The European empires as they existed from the Age of Discovery until after the First World War shaped the modern world. So great has been their political, economic and cultural influence that to fully understand contemporary history and events, it is essential to have an understanding of the imperial past. This book is an impressive achievement. It brings together in one comprehensive volume, all the essential facts and figures relating to the process of empire-building by the European powers. It complements the Longman Companion to European Decolonisation in the Twentieth Century by the same author - together they help to explain why different empires had different philosophies, dissolved in different ways, and left different legacies.