“According to the British-born historian Norman Davies, during “’peak empire’” the British colonies were 125 times larger than Britain’s landmass, the French 19 times larger than France, the Dutch 55 times, and the Belgian 78 times.”


For many years the British journalist Matthew Engel kept little red notebooks of random quotes he found interesting, resulting in his book, wait for it, Extracts from the Red Notebooks. In his honor, or rather, stealing the concept directly from him, this entry inaugurates a sometimes feature, random things that I think people ought to know, that we’ll imaginatively call “Quotes:”


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