BRITISH HISTORY I Prehistoric Britain The Iberians
By about 6000 BC the melting of the ice sheet had created the English Channel, and Britain became an island.
The Iberians are the oldest historically known inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula.
About 3000 BC many parts of Europe, including the British Isles, were inhabited by these people.
Iberians were skilled riders and each tribe had a chivalry unit.
The Iberians put up buildings of stone and wood and built the first roads.
The Lady of Elx, made by Iberians Iberian knight of Moixent
The Celts were a group of peoples that occupied lands stretching from the British Isles to Gallatia.
First the Gaels came around 600 BC and the second wave was that of the Cymri or Britons around 300 BC. They brought the technique of smelting iron.
The Celts lived in villages and built forts, which were protected with ditches and ramparts, on hilltops. They were tall and fair or red-haired
Celtic is the ancestor of the Gaelic, Irish, and Welsh languages.
The Celtic Cross
It was during the Bronze age that circles of standing stones began to be erected in Britain. Stonehenge is the best known prehistoric megalithic monument in Britain and one of the world`s greatest mysteries.
II Roman Britain The Romans first invaded Britain in 55-54 BC.
2000 years ago the Romans were the most powerful people in the world. The Romans conquered all the countries around. One of the last countries to be conquered by Rome was Gallia. The Romans who had better arms and were better trained, defeated the Celts.
The great Roman general Julius Caesar led the first Roman invasion in 55 BC.
When the Romans invaded Britain, the Iceni joined forces with them to defeat a rival tribe, celts, but the Romans then turned on the Iceni, torturing Queen Boudicca. In AD 61, she led a revolt against Roman rule. The rebellion was put down and the queen took poison rather than submit.
As the Romans had problems with the tribes of the north, Hadrian`s Wall was built in 122 AD. It was 117 kilometres long.
The Roman baths in Bath, known as Aquae Sulis, were built between the 1st and 4th centuries around the natural hot spring.
Roman soldiers and traders brought Christianity, and in the 4th century the Christian Church was established in Britain.
Throughout the 350-year Roman occupation, Britain was ruled as a colony.
III Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms and Vikings The Anglo-Saxons invaded Britain around the 5th and 6th century.
The main groups of Anglo-Saxons were the Angles, Saxons and Jutes.
The reasons why the Anglo-Saxons invaded Britain could be because their own land was often flooded or also they could have been called to Britain.
The three Anglo-Saxon kingdoms were Wessex, Northumbria and Mercia.
The main levels in Anglo-Saxon society were the freemen and slaves. Also there were some richer freemen who supported the king.
The conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity began at the end of the 6th centurywhen St Augustine from Rome became the Archbishop of Canterbury. Before that the Anglo-Saxons had been pagans. The Canterbury Cathedral is one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England.
The spread of Christianity brought about important changes in the life of the Anglo-Saxons. The first libraries and schools for the clergy were setu p in monasteries.
The most famous writer was the monk named The Venerable Bede who is sometimes called „father of English history”.He wrote „The Ecclesiastical History of the English People”.
There is another important piece of literature from this period – the heroic epic poem „Beowulf”.
At the end of 8th century Vikings came to Britain to stay. Throughout the Viking Age, there were many conflicts and battles between the Vikings and the English. In the 9th century, the English king, Alfred the Great forced the Vikings to leave the whole of western England. Alfred the Great also called as Alfred of Wessex was one of the best rulers in British history. In 890 the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle was started to write by the orders of Alfred. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is the most important document of the middle ages.
Alfred the Great TheAnglo-Saxon Chronicle
During the 10th Century the English reconquered many Viking areas. But in the early 11th century the whole of England was ruled by the Viking King Knut. In 1066 England was conquered by William, the Duke of Normandy. This was the end of the Viking Age in England
The end of Anglo-Saxons' time was the battle of Hastings where future William I defeated their army.
IV Norman Conquest In 1042, Edward – known as the Confessor – became king. His reign was a period of demographic growth and agrarian expansion.After Edward’s death three men claimed the throne:
Harold Godwin, William the Duke of Normandy and Harald Hardraada, ……
King Harold Godwin was the last Anglo-Saxon king before the Norman Conquest.
Harald died fighting at the final battle against the forces of King Harold Godwin of by an arrow to the throat.
The battle of Hastings was a very important victory for the normans in their conquest of England. It took place on 14 October 1066 and happened between the Norman army led by William I and the english army led by Harold Godwison. It took place at Seniac Hill.
The Bayeux Tapestry is a huge band which tells the story about the Norman conquest of England. The two combatants are Harold Godwinson, on the side of the Anglo-Saxon English, and William of Normandy, who was recently crowned as King of England and the Normans. The main character of the Bayeux Tapestry is William the Conqueror.
William was acclaimed king in Westminster Abbey in London in 1066 and he was called William the Conqueror. It was a turning point for English history and the English language. French became the language of the aristocracy as Latin was already that of the clergy. English now became the language of peasants.
In 1086 the Domesday Book was compiled for tax purposes.
The most prominent surviving remains from Norman England are stone castles, such as the White Tower in London and stone cathedrals, such as Durham
V The Plantagenets William I was followed by his two sons, William II (Rufus) and Henry I, but non of them left an uncontested heir. So Henry I’s hopes rested on his daughter Matilda, who was married to Geoffrey Plantagenet, heir to Anjou. Their son Henry became Henry I, the first Plantagenet king, after the reign of Stephen of Blois, son of William I’s daughter Adela. Their son was Henry II.
Henry II (1154-1189)
Henry II was a strong king. He was the greatest of the Plantagenets and the most able king since Alfred. Exacted money from barons instead of military service. Quarrelled with Thomas à Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, finially had him murdered in his cathedral.
Henry was followed by his rebellious son, Richard. He has always been one of England`s most popular kings.
Richard I (1189-1199)
Spoke little English. Spent only seven months in England, the rest of the time was on crusades to the Holy Land. Was killed there in a battle.
Richard was followed by his younger brother John. He was unpopular with the three most important groups of people – the nobles, the merchants, the church.
John I (1199-1216)
Lost big areas to France. This and a high level of taxation made barons to force him to sign Magna Carta (1215), the predecessor of the Constitution of the UK. During his reign the first stone bridge across the Thames was built.
John was followed by his son Henry who was only nine at his accession.
Henry III (1216-1272)
Was captured during a civil war and was forced to set up a 'Parlement'(from the French word "parler") at Westminster, the start of the House of Commons. He rebuilt Westminster Abbey and constructed Salisbury Cathedral.
Henry was followed by his son Edward who was a man of authority.
Edward I (1272-1307)
Edward fought wars against the Scots. Was a strong king. Edward formed the Model Parliament in 1295, bringing together the knights, clergy, nobility and burgesses of the cities, bringing Lords and Commons together for the first time.
Edward I was followed by his son Edward II, who was a weak king.
Edward II ( 1307-1327)
Was homosexual, but for political reasons had to marry Isabella, daughter of the king of France Philip IV.
Edward II was followed by his son Edward III, who was one of the most successful English monarchs of the Middle Ages.
Edward III (1327-1377)
Claimed the French throne and started the 100 Years’ War with France (1337-1453).Founded the Order of the Garter. During his reign Black Death killed half of the population of England.
Edward was followed by Richard II, his grandson.
Richard II (1377-1399)
Suppressed the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381. Was placed under the control of his uncle, duke of Lancaster(John of Gaunt) who prepared the throne for his son Henry. Finally the Lancastrians forced him from the throne and probably murdered him.
Richard was followed by Henry.
Henry IV (1399-1422)
Continued the 100 Years’ War. Started the Wars of the Roses. Died of leprosy. Henry's coronation on 13 October 1399 was the first occasion after the Norman Conquest when the monarch made an address in English.
Henry IV was followed by his son Henry V, who was one of England`s favourite kings.
Henry V (1413-1422)
Henry was 14 years old when he fought his first battle and a commander at the Battle of Shrewsbury at the age of 16. He was the first English king who could read and write easily in English.
Henry V was followed by Henry VI, who was „Lancastrian”.
Henry VI (1422-1471)
Succeeded the throne when he was only 9 months old. Was often very ill. Was crowned King of France at Notre Dame in Paris, but soon lost all areas in France except for Calais. He was murdered in the Tower of London. Founded Eton College.
Henry VI was followed by Edward IV.
Edward IV (1471-1483)
Came to the throne in 1471 after defeating Henry VI at the Battle of Towton, in Yorkshire. He was just 19 years old. Tried to bring peace to the country. During his reign the first printing press was established in Westminster by William Caxton.
Edward IV was followed byhis son Edward V.
Edward V (1483)
Reigned for only two months. He and his little brother were murdered in the Tower of London by their uncle Richard, duke of Gloucester. He was only about 12 years old when he died.
Edward was followed by Richard III.
Richard III (1483-1485)
Founded the Council of the North to improve governance there. Was killed in battle against Henry Tudor (Henry VII) ending the Wars of the Roses. He was the last English King to die on the Battlefield. (A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!)
During the 100 Years`war (1337-1453) the kings and noblemen of England began to speak English. English literature was born with Geoffrey Chaucer`s „Canterbury Tales” and the Bible was translated into English. The first large school, Winchester College, was established in 1382, giving the start to lay education.
VI The Tudors The House of Tudor was a European royal house that ruled the Kingdom of England and its lands from 1485 until 1603. Its first monarch Henry Tudor descended paternally from the rulers of the Welsh principality. The five Tudor monarchs ruled for about a century. The Tudor dynasty ended with the death of Elizabeth I.
During the Tudor age England experienced one of the greatest artistic periods in its history.
Henry VII (1485-1509)
Henry VII built the foundations of a wealthy nation state and a powerful monarchy.
On 30 October 1485 Henry VII was crowned the king of England and on 18 January 1486 he married Elizabeth of York, the daughter of Edward IV and so united the Houses of York and Lancaster.
Henry VIII was the second son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York.
Henry VIII (1509-1547)
Henry VIII kept a magnificent court and made the church in England truly English by braking away from the Roman Catholic Church. At Henry`s insistence, Parliament passed two acts, which officially established the Reformation in England
Henry VIII was followed by his son Edward.
Edward VI (1547-1553)
Edward was the third monarch of the Tudor dynasty and England's first ruler who was raised as a Protestant.
Edward's reign was marked by economic problems and social unrest that, in 1549, erupted into riot and rebellion.
Lady Jane Grey (1553 )
Lady Jane Gray, also known as The Nine Days' Queen, was an English noblewoman who occupied the English throne from 10 July until 19 July 1553.
Lady Jane Grey had an excellent humanist education and a reputation as one of the most learned women of her day
Mary I (1553-1558)
As the fourth crowned monarch of the Tudor dynasty, she is remembered for restoring England to Roman Catholicism after succeeding her short-lived Protestant half brother, Edward VI.
Elizabeth I (1558-1603)
Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty. One of her first moves as queen was to support the establishment of an English Protestant church.
Elizabeth's reign is known as the Elizabethan era, famous above all for the flourishing of English drama, led by playwrights such as William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe.
She weakened the quality of government by selling official posts.
VII The Stuarts The Stuarts followed the Tudors to the throne of England when Elizabeth I died without having children. The Stuart period was a time of extremes with religion and the dominant feature.
Mary Stuart was one of the most fascinating and controversial monarchs of 16th century Europe. At one time, she claimed the crowns of four nations – Scotland, France, England and Ireland.
In 1603, upon Elizabeth`s death, Mary`s son became king of England as James I.
James I (VI) (1603-1625)
James I was King of Scots as James VI, and King of England and Ireland as James I. He became king in Scotland, when he was only one year old, succeeding his mother Mary Stuart. On 24 March 1603, as James I, he succeeded the last Tudor monarch of England and Ireland, Elizabeth I,
Religious dissension was the basis of an event that confirmed and fueled James' paranoia: the Gunpowder Plot of November 5, 1605.
One of James`s great contributions to England was the Authorised King James`s Version of the Bible (1611).
James was followed by his son Charles.
Charles I (1625-1649)
Charles took part in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England. Charles I believed that Kings were appointed by God to rule by Divine Right.
The English Civil War marked the last years of this ruler. The Civil War ended with the trial and execution of Charles I. The monarchy was abolished and a republic called the Commonwealth of England was declared.
His son, Charles II, became King after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660.
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader best known for making England a republic and leading the Commonwealth of England and his later role as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland.
Commonwealth of England was the name given to England when it became a republic after the execution of King Charles I in 1649. The monarchy and the House of Lords were abolished, and the country was ruled by a committee of Parliament. In 1653, Oliver Cromwell, who had led the parliamentary forces against the king's supporters, dissolved Parliament and ended the Commonwealth. He was forced to abdicate and after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 he fled to Paris.
Charles II (1660-1685)
Charles II was the second son of Charles I. He was the King of England, Scotland, and Ireland. England was overjoyed at having a monarch again. Royal powers and privileges had been severely limited by Parliament. Charles' reign had many problems: defeat against the Dutch in a mishandled war: the Great Plague of 1665 and the Fire of London (1666). Charles' era is remembered as the time of "Merry Olde England".
Charles had no legitimate heirs and him succeeded his brother James II
James II (1685-1688)
He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.
James is best known for his belief in absolute monarchy and his attempts to create religious liberty for his subjects against the wishes of the English Parliament. James fled England in the Glorious Revolution of 1688.
He was replaced by William of Orange who became king as William III, ruling jointly with his wife (James's daughter) Mary II.
William III and Mary II (1689-1702)
To end the Glorious Revolution (1688-89), William and Mary signed the English Bill of Rights and began a new co-operation between the Parliament and the monarchs, leading to a greater measure of personal liberty and democracy in Britain.
William and Mary were childless and were ultimately succeeded by Mary's younger sister, Anne.
Queen Anne (1702-1714)
Queen Anne was the first monarch to rule over the Kingdom of Great Britain. Under the Acts of Union 1707, England and Scotland were united as a single sovereign state, the Kingdom of Great Britain. During her reign, parliamentary elections had a decisive effect on the life of the country for the first time. Because she died without surviving children, Anne was the last monarch of the House of Stuart.
VIII Georgian era The Georgian Age (1714-1789) was the age of the Enlightenment, when philosophers such as Voltaire, re-evaluated western thought. England was the centre of the agricultural and industrial revolutions.
Because queen Anne died without surviving children, she was the last monarch of the House of Stuart. She was succeeded by her second cousin, George I, of the House of Hanover.
George I (1714-1727)
During George's reign the powers of the monarchy diminished and Britain began a transition to the modern system of cabinet government led by a prime minister. Towards the end of his reign, actual power was held by Sir Robert Walpole, Great Britain's first de facto prime minister.
George was succeeded by his son, George Augustus, who took the throne as George II.
George II (1727-1760)
He was the last British monarch to have been born outside Great Britain, and was famous for his numerous conflicts with his father and, subsequently, with his son. As king, he exercised little control over policy in his early reign, the government instead being controlled by Great Britain's parliament.
Georg was succeeded by his grandson, George III.
George III (1760-1820)
George III was the first Hanoverian king to be born in Britain and who could speak without a foreign accent. During his reign Great Britain defeated France in the Seven Years' War, becoming the dominant European power in North America and India. Many of its American colonies were soon lost in the American War of Independence (1775-1783). He played a minor role in the wars against revolutionary and Napoleonic France from 1793, which concluded in the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Under George III, the British Agricultural Revolution reached its peak and great advances were made in fields such as science and industry.
George was succeeded by his son George IV.
George IV (1820-1830)
George IV led an extravagant lifestyle that contributed to the fashions of the British Regency. He was a patron of new forms of leisure, style and taste. His charm and culture earned him the title "the first gentleman of England”. The Tories came the party in power instead the Whigs.
George was succeeded by his brother William IV.
William IV (1830-1837)
He was the last king and penultimate monarch of Britain's House of Hanover. The Whigs were the party in power. The Great Reform Act was finally accepted in 1832. William IV, supporting the reformers, proved to be the only monarch to keep his throne at a time when revolution was sweeping dynasties away all across Europe.
William was succeeded by his niece Queen Victoria.
Georgian architecture is an architectural style, that started to develop after the English baroque between 1720 and 1840. The name Georgian comes from the 4 monarchs, George I-IV, who ruled, when the style flourished. One of the biggest influencer for the new style, was architect Colen Campbell with his book ,,Vitruvius Britannicus’’. Other major architects were Richard Boyle, Thomas Archer, Giacomo Leoni, John Nash, James Wyatt etc..
IX Victorian era (1837-1901) The Victorian Era of the Unted Kingdom was the period of Queen Victoria´s reign from June 1837 to January 1901. She became a queen at eighteen years of age upon the death of her uncle William IV.
At the age of 23 Victoria married a german prince Albert, who became his wife`s closest adviser.
During Victoria`s time Britain became the most powerful country in the world.
In 1854, Britain and France went to war in the Crimea to support Turkey against Russia.
After the mutiny in India, in 1876, Victoria became Empress of India.
In January 1879, a British army invaded Zululand in South Africa.
The Victorian era was a time of demographic increase in England. The population rose from 13.897 million in 1831 to 32.528 million in 1901.
During the 1800`s, the Industrial Revolution spread throughout Britain.
The Industrial Revolution was the result of mechanization of the textile industries that transformed agricultural economies into industrial ones.
The Industrial Revolution made iron more available and soon it began to be used on building railways.
During Victorian age, the poor law, introduced in 1834, was meant to encourage people to look for work.
The introduction of compulsory schooling for children aged between five and ten helped to end child labour.
In 1870, The Education Act introduced State Elementary Schools for children aged 5-10.
During the Victorian Age many important inventions and discoveries were made.
The middle of the 19th century saw The Great Exhibition of 1851, the first World's Fair, which showcased the greatest innovations of the century.
In 1859 Charles Darwin published “Origin of Species”.
In 1880 there was the first demonstration of electric lighting.
In 1875 the first telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell.
In 1789, an English engineer, William Jessop, designed the first iron railway.
Christianity had a very important influence on Victorian society.
The Victorian Age introduced the image of high morality and hard work.
Many famous writers lived in Victorian times. (Charles Dickens, William Thackeray, Thomas Hardy, Oscar Wilde)
X Modern Britain After Queen Victoria`s death in 1901, her son Edward VII became king.
Edward VII (1901-1910)
He was the first British monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, which was renamed the House of Windsor by his son, George V. The Edwardian era, which covered Edward's reign and was named after him, coincided with the start of a new century and heralded significant changes in technology and society, including powered flight and the rise of socialism and the Labour movement.
Edward was succeeded by his son who became King George V.
George V (1910-1936)
He became the first monarch of the House of Windsor, which he renamed from the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. His reign saw the First World War, the Russian Revolution, the Irish troubles, votes for women, the General Strike, the Depression, the rise of Hitler and the first radio broadcast.
George was succeeded by his eldest son Edward VIII.
Edward VIII (1936)
Only months into his reign, he caused a constitutional crisis by proposing marriage to the American socialite Wallis Simpson. Therefore he chose to abdicate. Edward was one of the shortest-reigning monarchs in British and Commonwealth history. He was never crowned.
Edward was succeeded by his younger brother Albert, who chose the regnal name George VI.
George VI (1936-1952)
Georg was the last Emperor of India, and the first Head of the Commonwealth. His reign saw the Second World War.
Georg was succeeded by his elder daughter, Elizabeth II.
Elizabeth II (1952-)
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of sixteen independent sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms.
British Commonwealth is a free association of sovereign states consisting the United Kingdom and many of its former dependencies who have chosen to maintain ties of friendship and cooperation. It was established in 1931 by the Statute of Westminster as the British Commonwealth of Nations.
Old and new Commonwealth
Old Commonwealth is used to describe the dominions before 1945. In 1931 the Statute of Westminster, which is the fundamental document, laid out that membership required dominion hood. In 1949 the London Declaration ended that, allowing republican and originally monarchic members on the condition that they recognized the British monarch as the Head of the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth of Nations is an organization of fifty-three independent member states that were once a part of the British Empire.
World War I
World War I was a major war centred in Europe that began in the summer of 1914 and lasted until November 1918.
It was a global military conflict. Over 15 million people were killed. It was one of the deadliest conflicts in human history. The proximate cause was the 28 June 1914 assassination of Franz Ferdinand of Austria by some Bosnian-Serb nationalist. The war soon spread worldwide. As the result, it was the end of four major imperial powers. The Treaty of Versailles which was signed at the end of WWI and it is often said that it eventually lead to the beginning of World War II in 1939. As a result the British Empire increased in size.
World War II
World War II was a global military conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, which involved most of the world's nations. As a result for Britain - Great Britain lost over 300,000 fighting men and over 60,000 civilians in WWII.
Sir Winston Churchill was a British politician who was known for his leadership of the UK during World War II. He served as Prime Minster of the UK from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. He was also a noted statesman and an orator, an officer in the British army and a historian, a Noble-Prize winner and an amateur artist.
Margaret Thatcher is a retired British politician. She is the only woman to have been the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1979 - 1990) and Leader of the Conservative Party (1975 - 1990). Margaret Thatcher is one of the dominant political figures of 20th century Britain, and Thatcherism continues to have a huge influence.
British Parliament and Government today
The business of Parliament takes place in two Houses: a lower house called the House of Commons and an upper house called the House of Lords. Both Houses meet in the Palace of Westminster , sometimes called the Houses of Parliament.
The politics of the UK of Great Britain and Northern Ireland takes place in the framework of a constitutional monarchy. The Monarch is head of state and the Prime Minister of the UK is the head of government. The Monarch is Elizabeth II and the Prime Minister is Gordon Brown.