In an open letter to the Home Office, historians have pointed out the 'fundamentally misleading' representation of slavery and the British empire in the UK citizenship test, and pushed for the historical element of the test to be removed.
The letter states that the handbook on which the test is based "promotes the misleading view that the empire came to an end simply because the British decided it was the right thing to do. Similarly, the abolition of slavery is treated as a British achievement, in which enslaved people themselves played no part. The book is equally silent about colonial protests, uprisings and independence movements".
The inaccuracies and misrepresentations in the handbook have in some cases even deterred potential citizenship applicants from submitting their applications. Anindita Ghosh, professor of modern Indian history at the University of Manchester, who recently undertook the test, had delayed making her application "because I personally found it very insulting knowing what I know of British and Indian history to read what was there in the book".
The list of signatories includes more than 175 historians from a range of universities across the UK, but the list of those who have found the content of the handbook and the citizenship test to be offensive, and inaccurate, is likely to be much longer.
Historians demand ‘fundamentally misleading’ details on British empire and slavery are corrected