Rikki-Tikki-Tavi Historical Context

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British Imperialism in the Late Nineteenth Century

When "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" was first published as part of the second volume of Kipling's Jungle Book in 1895, Great Britain commanded the most powerful empire the world had ever seen. The Indian subcontinent was one important part of the empire, which thousands of "Anglo-Indians," like Kipling himself, called home. The form of imperialism during Kipling's time was characterized by forceful imposition of British government and British culture upon the natives of a region. But imperialism was not just the practice of the British Empire's acts of colonization of other lands and people; as historian Lerner writes in Western Civilizations: "To combat slave-trading, famine, filth, and illiteracy seemed to many a legitimate reason for invading the jungles of Africa and Asia." British imperialism was a philosophy that assumed the superiority of British civilization and, therefore, the moral responsibility of bringing their enlightened ways to...

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This section contains 664 words
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