The British Empire comprised the dominions colonies protectorates mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom that had originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height it was the largest empire in history and for over a century was the foremost global power. British Raj primarily refers to the British colonial rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947 it can also refer to the period of dominion and even the region under the rule. The region commonly called India in contemporary usage included areas directly administered usage included areas directly administered by the United Kingdom as well as the princely states ruled by individual rulers under the supremacy of the British crown.
The early years of the Kingdom of Great Britain were marked by Jacobite risings which ended with defeat for the Stuart cause at Culloden in 1746. Later in 1763 victory in the Seven Years War led to the dominance of the British Empire which was to be the foremost global power for over a century and grew to become the largest empire in history. By 1921 the British Empire held sway over a population of about 458 million people approximately one quarter of the worlds population and as a result the culture of the United Kingdom and its industrial political and linguistic legacy is widespread.