Britain and the United States have long had a ‘special relationship’ that goes back to the American War of Independence in the late 18th century. One of the less obvious things the two countries have had in common is a weakness for empires, or at least for what empires can deliver. Britain had a succession of empires, some acquired unintentionally or at the bidding of aggressive commercial interests. It is a lesser-known fact that the United States had an empire, too, one which also had some unintended aspects. The difference between them is that British governments trumpeted their empire whilst the United States tried to hide or camouflage theirs.