©National Archives

Map of the Empire, 1927 In the early 20th century, Britain's industrial production and international trading status fell into decline. Her vast Empire therefore took on a new economic significance and she sought to capitalise upon the resources that it provided. In order to do so, she needed to promote the Empire effectively. The Empire Marketing Board was therefore established in May 1926 and continued in being until 1933.

In 1927, the Board produced this colourful poster to encourage the purchase of goods from within the British Empire. Entitled 'Highway of the Empire', it shows all the major trade routes and highlights the British Empire, which is marked in red.

The inclusion of polar bears (bottom left) in Antarctica (South Pole) was an error noted only at proof stage. Polar bears only live in the Arctic (North Pole). It was too late to move them, but they have been made to ask 'where are we?'

See item in the collection's timeline