You are on page 1of 3

History England is located on Great Britain, a "green and pleasant" island off of the we stern coast of Europe.

It is the largest member of the political entity known as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Historically a seafar ing people, for much of the past 500 years the English have used their incompara ble navy to project their power into Europe and across the globe. Geography and ClimateEdit England occupies the greater part of the island of Great Britain (along with the Welsh to the west and the Scots to the north). At some 80,000 square miles in s ize, Great Britain is slightly larger than the state of Kansas in the USA. Until approximately 6000 BC a land bridge connected Great Britain to Europe; since th at time the two have been separated by the English Channel, which is some 20 mil es wide at its narrowest point. England is endowed with rolling hills and plenti ful natural resources, including coal and (at one time) extensive forests. Benef itting from warm water brought to its shores by Atlantic Ocean currents, England enjoys plentiful rainfall and relatively mild winters. Early History: Enter the Romans The first detailed written description of England comes from the Romans, who und er Julius Caesar invaded Great Britain in 55 BC. Caesar found an island of perha ps one million Celtic people divided into various warring tribes and possessing an Iron Age level of technology. Caesar led two expeditions to the island in tot al, and though he fought several successful battles, unrest in Gaul drew him off the island before he could solidify his conquests. The Romans returned to Great and this time they came in force. In 43 AD four legions Britain 90 years later (some 20,000 soldiers) under Aulus Plautius landed somewhere on the southern or south-eastern coast (the exact location is unknown) and made their way inland. A fter a number of stiff battles they crushed the local opposition, establishing a provincial capital at Camulodunum (Colchester). Over the next fifty years the R omans extended their borders west, conquering Wales despite fierce resistance, a nd north as far as the river Tyne. In 122 AD construction was begun on Hadrian's Wall, a fortification designed to protect Roman Britain from the fierce Picts ( proto-Scots) in the northern highlands. The Romans remained in power in Great Br itain for another three centuries, until approximately 410 AD. They had a profou nd effect upon the natives during their occupation, introducing important advanc es in agriculture, technology, architecture, and letters. Post-Roman Britain: Th e Rise and Fall (and Rise) of the Saxons As the Roman military presence retreate d from Britain and Western Europe under pressure from invading Germanic tribes s uch as the Vandals local warlords appeared to fill the power vacuum. But none we re strong enough to hold off the ever-increasing attacks on the island by the Pi cts, the Irish, and other barbarian invaders. According to legend, King Vortiger n invited the Germanic Saxons into Britain to fight the Picts, but in 442 AD the Saxons turned on their hosts and conquered much of the lowlands. The Saxons rem ained in power for roughly fifty years until they were driven out largely thanks to the skilful use of cavalry by the surviving British. In the mid sixth centur y a fresh wave of Germanic invaders, the Anglo-Saxons, reappeared, and they all but annihilated the original inhabitants, driving the remnants of the population west into Cornwall and Wales. The Anglo-Saxons would remain in power for severa l centuries, a period which saw the conversion of the population to Christianity , and a great increase in scholarship on the island, largely centered on the new Christian monasteries. It is during this period that the inhabitants of south-e ast Great Britain began to consider themselves "English." The Vikings By the ninth century England (and Scotland and Ireland, not to mention much of E urope) was under continuous assault from Scandinavian raiders known as the Vikin

and with a great deal of courage. launched a major invasion agai nst England. Unfortunately. The Norman Conquest On September 27. and under threat of conquest by its much stronger neighbor. but much weaker. England was the largest. this time becoming "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and N orthern Ireland. In 192 2 the southern portion of Ireland was granted its independence. when Eng land was once again subject to invasion. Queen Elizabeth I Queen Elizabeth I was one of the most remarkable rulers in English history. and there were many kings named Richard and Henry. who ruled until 1035. The Vikings captured cities and towns along the North Sea. In 877 Alfred the Great. Sweyn was succeeded by Canute. space and time constraints require us to move rap idly to the 16th century. By December of 1066 most of the Engli sh nobility had sworn allegiance to William. However. much to the annoyance of t he Welsh and Scots (and later. James's successor." Many of the largely Roman Catholic Irish were bitterly opposed to th e union. Elizabeth inherited a country that was virtu ally bankrupt. and ushered in one of the great golden ages of arts and literature in human history. The Danes and th e English coexisted fairly peacefully for the next 30 years until 1066. who became James I of England. Scotland and elsewhere. the Stuart K ing of Scotland. serving "at the will of Parliament.gs. was able to stop their advance into Sou thern England. The re were bitter power struggles. Alfred's grandson. and over the next 50 years he and his heirs fought relentlessly t o retake all of the Danish conquests. Elizabeth took the throne in a period of great soci al and religious upheaval in England (and across Europe). Spain. The daughter of King Henry VIII. leading 6000 knights and foot soldiers across the English Channel. The English and Scottish Parliaments were merged. and by the middle of the century they controlled almost half of Great Britain. beautiful . in 1013 the English surrendered and accepted Sweyn of Denmark as t heir king. Worn down by 20 years of continu ous fighting. The Middle Ages Lots of history occurred in England over the next 400 years. civil wars. In 1800 the United Kingdom a ttempted to unite with Ireland. the Danes were not finished with E ngland. including London. becoming the "United Kingdom of Great Britain an d Ireland. William. as well as wars in Europe. a number of plagues and fam ines. There were several Crusades. some of whom appeared t o be quite mad. confounded Spain's attempts at conquest. which would dominate the world's seas for centurie s. and he was crowned at Westminster A bbey on Christmas. on the brink of religious civil war. Charles I. and England cease d to exist as a political entity. so much so that many still use the terms England and the United Kingdom interchangeably. wealthiest a nd most powerful part of the United Kingdom. revolts. Under Norman rule the country's historical ties with Scandina via were largely severed and England came into much closer contact with Europe." The United Kingdom In 1707. Intelligent. the Northern Irish). During her reign Elizabeth I united the c ountry. However. and the UK was o nce again renamed. the "Acts of Union" united the kingdoms of Scotland with that of Englan d and Wales. 1066. King of Wessex. Duke of Normandy. She also oversaw a major e xpansion of the English navy. For a more detailed discussion of Queen Elizabeth I. and the English throne passed to James. and another wave of raids began in 980. After defeating the English army and killing the English King Harold at the Batt le of Hastings. leading to a terrible insurgency that lasted for over a century. was the firs t man to rule all of England in 927. wa s overthrown by Parliament after the English Civil War (1641-1645). The crown wa s reinstated in 1660. Athelstan. William marched on London. see her Civilopedia entr y. The Stuarts Elizabeth I died childless. and the rise of Elizabeth." .

World Wars I and II. The French had an incomparable army and perhaps the greatest general in human history. The UK at War For much of its history. bereft of much of its once-great empire. while the powerful British navy protected the growing British interests acros s the world. In the 19th century the UK faced off against t he mighty French Empire under Napoleon Bonaparte. While this was a great blow to British prestige. but eventually Napoleon was defeated and the UK emerged victorious. the UK has sought to keep anyone from becoming a domina nt power in Europe. England's earliest colonial interests lay in the Caribbean and Nort h America. and by the early 20th century the British Empire was the l argest and most powerful in history. There is no doubt that the "green and pleasant land" w ill continue to affect the course of world events for now and the foreseeable fu ture.Rule Britannia Queen Elizabeth's reign saw the first British colony established on the New Worl d. While an integral part of t he increasingly united and powerful Europe it is also the strongest ally of the United States of America. while the UK had its na vy and the wealth from its worldwide empire. but the UK has recovered from the devastations of the w the Uni ars of the 20th century. Although it is no longer a dominant world power ted States and increasingly China are the world's "superpowers" it retains a pow erful navy. The titanic struggle lasted some 12 years. encompassing one quarter of the Earth's lan dmass and human population. and the English East India Company came to rule the subcontinent in everything but name . and though the UK would be on the victorious side . The Present and Future It has taken some years. . and to keep anyone from developing a navy to rival that of t he UK's. In the late 18th century Britain lost control of much of North America to the Thirteen Colonies (later. In the 17th century the UK fought a series of wars against the Netherlands when Dutch ships threatened British naval primacy. but over time they expanded into Asia and the South Pacific as well. a thriving culture and a strong economy. As British power grew in India. all European competition was driven out. the cost in wealth and human lives would leave the nation exhausted and virtua lly bankrupt. the United States of America) in a long and difficult revolution. During Elizabeth's reign Spain was the biggest threat. the Empire continue d to expand unabated. and the UK sough t to bankrupt Spain by intercepting the Spanish treasure fleets from the New Wor ld and to support insurgencies taking place in Spanish possessions. These wars would test the British to the limits of human endurance. The 20th century of course saw the UK pitted against Germany (and allies) in two ter rible conflagrations.