What do the following countries have in common ?
Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Republic of)
Mali, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Mongolia
Sao Tome and Principe,
Give in ?
Well according to the book “All the Countries We’ve Ever Invaded: And the Few We Never Got Round To” by Stuart Laycock, these countries are the few the Brits never got around to. This is the very short short-list of countries which managed to avoid the privilege of being invaded by the Brits.
Personally, I don’t think that Vatican City should really count because it is only a state owing to a technicality arising from a 1929 sweetheart deal between Mussolini and the Catholic Church.
I suspect Monaco escaped their militaristic attentions because they probably owned most of it already and virtually all of the others, lets be brutally honest, are not really worth the bother; even if you have actually heard of them or even know where they are.
Sweden though, I can’t believe they didn’t have a go at Sweden after all the Swedes boarded their long ships and raided the Brits lots of times. Maybe it was an oversight, perhaps they got bogged down in France once too often and just forgot about Sweden. Maybe later after this isis thing gets sorted.
What drove the Brits to be so aggressive and how did they get to be so bloody good at it? The answer can only be that the Brits were taught by the best, they learned their lessons well while being fucked over by experts.
Now don’t get me wrong, the Brits always knew how to fight but they did it in an individual, free thinking sort of a way with a misplaced sense of honor and fairness. Like a bunch of latter day liberals, they lacked any sort of organization and mostly just squabbled ineffectively among ourselves.
By the time the Roman Republic noticed Britannia, she was ripe for the plucking. The Romans effectively leveraged earlier Greek pioneering efforts on murder and mayhem but followed up by elevating the art of invasion and slaughter to industrial levels. Don’t let the Roman propensity for dressing up in mini-skirts and sandals fool you into thinking they were sissies. the Romans were grand haters, vicious with it and the best organized killers of their time. The Carthaginians once made the mistake of upsetting the Romans over elephant grazing rights or something and by the time the Romans were done there just weren’t any more Carthaginians. Who were the Carthaginians I here you ask ? Exactly!
Fast forward a century or so and after losing a legion or two to the Germans, our intrepid mini skirted skirmishers decided to rule Britannia; which they did for around 400 years while passing on the finer points of empire, slavery, massacre and general exploitation. The British never did actually kick the bastards out but the Roman bosses eventually quit Britain when a mob of Germans arrived with their their saxes. No not that kind of sax, this wasn’t the beginning of British Jazz, the sax was a short sword and the weapon of choice of the folks who came to be known as the Saxons. The Romans who failed to get on the last galley from the Roman embassy roof just sort of got assimilated.
The Saxons took over most of Britannia (Wales and Scotland excepted) and had things pretty much their own way until the Vikings came over and stayed and stayed until … well they never actually left. The Saxons and the Vikings eventually learned to get along, they combined their languages and gradually became English and lived happily ever after along with their Celtic cousins in Wales and Scotland. Well not quite, a bunch of French speaking ex Vikings called Normans (North-men) came over and stayed and stayed and ….
Are you getting the picture? The original Brits fought and feuded until the Romans, the Latin looters kicked arse for a while until they got absorbed by some Sax wielding Germans who in turn got clobbered and assimilated by a slurry of Scandinavians, who eventually got invaded by some other Vikings with better haircuts and French accents.
And so it remained for centuries, this smoldering stew of cantankerous Celts, rampaging Romans, sax swinging Saxons, voracious Vikings and nasty Normans bubbled and boiled until not even sibilant similes and awkward alliterations could contain them.
And so was born the British Empire.