The King and I Historical Context

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In the nineteenth century, the British held the point of view that trade was "the true herald of civilization" and that Great Britain's expertise in commerce gave it the right to its leadership role in international trade (Great Britain controlled forty percent of the world's manufactured trade in I860). The Great Exhibition of 1851 in London showcased the world's fascination for technology and trade in a gigantic structure of glass and iron called the Crystal Palace. It housed exotic booty harvested from Britain's colonies and overseas trade inventions, consumer products, and the contributions of many other countries, all crammed on over eight miles of display shelves. Queen Victoria visited the stunning Crystal Palace nearly every day, joined by throngs of pride-filled British subjects, to view the exhibits and to reinforce a sense of manifest superiority in technology and trade.

The Great Exhibition helped to allay any disquiet...

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This section contains 900 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The King and I Study Guide
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The King and I from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.