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England is a country that is part of the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotlan ...
. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and
Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a Anglo-Scottish border, border with England to the southeast ...
to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest and the
Celtic Sea The Celtic Sea ; cy, Y Môr Celtaidd ; kw, An Mor Keltek ; br, Ar Mor Keltiek ; french: La mer Celtique is the area of the Atlantic Ocean off the southern coast of Ireland bounded to the east by Saint George's Channel; other limits includ ...
to the southwest. It is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of
Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the largest European island and the ninth-largest island in the world. It i ...
, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the
Upper Paleolithic The Upper Paleolithic (or Upper Palaeolithic) is the third and last subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age. Very broadly, it dates to between 50,000 and 12,000 years ago (the beginning of the Holocene), according to some theories coin ...
period, but takes its name from the
Angles The Angles ( ang, Ængle, ; la, Angli) were one of the main Germanic peoples who settled in Great Britain in the post-Roman period. They founded several kingdoms of the Heptarchy in Anglo-Saxon England. Their name is the root of the name ...
, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century and has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century. The
English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family, with its earliest forms spoken by the inhabitants of early medieval England. It is named after the Angles, one of the ancient Germanic peoples that migrated to the ...
, the
Anglican Church Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation, in the context of the Protestant Reformation in Europe. It is one of the ...
, and English law—the basis for the
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent, judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions."The common law is not a brooding omnipres ...
legal systems of many other countries around the world—developed in England, and the country's parliamentary system of government has been widely adopted by other nations. The
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe, and the United States, that occurred during the period from around 1760 to about 1820–1840. This transition included going f ...
began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation. England's terrain is chiefly low hills and
plain In geography, a plain is a flat expanse of land that generally does not change much in elevation, and is primarily treeless. Plains occur as lowlands along valleys or at the base of mountains, as coastal plains, and as plateaus or uplands ...
s, especially in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the north (for example, the Lake District and Pennines) and in the west (for example,
Dartmoor Dartmoor is an upland area in southern Devon, England. The moorland and surrounding land has been protected by National Park status since 1951. Dartmoor National Park covers . The granite which forms the uplands dates from the Carboniferous P ...
and the
Shropshire Hills The Shropshire Hills are a dissected upland area and one of the natural regions of England. They lie wholly within the county of Shropshire and encompass several distinctive and well-known landmarks, such as the Long Mynd, Wenlock Edge, The W ...
). The capital is
London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a estuary dow ...
, which has the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom. England's population of 56.3 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom, largely concentrated around London, the South East, and conurbations in the Midlands, the
North West The points of the compass are a set of horizontal, radially arrayed compass directions (or azimuths) used in navigation and cartography. A compass rose is primarily composed of four cardinal directions—north, east, south, and west—each sepa ...
, the North East, and
Yorkshire Yorkshire ( ; abbreviated Yorks), formally known as the County of York, is a historic county in northern England and by far the largest in the United Kingdom. Because of its large area in comparison with other English counties, functions have ...
, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century.2011 Census – Population and household estimates for England and Wales, March 2011
Accessed 31 May 2013.
The
Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England (, ) was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 12 July 927, when it emerged from various History of Anglo-Saxon England, Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, until 1 May 1707, when it united with Kingdom of Scotland, ...
– which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate
sovereign state A sovereign state or sovereign country, is a political entity represented by one central government that has supreme legitimate authority over territory. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined te ...
on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the
Treaty of Union The Treaty of Union is the name usually now given to the treaty which led to the creation of the new state of Great Britain, stating that the Kingdom of England (which already included Wales) and the Kingdom of Scotland were to be "United i ...
the previous year, resulting in a political union with the
Kingdom of Scotland The Kingdom of Scotland (; , ) was a sovereign state in northwest Europe traditionally said to have been founded in 843. Its territories expanded and shrank, but it came to occupy the northern third of the island of Great Britain, sharing a l ...
to create the
Kingdom of Great Britain The Kingdom of Great Britain (officially Great Britain) was a Sovereign state, sovereign country in Western Europe from 1 May 1707 to the end of 31 December 1800. The state was created by the 1706 Treaty of Union and ratified by the Acts of ...
. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland (through another Act of Union) to become the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was a sovereign state in the British Isles that existed between 1801 and 1922, when it included all of Ireland. It was established by the Acts of Union 1800, which merged the Kingdom of Grea ...
. In 1922 the
Irish Free State The Irish Free State ( ga, Saorstát Éireann, , ; 6 December 192229 December 1937) was a state established in December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921. The treaty ended the three-year Irish War of Independence between ...
seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.


Toponymy

The name "England" is derived from the
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language, spoken in England and southern and eastern Scotland in the early Middle Ages. It was brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers in the mid-5th c ...
name , which means "land of the
Angles The Angles ( ang, Ængle, ; la, Angli) were one of the main Germanic peoples who settled in Great Britain in the post-Roman period. They founded several kingdoms of the Heptarchy in Anglo-Saxon England. Their name is the root of the name ...
". The Angles were one of the
Germanic tribes The Germanic peoples were historical groups of people that once occupied Central Europe and Scandinavia during antiquity and into the early Middle Ages. Since the 19th century, they have traditionally been defined by the use of ancient and e ...
that settled in Great Britain during the
Early Middle Ages The Early Middle Ages (or early medieval period), sometimes controversially referred to as the Dark Ages, is typically regarded by historians as lasting from the late 5th or early 6th century to the 10th century. They marked the start of the Mi ...
. The Angles came from the Anglia peninsula in the
Bay of Kiel The Bay of Kiel or Kiel Bay (, ; ) is a bay in the southwestern Baltic Sea, off the shores of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany and the islands of Denmark. It is connected with the Bay of Mecklenburg in the east, the Little Belt in the northwest, ...
area (present-day German state of
Schleswig-Holstein Schleswig-Holstein (; da, Slesvig-Holsten; nds, Sleswig-Holsteen; frr, Slaswik-Holstiinj) is the northernmost of the 16 states of Germany, comprising most of the historical duchy of Holstein and the southern part of the former Duchy of Sc ...
) of the
Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that is enclosed by Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Sweden and the North and Central European Plain. The sea stretches from 53°N to 66°N latitude and ...
. The earliest recorded use of the term, as "", is in the late-ninth-century translation into Old English of Bede's ''
Ecclesiastical History of the English People The ''Ecclesiastical History of the English People'' ( la, Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum), written by Bede in about AD 731, is a history of the Christian Churches in England, and of England generally; its main focus is on the conflict b ...
''. The term was then used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", and it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was then part of the English kingdom of
Northumbria la, Regnum Northanhymbrorum , conventional_long_name = Kingdom of Northumbria , common_name = Northumbria , status = State , status_text = Unified Anglian kingdom (before 876)North: Anglian kingdom (af ...
. The '' Anglo-Saxon Chronicle'' recorded that the
Domesday Book Domesday Book () – the Middle English spelling of "Doomsday Book" – is a manuscript record of the "Great Survey" of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086 by order of King William I, known as William the Conqueror. The manus ...
of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but a few years later the ''Chronicle'' stated that King Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus, known simply as Tacitus ( , ; – ), was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars. The surviving portions of his two major works—the ...
, '' Germania'', in which the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through the power of the ...
word is used. The etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars; it has been suggested that it derives from the shape of the Angeln peninsula, an ''angular'' shape. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe that was less significant than others, such as the
Saxons The Saxons ( la, Saxones, german: Sachsen, ang, Seaxan, osx, Sahson, nds, Sassen, nl, Saksen) were a group of Germanic * * * * peoples whose name was given in the early Middle Ages to a large country (Old Saxony, la, Saxonia) near the Nor ...
, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain ''Angli Saxones'' or English Saxons to distinguish them from continental Saxons (Eald-Seaxe) of Old Saxony between the Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In
Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig ), also known as Scots Gaelic and Gaelic, is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic branch of the Indo-European language family) native to the Gaels of Scotland. As a Goidelic language, Scottish Gaelic, as well ...
, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England (); similarly, the Welsh name for the English language is "". A romantic name for England is
Loegria Logres (among various other forms and spellings) is King Arthur's realm in the Matter of Britain. It derives from the medieval Welsh language, Welsh word ''Lloegyr'', a name of uncertain origin referring to South and Eastern England (''Lloegr'' ...
, related to the Welsh word for England, , and made popular by its use in
Arthurian legend The Matter of Britain is the body of medieval literature and legendary material associated with Great Britain and Brittany and the legendary kings and heroes associated with it, particularly King Arthur. It was one of the three great Wester ...
. '' Albion'' is also applied to England in a more poetic capacity, though its original meaning is the island of Britain as a whole.


History


Prehistory and antiquity

The earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of '' Homo antecessor'', dating to approximately 780,000 years ago. The oldest proto-human bones discovered in England date from 500,000 years ago. Modern humans are known to have inhabited the area during the
Upper Paleolithic The Upper Paleolithic (or Upper Palaeolithic) is the third and last subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age. Very broadly, it dates to between 50,000 and 12,000 years ago (the beginning of the Holocene), according to some theories coin ...
period, though permanent settlements were only established within the last 6,000 years. After the last ice age only large mammals such as
mammoth A mammoth is any species of the extinct elephantid genus ''Mammuthus'', one of the many genera that make up the order of trunked mammals called proboscideans. The various species of mammoth were commonly equipped with long, curved tusks an ...
s, bison and
woolly rhinoceros The woolly rhinoceros (''Coelodonta antiquitatis'') is an extinct species of rhinoceros that was common throughout Europe and Asia during the Pleistocene epoch and survived until the end of the last glacial period. The woolly rhinoceros was a me ...
remained. Roughly 11,000 years ago, when the
ice sheets In glaciology, an ice sheet, also known as a continental glacier, is a mass of glacial ice that covers surrounding terrain and is greater than . The only current ice sheets are in Antarctica and Greenland; during the Last Glacial Period at La ...
began to recede, humans repopulated the area; genetic research suggests they came from the northern part of the
Iberian Peninsula The Iberian Peninsula (), ** * Aragonese and Occitan: ''Peninsula Iberica'' ** ** * french: Péninsule Ibérique * mwl, Península Eibérica * eu, Iberiar penintsula also known as Iberia, is a peninsula in southwestern Europe, def ...
. The sea level was lower than the present day and Britain was connected by
land bridge In biogeography, a land bridge is an isthmus or wider land connection between otherwise separate areas, over which animals and plants are able to cross and colonize new lands. A land bridge can be created by marine regression, in which sea leve ...
to Ireland and
Eurasia Eurasia (, ) is the largest continental area on Earth, comprising all of Europe and Asia. Primarily in the Northern and Eastern Hemispheres, it spans from the British Isles and the Iberian Peninsula in the west to the Japanese archipelago ...
. As the seas rose, it was separated from Ireland 10,000 years ago and from Eurasia two millennia later. The
Beaker culture The Bell Beaker culture, also known as the Bell Beaker complex or Bell Beaker phenomenon, is an archaeological culture named after the inverted-bell beaker drinking vessel used at the very beginning of the European Bronze Age. Arising from a ...
arrived around 2,500 BC, introducing drinking and food vessels constructed from clay, as well as vessels used as reduction pots to smelt copper ores. It was during this time that major
Neolithic The Neolithic period, or New Stone Age, is an Old World archaeological period and the final division of the Stone Age. It saw the Neolithic Revolution, a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several p ...
monuments such as Stonehenge and
Avebury Avebury () is a Neolithic henge monument containing three stone circles, around the village of Avebury in Wiltshire, in southwest England. One of the best known prehistoric sites in Britain, it contains the largest megalithic stone circle in ...
were constructed. By heating together tin and copper, which were in abundance in the area, the Beaker culture people made bronze, and later iron from iron ores. The development of iron
smelting Smelting is a process of applying heat to ore, to extract a base metal. It is a form of extractive metallurgy. It is used to extract many metals from their ores, including silver, iron, copper, and other base metals. Smelting uses heat and a ...
allowed the construction of better ploughs, advancing agriculture (for instance, with
Celtic field Celtic field is an old name for traces of early (prehistoric) agricultural field systems found in North-West Europe, i.e. Britain, Ireland, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, France, Sweden, Poland and the Baltic states. The fields themselves ...
s), as well as the production of more effective weapons. During the
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of humanity. It was preceded by the Stone Age ( Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic) and the Bronze Age ( Chalcolithic). The concept has been mostl ...
, Celtic culture, deriving from the Hallstatt and
La Tène culture The La Tène culture (; ) was a European Iron Age culture. It developed and flourished during the late Iron Age (from about 450 BC to the Roman conquest in the 1st century BC), succeeding the early Iron Age Hallstatt culture without any defi ...
s, arrived from Central Europe. Brythonic was the spoken language during this time. Society was tribal; according to
Ptolemy Claudius Ptolemy (; grc-gre, Πτολεμαῖος, ; la, Claudius Ptolemaeus; AD) was a mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, geographer, and music theorist, who wrote about a dozen scientific treatises, three of which were of importance ...
's there were around 20 tribes in the area. Earlier divisions are unknown because the Britons were not literate. Like other regions on the edge of the Empire, Britain had long enjoyed trading links with the Romans. Julius Caesar of the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Res publica Romana ) was a form of government of Rome and the era of the classical Roman civilization when it was run through public representation of the Roman people. Beginning with the overthrow of the Roman Ki ...
attempted to invade twice in 55 BC; although largely unsuccessful, he managed to set up a client king from the
Trinovantes The Trinovantēs (Common Brittonic: *''Trinowantī'') or Trinobantes were one of the Celtic tribes of Pre-Roman Britain. Their territory was on the north side of the Thames estuary in current Essex, Hertfordshire and Suffolk, and included land ...
. The Romans invaded Britain in 43 AD during the reign of Emperor Claudius, subsequently conquering much of Britain, and the area was incorporated into the Roman Empire as Britannia province. The best-known of the native tribes who attempted to resist were the
Catuvellauni The Catuvellauni (Common Brittonic: *''Catu-wellaunī'', "war-chiefs") were a Celtic tribe or state of southeastern Britain before the Roman conquest, attested by inscriptions into the 4th century. The fortunes of the Catuvellauni and their ...
led by
Caratacus Caratacus (Brythonic ''*Caratācos'', Middle Welsh ''Caratawc''; Welsh ''Caradog''; Breton ''Karadeg''; Greek ''Καράτακος''; variants Latin ''Caractacus'', Greek ''Καρτάκης'') was a 1st-century AD British chieftain of the ...
. Later, an uprising led by Boudica, Queen of the
Iceni The Iceni ( , ) or Eceni were a Brittonic tribe of eastern Britain during the Iron Age and early Roman era. Their territory included present-day Norfolk and parts of Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, and bordered the area of the Corieltauvi to the we ...
, ended with Boudica's suicide following her defeat at the Battle of Watling Street. The author of one study of Roman Britain suggested that from 43 AD to 84 AD, the Roman invaders killed somewhere between 100,000 and 250,000 people from a population of perhaps 2,000,000. This era saw a Greco-Roman culture prevail with the introduction of
Roman law Roman law is the legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of jurisprudence, from the Twelve Tables (c. 449 BC), to the '' Corpus Juris Civilis'' (AD 529) ordered by Eastern Roman emperor Ju ...
,
Roman architecture Ancient Roman architecture adopted the external language of classical Greek architecture for the purposes of the ancient Romans In modern historiography, ancient Rome refers to Roman civilisation from the founding of the city of Rome ...
,
aqueducts Aqueduct may refer to: Structures *Aqueduct (bridge), a bridge to convey water over an obstacle, such as a ravine or valley *Navigable aqueduct, or water bridge, a structure to carry navigable waterway canals over other rivers, valleys, railw ...
, sewers, many agricultural items and silk. In the 3rd century, Emperor
Septimius Severus Lucius Septimius Severus (; 11 April 145 – 4 February 211) was Roman emperor from 193 to 211. He was born in Leptis Magna (present-day Al-Khums, Libya) in the Roman province of Africa. As a young man he advanced through the customary suc ...
died at
Eboracum Eboracum () was a fort and later a city in the Roman province of Britannia. In its prime it was the largest town in northern Britain and a provincial capital. The site remained occupied after the decline of the Western Roman Empire and ultimat ...
(now
York York is a cathedral city with Roman origins, sited at the confluence of the rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. It is the historic county town of Yorkshire. The city has many historic buildings and other structures, such as a ...
), where Constantine was subsequently proclaimed emperor a century later. There is debate about when Christianity was first introduced; it was no later than the 4th century, probably much earlier. According to Bede, missionaries were sent from Rome by Eleutherius at the request of the chieftain
Lucius of Britain Lucius (Welsh: Lles map Coel, Lleirwg, Lleufer or Lleufer Mawr) was a supposed 2nd-century king of the Britons traditionally credited with introducing Christianity into Britain. Lucius is first mentioned in a 6th-century version of the ''Liber Po ...
in 180 AD, to settle differences as to Eastern and Western ceremonials, which were disturbing the church. There are traditions linked to Glastonbury claiming an introduction through
Joseph of Arimathea Joseph of Arimathea was, according to all four canonical gospels, the man who assumed responsibility for the burial of Jesus after his crucifixion. The historical location of Arimathea is uncertain, although it has been identified with several ...
, while others claim through Lucius of Britain. By 410, during the decline of the Roman Empire, Britain was left exposed by the end of Roman rule in Britain and the withdrawal of Roman army units, to defend the frontiers in continental Europe and partake in civil wars. Celtic Christian monastic and missionary movements flourished: Patrick (5th-century Ireland) and in the 6th century
Brendan Brendan may refer to: People * Saint Brendan the Navigator (c. 484 – c. 577) was an Irish monastic saint. * Saint Brendan of Birr (died 573), Abbot of Birr in Co. Offaly, contemporaneous with the above * Brendan (given name), a masculine given na ...
(
Clonfert Clonfert () is a small village in east County Galway, Ireland, halfway between Ballinasloe and Portumna. The village gives its name to the Diocese of Clonfert. Clonfert Cathedral is one of the eight cathedral churches of the Church of Ireland, ...
),
Comgall Saint Comgall (c. 510–520 – 597/602), an early Irish saint, was the founder and abbot of the great Irish monastery at Bangor in Ireland. MacCaffrey,James (1908). " St. Comgall". In ''Catholic Encyclopedia''. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Co ...
( Bangor),
David David (; , "beloved one") (traditional spelling), , ''Dāwūd''; grc-koi, Δαυΐδ, Dauíd; la, Davidus, David; gez , ዳዊት, ''Dawit''; xcl, Դաւիթ, ''Dawitʿ''; cu, Давíдъ, ''Davidŭ''; possibly meaning "beloved one". w ...
(Wales), Aiden (Lindisfarne) and Columba ( Iona). This period of Christianity was influenced by ancient Celtic culture in its sensibilities, polity, practices and theology. Local "congregations" were centred in the monastic community and monastic leaders were more like chieftains, as peers, rather than in the more hierarchical system of the Roman-dominated church.


Middle Ages

Roman military The military of ancient Rome, according to Titus Livius, one of the more illustrious historians of Rome over the centuries, was a key element in the rise of Rome over "above seven hundred years" from a small settlement in Latium to the capital o ...
withdrawals left Britain open to invasion by pagan, seafaring warriors from north-western continental Europe, chiefly the Saxons,
Angles The Angles ( ang, Ængle, ; la, Angli) were one of the main Germanic peoples who settled in Great Britain in the post-Roman period. They founded several kingdoms of the Heptarchy in Anglo-Saxon England. Their name is the root of the name ...
,
Jutes The Jutes (), Iuti, or Iutæ ( da, Jyder, non, Jótar, ang, Ēotas) were one of the Germanic tribes who settled in Great Britain after the departure of the Romans. According to Bede, they were one of the three most powerful Germanic nation ...
and Frisians who had long raided the coasts of the Roman province. These groups then began to settle in increasing numbers over the course of the fifth and sixth centuries, initially in the eastern part of the country. Their advance was contained for some decades after the Britons' victory at the Battle of Mount Badon, but subsequently resumed, overrunning the fertile lowlands of Britain and reducing the area under
Brittonic Brittonic or Brythonic may refer to: *Common Brittonic, or Brythonic, the Celtic language anciently spoken in Great Britain *Brittonic languages, a branch of the Celtic languages descended from Common Brittonic *Britons (Celtic people) The Br ...
control to a series of separate enclaves in the more rugged country to the west by the end of the 6th century. Contemporary texts describing this period are extremely scarce, giving rise to its description as a Dark Age. The nature and progression of the
Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain The Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain is the process which changed the language and culture of most of what became England from Romano-British to Germanic. The Germanic-speakers in Britain, themselves of diverse origins, eventually develope ...
is consequently subject to considerable disagreement; the emerging consensus is that it occurred on a large scale in the south and east but was less substantial to the north and west, where Celtic languages continued to be spoken even in areas under Anglo-Saxon control. Roman-dominated Christianity had, in general, been replaced in the conquered territories by
Anglo-Saxon paganism Anglo-Saxon paganism, sometimes termed Anglo-Saxon heathenism, Anglo-Saxon pre-Christian religion, or Anglo-Saxon traditional religion, refers to the religious beliefs and practices followed by the Anglo-Saxons between the 5th and 8th centurie ...
, but was reintroduced by missionaries from Rome led by
Augustine Augustine of Hippo ( , ; la, Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis; 13 November 354 – 28 August 430), also known as Saint Augustine, was a theologian and philosopher of Berber origin and the bishop of Hippo Regius in Numidia, Roman North A ...
from 597 onwards. Disputes between the Roman- and Celtic-dominated forms of Christianity ended in victory for the Roman tradition at the Council of Whitby (664), which was ostensibly about
tonsure Tonsure () is the practice of cutting or shaving some or all of the hair on the scalp as a sign of religious devotion or humility. The term originates from the Latin word ' (meaning "clipping" or "shearing") and referred to a specific practice i ...
s (clerical haircuts) and the date of Easter, but more significantly, about the differences in Roman and Celtic forms of authority, theology, and practice. During the settlement period the lands ruled by the incomers seem to have been fragmented into numerous tribal territories, but by the 7th century, when substantial evidence of the situation again becomes available, these had coalesced into roughly a dozen kingdoms including
Northumbria la, Regnum Northanhymbrorum , conventional_long_name = Kingdom of Northumbria , common_name = Northumbria , status = State , status_text = Unified Anglian kingdom (before 876)North: Anglian kingdom (af ...
,
Mercia la, Merciorum regnum , conventional_long_name=Kingdom of Mercia , common_name=Mercia , status=Kingdom , status_text=Independent kingdom (527–879) Client state of Wessex () , life_span=527–918 , era= Heptarchy , event_start= , date_start= , ...
,
Wessex la, Regnum Occidentalium Saxonum , conventional_long_name = Kingdom of the West Saxons , common_name = Wessex , image_map = Southern British Isles 9th century.svg , map_caption = S ...
, East Anglia,
Essex Essex () is a county in the East of England. One of the home counties, it borders Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to the north, the North Sea to the east, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent across the estuary of the River Thames to the south, and Grea ...
,
Kent Kent is a county in South East England and one of the home counties. It borders Greater London to the north-west, Surrey to the west and East Sussex to the south-west, and Essex to the north across the estuary of the River Thames; it faces ...
and Sussex. Over the following centuries, this process of political consolidation continued. The 7th century saw a struggle for hegemony between Northumbria and Mercia, which in the 8th century gave way to Mercian preeminence. In the early 9th century Mercia was displaced as the foremost kingdom by Wessex. Later in that century escalating attacks by the Danes culminated in the conquest of the north and east of England, overthrowing the kingdoms of Northumbria, Mercia and East Anglia. Wessex under Alfred the Great was left as the only surviving English kingdom, and under his successors, it steadily expanded at the expense of the kingdoms of the
Danelaw The Danelaw (, also known as the Danelagh; ang, Dena lagu; da, Danelagen) was the part of England in which the laws of the Danes held sway and dominated those of the Anglo-Saxons. The Danelaw contrasts with the West Saxon law and the Mercian ...
. This brought about the political unification of England, first accomplished under
Æthelstan Æthelstan or Athelstan (; ang, Æðelstān ; on, Aðalsteinn; ; – 27 October 939) was King of the Anglo-Saxons from 924 to 927 and King of the English from 927 to his death in 939. He was the son of King Edward the Elder and his fir ...
in 927 and definitively established after further conflicts by
Eadred Eadred (c. 923 – 23 November 955) was King of the English from 26 May 946 until his death. He was the younger son of Edward the Elder and his third wife Eadgifu, and a grandson of Alfred the Great. His elder brother, Edmund, was killed try ...
in 953. A fresh wave of Scandinavian attacks from the late 10th century ended with the conquest of this united kingdom by Sweyn Forkbeard in 1013 and again by his son
Cnut Cnut (; ang, Cnut cyning; non, Knútr inn ríki ; or , no, Knut den mektige, sv, Knut den Store. died 12 November 1035), also known as Cnut the Great and Canute, was King of England from 1016, King of Denmark from 1018, and King of Norwa ...
in 1016, turning it into the centre of a short-lived
North Sea Empire The North Sea Empire, also known as the Anglo-Scandinavian Empire, was the personal union of the kingdoms of England, Denmark and Norway for most of the period between 1013 and 1042 towards the end of the Viking Age. This ephemeral Norse-ruled ...
that also included
Denmark ) , song = ( en, "King Christian stood by the lofty mast") , song_type = National and royal anthem , image_map = EU-Denmark.svg , map_caption = , subdivision_type = Sovereign state , subdivision_name = Kingdom of Denmark , establish ...
and
Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic country in Northern Europe, the mainland territory of which comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula. The remote Arctic island of Jan Mayen and the ...
. However, the native royal dynasty was restored with the accession of Edward the Confessor in 1042. A dispute over the succession to Edward led to the
Norman Conquest The Norman Conquest (or the Conquest) was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England by an army made up of thousands of Norman, Breton, Flemish, and French troops, all led by the Duke of Normandy, later styled William the Con ...
in 1066, accomplished by an army led by Duke William of Normandy. The
Normans The Normans ( Norman: ''Normaunds''; french: Normands; la, Nortmanni/Normanni) were a population arising in the medieval Duchy of Normandy from the intermingling between Norse Viking settlers and indigenous West Franks and Gallo-Romans. ...
themselves originated from
Scandinavia Scandinavia; Sámi languages: /. ( ) is a subregion in Northern Europe, with strong historical, cultural, and linguistic ties between its constituent peoples. In English usage, ''Scandinavia'' most commonly refers to Denmark, Norway, and Swe ...
and had settled in Normandy in the late 9th and early 10th centuries. This conquest led to the almost total dispossession of the English elite and its replacement by a new French-speaking aristocracy, whose speech had a profound and permanent effect on the English language. Subsequently, the House of Plantagenet from Anjou inherited the English throne under Henry II, adding England to the budding
Angevin Empire The Angevin Empire (; french: Empire Plantagenêt) describes the possessions of the House of Plantagenet during the 12th and 13th centuries, when they ruled over an area covering roughly half of France, all of England, and parts of Ireland and W ...
of fiefs the family had inherited in France including
Aquitaine Aquitaine ( , , ; oc, Aquitània ; eu, Akitania; Poitevin-Saintongeais: ''Aguiéne''), archaic Guyenne or Guienne ( oc, Guiana), is a historical region of southwestern France and a former administrative region of the country. Since 1 Janu ...
.. They reigned for three centuries, some noted monarchs being
Richard I Richard I (8 September 1157 – 6 April 1199) was King of England from 1189 until his death in 1199. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Aquitaine and Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, and Count of Poitiers, Anjou, Maine, and Nantes, and was ...
, Edward I, Edward III and Henry V. The period saw changes in trade and legislation, including the signing of the '' Magna Carta'', an English legal charter used to limit the sovereign's powers by law and protect the privileges of freemen. Catholic monasticism flourished, providing philosophers, and the universities of Oxford and Cambridge were founded with royal patronage. The
Principality of Wales The Principality of Wales ( cy, Tywysogaeth Cymru) was originally the territory of the native Welsh princes of the House of Aberffraw from 1216 to 1283, encompassing two-thirds of modern Wales during its height of 1267–1277. Following the co ...
became a Plantagenet fief during the 13th century and the
Lordship of Ireland The Lordship of Ireland ( ga, Tiarnas na hÉireann), sometimes referred to retroactively as Norman Ireland, was the part of Ireland ruled by the King of England (styled as "Lord of Ireland") and controlled by loyal Anglo-Norman lords between ...
was given to the English monarchy by the Pope. During the 14th century, the Plantagenets and the
House of Valois The Capetian house of Valois ( , also , ) was a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty. They succeeded the House of Capet (or "Direct Capetians") to the French throne, and were the royal house of France from 1328 to 1589. Junior members of the f ...
both claimed to be legitimate claimants to the
House of Capet The House of Capet (french: Maison capétienne) or the Direct Capetians (''Capétiens directs''), also called the House of France (''la maison de France''), or simply the Capets, ruled the Kingdom of France from 987 to 1328. It was the most ...
and with it France; the two powers clashed in the Hundred Years' War. The Black Death epidemic hit England; starting in 1348, it eventually killed up to half of England's inhabitants. From 1453 to 1487 civil war occurred between two branches of the royal family – the Yorkists and Lancastrians – known as the
Wars of the Roses The Wars of the Roses (1455–1487), known at the time and for more than a century after as the Civil Wars, were a series of civil wars fought over control of the English throne in the mid-to-late fifteenth century. These wars were fought bet ...
. Eventually it led to the Yorkists losing the throne entirely to a Welsh noble family the
Tudors The House of Tudor was a royal house of largely Welsh and English origin that held the English throne from 1485 to 1603. They descended from the Tudors of Penmynydd and Catherine of France. Tudor monarchs ruled the Kingdom of England and its ...
, a branch of the Lancastrians headed by Henry Tudor who invaded with Welsh and Breton mercenaries, gaining victory at the Battle of Bosworth Field where the Yorkist king Richard III was killed.


Early modern

During the
Tudor period The Tudor period occurred between 1485 and 1603 in England and Wales and includes the Elizabethan period during the reign of Elizabeth I until 1603. The Tudor period coincides with the dynasty of the House of Tudor in England that began wit ...
, the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period in European history The history of Europe is traditionally divided into four time periods: prehistoric Europe (prior to about 800 BC), classical antiquity (800 BC to AD ...
reached England through Italian courtiers, who reintroduced artistic, educational and scholarly debate from classical antiquity. England began to develop naval skills, and exploration to the West intensified. Henry VIII broke from communion with the Catholic Church, over issues relating to his divorce, under the
Acts of Supremacy The Acts of Supremacy are two acts passed by the Parliament of England in the 16th century that established the English monarchs as the head of the Church of England; two similar laws were passed by the Parliament of Ireland establishing the Eng ...
in 1534 which proclaimed the monarch head of the
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the established Christian church in England and the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church recorded as existing in the Roman province of Britai ...
. In contrast with much of European Protestantism, the roots of the split were more political than theological. He also legally incorporated his ancestral land Wales into the Kingdom of England with the 1535–1542 acts. There were internal religious conflicts during the reigns of Henry's daughters,
Mary I Mary I (18 February 1516 – 17 November 1558), also known as Mary Tudor, and as "Bloody Mary" by her Protestant opponents, was Queen of England and Ireland from July 1553 and Queen of Spain from January 1556 until her death in 1558. She ...
and
Elizabeth I Elizabeth I (7 September 153324 March 1603) was List of English monarchs, Queen of England and List of Irish monarchs, Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death in 1603. Elizabeth was the last of the five House of Tudor monarchs and is ...
. The former took the country back to Catholicism while the latter broke from it again, forcefully asserting the supremacy of Anglicanism. The
Elizabethan era The Elizabethan era is the epoch in the Tudor period of the history of England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558–1603). Historians often depict it as the golden age in English history. The symbol of Britannia (a female personific ...
is the epoch in the Tudor age of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I ("the Virgin Queen"). Historians often depict it as the
golden age The term Golden Age comes from Greek mythology, particularly the '' Works and Days'' of Hesiod, and is part of the description of temporal decline of the state of peoples through five Ages, Gold being the first and the one during which the G ...
in English history. Elizabethan England represented the apogee of the
English Renaissance The English Renaissance was a cultural and artistic movement in England from the early 16th century to the early 17th century. It is associated with the pan-European Renaissance that is usually regarded as beginning in Italy in the late 14th cent ...
and saw the flowering of art, poetry, music and literature. The era is most famous for its drama, theatre and playwrights. England during this period had a centralised, well-organised, and effective government as a result of vast Tudor reforms. Competing with
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = ''Plus ultra'' (Latin)(English: "Further Beyond") , national_anthem = (English: "Royal March") , i ...
, the first English colony in the Americas was founded in 1585 by explorer
Walter Raleigh Sir Walter Raleigh (; – 29 October 1618) was an English statesman, soldier, writer and explorer. One of the most notable figures of the Elizabethan era, he played a leading part in English colonisation of North America, suppressed rebelli ...
in
Virginia Virginia, officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions of the United States, between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains. The geography and climate of the Commonwealth ar ...
and named Roanoke. The Roanoke colony failed and is known as the lost colony after it was found abandoned on the return of the late-arriving supply ship. With the
East India Company The East India Company (EIC) was an English, and later British, joint-stock company founded in 1600 and dissolved in 1874. It was formed to trade in the Indian Ocean region, initially with the East Indies (the Indian subcontinent and South ...
, England also competed with the
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () Dutch may also refer to: Places * Dutch, West Virginia, a community in the United States * Pennsylvania Dutch Country People E ...
and French in the East. During the Elizabethan period, England was at war with Spain. An armada sailed from Spain in 1588 as part of a wider plan to invade England and re-establish a Catholic monarchy. The plan was thwarted by bad coordination, stormy weather and successful harrying attacks by an English fleet under
Lord Howard of Effingham Earl of Effingham, in the County of Surrey, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, created in 1837 for Kenneth Howard, 11th Baron Howard of Effingham, named after the village of Effingham, Surrey, where heads of thf family owned ...
. This failure did not end the threat: Spain launched two further armadas, in 1596 and
1597 Events January–June * January 24 – Battle of Turnhout: Maurice of Nassau defeats a Spanish force under Jean de Rie of Varas, in the Netherlands. * February – Bali is discovered, by Dutch explorer Cornelis Houtman. * February 5 � ...
, but both were driven back by storms. The political structure of the island changed in 1603, when the
King of Scots The monarch of Scotland was the head of state of the Kingdom of Scotland. According to tradition, the first King of Scots was Kenneth I MacAlpin (), who founded the state in 843. Historically, the Kingdom of Scotland is thought to have grown ...
,
James VI James is a common English language surname and given name: *James (name), the typically masculine first name James * James (surname), various people with the last name James James or James City may also refer to: People * King James (disambiguat ...
, a kingdom which had been a long-time rival to English interests, inherited the throne of England as James I, thereby creating a
personal union A personal union is the combination of two or more states that have the same monarch while their boundaries, laws, and interests remain distinct. A real union, by contrast, would involve the constituent states being to some extent interlink ...
..; He styled himself
King of Great Britain The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional form of government by which a hereditary sovereign reigns as the head of state of the United Kingdom, the Crown Dependencies (the Bailiwi ...
, although this had no basis in English law. Under the auspices of James VI and I the Authorised
King James Version The King James Version (KJV), also the King James Bible (KJB) and the Authorized Version, is an Bible translations into English, English translation of the Christian Bible for the Church of England, which was commissioned in 1604 and publis ...
of the Holy Bible was published in 1611. It was the standard version of the Bible read by most Protestant Christians for four hundred years until modern revisions were produced in the 20th century. Based on conflicting political, religious and social positions, the
English Civil War The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars and political machinations between Parliamentarians (" Roundheads") and Royalists led by Charles I ("Cavaliers"), mainly over the manner of England's governance and issues of re ...
was fought between the supporters of
Parliament In modern politics, and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: representing the electorate, making laws, and overseeing the government via hearings and inquiries. Th ...
and those of King Charles I, known colloquially as
Roundhead Roundheads were the supporters of the Parliament of England during the English Civil War (1642–1651). Also known as Parliamentarians, they fought against King Charles I of England and his supporters, known as the Cavaliers or Royalists, who ...
s and
Cavalier The term Cavalier () was first used by Roundheads as a term of abuse for the wealthier royalist supporters of King Charles I and his son Charles II of England during the English Civil War, the Interregnum, and the Restoration (1642 – ) ...
s respectively. This was an interwoven part of the wider multifaceted
Wars of the Three Kingdoms The Wars of the Three Kingdoms were a series of related conflicts fought between 1639 and 1653 in the kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland, then separate entities united in a personal union under Charles I. They include the 1639 to 1640 B ...
, involving
Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a Anglo-Scottish border, border with England to the southeast ...
and
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean, in Northwestern Europe, north-western Europe. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Grea ...
. The Parliamentarians were victorious, Charles I was executed and the kingdom replaced by the Commonwealth. Leader of the Parliament forces,
Oliver Cromwell Oliver Cromwell (25 April 15993 September 1658) was an English politician and military officer who is widely regarded as one of the most important statesmen in English history. He came to prominence during the 1639 to 1651 Wars of the Three K ...
declared himself Lord Protector in 1653; a period of
personal rule The Personal Rule (also known as the Eleven Years' Tyranny) was the period from 1629 to 1640, when King Charles I of England, Scotland and Ireland ruled without recourse to Parliament. The King claimed that he was entitled to do this under the Roya ...
followed. After Cromwell's death and the resignation of his son Richard as Lord Protector, Charles II was invited to return as monarch in 1660, in a move called the Restoration. With the reopening of theatres, fine arts, literature and performing arts flourished throughout the Restoration of ''the Merry Monarch'' Charles II. After the Glorious Revolution of 1688, it was constitutionally established that King and Parliament should rule together, though Parliament would have the real power. This was established with the
Bill of Rights A bill of rights, sometimes called a declaration of rights or a charter of rights, is a list of the most important rights to the citizens of a country. The purpose is to protect those rights against infringement from public officials and pr ...
in 1689. Among the statutes set down were that the law could only be made by Parliament and could not be suspended by the King, also that the King could not impose taxes or raise an army without the prior approval of Parliament. Also since that time, no British monarch has entered the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In both of these countries, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the nominally upper house of parliament. T ...
when it is sitting, which is annually commemorated at the State Opening of Parliament by the British monarch when the doors of the House of Commons are slammed in the face of the monarch's messenger, symbolising the rights of Parliament and its independence from the monarch. With the founding of the
Royal Society The Royal Society, formally The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, is a learned society and the United Kingdom's national academy of sciences. The society fulfils a number of roles: promoting science and its benefits, re ...
in 1660, science was greatly encouraged. In 1666 the Great Fire of London gutted the City of London but it was rebuilt shortly afterwards with many significant buildings designed by Christopher Wren. In Parliament two factions had emerged – the
Tories A Tory () is a person who holds a political philosophy known as Toryism, based on a British version of traditionalism and conservatism, which upholds the supremacy of social order as it has evolved in the English culture throughout history. The ...
and Whigs. Though the Tories initially supported Catholic king James II, some of them, along with the Whigs, during the Revolution of 1688 invited Dutch Prince William of Orange to defeat James and ultimately to become
William III of England William III (William Henry; ; 4 November 16508 March 1702), also widely known as William of Orange, was the sovereign Prince of Orange from birth, Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel in the Dutch Republic f ...
. Some English people, especially in the north, were Jacobites and continued to support James and his sons. Under the Stuart dynasty England expanded in trade, finance and prosperity. Britain developed Europe's largest merchant fleet. After the parliaments of England and Scotland agreed, the two countries joined in
political union A political union is a type of political entity which is composed of, or created from, smaller polities, or the process which achieves this. These smaller polities are usually called federated states and federal territories in a federal govern ...
, to create the
Kingdom of Great Britain The Kingdom of Great Britain (officially Great Britain) was a Sovereign state, sovereign country in Western Europe from 1 May 1707 to the end of 31 December 1800. The state was created by the 1706 Treaty of Union and ratified by the Acts of ...
in 1707. To accommodate the union, institutions such as the law and national churches of each remained separate.


Late modern and contemporary

Under the newly formed Kingdom of Great Britain, output from the Royal Society and other English initiatives combined with the Scottish Enlightenment to create innovations in science and engineering, while the enormous growth in British overseas trade protected by the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by English and Scottish kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years' War against ...
paved the way for the establishment of the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates, and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It began with the overseas possessions and trading posts e ...
. Domestically it drove the
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe, and the United States, that occurred during the period from around 1760 to about 1820–1840. This transition included going f ...
, a period of profound change in the
socioeconomic Socioeconomics (also known as social economics) is the social science that studies how economic activity affects and is shaped by social processes. In general it analyzes how modern societies progress, stagnate, or regress because of their l ...
and cultural conditions of England, resulting in industrialised agriculture, manufacture, engineering and mining, as well as new and pioneering road, rail and water networks to facilitate their expansion and development. The opening of Northwest England's
Bridgewater Canal The Bridgewater Canal connects Runcorn, Manchester and Leigh, in North West England. It was commissioned by Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, to transport coal from his mines in Worsley to Manchester. It was opened in 1761 from Wor ...
in 1761 ushered in the canal age in Britain.; . In 1825 the world's first permanent steam locomotive-hauled passenger railway – the Stockton and Darlington Railway – opened to the public. During the Industrial Revolution, many workers moved from England's countryside to new and expanding urban industrial areas to work in factories, for instance at
Birmingham Birmingham ( ) is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and metropolitan borough in the metropolitan county of West Midlands (county), West Midlands in England. It is the second-largest city in the United Kingdom with a population of 1. ...
and
Manchester Manchester () is a city in Greater Manchester, England. It had a population of 552,000 in 2021. It is bordered by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and the neighbouring city of Salford to the west. The t ...
, dubbed "Workshop of the World" and "Warehouse City" respectively. Manchester was the world's first industrial city. England maintained relative stability throughout the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France that began with the Estates General of 1789 and ended with the formation of the French Consulate in coup of 18 Brumaire, November 1799. Many of its ...
;
William Pitt the Younger William Pitt the Younger (28 May 175923 January 1806) was a British statesman, the youngest and last prime minister of Great Britain (before the Acts of Union 1800) and then first prime minister of the United Kingdom (of Great Britain and Ire ...
was British prime minister for the reign of
George III George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 173829 January 1820) was King of Great Britain and of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of the two kingdoms on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Br ...
. The Regency of
George IV George IV (George Augustus Frederick; 12 August 1762 – 26 June 1830) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover from the death of his father, King George III, on 29 January 1820, until his own death ten y ...
is noted for its elegance and achievements in the fine arts and architecture. During the
Napoleonic Wars The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major global conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European states formed into various coalitions. It produced a period of Fren ...
,
Napoleon Napoleon Bonaparte ; it, Napoleone Bonaparte, ; co, Napulione Buonaparte. (born Napoleone Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821), later known by his regnal name Napoleon I, was a French military commander and political leader who ...
planned to invade from the south-east. However, this failed to manifest and the Napoleonic forces were defeated by the British: at sea by Horatio Nelson, and on land by Arthur Wellesley. The major victory at the
Battle of Trafalgar The Battle of Trafalgar (21 October 1805) was a naval engagement between the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets of the French and Spanish Navies during the War of the Third Coalition (August–December 1805) of the Napoleonic Wars (180 ...
confirmed the naval supremacy Britain had established during the course of the eighteenth century. The Napoleonic Wars fostered a concept of Britishness and a united national
British people British people or Britons, also known colloquially as Brits, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the British Overseas Territories, and the Crown dependencies.: British nationality law governs m ...
, shared with the English, Scots and Welsh.. London became the largest and most populous metropolitan area in the world during the
Victorian era In the history of the United Kingdom and the British Empire, the Victorian era was the period of Queen Victoria's reign, from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. The era followed the Georgian period and preceded the Edwardia ...
, and trade within the British Empire – as well as the standing of the British military and navy – was prestigious. Technologically, this era saw many innovations that proved key to the United Kingdom's power and prosperity. Political agitation at home from radicals such as the
Chartists Chartism was a working-class movement for political reform in the United Kingdom that erupted from 1838 to 1857 and was strongest in 1839, 1842 and 1848. It took its name from the People's Charter of 1838 and was a national protest movement, ...
and the suffragettes enabled legislative reform and
universal suffrage Universal suffrage (also called universal franchise, general suffrage, and common suffrage of the common man) gives the right to vote to all adult citizens, regardless of wealth, income, gender, social status, race, ethnicity, or political stan ...
.
Samuel Hynes Samuel Lynn Hynes (August 29, 1924 – October 9, 2019) was an American author. He won a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for ''The Soldiers' Tale'' in 1998. Biography Samuel Hynes was born in Chicago, Illinois. He attended the University of Minnesot ...
described the
Edwardian era The Edwardian era or Edwardian period of British history spanned the reign of King Edward VII, 1901 to 1910 and is sometimes extended to the start of the First World War. The death of Queen Victoria in January 1901 marked the end of the Victor ...
as a "leisurely time when women wore picture hats and did not vote, when the rich were not ashamed to live conspicuously, and the sun really never set on the British flag." Power shifts in east-central Europe led to World War I; hundreds of thousands of English soldiers died fighting for the United Kingdom as part of the Allies. Two decades later, in
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great powers—forming two opposing ...
, the United Kingdom was again one of the Allies. At the end of the
Phoney War The Phoney War (french: Drôle de guerre; german: Sitzkrieg) was an eight-month period at the start of World War II, during which there was only one limited military land operation on the Western Front, when French troops invaded Germa ...
,
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman, soldier, and writer who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, from 1940 to 1945 during the Second World War, and again from ...
became the wartime prime minister. Developments in warfare technology saw many cities damaged by air-raids during
the Blitz The Blitz was a German bombing campaign against the United Kingdom in 1940 and 1941, during the Second World War. The term was first used by the British press and originated from the term , the German word meaning 'lightning war'. The Germa ...
. Following the war, the British Empire experienced rapid
decolonisation Decolonization or decolonisation is the undoing of colonialism, the latter being the process whereby imperial nations establish and dominate foreign territories, often overseas. Some scholars of decolonization focus especially on independence m ...
, and there was a speeding-up of technological innovations; automobiles became the primary means of transport and
Frank Whittle Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle, (1 June 1907 – 8 August 1996) was an English engineer, inventor and Royal Air Force (RAF) air officer. He is credited with inventing the turbojet engine. A patent was submitted by Maxime Guillaume in 1921 fo ...
's development of the jet engine led to wider
air travel Air travel is a form of travel in vehicles such as airplanes, jet aircraft, helicopters, hot air balloons, blimps, gliders, hang gliders, parachutes, or anything else that can sustain flight.
. Residential patterns were altered in England by private motoring, and by the creation of the
National Health Service The National Health Service (NHS) is the umbrella term for the publicly funded healthcare systems of the United Kingdom (UK). Since 1948, they have been funded out of general taxation. There are three systems which are referred to using the " ...
(NHS) in 1948. The UK's NHS provided publicly funded health care to all UK permanent residents free at the point of need, being paid for from general taxation. Combined, these prompted the reform of local government in England in the mid-20th century. Since the 20th century there has been significant population movement to England, mostly from other parts of the
British Isles The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean off the north-western coast of continental Europe, consisting of the islands of Great Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Inner and Outer Hebrides, the Northern Isles, ...
, but also from the Commonwealth, particularly the
Indian subcontinent The Indian subcontinent is a list of the physiographic regions of the world, physiographical region in United Nations geoscheme for Asia#Southern Asia, Southern Asia. It is situated on the Indian Plate, projecting southwards into the Indian O ...
. Since the 1970s there has been a large move away from manufacturing and an increasing emphasis on the
service industry The tertiary sector of the economy, generally known as the service sector, is the third of the three economic sectors in the three-sector model (also known as the economic cycle). The others are the primary sector (raw materials) and the second ...
. As part of the United Kingdom, the area joined a
common market The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organization created by the Treaty of Rome of 1957,Today the largely rewritten treaty continues in force as the ''Treaty on the functioning of the European Union'', as renamed by the Lisbo ...
initiative called the European Economic Community which became the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe. The union has a total area of and an estimated total population of about 447million. The EU has often been de ...
. Since the late 20th century the administration of the United Kingdom has moved towards devolved governance in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
England and Wales England and Wales () is one of the three legal jurisdictions of the United Kingdom. It covers the constituent countries England and Wales and was formed by the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542. The substantive law of the jurisdiction is Eng ...
continues to exist as a jurisdiction within the United Kingdom. Devolution has stimulated a greater emphasis on a more English-specific identity and patriotism. There is no devolved English government, but an attempt to create a similar system on a sub-regional basis was rejected by referendum.


Governance


Politics

England is part of the United Kingdom, a
constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises their authority in accordance with a constitution and is not alone in decision making. Constitutional monarchies dif ...
with a
parliamentary system A parliamentary system, or parliamentarian democracy, is a system of democratic governance of a state (or subordinate entity) where the executive derives its democratic legitimacy from its ability to command the support ("confidence") of th ...
. There has not been a government of England since 1707, when the Acts of Union 1707, putting into effect the terms of the
Treaty of Union The Treaty of Union is the name usually now given to the treaty which led to the creation of the new state of Great Britain, stating that the Kingdom of England (which already included Wales) and the Kingdom of Scotland were to be "United i ...
, joined England and Scotland to form the
Kingdom of Great Britain The Kingdom of Great Britain (officially Great Britain) was a Sovereign state, sovereign country in Western Europe from 1 May 1707 to the end of 31 December 1800. The state was created by the 1706 Treaty of Union and ratified by the Acts of ...
. Before the union England was ruled by its monarch and the
Parliament of England The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England from the 13th century until 1707 when it was replaced by the Parliament of Great Britain. Parliament evolved from the great council of bishops and peers that advised ...
. Today England is governed directly by the
Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It meets at the Palace of Westminster, London. It alone possesses legislative suprema ...
, although other
countries of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK), since 1922, comprises three constituent countries and a region: England, Scotland, and Wales (which collectively make up the region of Great Britain), as well as Northern Ireland, ...
have
devolved Devolution is the statutory delegation of powers from the central government of a sovereign state to govern at a subnational level, such as a regional or local level. It is a form of administrative decentralization. Devolved territories ...
governments. In the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In both of these countries, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the nominally upper house of parliament. T ...
which is the lower house of the British Parliament based at the Palace of Westminster, there are 532 Members of Parliament (MPs) for constituencies in England, out of the 650 total. As of the 2019 United Kingdom general election, England is represented by 345 MPs from the Conservative Party, 179 from the Labour Party, seven from the Liberal Democrats, one from the Green Party, and the Speaker of the House, Lindsay Hoyle. Since devolution, in which other countries of the United Kingdom – Scotland, Wales and
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label= Ulster-Scots, Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, that is variously described as a country, province or region. Nort ...
– each have their own devolved parliament or assemblies for local issues, there has been debate about how to counterbalance this in England. Originally it was planned that various regions of England would be devolved, but following the proposal's rejection by the North East in a 2004 referendum, this has not been carried out. One major issue is the
West Lothian question The West Lothian question, also known as the English question, is a political issue in the United Kingdom. It concerns the question of whether MPs from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales who sit in the House of Commons should be able to vote ...
, in which MPs from Scotland and Wales are able to vote on legislation affecting only England, while English MPs have no equivalent right to legislate on devolved matters. This when placed in the context of England being the only country of the United Kingdom not to have free cancer treatment, prescriptions, residential care for the elderly and free top-up university fees, has led to a steady rise in
English nationalism English nationalism is a nationalism that asserts that the English are a nation and promotes the cultural unity of English people. In a general sense, it comprises political and social movements and sentiment inspired by a love for English c ...
. Some have suggested the creation of a
devolved English parliament A devolved English parliament is a proposed institution that would give separate decision-making powers to representatives for voters in England, similar to the representation given by the (Welsh Parliament), the Scottish Parliament and the Nort ...
, while others have proposed simply limiting voting on legislation which only affects England to English MPs.


Law

The English law legal system, developed over the centuries, is the basis of
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent, judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions."The common law is not a brooding omnipres ...
legal systems used in most Commonwealth countries and the United States (except
Louisiana Louisiana , group=pronunciation (French: ''La Louisiane'') is a state in the Deep South and South Central regions of the United States. It is the 20th-smallest by area and the 25th most populous of the 50 U.S. states. Louisiana is borde ...
). Despite now being part of the United Kingdom, the legal system of the
Courts of England and Wales The courts of England and Wales, supported administratively by His Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service, are the civil and criminal courts responsible for the administration of justice in England and Wales. The United Kingdom does not have ...
continued, under the
Treaty of Union The Treaty of Union is the name usually now given to the treaty which led to the creation of the new state of Great Britain, stating that the Kingdom of England (which already included Wales) and the Kingdom of Scotland were to be "United i ...
, as a separate legal system from the one used in Scotland. The general essence of English law is that it is made by judges sitting in courts, applying their common sense and knowledge of
legal precedent A precedent is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case that is either binding on or persuasive for a court or other tribunal when deciding subsequent cases with similar issues or facts. Common-law legal systems place great valu ...
– ''stare decisis'' – to the facts before them. The court system is headed by the Senior Courts of England and Wales, consisting of the Court of Appeal, the
High Court of Justice The High Court of Justice in London, known properly as His Majesty's High Court of Justice in England, together with the Court of Appeal and the Crown Court, are the Senior Courts of England and Wales. Its name is abbreviated as EWHC (Englan ...
for civil cases, and the Crown Court for criminal cases. The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is the highest court for criminal and civil cases in
England and Wales England and Wales () is one of the three legal jurisdictions of the United Kingdom. It covers the constituent countries England and Wales and was formed by the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542. The substantive law of the jurisdiction is Eng ...
. It was created in 2009 after constitutional changes, taking over the judicial functions of the House of Lords. A decision of the Supreme Court is binding on every other court in the hierarchy, which must follow its directions. The
secretary of state for justice The secretary of state for justice, also referred to as the justice secretary, is a secretary of state in the Government of the United Kingdom, with responsibility for the Ministry of Justice. The incumbent is a member of the Cabinet of the Un ...
is the minister responsible to Parliament for the
judiciary The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of courts that adjudicates legal disputes/disagreements and interprets, defends, and applies the law ...
, the court system and prisons and probation in England. Crime increased between 1981 and 1995 but fell by 42% in the period 1995–2006. The prison population doubled over the same period, giving it one of the highest incarceration rates in Western Europe at 147 per 100,000. His Majesty's Prison Service, reporting to the
Ministry of Justice A Ministry of Justice is a common type of government department that serves as a justice ministry. Lists of current ministries of justice Named "Ministry" * Ministry of Justice (Abkhazia) * Ministry of Justice (Afghanistan) * Ministry of Just ...
, manages most prisons, housing 81,309 prisoners in England and Wales .


Regions, counties, and districts

The
subdivisions of England The subdivisions of England constitute a hierarchy of administrative divisions and non-administrative ceremonial areas. Overall, England is divided into nine regions and 48 ceremonial counties, although these have only a limited role in publ ...
consist of up to four levels of subnational division controlled through a variety of types of administrative entities created for the purposes of
local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state. This particular usage of the word government refers specifically to a level of administration that is both geographically-l ...
. The highest tier of local government were the nine regions of England: North East,
North West The points of the compass are a set of horizontal, radially arrayed compass directions (or azimuths) used in navigation and cartography. A compass rose is primarily composed of four cardinal directions—north, east, south, and west—each sepa ...
, Yorkshire and the Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands,
East East or Orient is one of the four cardinal directions or points of the compass. It is the opposite direction from west and is the direction from which the Sun rises on the Earth. Etymology As in other languages, the word is formed from the fac ...
, South East, South West, and London. These were created in 1994 as Government Offices, used by the UK government to deliver a wide range of policies and programmes regionally, but there are no elected bodies at this level, except in London, and in 2011 the regional government offices were abolished. After devolution began to take place in other parts of the United Kingdom it was planned that referendums for the regions of England would take place for their own elected regional assemblies as a counterweight. London accepted in 1998: the London Assembly was created two years later. However, when the proposal was rejected by the
2004 North East England devolution referendum The North East England devolution referendum was an all postal ballot referendum that took place on 4 November 2004 throughout North East England on whether or not to establish an elected assembly for the region. Devolution referendums in the ...
in the North East, further referendums were cancelled. The regional assemblies outside London were abolished in 2010, and their functions transferred to respective regional development agencies and a new system of local authority leaders' boards. Below the regional level, all of England is divided into 48
ceremonial counties The counties and areas for the purposes of the lieutenancies, also referred to as the lieutenancy areas of England and informally known as ceremonial counties, are areas of England to which lords-lieutenant are appointed. Legally, the areas i ...
. These are used primarily as a geographical frame of reference and have developed gradually since the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the late 5th to the late 15th centuries, similar to the post-classical period of global history. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire ...
, with some established as recently as 1974.. Each has a lord lieutenant and high sheriff; these posts are used to represent the British monarch locally. Outside Greater London and the Isles of Scilly, England is also divided into 83 metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties; these correspond to areas used for the purposes of local government. and may consist of a single district or be divided into several. There are six metropolitan counties based on the most heavily urbanised areas, which do not have county councils. In these areas the principal authorities are the councils of the subdivisions, the metropolitan boroughs. Elsewhere, 27 non-metropolitan "shire" counties have a
county council A county council is the elected administrative body governing an area known as a county. This term has slightly different meanings in different countries. Ireland The county councils created under British rule in 1899 continue to exist in Irel ...
and are divided into districts, each with a district council. They are typically, though not always, found in more rural areas. The remaining non-metropolitan counties are of a single district and usually correspond to large towns or sparsely populated counties; they are known as
unitary authorities A unitary authority is a local authority responsible for all local government functions within its area or performing additional functions that elsewhere are usually performed by a higher level of sub-national government or the national governme ...
. Greater London has a different system for local government, with 32
London borough The London boroughs are the 32 local authority districts that together with the City of London make up the administrative area of Greater London; each is governed by a London borough council. The present London boroughs were all created at ...
s, plus the
City of London The City of London is a city, ceremonial county and local government district that contains the historic centre and constitutes, alongside Canary Wharf, the primary central business district (CBD) of London. It constituted most of London f ...
covering a small area at the core governed by the
City of London Corporation The City of London Corporation, officially and legally the Mayor and Commonalty and Citizens of the City of London, is the municipal governing body of the City of London, the historic centre of London and the location of much of the United King ...
. At the most localised level, much of England is divided into
civil parishes In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government. It is a territorial designation which is the lowest tier of local government below districts and counties, or their combined form, the unitary authority. ...
with councils; in Greater London only one, Queen's Park, exists after they were abolished in 1965 until legislation allowed their recreation in 2007.


Geography


Landscape and rivers

Geographically England includes the central and southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain, plus such offshore islands as the Isle of Wight and the Isles of Scilly. It is bordered by two other countries of the United Kingdom: to the north by Scotland and to the west by Wales. England is closer than any other part of mainland Britain to the European continent. It is separated from
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Its metropolitan area ...
( Hauts-de-France) by a sea gap, though the two countries are connected by the Channel Tunnel near Folkestone. England also has shores on the Irish Sea, North Sea and Atlantic Ocean. The ports of London,
Liverpool Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough in Merseyside, England. With a population of in 2019, it is the 10th largest English district by population and its metropolitan area is the fifth largest in the United Kingdom, with a populat ...
, and
Newcastle Newcastle usually refers to: *Newcastle upon Tyne, a city and metropolitan borough in Tyne and Wear, England *Newcastle-under-Lyme, a town in Staffordshire, England *Newcastle, New South Wales, a metropolitan area in Australia, named after Newcastle ...
lie on the tidal rivers
Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England including London. At , it is the longest river entirely in England and the second-longest in the United Kingdom, after the R ...
,
Mersey The River Mersey () is in North West England. Its name derives from Old English and means "boundary river", possibly referring to its having been a border between the ancient kingdoms of Mercia and Northumbria. For centuries it has formed part ...
and Tyne respectively. At , the
Severn , name_etymology = , image = SevernFromCastleCB.JPG , image_size = 288 , image_caption = The river seen from Shrewsbury Castle , map = RiverSevernMap.jpg , map_size = 288 , map_c ...
is the longest river flowing through England. It empties into the Bristol Channel and is notable for its Severn Bore (a
tidal bore Tidal is the adjectival form of tide. Tidal may also refer to: * ''Tidal'' (album), a 1996 album by Fiona Apple * Tidal (king), a king involved in the Battle of the Vale of Siddim * TidalCycles, a live coding environment for music * Tidal (serv ...
), which can reach in height. However, the longest river entirely in England is the Thames, which is in length. There are many lakes in England; the largest is
Windermere Windermere (sometimes tautologically called Windermere Lake to distinguish it from the nearby town of Windermere) is the largest natural lake in England. More than 11 miles (18 km) in length, and almost 1 mile (1.5 km) at its wides ...
, within the aptly named Lake District. Most of England's landscape consists of low hills and plains, with upland and mountainous terrain in the north and west of the country. The northern uplands include the Pennines, a chain of uplands dividing east and west, the Lake District mountains in Cumbria, and the
Cheviot Hills The Cheviot Hills (), or sometimes The Cheviots, are a range of uplands straddling the Anglo-Scottish border between Northumberland and the Scottish Borders. The English section is within the Northumberland National Park. The range includes T ...
, straddling the border between England and Scotland. The highest point in England, at , is
Scafell Pike Scafell Pike () is the highest and the most prominent mountain in England, at an elevation of above sea level. It is located in the Lake District National Park, in Cumbria, and is part of the Southern Fells and the Scafell massif. Scafell P ...
in the Lake District. The
Shropshire Hills The Shropshire Hills are a dissected upland area and one of the natural regions of England. They lie wholly within the county of Shropshire and encompass several distinctive and well-known landmarks, such as the Long Mynd, Wenlock Edge, The W ...
are near Wales while
Dartmoor Dartmoor is an upland area in southern Devon, England. The moorland and surrounding land has been protected by National Park status since 1951. Dartmoor National Park covers . The granite which forms the uplands dates from the Carboniferous P ...
and
Exmoor Exmoor is loosely defined as an area of hilly open moorland in west Somerset and north Devon in South West England. It is named after the River Exe, the source of which is situated in the centre of the area, two miles north-west of Simonsbath ...
are two upland areas in the south-west of the country. The approximate dividing line between terrain types is often indicated by the
Tees–Exe line The Tees–Exe line is an imaginary northeast-southwest line that can be drawn on a map of Great Britain which roughly divides the island into lowland and upland regions. The line links the mouth of the River Tees between Redcar and Hartlepool i ...
. In geological terms, the Pennines, known as the "backbone of England", are the oldest range of mountains in the country, originating from the end of the
Paleozoic Era The Paleozoic (or Palaeozoic) Era is the earliest of three geologic eras of the Phanerozoic Eon. The name ''Paleozoic'' ( ;) was coined by the British geologist Adam Sedgwick in 1838 by combining the Greek words ''palaiós'' (, "old") and ''z ...
around 300 million years ago. Their geological composition includes, among others,
sandstone Sandstone is a clastic sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized (0.0625 to 2 mm) silicate grains. Sandstones comprise about 20–25% of all sedimentary rocks. Most sandstone is composed of quartz or feldspar (both silicates ...
and
limestone Limestone ( calcium carbonate ) is a type of carbonate sedimentary rock which is the main source of the material lime. It is composed mostly of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of . Limestone forms whe ...
, and also coal. There are karst landscapes in calcite areas such as parts of
Yorkshire Yorkshire ( ; abbreviated Yorks), formally known as the County of York, is a historic county in northern England and by far the largest in the United Kingdom. Because of its large area in comparison with other English counties, functions have ...
and
Derbyshire Derbyshire ( ) is a ceremonial county in the East Midlands, England. It includes much of the Peak District National Park, the southern end of the Pennine range of hills and part of the National Forest. It borders Greater Manchester to the nor ...
. The Pennine landscape is high moorland in upland areas, indented by fertile valleys of the region's rivers. They contain two
national parks A national park is a natural park in use for conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or owns. Although individua ...
, the
Yorkshire Dales The Yorkshire Dales is an upland area of the Pennines in the historic county of Yorkshire, England, most of it in the Yorkshire Dales National Park created in 1954. The Dales comprise river valleys and the hills rising from the Vale of York w ...
and the
Peak District The Peak District is an upland area in England at the southern end of the Pennines. Mostly in Derbyshire, it extends into Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire, West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire. It includes the Dark Peak, where moorla ...
. In the
West Country The West Country (occasionally Westcountry) is a loosely defined area of South West England, usually taken to include all, some, or parts of the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Bristol, and, less commonly, Wiltshire, Glo ...
, Dartmoor and Exmoor of the Southwest Peninsula include upland moorland supported by granite, and enjoy a mild climate; both are national parks. The English Lowlands are in the central and southern regions of the country, consisting of green rolling hills, including the Cotswold Hills, Chiltern Hills,
North North is one of the four compass points or cardinal directions. It is the opposite of south and is perpendicular to east and west. ''North'' is a noun, adjective, or adverb indicating direction or geography. Etymology The word ''north ...
and South Downs; where they meet the sea they form white rock exposures such as the cliffs of Dover. This also includes relatively flat plains such as the Salisbury Plain,
Somerset Levels The Somerset Levels are a coastal plain and wetland area of Somerset, England, running south from the Mendips to the Blackdown Hills. The Somerset Levels have an area of about and are bisected by the Polden Hills; the areas to the south a ...
, South Coast Plain and
The Fens The Fens, also known as the , in eastern England are a naturally marshy region supporting a rich ecology and numerous species. Most of the fens were drained centuries ago, resulting in a flat, dry, low-lying agricultural region supported by a ...
.


Climate

England has a
temperate In geography, the temperate climates of Earth occur in the middle latitudes (23.5° to 66.5° N/S of Equator), which span between the tropics and the polar regions of Earth. These zones generally have wider temperature ranges throughout ...
maritime climate An oceanic climate, also known as a marine climate, is the humid temperate climate sub-type in Köppen classification ''Cfb'', typical of west coasts in higher middle latitudes of continents, generally featuring cool summers and mild winters ...
: it is mild with temperatures not much lower than in winter and not much higher than in summer. The weather is damp relatively frequently and is changeable. The coldest months are January and February, the latter particularly on the English coast, while July is normally the warmest month. Months with mild to warm weather are May, June, September and October. Rainfall is spread fairly evenly throughout the year. Important influences on the climate of England are its proximity to the
Atlantic Ocean The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's five oceans, with an area of about . It covers approximately 20% of Earth's surface and about 29% of its water surface area. It is known to separate the " Old World" of Africa, Europe ...
, its northern
latitude In geography, latitude is a coordinate that specifies the north– south position of a point on the surface of the Earth or another celestial body. Latitude is given as an angle that ranges from –90° at the south pole to 90° at the north pol ...
and the warming of the sea by the Gulf Stream. Rainfall is higher in the west, and parts of the Lake District receive more rain than anywhere else in the country. Since weather records began, the highest temperature recorded was on 25 July 2019 at the Botanic Garden in
Cambridge Cambridge ( ) is a College town, university city and the county town in Cambridgeshire, England. It is located on the River Cam approximately north of London. As of the 2021 United Kingdom census, the population of Cambridge was 145,700. Cam ...
, while the lowest was on 10 January 1982 in
Edgmond Edgmond is a village in the borough of Telford and Wrekin and ceremonial county of Shropshire, England. The village population at the 2011 Census was 2,062. It lies north-west of the town of Newport. The village has two pubs (the Lion and t ...
, Shropshire.


Nature and wildlife

The fauna of England is similar to that of other areas in the
British Isles The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean off the north-western coast of continental Europe, consisting of the islands of Great Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Inner and Outer Hebrides, the Northern Isles, ...
with a wide range of vertebrate and invertebrate life in a diverse range of habitats.
National nature reserves in England National nature reserves in England are designated by Natural England as key places for wildlife and natural features in England. They were established to protect the most significant areas of habitat and of geological formations. NNRs are managed ...
are designated by
Natural England Natural England is a non-departmental public body in the United Kingdom sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. It is responsible for ensuring that England's natural environment, including its land, flora and fauna, ...
as key places for
wildlife Wildlife refers to undomesticated animal species, but has come to include all organisms that grow or live wild in an area without being introduced by humans. Wildlife was also synonymous to game: those birds and mammals that were hunted ...
and natural features in England. They were established to protect the most significant areas of habitat and of geological formations. NNRs are managed on behalf of the nation, many by Natural England themselves, but also by non-governmental organisations, including the members of
The Wildlife Trusts The Wildlife Trusts, the trading name of the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, is an organisation made up of 46 local Wildlife Trusts in the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man and Alderney. The Wildlife Trusts, between them, look after more than 2 ...
partnership, the
National Trust The National Trust, formally the National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, is a charity and membership organisation for heritage conservation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland, there is a separate and ...
, and the
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a charitable organisation registered in England and Wales and in Scotland. It was founded in 1889. It works to promote conservation and protection of birds and the wider environment thr ...
. There are 229 NNRs in England covering . Often they contain rare species or nationally important populations of plants and animals. The Environment Agency is a
non-departmental public body In the United Kingdom, non-departmental public body (NDPB) is a classification applied by the Cabinet Office, Treasury, the Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive to public sector organisations that have a role in the process of ...
, established in 1995 and sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with responsibilities relating to the protection and enhancement of the environment in England. The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is the minister responsible for environmental protection, agriculture, fisheries and rural communities in England. England has a temperate oceanic climate in most areas, lacking extremes of cold or heat, but does have a few small areas of subarctic and warmer areas in the South West. Towards the North of England the climate becomes colder and most of England's mountains and high hills are located here and have a major impact on the climate and thus the local fauna of the areas.
Deciduous In the fields of horticulture and Botany, the term ''deciduous'' () means "falling off at maturity" and "tending to fall off", in reference to trees and shrubs that seasonally shed leaves, usually in the autumn; to the shedding of petals, ...
woodlands are common across all of England and provide a great habitat for much of England's wildlife, but these give way in northern and upland areas of England to coniferous forests (mainly plantations) which also benefit certain forms of wildlife. Some species have adapted to the expanded urban environment, particularly the red fox, which is the most successful urban mammal after the
brown rat The brown rat (''Rattus norvegicus''), also known as the common rat, street rat, sewer rat, wharf rat, Hanover rat, Norway rat, Norwegian rat and Parisian rat, is a widespread species of common rat. One of the largest muroids, it is a brown o ...
, and other animals such as
common wood pigeon The common wood pigeon or common woodpigeon (''Columba palumbus''), also known as simply wood pigeon, wood-pigeon or woodpigeon, is a large species in the dove and pigeon family (Columbidae), native to the western Palearctic. It belongs to the g ...
, both of which thrive in urban and suburban areas.
Grey squirrels Gray squirrel or grey squirrel may refer to several species of squirrel indigenous to North America: *The eastern gray squirrel (''Sciurus carolinensis''), from the eastern United States and southeastern Canada; introduced into the United Kingdom, I ...
introduced from eastern America have forced the decline of the native red squirrel due to competition.
Red squirrels The red squirrel (''Sciurus vulgaris'') is a species of tree squirrel in the genus ''Sciurus'' common throughout Europe and Asia. The red squirrel is an arboreal, primarily herbivorous rodent. In Great Britain, Ireland, and in Italy numbers ...
are now confined to upland and coniferous-forested areas of England, mainly in the north, south west and Isle of Wight. England's climate is very suitable for lagomorphs and the country has rabbits and brown hares which were introduced in Roman times. Mountain hares which are indigenous have now been re-introduced in Derbyshire. The fauna of England has to cope with varying temperatures and conditions, although not extreme they do pose potential challenges and adaptational measures. English fauna has however had to cope with industrialisation, human population densities amongst the highest in
Europe Europe is a large peninsula conventionally considered a continent in its own right because of its great physical size and the weight of its history and traditions. Europe is also considered a subcontinent of Eurasia and it is located entirel ...
and
intensive farming Intensive agriculture, also known as intensive farming (as opposed to extensive farming), conventional, or industrial agriculture, is a type of agriculture, both of crop plants and of animals, with higher levels of input and output per unit of ...
, but as England is a developed nation, wildlife and the countryside have entered the English mindset more and the country is very conscientious about preserving its wildlife, environment and countryside.


Major conurbations

The
Greater London Built-up Area The Greater London Built-up Area, or Greater London Urban Area, is a conurbation in south-east England that constitutes the continuous urban sprawl of London, and includes surrounding adjacent urban towns as defined by the Office for National Sta ...
is by far the largest urban area in England and one of the busiest cities in the world. It is considered a global city and has a population larger than any other country in the United Kingdom besides England itself. Other urban areas of considerable size and influence tend to be in
northern England Northern England, also known as the North of England, the North Country, or simply the North, is the northern area of England. It broadly corresponds to the former borders of Angle Northumbria, the Anglo-Scandinavian Kingdom of Jorvik, and the ...
or the
English Midlands The Midlands (also referred to as Central England) are a part of England that broadly correspond to the Kingdom of Mercia of the Early Middle Ages, bordered by Wales, Northern England and Southern England. The Midlands were important in the Ind ...
. There are 50 settlements which have designated city status in England, while the wider United Kingdom has 66. While many cities in England are quite large, such as
Birmingham Birmingham ( ) is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and metropolitan borough in the metropolitan county of West Midlands (county), West Midlands in England. It is the second-largest city in the United Kingdom with a population of 1. ...
,
Sheffield Sheffield is a city in South Yorkshire, England, whose name derives from the River Sheaf which runs through it. The city serves as the administrative centre of the City of Sheffield. It is historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire a ...
,
Manchester Manchester () is a city in Greater Manchester, England. It had a population of 552,000 in 2021. It is bordered by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and the neighbouring city of Salford to the west. The t ...
,
Liverpool Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough in Merseyside, England. With a population of in 2019, it is the 10th largest English district by population and its metropolitan area is the fifth largest in the United Kingdom, with a populat ...
,
Leeds Leeds () is a city and the administrative centre of the City of Leeds district in West Yorkshire, England. It is built around the River Aire and is in the eastern foothills of the Pennines. It is also the third-largest settlement (by popula ...
,
Newcastle Newcastle usually refers to: *Newcastle upon Tyne, a city and metropolitan borough in Tyne and Wear, England *Newcastle-under-Lyme, a town in Staffordshire, England *Newcastle, New South Wales, a metropolitan area in Australia, named after Newcastle ...
, Bradford,
Nottingham Nottingham ( , locally ) is a city and unitary authority area in Nottinghamshire, East Midlands, England. It is located north-west of London, south-east of Sheffield and north-east of Birmingham. Nottingham has links to the legend of Robi ...
, population size is not a prerequisite for city status. Traditionally the status was given to towns with diocesan cathedrals, so there are smaller cities like Wells, Ely,
Ripon Ripon () is a cathedral city in the Borough of Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England. The city is located at the confluence of two tributaries of the River Ure, the Laver and Skell. Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, the city ...
,
Truro Truro (; kw, Truru) is a cathedral city and civil parish in Cornwall, England. It is Cornwall's county town, sole city and centre for administration, leisure and retail trading. Its population was 18,766 in the 2011 census. People of Truro ...
and
Chichester Chichester () is a City status in the United Kingdom, cathedral city and civil parish in West Sussex, England.OS Explorer map 120: Chichester, South Harting and Selsey Scale: 1:25 000. Publisher:Ordnance Survey – Southampton B2 edition. Publi ...
.


Economy

England's economy is one of the largest and most dynamic in the world, with an average GDP per capita of £28,100.
HM Treasury His Majesty's Treasury (HM Treasury), occasionally referred to as the Exchequer, or more informally the Treasury, is a department of His Majesty's Government responsible for developing and executing the government's public finance policy and ...
, led by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is responsible for developing and executing the government's
public finance Public finance is the study of the role of the government in the economy. It is the branch of economics that assesses the government revenue and government expenditure of the public authorities and the adjustment of one or the other to achiev ...
policy and economic policy. Usually regarded as a mixed market economy, it has adopted many
free market In economics, a free market is an economic system in which the prices of goods and services are determined by supply and demand expressed by sellers and buyers. Such markets, as modeled, operate without the intervention of government or any ot ...
principles, yet maintains an advanced social welfare infrastructure. The official currency in England is the
pound sterling Sterling (abbreviation: stg; Other spelling styles, such as STG and Stg, are also seen. ISO code: GBP) is the currency of the United Kingdom and nine of its associated territories. The pound ( sign: £) is the main unit of sterling, and ...
, whose ISO 4217 code is GBP. Taxation in England is quite competitive when compared to much of the rest of Europe – the basic rate of personal tax is 20% on taxable income up to £31,865 above the personal tax-free allowance (normally £10,000), and 40% on any additional earnings above that amount. The economy of England is the largest part of the UK's economy, which has the 18th highest GDP PPP per capita in the world. England is a leader in the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors and in key technical industries, particularly
aerospace Aerospace is a term used to collectively refer to the atmosphere and outer space. Aerospace activity is very diverse, with a multitude of commercial, industrial and military applications. Aerospace engineering consists of aeronautics and astr ...
, the
arms industry The arms industry, also known as the arms trade, is a global industry classification, industry which manufacturing, manufactures and sells weapons and military technology. It consists of a commerce, commercial Private industry, industry involved ...
, and the manufacturing side of the
software industry The software industry includes businesses for development, maintenance and publication of software that are using different business models, mainly either "license/maintenance based" (on-premises) or "Cloud based" (such as SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, MBa ...
. London, home to the
London Stock Exchange London Stock Exchange (LSE) is a stock exchange in the City of London, England, United Kingdom. , the total market value of all companies trading on LSE was £3.9 trillion. Its current premises are situated in Paternoster Square close to St P ...
, the United Kingdom's main stock exchange and the largest in Europe, is England's financial centre, with 100 of Europe's 500 largest corporations being based there. London is the largest financial centre in Europe, and is the second largest in the world. The Bank of England, founded in 1694, is the United Kingdom's
central bank A central bank, reserve bank, or monetary authority is an institution that manages the currency and monetary policy of a country or monetary union, and oversees their commercial banking system. In contrast to a commercial bank, a central b ...
. Originally established as private banker to the government of England, since 1946 it has been a state-owned institution. The bank has a monopoly on the issue of banknotes in
England and Wales England and Wales () is one of the three legal jurisdictions of the United Kingdom. It covers the constituent countries England and Wales and was formed by the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542. The substantive law of the jurisdiction is Eng ...
, although not in other parts of the United Kingdom. The government has devolved responsibility to the bank's
Monetary Policy Committee Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) may refer to: * Monetary Policy Committee (India) The Monetary Policy Committee is responsible for fixing the benchmark interest rate in India. The meetings of the Monetary Policy Committee are held at least fo ...
for managing the monetary policy of the country and setting interest rates. England is highly industrialised, but since the 1970s there has been a decline in traditional heavy and manufacturing industries, and an increasing emphasis on a more
service industry The tertiary sector of the economy, generally known as the service sector, is the third of the three economic sectors in the three-sector model (also known as the economic cycle). The others are the primary sector (raw materials) and the second ...
oriented economy.. Tourism has become a significant industry, attracting millions of visitors to England each year. The export part of the economy is dominated by pharmaceuticals, cars (although many English
marque A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that distinguishes one seller's good or service from those of other sellers. Brands are used in business, marketing, and advertising for recognition and, importantly, to create an ...
s are now foreign-owned, such as
Land Rover Land Rover is a British brand of predominantly four-wheel drive, off-road capable vehicles, owned by multinational car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), since 2008 a subsidiary of India's Tata Motors. JLR currently builds Land Rovers ...
, Lotus, Jaguar and Bentley), crude oil and petroleum from the English parts of
North Sea oil North Sea oil is a mixture of hydrocarbons, comprising liquid petroleum and natural gas, produced from petroleum reservoirs beneath the North Sea. In the petroleum industry, the term "North Sea" often includes areas such as the Norwegian Sea ...
along with
Wytch Farm Wytch Farm is an oil field and processing facility in the Purbeck district of Dorset, England. It is the largest onshore oil field in western Europe. The facility, taken over by Perenco in 2011, was previously operated by BP. It is located in ...
, aircraft engines and alcoholic beverages. The creative industries accounted for 7 per cent GVA in 2005 and grew at an average of 6 per cent per annum between 1997 and 2005. Most of the UK's £30 billion aerospace industry is primarily based in England. The global market opportunity for UK aerospace manufacturers over the next two decades is estimated at £3.5 trillion.
GKN Aerospace GKN Ltd is a British multinational automotive and aerospace components business headquartered in Redditch, England. It is a long-running business known for many decades as Guest, Keen and Nettlefolds. It can trace its origins back to 1759 an ...
– an expert in metallic and composite aerostructures is involved in almost every civil and military fixed and rotary wing aircraft in production is based in
Redditch Redditch is a town, and local government district, in north-east Worcestershire, England, approximately south of Birmingham. The district has a population of 85,000 as of 2019. In the 19th century, it became the international centre for the ...
. BAE Systems makes large sections of the Typhoon Eurofighter at its sub-assembly plant in
Samlesbury Samlesbury () is a village and civil parish in South Ribble, Lancashire, England. Samlesbury Hall, a historic house, is in the village, as is Samlesbury Aerodrome and a large modern brewery owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev. The population at the ...
and assembles the aircraft for the RAF at its Warton plant, near Preston. It is also a principal subcontractor on the F35 Joint Strike Fighter – the world's largest single defence project – for which it designs and manufactures a range of components including the aft fuselage, vertical and horizontal tail and wing tips and fuel system. It also manufactures the Hawk, the world's most successful jet training aircraft.
Rolls-Royce PLC Rolls-Royce Holdings plc is a British multinational aerospace and defence company incorporated in February 2011. The company owns Rolls-Royce, a business established in 1904 which today designs, manufactures and distributes power systems for ...
is the world's second-largest aero-engine manufacturer. Its engines power more than 30 types of commercial aircraft, and it has more 30,000 engines currently in service across both the civil and defence sectors. With a workforce of over 12,000 people,
Derby Derby ( ) is a city and unitary authority area in Derbyshire, England. It lies on the banks of the River Derwent in the south of Derbyshire, which is in the East Midlands Region. It was traditionally the county town of Derbyshire. Derby g ...
has the largest concentration of Rolls-Royce employees in the UK. Rolls-Royce also produces low-emission power systems for ships; makes critical equipment and safety systems for the nuclear industry and powers offshore platforms and major pipelines for the oil and gas industry. The
pharmaceutical industry The pharmaceutical industry discovers, develops, produces, and markets drugs or pharmaceutical drugs for use as medications to be administered to patients (or self-administered), with the aim to cure them, vaccinate them, or alleviate symptoms. ...
plays an important role in the economy, and the UK has the third-highest share of global pharmaceutical R&D expenditures. Much of the UK's space industry is centred on
EADS Astrium Astrium was an aerospace manufacturer subsidiary of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) that provided civil and military space systems and services from 2006 to 2013. In 2012, Astrium had a turnover of €5.8 billion and 1 ...
, based in Stevenage and
Portsmouth Portsmouth ( ) is a port and city in the ceremonial county of Hampshire in southern England. The city of Portsmouth has been a unitary authority since 1 April 1997 and is administered by Portsmouth City Council. Portsmouth is the most dens ...
. The company builds the buses – the underlying structure onto which the payload and propulsion systems are built – for most of the European Space Agency's spacecraft, as well as commercial satellites. The world leader in compact satellite systems,
Surrey Satellite Technology Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, or SSTL, is a company involved in the manufacture and operation of small satellites. A spin-off company of the University of Surrey, it is presently wholly owned by Airbus Defence and Space. The company began o ...
, is also part of Astrium.
Reaction Engines Limited Reaction Engines Limited is a British aerospace manufacturer based in Oxfordshire, England. History and personnel In , Reaction Engines was founded by Alan Bond (lead engineer on the British Interplanetary Society's Project Daedalus) and ...
, the company planning to build Skylon, a single-stage-to-orbit spaceplane using their SABRE rocket engine, a combined-cycle, air-breathing rocket propulsion system is based
Culham Culham is a village and civil parish in a bend of the River Thames, south of Abingdon in Oxfordshire. The parish includes Culham Science Centre and Europa School UK (formerly the European School, Culham, which was the only Accredited Europe ...
. The UK space industry was worth £9.1bn in 2011 and employed 29,000 people. It is growing at a rate of 7.5 per cent annually, according to its umbrella organisation, the
UK Space Agency The United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA) is an executive agency of the Government of the United Kingdom, responsible for the United Kingdom's civil space programme. It was established on 1 April 2010 to replace the British National Space Centre ...
. In 2013, the British Government pledged £60 million to the Skylon project: this investment will provide support at a "crucial stage" to allow a full-scale prototype of the
SABRE A sabre ( French: �sabʁ or saber in American English) is a type of backsword with a curved blade associated with the light cavalry of the early modern and Napoleonic periods. Originally associated with Central European cavalry such as th ...
engine to be built. Agriculture is intensive, highly mechanised and efficient by European standards, producing 60% of food needs with only 2% of the labour force. Two-thirds of production is devoted to livestock, the other to arable crops. The main crops that are grown are
wheat Wheat is a grass widely cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain that is a worldwide staple food. The many species of wheat together make up the genus ''Triticum'' ; the most widely grown is common wheat (''T. aestivum''). The archaeologi ...
,
barley Barley (''Hordeum vulgare''), a member of the grass family, is a major cereal grain grown in temperate climates globally. It was one of the first cultivated grains, particularly in Eurasia as early as 10,000 years ago. Globally 70% of barley p ...
,
oat The oat (''Avena sativa''), sometimes called the common oat, is a species of cereal grain grown for its seed, which is known by the same name (usually in the plural, unlike other cereals and pseudocereals). While oats are suitable for human con ...
s,
potato The potato is a starchy food, a tuber of the plant ''Solanum tuberosum'' and is a root vegetable native to the Americas. The plant is a perennial in the nightshade family Solanaceae. Wild potato species can be found from the southern Unit ...
es, sugar beets. England retains a significant, though much reduced fishing industry. Its fleets bring home fish of every kind, ranging from sole to herring. It is also rich in natural resources including
coal Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock, formed as rock strata called coal seams. Coal is mostly carbon with variable amounts of other elements, chiefly hydrogen, sulfur, oxygen, and nitrogen. Coal is formed when ...
,
petroleum Petroleum, also known as crude oil, or simply oil, is a naturally occurring yellowish-black liquid mixture of mainly hydrocarbons, and is found in geological formations. The name ''petroleum'' covers both naturally occurring unprocessed crud ...
,
natural gas Natural gas (also called fossil gas or simply gas) is a naturally occurring mixture of gaseous hydrocarbons consisting primarily of methane in addition to various smaller amounts of other higher alkanes. Low levels of trace gases like carbo ...
,
tin Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn (from la, stannum) and atomic number 50. Tin is a silvery-coloured metal. Tin is soft enough to be cut with little force and a bar of tin can be bent by hand with little effort. When bent, t ...
,
limestone Limestone ( calcium carbonate ) is a type of carbonate sedimentary rock which is the main source of the material lime. It is composed mostly of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of . Limestone forms whe ...
, iron ore,
salt Salt is a mineral composed primarily of sodium chloride (NaCl), a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of salts; salt in the form of a natural crystalline mineral is known as rock salt or halite. Salt is present in vast quant ...
, clay, chalk, gypsum, lead, and silica.


Science and technology

Prominent English figures from the field of science and mathematics include Sir Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, Charles Darwin, Robert Hooke, James Prescott Joule, John Dalton, Lord Rayleigh, J. J. Thomson, James Chadwick, Charles Babbage, George Boole, Alan Turing, Tim Berners-Lee, Paul Dirac, Stephen Hawking, Peter Higgs, Roger Penrose, John Horton Conway, Thomas Bayes, Arthur Cayley, G. H. Hardy, Oliver Heaviside, Andrew Wiles, Edward Jenner, Francis Crick, Joseph Lister, 1st Baron Lister, Joseph Lister, Joseph Priestley, Thomas Young (scientist), Thomas Young, Christopher Wren and Richard Dawkins. Some experts claim that the earliest concept of a metric system was invented by John Wilkins, the first secretary of the
Royal Society The Royal Society, formally The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, is a learned society and the United Kingdom's national academy of sciences. The society fulfils a number of roles: promoting science and its benefits, re ...
, in 1668. England was a leading centre of the Scientific Revolution from the 17th century. As the birthplace of the
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe, and the United States, that occurred during the period from around 1760 to about 1820–1840. This transition included going f ...
, England was home to many significant inventors during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Famous English engineers include Isambard Kingdom Brunel, best known for the creation of the Great Western Railway, a series of famous steamships, and numerous important bridges, hence revolutionising public transport and modern-day engineering. Thomas Newcomen's Newcomen steam engine, steam engine helped spawn the Industrial Revolution. The Father of Railways, George Stephenson, built the first public inter-city railway line in the world, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, which opened in 1830. With his role in the marketing and manufacturing of the steam engine, and invention of modern coinage, Matthew Boulton (business partner of James Watt) is regarded as one of the most influential entrepreneurs in history. The physician Edward Jenner's smallpox vaccine is said to have "saved more lives ... than were lost in all the wars of mankind since the beginning of recorded history." Inventions and discoveries of the English include: the jet engine, the first industrial spinning frame, spinning machine, Analytical engine, the first computer and the first Manchester Baby, modern computer, the World Wide Web along with HTML, the first successful human blood transfusion, the motorised vacuum cleaner, the lawn mower, the seat belt, the hovercraft, the electric motor, steam engines, and theories such as the Darwinian theory of evolution and atomic theory. Newton developed the ideas of universal gravitation, Newtonian mechanics, and calculus, and Robert Hooke his eponymously named Hooke's law of elasticity, law of elasticity. Other inventions include the iron plate railway, the thermosiphon, Tarmacadam, tarmac, the rubber band, the mousetrap, Cat's eye (road), "cat's eye" raised pavement marker, road marker, joint development of the light bulb, steam locomotives, the modern seed drill and many modern techniques and technologies used in precision engineering. The
Royal Society The Royal Society, formally The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, is a learned society and the United Kingdom's national academy of sciences. The society fulfils a number of roles: promoting science and its benefits, re ...
, formally The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, is a learned society and the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotlan ...
's national academy of sciences. Founded on 28 November 1660, it was granted a royal charter by Charles II of England, King Charles II as "The Royal Society". It is the oldest national scientific institution in the world. The society fulfils a number of roles: promoting science and its benefits, recognising excellence in science, supporting outstanding science, providing scientific advice for policy, fostering international and global co-operation, education and public engagement. The Royal Society started from groups of physicians and natural philosophers, meeting at a variety of locations, including Gresham College in London. They were influenced by the "Scientific method, new science", as promoted by Francis Bacon in his ''New Atlantis'', from approximately 1645 onwards. A group known as "The Philosophical Society of Oxford" was run under a set of rules still retained by the Bodleian Library.Syfret (1948) p. 78 After the English Restoration, there were regular meetings at Gresham College. It is widely held that these groups were the inspiration for the foundation of the Royal Society. Scientific research and development remains important in the universities of England, with many establishing science parks to facilitate production and co-operation with industry. Between 2004 and 2008 the United Kingdom produced 7 per cent of the world's scientific research papers and had an 8 per cent share of scientific citations, the third and second-highest in the world (after the United States and China, respectively). Scientific journals produced in the United Kingdom include ''Nature (journal), Nature'', the ''BMJ, British Medical Journal'' and ''The Lancet''.


Transport

The Department for Transport is the government body responsible for overseeing transport in England. The department is run by the Secretary of State for Transport. England has a dense and modern transportation infrastructure. There are many List of motorways in the United Kingdom, motorways in England, and many other trunk roads, such as the A1 road (Great Britain), A1 Great North Road, which runs through eastern England from London to Newcastle (much of this section is motorway) and onward to the Scottish border. The longest motorway in England is the M6 motorway, M6, from Rugby, Warwickshire, Rugby through the
North West The points of the compass are a set of horizontal, radially arrayed compass directions (or azimuths) used in navigation and cartography. A compass rose is primarily composed of four cardinal directions—north, east, south, and west—each sepa ...
up to the Anglo-Scottish border, a distance of . Other major routes include: the M1 motorway, M1 from London to Leeds, the M25 motorway, M25 which encircles London, the M60 motorway (Great Britain), M60 which encircles Manchester, the M4 motorway, M4 from London to South Wales, the M62 motorway, M62 from Liverpool via Manchester to East Yorkshire, and the M5 motorway, M5 from Birmingham to Bristol and the South West. Bus transport across the country is widespread; major companies include Arriva UK Bus, Arriva, FirstGroup, Go-Ahead Group, National Express, Rotala and Stagecoach Group. The red double-decker buses in London have become a symbol of England. National Cycle Route offers cycling routes nationally. There is a rapid transit network in two English cities: the London Underground; and the Tyne and Wear Metro in Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead and Sunderland.. There are several tram networks, such as the Blackpool tramway, Manchester Metrolink, Sheffield Supertram and West Midlands Metro, and the Tramlink system centred on Croydon in South London. Great British Railways is a planned State ownership, state-owned public body that will oversee rail transport in Great Britain from 2023. The Office of Rail and Road is responsible for the economic and safety regulation of England's railways. Rail transport in Great Britain, Rail transport in England is the oldest in the world: passenger railways originated in England in 1825. Much of Britain's of rail network lies in England, covering the country fairly extensively, although a high proportion of railway lines were closed in the second half of the 20th century. There are plans to reopen lines such as the Varsity Line between Oxford and Cambridge. These lines are mostly standard gauge (single track (rail), single, double track, double or quadruple track) though there are also a few British narrow gauge railways, narrow gauge lines. There is rail transport access to France and Belgium through an undersea rail link, the Channel Tunnel, which was completed in 1994. Crossrail was Europe's largest construction project with a £15 billion projected cost, opened in 2022. High Speed 2, a new high-speed north–south railway line, projected in 2015 to cost £56 billion is to start being built in 2020. England has extensive domestic and international aviation links. The largest airport is Heathrow Airport, Heathrow, which is the World's busiest airports by international passenger traffic, world's busiest airport measured by number of international passengers. Other large airports include Gatwick Airport, Gatwick, Manchester Airport, Manchester, Stansted Airport, Stansted, Luton Airport, Luton and Birmingham Airport, Birmingham. By sea there is ferry transport, both local and international, including from Liverpool to Ireland and the Isle of Man, and Hull to the Netherlands and Belgium.. There are around of navigable waterways in England, half of which is owned by the Canal & River Trust, however, water transport is very limited. The River Thames is the major waterway in England, with imports and exports focused at the Port of Tilbury in the Thames Estuary, one of the United Kingdom's three major ports.


Energy

Energy use in the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotlan ...
stood at 2,249 TWh (193.4 million Tonne of oil equivalent, tonnes of oil equivalent) in 2014. This equates to energy consumption ''per capita'' of 34.82 MWh (3.00 tonnes of oil equivalent) compared to a 2010 world average of 21.54 MWh (1.85 tonne of oil equivalent, tonnes of oil equivalent). Demand for electricity in 2014 was 34.42Watt, GW on average (301.7TWh over the year) coming from a total electricity generation of 335.0Kilowatt hour, TWh. Successive Government of the United Kingdom, UK governments have outlined numerous commitments to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Notably, the UK is Wind power in the United Kingdom, one of the best sites in Europe for wind energy, and wind power production is its fastest growing supply.; Wind power contributed 15% of UK electricity generation in 2017. The Climate Change Act 2008 was passed in Parliament with an overwhelming majority across political parties. It sets out emission reduction targets that the UK must comply with legally. It represents the first global legally binding climate change mitigation target set by a country. Energy policy of the United Kingdom, UK government energy policy aims to play a key role in limiting greenhouse gas emissions, whilst meeting energy demand. Shifting availabilities of resources and development of technologies also change the country's energy mix through changes in costs. The current energy policy is the responsibility of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth is responsible for green finance, climate science and innovation, and low carbon generation. United Kingdom is ranked 4 out of 180 countries in the Environmental Performance Index. A law has been passed that Greenhouse gas emissions, UK greenhouse gas emissions will be net zero by 2050.


Tourism

English Heritage is a governmental body with a broad remit of managing the historic sites, artefacts and environments of England. It is currently sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty is a charity which also maintains multiple sites. Of the 25 United Kingdom List of World Heritage Sites in the United Kingdom, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 17 are in England. Some of the best known of these include Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites, Tower of London, Jurassic Coast, Palace of Westminster, Roman Baths (Bath), Roman Baths, Bath, Somerset, City of Bath, Saltaire, Ironbridge Gorge, Studley Royal Park and more recently the Lake District, English Lake District. The northernmost point of the Roman Empire, Hadrian's Wall, is the largest Roman artefact anywhere: it runs for a total of in northern England. The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has overall responsibility for tourism, arts and culture, cultural property, heritage and historic environments, libraries, and museums and galleries. The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Arts, Heritage and Tourism is the minister with responsibility over tourism in England. A blue plaque, the oldest historical marker scheme in the world, is a permanent sign installed in a public place in England to commemorate a link between that location and a famous person or event. The scheme was the brainchild of politician William Ewart (British politician), William Ewart in 1863 and was initiated in 1866. It was formally established by the Royal Society of Arts in 1867, and since 1986 has been run by English Heritage. In 2011 there were around 1,600 museums in England. Entry to most state-supported museums and galleries is free unlike in other countries.
London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a estuary dow ...
is one of the world's most visited cities, regularly taking the top five most visited cities in
Europe Europe is a large peninsula conventionally considered a continent in its own right because of its great physical size and the weight of its history and traditions. Europe is also considered a subcontinent of Eurasia and it is located entirel ...
. It is largely considered a global centre of finance, arts and culture.


Healthcare

The
National Health Service The National Health Service (NHS) is the umbrella term for the publicly funded healthcare systems of the United Kingdom (UK). Since 1948, they have been funded out of general taxation. There are three systems which are referred to using the " ...
(NHS), is the publicly funded healthcare system responsible for providing the majority of healthcare in the country. The NHS began on 5 July 1948, putting into effect the provisions of the National Health Service Act 1946. It was based on the findings of the Beveridge Report, prepared by economist and social reformer William Beveridge. The NHS is largely funded from general taxation including National Insurance payments, and it provides most of its services free at the point of use, although there are charges for some people for eye tests, dental care, prescriptions and aspects of personal care. The government department responsible for the NHS is the Department of Health (United Kingdom), Department of Health, headed by the Secretary of State for Health, who sits in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom, British Cabinet. Most of the expenditure of the Department of Health is spent on the NHS—£98.6 billion was spent in 2008–2009. In recent years the private sector has been increasingly used to provide more NHS services despite opposition by doctors and trade unions. When purchasing drugs, the NHS has significant market power that, based on its own assessment of the fair value of the drugs, influences the global price, typically keeping prices lower. Several other countries either copy the UK's model or directly rely on its assessments for their own decisions on state-financed drug reimbursements. Regulatory bodies such as the General Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council are organised on a UK-wide basis, as are non-governmental bodies such as the Royal Colleges. The average life expectancy of people in England is 77.5 years for males and 81.7 years for females, the highest of the four
countries of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK), since 1922, comprises three constituent countries and a region: England, Scotland, and Wales (which collectively make up the region of Great Britain), as well as Northern Ireland, ...
. The South of England has a higher life expectancy than the North; however, regional differences do seem to be slowly narrowing: between 1991–1993 and 2012–2014, life expectancy in the North East increased by 6.0 years and in the North West by 5.8 years, the fastest increase in any region outside London, and the gap between life expectancy in the North East and South East is now 2.5 years, down from 2.9 in 1993.


Demography


Population

With over 53 million inhabitants, England is by far the most populous country of the United Kingdom, accounting for 84% of the combined total. England taken as a unit and measured against international states would be the 25th largest List of countries by population in 2005, country by population in the world. The English people are
British people British people or Britons, also known colloquially as Brits, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the British Overseas Territories, and the Crown dependencies.: British nationality law governs m ...
. Some genetic evidence suggests that 75–95% descend in the paternal line from prehistoric settlers who originally came from the
Iberian Peninsula The Iberian Peninsula (), ** * Aragonese and Occitan: ''Peninsula Iberica'' ** ** * french: Péninsule Ibérique * mwl, Península Eibérica * eu, Iberiar penintsula also known as Iberia, is a peninsula in southwestern Europe, def ...
, as well as a 5% contribution from
Angles The Angles ( ang, Ængle, ; la, Angli) were one of the main Germanic peoples who settled in Great Britain in the post-Roman period. They founded several kingdoms of the Heptarchy in Anglo-Saxon England. Their name is the root of the name ...
and
Saxons The Saxons ( la, Saxones, german: Sachsen, ang, Seaxan, osx, Sahson, nds, Sassen, nl, Saksen) were a group of Germanic * * * * peoples whose name was given in the early Middle Ages to a large country (Old Saxony, la, Saxonia) near the Nor ...
, and a significant Scandinavian (Vikings, Viking) element. However, other geneticists place the Germanic estimate up to half. Over time, various cultures have been influential: Prehistoric Britain, Prehistoric, Britons (historical), Brythonic, Ancient Rome, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Viking (North Germanic), Gaels, Gaelic cultures, as well as a large influence from
Normans The Normans ( Norman: ''Normaunds''; french: Normands; la, Nortmanni/Normanni) were a population arising in the medieval Duchy of Normandy from the intermingling between Norse Viking settlers and indigenous West Franks and Gallo-Romans. ...
. There is an English diaspora in former parts of the British Empire; especially the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. Since the late 1990s, many English people British migration to Spain, have migrated to Spain. In 1086, when the ''
Domesday Book Domesday Book () – the Middle English spelling of "Doomsday Book" – is a manuscript record of the "Great Survey" of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086 by order of King William I, known as William the Conqueror. The manus ...
'' was compiled, England had a population of two million. About 10% lived in urban areas. By 1801, the population was 8.3 million, and by 1901 30.5 million. Due in particular to the economic prosperity of South East England, it has received many economic migrants from the other parts of the United Kingdom. There has been Irish migration to Great Britain, significant Irish migration. The proportion of ethnically European residents totals at 87.50%, including British Germans, Germans and Polish British, Poles. Other people from much further afield in the former British colonies have arrived since the 1950s: in particular, 6% of people living in England have family origins in the
Indian subcontinent The Indian subcontinent is a list of the physiographic regions of the world, physiographical region in United Nations geoscheme for Asia#Southern Asia, Southern Asia. It is situated on the Indian Plate, projecting southwards into the Indian O ...
, mostly India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. About 0.7% of people are Chinese. 2.90% of the population are black, from Africa and the Caribbean, especially former British colonies. In 2007, 22% of primary school children in England were from minority group, ethnic minority families, and in 2011 that figure was 26.5%. About half of the population increase between 1991 and 2001 was due to immigration. Debate over immigration is politically prominent; 80% of respondents in a 2009 Home Office poll wanted to cap it. The Office for National Statistics, ONS has projected that the population will grow by nine million between 2014 and 2039. England contains one indigenous national minority, the Cornish people, recognised by the UK government under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities in 2014.


Language

English language, English, today spoken by hundreds of millions of people around the world, originated in what is now England, where it remains the principal tongue. According to a 2011 census, it is spoken well or very well by 98% of the population. It is an Indo-European languages, Indo-European language in the Anglo-Frisian languages, Anglo-Frisian branch of the Germanic languages, Germanic family. After the Norman conquest, the
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language, spoken in England and southern and eastern Scotland in the early Middle Ages. It was brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers in the mid-5th c ...
language, brought to Britain by the Anglo-Saxons, Anglo-Saxon settlers, was confined to the Working class, lower social classes as Norman language, Norman French and
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through the power of the ...
were used by the aristocracy. By the 15th century, English was back in fashion among all classes, though much changed; the Middle English form showed many signs of French influence, both in vocabulary and spelling. During the
English Renaissance The English Renaissance was a cultural and artistic movement in England from the early 16th century to the early 17th century. It is associated with the pan-European Renaissance that is usually regarded as beginning in Italy in the late 14th cent ...
, many words were coined from Latin and Greek origins. Modern English has extended this custom of flexibility when it comes to incorporating words from different languages. Thanks in large part to the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates, and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It began with the overseas possessions and trading posts e ...
, the English language is the world's unofficial ''lingua franca''. English as a second or foreign language, English language learning and teaching is an important Economics, economic activity, and includes language schools, language schooling, tourism spending, and publishing. There is no United Kingdom legislation, legislation mandating an official language for England, but English is the only language used for official business. Despite the country's relatively small size, there are many distinct Regional accents of English speakers#England, regional accents, and individuals with particularly strong accents may not be easily understood everywhere in the country. As well as English, England has two other indigenous languages, Cornish language, Cornish and Welsh. Cornish died out as a community language in the 18th century but is being revived, and is now protected under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. It is spoken by 0.1% of people in Cornwall, and is taught to some degree in several primary and secondary schools. When the modern border between Wales and England was established by the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542, many Welsh-speaking communities found themselves on the English side of the border. Welsh was spoken in Archenfield in Herefordshire into the nineteenth century, and by natives of parts of western Shropshire until the middle of the twentieth century if not later. State schools teach students a second language or third language from the ages of seven, most commonly French, Spanish or German. It was reported in 2007 that around 800,000 school students spoke a foreign language at home as a result of immigration among their family, the most common languages being Punjabi language, Punjabi and Urdu. However, following the 2011 census data released by the Office for National Statistics, figures now show that Polish is the main language spoken in England after English.


Religion

In the 2011 census, 59.4% of the population of England specified their religion as Christian, 24.7% answered that they had no religion, 5% specified that they were Muslim, while 3.7% of the population belongs to other religions and 7.2% did not give an answer. Christianity is the most widely practised religion in England, as it has been since the Early Middle Ages, although it was first introduced much earlier in Gaelic and Roman times. This Celtic Church was gradually joined to the Roman Catholic Church, Catholic hierarchy following the 6th-century Gregorian mission to
Kent Kent is a county in South East England and one of the home counties. It borders Greater London to the north-west, Surrey to the west and East Sussex to the south-west, and Essex to the north across the estuary of the River Thames; it faces ...
led by Augustine of Canterbury, St Augustine. The established church of England is the
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the established Christian church in England and the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church recorded as existing in the Roman province of Britai ...
, which left communion with Vatican City, Rome in the 1530s when Henry VIII of England, Henry VIII was unable to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, the aunt of the Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, king of Spain. The church regards itself as both Catholic and Protestant. There are High Church and Low Church traditions and some Anglicans regard themselves as Anglo-Catholics, following the Tractarian movement. The monarch of the United Kingdom is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, which has around 26 million baptised members (of whom the vast majority are not regular churchgoers). It forms part of the Anglican Communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury acting as its symbolic worldwide head. Many List of cathedrals in England and Wales, cathedrals and parish churches are historic buildings of significant architectural importance, such as Westminster Abbey, York Minster, Durham Cathedral, and Salisbury Cathedral. The 2nd-largest Christian practice is the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. Since its reintroduction after the Catholic Emancipation, the Church has organised ecclesiastically on an Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, England and Wales basis where there are 4.5 million members (most of whom are English). There has been one Pope from England to date, Pope Adrian IV, Adrian IV; while saints Bede and Anselm of Canterbury, Anselm are regarded as Doctors of the Church. A form of Protestantism known as Methodist Church of Great Britain, Methodism is the third largest Christian practice and grew out of Anglicanism through John Wesley. It gained popularity in the mill towns of Lancashire and
Yorkshire Yorkshire ( ; abbreviated Yorks), formally known as the County of York, is a historic county in northern England and by far the largest in the United Kingdom. Because of its large area in comparison with other English counties, functions have ...
, and amongst tin miners in Cornwall. There are other Nonconformist (Protestantism), non-conformist minorities, such as Baptists, Quakers, Congregational church, Congregationalists, Unitarianism, Unitarians and The Salvation Army. The patron saint of England is Saint George; his symbolic cross is included in the flag of England, as well as in the Union Flag as part of a combination. There are many other English and associated saints; some of the best-known are: Cuthbert, Edmund the Martyr, Edmund, Saint Alban, Alban, Wilfrid, Aidan of Lindisfarne, Aidan, Edward the Confessor, John Fisher, Thomas More, Saint Petroc, Petroc, Saint Piran, Piran, Margaret Clitherow and Thomas Becket. There are non-Christian religions practised. Jews have a history of a small minority on the island since 1070. They were expelled from England in 1290 following the Edict of Expulsion, only to be allowed back in 1656. Especially since the 1950s, religions from the British Empire, former British colonies have grown in numbers, due to immigration. Islam is the most common of these, now accounting for around 5% of the population in England. Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism are next in number, adding up to 2.8% combined, introduced from India and South East Asia. A small minority of the population practise ancient Pagan religions. Neopaganism in the United Kingdom is primarily represented by Wicca and Contemporary Witchcraft, Witchcraft religions, Neo-Druidry, Druidry, and Germanic neopaganism, Heathenry. According to the United Kingdom Census 2011, 2011 UK Census, there are roughly 53,172 people who identify as Pagan in England, and 3,448 in Wales, including 11,026 Wiccans in England and 740 in Wales. 24.7% of people in England declared Irreligion, no religion in 2011, compared with 14.6% in 2001. These figures are slightly lower than the combined figures for England and Wales as Wales has a higher level of irreligion than England. Norwich had the highest such proportion at 42.5%, followed closely by Brighton and Hove at 42.4%.


Education

The Department for Education is the government department responsible for issues affecting people in England up to the age of 19, including education. State-run and state-funded schools are attended by approximately 93% of English schoolchildren. Education is the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Education. Children who are between the ages of 3 and 5 attend nursery or an Early Years Foundation Stage reception unit within a primary school. Children between the ages of 5 and 11 attend primary school, and secondary school is attended by those aged between 11 and 16. State-funded schools are obliged by law to teach the National Curriculum for England, National Curriculum; basic areas of learning include English literature, English language, mathematics, science, art & design, citizenship, history, geography, religious education, design & technology, computing, ancient & modern languages, music, and physical education. More than 90% of English schools require students to wear uniforms. School uniforms are defined by individual schools, within the constraint that uniform regulations must not discriminate on the grounds of sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, religion or belief. Schools may choose to permit trousers for girls or religious dress. The Programme for International Student Assessment coordinated by the OECD currently ranks the overall knowledge and skills of British 15-year-olds as 13th in the world in reading literacy, mathematics, and science with the average British student scoring 503.7, compared with the OECD average of 493, ahead of the United States and most of
Europe Europe is a large peninsula conventionally considered a continent in its own right because of its great physical size and the weight of its history and traditions. Europe is also considered a subcontinent of Eurasia and it is located entirel ...
. Although most English secondary schools are comprehensive school, comprehensive, there are selective intake grammar schools to which entrance is subject to passing the eleven-plus exam. Around 7.2 per cent of English schoolchildren attend Independent school (UK), private schools, which are funded by private sources. Standards in state schools are monitored by the Office for Standards in Education, and in private schools by the Independent Schools Inspectorate. After finishing compulsory education, students take General Certificate of Secondary Education, GCSE examinations. Students may then opt to continue into further education for two years. List of further education colleges in England, Further education colleges (particularly sixth form colleges) often form part of a secondary school site. A-level examinations are sat by a large number of further education students, and often form the basis of an application to university. Further education (FE) covers a wide curriculum of study and apprenticeships, including T Level, T-levels, BTEC Extended Diploma, BTEC, NVQ and others. Tertiary colleges provide both academic and vocational courses. Higher education students normally attend university from age 18 onwards, where they study for an academic degree. There are over 90 universities in England, all but one of which are Public university, public institutions. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is the government department responsible for higher education in England. Students are generally entitled to student loans to cover the cost of tuition fees and living costs. The first degree offered to undergraduates is the bachelor's degree, which usually takes three years to complete. Students are then able to work towards a postgraduate degree, which usually takes one year, or towards a doctorate, which takes three or more years. List of universities in England, England's universities include some of the highest-ranked universities in the world; University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, Imperial College London, University College London and King's College London are all ranked in the global top 30 in the 2018 ''QS World University Rankings''. The London School of Economics has been described as the world's leading social science institution for both teaching and research. The London Business School is considered one of the world's leading business schools and in 2010 its MBA programme was ranked best in the world by the ''Financial Times''. Academic degrees in England are usually split into classes: first class (1st), upper second class (2:1), lower second class (2:2), third (3rd), and unclassified. The King's School, Canterbury and King's School, Rochester are the oldest schools in the English-speaking world. Many of England's most well-known schools, such as Winchester College, Eton College, Eton, St Paul's School (London), St Paul's School, Harrow School and Rugby School are fee-paying institutions.


Culture


Architecture

Many ancient standing stone monuments were erected during the prehistoric period; amongst the best known are Stonehenge, Devil's Arrows, Rudston Monolith and Castlerigg stone circle, Castlerigg. With the introduction of Ancient Roman architecture there was a development of basilicas, Roman baths, baths, amphitheaters, triumphal arches, villas, Roman temples, Roman roads, Roman forts, stockades and aqueduct (bridge), aqueducts. It was the Romans who founded the first cities and towns such as London, Bath, York, Chester and St Albans. Perhaps the best-known example is Hadrian's Wall stretching right across northern England. Another well-preserved example is the Roman Baths (Bath), Roman Baths at Bath, Somerset. Anglo-Saxon architecture, Early Medieval architecture's secular buildings were simple constructions mainly using timber with thatch for roofing. Ecclesiastical architecture ranged from a synthesis of Early Christian Ireland, Hiberno–Germanic Christianity, Saxon monasticism, to Early Christian art and architecture, Early Christian basilica and architecture characterised by pilaster-strips, blank arcading, baluster shafts and triangular headed openings. After the Norman conquest in 1066 various Castles in England were created so law lords could uphold their authority and in the north to protect from invasion. Some of the best-known medieval castles are the Tower of London, Warwick Castle, Durham Castle and Windsor Castle. Throughout the Plantagenet era, an English Gothic architecture flourished, with prime examples including the Architecture of the medieval cathedrals of England, medieval cathedrals such as Canterbury Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and York Minster.. Expanding on the Norman architecture, Norman base there was also castles, palaces, List of historic houses in England, great houses, universities and parish churches. Medieval architecture was completed with the 16th-century Tudor architecture, Tudor style; the four-centred arch, now known as the Tudor arch, was a defining feature as were wattle and daub houses domestically. In the aftermath of the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period in European history The history of Europe is traditionally divided into four time periods: prehistoric Europe (prior to about 800 BC), classical antiquity (800 BC to AD ...
a form of architecture echoing classical antiquity synthesised with Christianity appeared, the English Baroque style of architect Christopher Wren being particularly championed. Georgian architecture followed in a more refined style, evoking a simple Palladian form; the Royal Crescent at Bath is one of the best examples of this. With the emergence of romanticism during Victorian period, a Gothic Revival was launched. In addition to this, around the same time the Industrial Revolution paved the way for buildings such as The Crystal Palace. Since the 1930s various modernist architecture, modernist forms have appeared whose reception is often controversial, though traditionalist resistance movements continue with support in influential places.


Gardens

Landscape gardening, as developed by Capability Brown, set an international trend for the English garden. Gardening, and visiting gardens, are regarded as typically English pursuits. The English garden presented an idealized view of nature. At large country houses, the English garden usually included lakes, sweeps of gently rolling lawns set against groves of trees, and recreations of classical temples, Gothic architecture, Gothic ruins, bridges, and other picturesque architecture, designed to recreate an idyllic pastoral landscape. By the end of the 18th century, the English garden was being imitated by the French landscape garden, and as far away as St. Petersburg, Russia, in Pavlovsk, Saint Petersburg, Pavlovsk, the gardens of the future Emperor Paul. It also had a major influence on the form of the public parks and gardens which appeared around the world in the 19th century. The English landscape garden was centred on the English country house and manor houses. English Heritage and the National Trust preserve great gardens and landscape parks throughout the country. The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is held every year by the Royal Horticultural Society and is said to be the largest gardening show in the world.


Folklore

English folklore developed over many centuries. Some of the characters and stories are present across England, but most belong to specific regions. Common folkloric beings include pixies, giant (mythology), giants, elf, elves, bogeymen, trolls, goblins and dwarf (mythology), dwarves. While many legends and folk-customs are thought to be ancient, such as the tales featuring Offa of Angel and Wayland the Smith,. others date from after the Norman invasion. The legends featuring Robin Hood and his Merry Men of Sherwood Forest, Sherwood, and their battles with the Sheriff of Nottingham, are among the best-known of these. During the High Middle Ages tales originating from Brythonic traditions entered English folklore and developed into the Arthurian myth.. These were derived from Anglo-Norman language, Anglo-Norman, Welsh and French sources, featuring King Arthur, Camelot, Excalibur, Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table such as Lancelot. These stories are most centrally brought together within Geoffrey of Monmouth's ''Historia Regum Britanniae'' (''History of the Kings of Britain''). Another early figure from Britons (historic), British tradition, King Cole, may have been based on a real figure from Sub-Roman Britain. Many of the tales and pseudohistory, pseudo-histories make up part of the wider Matter of Britain, a collection of shared British folklore. Some folk figures are based on semi or actual historical people whose story has been passed down centuries; Lady Godiva for instance was said to have ridden naked on horseback through Coventry, Hereward the Wake was a heroic English figure resisting the Norman invasion, Herne the Hunter is an equestrianism, equestrian ghost associated with Windsor, Berkshire, Windsor Forest and Windsor Great Park, Great Park and Mother Shipton is the archetypal witch. On 5 November people make bonfires, set off fireworks and eat toffee apples in Guy Fawkes Night, commemoration of the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot centred on Guy Fawkes. The chivalrous bandit, such as Dick Turpin, is a recurring character, while Blackbeard is the archetypal pirate. There are various national and regional folk activities, participated in to this day, such as Morris dancing, Maypole dance, Maypole dancing, Rapper sword in the North East, Long Sword dance in Yorkshire, Mummers Plays, bottle-kicking in Leicestershire, and Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake, cheese-rolling at Brockworth, Gloucestershire, Cooper's Hill. There is no official national costume, but a few are well established such as the Pearly Kings and Queens associated with cockneys, the Queen's Guard, Royal Guard, the Morris dance, Morris costume and Beefeaters.


Cuisine

Since the early modern period the food of England has historically been characterised by its simplicity of approach and a reliance on the high quality of natural produce. During the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the late 5th to the late 15th centuries, similar to the post-classical period of global history. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire ...
and through the Renaissance period, English cuisine enjoyed an excellent reputation, though a decline began during the
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe, and the United States, that occurred during the period from around 1760 to about 1820–1840. This transition included going f ...
with the move away from the land and increasing urbanisation of the populace. The cuisine of England has, however, recently undergone a revival, which has been recognised by food critics with some good ratings in ''Restaurant (magazine), Restaurant''s best restaurant in the world charts. An early book of English recipes is the ''Forme of Cury'' from the royal court of Richard II of England, Richard II. Traditional examples of English food include the Sunday roast, featuring a roasting, roasted joint (usually beef, lamb and mutton, lamb, chicken or pork) served with assorted vegetables, Yorkshire pudding and gravy. Other prominent meals include fish and chips and the Full breakfast, full English breakfast (generally consisting of bacon, sausages, grilled tomatoes, fried bread, black pudding, baked beans, edible mushroom, mushrooms and eggs). Various meat pies are consumed, such as steak and kidney pie, steak and ale pie, cottage pie, pork pie (usually eaten cold) and the Cornish pasty. Sausages are commonly eaten, either as bangers and mash or toad in the hole. Lancashire hotpot is a well-known stew originating in the northwest. Some of the more popular cheeses are Cheddar cheese, Cheddar, Red Leicester, Wensleydale (cheese), Wensleydale, Double Gloucester and Stilton cheese, Blue Stilton. Many Anglo-Indian hybrid dishes, curries, have been created, such as chicken tikka masala and balti (food), balti. Traditional English dessert dishes include apple pie or other fruit pies; spotted dick – all generally served with custard; and, more recently, sticky toffee pudding. Sweet pastries include scones (either plain or containing dried fruit) served with jam or cream, dried fruit loaves, Eccles cakes and mince pies as well as a wide range of sweet or spiced biscuits. Common non-alcoholic drinks include tea, the popularity of which was increased by Catherine of Braganza, and coffee; frequently consumed alcoholic drinks include wine, ciders and English beers, such as bitter (beer), bitter, mild ale, mild, stout and brown ale.


Visual arts

The earliest known examples are the prehistoric rock and cave art pieces, most prominent in North Yorkshire, Northumberland and Cumbria, but also feature further south, for example at Creswell Crags. With the arrival of Roman culture in the 1st century, various forms of art such as statues, busts, glasswork and mosaics were the norm. There are numerous surviving artefacts, such as those at Lullingstone Roman Villa, Lullingstone and Isurium Brigantum, Aldborough. During the Early Middle Ages the style favoured sculpted crosses and ivories, manuscript painting, gold and enamel jewellery, demonstrating a love of intricate, interwoven designs such as in the Staffordshire Hoard discovered in 2009. Some of these blended Insular art, Gaelic and Anglian styles, such as the Lindisfarne Gospels and Vespasian Psalter. Later Gothic art was popular at Winchester and Canterbury, examples survive such as Benedictional of St. Æthelwold and Luttrell Psalter. The Tudor era saw Artists of the Tudor court, prominent artists as part of their court, portrait painting which would remain an enduring part of English art, was boosted by German Hans Holbein the Younger, Hans Holbein, natives such as Nicholas Hilliard built on this. Under the Stuarts, Continental artists were influential especially the Flemish, examples from the period include Anthony van Dyck, Peter Lely, Godfrey Kneller and William Dobson. The 18th century was a time of significance with the founding of the Royal Academy, a classicism based on the Renaissance art, High Renaissance prevailed, with Thomas Gainsborough and Joshua Reynolds becoming two of England's most treasured artists. In the 19th century, John Constable, Constable and J.M.W. Turner, Turner were major landscape artists. The Norwich School (art movement), Norwich School continued the landscape tradition, while the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, led by artists such as Holman Hunt, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and John Everett Millais, revived the Early Renaissance style with their vivid and detailed style. Prominent amongst 20th-century artists was Henry Moore, regarded as the voice of British sculpture, and of British modernism in general. More recent painters include Lucian Freud, whose work ''Benefits Supervisor Sleeping'' in 2008 set a world record for sale value of a painting by a then-living artist. The Royal Society of Arts is an organisation committed to the arts and culture.


Literature, poetry, and philosophy

Early authors such as Bede and Alcuin wrote in Latin.. The period of Old English literature provided the epic poem ''Beowulf'' and the secular prose of the '' Anglo-Saxon Chronicle'', along with Christian writings such as ''Judith (poem), Judith'', Cædmon's ''Cædmon, Hymn'' and hagiography, hagiographies. Following the Norman conquest Latin literature, Latin continued amongst the educated classes, as well as an Anglo-Norman literature. Middle English literature emerged with Geoffrey Chaucer, author of ''The Canterbury Tales'', along with John Gower, Gower, the Pearl Poet and William Langland, Langland. William of Ockham and Roger Bacon, who were Franciscans, were major philosophers of the Middle Ages. Julian of Norwich, who wrote ''Revelations of Divine Love'', was a prominent Christian mystic. With the
English Renaissance The English Renaissance was a cultural and artistic movement in England from the early 16th century to the early 17th century. It is associated with the pan-European Renaissance that is usually regarded as beginning in Italy in the late 14th cent ...
literature in the Early Modern English style appeared. William Shakespeare, whose works include ''Hamlet'', ''Romeo and Juliet'', ''Macbeth'', and ''A Midsummer Night's Dream'', remains one of the most championed authors in English literature. Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser, Philip Sydney, Thomas Kyd, John Donne, and Ben Jonson are other established authors of the Elizabethan literature, Elizabethan age.. Francis Bacon and Thomas Hobbes wrote on empiricism and materialism, including scientific method and social contract. Robert Filmer, Filmer wrote on the Divine Right of Kings. Andrew Marvell, Marvell was the best-known poet of the Commonwealth, while John Milton authored ''Paradise Lost'' during the Restoration literature, Restoration. Some of the most prominent philosophers of the Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment were John Locke, Thomas Paine, Samuel Johnson and Jeremy Bentham. More radical elements were later countered by Edmund Burke who is regarded as the founder of conservatism. The poet Alexander Pope with his satirical verse became well regarded. The English played a significant role in romanticism: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, John Keats, Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Blake and William Wordsworth were major figures. In response to the
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe, and the United States, that occurred during the period from around 1760 to about 1820–1840. This transition included going f ...
, agrarian writers sought a way between liberty and tradition; William Cobbett, G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc were main exponents, while the founder of guild socialism, Arthur Penty, and cooperative movement advocate G. D. H. Cole are somewhat related. Empiricism continued through John Stuart Mill and Bertrand Russell, while Bernard Williams was involved in analytics. Authors from around the
Victorian era In the history of the United Kingdom and the British Empire, the Victorian era was the period of Queen Victoria's reign, from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. The era followed the Georgian period and preceded the Edwardia ...
include Charles Dickens, the Brontë sisters, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Rudyard Kipling, Thomas Hardy, H. G. Wells and Lewis Carroll. Since then England has continued to produce novelists such as George Orwell, D. H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, C. S. Lewis, Enid Blyton, Aldous Huxley, Agatha Christie, Terry Pratchett, J. R. R. Tolkien, and J. K. Rowling.


Performing arts

The traditional folk music of England is centuries old and has contributed to several genres prominently; mostly sea shanties, jigs, hornpipes and dance music. It has its own distinct variations and regional peculiarities. Ballads featuring Robin Hood, printed by Wynkyn de Worde in the 16th century, are an important artefact, as are John Playford's ''The Dancing Master'' and Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer, Robert Harley's ''Roxburghe Ballads'' collections. Some of the best-known songs are ''Greensleeves'', ''Pastime with Good Company'', ''Maggie May (folk song), Maggie May'' and ''Spanish Ladies'' amongst others. Many nursery rhymes are of English origin such as ''Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary'', ''Roses Are Red'', ''Jack and Jill (nursery rhyme), Jack and Jill'', ''London Bridge Is Falling Down, The Grand Old Duke of York, Hey Diddle Diddle'' and ''Humpty Dumpty''. Traditional English Christmas carols include "We Wish You a Merry Christmas", "The First Noel", "I Saw Three Ships" and "God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen". Early English composers in classical music include Renaissance artists Thomas Tallis and William Byrd, followed up by Henry Purcell from the Baroque music, Baroque period and Thomas Arne who was well known for his patriotic song Rule, Britannia!. German-born George Frideric Handel spent most of his composing life in London and became a national icon in Britain, creating some of the most well-known works of classical music, especially his English oratorios, ''Messiah (Handel), The Messiah'', ''Solomon (Handel), Solomon'', ''Water Music (Handel), Water Music'', and ''Music for the Royal Fireworks''. One of his four Coronation Anthems (Handel), Coronation Anthems, ''Zadok the Priest'', composed for the coronation of George II of Great Britain, George II, has been performed at every subsequent Coronation of the British monarch, British coronation, traditionally during the sovereign's anointing. Classical music attracted much attention from 1784 with the formation of the Birmingham Triennial Music Festival, which was the longest running classical music festival of its kind until the final concerts in 1912. The English Musical Renaissance was a hypothetical development in the late 19th and early 20th century, when English composers, often those lecturing or trained at the Royal College of Music, were said to have freed themselves from foreign musical influences. There was a revival in the profile of composers from England in the 20th century led by Edward Elgar, Benjamin Britten, Frederick Delius, Gustav Holst, Ralph Vaughan Williams and others. Present-day composers from England include Michael Nyman, best known for ''The Piano'', and Andrew Lloyd Webber, whose musicals have achieved enormous success in the West End theatre, West End and worldwide. In popular music, many English bands and solo artists have been cited as the most influential and best-selling musicians of all time. Acts such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Elton John, Queen (band), Queen, Rod Stewart, David Bowie, The Rolling Stones and Def Leppard are among the highest-selling recording artists in the world. Many musical genres have origins in (or strong associations with) England, such as British invasion, progressive rock, hard rock, mod (subculture), Mod, glam rock, heavy metal music, heavy metal, Britpop, indie rock, gothic rock, shoegazing, acid house, UK garage, garage, trip hop, drum and bass and dubstep. Large outdoor List of music festivals in the United Kingdom, music festivals in the summer and autumn are popular, such as Glastonbury Festival, Glastonbury, V Festival, and the Reading and Leeds Festivals. England was at the forefront of the illegal, free rave movement from the late 1980s, which led to pan-European culture of teknivals mirrored on the UK free festival movement and associated travelling lifestyle. The Boishakhi Mela is a Bengali New Year festival celebrated by the British Bangladeshi community. It is the largest open-air Asian festival in Europe. After the Notting Hill Carnival, it is the second-largest street festival in the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotlan ...
attracting over 80,000 visitors from across the country. The most prominent opera house in England is the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden.. The Proms – a season of orchestral classical concerts held primarily at the Royal Albert Hall in London – is a major cultural event in the English calendar, and takes place yearly. The Royal Ballet is one of the world's foremost classical ballet companies, its reputation built on two prominent figures of 20th-century dance, ''prima ballerina'' Margot Fonteyn and choreographer Frederick Ashton. The Royal Academy of Music is the oldest Music school, conservatoire in England, founded in 1822. It received its royal charter in 1830 from George IV of the United Kingdom, King George IV. England is home to numerous major orchestras such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the London Symphony Orchestra. The circus is a traditional form of entertainment in England. Chipperfield's Circus dates back more than 300 years, making it one of the oldest family circus dynasties.Great dynasties of the world: The Chipperfields
''The Guardian'' Retrieved 18 February 2011.
Philip Astley is regarded as the father of the Circus#Development, modern circus."The circus comes to the Circus"
BBC News. Retrieved 13 December 2014
Following his invention of the circus ring in 1768, Astley's Amphitheatre opened in London in 1773. As an equestrian master Astley had a skill for trick horse-riding, and when he added tumblers, tightrope-walkers, jugglers, performing dogs, and a clown to fill time between his own demonstrations – the modern circus was born. Pantomime is a British Musical theatre, musical comedy stage production, designed for family entertainment. It is performed in theatres throughout the England during the Christmas and New Year season. The art originated in the 18th century with John Weaver (dancer), John Weaver, a dance master and choreographer.David Christopher (2002). "British Culture: An Introduction". p. 74. Routledge, In 19th century England it acquired its present form, which includes songs, slapstick comedy and dancing, employing gender-crossing actors, combining topical humour with a story loosely based on a well-known fairy tale.


Cinema

England (and the UK as a whole) has had a considerable influence on the history of the cinema, producing some of the greatest actors, directors and motion pictures of all time, including Alfred Hitchcock, Charlie Chaplin, David Lean, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, John Gielgud, Peter Sellers, Julie Andrews, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Helen Mirren, Kate Winslet and Daniel Day-Lewis. Hitchcock and Lean are among the most critically acclaimed filmmakers. Hitchcock's first thriller, ''The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog'' (1926), helped shape the Thriller film, thriller genre in film, while his 1929 film, ''Blackmail (1929 film), Blackmail'', is often regarded as the first British Sound film#Transition: Europe, sound feature film. Major film studios in England include Pinewood Studios, Pinewood, Elstree Studios, Elstree and Shepperton Studios, Shepperton. Some of the most commercially successful films of all time have been produced in England, including two of the List of highest-grossing film series, highest-grossing film franchises (''Harry Potter (film series), Harry Potter'' and ''James Bond (film series), James Bond''). Ealing Studios in London has a claim to being the oldest continuously working film studio in the world. Famous for recording many motion picture film scores, the London Symphony Orchestra first performed film music in 1935. The Hammer Film Productions, Hammer Horror films starring Christopher Lee saw the production of the first gory horror films showing blood and guts in colour. The BFI Top 100 British films includes ''Monty Python's Life of Brian'' (1979), a film regularly voted the funniest of all time by the UK public. English producers are also active in international co-productions and English actors, directors and crew feature regularly in American films. The UK film council ranked David Yates, Christopher Nolan, Mike Newell (director), Mike Newell, Ridley Scott and Paul Greengrass the five most commercially successful English directors since 2001. Other contemporary English directors include Sam Mendes, Guy Ritchie and Richard Curtis. Current actors include Tom Hardy, Daniel Craig, Benedict Cumberbatch, Lena Headey, Felicity Jones, Emilia Clarke, Lashana Lynch, and Emma Watson. Acclaimed for his motion capture work, Andy Serkis opened The Imaginarium Studios in London in 2011. The visual effects company Framestore in London has produced some of the most critically acclaimed special effects in modern film. Many successful Hollywood films have been based on English people, British literature, stories or events. The List of Walt Disney Animation Studios films, 'English Cycle' of Disney animated films include ''Alice in Wonderland (1951 film), Alice in Wonderland'', ''The Jungle Book (1967 film), The Jungle Book'' and ''The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Winnie the Pooh''.


Museums, libraries, and galleries

English Heritage is a governmental body with a broad remit of managing the historic sites, artefacts and environments of England. It is currently sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The charity National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty holds a contrasting role. 17 of the 25 United Kingdom UNESCO World Heritage Sites fall within England. Some of the best-known of these are: Hadrian's Wall, Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites, Tower of London, Jurassic Coast, Saltaire, Ironbridge Gorge, Studley Royal Park and various others. There are many museums in England, but perhaps the most notable is London's British Museum. Its collection of more than seven million objects is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the world, sourced from every continent, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its beginning to the present. The British Library in London is the national library and is one of the world's largest research libraries, holding over 150 million items in almost all known languages and formats; including around 25 million books. The most senior art gallery is the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, which houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. The Tate galleries house the national collections of British and international modern art; they also host the famously controversial Turner Prize.


Media

The BBC, founded in 1922, is the UK's publicly funded radio, television and Internet broadcasting corporation, and is the oldest and largest broadcaster in the world. It operates numerous television and radio stations in the UK and abroad and its domestic services are funded by the Television licensing in the United Kingdom, television licence. The BBC World Service is an International broadcasting, international broadcaster owned and operated by the BBC. It is the world's largest of any kind. It broadcasts radio news, speech and discussions in more than 40 languages. London dominates the media sector in England: national newspapers and television and radio are largely based there, although Manchester is also a significant national media centre. The UK publishing sector, including books, directories and databases, journals, magazines and business media, newspapers and news agencies, has a combined turnover of around £20 billion and employs around 167,000 people. National newspapers produced in England include ''The Times'', ''The Guardian'' and the ''Financial Times''. Magazines and journals published in England that have achieved worldwide circulation include ''Nature (journal), Nature'', ''New Scientist'', ''The Spectator'', ''Prospect (magazine), Prospect'', ''NME'' and ''The Economist''. The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has overall responsibility over media and broadcasting in England.


Sport

England has a strong sporting heritage, and during the 19th century codified many sports that are now played around the world. Sports originating in England include association football, cricket, rugby union, rugby league, tennis, boxing, badminton, squash (sport), squash, rounders, field hockey, hockey, snooker, billiards, darts, table tennis, bowls, netball, thoroughbred horseracing, greyhound racing and fox hunting. It has helped the development of golf, sailing and Formula One. Football is the Sport in the United Kingdom#Popularity, most popular of these sports. The England national football team, whose home venue is Wembley Stadium, played Scotland national football team, Scotland in the first ever international football match in 1872. Referred to as the "home of football" by FIFA, England hosted the 1966 FIFA World Cup, and won the tournament by defeating Germany national football team, West Germany 4–2 in the 1966 FIFA World Cup Final, final, with Geoff Hurst scoring a hat-trick. With a British television audience peak of 32.30 million viewers, the final is the List of most-watched television broadcasts#United Kingdom, most watched television event ever in the UK. At club level, England is recognised by FIFA as the birthplace of club football, due to Sheffield F.C. founded in 1857 being the world's oldest club. The Football Association is the oldest governing body in the sport, with the Laws of the Game (association football), rules of football first drafted in 1863 by Ebenezer Cobb Morley. The FA Cup and The Football League were the first cup and league competitions respectively. In the modern day, the Premier League is the world's most-watched football league, most lucrative, and amongst the elite. As is the case throughout the UK, football in England is notable for the rivalries between clubs and the passion of the supporters, which includes a tradition of football chants. The most successful English football team in the European Cup/UEFA Champions League is Liverpool F.C. who have won the competition on six occasions. Other English success has come from Manchester United F.C., winning the competition on 3 occasions; Nottingham Forest F.C. and Chelsea F.C. on 2 occasions, Aston Villa F.C. have only won the trophy once. Cricket is generally thought to have been developed in the early medieval period among the farming and metalworking communities of the Weald. The England cricket team is a composite England and Wales, team. One of the game's top rivalries is The Ashes series between England and Australia cricket team, Australia, contested since 1882. The climax of the 2005 Ashes series, 2005 Ashes was viewed by 7.4 million as it was available on terrestrial television. England has hosted five Cricket World Cups (1975, 1979, 1983, 1999 and 2019 Cricket World Cup, 2019), winning the 2019 edition in a final regarded as one of the greatest one day internationals ever played. They hosted the ICC World Twenty20 in 2009 ICC World Twenty20, 2009, winning this format in 2010 beating rivals Australia in the final. In the domestic competition, the County Championship, Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Yorkshire are by far the most successful club having won the competition 32 times outright and sharing it on 1 other occasion. Lord's Cricket Ground situated in London is sometimes referred to as the "Mecca of Cricket". William Penny Brookes was prominent in organising the format for the modern Olympic Games. In 1994, then President of the International Olympic Committee, IOC, Juan Antonio Samaranch, laid a wreath on Brooke's grave, and said, "I came to pay homage and tribute to Dr Brookes, who really was the founder of the modern Olympic Games". London has hosted the Summer Olympic Games three times, in 1908 Summer Olympics, 1908, 1948 Summer Olympics, 1948, and 2012 Summer Olympics, 2012. England competes in the Commonwealth Games, held every four years. Sport England is the governing body responsible for distributing funds and providing strategic guidance for sporting activity in England. The Minister for Sport and Civil Society has responsibility for sport in England. Rugby union originated in Rugby School, Warwickshire in the early 19th century. The England national rugby union team, England rugby union team won the 2003 Rugby World Cup, with Jonny Wilkinson scoring the winning drop kick, drop goal in the last minute of extra time against Australia. England was one of the host nations of the competition in the 1991 Rugby World Cup and also hosted the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The top level of club participation is the Guinness Premiership, English Premiership. Leicester Tigers, Wasps RFC, London Wasps, Bath Rugby and Northampton Saints have had success in the Europe-wide Heineken Cup. Rugby league was born in Huddersfield in 1895. Since 2008, the England national rugby league team has been a full test nation in lieu of the Great Britain national rugby league team, which won three Rugby League World Cup, World Cups but is now retired. Club sides play in Super League, the present-day embodiment of the Rugby Football League Championship. Rugby League is most popular among towns in the northern English counties of Lancashire, Yorkshire and Cumbria. The vast majority of English clubs in Super League are based in the north of England. Some of the most successful clubs include Wigan Warriors, Hull F.C. St Helens R.F.C., St. Helens, Leeds Rhinos and Huddersfield Giants; the former three have all won the World Club Challenge previously. Golf has been prominent in England; due in part to its cultural and geographical ties to Scotland, the Golf in Scotland, home of Golf. There are both professional tours for men and women, in two main tours: the Professional Golfers' Association (Great Britain and Ireland), PGA and the European Tour. England has produced grand slam winners: Cyril Walker (golfer), Cyril Walker, Tony Jacklin, Nick Faldo, and Justin Rose in the men's and Laura Davies, Alison Nicholas, and Karen Stupples in the women's. The world's oldest golf tournament, and golf's first major is The Open Championship, played both in England and Scotland. The biennial golf competition, the Ryder Cup, is named after English businessman Samuel Ryder who sponsored the event and donated the trophy. Nick Faldo is the most successful Ryder Cup player ever, having won the most points (25) of any player on either the European or US teams. Tennis was created in Birmingham in the late 19th century, and The Championships, Wimbledon, the Wimbledon Championships is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, and widely considered the most prestigious. Wimbledon is a tournament that has a major place in the British cultural calendar. Fred Perry was the last Englishman to win Wimbledon in 1936. He was the first player to win all four Grand Slam in tennis, Grand Slam singles titles and helped lead the Great Britain Davis Cup team, Great Britain team to four Davis Cup wins. English women who have won Wimbledon include: Ann Haydon Jones in 1969 and Virginia Wade in 1977. In boxing, under the Marquess of Queensberry Rules, England has produced many world champions across the weight divisions internationally recognised by the governing bodies. World champions include Bob Fitzsimmons, Ted "Kid" Lewis, Randolph Turpin, Nigel Benn, Chris Eubank, Frank Bruno, Lennox Lewis, Ricky Hatton, Naseem Hamed, Amir Khan (British boxer), Amir Khan, Carl Froch, and David Haye. In women's boxing, Nicola Adams became the world's first woman to win an Olympic boxing gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Originating in 17th and 18th-century England, the thoroughbred is a horse breed best known for its use in horse racing. The National Hunt horse race the Grand National, is held annually at Aintree Racecourse in early April. It is the most watched horse race in the UK, attracting casual observers, and three-time winner Red Rum is the most successful racehorse in the event's history. Red Rum is also the best-known racehorse in the country. The 1950 British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone was the first race in the newly created Formula One World Championship. Since then, England has produced some of the greatest drivers in the sport, including; John Surtees, Stirling Moss, Graham Hill (only driver to have won the Triple Crown of Motorsport, Triple Crown), Nigel Mansell (only man to hold F1 and IndyCar titles at the same time), Damon Hill, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. It has manufactured some of the most technically advanced racing cars, and many of today's racing companies choose England as their base of operations for its engineering knowledge and organisation. McLaren Automotive, Williams F1, Team Lotus, Honda, Brawn GP, Benetton Formula, Benetton, Renault, and Red Bull Racing are all, or have been, located in the south of England. England also has a rich heritage in Grand Prix motorcycle racing, the premier championship of motorcycle road racing, and produced several World Champions across all the various class of motorcycle: Mike Hailwood, John Surtees, Phil Read, Geoff Duke, and Barry Sheene. Darts is a widely popular sport in England; a professional competitive sport, darts is a traditional pub game. The sport is governed by the World Darts Federation, one of its member organisations is the British Darts Organisation (BDO), which annually stages the BDO World Darts Championship, the other being the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC), which runs its own world championship at Alexandra Palace in London. Phil Taylor (darts player), Phil Taylor is widely regarded as the best darts player of all time, having won 187 professional tournaments, and a record 16 World Professional Darts Championship, World Championships. Trina Gulliver is the ten-time Women's World Professional Darts Champion of the British Darts Organisation. Another popular sport commonly associated with pub games is Snooker, and England has produced several world champions, including Steve Davis and Ronnie O'Sullivan. The English are keen sailors and enjoy competitive sailing; founding and winning some of the world's most famous and respected international competitive tournaments across the various race formats, including the match race, a regatta, and the America's Cup. England has produced some of the world's greatest sailors, including Francis Chichester, Herbert Hasler, John Ridgway (sailor), John Ridgway, Robin Knox-Johnston, Ellen MacArthur, Mike Golding, Paul Goodison, and the most successful Olympic sailor ever Ben Ainslie.


National symbols

The St George's Cross has been the national flag of England since the 13th century. Originally the flag was used by the maritime Republic of Genoa. The English monarch paid a tribute to the Doge of Genoa from 1190 onwards so that English ships could fly the flag as a means of protection when entering the Mediterranean. A red cross was a symbol for many Crusaders in the 12th and 13th centuries. It became associated with Saint George, along with countries and cities, which claimed him as their patron saint and used his cross as a banner. Since 1606 the St George's Cross has formed part of the design of the Union Flag, a Pan-British flag designed by King James I of England, James I. During the
English Civil War The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars and political machinations between Parliamentarians (" Roundheads") and Royalists led by Charles I ("Cavaliers"), mainly over the manner of England's governance and issues of re ...
and Interregnum (England), Interregnum, the New Model Army, New Model Army's standards and the English Commonwealth, Commonwealth's Great Seal of the Realm#Commonwealth, Great Seal both incorporated the flag of Saint George. There are numerous other symbols and symbolic artefacts, both official and unofficial, including the Tudor rose, the nation's national emblem, floral emblem, and the Three Lions featured on the Royal Arms of England. The Tudor rose was adopted as a national emblem of England around the time of the
Wars of the Roses The Wars of the Roses (1455–1487), known at the time and for more than a century after as the Civil Wars, were a series of civil wars fought over control of the English throne in the mid-to-late fifteenth century. These wars were fought bet ...
as a symbol of peace. It is a syncreticism, syncretic symbol in that it merged the white rose of the Yorkists and the red rose of the Lancastrians—cadet branches of the House of Plantagenet, Plantagenets who went to war over control of the nation. It is also known as the ''Rose of England''. The oak tree is a symbol of England, representing strength and endurance. The Royal Oak symbol and Oak Apple Day commemorate the escape of King Charles II from the grasp of the parliamentarians after his father's execution: he hid in an oak tree to avoid detection before safely reaching exile. The Royal Arms of England, a national coat of arms featuring three lions, originated with its adoption by Richard the Lionheart in 1198. It is blazoned as ''gules, three lions passant guardant or'' and it provides one of the most prominent symbols of England; it is similar to the traditional arms of Normandy. England does not have an official designated national anthem, as the United Kingdom as a whole has ''God Save the King''. However, the following are often considered unofficial National anthem of England, English national anthems: ''Jerusalem (hymn), Jerusalem'', ''Land of Hope and Glory'' (used for England during the 2002 Commonwealth Games), and ''I Vow to Thee, My Country''. England's National Day is 23 April which is St George's Day in England, Saint George's Day: Saint George is the patron saint of England.


See also

* Outline of England * Outline of the United Kingdom


Notes


References


Bibliography

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External links


English Heritage
nbsp;– National body protecting English heritage
Natural England
nbsp;– Wildlife and the natural world of England
VisitEngland
nbsp;– English Tourist Board
BBC News – England
nbsp;– News items from BBC News relating to England
GOV.UK
nbsp;– The Official Website of the British Government * {{Good article England, English-speaking countries and territories Great Britain Island countries United Kingdom by country Germanic countries and territories Christian states