Even though the British Empire only managed to establish its first colony in Ireland in 1556, several decades after Portugal and Spain claimed land on the African continent and the Americas, it still became synonymous with global conflict due to its network of dominions and colonies spanning the whole globe. As the first chart from our new content series InFact shows, although certainly not all of them became its subjects, Britain's warfaring efforts only spared precious few countries in the world.
According to the book "All the Countries We’ve Ever Invaded: And the Few We Never Got Round To", there are only 22 countries Britain never invaded throughout history. There aren't many gaps on the map, but some of the more notable include Sweden, Belarus and Vatican City. The biggest blank spots can be seen on the African continent, even though the Royal African Company founded in 1660 alone was responsible for forcibly removing 212,000 slaves from their homeland and shipping them to English colonies in the Americas between 1662 and 1731.
The British Empire in its various iterations can be seen as one of the longest-lasting Western empires in the world. Its first permanent overseas colony in the Americas was established in 1607 in Jamestown, Virginia, while Hong Kong, its last big overseas territory, was handed over to China in 1997. In 1920, the empire covered roughly 13,700,000 square miles or 24 percent of the total land area of the Earth.