During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, England was a small country with a young, ambitious business class, searching for wealth and reaching for power. Through the next three centuries British business spread its power-network across the planet. The British pound sterling became the international medium of exchange. The British merchant fleet and the British Navy carried the Union Jack across every sea, to all the continents. British colonies and dependencies, more than 130 in number, covered a quarter of the planet.
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