The film “Britain Blood and Steel: Engineering an Empire” discusses the massive symbols of dominance constructed by Britain as it was transformed from a tiny island nation, dominated by conquerors, into one of the largest empires in history. After the Romans left its territory in the beginning of the 5th century, Britain had to fend for itself. In the Battle of Hastings in 1066, Britain was conquered by the Normans who changed the landscape of the country immensely. Massive stone Norman castles, built during this period (including the Tower of London), became an important symbol of dominance as they had many impressive Romanesque features, such as arches and vaults.In the 16th century, one of the cruelest kings in the history of Britain – Henry VIII – used the Tower of London as a prison for his wife Anne Boleyn, who was falsely accused of adultery. At this time, the Tower became even more undefeatable because it was reinforced with the second wall and expanded. With the view of turning Britain into a powerful empire, Henry VIII enlarged the fleet with many warships, equipped with guns and cannons. Ensuring dominance on the sea, the British Empire quickly expanded to other continents, particularly America and India. It became the major maritime power in Europe and won over the army of Napoleon Bonaparte in the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar.
In the 19th century, Britain increased its power by means of technological innovation and machine-building. The development of commerce largely benefited from the invention of the fast steam locomotive and the construction of the Great Western Railway. The Palace of Westminster was reconstructed on the project of Charles Barry after the fire. Being extremely large and accurate, the clock of Big Ben became the symbol of dominance of the British parliament over the time itself. During Victorian rule, the empire extended even more and the communication between its parts was made more efficient with the invention of telegraph. Due to overcrowding, London suffered from severe sanitation problems, but they were solved with the efficient sewer system, designed by Joseph Bazalgette. The problem of too much traffic was reduced with the building of the Tower Bridge. Queen Victoria became a figure of affection as the empire was strengthened and enriched with new possessions on every continent. The unique vision of the British Empire benefited many other countries afterwards.
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