During its long and colorful history Great Britain has pretty much invaded the whole world at some point or another. Especially if you count every mercenary and pirate sanctioned by Her Majesty’s Government. Sure everyone knows that at one point Great Britain was a huge empire, but what most people don’t know is huge is not even the right word.
The real answer is at the height of the empire’s power, over a quarter of the world was under British rule. Even this fact doesn’t show how global Great Britain was. Research into British military operations has shown that at some point or another 90% of the world’s countries were invaded by Britain. Only 22 countries have never experienced a British invasion.
Some of the select few include far away destinations such as the Marshall Islands, Tajikstan or Guatemala but there are a couple of outliers such as a country very close to Britain like Luxembourg. Stuart Laycock wrote the book that the research was done for, titled “All the Countries We’ve Ever Invaded: And The Few We Never Got Round To.”
He spent years researching British history and other countries own history books to pinpoint every military operation that had any sort of British backing official or not so much. Really only a small portion of the countries invaded went on to become part of the empire, many simple experienced some sort of small military presence: be the threat of force, a negotiation tactic, or to force payment.
Things such as incursions by British pirates, privateers, and armed explorers have all been included if they were operating with the approval of the British government. One of the surprising countries on the list is Cuba, which was invaded in 1741 by Admiral Edward Vernon who stormed Guantanamo Bay. He even was able to rename it Cumberland Bay before being forced to retreat by hostile locals, and then twenty years later the British did take over Havana from the Spanish in an extremely bloody siege. Only to be handed back to the Spanish in a trade for Florida and Minorca.
And even though the new research shows 22 countries that were never invaded, some the author was not so sure about. Rumors were found about a British invasion of Mongolia for example, but Laycock was unable to confirm them. The author stressed the list is more for light-hearted fun and that it is not a list of achievements to be proud of.