Map of the Week: Every Country Britain HAS NOT Invaded


Every Country Britain HAS NOT Invaded – map by Indy100 (

Great Britain (or England, The United Kingdom, etc.) has possessed large international status and power for a number of centuries. Their early industrialization coupled with aspirations to dominate on the global level have led to these unrivaled amounts of invasion and colonization across the globe. Just 22 countries have not been invaded by Britain, highlighted in purple on this map: Andora, Belarus, Bolivia, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Guatemala, Ivory Coast, Kyrgyzstan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mali, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Mongolia, Paraguay, Sao Tome and Principe, Sweden, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Vatican City. Invading 171 out of 193 total countries worldwide is not a small feat, and the extent of this is emphasized in this map in which nearly the entire land area of the globe is shaded pink (meaning at one point invaded by Britain). For context, the United States has only invaded 68 total countries in its existence (although a much shorter time frame than Britain). This map effectively tells a story about the longstanding worldwide power of Great Britain, while staying as minimal as possible by conveying one simple statistic.

For centuries, the power of the British Empire allowed the nation to expand their territory and take advantage of areas that possessed useful resources. Colonization and the European “race” to take control of native peoples/regions in Africa and the Americas spanned for centuries, leading to invasions of most of the nations on those continents in a very short period of time. This wasn’t anything absurd for a powerful European nation from the 16th-18th centuries. Belgium and France were very present in Africa and Portugal and the Netherlands set their eyes on the sugar of the Americas. England, however, aimed for both and more as they had industrialized rapidly and were power hungry. The British Empire’s mission to show their industrial strength and assert dominance was their main motive, but it isn’t the same for all invasions. Each specific country/region has its own history and circumstances that cannot be shown on this map. The arrival of the British often meant a different thing depending on where it was. Some were taken advantage of by Europeans for their crops while others for slave trade or territorial dominance. 

Examples of context differences when it comes to this map could be the United States (Revolutionary War period), colonization of Africa in the 19th century, and the World Wars. All of these have their own circumstantial differences and are relevant in different ways to Britain. The United States was a revolution against Britain in which they fought for control of the states, colonization in Africa lead to the slave trade and was based around resources and military control, and both World Wars consisted of many invasions by the British army across Europe. The reasons for these three individual invasions differ greatly, as they do with all 171. The map also cannot take into account the frequency, as while some African or Central American nations were raided just once, many European nations held several battles during the World Wars. This is not a problem – the map still gets its point across very efficiently, but its simplicity ignores important history of the very country it means to highlight and leaves the viewer with questions on this very topic.

The map breaks down centuries of history while simultaneously being as simple as possible, as it is just merely a world map with two different colors. Although not describing each individual invasion whatsoever or providing context, the map depicts the power of Britain throughout history in a concise and direct way. The choice to not include additional information about every country’s invasion is an intriguing one, as well as not possessing any labels or legends. The lack of this information forces questions such as: “How could one country possibly handle this?” or “When and why did Great Britain invade Thailand?”, dragging the viewer of this map into a rabbit hole of research and questions that make this map especially compelling. Britain has indeed invaded 90% of the countries in the world today, and this map is made into a very effective and simple way of conveying that statistic.

Works Cited

Kottke, Jason. “Britain Has Invaded All but 22 Countries.”, 16 November 2012, Accessed 13 October 2023.

Vesey, Joe. “A map of every country Britain has ever invaded.” Indy100, 23 December 2018, Accessed 13 October 2023.

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2 Responses to Map of the Week: Every Country Britain HAS NOT Invaded

  1. Lucy Patterson says:

    The commentary this blog post gives provides an important perspective on this map: while Britain has in fact invaded all but 22 countries, that doesn’t tell the whole story. That lesson is vital to remember when examining maps. Just because a map is technically showing accurate information does not mean that it offers the context necessary for readers to understand the entire picture. While it is true that this map might inspire people to go down a rabbit hole, searching for the information to questions brought up by the limited information provided in this map, it also could do the opposite. Readers might assume that they know more of the story than they do. They might, for example, assume the reasons for Britain’s invasion of Africa were the same for South America and the Middle East, when that is entirely untrue. It may be important to avoid including too much information, at the risk of the audiences’ confusion, but it is also important to offer enough context. In this case, it is the job of the readers not to allow assumptions to cloud this judgment; if they have a question, they must do independent research. That is not to say that the limited information provided makes this a bad map, but simply to remind readers that they must approach it, and all other maps, with a willingness to find additional information in order to better their understanding and challenge potential biases.

  2. Leo Barnes says:

    I agree with Lucy’s comments. A few more points worth bringing up: what’s a more normal amount of countries for a world power to have invaded? I imagine it’s far less than Britain’s, but is still a relatively large and intimidating number. Knowing this would help us see how ‘aggressive’ Britain was compared to its colonial rivals. How are we defining ‘invaded?’ I did some digging and Portugal and England have the oldest continuing military alliance in history dating back to the treaty of Windsor in 1386. The countries have never had a war between them, however, in the 1580s Hapsburg Spain briefly controlled Portugal and the British were at war with the Spanish. This not only puts Portugal on the ‘invaded by the British’ map, but also puts their colonial possessions like Brazil on the map. The war was fought mostly by proxy in France and Ireland or on the high seas, so it doesn’t feel accurate to say that England ‘invaded’ Portugal. It feels even stranger to say because they invaded Portugal they also ‘invaded’ Brazil or Angola or Mozambique. This one small case highlights an overgeneralization of the map: just because the British invaded a colonizer country, that ‘invasion’ status ought not extend to every single one of its colonial possessions. Additionally, if a country is briefly ruled by a foreign monarch and the British are at war with that foreign monarch and the war’s being fought somewhere else, is it really truthful to say the country was invaded by the british. While this map is very powerful and gives viewers a new understanding of just how poweful Britain was, I believe it goes a little too far with. I think ‘invaded’ should only be given to countries where Britain had soldiers fighting on the ground within the country in question. If we apply that condition, I’m very curious how that would change the map.

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