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The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume III: The Nineteenth Century$
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Andrew Porter

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205654

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205654.001.0001

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Religion, Missionary Enthusiasm, and Empire

Religion, Missionary Enthusiasm, and Empire

(p.222) 11 Religion, Missionary Enthusiasm, and Empire
The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume III: The Nineteenth Century

Andrew Porter

Oxford University Press

Christianity's expansion as part of British culture and its activities overseas in the nineteenth century were unprecedented in scale. Anglicans, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, and other denominations recreated their churches overseas and adapted them to new environments in the process. British missionary enterprise sometimes provided channels through which Imperial controls followed; at other times it delayed annexation and colonization, or even subverted Imperial authority. In many places (sometimes on purpose, often unintentionally) Christians and their churches provided powerful stimuli for local resistance and opposition to colonial rule. There were no simple connections between the religious expansion and the British Empire overseas. Missions often supported not only British commerce and culture but direct political control or intervention. It is often argued that the missionary movement and expansion of Britain's Christian denominations represented distinct forms of cultural and institutional ‘imperialism’. It is argued that religion and Empire frequently mingled, but were as likely to undermine each other as they were to provide mutual support.

Keywords:   Christianity, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, British culture, resistance, missionary movement, British commerce

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