Britain, which held sway over India for around 200 years, has invaded almost 90 per cent of the world's countries in its history, barring only 22 nations, a new study has found. An analysis of the histories of almost 200 nations found that only 22 countries, including far off Luxembourg, Guatemala, Tajikistan and the Marshall Islands in the Pacific have never experienced a British assault.
The study - part of a new book - comes against the background of maps which show that at its height the Empire ruled over almost a quarter of the world's population, the 'Daily Mail' reported. Author of the book 'All the Countries We've Ever Invaded: And the Few We Never Got Round To' Stuart Laycock worked his way around the countries on the globe alphabetically to see if British forces had ever strayed into each territory.
However, only a very small proportion of Laycock's total list of invaded countries made up formal dominions of the Empire. The remainder have been included if a military incursion was achieved through force, the threat of force, or by negotiation or payment. Raids by British pirates, privateers and armed explorers have been included if they were acting on the behalf or approval of the government, the report said.
Many countries that once formed part of the Spanish empire and seem to have little historical connection with the UK, such as Costa Rica, Ecuador and El Salvador, made the list because of the repeated raids they suffered from state-sanctioned British sailors.
The earliest invasion launched from the British Isles was an incursion into Gaul, northern France, at the end of the second century. Clodius Albinus led an army, thought to include many Britons, across the Channel in an attempt to seize the imperial throne. Other invasions highlighted in the book include that of Iceland in 1940 after the nation refused to enter the war on the Allies' side, the report said.
Laycock began the two-year research after being asked by his 11-year-old son, Frederick, how many countries the British had invaded. "I was absolutely staggered when I reached the total. "I like to think I have a relatively good general knowledge, but there are places where it hadn't occurred to me that these things had ever happened. It shocked me," Laycock said.
The only other nation which has achieved anything approaching the British total, Laycock said, is France - which holds the record for having endured the most British invasions.