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Great Britain - An Empire of Tea

The East India Company had rights normally exercised by governments: to acquire territory, maintain armies and forts and to declare war. It would hold the greatest monopoly in any commodity that the world as ever known - and that commodity was tea. The invention of afternoon tea by the Duchess of Bedford quickly became an institution as English as cricket at Lords or punting along the backs at Cambridge, and to this day the British consume more tea per head than any other nation in the world.