The spread of English around the world is closely connected to the development of the British empire. British settlers, soldiers, merchant and administrators carried their language to every continent.

The first colony was Ireland, which was completely conquered by the middle of the 71th century. The British then took control of north America and the Caribbean, India and Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand and large areas of Africa. They also controlled strategic Island and ports in almost every corner of the world from Gibraltar, Malta and Cyprus. In the Mediterranean to Hong Kong and Singapore in the Pacific region. Even though the United States broke away after 1776, by 1918 about one quarter of the world was under the British empire. This area corresponds very closely to the country where English is now spoken as a first or second language.

After the Second world War nearly all of this territories became independent but most of then have kept their links whit Britain and the other ex-colonies by becoming members of the British Commonwealth.

All though English became a world language through the British empire, its continuing importance in the world today is mainly because of the enormous influence of the USA in commerce, technology, entertainments, scientific research, travel and tourism and many other fields the predominant language is now English. If, for example, German, Japanese and Brazilian scientists meet at an international conference they will probably communicate in English.