In 1792 Britain was one of the major powers of Europe. She had been humbled by the loss of her thirteen American colonies ten years before, but she still possessed a vast overseas empire. There were the largely unpopulated and unexplored wastes of Canada and New South Wales, the more populous and far more commercially profitable possessions in the West and East Indies; closer to home, George III was also King of Ireland and Elector of Hanover — though this German possession, while it might be relied upon to support Britain in European squabbles, was not part of the British Empire and was not run by men responsible to the parliament at Westminster. Probably only a minority of the population of England, Scotland and Wales were aware of Britain’s international position. The bulk of the population lived in a rural environment and really travelled great distances within the three countries. Agriculture employed the largest proportion of the working population; rather more than one third. The major manufacturing industry was wool production, a handcraft industry scattered across the South-west, Norfolk and the West Riding. But significant changes were under way in both the size and location of the population, and in the economy.
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- Britain in 1792
- Macmillan Education UK
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