[QUOTE=Tom] I think it's probably to do with the Empire being so large at one point, the saying "The Sun never sets in the British Empire" meaning there at one point was always a country on the globe under sunlight under British control.
I think it was basically spread that way, and supported to some degree by trade.[/QUOTE]
Don't forget, there was hard competition
German was also spreaded around the world until the late 19th century. In fact, when founding the U.S., there was a serious consideration to have 2 official languages, english and german
How much easier it would be for me, if this would have happened...
btt, I'm german, know a bit english and less french, and whenever I look for a word (which happens quite often) I use Beolingus