Arts, Culture & Media

Britain Named Most Prolific Invader

There have been dozens of US military interventions around the globe since America was founded.

Player utilities

This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

It started even before we were fully independent – with an invasion of what's now Canada in 1775, and a raid on the Bahamas in 1776.

But when it comes to sending troops to foreign lands, we've got nothing on the British.

A new book suggests Britain gets the dubious distinction of having invaded more countries than any other.

It's called "All the Countries We've Ever Invaded: And the Few We Never Got Round To". It's by popular historian, Stuart Laycock.

The book claims there are only 22 nations in the world that have never suffered British military attack.

As The World's resident history buff, I think, however, Britain has invaded even more countries.

Sweden leaps to mind, as an obvious omission. After all, who can forget the Gothenburg expedition of 1808?

That was when British forces were sent to bully the king of Sweden into opposing Britain's enemy, Napoleon, Emperor of the French.

Then there the possibly of Guatemala. I'm pretty sure that when some British logwood cutters were trying to set the colony which became modern Belize, they raided the coast of Guatemala next door.

Here's Stuart Laycock's list of the 22 nations never invaded by Britain:

Andorra
Belarus
Bolivia
Burundi
Central African Republic
Chad
Congo (Republic of)
Guatemala
Ivory Coast
Kyrgyzstan
Liechtenstein
Luxembourg
Mali
Marshall Islands
Monaco
Mongolia
Paraguay
Sao Tome and Principe
Sweden
Tajikistan
Uzbekistan
Vatican City

  • invadebookthumb.jpg

    Stuart Laycock's "All the Countries We've Ever Invaded: And the Few We Never Got Round To."

  • Isandhlwana_sized.jpg

    The British defeat at Isandhlwana during the First Zulu War, South Africa, 1879, by Charles Edwin Fripp