Editor’s Note: The following article is a post that was written by Colin Cram for the Procurement Insights European Union Edition blog under the titled “Why do Americans Speak English?“
Question; why do Americans speak English?
Answer; because of an initiative 350 years ago to combat procurement fraud.
In 1667, the English and the Dutch fought a naval battle in the estuary of the River Thames, the river that flows through London. The Dutch won. This was seen as a national humiliation for the English and Samuel Pepys, famous for his diaries, was appointed to find out what had gone wrong and to try to put things right. He discovered that naval chiefs had been diverting naval funds to support an expensive lifestyle and to build very expensive country mansions. Additionally, contracts had been awarded to businesses prepared to pay bribes, rather than to those that were competent. Thus the English ships were badly armed and barely seaworthy.
Pepys took his task very seriously and by the time of the next naval war, in 1672, the English ships were in good shape. The peace treaty, signed in 1674, saw New Amsterdam handed to the English. Its name was changed to – New York.
The reforms resulted in the Royal Navy ̶ British after England and Scotland were unified in 1707 ̶ becoming by far the most powerful navy in the world. The British Empire was created and the English language spread with it. Thanks to a one-man crusade 350 years ago against procurement corruption, the English language has become the international language and the language of international business.