A new study has found that the British have invaded almost 90 percent of the countries of the world, more than any other country in history. An analysis of the history of about 200 countries found that only 22 countries have escaped British aggression.
The study shows that the common belief that at the peak of the expansion of the British empire almost a quarter of the world was included in the empire is a dramatic understatement.
Among the few countries that have escaped British invasion were several that were too far off or which did not present any temptations to the British appetite for overseas possession. Such countries include Guatemala,Tajikistan and the Marshall Islands.
The study found that Luxembourg, Lichtenstein, Sweden, Monaco and the Vatican city are the only European countries the British never invaded.
The Telegraph reports that the new analysis of British history of imperialist adventurism was published in a new book "All the Countries We've Ever Invaded: And the Few We Never Got Round To." The author of the book is Stuart Laycock.
The Daily Mail reports that Laycock traveled around the globe, visiting all the countries of the world in alphabetical order, researching their histories in relation to Britain's.
Laycock found that many of the countries Britain invaded were never officially included in the empire. Laycock's new book lists countries which were never officially recognized as part of the British empire but which the British had invaded. The list includes countries that British pirates, privateers and armed explorers invaded with the approval and backing of the British government.
Laycock's list includes some countries we do not usually associate with the British empire, such as some countries generally recognized as being part of the Spanish empire. These include Costa Rica, Ecuador and El Salvador, which suffered repeated military invasions by British sailors with the approval and backing of the British government.
Other countries invaded by the British include Cuba, in 1741, Iceland in 1940, and Vietnam.
Laycock, who has published books on the history of the Roman empire, said he was inspired to do the study after his 11-year-old son asked him how many countries Britain had invaded. He said he was shocked by the answer his research unearthed. He said: "I was absolutely staggered when I reached the total. I like to think I have a relatively good general knowledge. But there are places where it hadn't occurred to me that these things had ever happened. It shocked me."
He added: "Other countries could write similar books – but they would be much shorter. I don't think anyone could match this, although the Americans had a later start and have been working hard on it in the twentieth century."
Laycock said the actual figure may actually be higher. He has asked members of the public to furnish him with information on other invasions he may have excluded. According to The Telegraph, Laycock's listed the countries according to their current names and boundaries, although names and boundaries might have been different at the time of the invasions in history.
The country that comes closest to Britain in the number of countries invaded is France. Ironically, France is also the country Britain has invaded the highest number of times.
Mr Laycock added: "One one level, for the British, it is quite amazing and quite humbling, that this is all part of our history, but clearly there are parts of our history that we are less proud of. The book is not intended as any kind of moral judgment on our history or our empire. It is meant as a light-hearted bit of fun."
The Telegraph lists the countries Laycock's study says the British never invaded:
Central African Republic
Congo, Republic of
Sao Tome and Principe