Secondary school pupils in England will learn more about the British Empire under new guidance for schools.
Pupils will study the impact of the empire on different people
The draft changes to the Key Stage 3 curriculum will see 11 to 14-year-olds given a clearer picture of the impact of the empire on different people.
But a prescriptive list of texts for English lessons has been dropped.
The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has drafted the changes to the curriculum in an attempt to give schools greater freedom over classes.
The changes will also allow teachers to tailor subject content to meet pupils' individual needs, as set out in a government white paper on 14 to 19 learning.
Currently, history classes cover "how expansion of trade and colonisation, industrialisation and political changes affected the UK" under a heading of Britain 1750-1900.
The draft guidelines say pupils must cover "the nature of empires including the British Empire and its impact on different people".
The QCA's history adviser, Jerome Freeman, said empire had been given "more emphasis and greater strength".
"It is a significant part of British history and a topic that history teachers have to embrace more."
Two years ago Ofsted inspectors said schools in England spent "insufficient time" teaching about the British Empire and called on teachers to raise awareness of the empire's "controversial legacy"
In English, the current requirement for teachers to choose texts from a prescribed list of pre-1914 authors - including Jane Austen, Geoffrey Chaucer, Wordsworth and Dickens - has been dropped.
Instead pupils must study "stories, poetry and drama written before, during and after the 20th century" and texts that enable them "to appreciate the qualities and distinctiveness of texts from different cultures and traditions".
And pupils will still be required to study "at least one play by Shakespeare".
In PE, swimming has been dropped from the list of six options in favour of "exercising for the benefit of health and wellbeing".
A QCA spokesman said: "These are early draft programmes of study which we have been consulting on.
"There will be further work and further stages of consultation before the new Key Stage 3 curriculum is introduced."