British History Project

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Tallinn French School

British History Project

Siim Artur Juht


Viimsi 2011

Pre-historic Britain

About 3000 BC The Iberians inhabited many parts of Europe, including the British Isles. They came from the Spanish peninsula.

  • Used stone axes, tools made of antlers and bones.

  • Wooden and stone buildings

  • First roads

  • Not much is known about them, archaelogical excavations – only source.

The Celts

Invaded the British Isles in two waves:

  1. 600 BC – Gaels

  2. 300 BC – Britons

The Celts:

  • Iberians were unable to fight back

  • brought the art of smelting iron

  • learned the art of pottery

  • lived in villages instead of towns

  • built forts on hilltops with ditches and ramparts

  • society free of classes, private property, exploitation

  • tamed and bred animals, grew wheat, corn, caught fish

  • large-scale artwork

  • ancestor of Irish, Welsh, Scottish languages

  • Stonehenge

  • Built in several stages from about 3000 BC

  • connected with the sun and the passing of the seasons

  • two stones circles and two stone horseshoes

  • The Bronze age 2100 -1650

Roman Britain

  • Julius Caesar reached the channel in 55 BC.

  • Two successful raids: 55 and 54 BC

  • Forced to withdraw due to a rebellion in Gaul.

  • Claudius began the invasion in 43 AD.

  • Ruled as a colony, Celts weren’t slaves, had to pay taxes.

Boudicca (the Iceni tribe)

  • Joined forces with the romans to defeat a rival tribe.

  • Then Romans turned on the Iceni, Romans raped Boudicca’s daughters

  • Boudicca led a revolt in 61 AD, lost and killed herself with poison

Roman achievements:

  • A network of paved roads

  • Many cities and towns

  • Aquae Sulis, between 1st and 4th

  • Hadrian’s Wall, built in 122 to keep raiding Picts and Scots out, 70 miles long

  • Christianity

Anglo-Saxon Britain

  • Romans left in 410

  • Angles, Jutes, Saxons started raiding

  • Within 100 years Mercia, Wessex are founded

  • Disliked towns, destroyed Roman villas, preferred small farming communities

  • By the 7th century trade increased, town sprang up.

  • The Celts were driven away to Wales, Scottish Highlands, other remote areas.

  • English descended from the language used by the Saxon invaders.

  • Anglo-Saxons were agricultural, no shops, self-sufficient.

  • The conversion of Anglo-Saxons in the 6th.

  • St. Augustine became the Archbishop of Canterbury

  • The Venerable Bede, father of English history, „Ecclesiastical History of the English People“

  • „Beowulf“

  • Wessex and king Egbert at the beginning of the 9th century were the strongest, united England under one rule.


  • During the 9th and 10th Vikings first came to plunder, then decided to stay

  • The Invasion was successful, Saxons didn’t have a navy nor a standing army

  • In 871 Danes invaded Wessex, King Alfred the Great led resistance

  • Danelaw was founded in the northern boundary, York was the capital

Alfred the Great

  • Could write and read.

  • Many books translated.

  • Translated „Eccle...

  • Ordered a history of England „The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle“.

The Norman Invasion

  • In 1042 Edward the Confessor became king.

  • favoured the ducal house of Normandy, Norwegian royal house was displeased.


  • Harold Godwin claimed that Edward had promised him the throne on his deathbead.

  • Duke William of Normandy argued that he had been promised the throne in 1051.

William of Normandy

  • Harold Hardraada (King of Norway) also claimed.

Battle of Hastings:

  • 1066

  • Harold marched to meet the forces of Harald, won him at Stamford Bridge.

  • Duke William landed on the south coast near Hastings.

  • Harold collected a new army and marched to Hastings

  • Battle was won through deceit: Normans prentended to be retreating.

  • King Harold mortally wounded.

  • The last successful invasion of Britain

  • Depicted on Bayeux Tapestry

  • William of Normandy the new ruler, brought French culture, Anglo-Saxons treated as serfs, built White Tower (domination of London)

  • Rebellion

  • Domesday Book

  • William Rufus, Henry, Robert

  • Henry married Matilda to Geoffrey Plantagenet.

The Early Middle Ages / The Plantagenets

Henry II

  • The first unquestioned ruler for a hundred years.

  • Adopted son of Stephen of Blois

  • inherited the English kingdom, Anjou, Maine, Touraine and other vast areas in France through wife Eleanor of Aquitane.

  • The struggle between church and king led to the murder of Thomas Becket.

  • Sons: John I, Richard II reigned for 7 months, spent most of the time on crusades.

  • Henry II

John I Lackland

  • By 1204 had lost the Plantagenet dominions

  • Failed to recapture these lands, for that earned the nickname „Lackland“

  • Disputes with the pope and nobility

  • Magna Carta 1215, established principal rights and obligations of the crown and nobility. John I

Henry III

  • John’s eldest son

  • Patronized arts, improvements to Westminster Abbey, construction of Salisbury Cathedral, University of Oxford

  • The First Parliament in 1265

Edward III

  • The son of Isabella(daughter of Philip the Fair)

  • Claimed the French throne through his mother (male heirs of Philip had died) , but the French nobility recognised Philip IV as their king

  • In 1337 the Hundred Years’ War began.

  • In 1348 the Order of the Garter

  • From 1431 French started winning their territories back thanks to Joan of Arc.

  • Joan was burnt at the stake, but the French continued to dominate.

  • By 1453 only Calais was still under English control.

Richard II

  • Had to face the Peasant’s Revolt

  • Wasn’t skilful, wasn’t popular among the people.

  • Leader of the peasants Wat Tyler

  • Peasants revolted because of taxes.

  • The revolt was put down.

  • Edward III

The War of the Roses / Tudors

  • 1455-1485

  • The returning English noblemen became unemployed.

  • The houses of Lancaster and York fought over the throne.

  • Richard II was forced from the throne.

  • Many Battles were fought between the two houses.

  • In 1485 Henry VII defeated Richard III.

  • Henry Tudor was crowned king as Henry VII, married Edward’s IV daughter, united the two houses.

Henry VII

Henry VIII

  • 1491 – 1547

  • Formed the Anglican Church

  • the Act of Supremacy in 1534

  • Had six wives

  • Henry VIII

Mary Tudor

  • 1516 - 1558

  • Tried to restore Catholicism

  • Married to Felipe II

  • Daughter of Henry VIII and Isabella

Elizabeth I

  • 1533 – 1603

  • England became a superpower

  • the English Renaissance

  • Establishment of Virginia

  • The victory over Armada

  • William Shakespeare, culture and literature fluorishes.

  • Elizabeth I

The Stuarts

Mary Stuart

  • 1542 – 1567

  • Queen of Scotland

  • Was Catholic

  • Married to Francis II, Henry Darnley

  • Suspected of treason against Elizabeth

James I

  • 1566 – 1625

  • First king of England and Scotland

  • the Gunpowder plot

  • Paranoid

Charles I

  • 1600 – 1649

  • English Civil War

  • Executed by the Parliament

Charles I

Oliver Cromwell

  • 1599 – 1658

  • Civil War

  • Lord Protector of England

  • The English Republic, The Commonwealth

Oliver Cromwell

Charles II

  • 1630 - 1685

  • Son of Charles I

  • The Declaration of Breda in 1660

  • The Great Plague in 1665

  • The Great Fire in 1666

  • James II and the Glorious Revolution

Georgian Era

George I

  • 1660 – 1727

  • First of the Hanoverian dynasty

  • A figure-head, didn’t speak English,

  • Parliament truly governed instead of him

George III

George III

Robert Walpole

  • 1676 - 1745

  • First Prime Minister of England

  • Led the political cabinet and made most of the decisions

  • A Whig

Robert Walpole


  • Tories vs Whigs

  • The Cabinet, the economy

  • New colonies

The Jacobite Rebellions

  • 1688 – 1746

  • To restore the Stuart dynasty.

  • Organized by Jacobite movement.

  • Was crushed at the battle of Culloden

The Napoleonic Wars

  • 1803 – 1815

  • One of the greatest military conflicts

  • New revolutionary tactics and weapons

  • Ended with the banishment of Napoleon and the restoration of the Bourbon dynasty

Victorian Era

Queen Victoria

  • 1819 – 1901

  • Longest reigning British monarch

  • Mother of many children, „The Grandmother of Europe“

  • The last Hanover Monarch


  • 1819 – 1861

  • Beloved husband

  • Profound influence on politics

The Industrial Revolution

  • Began in Britain

  • Manual labor was replaced

  • Beginning of the railways

  • Trade expansion

  • Had a profound effect on society

Scientific, cultural and economical achievements

  • „Origin of Species“

  • The Great Exhibition in 1851

  • Antiseptic surgery

  • The rise of family values

  • electrical lighting

  • Charles Dickens, brought about a revolution of social ideas

The Edwardian Age, World War I and the Post-War Years

The Edwardian Age

  • 1901 – 1910

  • British social class system was very rigid

  • 1/3 of the population was poverty stricken

  • characterised by great and ostentatious displays of wealth, great optimism

  • The church no longer played a vital role

Edward VII

World War I

  • 1914-1918

  • Prewar arms race

  • Trench and submarine warfare

  • 3 mln total casualties

  • Severe economic damage

Post-War Years

  • Britain increased in size

  • The Great Depression

  • Britain could no longer afford to keep an empire, statute of 1931

  • The British Commonwealth in 1947

Flag of British Commonwealth

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