During the Age of Sail and the Age of Colonization, the British formed a massive seafaring and colonial empire through exploration, trade and rapid colonization. Large swathes of land were immediately seized for the English Crown, and these acquisitions allowed the Empire to become one of the largest superstate powers on Earth.
Throughout the late 19th century and 20th century, many state under English governance slowly shifted towards self-governance and were eventually granted independence.
In 1949, the London Declaration declared all former governed territories outside the United Kingdom, with the exception of Australia and New Zealand, to be 'free and equal', ending British control over almost all members within the Commonwealth.
At its height, the British Empire was massive enough to span the entire globe to the point where the empire as a whole never completely saw the darkness of night, thus granting the phrase "The sun never sets on the British Empire."
Most states within the Empire formed their own local governments.