Course Contents • • • I. II. British Insularity.

Invasions and Patterns of Settlement in the British Isles British Monarchy: from the Anglo-Saxon Kings to the Twenty-first Century House of Windsor Main Developments in Britain’s Political Life British Insularity Great Britain:
a. England (the South, the Midlands and the North): from the Channel to the Scottish Border (the Cheviot Hills); Scotland (united to England in 1707): the Highlands; the Lowlands and the Islands (the Inner and Outer Hebrides, the Orkney Islands, the Shetland Islands); Wales (united to England under the first Tudors, Henry VII and Henry VIII).


c. III. IV. V.

Northern Ireland (Ulster); the Isle of Man and Anglesey (in the Irish Sea); the Isle of Wight, Jersey and Guernsey (‘the Channel Islands’); the Scilly Islands (SE of Cornwall).

Consequences of British Insularity
• Britain’s peculiar geographical position has influenced its climate, its people and its history in more than one direction. – Climate: temperate, influenced by the warm Atlantic Current (Gulf Stream), with mild winters and warm summers; People: restrained, reserved, with a conservative mentality marked by a preference for traditional habits and structures (e.g. talking about the weather; carrying an umbrella and a jacket on a warm day because it might rain or turn cold; the five o’clock tea; etc.); History: The sea has turned the English into a sea-faring nation, able to roam the oceans of the world and to build up a great maritime empire. The sea provided potential security from foreign invasions from the continent, but also imminent danger from enemies from the north (and not only).

II. Invasions and Patterns of Settlement in the British Isles
• Ancient Britain: – – Stone Age: the Megalithic Men; Bronze Age: the Beaker people;

– – •

Iron Age: the Celts; The Romans.

Middle Ages: – – – The Anglo-Saxons; The Vikings; The Normans.

Battles for Britain: – – The Renaissance: the Spanish Armada; The Second World War: the German Luftwaffe.

Ancient Britain: the Megalithic Men
• Stone Age (about 3,000 BC): – The first settlers probably coming from the Iberian Peninsula (the ‘Iberians’) or even from the North African coast: • small, dark, long-headed people (probably the ancestors of the dark-haired inhabitants of Wales and Cornwall); They kept animals, grew corn and knew how to make pottery.

• –

This first wave of ‘invaders’ settled in the western parts of Britain and Ireland, from Cornwall all the way to the far north. Remains that reveal the huge organisation of labour in prehistoric Britain: • the “henges”: centres of religious, political and economic power made of great circles of earth banks and ditches inside which there were wooden buildings and stone circles; e.g. Stonehenge in Salisbury Plain: made of monumental circles of massive vertical stones topped with immense horizontal slabs (‘megaliths’ → the name of these prehistoric people, i.e., ‘Megalithic Men’); other (earth or stone) henges were built in many parts of Britain as far north as the Orkney Islands and as far south as Cornwall.

Ancient Britain: the Beaker People
• Bronze Age (after 2,400 BC): – New groups of people came from Europe (France and the Low Countries) and settled in southeast Britain. Characteristics: • round-headed, strongly built, taller than Neolithic Britons;

and stripped or checked cloaks fastened by a pin (possibly the origin for the Scottish tartan and dress). the Belgic tribes settled in the south-east of Britain. Religious rituals (which sometimes included human sacrifice) were not performed in temples but in sacred (oak) groves.e. • Ancient Britain: the Celts • Iron Age (around 700 BC): – From the sixth century BC over the next seven hundred years.g. the Brythonic Celts/ Britons settled in England and Wales. introducing the first individual graves to replace the former communal burial mounds (‘barrows’). skills: They knew how to work with iron. They traded across tribal borders and trade was probably important for political and social contact between the tribes inside and beyond Britain. (Roman writers leave an impression of a measure of equality between the sexes among the richer Celts.• • speaking an Indo-European language. Erse (in the Highlands and the Islands of Scotland) and the now extinguished Manx (only in the Isle of Man). barley. They built hill-forts which remained economic centres for local groups long after the Romans came to Britain (e. the Celts swept into the British isles. skilled in working metal (bronze) and in making pottery. religion: polytheistic. fair or red-haired men. the tribal laws. two centuries later. kindred indeed but mutually hostile and each with a dialect of its own: • The Goidelic/ Gaelic Celts settled in Ireland whence they spread to Scotland and the Isle of Man. medicine. the tradition of organising annual fairs). gender roles: Women. Their linguistic heritage is represented by: Gaelic (the national language in Ireland). history. their graves were furnished with pottery beakers (the ‘Beaker’ people). of an impressive cleanliness and neatness. in three successive waves. but they memorised all the religious teachings. by rivers or by river sources. when the Romans – – – . About 100 BC. had more independence and they were respected for their courage and strength in battle. Their linguistic heritage is represented by: Welsh (in Wales) and Cornish (spoken in Cornwall up to the end of the eighteenth century. especially from the upper strata. bringing a new cereal from Europe. Their priests.) Actually. on certain hills. the Druids could not read or write. and other knowledge necessary in the Celtic society. wearing shirts and breeches. to be revived nowadays). • • Ancient Britain: the Celts • General characteristics: – tall. i. coming from central Europe or further east. hence they could make better weapons and introduce more advanced ploughing methods to farm heavier soils.

from the River Humber to the River – • .g. evocative of England’s Anglo-Saxon roots and her ruling position. the interest in the old Celtic literary tradition was revived by the Pre-Romantic movement. James Macpherson’s alleged translations from the legendary Irish bard Ossian brought about the emergence of a new literary fashion in almost the whole Europe. Under the Celts. down. Exeter. Thames. Avon. known as Ossianism. Actually. Gloucester. the Celts of Britain supported the Celts in Gaul against the Romans (sending them food and allowing them to hide in Britain). the Romanised area stretched across the southern part of Britain. The Romans needed British food for their own army fighting the Gauls. The Cycle of Munster (focused on the heroic figures of Finn and his son Ossian. Boadicea (61 AD). a gifted bard). the name which the Greeks called the Celtic inhabitants of Britain. cradle. York. Britishness – originally a general term denoting national identity for the inhabitants of England. • With the rise of nationalistic feelings in present-day Britain. Manchester. the Roman invasion: • 55-54 BC: Julius Caesar raided Britain to stop the support the British Celts offered to the Celts in Gaul. brat. 43 AD: Britain was conquered by Emperor Claudius’s legions. first syllables in Winchester. a dramatic conception of man’s existence at grip with fate. Kent.) In literature: legends and sagas imbued with a sense of mystery. etc. The most powerful Celt to stand up to the Romans was a woman. sung by bards at the accompaniment of the harp: • The Cycle of Ulster (the oldest literary attempts of the Irish epic recording the deeds of king Conchobar and the brave hero Cuchulainn). mattock.g. Invasions and Patterns of Settlement in the British Isles (II) Ancient Britain: the Romans • The Roman invasion: – reasons: 1. London). Scotland and Wales – has come to evoke the Celtic origin of Scotland and Wales as opposed to Englishness. words (e.invaded Britain two of the largest tribes were ruled by women who fought from their chariots. – – • In the late eighteenth century. Celtic survivings in English: names of rivers and places (e. Britain became an important food producer because of the mild climate and the advanced ploughing technology. Ancient Britain: the Celts • Cultural heritage: – The very name ‘Britain’ comes from ‘Pretani’. mispronounced by the Romans into ‘Britannia’. 2.

). Consequently. the introduction of figurative styles particularly in sculpture.) The Romanised Celts were left to fight alone against the Scots. belonging to the richer Britons who had become more Roman than Celt in their manners (as opposed to the huts and villages in which most of the Celtic population continued to live). etc. wine (“vinum”). Portsmouth). Therefore. but also in the minor arts and crafts (jewellery. the introduction of Christianity in 313 under Emperor Constantine the Great (his mother. Latin completely disappeared both in its spoken and written forms. Colchester – a seat of the imperial Cult. was a Celtic princess from Britain). pottery. a supply port and the centre of the system of Roman roads). it is difficult to say how many Latin words penetrated the English vocabulary through Celtic. furniture.) but did not develop their culture there. as Rome itself was under fierce siege by the Germanic tribes. Davenport.s of authentic borrowings from Latin to Celtic: caester. Gloucester. the introduction of reading and writing (Latin alphabet): Latin speaking town-dwellers and rich landowners/ vs. street (“strata”). wall-painting and mosaic. Colchester). the area of Roman occupation was divided into two sharply contrasting regions: the Latinised south and east. Helen. Saint Patrick first brought Christianity to Ireland (he became the island’s patron saint). household goods). Ancient Britain: the Romans • Benefits of the Roman rule: – prosperous towns which were the basis of Roman administration and civilisation (e.g. and the barbarian north and west. central heating. Doncaster. wall (“vallum”)./ the illiterate Celtic peasantry. The Romans could not conquer “Caledonia” (i. • 409 AD: Rome withdrew its last legions from Britain. coln (“colonia” in Lincoln. the Irish and the Anglo-Saxon raiders from Germany. – – – – – – The Anglo-Saxons • Government and society: . stone-paved highways which continued to be used long after the Romans left and became the main roads of modern Britain. meant to focus the loyalty of the province. pool (“padulis” in Liverpool). London – the business centre of the province.Severn.g. glass windows. large farms (‘villas’) outside the towns. (Rome itself was sacked by the Goths in 410. chester (“castrum” in Chester. running water. Roman baths. etc. E. Scotland). wick/ wich (“vicus” in Wickham).e. with the coming of the Anglo-Saxons. port (“portus” in Porchester. They built a strong wall along the northern border (Hadrian’s Wall) to keep out the raiders (Scots and Picts) from the north. where a temple of the deified Claudius was erected. The Romans also extended their control in Wales (the towns of York. Chester. However.

the ‘ceorlas’: free men entitled to their share of the common land. Their system of land ownership and organisation put the land of the community to better use. They divided the land into two-three large fields. the king’s authority was in danger. The Anglo-Saxons . – • – Thus.) The Anglo-Saxon system represented a transition from the tribal to the feudal organisation. and a third one was left to rest for a year and used. even killed by their masters. 2. a second one for autumn crops. the Anglo-Saxons were not city dwellers. The Anglo-Saxon technology changed the shape of English agriculture. the ‘laet’: landless men who cultivated the soil for their lord (serfs). together with the other fields after crop harvesting. The king was elected and assisted during his rule by the Witan. It was the beginning of the manorial system which reached its full development under the Normans. They settled in the countryside. the noblemen – ‘eorlas’ (earls) or thanes: they enjoyed material privileges in exchange for their loyalty and military support to the king. the ‘shield’ and protector in times of war. Their heavier ploughs allowed them to better plough heavier soils in long straight lines across the field. One field was used for spring crops. ‘the ring-giver’ in times of peace (arm-rings or neck-rings = gold pieces/ jewellery given as a reward to the warriors for their courage and values). the slaves: war prisoners or people sold by their families in times of famine to save them from starvation or convicts in a law-suit. (The slaves were an exception in this respect. as common land for animals to feed on. the master paid no wergilt. The community was organised around the lord’s manor where the villagers paid taxes. The Anglo-Saxons • Anglo-Saxon hierarchical system: – the king (‘cyning’): 1. • • They cleared dense forests and drained wet lands. a council made of senior warriors and churchmen. Slaves were working machines that could be bought or sold. justice was administered and men joined the army (the fyrd). Without the Witan’s support. which were further subdivided into long thin strips (‘hides’) owned by each family and cultivated in the same way as the ones of the neighbours. - The Anglo-Saxons had their own system of punishing manslaughter by paying a sum of money (‘wergilt’ = war money) to the relatives of the murdered man. the Anglo-Saxons set the basis of English agriculture until the eighteenth century.– Unlike the Romans.

In Northumbria. to re-establish Christianity in England. medicine. Every lord has land. He came as a missionary in Canterbury.000 thanes were recorded to survive as the local gentry. the Roman Christian Church (interested in authority) ↓ 663 AD: the Synod of Whitby decided in favour of the Roman Church. It was an inventory of both all the possessions of the country and the social distribution of the population. Scotland and Ireland) 597 AD: Pope Gregory the Great sent a monk. Sussex and Wessex. even in the Celtic parts of the island. The Normans • Basic principles of feudalism: – – ↓ DOOMSDAY BOOK (1088): a general survey of all the lands of the kingdom. enriching the Anglo-Saxon language with Latin vocabulary.g. He continued to convert especially ruling families in Kent. reading and writing in Latin. who travelled from village to village to spread Christianity. owners. Ecclesiastic History of the English People).• The introduction of Christianity (7 century): – in the early days of the Anglo-Saxon rule in Britain: heathen Anglo-Saxons /vs. and he became the first Archbishop of Canterbury in 601./ the Christianised Celts (Wales. Ireland and Scotland. Christianity brought about the return of learning. All high offices both in the church and state were exclusively filled by French speaking foreigners. only 5. cattle or poultry. The monasteries became seats of learning and teaching of Latin. Every man has a lord. The English found themselves excluded from all road leading to honour or preferment. Christianity was introduced by Irish monks 40 years later. Augustine. th – – – ↓ the Celtic Christian Church (ordinary people) vs. East Anglia. astronomy. The Normans • Cultural conditions in Norman England: the 13 century Renaissance th . • the fate of the defeated: English lords were deprived of their lands in favour of the French barons. at king Ethelbert of Kent’s court. The Celtic Church retreated as Rome extended its authority over all Christians. miniature art and history (e. Essex. their value. In 1088. Greek. The ordinary people in Britain were converted by Celtic Church bishops from Wales. music. the Venerable Bede. quality of the soil.

pointed ribbed vaults. literature. William of Occam. Albans. 2) the Gothic (pointed arches. Loyal Catholics were urged to depose her. Peterborough. Martin Frobisher. etc.) -styles: 1) the English Romanesque or Norman style (bold massive construction. flying buttresses. aristocratic society. England supported the Protestant French and the Dutch Protestant rebels.: Francis Drake. semicircular arches. Roger Bacon) d) chronicles: The Anglo-Norman Chronicles (written in Latin. ponderous cylindrical pillars.– ↓ the peaceful ‘invasion’ of Normandy’s industrial and trading classes a) Architecture: the building of England’s twenty-seven greatest cathedrals (Norwich. clustered columns. Oxford. flat buttresses.g. geometrical patterns). Protestant England • 1570 – Elizabeth I excommunicated by Pope Pius V. Durham. • . c) the first universities: Oxford – 1249. Cambridge – 1284 – seats of learning (John Duns Scotus. of the illiterate lower classes) Battles for Britain • • The defeat of the Spanish Armada (1588) Fighting the German Luftwaffe (1940) England versus Spain in the Late Sixteenth Century • Anglo-Spanish relations in the 1570s-1580s: – the conflict over control of the commercial routes: • • Spain ruling over the Protestant Netherlands that fought for independence. e. glass. Gloucester. law-courts and royal administration. Walter Map’s Of Courtiers’ Trifles (violent attacks at the corruption and abuses of the clergy) e) Middle English: Latin (the language of the church and scholarship) – French (the language of public life. Spanish ships ‘harassed’ by English “privateers” (‘pirates’ unofficially supported by Queen Elizabeth I. – the religious conflict: Catholic Spain vs. Walter Raleigh) ↔ the result of Spain’s refusal to allow England to trade freely with Spanish American colonies. tall and pointed towers and spires. stone. stained glass) b) development of crafts in wood. art and cooking) – English (the language of the people at large. St. but lacking the impartiality of their Anglo-Saxon predecessors). tapestry and painting (miniatures). Winchester. Matthew Paris’s Chronica Majora (English and Continental events from 1255) and Chronica Minora (home events between 1200-1250).

Prime Minister Winston Churchill brilliantly managed to persuade a nation “on its knees” that it would win. Elizabeth I responded by sending the Earl of Leicester to Holland with an army. Their targets: coastal shipping convoys. but the Britain did not become the scene of a foreign invasion. Finally. attacked and defeated the French.England versus Spain in the Late Sixteenth Century • 1580s: – Philip II of Spain prospered: he annexed Portugal (1580) and the Azores (1582-3). an “Armada”. shipping centres. Philip decided to conquer England before he would be able to defeat the Dutch in the Netherlands. The British army was driven into the sea and was saved by thousands of private boats which crossed the English Channel at Dunkirk. The failure of Germany to achieve its objectives of destroying Britain’s air defences. France capitulated within 11 days on June 10. and Britain entered the war. or forcing Britain to negotiate an armistice or an outright surrender is considered both its first major defeat and one of the crucial turning points in the war. That created panic among English politicians who feared that Elizabeth I might fall victim too. He built a great fleet. exceeding in size the combined fleets of England and the Netherlands. so that subsequently Spanish troops could have easier access to the Netherlands. was assassinated. Royal Air Force (RAF) airfields and infrastructure. the Spanish Armada was defeated by the English weather and by the English guns. 1940. but most were blown northwards by the wind. In August 1588 Protestant England celebrated with prayers and public thanksgiving. Summer-autumn 1940: The German air forces (Luftwaffe) launched a major bombing and raiding campaign over Britain. many being wrecked on the rocky coasts of Scotland and Ireland. 1584: the Dutch leader. the Lufwaffe resorted to attacks on strategic town areas which culminated in the serial bombing of London which killed thousands of civilians and destroyed most of central London. 1585: Phillip II was confident he could seize all English ships in Iberian ports. Adolf Hitler might have launched Operation Sealion. 1588: The re-built Spanish Armada (the largest that had ever gone to sea. – – – – The Second World War: The Battle of Britain • • September 1939: Germany invaded Poland. Some Spanish ships were sunk. 1587: The Spanish Armada was attacked and partly destroyed by Francis Drake in the Cadiz harbour. • In this time of terror. William of Orange. If Germany had gained air superiority. . aircraft factories and ground infrastructure. However. The war with Spain continued until Elizabeth I’s death (1603). May 1940 – June 1940: The German army invaded the Netherlands. but Leicester was defeated. but less fast than the English ships) carrying mainly soldiers (few ships carried cannons and medium guns) aimed at conquering England and controlling the English Channel. an amphibious and airborne invasion of Britain.

a group of advisers on the affairs of state. Augustine of Hippo’s Soliloquies. history and geography. Without its support. The Witan established a system which remained an important part of the king’s method of government. scholar: He believed that only through learning men could acquire wisdom and live in accordance with God’s will. which made it harder for royal power to be questioned. became prosperous market towns. initially built for defence. Anglo-Saxon Royalty and the Christian Church – – – king Ethelbert of Kent – Christianised by Augustine (597). but the Church also increased the power of kings. It was good political propaganda. the first year-by-year historical records ever composed in English. 663 – the Synod of Whitby – the king of Northumbria decided in favour of the Roman Church. But he knew that it might be dangerous to do so. Gregory I’s Pastoral Care and St. → 878: the treaty of Wedmore. He organised his finances and the service due from his thanes. the king/ queen has a Privy Council. he made sure that this was done at a Christian ceremony led by a bishop. It was not at all democratic and the king could choose to ignore the Witan’s advice. because it suggested that kings were chosen not only by people but also by God. He translated himself St. took steps to ensure the protection of the weak and dependent from oppression by ignorant or corrupt judges. limited the practice of the blood feud and imposed heavy penalties for breach of oath or pledge. 892-896 – He resisted serious attacks by a large Danish force from the Continent. 890). 886 – He captured London. He encouraged the foundation of the first public schools in the monasteries.g. He taught himself Latin and translated. warrior: He defeated the Danes led by Guthrum.” E. For the Witan’s authority was based on its right to choose kings. he was compared to Charlemagne owing to his many-sided talents: – 1. administrator: After the war. He had Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People and Paulus Orosius’s Seven Books of Histories Against the Pagans translated into English (in fact into the West Saxon dialect). Kings had “God’s approval. and to agree the use of the king’s laws. He initiated the keeping of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles (c.   Alfred the Great (871-900) – chosen by the Witan upon his elder brother’s death. 2. Saxon kings helped the Church to grow. Even today. the burghs/ boroughs (walled settlements). books of theology. Bishops gave kings their support.British Monarchy: from the Anglo-Saxon Kings to the Twenty-first Century House of Windsor (1) The Anglo-Saxon Kings  The king was elected by the WITAN – the King’s Council – a formal body including senior warriors and churchmen who issued laws and charters. – – . When king Offa of Mercia arranged for his son to be crowned as his successor. the king’s own authority was in danger. which brought all the English not under the Danish rule to accept him as a king. or ordered to be translated. 3.

including his wife Edith. laying the foundations of the legend of St. To William the important difference between Normandy and England was that as Duke of Normandy he had to recognise the king of France as his lord. He died on the battlefield with his eye pierced by an arrow. Fictional representations:    the play Harold by Alfred Tennyson (1876). Both were personal possessions. his father-inlaw Earl Godwin. He controlled two large areas: Normandy. i. the novel Last of the Saxon Kings by Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1848). The pattern of the English village. attributed to Goscelin of St. more interested in the Church than in kingship. translated into English by Frank Barlow): Written about the time of the Norman Conquest. and the queen’s brothers Tostig and Harold (who became king in 1066). the short story “The Tree of Justice” included in Rudyard Kipling’s Rewards and Fairies (1910). – The Norman Kings  William I of Normandy and England (1066-87) – – crowned at Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1066. Duke of Normandy. Challenged in 1066 by both the Vikings and the Normans.e. this text is an important and intriguing source for the history of Anglo-Saxon England in the years just before 1066. with its manor house and church. and England. Edward the Confessor. . which he had won in war. etc. this descendent of the most powerful family of Wessex was challenged by the one who claimed to be the Confessor’s real heir. William. the management of Normandy and England became a family business. He began the building of Westminster Abbey in London. Archbishop of Canterbury. dates from Edward’s time. – Vita Eduardi (The Life of King Edward Who Rests at Westminster: attributed to a monk of SaintBertin. It provides a fascinating account of Edward the Confessor and his family.e. 1100). as he lived among Norman monks during the Danish rule in England ↓ Under his rule his secretaries and chaplains at court were Normans and he raised several Normans to be Bishops while he made a Norman Primate of England.  After William I’s death. whereas in England he was king with no lord above him.  Harold Godwinson (1066) – Though chosen by the Witan. i. he managed to defeat the Norwegian king Harald Hardrada at Stanford Bridge. he spent most of his life in Normandy. but he was defeated by the Normans at Hastings. Bertin (a manuscript of c.. Edward the Confessor (1042-66) – – more of a Norman than an Englishman. which had been given by his father.

and Henry’s nephew. Becket. His death brought about new warfare between Matilda and her husband from Anjou. a great noble in France. five years later. Henry II died a broken man. After his son’s death. but he was killed. and his sons. although he actually spent very little time in England. His firm rule opposed him to the Church: his controversy with Thomas Becket. So. loyal to their mother and to the French king. He left England with a legal administrative system and a habit of obedience to government. married to Geoffrey Plantagenet. The Lion in Winter (1966) by James Goldman. we was ransomed after two years by the English. Murder in the Cathedral (1935) by T. Eliot. – Captured by the Duke of Austria with whom he had quarrelled in Jerusalem. on the other hand. → a chivalry romance knight errant figure turned into a full blooded Englishman (He thrust his hand down the throat of an attacking lion. Richard and John. the Archbishop of Canterbury (1162). Thomas Becket was sanctified and his shrine in Canterbury attracted thousands of pilgrims (see Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales). of fictional representations: the medieval legends about Robin Hood. Walter Scott’s novels Ivanhoe (1819) and The Talisman (1825). he hoped that the noblemen would accept his daughter Matilda. in 1189. caused a severe family breach. in France. tore out his heart and ate it with salt. The terrible civil war came to an end when Matilda and Stephen agreed that Stephen could keep England’s throne but only if Matilda’s son. Eleanor.g. – – – –  Richard I (Coeur de Lion – the Lionheart) (1189-99): – one of England’s most popular kings.)  e. He spent the rest of his life fighting to keep Normandy from other French nobles who tried to take it. His quarrels with his wife. Henry. could succeed him. from Boulogne. ou l’Honneur de Dieu (1959) by Jean Anouilh.  King John (Lack-a-land) (1199-1216): . Stephen of Blois. since he participated in the third Crusade for the recovery of the Holy Land from the Muslims. he ruled over far more land than the previous kings: owing partly to his marriage with Eleanor of Aquitaine. S.↓ Henry I succeeded his elder brother William II as King of England in 1100 and defeated his eldest brother Robert Curthose to become the Duke of Normandy in 1106. The Plantagenets (The Angevins)  Henry II (1154-89) – the first unquestioned ruler of the English throne of the last hundred years: – The first of the Plantagenets. fictional representations: the plays Becket (1893) by Alfred Tennyson. on the one hand. he reigned over quite an empire stretching from the Scottish border to the Pyrenees. ended in 1170 with the latter’s murder in the Canterbury Cathedral apparently by order of the former. disappointed and defeated by his own sons and by the French king.

to raise income to meet the costs of war and government. novels: Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe (1819).)  Edward I (1272-1307): – Despite the fact that he defeated Simon of Montfort. he managed to break the opposition of the Welsh and to bring them under control. William Shakespeare’s King John (1591-98. presided over by the King or by the King’s Lord Chancellor). which he spent in unsuccessful wars to defend his French possessions against the rising power of the Capet kings in France.– He misused the machinery of state he had inherited in order to extort money from his subjects. ↓ – 1215: The barons. His taking over the Scottish crown faced a popular resistance movement. he decided to continue the experiment of summoning the Parliament (then made up only by what later on became the House of Lords. forced king John to sign a Charter of liberties – Magna Carta – at Runnymede (outside London). to security of person and property. A clear stage in the collapse of English feudalism. joined by angry merchants and supported by the Church and all the other classes (burghers and yeomen). → 1204: he lost Normandy to Philip Augustus of France. a custom preserved ever since.) –  Edward II (1307-27): . – fictional representations:  plays: John Bale’s King Johan (1538). which caused him to become unpopular with the Church too. (His eldest son Edward II was created Prince of Wales. Edward used his royal authority to establish the rights of the Crown at the expense of traditional feudal privileges. to promote the uniform administration of justice. who summoned the first Parliament in 1264. the campaigns in Wales and Scotland: Between 1282-84. and then by Robert Bruce (Edward I was defeated by Bruce and died on his way for a second campaign to Scotland to fight him. 162829). (Montfort was eventually defeated in 1265 in the battle of Evesham and killed by prince Edward. led at first by William Wallace (defeated at Falkirk in 1298 and executed). He also quarrelled with the Pope over who should be Archbishop of Canterbury (1209-14). led by Simon of Montfort. published in the First Folio 1623).  The Plantagenets  Henry III (1216-72): – His reign was marked by the failure of his campaigns in France (1230 and 1242) and his disputes (caused by his keeping foreign advisers and by his excessive expenses in supporting the pope in Sicily) with the barons. the Magna Carta proclaimed the rights of all “freemen” to justice. and to codify the legal system. to good government. James Goldman’s The Lion in Winter (1966). Robert Davenport’s King John and Matilda (c. This Great Charter was a symbol of political freedom and marked the transition from the age of traditional rights to the age of written legislation. Anthony Munday’s The Downfall and the Death of Robert Earl of Huntington (1598).) He interfered in Scotland as an arbitrator among the pretenders of the Scottish crown only to proclaim himself king of Scotland in 1296.

the ravages caused by the Black Death (the plague – 1348-9. lazy. as well as the rather moderate success in France (after the Treaty of Bruges in 1375. Gloucester. Defeated by his wife’s army. the criticism elicited by his attempts at raising higher taxes. 1592) – –  Edward III (1327-77): – – He restored the authority of the king and founded the Order of the Garter in 1348. 1369). invading France through Flanders in 1337 and scoring two great victories at Crécy (1346) and Poitiers (1356) (which turned Edward’s son ‘The Black Prince’ into a legendary ideal of chivalry). Henry captured and deposed Richard. At the treaty of Brétegny (1360). the whole southern-western France was assigned to England. Richard confiscated the vast properties of his Duchy of Lancaster (which amounted to a state within a state) and divided them among his supporters. he had to abdicate in favour of his son Edward III (the first time that an anointed king of England had been dethroned since Ethelred in 1013). Isabella of France. Richard II was one of the greatest royal patrons of the arts (patron of Geoffrey Chaucer). 1595-96. maintaining Flanders as an export market for English wool). Bolingbroke was crowned King as Henry IV. in the late years of his reign. Henry of Bolingbroke.e. Unfortunately. John of Gaunt (a younger son of Edward III). incapable. here including his uncle. in prison. he handled well the Peasants’ Uprising (1381) led by Wat Tyler and Jack Straw. The war was equally motivated by the English monarchy’s genealogical claims to the throne of France and by economic reasons (i. His weakness allowed Robert Bruce to gain ground in Scotland. while Richard was on a campaign in Ireland. 1361-2. only Calais and a costal strip near Bordeaux were England’s) caused his popularity to decline.– Innocent minded.) Highly cultured. the Parliament decided that Mortimer should be sentenced to death by hanging and the Queen should be deprived of all power and confined for life). On the death of Henry’s father. c. Edward II was later murdered at Berkeley Castle (allegedly by the Queen’s lover. Risings in support of Richard led to his murder in Pontefract Castle. and from his barons. after the latter’s victory at Bannockburn in 1314. known as the Hundred Years’ War. (Wat Tyler was killed and the uprisings in the rest of the country were crushed over the next few weeks. surrounding himself by favourites like Gaveston (eventually captured and beheaded). who were banished. published in a quarto edition in 1597 and in the First Folio in 1623) – – . Henry of Bolingbroke returned to claim his father’s inheritance. In 1399. His authoritarian approach brought him in conflict with several Parliamentarian leaders. He started the long series of wars against France. –  Richard II (1377-99): – Though still a child (14). (See also Christopher Marlowe’s The Troublesome Reign and Lamentable Death of Edward the Second. Mortimer. later on. Supported by some of the leading baronial families. he estranged himself from his queen. (See William Shakespeare’s Richard II. and his cousin.

an unsuitable king in a violent society. 1596-98) The war with France also continued with moderate and fluctuating success on the English side. Richard Plantagenet (son of the Earl of March. he was rescued by a new Lancastrian army.  Henry VI (1422-61. England had lost everything and the only English possession on the Continent was the port of Calais. Civil war (“The War of the Roses” 1455-1485) broke out between Henry VI’s supporters – the Lancastrians – and those of the Duke of York. his son Edward took up the struggle and won the throne in 1461. he ascended to the throne of England and France when less than one year old. In 1403. ineffectual king. turned against him and conspired with Glendower the Percys and the Welsh were defeated by Henry at the Battle of Shrewsbury. after his death in battle. he scored a great victory against the French at Agincourt on October 25. and married Charles VI’s daughter Katherine. (See also William Shakespeare’s Henry IV. he became a weak. after the Duke of Bedford’s death (1435). The outbreak of the plague in 1400 almost coincided with the rebellion in Wales led by Owen Glendower/Glyndwr. and ruled by king Charles. the Percys of Northumberland. Bedford and Gloucester). 1470-1): – An ill-fated king. the Duke of York claimed the throne and. By the Treaty of Troyes (1420). regency was assumed by his uncles Cardinal Beaufort and the Duke of Gloucester (who opposed each other) in England. by the end of the Hundred Years’ War in 1453. Henry’s supporters. the Duke of Bedford. but in 1470. Parts 1 (1589-92). who had lost the competition for the throne when Richard II was deposed in 1399. – – – . Henry VI was sent to the Tower. But he did not rule for long: in 1471. Though genuinely interested in cultural patronage and education. started fighting back the English army. in France. Thus. See William Shakespeare’s Henry VI. led in battle by Joan of Arc. England’s Breton and Burgundian allies lost confidence in the alliance. His simple-mindedness and periods of mental illness allowed for instability at home. the Yorkists led by Edward defeated the Lancastrians at Tewkesbury (Henry’s son. and by another uncle. and assisted by his brothers (the Dukes of Clarence. Parts 1 and 2. In alliance with unreliable Burgundy. despised by his queen and his lords. as the nobles began to ask questions about who should be ruling the country. Until he came of age. –  Henry V (1413-22): – The type of warrior-king that was the ideal of the time. Edward Prince of Wales died in that battle) and Henry VI was murdered in the Tower. Furthermore.) In 1460. ↓ The French. (See William Shakespeare’s Henry V. 1415. 1599-1600) Unfortunately. Henry gained control of Normandy in subsequent campaigns. in 1422. 2 (1590-92) and 3 (1590-93). his success was short lived and he died of dysentery at the age of 34. he gained recognition as heir to the French throne.The Lancastrians  Henry IV (1399-1413): – Henry spent his reign establishing his royal authority. upon his father’s and grandfather’s deaths within months of each other.

(1476 – William Caxton set his printing press at Westminster. Duke of Clarence. At Edward’s death in 1483. Supported by many discontented lords. his heir was too young to rule (only 12) and his ambitious brother Richard of Gloucester took advantage of the situation. personal reasons: his wish to divorce Catherine of Aragon – – . Germany. political reasons: breaking with Rome and putting an end to papal interference in English affairs. He built an effective fleet of royal fighting ships and interfered. (See William Shakespeare’s Richard III. both Lancastrians and Yorkists. → Literacy extended among the people at large. He received young Edward in London for coronation. one of Edward III’s younger sons. he succeeded to the throne after his elder brother’s death and married his former sister-in-law Catherine of Aragon. An unpopular king. – –  Henry VIII (1509-47): – Henry VII’s second son. disliked by both Lancastrians and Yorkists. the civil strife did not stop. 2. France and Scotland). became suspicious of the queen’s (Elizabeth Woodville) faction. in European politics (Spain. He protected the interests of the rising bourgeoisie and of the new nobility and created the merchant fleet. claiming the throne as a direct descendant of John of Gaunt. 1600)  Richard III (1483-5): – Though previously loyal to his brother Edward IV. but the ceremony never too place: Edward V and his younger brother were sent to the Tower never to be seen again (they were murdered). Richard. 1471-83): – After Henry VI’s death and Edward IV’s regaining the throne. (See William Shakespeare’s Richard III) – The Tudors  Henry VII (1485-1509): – He united the Houses of Lancaster and York by his marriage in 1486 with Elizabeth of York (Edward IV’s daughter). 1592-94 and Thomas Heywood’s King Edward IV. who was executed (allegedly by drowning in a barrel of Malmsey wine).) He used dynastic royal marriages to establish his dynasty in England and help maintain peace.The Yorkists  Edward IV (1461-70. Earl of Richmond. In 1478. Henry Tudor defeated Richard III at Bosworth in 1485 (thus putting an end to the Wars of the Roses) and was crowned on the battlefield. The Reformation: 1. he had to imprison in the Tower his brother George Plantagenet. who was appointed Edward V’s protector. Parts 1 and 2. Richard was challenged by the halfWelsh Henry Tudor. more or less successfully. who came from France. restored the centralised power of the state and managed to keep the nobles under control.

the Church of England became more explicitly Protestant. See the plays Marie Tudor (1833) by Victor Hugo and Queen Mary (1875) by Alfred Tennyson.g. could give him a son and heir. he became king at the age of 9 and his short reign was dominated by nobles (e. but physically weak. the king hoped. → The Pope refused to grant the divorce and excommunicated Henry. his eldest uncle. A fervent Catholic.(whose only surviving child was Princess Mary) in order to marry Anne Boleyn (who. named as heir by the dying Edward VI. but relying mostly on the Protestant clergy and wisely keeping England away from the religious wars tearing France apart. Elizabeth’s right to the throne had to be recognised by the Treaty of Edinburgh on July 6. Elizabeth). See Mark Twain’s novel The Prince and the Pauper (1881). even at the expense of turning it into a blood bath. Philip of Spain. (“Bloody Mary”) Her decision of marrying a Catholic prince. 1560. – –  Elizabeth I (1558-1603): – Home policy:  As she had been declared illegitimate. See William Shakespeare’s Henry VIII (1613). During his reign. –  Edward VI (1547-53): – Intellectually precocious. who broke with Rome and married Anne. Edward Seymour. Henry’s reformation produced dangerous Protestant-Roman Catholic differences in the kingdom. she nonetheless benefited from public support as Henry VIII’s daughter against the claimant Jane Grey. Suspicious of the old aristocracy. – Henry VIII finally got his male heir (Edward) after the execution of Anne Boleyn in 1536 (allegedly for adultery) and his marriage with Anne Seymour. and all those who refused to take the Oath of Supremacy were charged with treason and executed. and the Duke of Northumberland) using the Regency to strengthen their own positions. She showed political ability in solving religious problems accepting neither the Roman Catholic Church nor the Calvinist variant of European Protestantism. Her long reign was   . – –  Mary I (1553-58): – Declared illegitimate and removed from the succession to the throne by an Act of Parliament during her father’s lifetime. approved of by the Parliament. 1559: She reinforced the Act of Supremacy and re-established the Anglican Church. she relied on new men like Sir William Cecil and Francis Walsingham and defended her position on the throne cold-mindedly. Henry VIII became the only supreme head of the Anglican Church of England. but who gave birth to another daughter. she restored papal supremacy in England and began the conversion of the country back to Catholicism. By the Act of Supremacy (1531). made her even more unpopular.

the Roman Catholic question. the queen supported the “privateers” (e.  – Fictional representations: e.) → the reimposition of strict penalties on Roman Catholics. Strongly believing. 1605): an attempt of a group of Catholic gentlemen of the Jesuit Party to blow up the king and the Houses of Parliament. the epic poem The Fairie Queene (1590-96) by Edmund Spenser. or a Tale of Other Times (1783) by Sophia Lee and Kenilworth (1821) by Walter Scott. 1588.g. Francis Drake. he had to ask the Parliament to raise a tax.g. The queen carefully kept England away from open conflagration. He managed to rule successfully . the novels The Recess. in the divine right of kings. Though officially denying it. on the one hand. chief among which those of: the Duke of Norfolk (1572). He mismanaged. the flourishing of the theatre. new trading companies were founded encompassing a vast area from Venice. which the Parliament agreed with on condition James would discuss his home and foreign policy with the Parliament. was arrested on November 4. The only serious attempt at invading England by the Spanish Armada ended up in defeat on July 26. The leader. the Greek islands and the Mohammedan Empire to the Indian seas. Guy Fawkes. The Gunpowder Plot (November 5. combining the thrones of England and Scotland for the first time. like Elizabeth I. the way was paved for the great British colonial empire in the centuries to come. To cover the huge debt he ‘inherited’ from Elizabeth I. British Monarchy: From the Anglo-Saxon Kings to the Twenty-first Century House of Windsor (2) The Stuarts   The first kings of the United Kingdom. James I (1603-25): – Queen Elizabeth I’s nephew and son of Mary. Walter Raleigh) who roamed the seas in search of new maritime ways but also of treasure-laden ships to maraud. he tried to rule without the Parliament as much as possible. (His effigy is still merrily burnt by the English each November 4. James insisted that he alone had the “divine right” to make these decisions. Frobisher. Thus. the relation with the Parliament. 2. Queen of the Scots. Furthermore. etc.marked by spectacular executions. he had been king of Scotland (James VI) for 36 years when he became King of England. – Foreign policy:  England launched into the contest for commercial and naval leadership against Spain and France. the Earl of Essex (1601). Babbington (1586) and Mary Stuart of the Scots (1587). a theologian and an arts patron → the new translation of the Bible known as the Authorised King James’s version of the Bible. on the other hand. – – ↓ 1. and.

James continued to quarrel with the Parliament over money and over its desire to play a part in his foreign policy. – – – – . i. Charles was beheaded on a scaffold outside the Banqueting House in Whitehall. England continued her international trade in wool. thus increasing the crown’s debts. Oliver Cromwell and his Ironsides → The Army. Upon Cromwell’s Return from Ireland (1650). ↓ – 1. James I versus the Puritans: The latter denounced the extravagances and dissolute living at the king’s court. He tried to rule without the Parliament. He quarreled with the Parliament – especially with the House of Commons . Literary representations: e. and the Rump Parliament established a High Court of Justice in the first week of January 1649. Yet. a fervent Catholic. mainly over money. The violent debate over Charles’s financial devices and the reform of the Church along Puritan lines eventually led to the king’s attempt to arrest the leaders of the Parliament. On 20 January. 1649. between 1611 and 1621. 1648-49) James I and the Cavaliers/ versus/ The House of Commons. Until his death in 1625. He was sentenced to death on 27 January. in fact a military dictatorship in which the main power was exerted by Oliver Cromwell. Parliament was purged.e. The Puritans remaining in England became the focal point for resistance against the Stuarts. Andrew Marvell’s poem An Horatian Ode. In December 1648.g. he spent a lot inviting artists like Van Dyck and Rubens to work in England and buying a great collection of paintings by Raphael and Titian. He married Henrietta Maria of France. James could not afford the costs of an army and disagreed with the Parliament who wished to go against the Catholics. known as the ‘Roundheads’ and the extremists. and attacked the theatre on account of its being the favourite amusement of an immoral aristocracy. Charles refused to plead. (‘The Great Remonstrance’ 1641) → The Civil Wars (164246. – He neglected the navy and deprived England of her naval power for 30 years. cotton and silk and the ships of the East India Company were sailing as far as Persia and India. But when England got involved in the Thirty Years’ War in Europe (1618-48). he had to re-summon it. Three days later. like his father. Charles was charged with high treason. (See the Puritan Parliament Members Oliver Cromwell. when he needed to have new taxes and loans voted.without the Parliament as long as England was at peace. Alexandre Dumas’s novel Twenty Years After (1845). leaving a small rump totally dependent on the Army. (‘The Pilgrim Fathers’ celebrated by the American people on Thanksgiving Day) 2. concluding that permanent peace was impossible whilst Charles lived. decided that the King must be put on trial and executed. Some Puritans fled across the Atlantic in 1620 to escape prosecution and founded the Massachusetts Colony.even more bitterly. → The Commonwealth or Republic (1649-60) was proclaimed. saying that he did not recognise the legality of the High Court. John Hampden and John Pym)  Charles I (1625-49): – An art lover. but. John Milton. on January 30. London.

It changed the architectural aspect of London and Christopher Wren designed the plan for the rebuilding of London by replacing neoclassic marble and stone for the medieval brick and timber. the Duke of Monmouth. (The Restoration) → The Declaration of Breda (1660) promised pardons. landed at Torbay. he had a troubled reign marked by the rebellion in 1685 led by Charles II’s illegitimate son and champion of Protestantism. yet a number of repressive measures were taken (e.g. Charles II (1660-85): – To prevent the anarchy after Cromwell’s death. magnificent buildings in classic Baroque like St. Paul’s Cathedral. This bloodless ‘Revolution’ decided the balance between Parliamentary and royal power in favour of the former . the Act of Conformity which required all clergy. claimed the royal prerogative to suspend the laws of the land. and. the growing unpopularity of the ‘restoration’ of extravagant frivolity at the court. pursued with ever increasing violence and illegality the policy to prepare the forcible reconversion of England to Roman Catholicism. it ended in 1667 in a humiliating defeat of the English. 1688. the Covenanters’ uprising (a ‘Covenant’ was signed all over Scotland for the defense of the Protestant religion and against the government of the Church by bishops). arrears of Army pay. William of Orange. The early years of Charles II’s reign were also marked by the persecution of the prominent figures of the Commonwealth. and the growing concern of the Parliament with Charles II’s ‘attraction’ to the Catholic Church (The Test Act 1673. the Convention Parliament elected in 1660 called back Charles II from his exile in Holland. supported by the Earl of Shaftesbury. (E.  William (1689-1702) and Mary (1689-94) of Orange: – The Glorious Revolution: On November 5. the second Dutch war (caused by English and Dutch commercial and colonial rivalry. the plague epidemic in London. confirmation of land purchases during the Interregnum and ‘liberty of tender consciences’ in religious matters. the husband of James II’s Protestant daughter Mary. The defeat of the rebels was followed by James’s cruel revenge: he embarked upon a rapid Romanizing of the country. in general. The Great Fire which virtually destroyed the London of the Middle Ages and of Shakespeare’s plays. → 1685: The King’s Declaration of Indulgence put on trial several bishops + the birth of a Catholic heir to the throne → the Tories and the Whigs offered the crown to the first couple of joint monarchs in the English history. college fellows and schoolmasters to belong to the Anglican Church). – –   James II (1685-88): – Charles II’s Roman Catholic brother. 2.) 1666: 1. other buildings by Wren: the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford and Pembroke College Chapel in Cambridge) 2. which prevented any Catholic from holding public office) and with monarchy becoming again too powerful.g. James II was deprived of the crown on account of his deserting his kingdom and the crown was offered to William and Mary. The disastrous years of Charles II’s reign:  1665: 1.

in accordance with the Declaration/ Bill of Rights. into a national hero. if a son or daughter of a monarch becomes a Catholic. (St. (The scene was set for the later uprisings in Scotland led by the Stuart Pretenders against the Hanoverian kings. James Edward Stuart. this was unsuccessful and he soon withdrew. who had married the German elector of Hanover and her children. the crown would go to a granddaughter of James I. Alexander Pope’s Windsor Forest (1713). the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48) ended in defeat for the English.) literary representations: e.) 1707: Scotland and England were formally united under the name of Great Britain and the flags of the two nations (St. – – The Hanoverians  George I (1714-27): – The great-grandson of James I through the female line.g. –  George II (1727-60): – His reign was marked by warfare abroad as well as in Scotland. following a rising of Scottish clans on his behalf.  Queen Ann (1702-14): – The War for the Spanish Succession (1702-13) ended with the recognition by Louis XIV of France of Protestant succession in Great Britain and turned John Churchill. Elector of Hanover came to the throne under the Act of Settlement. except in North America. if she also died without children. no king ever attempted to govern without Parliament or contrary to the votes of the House of Commons. he was dependent on his ministers (the Whigs dominated the Parliament during his reign – the Whig oligarchy). if Mary had no children.  Despite the king’s bravely participating alongside his soldiers in the battle of Dettingen in Germany and scoring a victory against the French. . Andrew’s Cross for Scotland and St. Further disagreement over the succession to the throne between the English and the Scottish Parliaments allowed the exiled Roman Catholic son of James II. to land in Scotland in 1708. Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726).and. (s)he cannot inherit the throne. According to it. but he was forced to withdraw to France. Patrick’s Cross would be added in 1801 after Ireland would be united with Great Britain. and strengthened the guarantees for ensuring the parliamentary system of government. the crown would pass to her sister Anne. Duke of Marlborough. George. George’s Cross for England) were combined to form the present Union Jack. Even today. – The Act of Settlement (1701): It secured the Protestant succession to the throne. His claim was challenged by James Edward Stuart (the ‘Old Pretender’) who landed in Scotland in 1715. He spoke only little English and was unfamiliar with the customs of the country.

the London citizens rose in protest rioting in front of St. he was the first Hanoverian king born in England and using English and his first language. trade was boosted by successes such as Clive’s victories in India at Arcot (1751) and Plassey (1757). and Wolfe’s capture of the French-held Quebec in 1759 (part of a successful campaign which transferred Canada with its wealthy trade in fish and fur from the French to the British rule during the Seven Years’ War in North America). thus ending the Stuart attempts to return to the British throne. It was under George’s reign that the foundations of the Industrial Revolution were laid with new levels of production in industries such as coal mining and shipbuilding and also in agriculture. – –   . – The king’s initial unpopularity gradually turned into a general respect owing to the country’s prosperity. The Napoleonic Wars: The English retorted to the French Continental System by the Continental Blockade and Admiral Nelson saved the English honour when he defeated the combined French and Spanish fleets at Cape Trafalgar (1805). The War of American Independence (1775-1783): Initially starting from the serious quarrels over taxation between the British government and its colonies in America. The early years of his reign were marked by his conflict with the Prime Minister William Pitt the Elder and with the House of Commons caused by his attempts at taking a more active part in governing Britain and his wish to choose his own ministers from among a small number of aristocrats who controlled the Parliament. George’s reign was threatened by Charles Edward Stuart (the ‘Young Pretender’). the conflict. an MP. who demanded liberty of the press. The Treaty of Paris turned out satisfactory for the British who got control over Canada and Florida (thus controlling all North America east of Mississippi) as well as Bengal (this brought French power in India to an end and made way for British hegemony and eventual control of India). without informing Prussia. which placed Madras and Bengal under British control. James’s Palace and throughout the city.  George III (1760-1820): – Born of Prince Frederick of Wales and Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha. The King’s policy was severely criticised by John Wilkes. Overseas. which opposed Britain to half of the world (the rebelling colonies were supported by France. the right of the people to choose their own representatives. ended in a disastrous defeat for the British government. which was thus left to fight France alone. The United States were granted independence in 1783. the Pretender was defeated in the battle of Culloden (April 1746) and fled to France. In 1745. When the king retorted by imprisoning Wilkes. which lost everything except for Canada. After some initial success in Scotland where the Highland clans rallied to his cause and defeated the Hanoverians near Edinburgh. Spain and the Netherlands). the abolition of abusive imprisonment. The foreign policy under George III was marked by:  The Seven Years’ War (1754-1763): George III considered the war too expensive and he made peace with France in 1763.

trade and industry. and that would change the balance of power in Europe.  Throughout the early part of her reign. after Napoleon’s return from Elba. George III suffered from seizures of insanity (1811-20). Home policy: the ‘Little England’ policy supported by the Liberal Prime Minister William Gladstone = avoiding foreign entanglements. this emancipation enabled the monarchy to play a more national role. who took an active interest in the arts. His son Prince George acted as Regent (the Regency). her advisers persuaded her to take a more public interest in the business of the kingdom and she became extraordinarily popular. which caused newspapers to criticise her and to question the value of monarchy. which started with the Great Reform Bill (1832) that abolished the worst abuses of the electoral system and represented the capitulation of English landed gentry to the middle-classes. science. Eventually. Foreign policy: – English involvement in the Crimean War (1854-56): Britain feared that Russia would destroy the weak Ottoman Empire. At her death. Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg. By reducing religious discrimination. putting Britain’s sea and land routes to India in danger. After his death. the queen could not get over her sorrow and refused to appear in public for a long time. Because of the crown’s debts. which controlled Turkey and the Arab countries. George IV was forced by his ministers. empire. much against his will and his interpretation of his coronation oath. but the marriage was a failure and he tried unsuccessfully to divorce her after his accession in 1820 (Caroline died in 1821). Unfortunately. Fitzherbert. the outmoded and inadequate British army was defeated (see the famous Charge of the Light Brigade). the project for which he is best remembered was the Great Exhibition of 1851 (the Crystal Palace). An important contribution to alleviating the terrible sufferings of the British troops was that of Florence Nightingale and her band of nurses who reformed the medical and   . at Waterloo (1825).  Queen Victoria (1837-1901): – Queen Victoria is associated with Britain’s great age of industrial expansion. – Towards the end of his life. Mrs. Britain had a worldwide empire on which the sun never set. supporting the Home Rule for Ireland. –  William IV (1830-37): – George IV’s younger brother’s reign was marked by the Reform crisis. economic progress and. In 1795 he officially married Princess Caroline of Brunswick. she was very much influenced by her husband. George was in a weak position in relation to his Cabinet of ministers.Further British involvement in the Napoleonic Wars allowed the Duke of Wellington (the ‘Iron Duke’) to emerge as a military leader who defeated Napoleon first at Leipzig (1813) and then. especially. it was said. In 1829.  George IV (1820-30): – marriage difficulties: He had secretly and illegally married a Roman Catholic. promoting the Third Reform Bill (1884) which virtually provided manhood suffrage. to agree to Catholic Emancipation.

In New Zealand. and those not killed became part of the ‘white’ culture. (In 1906. self government was set up in South Africa. By the end of the 19 century. India was removed from the political jurisdiction of the East India Company and was placed under the Crown.. in time. like the Dutch ‘Boers’ from South Africa who were defeated only with great difficulty in 1899-1902. in particular.) Canada. and military . most of the aboriginal inhabitants were killed. and the British cruelly punished the defeated rebels. New Zealand: From the 1840s onwards. The new comers took over the land to the detriment of the populations which already lived in the three countries. th  The House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha  Edward VII (1901-10): – Though his time (the ‘Edwardian era’) was one of significant political and socio-economic changes. as a result of the rapid increase in population in Britain. Africa: The interest in slave trade caused the British to use Christianity as a tool for building a commercial and political empire in Africa. The former.)  Troubles in the British Empire under Queen Victoria: – India: The unwise treatment of Indian soldiers resulted in revolt in 1857 (‘The Indian Mutiny’). – –  As part of her colonial policy. Britain spent more on its empire than it took from it. the Maori inhabitants suffered less. many British settlers were called for the development of colonies. The feeling of distrust and distance between the th colonisers and the colonised would grow into the Indian independence movement of the 20 century. promoted a Conservative ‘Big England’ policy aimed at enhancing British prestige throughout the world. Britain was also engaged in the war with China (1857-58) and interfered. This Sepoy rebellion quickly became a national movement against foreign rule. and this heavy th burden would become impossible to bear in the 20 century. – The Queen and the empire: Queen Victoria was a very strong supporter of the Empire. Both the British and the Indians behaved with great violence. in the American Civil war supporting the Southern Confederacy. which brought her closer to some of her Prime Ministers. and only few survived in the central desert areas.sanitary conditions in the army and paved the way for women’s entry into the medical profession a few years later (Elizabeth Garrett Anderson – 1877). Edward’s main interests lay in foreign affairs. That brought them in conflict with other European settlers. but they still lost most of their land. Britain controlled the oceans and much of the land areas of the world. most of the natives were pushed westwards. In Canada. Criticised for his social life. In Australia. i. allowed to govern themselves on condition they accepted the British monarch as their head of state. Australia. Benjamin Disraeli and the Marquess of Salisbury. the king himself contributed little to the reforms which marked British political and social life. when the colonies began to demand their freedom. 1876 – Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India. But even at this great moment of power. These white colonies were.e. led by a number of Hindu and Muslim princes. but that did not help the relations between the British and the Indians to recover. (1875 – the purchase of the Suez Canal. between 1861-65.

while the six northern counties (where 67% of the population were Protestant) remained part of the United Kingdom (as Northern Ireland). He developed a close working relationship with his wartime Prime Minister. George ceased to be Emperor of India. In particular.  George VI (1936-52): – George VI gradually gained popularity especially owing to his great achievements during World War II. Prince of . pressing for the reform of the Army Medical Service and the modernisation of the Home Fleet. When India and Pakistan became independent in 1947. responsible Duke of York. He remained for most of the time at Buckingham Palace (the Palace was bombed nine times during the war).and naval matters. the increasing anti-German feeling led the king to change the name of the royal house from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor in 1917. former British colonies. North Africa 1943. – The House of Windsor  Edward VIII (Jan. He and his wife. his good war record and genuine care for the unprivileged. Duke of Edinburgh. They had four children: Prince Charles. he fell in love with an American-born divorcée. but upon recognition of the Sovereign as Head of the Commonwealth. Faced with a constitutional crisis. Edward played an active role in encouraging military and naval reforms. Edward VIII had. Queen Elizabeth. He died before the constitutional crisis that opposed the Conservatives to the Liberal administration could be solved by the latter’s victory in the 1910 elections. 1936. Wallis Simpson and wanted to marry her. visited severely bombed areas in the East End of London and elsewhere in the country. The king tried to play a conciliatory role during both the civil war in Ireland (which started with the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916) and the Great Strike in 1926. (The Commonwealth = a free association of independent states. Having served in the Navy during the First World War. a very controversial love life. with the British monarch as its head) –  Queen Elizabeth II (1952 to the present): – Family: She married in 1947 Prince Philip. he chose to abdicate on December 11.  George V (1910-36): – During the First World War (1914-18). A qualified pilot and a highly popular public figure owing to his successful tours at home and overseas. Normandy. became king George VI. unfortunately. Italy and the Low Countries in 1944). as most of Europe fell to Nazi Germany. Changes in the Commonwealth meant that its tie was no longer based on common allegiance to the Crown. Winston Churchill. the upright. 1936): – He reigned less than a year during 1936 only to stage the first voluntary abdication in British history. the son of Prince Andrew of Greece and a great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria. After a number of affairs. The Civil War in Ireland resulted in the setting up of the free Irish state (later the Republic of Eire).-Dec. He became Duke of Windsor and his younger brother. Mrs. the King was anxious to visit his troops whenever possible (France in 1939.

Prince Edward. Monarchy no longer holds the country together and no longer has an effect on people’s behaviour.2003 and 2007). children of The Earl and Countess of Wessex. Princess Beatrice of York and Princess Eugenie of York (b. Despite Major’s reassurement that the “succession to the throne is unaffected” many felt the separation as a serious challenge to the royal institution unprecedented since the Glorious Revolution in 1688. 1988 and 1990). is crucial to the nation’s tourist economy. the children of the Princess Royal Anne and of Mark Phillips of the Queen’s Dragoon Guards. 1977 and 1981). children of Prince Charles of Wales and Princess Diana (born Lady Spenser). receiving an annual grant of nearly £ 6 million to meet the expenses of the nearly 400 strong royal household. – All in all. The functions of monarchy are meaningless and time-wasting ceremonials that have been taken over by the executive in virtually every respect. The subsequent course of events leading to Princess Diana’s death in a car crash in 1997 followed several years later by the Prince of Wales’s marriage with Mrs. Princess Anne (The Princess Royal). . and The Lady Louise Windsor and Viscount Severn (b. Monarchy is very expensive with the Queen as one of the richest women in the world for her personal fortune calculated at £ 6. The pageantry and glitter of monarchy attracts thousands of tourists to London and.  Cons: – – Inherited titles cannot be justified in a democratic age.7 billion in 1990 by Sunday Times. – The royal family acquired a more complex kind of publicity during 1992 which Queen Elizabeth II termed as an ‘annus horribilis’ that culminated with the Prime Minister John Major’s announcement that the decision of the Prince and Princess of Wales to separate “has been reached amicably” after their mutual loathing had been on display for all the world to see through the media. Prince Andrew. 1982 and 1984). Camilla Parker Bowles exposed the royal house to public criticism. republicanism does not exist as a major political force in Britain and the British sense of compromise will most likely find the means to adjust the ancient institution of monarchy so that it may meet the requirements of a modern democratic country like Great Britain. consequently.Wales. Her grandchildren are: Peter and Zara Phillips (b. – –  Pros: – Monarchy strengthens awareness of national identity and respect for the authority of government. Prince William of Wales and Prince Henry of Wales (b.

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