often took the form of a strong leader, a man like William Bradford, John Winthrop or John Smith, perhaps aided by a few trusted advisors. Naturally in the uncertain conditions in which they lived, an iron hand would not have been useful. Thus consent of the governed was implied, if not actually stated. The Mayflower Compact , however, an extraordinary document in that it laid out for the first time a governmental structure based on a written, signed document, was an exception. In general, however, governments took various shapes as the colony grew according to the origin of their legal status, which was based on the terms of their charter.

In the East Indies, British and Dutch merchants continued to compete in spices and textiles. With textiles becoming the larger trade, by , in terms of sales, the British company had overtaken the Dutch. The signing of the Treaty of Paris of had important consequences for the future of the British Empire. In North America, France's future as a colonial power effectively ended with the recognition of British claims to Rupert's Land, [41] and the ceding of New France to Britain leaving a sizeable French-speaking population under British control and Louisiana to Spain. Spain ceded Florida to Britain. Along with its victory over France in India, the Seven Years' War therefore left Britain as the world's most powerful maritime power.

During the s and early s, relations between the Thirteen Colonies and Britain became increasingly strained, primarily because of resentment of the British Parliament's attempts to govern and tax American colonists without their consent. The American Revolution began with a rejection of Parliamentary authority and moves towards self-government. In response, Britain sent troops to reimpose direct rule, leading to the outbreak of war in The following year, in , the United States declared independence.

The entry of French and Spanish forces into the war tipped the military balance in the Americans' favour and after a decisive defeat at Yorktown in , Britain began negotiating peace terms. American independence was acknowledged at the Peace of Paris in The loss of such a large portion of British America , at the time Britain's most populous overseas possession, is seen by some historians as the event defining the transition between the "first" and "second" empires, [61] in which Britain shifted its attention away from the Americas to Asia, the Pacific and later Africa.

Adam Smith 's Wealth of Nations , published in , had argued that colonies were redundant, and that free trade should replace the old mercantilist policies that had characterised the first period of colonial expansion, dating back to the protectionism of Spain and Portugal. The war to the south influenced British policy in Canada, where between 40, and , [65] defeated Loyalists had migrated from the new United States following independence. Tensions between Britain and the United States escalated again during the Napoleonic Wars , as Britain tried to cut off American trade with France and boarded American ships to impress men into the Royal Navy.

The US declared war, the War of , and invaded Canadian territory. In response, Britain invaded the US, but the pre-war boundaries were reaffirmed by the Treaty of Ghent , ensuring Canada's future would be separate from that of the United States. Since , transportation to the American colonies had been a penalty for various offences in Britain, with approximately one thousand convicts transported per year. In James Cook charted the eastern coast while on a scientific voyage , claimed the continent for Britain, and named it New South Wales. Indigenous Australians were considered too uncivilised to require treaties, [76] [77] and colonisation brought disease and violence that together with the deliberate dispossession of land and culture were devastating to these peoples.

During his voyage, Cook visited New Zealand, known to Europeans due to the voyage of Dutch explorer Abel Tasman , and claimed both the North and the South islands for the British crown in and respectively. European settlement increased through the early decades of the 19th century, with numerous trading stations established, especially in the North. In , the New Zealand Company announced plans to buy large tracts of land and establish colonies in New Zealand. Britain was challenged again by France under Napoleon, in a struggle that, unlike previous wars, represented a contest of ideologies between the two nations.

The Napoleonic Wars were therefore ones in which Britain invested large amounts of capital and resources to win. French ports were blockaded by the Royal Navy , which won a decisive victory over a Franco-Spanish fleet at Trafalgar in Overseas colonies were attacked and occupied, including those of the Netherlands, which was annexed by Napoleon in France was finally defeated by a coalition of European armies in With the advent of the Industrial Revolution , goods produced by slavery became less important to the British economy. With support from the British abolitionist movement, Parliament enacted the Slave Trade Act in , which abolished the slave trade in the empire. In , Sierra Leone Colony was designated an official British colony for freed slaves.

The Slavery Abolition Act , passed the following year, abolished slavery in the British Empire on 1 August , finally bringing the Empire into line with the law in the UK with the exception of the territories administered by the East India Company and Ceylon, where slavery was ended in Under the Act, slaves were granted full emancipation after a period of four to six years of "apprenticeship". Between and , a period referred to as Britain's "imperial century" by some historians, [97] [98] around 10 million sq mi 26 million km 2 of territory and roughly million people were added to the British Empire.

British imperial strength was underpinned by the steamship and the telegraph , new technologies invented in the second half of the 19th century, allowing it to control and defend the empire. By , the British Empire was linked together by a network of telegraph cables, called the All Red Line. The Company's army had first joined forces with the Royal Navy during the Seven Years' War, and the two continued to co-operate in arenas outside India: the eviction of the French from Egypt , [] the capture of Java from the Netherlands , the acquisition of Penang Island , Singapore and Malacca , and the defeat of Burma From its base in India, the Company had been engaged in an increasingly profitable opium export trade to China since the s.

This trade, illegal since it was outlawed by the Qing dynasty in , helped reverse the trade imbalances resulting from the British imports of tea, which saw large outflows of silver from Britain to China. During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the British Crown began to assume an increasingly large role in the affairs of the Company. A series of Acts of Parliament were passed, including the Regulating Act of , Pitt's India Act of and the Charter Act of which regulated the Company's affairs and established the sovereignty of the Crown over the territories that it had acquired.

The following year the British government dissolved the Company and assumed direct control over India through the Government of India Act , establishing the British Raj , where an appointed governor-general administered India and Queen Victoria was crowned the Empress of India. A series of serious crop failures in the late 19th century led to widespread famines on the subcontinent in which it is estimated that over 15 million people died. The East India Company had failed to implement any coordinated policy to deal with the famines during its period of rule.

Later, under direct British rule, commissions were set up after each famine to investigate the causes and implement new policies, which took until the early s to have an effect. During the 19th century, Britain and the Russian Empire vied to fill the power vacuums that had been left by the declining Ottoman Empire , Qajar dynasty and Qing dynasty. This rivalry in Central Asia came to be known as the "Great Game". For a while, it appeared that another war would be inevitable, but the two countries reached an agreement on their respective spheres of influence in the region in and on all outstanding matters in with the signing of the Anglo-Russian Entente.

The Dutch East India Company had founded the Cape Colony on the southern tip of Africa in as a way station for its ships travelling to and from its colonies in the East Indies. Britain formally acquired the colony, and its large Afrikaner or Boer population in , having occupied it in to prevent its falling into French hands during the Flanders Campaign. Eventually, the Boers established two republics that had a longer lifespan: the South African Republic or Transvaal Republic —; — and the Orange Free State — Initially the Canal was opposed by the British; [] but once opened, its strategic value was quickly recognised and became the "jugular vein of the Empire".

Although this did not grant outright control of the strategic waterway, it did give Britain leverage. Joint Anglo-French financial control over Egypt ended in outright British occupation in The French were still majority shareholders and attempted to weaken the British position, [] but a compromise was reached with the Convention of Constantinople , which made the Canal officially neutral territory.

With competitive French, Belgian and Portuguese activity in the lower Congo River region undermining orderly colonisation of tropical Africa, the Berlin Conference of —85 was held to regulate the competition between the European powers in what was called the " Scramble for Africa " by defining "effective occupation" as the criterion for international recognition of territorial claims. A joint force of British and Egyptian troops defeated the Mahdist Army in and rebuffed an attempted French invasion at Fashoda in Sudan was nominally made an Anglo-Egyptian condominium , but a British colony in reality.

British gains in Southern and East Africa prompted Cecil Rhodes, pioneer of British expansion in Southern Africa, to urge a " Cape to Cairo " railway linking the strategically important Suez Canal to the mineral-rich south of the continent. The path to independence for the white colonies of the British Empire began with the Durham Report , which proposed unification and self-government for Upper and Lower Canada, as a solution to political unrest which had erupted in armed rebellions in Responsible government was first granted to Nova Scotia in , and was soon extended to the other British North American colonies.

With the passage of the British North America Act, by the British Parliament , the Province of Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were formed into Canada, a confederation enjoying full self-government with the exception of international relations. The last decades of the 19th century saw concerted political campaigns for Irish home rule. Ireland had been united with Britain into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland with the Act of Union after the Irish Rebellion of , and had suffered a severe famine between and Home rule was supported by the British Prime minister , William Gladstone , who hoped that Ireland might follow in Canada's footsteps as a Dominion within the empire, but his Home Rule bill was defeated in Parliament.

Although the bill, if passed, would have granted Ireland less autonomy within the UK than the Canadian provinces had within their own federation, [] many MPs feared that a partially independent Ireland might pose a security threat to Great Britain or mark the beginning of the break-up of the empire. By the turn of the 20th century, fears had begun to grow in Britain that it would no longer be able to defend the metropole and the entirety of the empire while at the same time maintaining the policy of "splendid isolation".

Recognising that it was overstretched in the Pacific [] and threatened at home by the Imperial German Navy , Britain formed an alliance with Japan in and with its old enemies France and Russia in and , respectively. Britain's fears of war with Germany were realised in with the outbreak of the First World War. Britain quickly invaded and occupied most of Germany's overseas colonies in Africa. Plans for a post-war division of the Ottoman Empire, which had joined the war on Germany's side, were secretly drawn up by Britain and France under the Sykes—Picot Agreement.

This agreement was not divulged to the Sharif of Mecca , who the British had been encouraging to launch an Arab revolt against their Ottoman rulers, giving the impression that Britain was supporting the creation of an independent Arab state. The British declaration of war on Germany and its allies committed the colonies and Dominions, which provided invaluable military, financial and material support. Over 2. The countries continue to commemorate this occasion on Anzac Day. Canadians viewed the Battle of Vimy Ridge in a similar light. Under the terms of the concluding Treaty of Versailles signed in , the empire reached its greatest extent with the addition of 1,, square miles 4,, km 2 and 13 million new subjects. Nauru was made a combined mandate of Britain and the two Pacific Dominions.

The changing world order that the war had brought about, in particular the growth of the United States and Japan as naval powers, and the rise of independence movements in India and Ireland, caused a major reassessment of British imperial policy. The Irish Republican Army simultaneously began a guerrilla war against the British administration. A similar struggle began in India when the Government of India Act failed to satisfy the demand for independence.

This led to tension, [] particularly in the Punjab region , where repressive measures culminated in the Amritsar Massacre. In Britain, public opinion was divided over the morality of the massacre, between those who saw it as having saved India from anarchy, and those who viewed it with revulsion. In , Egypt, which had been declared a British protectorate at the outbreak of the First World War, was granted formal independence , though it continued to be a British client state until British troops remained stationed in Egypt until the signing of the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty in , [] under which it was agreed that the troops would withdraw but continue to occupy and defend the Suez Canal zone.

In return, Egypt was assisted in joining the League of Nations. The Balfour Declaration , which had been incorporated into the terms of the mandate, stated that a national home for the Jewish people would be established in Palestine, and Jewish immigration allowed up to a limit that would be determined by the mandatory power. As the threat of war with Germany increased during the s, Britain judged the support of Arabs as more important than the establishment of a Jewish homeland, and shifted to a pro-Arab stance, limiting Jewish immigration and in turn triggering a Jewish insurgency.

The right of the Dominions to set their own foreign policy, independent of Britain, was recognised at the Imperial Conference. All soon declared war on Germany. While Britain continued to regard Ireland as still within the British Commonwealth, Ireland chose to remain legally neutral throughout the war. Roosevelt for military aid from the United States, but Roosevelt was not yet ready to ask Congress to commit the country to war. This wording was ambiguous as to whether it referred to European countries invaded by Germany and Italy, or the peoples colonised by European nations, and would later be interpreted differently by the British, Americans, and nationalist movements. For Churchill, the entry of the United States into the war was the "greatest joy".

The manner in which British forces were rapidly defeated in the Far East irreversibly harmed Britain's standing and prestige as an imperial power, [] [] including, particularly, the Fall of Singapore , which had previously been hailed as an impregnable fortress and the eastern equivalent of Gibraltar. Though Britain and the empire emerged victorious from the Second World War, the effects of the conflict were profound, both at home and abroad. Much of Europe, a continent that had dominated the world for several centuries, was in ruins, and host to the armies of the United States and the Soviet Union, who now held the balance of global power. In principle, both nations were opposed to European colonialism.

In practice, American anti-communism prevailed over anti-imperialism , and therefore the United States supported the continued existence of the British Empire to keep Communist expansion in check. Their priorities changed to maintaining an extensive zone of British influence [] and ensuring that stable, non-Communist governments were established in former colonies. In this context, while other European powers such as France and Portugal [] waged costly and unsuccessful wars to keep their empires intact, Britain generally adopted a policy of peaceful disengagement from its colonies.

In reality, this was rarely peaceable or altruistic. Between and , the number of people under British rule outside the UK itself fell from million to 5 million, 3 million of whom were in Hong Kong. The pro-decolonisation Labour government, elected at the general election and led by Clement Attlee , moved quickly to tackle the most pressing issue facing the empire: Indian independence. Congress favoured a unified secular Indian state, whereas the League, fearing domination by the Hindu majority, desired a separate Islamic state for Muslim-majority regions. Increasing civil unrest and the mutiny of the Royal Indian Navy during led Attlee to promise independence no later than 30 June When the urgency of the situation and risk of civil war became apparent, the newly appointed and last Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten , hastily brought forward the date to 15 August Burma, which had been administered as part of the British Raj, and Sri Lanka gained their independence the following year in The British Mandate in Palestine, where an Arab majority lived alongside a Jewish minority, presented the British with a similar problem to that of India.

Frustrated by the intractability of the problem, attacks by Jewish paramilitary organisations and the increasing cost of maintaining its military presence, Britain announced in that it would withdraw in and leave the matter to the United Nations to solve. It was immediately followed by the outbreak of a civil war between the Arabs and Jews of Palestine, and British forces withdrew amid the fighting. The British Mandate for Palestine officially terminated at midnight on 15 May as the State of Israel declared independence and the Arab-Israeli War broke out, during which the territory of the former Mandate was partitioned between Israel and the surrounding Arab states.

Amid the fighting, British forces continued to withdraw from Israel, with the last British troops departing from Haifa on 30 June Following the surrender of Japan in the Second World War, anti-Japanese resistance movements in Malaya turned their attention towards the British, who had moved to quickly retake control of the colony, valuing it as a source of rubber and tin. In , the 11 states of the federation together with Singapore, Sarawak and North Borneo joined to form Malaysia , but in Chinese-majority Singapore was expelled from the union following tensions between the Malay and Chinese populations and became an independent city-state.

In , the Conservative Party returned to power in Britain, under the leadership of Winston Churchill. Churchill and the Conservatives believed that Britain's position as a world power relied on the continued existence of the empire, with the base at the Suez Canal allowing Britain to maintain its pre-eminent position in the Middle East in spite of the loss of India. Churchill could not ignore Gamal Abdul Nasser 's new revolutionary government of Egypt that had taken power in , and the following year it was agreed that British troops would withdraw from the Suez Canal zone and that Sudan would be granted self-determination by , with independence to follow.

In July , Nasser unilaterally nationalised the Suez Canal. The response of Anthony Eden , who had succeeded Churchill as Prime Minister, was to collude with France to engineer an Israeli attack on Egypt that would give Britain and France an excuse to intervene militarily and retake the canal. Eisenhower by his lack of consultation, and Eisenhower refused to back the invasion. Eisenhower applied financial leverage by threatening to sell US reserves of the British pound and thereby precipitate a collapse of the British currency.

The Suez Crisis very publicly exposed Britain's limitations to the world and confirmed Britain's decline on the world stage and its end as a first-rate power, [] [] demonstrating that henceforth it could no longer act without at least the acquiescence, if not the full support, of the United States. On 16 January , a few weeks after the devaluation of the pound , Prime Minister Harold Wilson and his Defence Secretary Denis Healey announced that British troops would be withdrawn from major military bases East of Suez , which included the ones in the Middle East, and primarily from Malaysia and Singapore by the end of , instead of as earlier planned. Macmillan gave a speech in Cape Town , South Africa in February where he spoke of "the wind of change blowing through this continent".

Britain's remaining colonies in Africa, except for self-governing Southern Rhodesia , were all granted independence by British withdrawal from the southern and eastern parts of Africa was not a peaceful process. Kenyan independence was preceded by the eight-year Mau Mau uprising , in which tens of thousands of suspected rebels were interned by the colonial government in detention camps. The UK retained the military bases of Akrotiri and Dhekelia as sovereign base areas. The Mediterranean colony of Malta was amicably granted independence from the UK in and became the country of Malta , though the idea had been raised in of integration with Britain. Most of the UK's Caribbean territories achieved independence after the departure in and of Jamaica and Trinidad from the West Indies Federation , established in in an attempt to unite the British Caribbean colonies under one government, but which collapsed following the loss of its two largest members.

Barbados achieved independence in and the remainder of the eastern Caribbean islands, including the Bahamas , in the s and s, [] but Anguilla and the Turks and Caicos Islands opted to revert to British rule after they had already started on the path to independence. Britain's last colony on the American mainland, British Honduras , became a self-governing colony in and was renamed Belize in , achieving full independence in A dispute with Guatemala over claims to Belize was left unresolved. British territories in the Pacific acquired independence in the s beginning with Fiji in and ending with Vanuatu in Vanuatu's independence was delayed because of political conflict between English and French-speaking communities, as the islands had been jointly administered as a condominium with France.

By , aside from a scattering of islands and outposts, the process of decolonisation that had begun after the Second World War was largely complete. In , Britain's resolve in defending its remaining overseas territories was tested when Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, acting on a long-standing claim that dated back to the Spanish Empire. The s saw Canada, Australia, and New Zealand sever their final constitutional links with Britain. Although granted legislative independence by the Statute of Westminster , vestigial constitutional links had remained in place.

The British Parliament retained the power to amend key Canadian constitutional statutes, meaning that effectively an act of the British Parliament was required to make certain changes to the Canadian Constitution. Although no longer able to pass any laws that would apply as Australian Commonwealth law, the British Parliament retained the power to legislate for the individual Australian states. In , the last legal link between Canada and Britain was severed by the Canada Act , which was passed by the British parliament, formally patriating the Canadian Constitution. The act ended the need for British involvement in changes to the Canadian constitution. On 1 January , Brunei, Britain's last remaining Asian protectorate, was granted independence.

In September the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, travelled to Beijing to negotiate with the Chinese government, on the future of Britain's last major and most populous overseas territory, Hong Kong. Britain retains sovereignty over 14 territories outside the British Isles. Decades, and in some cases centuries, of British rule and emigration have left their mark on the independent nations that arose from the British Empire. The empire established the use of the English language in regions around the world. Today it is the primary language of up to million people and is spoken by about 1. The British Empire provided refuge for religiously persecuted continental Europeans for hundreds of years.

Political boundaries drawn by the British did not always reflect homogeneous ethnicities or religions, contributing to conflicts in formerly colonised areas. The British Empire was responsible for large migrations of peoples. Tensions remain between the white settler populations of these countries and their indigenous minorities, and between white settler minorities and indigenous majorities in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Settlers in Ireland from Great Britain have left their mark in the form of divided nationalist and unionist communities in Northern Ireland. Millions of people moved to and from British colonies, with large numbers of Indians emigrating to other parts of the empire, such as Malaysia and Fiji, and Chinese people to Malaysia, Singapore and the Caribbean. In the 19th century, innovation in Britain led to revolutionary changes in manufacturing, the development of factory systems , and the growth of transportation by railway and steam ship.

The convention of driving on the left hand side of the road has been retained in much of the former empire. The Westminster system of parliamentary democracy has served as the template for the governments for many former colonies, [] [] and English common law for legal systems. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. States and dominions ruled by the United Kingdom. British Empire. All areas of the world that were ever part of the British Empire.

Current British Overseas Territories have their names underlined in red. Main article: English overseas possessions. Main article: Scottish colonization of the Americas. Main article: American Revolutionary War. Main article: Napoleonic Wars. Main article: Abolitionism in the United Kingdom. See also: Company rule in India and British Raj. Main article: The Great Game. Main article: Suez Crisis. Main article: Decolonisation of Africa. Further information: Wind of Change speech. The Act entered into force on 1 January []. Avalon Project. Retrieved 8 February New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Archived from the original on 20 December Retrieved 13 December The Abolition Project.

Archived from the original on 26 November Retrieved 31 December Econocide Revisited". ISSN X. The world economy: a millennial perspective. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, p98, Roger eds Oxford history of the British Empire: the twentieth century. Oxford University Press. The Independent. Retrieved The decline and fall of the British Empire, — New York: Random House, p BBC News. Retrieved 13 December Modern India: the origins of an Asian democracy. Oxford University Press, p Retrieved 24 November As a result of public pressure apprenticeships were abolished early, in Retrieved 3 June Retrieved 11 February Hidden categories: CS1: Julian—Gregorian uncertainty Pages using infobox country or infobox former country with the flag caption or type parameters.

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