HOME
The Info List - History Of England


--- Advertisement ---



England
England
became inhabited more than 800,000 years ago, as the discovery of stone tools and footprints at Happisburgh
Happisburgh
in Norfolk has revealed.[1] The earliest evidence for early modern humans in North West Europe, a jawbone discovered in Devon
Devon
at Kents Cavern
Kents Cavern
in 1927, was re-dated in 2011 to between 41,000 and 44,000 years old.[2] Continuous human habitation in England
England
dates to around 13,000 years ago (see Creswellian), at the end of the last glacial period. The region has numerous remains from the Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Bronze Age, such as Stonehenge
Stonehenge
and Avebury. In the Iron Age, England, like all of Britain south of the Firth of Forth, was inhabited by the Celtic people known as the Britons, including some Belgic tribes (e.g. the Atrebates, the Catuvellauni, the Trinovantes, etc.) in the south east. In AD 43 the Roman conquest of Britain
Roman conquest of Britain
began; the Romans maintained control of their province of Britannia
Britannia
until the early 5th century. The end of Roman rule in Britain facilitated the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain, which historians often regard as the origin of England
England
and of the English people. The Anglo-Saxons, a collection of various Germanic peoples, established several kingdoms that became the primary powers in present-day England
England
and parts of southern Scotland.[3] They introduced the Old English
Old English
language, which largely displaced the previous British language. The Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxons
warred with British successor states in Wales, Cornwall, and the Hen Ogledd
Hen Ogledd
(Old North; the Brythonic-speaking parts of northern England
England
and southern Scotland), as well as with each other. Raids by Vikings
Vikings
became frequent after about AD 800, and the Norsemen
Norsemen
settled in large parts of what is now England. During this period, several rulers attempted to unite the various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, an effort that led to the emergence of the Kingdom of England
Kingdom of England
by the 10th century. In 1066, a Norman expedition invaded and conquered England. The Norman dynasty established by William the Conqueror
William the Conqueror
ruled England
England
for over half a century before the period of succession crisis known as the Anarchy (1135–1154). Following the Anarchy, England
England
came under the rule of the House of Plantagenet, a dynasty which later inherited claims to the Kingdom of France. During this period, the Magna Carta was signed. A succession crisis in France led to the Hundred Years' War (1337–1453), a series of conflicts involving the peoples of both nations. Following the Hundred Years' Wars, England
England
became embroiled in its own succession wars. The Wars of the Roses
Wars of the Roses
pitted two branches of the House of Plantagenet
House of Plantagenet
against one another, the House of York
House of York
and the House of Lancaster. The Lancastrian Henry Tudor ended the War of the Roses and established the Tudor dynasty
Tudor dynasty
in 1485. Under the Tudors and the later Stuart dynasty, England
England
became a colonial power. During the rule of the Stuarts, the English Civil War took place between the Parliamentarians and the Royalists, which resulted in the execution of King Charles I (1649) and the establishment of a series of republican governments — first, a Parliamentary republic known as the Commonwealth of England (1649–1653), then a military dictatorship under Oliver Cromwell known as The Protectorate
The Protectorate
(1653–1659). The Stuarts returned to the restored throne in 1660, though continued questions over religion and power resulted in the deposition of another Stuart king, James II, in the Glorious Revolution
Glorious Revolution
(1688). England, which had conquered Wales
Wales
in the 13th century, united with Scotland
Scotland
in 1707 to form a new sovereign state called Great Britain.[4][5][6] Following the Industrial Revolution, Great Britain
Great Britain
ruled a colonial Empire, the largest in recorded history. Following a process of decolonisation in the 20th century, mainly caused by the weakening of Great Britain's power in the two World Wars, almost all of the empire's overseas territories became independent countries. However, as of 2017[update], its cultural impact remains widespread and deep in many of them.

Contents

1 Prehistory

1.1 Stone Age 1.2 Later Prehistory 1.3 Genetic history of the English

2 Roman Britain 3 The Anglo-Saxon invasion 4 Heptarchy
Heptarchy
and Christianisation 5 Viking
Viking
challenge and the rise of Wessex 6 English unification 7 England
England
under the Danes and the Norman conquest 8 Norman England 9 England
England
under the Plantagenets

9.1 Magna Carta

10 14th century

10.1 Black Death

11 15th century – Henry V and the Wars of the Roses 12 Tudor England

12.1 Henry VII 12.2 Henry VIII 12.3 Edward VI
Edward VI
and Mary I 12.4 Elizabeth I

12.4.1 Elizabethan era 12.4.2 Foreign affairs

12.5 End of Tudor era

13 17th century

13.1 Union of the Crowns 13.2 Colonial England 13.3 English Civil War 13.4 Restoration of the monarchy 13.5 Glorious Revolution

14 Formation of the United Kingdom 15 Modern England, 18th–19th centuries

15.1 Industrial Revolution 15.2 Local governance

16 20th and 21st centuries

16.1 General history and political issues 16.2 Political history and local government 16.3 Recent changes

17 See also

17.1 Related historical overviews 17.2 Historical lists and timelines 17.3 Overviews of significant historical eras 17.4 Related English history topics

17.4.1 Societal overviews 17.4.2 Local government 17.4.3 Historical subtopics

18 References 19 Further reading

19.1 Historiography 19.2 Primary sources 19.3 External sources

Prehistory[edit] Main article: Prehistoric Britain Stone Age[edit]

Stonehenge, erected in several stages from c.3000-1500BC

The time from Britain's first inhabitation until the last glacial maximum is known as the Old Stone Age, or Palaeolithic. Archaeological evidence indicates that what was to become England
England
was colonised by humans long before the rest of the British Isles
British Isles
because of its more hospitable climate between and during the various glacial periods of the distant past. This earliest evidence, from Happisburgh
Happisburgh
in Norfolk, includes the oldest human footprints found outside Africa and points to dates of more than 800,000 BP.[1] These earliest inhabitants were hunter-gatherers, who survived by hunting game and gathering edible plants. Low sea-levels meant that Britain was still attached to the continent for much of this earliest period of history, and varying temperatures over tens of thousands of years meant that it was not always inhabited.[7] The last Ice Age ended around 9,000 BC, and England
England
has been inhabited ever since. This marks the beginning of the Middle Stone Age, or Mesolithic. Rising sea-levels cut Britain off from the continent for the last time around 6500 BC. The population by this period were exclusively anatomically modern humans, and the evidence would suggest that their societies were increasingly complex and they were manipulating their environment and their prey in new ways, possibly selective burning of the then omnipresent woodland to create clearings where the herds would gather to make them easier to hunt. Simple projectile weapons would have been the main tools of the hunt, such as the javelin and possibly the sling. The bow and arrow was also known in Western Europe from at least 9000 BC. The climate continued to improve and it is likely the population was on the rise.[8] The New Stone Age, or Neolithic, begins with the introduction of farming, ultimately from the Middle East, around 4000 BC. It is not known whether this was caused by a substantial folk movement or native adoption of foreign practices, nor are these two models mutually exclusive. People began to cultivate crops and rear animals, and overall lead a more settled lifestyle. Monumental collective tombs were built to house the dead in the form of chambered cairns and long barrows, and towards the end of the period other kinds of monumental stone alignments begin to appear, such as Stonehenge, their cosmic alignments betraying a preoccupation with the sky and planets. Flint technology also developed, producing a number of highly artistic pieces as well as purely pragmatic. More extensive woodland clearance took place to make way for fields and pastures. The Sweet Track
Sweet Track
in the Somerset Levels
Somerset Levels
is one of the oldest timber trackways discovered in Northern Europe and among the oldest roads in the world, dated by dendrochronology to the winter of 3807–3806 BC; it too is thought to have been a primarily religious structure.[7] Later Prehistory[edit]

View of the ramparts of the developed hillfort of Maiden Castle, Dorset, as they look today

The Bronze Age
Bronze Age
begins around 2500 BC with the first appearance of bronze objects in the archaeological record. This coincides with the appearance of the characteristic Beaker culture; again it is unknown whether this was brought about primarily by folk movement or by cultural assimilation, and again it may be a mixture of both. The Bronze Age
Bronze Age
sees a shift of emphasis from the communal to the individual, and the rise to prominence of increasingly powerful elites, whose power was enshrined in the control of the flow of precious resources, to manipulate tin and copper into high-status bronze objects such as swords and axes, and their prowess as hunters and warriors. Settlement became increasingly permanent and intensive. Towards the end of the period, numerous examples of extremely fine metalwork begin to be found deposited in rivers, presumably for ritual reasons and perhaps reflecting a progressive shift of emphasis away from the sky and back to the earth, as a rising population increasingly put the land under greater pressure. England
England
largely also becomes in this period bound up with the Atlantic trade system, which created something of a cultural continuum over a large part of Western Europe.[9] It is possible that the Celtic languages
Celtic languages
developed or spread to England
England
as part of this system; by the end of the Iron Age at the very least there is ample evidence that they were spoken across the whole of England, as well as the Western parts of Britain.[10] The Iron Age
Iron Age
is conventionally said to begin around 800 BC. The Atlantic system had by this time effectively collapsed, although England
England
maintained contacts across the Channel with France, as the Hallstatt culture
Hallstatt culture
became widespread across the country. The overall picture of continuity suggests this was not accompanied by any substantial movement of population; crucially, only a single Hallstatt burial is known from Britain, and even here the evidence is inconclusive. On the whole burials largely disappear across England, the dead being disposed of in a way which is archaeologically invisible: excarnation is a widely cited possibility. Hillforts were known since the Late Bronze Age, but a huge number were constructed in the period 600–400 BC, particularly in the South; after about 400 however new ones largely cease to be built and a large number cease to be regularly inhabited, while a smaller number of others become more and more intensively occupied, suggesting a degree of regional centralisation. It is around this time that the earliest mentions of Britain begin to appear in the annals of history. The first historical mention of the region is from the Massaliote Periplus, a sailing manual for merchants thought to date to the 6th century BC, and Pytheas of Massilia
Pytheas of Massilia
wrote of his exploratory voyage to the island around 325 BC. Both of these texts are now lost; although quoted by later writers, not enough survives to inform the archaeological interpretation to any significant degree. Contact with the continent was generally at a lower point than in the Bronze Age, although it was not insignificant. Continental goods continued to make their way into England
England
throughout the period, although with a possible hiatus from around 350–150 BC. Numerous armed invasions of hordes of migrating Celts
Celts
are no longer considered to be realistic, although there are two known invasions. Around 300 BC, it appears that a group from the Gaulish Parisii tribe took over East Yorkshire, establishing the highly distinctive Arras culture; and from around 150–100 BC, groups of Belgae
Belgae
began to control significant parts of the South. These invasions would have constituted movements of a relatively small number of people who established themselves as a warrior elite at the top of pre-existing native systems, rather than any kind of total wipeout. The Belgic invasion was on a much larger scale than the Parisian settlement, however the continuity of pottery style demonstrates clearly that the native population basically remained in place under new rulers. All the same, it was accompanied by significant socio-economic change. Proto-urban, or even urban settlements, known as oppida, begin to eclipse the old hillforts, and an elite whose position is based on battle-prowess and the ability to manipulate resources re-appears much more distinctly.[11] In 55 and 54 BC, Julius Caesar, as part of his campaigns in Gaul, invaded Britain and claimed to have scored a number of victories, but he never penetrated further than Hertfordshire and was unable to establish a province. However, his invasions do mark a turning-point in British history. Control of trade, the flow of resources and prestige goods, became ever more important to the elites of Southern Britain; as the provider of relatively limitless wealth and patronage, Rome steadily became the biggest player in all their dealings. In such a system, with retrospect, it is clear that a full-scale invasion and ultimate annexation was inevitable.[12] Genetic history of the English[edit] Main article: Genetic history of the British Isles The Roman historian Tacitus
Tacitus
wrote in his Agricola, completed in AD 98,[13] that the various groupings of Britons shared physical characteristics with continental peoples. The Caledonians, inhabitants of what is now Scotland, had red hair and large limbs, indicating a Germanic origin; the Silures, inhabitants of what is now South Wales, were swarthy with curly hair, indicating a link with the Iberians
Iberians
of the Roman provinces of Hispania, in what is now Portugal and Spain; and the Britons nearest the Gauls
Gauls
of mainland Europe resembled the Gauls.[14] This is a gross oversimplification which nonetheless holds somewhat true to the present day. Some archaeologists and geneticists have challenged the long-held assumption that the invading Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxons
wiped out the native Britons in England
England
when they invaded, pointing instead to the possibility of a more limited folk movement bringing a new language and culture which the natives gradually assimilated.[9] Debate however is ongoing surrounding the ultimate origins of the people of the British Isles. In 2003 and 2006 respectively, Bryan Sykes and Stephen Oppenheimer both championed the idea of continuity ever since the Mesolithic
Mesolithic
period, with a substantial input from the East during the Neolithic.[15][16] More recently this view has been contested, by pointing out that the haplotypes which Sykes and Oppenheimer associated with Spain hailed ultimately from Asia Minor. This might be more consistent with some kind of Neolithic
Neolithic
wipeout, however it is impossible to date this gene flow.[17] Other theories have proposed an even more substantial input in the Early Bronze Age than was previously thought. Ultimately, the genetics have in fact not yet told us anything new. Researchers at University College London have conducted genetic tests which confirm biological differences between the English and the Welsh, with the native English population having DNA which correlates to others found in Germanic parts of Northern Europe traceable through their Y chromosome.[18] Roman Britain[edit] Main article: Roman Britain

Roman Empire, 3rd century.

Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall
viewed from Vercovicium

After Caesar's expeditions, the Romans began their real attempt to conquer Britain in 43 AD, at the behest of the Emperor Claudius. They landed in Kent, and defeated two armies led by the kings of the Catuvellauni
Catuvellauni
tribe, Caratacus
Caratacus
and Togodumnus, in battles at the Medway and the Thames. Togodumnus was killed, and Caratacus
Caratacus
fled to Wales. The Roman force, led by Aulus Plautius, then halted as Plautius sent for Claudius
Claudius
to come and finish the campaign. When Claudius
Claudius
arrived he led the final march on the Catuvellauni
Catuvellauni
capital at Camulodunum
Camulodunum
(modern Colchester), before returning to Rome again for his triumph. The Catuvellauni
Catuvellauni
at this time held sway over most of the southeastern corner of England; eleven local rulers surrendered, a number of client kingdoms were established, and the rest became a Roman province with Camulodunum
Camulodunum
as its capital.[19] Over the next four years, the territory was consolidated and the future emperor Vespasian
Vespasian
led a campaign into the Southwest where he subjugated two more tribes. By 54 AD the border had been pushed back to the Severn and the Trent, and campaigns were underway to subjugate Northern England
England
and Wales. In 60 AD however, under the leadership of the warrior-queen Boudicca, the tribes rose in revolt against the Romans. Camulodunum
Camulodunum
was burned to the ground, as well as Londinium
Londinium
and Verulamium, there is some archaeological evidence that the same happened at Winchester as well, and the Second Legion Augusta, stationed at Exeter, refused to move for fear of revolt among the locals there as well. The governor however, Suetonius Paulinus, marched back from his campaign in Wales to face Boudicca
Boudicca
in battle. There was a substantial engagement, somewhere along the line of Watling Street, at the end of which Boudicca
Boudicca
was utterly defeated. The province was pacified once more. Over the next twenty years the borders expanded just a little, but the governorship of Agricola saw the last pockets of independence in Wales and Northern England
England
finally incorporated into the province. He also led a campaign into Scotland, but from these conquests he was recalled by the Emperor Domitian, and the border gradually solidified along the line of the Stanegate
Stanegate
in Northern England. Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall
was built along this line in 138 AD; apart from a number of temporary forays into Scotland, this was now the border. The Romans, and their culture, were here to stay; over the course of their three hundred and fifty years in charge, England's landscape would become ubiquitously impregnated with traces of their presence. The Anglo-Saxon invasion[edit] Main article: Sub-Roman Britain Further information: Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain

Kingdoms and tribes in Britain, c.700 AD

In the wake of the breakdown of Roman rule in Britain from the middle of the fourth century, present day England
England
was progressively settled by Germanic groups. Collectively known as the "Anglo-Saxons", these were Angles
Angles
and Saxons
Saxons
from what is now the Danish/German border area and Jutes
Jutes
from the Jutland peninsula. The entire region was referred to as, "Hwicce" and settlements throughout the south were called Gewisse. The Battle of Deorham
Battle of Deorham
was a critical battle that established the Anglo-Saxon rule in 577.[20][21] Saxon mercenaries had been present in Britain since before the late Roman period, but the main influx of population is thought to have taken place after the fifth century. The precise nature of these invasions has not been fully determined, with doubts being cast on the legitimacy of historical accounts due to a lack of archaeological finds. Gildas
Gildas
Sapiens’ De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae, composed in the 6th century, states that when the Roman army departed the Isle of Britannia
Britannia
in the 4th century CE, the indigenous Britons were invaded by Picts, their neighbours to the north (now Scotland) and the Scots (now Ireland). The Britons then invited the Saxons
Saxons
into the island, hoping to repel the invading armies of the north. To their dismay, the Saxons themselves turned against the Britons after vanquishing the Scots and Picts. Seven Kingdoms are traditionally identified as being established by these Saxon migrants. Three were clustered in the South east: Sussex, Kent and Essex. The Midlands were dominated by the kingdoms of Mercia and East Anglia. The Monarchs of Mercia's lineage was determined to reach as far back as the early 500's. To the north was Northumbria which unified two earlier kingdoms, Bernicia
Bernicia
and Deira. The development of these kingdoms led to the eventual domination by Northumbria
Northumbria
and Mercia
Mercia
in the 7th century, Mercia
Mercia
in the 8th century and then Wessex
Wessex
in the 9th century. Northumbria
Northumbria
extended its control north into Scotland
Scotland
and west into Wales. It also subdued Mercia
Mercia
whose first powerful King, Penda, was killed by Oswy in 655. Northumbria's power began to wane after 685 with the defeat and death of its king Aegfrith at the hands of the Picts. Mercian power reached its peak under the rule of Offa, who from 785 had influence over most of Anglo-Saxon England. From Offa's death in 796 the supremacy of Wessex was established under Egbert who extended his control west into Cornwall
Cornwall
before defeating the Mercians at the Battle of Ellendun
Battle of Ellendun
in 825. Four years later he received submission and tribute from the Northumbrian king, Eanred.[22] The sequence of events of the fifth and sixth centuries is particularly difficult to access, peppered with a mixture of mythology, such as the characters of Hengist and Horsa, and legend, such as St Germanus's so-called "Alleluia Victory" against the Heathens, and half-remembered history, such as the exploits of Ambrosius Aurelianus
Ambrosius Aurelianus
and King Arthur. However, the belief that the Saxons
Saxons
simply wiped or drove out all the native Britons from England has been widely discredited by a number of archaeologists since the 2000s. At any rate, the Anglo-Saxons, including Saxonified Britons, progressively spread into England, by a combination of military conquest and cultural assimilation, until by the eighth century some kind of England
England
really had emerged.[23][24] Heptarchy
Heptarchy
and Christianisation[edit]

Britain c. 800

Main articles: Northumbria, Mercia, Offa of Mercia, Heptarchy, and Anglo-Saxon Christianity Christianisation of Anglo-Saxon England
Anglo-Saxon England
began around AD 600, influenced by Celtic Christianity
Celtic Christianity
from the northwest and by the Roman Catholic Church from the southeast. Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, took office in 597. In 601, he baptised the first Christian Anglo-Saxon king, Aethelbert of Kent. The last pagan Anglo-Saxon king, Penda of Mercia, died in 655. The last pagan Jutish king, Arwald of the Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
was killed in 686. The Anglo-Saxon mission on the continent took off in the 8th century, leading to the Christianisation of practically all of the Frankish Empire
Frankish Empire
by 800. Throughout the 7th and 8th century power fluctuated between the larger kingdoms. Bede
Bede
records Aethelbert of Kent
Aethelbert of Kent
as being dominant at the close of the 6th century, but power seems to have shifted northwards to the kingdom of Northumbria, which was formed from the amalgamation of Bernicia
Bernicia
and Deira. Edwin of Northumbria
Northumbria
probably held dominance over much of Britain, though Bede's Northumbrian bias should be kept in mind. Succession crises meant Northumbrian hegemony was not constant, and Mercia
Mercia
remained a very powerful kingdom, especially under Penda. Two defeats essentially ended Northumbrian dominance: the Battle of the Trent in 679 against Mercia, and Nechtanesmere in 685 against the Picts.[25] The so-called "Mercian Supremacy" dominated the 8th century, though it was not constant. Aethelbald and Offa, the two most powerful kings, achieved high status; indeed, Offa was considered the overlord of south Britain by Charlemagne. That Offa could summon the resources to build Offa's Dyke
Offa's Dyke
is testament to his power. However, a rising Wessex, and challenges from smaller kingdoms, kept Mercian power in check, and by the early 9th century the "Mercian Supremacy" was over. This period has been described as the Heptarchy, though this term has now fallen out of academic use. The word arose on the basis that the seven kingdoms of Northumbria, Mercia, Kent, East Anglia, Essex, Sussex
Sussex
and Wessex
Wessex
were the main polities of south Britain. Other small kingdoms were also politically important across this period: Hwicce, Magonsaete, Lindsey and Middle Anglia.[26] Viking
Viking
challenge and the rise of Wessex[edit] Main articles: Danelaw, Viking
Viking
Age, and Alfred the Great

England
England
in 878

The first recorded landing of Vikings
Vikings
took place in 787 in Dorsetshire, on the south-west coast.[27] The first major attack in Britain was in 793 at Lindisfarne
Lindisfarne
monastery as given by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. However, by then the Vikings
Vikings
were almost certainly well-established in Orkney
Orkney
and Shetland, and many other non-recorded raids probably occurred before this. Records do show the first Viking
Viking
attack on Iona
Iona
taking place in 794. The arrival of the Vikings
Vikings
(in particular the Danish Great Heathen Army) upset the political and social geography of Britain and Ireland. In 867 Northumbria
Northumbria
fell to the Danes; East Anglia fell in 869. Though Wessex managed to contain the Vikings
Vikings
by defeating them at Ashdown in 871, a second invading army landed, leaving the Saxons
Saxons
on a defensive footing. At much the same time, Æthelred, king of Wessex
Wessex
died and was succeeded by his younger brother Alfred. Alfred was immediately confronted with the task of defending Wessex
Wessex
against the Danes. He spent the first five years of his reign paying the invaders off. In 878, Alfred's forces were overwhelmed at Chippenham in a surprise attack.[28] It was only now, with the independence of Wessex
Wessex
hanging by a thread, that Alfred emerged as a great king. In May 878 he led a force that defeated the Danes at Edington. The victory was so complete that the Danish leader, Guthrum, was forced to accept Christian baptism and withdraw from Mercia. Alfred then set about strengthening the defences of Wessex, building a new navy—60 vessels strong. Alfred's success bought Wessex
Wessex
and Mercia
Mercia
years of peace and sparked economic recovery in previously ravaged areas.[29] Alfred's success was sustained by his son Edward, whose decisive victories over the Danes in East Anglia in 910 and 911 were followed by a crushing victory at Tempsford in 917. These military gains allowed Edward to fully incorporate Mercia
Mercia
into his kingdom and add East Anglia to his conquests. Edward then set about reinforcing his northern borders against the Danish kingdom of Northumbria. Edward's rapid conquest of the English kingdoms meant Wessex
Wessex
received homage from those that remained, including Gwynedd
Gwynedd
in Wales
Wales
and Scotland. His dominance was reinforced by his son Æthelstan, who extended the borders of Wessex
Wessex
northward, in 927 conquering the Kingdom of York
Kingdom of York
and leading a land and naval invasion of Scotland. These conquests led to his adopting the title 'King of the English' for the first time. The dominance and independence of England
England
was maintained by the kings that followed. It was not until 978 and the accession of Æthelred the Unready that the Danish threat resurfaced. Two powerful Danish kings ( Harold Bluetooth
Harold Bluetooth
and later Sweyn, his son) both launched devastating invasions of England. Anglo-Saxon forces were resoundingly defeated at Maldon in 991. More Danish attacks followed, and their victories were frequent. Æthelred's control over his nobles began to falter, and he grew increasingly desperate. His solution was to pay the Danes off: for almost 20 years he paid increasingly large sums to the Danish nobles in an attempt to keep them from English coasts. Known as Danegelds, these payments slowly crippled the English economy and eventually became too expensive.[30] Æthelred then made an alliance with Normandy
Normandy
in 1001, through marriage to the Duke's daughter Emma, in the hope of strengthening England. He then made a great error: in 1002 he ordered the massacre of all the Danes in England, which had serious consequences. It angered Sweyn, who unleashed a decade of devastating attacks on England. Northern England, with its sizable Danish population, sided with Sweyn. By 1013, London, Oxford, and Winchester had fallen to the Danes. Æthelred fled to Normandy
Normandy
and Sweyn seized the throne. Sweyn suddenly died in 1014, and Æthelred returned to England, confronted by Sweyn's successor, Cnut. However, in 1016, Æthelred also suddenly died. Cnut swiftly defeated the remaining Saxons, killing Æthelred's son Edmund in the process. Cnut seized the throne, crowning himself King of England.[31] English unification[edit] Main articles: Athelstan
Athelstan
and Edgar of England

Silver brooch imitating a coin of Edward the Elder, c. 920, found in Rome, Italy. British Museum.

Alfred of Wessex
Wessex
died in 899 and was succeeded by his son Edward the Elder. Edward, and his brother-in-law Æthelred of (what was left of) Mercia, began a programme of expansion, building forts and towns on an Alfredian model. On Æthelred's death, his wife (Edward's sister) Æthelflæd
Æthelflæd
ruled as "Lady of the Mercians" and continued expansion. It seems Edward had his son Æthelstan
Æthelstan
brought up in the Mercian court, and on Edward's death Athelstan
Athelstan
succeeded to the Mercian kingdom, and, after some uncertainty, Wessex. Æthelstan
Æthelstan
continued the expansion of his father and aunt and was the first king to achieve direct rulership of what we would now consider England. The titles attributed to him in charters and on coins suggest a still more widespread dominance. His expansion aroused ill-feeling among the other kingdoms of Britain, and he defeated a combined Scottish- Viking
Viking
army at the Battle of Brunanburh. However, the unification of England
England
was not a certainty. Under Æthelstan's successors Edmund and Eadred the English kings repeatedly lost and regained control of Northumbria. Nevertheless, Edgar, who ruled the same expanse as Athelstan, consolidated the kingdom, which remained united thereafter. England
England
under the Danes and the Norman conquest[edit] Main articles: Ethelred the Unready, Canute the Great, Eiríkr Hákonarson, and Norman conquest of England

The rune stone U 344 was raised in memory of a Viking
Viking
who went to England
England
three times.

There were renewed Scandinavian attacks on England
England
at the end of the 10th century. Æthelred ruled a long reign but ultimately lost his kingdom to Sweyn of Denmark, though he recovered it following the latter's death. However, Æthelred's son Edmund II Ironside
Edmund II Ironside
died shortly afterwards, allowing Cnut, Sweyn's son, to become king of England. Under his rule the kingdom became the centre of government for an empire which also included Denmark and Norway. Cnut was succeeded by his sons, but in 1042 the native dynasty was restored with the accession of Edward the Confessor. Edward's failure to produce an heir caused a furious conflict over the succession on his death in 1066. His struggles for power against Godwin, Earl of Wessex, the claims of Cnut's Scandinavian successors, and the ambitions of the Normans
Normans
whom Edward introduced to English politics to bolster his own position caused each to vie for control of Edward's reign. Harold Godwinson
Harold Godwinson
became king, in all likelihood appointed by Edward the Confessor on his deathbed and endorsed by the Witan. William of Normandy, Harald Hardråde (aided by Harold Godwin's estranged brother Tostig) and Sweyn II of Denmark
Sweyn II of Denmark
all asserted claims to the throne. By far the strongest hereditary claim was that of Edgar the Ætheling, but his youth and apparent lack of powerful supporters caused him to be passed over, and he did not play a major part in the struggles of 1066, though he was made king for a short time by the Witan
Witan
after the death of Harold Godwinson. In September 1066, Harald III of Norway
Harald III of Norway
landed in Northern England with a force of around 15,000 men and 300 longships (50 men in each boat). With him was Earl Tostig, who had promised him support. Harold Godwinson defeated and killed Harald III of Norway
Harald III of Norway
and Tostig and the Norwegian force at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. On 28 September 1066, William of Normandy
Normandy
invaded England
England
with a force of Normans, in a campaign known as the Norman Conquest. On 14 October, after having marched his exhausted army all the way from Yorkshire, Harold fought the Normans
Normans
at the Battle of Hastings, where England's army was defeated and Harold was killed. Further opposition to William in support of Edgar the Ætheling
Edgar the Ætheling
soon collapsed, and William was crowned king on Christmas Day 1066. For the next five years he faced a series of English rebellions in various parts of the country and a half-hearted Danish invasion, but he was able to subdue all resistance and establish an enduring regime. Norman England[edit]

Depiction of the Battle of Hastings
Battle of Hastings
(1066) on the Bayeux Tapestry

The Norman Conquest
Norman Conquest
led to a profound change in the history of the English state. William ordered the compilation of the Domesday Book, a survey of the entire population and their lands and property for tax purposes, which reveals that within twenty years of the conquest the English ruling class had been almost entirely dispossessed and replaced by Norman landholders, who also monopolised all senior positions in the government and the Church. William and his nobles spoke and conducted court in Norman French, in England
England
as well as in Normandy. The use of the Anglo- Norman language
Norman language
by the aristocracy endured for centuries and left an indelible mark in the development of modern English. Upon being crowned, on Christmas Day 1066, William immediately began consolidating his power. By 1067 he faced revolts on all sides and spent four years systematically crushing each one. He then went about imposing his superiority over Scotland
Scotland
and Wales, forcing each to recognise him as overlord. The English Middle Ages
Middle Ages
were characterised by civil war, international war, occasional insurrection, and widespread political intrigue amongst the aristocratic and monarchic elite. England
England
was more than self-sufficient in cereals, dairy products, beef and mutton. The nation's international economy was based on the wool trade, in which the produce of the sheepwalks of northern England
England
was exported to the textile cities of Flanders, where it was worked into cloth. Medieval foreign policy was as much shaped by relations with the Flemish textile industry as it was by dynastic adventures in western France. An English textile industry was established in the 15th century, providing the basis for rapid English capital accumulation. Henry I, the fourth son of William I the Conqueror, succeeded his elder brother William II as King of England
King of England
in 1100. Henry was also known as "Henry Beauclerc" (because of his education—as his older brother William was the heir apparent and thus given the practical training to be king, Henry received the alternate, formal education), worked hard to reform and stabilise the country and smooth the differences between the Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman societies. The loss of his son, William Adelin, in the wreck of the White Ship
White Ship
in November 1120, undermined his reforms. This problem regarding succession cast a long shadow over English history. Henry I had required the leading barons, ecclesiastics and officials in Normandy
Normandy
and England, to take an oath to accept Matilda (also known as Empress Maud, Henry I's daughter) as his heir. England
England
was far less than enthusiastic to accept an outsider, and a woman, as their ruler. There is some evidence suggesting Henry was unsure of his own hopes and the oath to make Matilda his heir. In likelihood, Henry probably hoped Matilda would have a son and step aside as Queen Mother, making her son the next heir. Upon Henry's death, the Norman and English barons ignored Matilda's claim to the throne, and thus through a series of decisions, Stephen, Henry's favourite nephew, was welcomed by many in England
England
and Normandy
Normandy
as their new ruler. On 22 December 1135, Stephen was anointed king with the implicit support of the church and nation. Matilda and her own son stood for direct descent by heredity from Henry I, and she bided her time in France. The following civil war from 1139–1153 is known as the Anarchy. In the autumn of 1139, she invaded England
England
with her illegitimate half-brother Robert of Gloucester. Her husband, Geoffroy V of Anjou, conquered Normandy
Normandy
but did not cross the channel to help his wife, satisfied with Normandy
Normandy
and Anjou. During this breakdown of central authority, the nobles ran amok building adulterine castles (i.e. castles erected without government permission). Stephen was captured, and his government fell. Matilda was proclaimed queen but was soon at odds with her subjects and was expelled from London. The period of insurrection and civil war that followed continued until 1148, when Matilda returned to France. Stephen effectively reigned unopposed until his death in 1154, although his hold on the throne was still uneasy. As soon as he regained power, he began the process of demolishing the adulterine castles, which were hated by the peasants due to their being employed as forced labour to build and maintain them. Stephen kept a few castles standing however, which put him at odds with his heir. During the confused and contested reign of Stephen, there was a major swing in the balance of power towards the feudal barons, as civil war and lawlessness broke out. In trying to appease Scottish and Welsh raiders, he handed over large tracts of land. England
England
under the Plantagenets[edit] Further information: House of Plantagenet

This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (January 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Empress Matilda
Empress Matilda
and Geoffroy's son, Henry, resumed the invasion; he was already Count of Anjou, Duke of Normandy
Normandy
and Duke of Aquitaine when he landed in England. When Stephen's son and heir apparent Eustace died in 1153, the king reached an accommodation with Henry of Anjou
Anjou
(who became Henry II) to succeed Stephen and in which peace between them was guaranteed. England
England
was part of a greater union, retrospectively named the Angevin Empire. Henry destroyed the remaining adulterine castles and expanded his power through various means and to different levels into Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Flanders, Nantes, Brittany, Quercy, Toulouse, Bourges and Auvergne. The reign of Henry II represents a reversion in power back from the barony to the monarchical state in England; it was also to see a similar redistribution of legislative power from the Church, again to the monarchical state. This period also presaged a properly constituted legislation and a radical shift away from feudalism. In his reign new Anglo-Angevin
Anglo-Angevin
and Anglo-Aquitanian
Anglo-Aquitanian
aristocracies developed, though not to the same point as the Anglo-Norman once did, and the Norman nobles interacted with their French peers. Henry's successor, Richard I "the Lion Heart" (also known as "The absent king"), was preoccupied with foreign wars, taking part in the Third Crusade, being captured while returning and pledging fealty to the Holy Roman Empire
Roman Empire
as part of his ransom, and defending his French territories against Philip II of France. His successor, his younger brother John, lost much of those territories including Normandy following the disastrous Battle of Bouvines
Battle of Bouvines
in 1214, despite having in 1212 made the Kingdom of England
Kingdom of England
a tribute-paying vassal of the Holy See, which it remained until the 14th century when the Kingdom rejected the overlordship of the Holy See
Holy See
and re-established its sovereignty. From 1212 onwards, John had a constant policy of maintaining close relations with the Pope, which partially explains how he persuaded the Pope to reject the legitimacy of the Magna Carta. Magna Carta[edit] Main article: Magna Carta

One of only four surviving exemplifications of the 1215 text, Cotton MS. Augustus II. 106, property of the British Library

Over the course of his reign a combination of higher taxes, unsuccessful wars and conflict with the Pope had made King John unpopular with his barons, and in 1215 some of the most important decided to rebel against him. He met their leaders along with their French and Scot allies at Runnymede, near London on 15 June 1215 to seal the Great Charter ( Magna Carta
Magna Carta
in Latin), which imposed legal limits on the king's personal powers. Because he had sealed under duress, however, John received approval from the Pope to break his word as soon as hostilities had ceased, provoking the First Barons' War and an invited French invasion by Prince Louis of France (whom the majority of the English barons had invited to replace John on the throne and had him proclaimed king in London in May 1216). John travelled around the country to oppose the rebel forces, directing, among other operations, a two-month siege of the rebel-held Rochester Castle. John's son, Henry III, was only 9 years old when he became king (1216–1272). He spent much of his reign fighting the barons over the Magna Carta
Magna Carta
[32] and the royal rights, and was eventually forced to call the first "parliament" in 1264. He was also unsuccessful on the Continent, where he endeavoured to re-establish English control over Normandy, Anjou, and Aquitaine. His reign was punctuated by numerous rebellions and civil wars, often provoked by incompetence and mismanagement in government and Henry's perceived over-reliance on French courtiers (thus restricting the influence of the English nobility). One of these rebellions—led by a disaffected courtier, Simon de Montfort—was notable for its assembly of one of the earliest precursors to Parliament. In addition to fighting the Second Barons' War, Henry III made war against Saint Louis and was defeated during the Saintonge War, yet Louis IX did not capitalise on his victory, respecting his opponent's rights. 14th century[edit] The reign of Edward I (reigned 1272–1307) was rather more successful. Edward enacted numerous laws strengthening the powers of his government, and he summoned the first officially sanctioned Parliaments of England (such as his Model Parliament). He conquered Wales
Wales
and attempted to use a succession dispute to gain control of the Kingdom of Scotland, though this developed into a costly and drawn-out military campaign. His son, Edward II, proved a disaster. A weak man who preferred to engage in activities like thatching and ditch-digging[citation needed] rather than jousting, hunting, or the usual entertainments of kings, he spent most of his reign trying in vain to control the nobility, who in return showed continual hostility to him. Meanwhile, the Scottish leader Robert Bruce began retaking all the territory conquered by Edward I. In 1314, the English army was disastrously defeated by the Scots at the Battle of Bannockburn. Edward also showered favours on his companion Piers Gaveston, a knight of humble birth. While it has been widely believed that Edward was a homosexual because of his closeness to Gaveston, there is no concrete evidence of this. The king's enemies, including his cousin Thomas of Lancaster, captured and murdered Gaveston in 1312. Edward's downfall came in 1326 when his wife, Queen Isabella, travelled to her native France and then, along with her lover Roger Mortimer, invaded England. Despite their tiny force, they quickly rallied support for their cause. The king fled London, and his companion since Piers Gaveston's death, Hugh Despenser, was publicly tried and executed. Edward was eventually captured and charged with breaking his coronation oath. He was deposed and remained imprisoned in Gloucestershire until he was murdered some time in the autumn of 1327, presumably by agents of Isabella and Mortimer. Millions of people in northern Europe died in the Great Famine of 1315–1317.[33] In England, half a million people died, more than 10% of the population.[34] Edward III, son of Edward II, was crowned at age fourteen after his father was deposed by his mother and her consort Roger Mortimer. At age seventeen he led a successful coup against Mortimer, the de facto ruler of the country, and began his personal reign. Edward III reigned 1327–1377, restored royal authority and went on to transform the Kingdom of England
Kingdom of England
into the most efficient military power in Europe. His reign saw vital developments in legislature and government—in particular the evolution of the English parliament—as well as the ravages of the Black Death. After defeating, but not subjugating, the Kingdom of Scotland, he declared himself rightful heir to the French throne in 1338, but his claim was denied due to the Salic law. This started what would become known as the Hundred Years' War.[35] Following some initial setbacks the war went exceptionally well for England; victories at Crécy and Poitiers led to the highly favourable Treaty of Brétigny. Edward's later years, however, were marked by international failure and domestic strife, largely as a result of his inactivity and poor health. In 1373, England
England
signed an alliance with the Kingdom of Portugal, which is claimed to be the oldest alliance in the world still in force. In 1381, a Peasants' Revolt
Peasants' Revolt
led by Wat Tyler
Wat Tyler
spread across large parts of England. It was suppressed by Richard II, with the death of 1500 rebels. Black Death[edit] Main article: Black Death
Black Death
in England The Black Death, an epidemic of bubonic plague that spread over the whole of Europe, arrived in England
England
in 1348 and killed as much as a third to half the population. Military conflicts during this period were usually with domestic neighbours such as the Welsh, Irish and Scots, and included the Hundred Years' War
Hundred Years' War
against the French and their Scottish allies. Notable English victories in the Hundred Years' War included Crécy and Agincourt. The final defeat of the uprising led by the Welsh prince, Owain Glyndŵr, in 1412 by Prince Henry (who later became Henry V) represents the last major armed attempt by the Welsh to throw off English rule. Edward III gave land to powerful noble families, including many people of royal lineage. Because land was equivalent to power, these powerful men could try to claim the crown. The autocratic and arrogant methods of Richard II only served to alienate the nobility more, and his forceful dispossession in 1399 by Henry IV increased the turmoil. Henry spent much of his reign defending himself against plots, rebellions and assassination attempts.

English Royalty

House of Lancaster

Armorial of Plantagenet

Henry IV

Henry V, King of England John, Duke of Bedford Thomas, Duke of Clarence Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester Blanche, Electress Palatine Philippa, Queen of Denmark

v t e

Rebellions continued throughout the first ten years of Henry's reign, including the revolt of Owain Glyndŵr, who declared himself Prince of Wales
Wales
in 1400, and the rebellion of Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland. The king's success in putting down these rebellions was due partly to the military ability of his eldest son, Henry of Monmouth, who later became king (though the son managed to seize much effective power from his father in 1410). 15th century – Henry V and the Wars of the Roses[edit] Further information: Lancastrian War
Lancastrian War
and Wars of the Roses Henry V succeeded to the throne in 1413. He renewed hostilities with France and began a set of military campaigns which are considered a new phase of the Hundred Years' War, referred to as the Lancastrian War. He won several notable victories over the French, including at the Battle of Agincourt. In the Treaty of Troyes, Henry V was given the power to succeed the current ruler of France, Charles VI of France. The Treaty also provided that he would marry Charles VI's daughter, Catherine of Valois. They married in 1421. Henry died of dysentery in 1422, leaving a number of unfulfilled plans, including his plan to take over as King of France. (Another unfulfilled plan was to lead a new crusade to retake Jerusalem from the Muslims.) Henry V's son, Henry VI, became king in 1422 as an infant. His reign was to be marked by constant turmoil due to his political weaknesses. While he was growing up, England
England
was ruled by the Regency government. The Regency Council attempted to install Henry VI as the King of France, as provided by the Treaty of Troyes
Treaty of Troyes
signed by his father Henry V, and led English forces to take over areas of France. It appeared they might succeed due to the poor political position of the son of King Charles VI, who had claimed to be the rightful king as King Charles VII of France. However, in 1429, Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc
began to lead a military effort by the French to prevent the English from gaining control of France. With her help, the French forces were able to push the English forces back and to regain control of French territory. In 1437, Henry VI came of age and began to actively rule as king. In an attempt to forge peace, he married a French noblewoman, Margaret of Anjou
Anjou
in 1445, as provided in the Treaty of Tours. Hostilities resumed with France in 1449. When England
England
lost the Hundred Years' War
Hundred Years' War
in August 1453, Henry fell into a period of mental breakdown that lasted until Christmas 1454. With his inability to control the feuding nobles, civil war began in 1455. The conflicts are known as the Wars of the Roses
Wars of the Roses
(1455–1485), and although the fighting was very sporadic and small, there was a general breakdown in the authority and power of the Crown. The royal court and Parliament moved to Coventry, in the Lancastrian heartlands, which effectively became the capital of England
England
until 1461. Henry's cousin, who deposed Henry in 1461 and became Edward IV, went a little way to restoring the power of the Crown. Edward defeated the Lancastrians at the Battle of Mortimer's Cross. He was briefly expelled from the throne in 1470–1471 when Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, brought Henry back to power. Six months later, Edward defeated and killed Warwick in battle and reclaimed the throne. Henry was imprisoned in the Tower of London and died there. Edward died in 1483, only 40 years old. His eldest son and heir Edward V, aged 13, would have succeeded him, but the king's brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester declared his marriage to be bigamous and invalid, making all his children illegitimate. Edward V
Edward V
and his 10-year-old brother Richard were imprisoned in the Tower of London and their uncle made himself king as Richard III. The two princes were never seen again and presumably died in the Tower. It was widely believed that Richard had them murdered, although their exact fate remains a mystery. Regardless of what really happened, the king was reviled as a treacherous fiend who murdered his own nephews to gain the throne. This hatred of Richard obscured his able governance during his brief reign. In the summer of 1485, Henry Tudor, the last Lancastrian male, landed in England
England
from his exile in France. He defeated and killed Richard in battle at Bosworth Field
Bosworth Field
on 22 August of that year and became king as Henry VII. See also: Black Death
Black Death
in England, English historians in the Middle Ages, List of English chronicles, and Bayeux Tapestry Tudor England[edit] Main article: Tudor period Further information: Early Modern Britain
Early Modern Britain
and English Renaissance Henry VII[edit] With Henry VII's accession to the throne in 1485, the Wars of the Roses came to an end, and Tudors would continue to rule England
England
for 118 years. Traditionally, the Battle of Bosworth Field
Bosworth Field
is considered to mark the end of the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
in England, although Henry did not introduce any new concept of monarchy, and for most of his reign his hold on power was tenuous. He claimed the throne by conquest and God's judgement in battle. Parliament quickly recognized him as king, but the Yorkists were far from defeated. Nonetheless, he married Edward IV's eldest daughter Elizabeth in January 1486, thereby uniting the houses of York and Lancaster. Most of the European rulers did not believe Henry would survive long, and were thus willing to shelter claimants against him. The first plot against him was the Stafford and Lovell Rebellion of 1486, which presented no serious threat. But Richard III's nephew John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, hatched another attempt the following year. Using a peasant boy named Lambert Simnel, who posed as Edward, Earl of Warwick (the real Warwick was locked up in the Tower of London), he led an army of 2,000 German mercenaries paid for by Margaret of Burgundy into England. They were defeated and de la Pole killed at the difficult Battle of Stoke, where the loyalty of some of the royal troops to Henry was questionable. The king, realizing that Simnel was merely a dupe, employed him in the royal kitchen. A more serious menace was Perkin Warbeck, a Flemish youth who posed as Edward IV's son Richard. Again enjoying the support of Margaret of Burgundy, he invaded England
England
four times from 1495–1497 before he was finally captured and put in the Tower of London. Both Warbeck and the Earl of Warwick were too dangerous to keep around even in captivity, and Henry had to execute them in 1499 before Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain would allow their daughter Catherine to come to England
England
and marry his son Arthur. In 1497, Henry defeated Cornish rebels marching on London. The rest of his reign was relatively peaceful, despite worries concerning succession after the death of his wife Elizabeth of York
Elizabeth of York
in 1503. Henry VII's foreign policy was a peaceful one. He had formed an alliance with Spain and the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, but in 1493, when they went to war with France, England
England
was dragged into the conflict. With his crown impoverished and his hold on power insecure, Henry had no desire to go to war. He quickly reached an understanding with the French and renounced all claims to their territory except the port of Calais, realizing also that nothing could be done to stop them from incorporating the Duchy of Brittany. In return, the French agreed to recognize him as king and stop sheltering pretenders. Shortly afterwards, they became preoccupied with adventures in Italy and turned their attention away from England. Henry also reached an understanding with Scotland, agreeing to marry his daughter Margaret to that country's king James IV. Upon becoming king, Henry inherited a government severely weakened and degraded by the Wars of the Roses. The treasury was empty, having been drained by Edward IV's Woodville in-laws after his death. Through a tight fiscal policy and sometimes ruthless tax collection and confiscations, Henry managed to refill the treasury by the time of his death. He also effectively rebuilt the machinery of government. In 1501, the king's son Arthur, having married Catherine of Aragon, died of an illness at the age of 15, leaving his younger son Henry, Duke of York, as his heir. When the king himself died in 1509, the position of the Tudors was secure at last, and his son succeeded him unopposed. Henry VIII[edit]

King Henry VIII

Henry VIII began his reign with a high degree of optimism. The handsome, athletic young king stood in sharp contrast to his wary, miserly father. Henry's lavish court quickly drained the treasury of the fortune he had inherited. He married the widowed Catherine of Aragon, and they had several children, but none survived infancy except a daughter, Mary. In 1512, the young king embarked on a war in France. Although England was an ally of Spain, one of France's principal enemies, the war was mostly about Henry's desire for personal glory, regardless of the fact that his sister Mary was married to the French king Louis XII. The war accomplished little. The English army suffered badly from disease, and Henry was not even present at the one notable victory, the Battle of the Spurs. Meanwhile, James IV of Scotland
Scotland
(despite being Henry's other brother-in-law), activated his alliance with the French and declared war on England. While Henry was dallying in France, Catherine, who was serving as regent in his absence, and his advisers were left to deal with this threat. At the Battle of Flodden
Battle of Flodden
on 9 September 1513, the Scots were completely and totally defeated. Most of the Scottish nobility were killed along with James himself. When Henry returned from France, he was given credit for the victory even though he had nothing to do with it. Eventually, Catherine was no longer able to have any more children. The king became increasingly nervous about the possibility of his daughter Mary inheriting the throne, as England's one experience with a female sovereign, Matilda in the 12th century, had been a catastrophe. He eventually decided that it was necessary to divorce Catherine and find a new queen. The Church would not simply grant this favour, so Henry cited the passage in the Book of Leviticus
Book of Leviticus
where it said, "If a man taketh his brother's wife, he hath committed adultery; they shall be childless." However, Catherine insisted that she and Arthur had never consummated their brief marriage and that the prohibition did not apply here. The timing of Henry's case was very unfortunate; it was 1527 and the Pope had been taken prisoner by the emperor Charles V, Catherine's nephew and the most powerful man in Europe, for siding with his archenemy Francis I of France. As there was no possibility of getting a divorce in these circumstances, Henry decided to simply secede from the Church, in what became known as the English Reformation. The newly established Church of England
Church of England
amounted to little more than the existing Catholic Church, but with the king rather than the Pope as its head. It took a number of years for the separation from Rome to be completed, however, and many were executed for resisting the king's religious policies. In 1530, Catherine was banished from court and spent the remainder of her life (until her death in 1536) alone in an isolated manor home, barred from any contact with Mary (although her ladies-in-waiting helped the two maintain a secret correspondence). Their marriage was declared invalid, making Mary an illegitimate child. Henry married Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn
in secret in January 1533, just as his divorce from Catherine was finalised. After this, they had a second, public wedding. Anne soon became pregnant and may have already been when they wed. But on 7 September 1533, she gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth. The king was devastated at his failure to obtain a son after all the effort it had taken to remarry. Gradually, he came to develop a disliking of his new queen for her strange behaviour. In 1536, when Anne was pregnant again, Henry was badly injured in a jousting accident. Shaken by this, the queen gave birth prematurely to a stillborn boy. By now, the king was convinced that his marriage was hexed, and having already found a new queen, Jane Seymour, he put Anne in the Tower of London on charges of witchcraft. Afterwards, she was beheaded along with five men (her brother included) accused of adultery with her. The marriage was then declared invalid, so that Elizabeth, just like her half sister, became a bastard. Henry immediately married Jane Seymour, who became pregnant almost as quickly. On 12 October 1537, she gave birth to a healthy boy, Edward, which was greeted with huge celebrations. The king's quest for a son was finally over, so long as Edward could be kept healthy. However, the queen died of puerperal sepsis ten days later. Henry genuinely mourned her death, and at his own passing nine years later, he was buried next to her. The king married a fourth time in 1540, to the German Anne of Cleves for a political alliance with her Protestant brother, the Duke of Cleves. He also hoped to obtain another son in case something should happen to Edward. Anne proved a dull, unattractive woman and Henry declined to consummate the marriage. He quickly divorced her, and she remained in England
England
as a kind of adopted sister to him. So he married again, to a 19-year-old named Catherine Howard. But when it became known that she was neither a virgin at the wedding, nor a faithful wife afterwards, she ended up on the scaffold and the marriage declared invalid. His sixth and last marriage was to Catherine Parr, more a nursemaid to him than anything else, as his health was failing (it had declined ever since the jousting accident in 1536). In 1542, the king embarked on a new campaign in France, but unlike in 1512, he only managed with great difficulty. The war netted England the city of Boulogne, but nothing else, and the French retook it in 1549. Scotland
Scotland
also declared war and at Solway Moss was once again totally defeated. Henry's paranoia and suspicion worsened in his last years. The total number of executions during his 38-year reign numbered in the tens of thousands. He died in January 1547 at the age of 55 and was succeeded by his son, Edward VI. Edward VI
Edward VI
and Mary I[edit] Although he showed piety and intelligence, Edward VI
Edward VI
was only nine years old when he took the throne in 1547. His uncle, Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset tampered with Henry VIII's will and obtained letters patent giving him much of the power of a monarch by March 1547. He took the title of Protector. Whilst some see him as a high-minded idealist, his stay in power culminated in a crisis in 1549 when many counties of the realm were up in protest. Kett's Rebellion in Norfolk and the Prayer Book Rebellion
Prayer Book Rebellion
in Devon
Devon
and Cornwall simultaneously created a crisis during a time when invasion from Scotland
Scotland
and France were feared. Somerset, disliked by the Regency Council for his autocratic methods, was removed from power by John Dudley, who is known as Lord President Northumberland. Northumberland proceeded to adopt the power for himself, but his methods were more conciliatory and the Council accepted him. It was during Edward's reign that England
England
became a Protestant nation as opposed to a Catholic one in schism from Rome. Edward was beginning to show great promise when he fell violently ill with tuberculosis in 1553 and died that August two months short of his 16th birthday. Northumberland made plans to place Lady Jane Grey
Lady Jane Grey
on the throne and marry her to his son, so that he could remain the power behind the throne. His plot failed in a matter of days, Jane Grey was beheaded, and Mary I (1516–1558) took the throne amidst popular demonstration in her favour in London, which contemporaries described as the largest show of affection for a Tudor monarch. Mary had never been expected to hold the throne, at least not since Edward was born. She was a devoted Catholic who believed that she could turn the clock back to 1516, before the Reformation
Reformation
began.[36] Returning England
England
to Catholicism led to the burnings of 274 Protestants, which are recorded especially in John Foxe's Book
Book
of Martyrs. Mary then married her cousin Philip, son of Emperor Charles V, and King of Spain when Charles abdicated in 1556. The union was a difficult one, since Mary was already in her late 30s and Philip was a Catholic and a foreigner, and so not very welcome in England. This wedding also had the effect of provoking the hostility of the French, already at war with Spain and now alarmed at the prospect of being completely encircled by the Habsburgs. Calais, the last English outpost on the Continent, was then taken by France. King Philip (1527–1598) had very little power, although he did protect Elizabeth. He was not popular in England, and spent little time there.[37] Mary eventually became pregnant, or at least believed herself to be. In reality, she may have had uterine cancer. Her death in November 1558 was greeted with huge celebrations in the streets of London. Elizabeth I[edit] Main article: Elizabethan era The reign of Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I
restored a sort of order to the realm following the turbulence of the reigns of Edward VI
Edward VI
and Mary I when she came to the throne following the latter's death in 1558. The religious issue which had divided the country since Henry VIII was in a way put to rest by the Elizabethan Religious Settlement, which re-established the Church of England. Much of Elizabeth's success was in balancing the interests of the Puritans and Catholics. She managed to offend neither to a large extent, although she clamped down on Catholics towards the end of her reign as war with Catholic Spain loomed.[38][39] Despite the need for an heir, Elizabeth declined to marry, despite offers from a number of suitors across Europe, including the Swedish king Erik XIV. This created endless worries over her succession, especially in the 1560s when she nearly died of smallpox. It has been often rumoured that she had a number of lovers (including Francis Drake), but there is no hard evidence.

Elizabeth I

Elizabeth maintained relative government stability. Apart from the Revolt of the Northern Earls in 1569, she was effective in reducing the power of the old nobility and expanding the power of her government. Elizabeth's government did much to consolidate the work begun under Thomas Cromwell in the reign of Henry VIII, that is, expanding the role of the government and effecting common law and administration throughout England. During the reign of Elizabeth and shortly afterwards, the population grew significantly: from three million in 1564 to nearly five million in 1616.[40] The queen ran afoul of her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots, who was a devoted Catholic and had been forced to abdicate her throne as a consequence ( Scotland
Scotland
had recently become Protestant). She fled to England, where Elizabeth immediately had her arrested. Mary spent the next 19 years in confinement, but proved too dangerous to keep alive, as the Catholic powers in Europe considered her, not Elizabeth, the legitimate ruler of England. She was eventually tried for treason and sentenced to death, being beheaded in February 1587. Elizabethan era[edit] The Elizabethan era
Elizabethan era
was the epoch in English history of Queen Elizabeth I's reign (1558–1603). Historians often depict it as the golden age in English history. The symbol of Britannia
Britannia
was first used in 1572 and often thereafter to mark the Elizabethan age as a renaissance that inspired national pride through classical ideals, international expansion, and naval triumph over the hated Spanish foe. In terms of the entire century, the historian John Guy (1988) argues that " England
England
was economically healthier, more expansive, and more optimistic under the Tudors" than at any time in a thousand years.[41] This "golden age"[42] represented the apogee of the English Renaissance
Renaissance
and saw the flowering of poetry, music and literature. The era is most famous for theatre, as William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
and many others composed plays that broke free of England's past style of theatre. It was an age of exploration and expansion abroad, while back at home, the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
became more acceptable to the people, most certainly after the Spanish Armada
Spanish Armada
was repulsed. It was also the end of the period when England
England
was a separate realm before its royal union with Scotland. The Elizabethan Age is viewed so highly largely because of the periods before and after. It was a brief period of largely internal peace between the English Reformation
English Reformation
and the battles between Protestants and Catholics and the battles between parliament and the monarchy that engulfed the seventeenth century. The Protestant/Catholic divide was settled, for a time, by the Elizabethan Religious Settlement, and parliament was not yet strong enough to challenge royal absolutism. England
England
was also well-off compared to the other nations of Europe. The Italian Renaissance
Italian Renaissance
had come to an end under the weight of foreign domination of the peninsula. France was embroiled in its own religious battles that would only be settled in 1598 with the Edict of Nantes. In part because of this, but also because the English had been expelled from their last outposts on the continent, the centuries long conflict between France and England
England
was largely suspended for most of Elizabeth's reign. The one great rival was Spain, with which England
England
clashed both in Europe and the Americas
Americas
in skirmishes that exploded into the Anglo-Spanish War of 1585–1604. An attempt by Philip II of Spain
Philip II of Spain
to invade England
England
with the Spanish Armada
Spanish Armada
in 1588 was famously defeated, but the tide of war turned against England
England
with an unsuccessful expedition to Portugal and the Azores, the Drake-Norris Expedition of 1589. Thereafter Spain provided some support for Irish Catholics in a debilitating rebellion against English rule, and Spanish naval and land forces inflicted a series of reversals against English offensives. This drained both the English Exchequer and economy that had been so carefully restored under Elizabeth's prudent guidance. English commercial and territorial expansion would be limited until the signing of the Treaty of London the year following Elizabeth's death. England
England
during this period had a centralised, well-organised, and effective government, largely a result of the reforms of Henry VII and Henry VIII. Economically, the country began to benefit greatly from the new era of trans-Atlantic trade.

The National Armada memorial in Plymouth
Plymouth
using the Britannia
Britannia
image to celebrate the defeat of the Spanish Armada
Spanish Armada
in 1588 (William Charles May, sculptor, 1888)

Foreign affairs[edit] In foreign policy Elizabeth played against each other the major powers of France and Spain, as well as the papacy and Scotland. These were all Catholic and each wanted to end Protestantism in England. Elizabeth was cautious in foreign affairs and only half-heartedly supported a number of ineffective, poorly resourced military campaigns in the Netherlands, France and Ireland. She risked war with Spain by supporting the "Sea Dogs", such as Walter Raleigh, John Hawkins and Sir Francis Drake, who preyed on the Spanish merchant ships carrying gold and silver from the New World. The major war came with Spain, 1585–1603. When Spain tried to invade and conquer England
England
it was a fiasco, and the defeat of the Spanish Armada
Spanish Armada
in 1588 associated Elizabeth's name forever with what is popularly viewed as one of the greatest victories in English history. Her enemies failed to combine and Elizabeth's foreign policy successfully navigated all the dangers.[43] End of Tudor era[edit] In all, the Tudor period
Tudor period
is seen as a decisive one which set up many important questions which would have to be answered in the next century and during the English Civil War. These were questions of the relative power of the monarch and Parliament and to what extent one should control the other. Some historians think that Thomas Cromwell affected a "Tudor Revolution" in government, and it is certain that Parliament became more important during his chancellorship. Other historians say the "Tudor Revolution" really extended to the end of Elizabeth's reign, when the work was all consolidated. Although the Privy Council declined after the death of Elizabeth, while she was alive it was very effective. 17th century[edit] Main article: 17th century England Union of the Crowns[edit] Elizabeth died in 1603 at the age of 69. Her closest male Protestant relative was the King of Scots, James VI, of the House of Stuart, who became King James I of England
James I of England
in a Union of the Crowns. King James I & VI as he was styled became the first monarch to rule the entire island of Great Britain, although it was merely a union of the English and Scottish crowns, and both countries remained separate political entities. Several assassination attempts were made on James, notably the Main Plot and Bye Plots of 1603, and most famously, on 5 November 1605, the Gunpowder Plot, by a group of Catholic conspirators, led by Robert Catesby, which caused more antipathy in England
England
towards the Catholic faith. Upon taking power, James immediately made peace with Spain, and for the first half of the 17th century, England
England
remained largely inactive in European politics. Colonial England[edit]

Captain John Smith landing in Jamestown, Virginia, 1607

In 1607 England
England
built an establishment at Jamestown. This was the beginning of colonialism by England
England
in North America. Many English settled then in North America for religious or economic reasons. Approximately 70% of English immigrants to North America who came between 1630–1660 were indentured servants. By 1700, Chesapeake planters transported about 100,000 indentured servants,[44] who accounted for more than 75% of all European immigrants to Virginia and Maryland.[45] English Civil War[edit] Further information: English Civil War

Maps of territory held by Royalists (red) and Parliamentarians (green) during the English Civil War
English Civil War
(1642–1645)

King Charles I, who was beheaded in 1649

The First English Civil War
English Civil War
broke out in 1642, largely as a result of an ongoing series of conflicts between James' son, Charles I, and Parliament. The defeat of the Royalist army by the New Model Army
New Model Army
of Parliament at the Battle of Naseby
Battle of Naseby
in June 1645 effectively destroyed the king's forces. Charles surrendered to the Scottish army at Newark. He was eventually handed over to the English Parliament in early 1647. He escaped, and the Second English Civil War
English Civil War
began, although it was a short conflict, with the New Model Army
New Model Army
quickly securing the country. The capture and subsequent trial of Charles led to his beheading in January 1649 at Whitehall
Whitehall
Gate in London, making England
England
a republic. The trial and execution of Charles by his own subjects shocked the rest of Europe (the king argued to the end that only God could judge him) and was a precursor of sorts to the beheading of Louis XVI
Louis XVI
145 years later. The New Model Army, under the command of Oliver Cromwell, then scored decisive victories against Royalist armies in Ireland and Scotland. Cromwell was given the title Lord Protector
Lord Protector
in 1653, making him 'king in all but name' to his critics. After he died in 1658, his son Richard Cromwell
Richard Cromwell
succeeded him in the office but he was forced to abdicate within a year. For a while it looked as if a new civil war would begin as the New Model Army
New Model Army
split into factions. Troops stationed in Scotland
Scotland
under the command of George Monck
George Monck
eventually marched on London to restore order. Restoration of the monarchy[edit] The monarchy was restored in 1660, with King Charles II returning to London. In 1665, London was swept by a visitation of the plague, and then, in 1666, the capital was swept by the Great Fire, which raged for 5 days, destroying approximately 15,000 buildings. After the Restoration, there was an overall reduction in the power of the crown, and by the 18th century England
England
rivaled the Netherlands for being one of the freest countries in Europe.[citation needed] Glorious Revolution[edit] In 1680, the Exclusion crisis occurred due to widespread objections to a Catholic serving as the King of England, since James was the heir presumptive to Charles, who was the king at that time. After the death of Charles II in 1685, his Catholic brother King James II & VII was crowned. From that point, there were various factions pressing for his Protestant daughter Mary and her husband, Prince William III of Orange, to replace him in what became known as the Glorious Revolution. In November 1688, William landed in England
England
with an invading force, and succeeded in being crowned king. After this, James attempted to retake the throne by force in the Williamite War, and was finally defeated by William at the Battle of the Boyne
Battle of the Boyne
in 1690. In December 1689, one of the most important constitutional documents in English history, the Bill of Rights, was passed.[46] The Act, which restated and confirmed many provisions of the earlier Declaration of Right, established restrictions on the royal prerogative. It provided, amongst other things, that the Sovereign could not suspend laws passed by Parliament, levy taxes without parliamentary consent, infringe the right to petition, raise a standing army during peacetime without parliamentary consent, deny the right to bear arms to Protestant subjects, unduly interfere with parliamentary elections, punish members of either House of Parliament for anything said during debates, require excessive bail or inflict cruel and unusual punishments.[47] William was opposed to the imposition of such constraints, but he chose not to engage in a conflict with Parliament and agreed to abide by the statute.[48] In parts of Scotland
Scotland
and Ireland, Catholics loyal to James remained determined to see him restored to the throne, and there followed a series of bloody though unsuccessful uprisings. As a result of these, any failure to pledge loyalty to the victorious King William was severely dealt with. The most infamous example of this policy was the Massacre of Glencoe
Massacre of Glencoe
in 1692. Jacobite rebellions
Jacobite rebellions
continued on into the mid-18th century until the son of the last Catholic claimant to the throne, (James III & VIII), mounted a final campaign in 1745. The Jacobite forces of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, the "Bonnie Prince Charlie" of legend, were defeated at the Battle of Culloden
Battle of Culloden
in 1746. Formation of the United Kingdom[edit] The Acts of Union between the Kingdom of England
Kingdom of England
and the Kingdom of Scotland
Scotland
were a pair of Parliamentary Acts passed by both parliaments in 1707, which dissolved them in order to form a Kingdom of Great Britain governed by a unified Parliament of Great Britain
Parliament of Great Britain
according to the Treaty of Union. The Acts joined the Kingdom of England
Kingdom of England
and the Kingdom of Scotland
Scotland
(previously separate states, with separate legislatures but with the same monarch) into a single Kingdom of Great Britain.[49] The two countries had shared a monarch since the Union of the Crowns in 1603, when King James VI of Scotland
Scotland
inherited the English throne from his double first cousin twice removed, Queen Elizabeth I. Although described as a Union of Crowns, until 1707 there were in fact two separate Crowns resting on the same head. There had been three attempts in 1606, 1667, and 1689 to unite the two countries by Acts of Parliament, but it was not until the early 18th century that the idea had the will of both political establishments behind them, albeit for rather different reasons. The Acts took effect on 1 May 1707. On this date, the Scots Parliament and the English Parliament united to form the Parliament of Great Britain, based in the Palace of Westminster
Palace of Westminster
in London, the home of the English Parliament.[50] Hence, the Acts are referred to as the Union of the Parliaments. On the Union, historian Simon Schama
Simon Schama
said "What began as a hostile merger, would end in a full partnership in the most powerful going concern in the world ... it was one of the most astonishing transformations in European history."[51] In 1714 the reign of Queen Anne ended. Anne was the last monarch of the House of Stuart. She was succeeded by her second cousin, George I, of the House of Hanover, who was a descendant of the Stuarts through his maternal grandmother, Elizabeth, daughter of James VI & I.[52] A series of Jacobite rebellions
Jacobite rebellions
broke out in an attempt to restore the Stuart monarchy, but all ultimately failed. Several Planned French Invasions were attempted, also with the intention of placing the Stuarts on the throne.

The first general laws against child labour, the Factory Acts, were passed in Britain in the first half of the 19th century. Children younger than nine were not allowed to work and the work day of youth under the age of 18 was limited to twelve hours.[53]

The Act of Union of 1800 formally assimilated Ireland within the British political process and from 1 January 1801 created a new state called the United Kingdom of Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
and Ireland, which united the Kingdom of Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
with the Kingdom of Ireland
Kingdom of Ireland
to form a single political entity. The English capital of London was adopted as the capital of the Union. Modern England, 18th–19th centuries[edit] Main article: History of the United Kingdom Further information: Social history of England
Social history of England
and History of local government in England
England
§ The evolution of modern local government (1832–1974) Following the formation of the United Kingdom, the history of England is no longer the history of a sovereign nation, but rather the history of one of the countries of the United Kingdom. Industrial Revolution[edit] Main article: Economic history of Britain During the late 18th century and early 19th century, there was considerable social upheaval as a largely agrarian society was transformed by technological advances and increasing mechanization, which was the Industrial Revolution. Much of the agricultural workforce was uprooted from the countryside and moved into large urban centres of production, as the steam-based production factories could undercut the traditional cottage industries, because of economies of scale and the increased output per worker made possible by the new technologies. The consequent overcrowding into areas with little supporting infrastructure saw dramatic increases in the rate of infant mortality (to the extent that many Sunday schools for pre-working age children (5 or 6) had funeral clubs to pay for each other's funeral arrangements), crime, and social deprivation. The transition to industrialization was not wholly seamless for workers, many of whom saw their livelihoods threatened by the process. Of these, some frequently sabotaged or attempted to sabotage factories. These saboteurs were known as "Luddites". Local governance[edit] Further information: History of local government in England

The Billingsgate Fish Market
Billingsgate Fish Market
in the early 19th century

Chester, c. 1880

The Local Government Act of 1888
Local Government Act of 1888
was the first systematic attempt to impose a standardised system of local government in England. The counties of England
England
at the time (today known as the historic counties, since the major boundary changes of 1974) were used as the basis of the system. A second Act in 1894 (Local Government Act 1894) also created a second tier of local government. Henceforth, all administrative counties and county boroughs would be divided into either rural or urban districts, allowing more localised administration. By 1888, it was clear that the piecemeal system that had developed over the previous century in response to the vastly increased need for local administration could no longer cope. The sanitary districts and parish councils had legal status, but were not part of the mechanism of government. They were run by volunteers; often there was no-one who could be held responsible for the failure to undertake the required duties. Furthermore, the increased "county business" could not be handled by the Quarter Sessions, nor was it appropriate to do so. Finally, there was a desire to see local administration performed by elected officials, as in the reformed municipal boroughs. The Local Government Act was therefore the first systematic attempt to impose a standardised system of local government in England. The counties of England
England
at the time (now known as the historic counties, since the major boundary changes of 1974) were used as the basis of the system. The counties themselves had undergone some boundary changes in the preceding 50 years, mainly to remove enclaves and exclaves. The act called for the creation of statutory counties, based on the ancient/historic counties, but completely corrected for enclaves and exclaves, and adjusted so that all settlements were completely within a single county. These statutory counties were to be used for non-administrative functions: "sheriff, lieutenant, custos rotulorum, justices, militia, coroner, or other". With the advent of elected councils, the offices of lord lieutenant and sheriff became largely ceremonial. The statutory counties formed the basis for the so-called 'administrative counties'. However, it was felt that large cities and primarily rural areas in the same county could not be well administered by the same body. Thus 59 "counties in themselves", or 'county boroughs', were created to administer the urban centres of England. These were part of the statutory counties, but not part of the administrative counties. A second Act in 1894 (Local Government Act 1894) also created a second tier of local government. Henceforth, all administrative counties and county boroughs would be divided into either rural or urban districts, allowing more localised administration. The municipal boroughs reformed after 1835 were brought into this system as special cases of urban districts. The urban and rural districts were based upon, and incorporated the sanitary districts which had been created in 1875 (with adjustments, so that districts did not overlap two counties). The Act also provided for the establishment of civil parishes. The 1894 Act formed an official system of civil parishes, separated from the ecclesiastical parishes, to carry on some of these responsibilities (others being transferred to the district/county councils). However, the civil parishes were not a complete third-tier of local government. Instead, they were 'community councils' for smaller, rural settlements, which did not have a local government district to themselves. Where urban parish councils had previously existed, they were absorbed into the new urban districts. 20th and 21st centuries[edit] Main articles: Social history of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
(1945–present) and Political history of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
(1945–present) A prolonged agricultural depression in Britain at the end of the 19th century, together with the introduction in the 20th century of increasingly heavy levels of taxation on inherited wealth, put an end to agricultural land as the primary source of wealth for the upper classes. Many estates were sold or broken up, and this trend was accelerated by the introduction of protection for agricultural tenancies, encouraging outright sales, from the mid-20th century. General history and political issues[edit]

Victory in Europe Day
Victory in Europe Day
celebrations in London, 8 May 1945

Following years of political and military agitation for 'Home Rule' for Ireland, the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921 established the Irish Free State (now the Republic
Republic
of Ireland) as a separate state, leaving Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
as part of the United Kingdom. The official name of the UK thus became "The United Kingdom of Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
and Northern Ireland". England, as part of the UK, joined the European Economic Community
European Economic Community
in 1973, which became the European Union
European Union
in 1993. There is a movement in England
England
to create a devolved English Parliament. This would give England
England
a local Parliament like those already functioning for Scotland, Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
and Wales. This issue is referred to as the West Lothian question. Political history and local government[edit] Further information: History of local government in England A Local Government Commission was wound up in 1966, and replaced with a Royal Commission (known as the Redcliffe-Maud commission). In 1969 it recommended a system of single-tier unitary authorities for the whole of England, apart from three metropolitan areas of Merseyside, Selnec (Greater Manchester) and West Midlands ( Birmingham
Birmingham
and the Black Country), which were to have both a metropolitan council and district councils. This report was accepted by the Labour Party government of the time despite considerable opposition, but the Conservative Party won the June 1970 general election, and on a manifesto that committed them to a two-tier structure. The reforms arising from the Local Government Act of 1972 resulted in the most uniform and simplified system of local government which has been used in England. They effectively wiped away everything that had gone before, and built an administrative system from scratch. All previous administrative districts – statutory counties, administrative counties, county boroughs, municipal boroughs, counties corporate, civil parishes – were abolished. The aim of the act was to establish a uniform two tier system across the country. Onto the blank canvas, new counties were created to cover the entire country; many of these were obviously based on the historic counties, but there were some major changes, especially in the north. This uniform two-tier system lasted only 12 years. In 1986, the metropolitan county councils and Greater London were abolished. This restored autonomy (in effect the old county borough status) to the metropolitan and London boroughs. The Local Government Act (1992) established a commission (Local Government Commission for England) to examine the issues, and make recommendations on where unitary authorities should be established. It was considered too expensive to make the system entirely unitary, and also there would doubtlessly be cases where the two-tier system functioned well. The commission recommended that many counties be moved to completely unitary systems; that some cities become unitary authorities, but that the remainder of their parent counties remain two-tier; and that in some counties the status quo should remain. The rate-capping rebellion was a campaign within English local councils in 1985 which aimed to force the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
to withdraw powers to restrict the spending of councils. The campaign's tactic was that councils whose budgets were restricted would refuse to set any budget at all for the financial year 1985–86, requiring the Government to intervene directly in providing local services, or to concede. However, all 15 councils which initially refused to set a rate eventually did so, and the campaign failed to change Government policy. Powers to restrict council budgets have remained in place ever since. In 1997, the Lieutenancies Act was passed. This firmly separated all local authority areas (whether unitary or two-tier), from the geographical concept of a county as high level spatial unit. The lieutenancies it established became known as ceremonial counties, since they were no longer administrative divisions. The counties represent a compromise between the historic counties and the counties established in 1974. While the 1997 Labour government devolved power to Wales, Scotland
Scotland
and Northern Ireland, it refused to create a devolved Assembly or parliament for England, planning instead to introduce eight regional assemblies around England
England
to devolve power to the regions. In the event, only a London Assembly
London Assembly
(and directly elected Mayor) was established. Rejection in a referendum of a proposed North-East Assembly in 2004 effectively scrapped those plans. A pre-condition of having a regional assembly was for the whole area to move to unitary authority status. Since the 2005 general election the government has floated the idea of voluntary mergers of local councils, avoiding a costly reorganisation but achieving desired reform. For instance, the guiding principles of the government's "New Localism" demand levels of efficiency not present in the current over-duplicated two-tier structure. Recent changes[edit] In 2009, new changes to local government were made whereby a number of new unitary authorities were created in areas which previously had a 'two-tier' system of counties and districts. In five shire counties the functions of the county and district councils were combined into a single authority; and in two counties the powers of the county council were absorbed into a significantly reduced number of districts. The abolition of regional development agencies and the creation of Local enterprise partnerships were announced as part of the June 2010 United Kingdom
United Kingdom
budget.[54] On 29 June 2010 a letter was sent from the Department of Communities and Local Government
Department of Communities and Local Government
and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to local authority and business leaders, inviting proposals to replace regional development agencies in their areas by 6 September 2010.[55] On 7 September 2010, details were released of 56 proposals for local enterprise partnerships that had been received.[56][57] On 6 October 2010, during the Conservative Party Conference, it was revealed that 22 had been given the provisional 'green light' to proceed and others may later be accepted with amendments.[58] 24 bids were announced as successful on 28 October 2010.[59] See also[edit]

Parliament of England Parliament of United Kingdom Monarchs of England

English monarchs family tree

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom List of rulers of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
and predecessor states

Related historical overviews[edit]

Bretwalda Commonwealth of Nations Danelaw History of the foreign relations of the United Kingdom History of the British constitution History of the British Isles History of the United Kingdom History of Scotland History of Ireland History of Wales Politics of the United Kingdom Administrative geography of the United Kingdom List of articles about local government in the United Kingdom Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics

Historical lists and timelines[edit]

List of British monarchs, British monarchs' family tree Timeline of English history Timeline of British diplomatic history Historical and alternative regions of England

Overviews of significant historical eras[edit]

House of Plantagenet House of Lancaster House of York

Note: Be sure to check the box in the upper right corner of this entry, providing a list of all notable eras within the history of England. Related English history topics[edit] Societal overviews[edit]

English people Population of England
Population of England
– historical estimates Culture of England Politics of England Social history of England

Local government[edit]

History of local government in England 2009 structural changes to local government in England Regions of England Subdivisions of England Unitary authorities
Unitary authorities
of England

Historical subtopics[edit]

History of education in England History of the Jews in England Military history of England English nationalism Anglo-Saxon England

References[edit]

^ a b Sample, Ian (7 July 2010). "First humans arrived in Britain 250,000 years earlier than thought". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 January 2014 ; Wade, Nicholas (7 July 2010). "Clues of Britain's First Humans". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 December 2011 ; "Earliest footprints outside Africa discovered in Norfolk". (2014). BBC News. Retrieved 7 February 2014. ^ http://earthsky.org/human-world/jawbone-is-earliest-evidence-of-modern-humans-in-europe ^ The Anglo-Saxons, BBC – History ^ Uniting the kingdom? nationalarchives.gov.uk, accessed 2 July 2011 ^ The Union of the Parliaments 1707 Archived 2 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Learning and Teaching Scotland, accessed 2 July 2011 ^ Union with England
England
Act 1707, Article II ^ a b Francis Pryor, Britain BC, 2003. ^ V Gaffney, S Fitch and D Smith 2009, Europe's Lost World: The Rediscovery of Doggerland. ^ a b Francis Pryor, Britain BC, 2003 ^ Barry Cunliffe, The Ancient Celts, 1997 ^ Barry Cunliffe, Iron Age
Iron Age
Communities in Britain, 2005 ^ Guy de la Bedoyere, Roman Britain: A New History, 2010 ^ Mattingly, H. & Handford, S.A. (trans.), The Agricola and the Germania (Revised edition), Penguin Classics, 1970, p. 10. ^ Tacitus, Agricola chapter 11. ^ Stephen Oppenheimer, The Origins of the British, 2006 ^ Bryan Sykes, Blood of the Isles, 2003 ^ Myres et al, A major Y-chromosome haplogroup R1b Holocene era founder effect in Central and Western Europe in European Journal of Human
Human
Genetics, 2010 ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/2076470.stm ^ Henry Freeman, Roman Britain: A History From Beginning to End (2016). ^ http://www.arch.ox.ac.uk/wessex.html ^ Anglo-Saxon Chronicles ^ Stenton, Frank. "Anglo-Saxon England". OUP, 1971 ^ Francis Pryor, Britain AD, 2004 ^ Geoffrey Hindley, The Anglo-Saxons, 2006 ^ Frank Merry Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England
Anglo-Saxon England
(1971). ^ Peter Hayes Sawyer, From Roman Britain
Roman Britain
to Norman England
England
(Routledge, 2002). ^ Rees, Rosemary (2002). The Vikings. Heinemann. p. 45. ISBN 9781403401007.  ^ Albany F. Major, Early wars of Wessex
Wessex
(Hildreth Press, 2008). ^ Richard P. Ables, Alfred the great: war, kingship and culture I'm Anglo-Saxon England
Anglo-Saxon England
(1998). ^ Michael K. Lawson, "The collection of Danegeld
Danegeld
and Heregeld in the reigns of Aethelred II and Cnut." English Historical Review 99.393 (1984): 721-738. in JSTOR ^ Thames Cussans, Kings and Queens of the British Isles
British Isles
(The Times Books, 2002), pp.32-35. ^ https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/magna-carta-muse-and-mentor/confirmation-by-kings-and-parliament.html ^ "The Story of Ireland". Brian Igoe (2009). p.49. ^ "The savage wars of peace: England, Japan and the Malthusian trap". Alan Macfarlane (1997). p.66. ISBN 0-631-18117-2 ^ Edward first styled himself "King of France" in 1337, though he did not officially assume the title until 1340; Prestwich (2005), pp. 307–8. ^ Ann Weikel, "Mary I (1516–1558)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online edition, Jan 2008 accessed 25 Aug 2011 ^ Glyn Redworth, "Philip (1527–1598)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online edition, May 2011 accessed 25 Aug 2011 ^ J. B. Black The Reign of Elizabeth, 1558–1603 (Oxford History of England) (2nd ed. 1959) online edition ^ J. A. Guy, Tudor England
England
(1990) excerpt and text search ^ [1] Archived 23 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine. ^ John Guy (1988) Tudor England, Oxford University Press, p. 32 ISBN 0192852132 ^ From the 1944 Clark lectures by C. S. Lewis; Lewis, English Literature in the Sixteenth Century (Oxford, 1954) p. 1, OCLC 256072 ^ Charles Beem, The Foreign Relations of Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I
(2011) excerpt and text search ^ "Africans, Slavery, and Race". Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). ^ "Leaving England: The Social Background of Indentured Servants in the Seventeenth Century", The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. ^ Van der Kiste, 114–115 ^ Davies, Norman, The Isles: A History (1999) ISBN 0-19-513442-7, p.614. ^ Troost, 212–214 ^ Welcome parliament.uk. Retrieved 7 October 2008. ^ Act of Union 1707, Article 3 ^ Simon Schama
Simon Schama
(presenter) (22 May 2001). " Britannia
Britannia
Incorporated". A History of Britain. Episode 10. 3 minutes in. BBC One.  ^ Lodge (1832), pp. 7–8 ^ "1833 Factory Act". The National Archives. Retrieved 16 July 2014.  ^ Mark Hoban (22 June 2010). Budget 2010 (PDF). HM Treasury. Retrieved 7 October 2010.  ^ "Local enterprise partnerships". Department of Communities and Local Government. 29 June 2010. Retrieved 7 October 2010.  ^ Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
(7 September 2010). "New Local Enterprise Partnerships criss-cross the country". News Distribution Service. Archived from the original on 13 September 2010. Retrieved 7 October 2010.  ^ "Supporting economic growth through local enterprise partnerships and enterprise zones". gov.uk. Retrieved 30 April 2013.  ^ Allister Hayman (6 October 2010). "LEPs: 22 bald men fighting over a comb?". Local Government Chronicle. Retrieved 7 October 2010.  ^ "Live blog: Sub-national economic growth white paper". 28 October 2010. Retrieved 28 October 2010. 

Line 9, Celts
Celts
and Britons ["known by?"]: Wood, Michael. "The Story of England". 2011, Penguin Books: London. Celts, page 6, Britons, page 20. (Recommend entire book is read.) Further reading[edit]

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004) online; short scholarly biographies of all the major people Bédarida, François. A social history of England
England
1851–1990. Routledge, 2013. Davies, Norman, The Isles, A History Oxford University Press, 1999, ISBN 0-19-513442-7 Black, Jeremy. A new history of England
England
(The History Press, 2013) Clapp, Brian William. An environmental history of Britain since the industrial revolution (Routledge, 2014) Clayton, David Roberts, and Douglas R. Bisson. A History of England
England
(2 vol. 2nd ed. Pearson Higher Ed, 2013) Ensor, R. C. K. England, 1870–1914 (1936), comprehensive survey. online Schama, Simon, A History of Britain: At the Edge of the World, 3500 BC – 1603 AD BBC/Miramax, 2000 ISBN 0-7868-6675-6; TV series A History of Britain, Volume 2: The Wars of the British 1603–1776 BBC/Miramax, 2001 ISBN 0-7868-6675-6; A History of Britain – The Complete Collection on DVD BBC 2002 OCLC 51112061 Tombs, Robert, The English and their History (2014) 1040 pp online review Trevelyan, G.M. Shortened History of England
England
(Penguin Books 1942) ISBN 0-14-023323-7 very well written; reflects perspective of 1930s; 595pp Woodward, E. L. The Age of Reform: 1815–1870 (1954) comprehensive survey online

Historiography[edit]

Cannon, John. The Oxford Companion to British History (2nd ed. 2002) 1142pp Elton, G.R. Modern Historians on British History 1485–1945: A Critical Bibliography 1945–1969 (1970) excerpt, highly useful bibliography of 1000+ scholarly books, articles and book reviews published before 1970. Furber, Elizabeth Chapin, ed. Changing Views on British History (1966) Loades, David, ed. Reader's Guide to British History (2 vol 2003), 1610pp Schlatter, Richard, ed. Recent Views on British History: Essays on Historical Writing Since 1966 (1984)

Primary sources[edit]

English historical documents London: Methuen; 12 vol to 1957; reprinted 2011; the most comprehensive collection on political, constitutional, economic and social topics

Douglas, David Charles. ed. English historical documents, 1042–1189 (Vol. 2. Psychology Press, 1995, Reprint) Myers, Alec Reginald, ed. English historical documents. 4.[Late medieval]. 1327–1485 (Vol. 4. Psychology Press, 1995, Reprint) Rothwell, Harry, ed. English Historical Documents: 1189–1327 (Taylor & Francis, 1995, Reprint) Whitelock, Dorothy. English Historical Documents, 500-1042 (Vol. 1. Psychology Press, 1996, Reprint) Williams, Charles H. English Historical Documents: Volume 5 1485–1558 (Routledge, 1995, Reprint) Archer, Ian W., and F. Douglas Price, eds. English Historical Documents: 1558–1603 (Routledge, 2011, reprint) Coward, Barry, and David Charles Douglas, eds. English historical documents. 5:[Early modern]:(B). 1603–1660 (Routledge, 2010 reprint) Browning, Andrew. ed. English Historical Documents, 1660–1714 (Vol. 6. Psychology Press, 1995, reprint) Horn, David Bayne, and Mary Ransome, eds. English historical documents, 1714–1783 (Vol. 7. Routledge, 1996, reprint) Aspinall, Arthur. ed. English historical documents, 1783–1832 (Vol. 8. Psychology Press, 1995, reprint) Handcock, William D., and George Malcolm Young. eds. English Historical Documents, 1833–1874 (Vol. 9. Psychology Press, 1995, reprint) Douglas, D. C. ed. English historical documents, 1874–1914 (Methuen 1995)

Beard, Charles, ed. An introduction to the English historians (1906) excerpts Cheyney, Edward P. Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England
England
(1935), 850 pp. (strongest on political & constitutional topics) Harmer, Florence Elizabeth. ed. Select English historical documents of the ninth and tenth centuries (Cambridge University Press, 2011) Henderson, Ernest Flagg, ed. Select historical documents of the Middle Ages (1907) online Leach, Arthur F. ed. Educational Charters and Documents 598 to 1909 (1911) 640pp; online over 400 pp. on Middle Ages Stephenson, Carl and Frederick G. Marcham, eds. Sources of English Constitutional History (2nd ed. 1990) Stubbs, William, ed. Select charters and other illustrations of English constitutional history from the earliest times to the reign of Edward the First (Clarendon Press, 1870) online Weiner, Joel H. ed. Great Britain
Great Britain
Foreign Policy & Span of Empire, 1689 – 1971 (4 Vol, 1983), 3425 pp. Wiener, Joel H. ed. Great Britain: the lion at home; a documentary history of domestic policy, 1689–1973 (4 vol 1974), 1396 pp.

External sources[edit]

"Finding primary resources for modern British history" Connected Histories Letters of the Kings of England, now first collected from the originals in royal archives, and from other authentic sources, private as well as public by J O Halliwell-Phillipps, London, H. Colburn, 1846. vol. 1 — Google Books

v t e

History of England

Timeline

Prehistoric Britain Roman Britain Sub-Roman Britain Medieval period

Economy in the Middle Ages Anglo-Saxon period

English unification

High Middle Ages

Norman conquest Norman period

Late Middle Ages

Black Death
Black Death
in England

Tudor period

Tudor dynasty Elizabethan period English Renaissance

Stuart period

English Civil War Commonwealth Protectorate Restoration Glorious Revolution

Georgian period

Regency period

Victorian period Edwardian period First World War Interwar period Second World War Social history of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
(1945–present) Political history of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
(1945–present)

Topics

Social history of England History of education in England History of the economy of England History of the politics of England English overseas possessions History of the English language

Polities

Kingdom of England Kingdom of Great Britain United Kingdom

By county

Bedfordshire Berkshire City of Bristol Buckinghamshire Cambridgeshire Cheshire Cornwall Cumbria Derbyshire Devon Dorset Durham East Riding of Yorkshire East Sussex Essex Gloucestershire Greater London Greater Manchester Hampshire Herefordshire Hertfordshire Isle of Wight Kent Lancashire Leicestershire Lincolnshire City of London Merseyside Norfolk Northamptonshire Northumberland North Yorkshire Nottinghamshire Oxfordshire Rutland Shropshire Somerset South Yorkshire Staffordshire Suffolk Surrey Tyne and Wear Warwickshire West Midlands West Sussex West Yorkshire Wiltshire Worcestershire

By city or town

Birmingham Bournemouth Brighton Bristol Chester Christchurch Colchester Coventry Dover Folkestone Leeds Liverpool London Maidstone Manchester Milton Keynes Newcastle Nottingham Plymouth Poole Portsmouth Reading Rochester Sheffield Shrewsbury Southampton St Albans Torquay Wetherby Worthing York

England
England
portal

v t e

History of Europe

Prehistory

Paleolithic Europe Neolithic
Neolithic
Europe Bronze Age
Bronze Age
Europe Iron Age
Iron Age
Europe

Classical antiquity

Classical Greece Roman Republic Hellenistic period Roman Empire Early Christianity Crisis of the Third Century Fall of the Western Roman Empire Late antiquity

Middle Ages

Early Middle Ages Migration Period Christianization Francia Byzantine Empire Maritime republics Viking
Viking
Age Kievan Rus' Holy Roman Empire High Middle Ages Feudalism Crusades Mongol invasion Late Middle Ages Hundred Years' War Kalmar Union Renaissance

Early modern

Reformation Age of Discovery Baroque Thirty Years' War Absolute monarchy Ottoman Empire Portuguese Empire Spanish Empire Early modern France Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth Swedish Empire Dutch Republic British Empire Habsburg Monarchy Russian Empire Age of Enlightenment

Modern

Great Divergence Industrial Revolution French Revolution Napoleonic Wars Nationalism Revolutions of 1848 World War I Russian Revolution Interwar period World War II Cold War European integration

See also

Art of Europe Genetic history of Europe History of the Mediterranean region History of the European Union History of Western civilization Maritime history of Europe Military history of Europe

v t e

History of Europe
History of Europe
by country

Sovereign states

Albania Andorra Armenia Austria Azerbaijan Belarus Belgium Bosnia and Herzegovina Bulgaria Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Georgia Germany Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland

Italy Kazakhstan Latvia Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macedonia Malta Moldova Monaco Montenegro Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Romania Russia San Marino Serbia Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland Turkey Ukraine United Kingdom Vatican City

States with limited recognition

Abkhazia Artsakh Kosovo Northern Cyprus South Ossetia Transnistria

Dependencies and other entities

Åland Faroe Islands Gibraltar Guernsey Isle of Man Jersey Svalbard

Other entities

European Union

v t e

England articles

History

Overviews

Timeline Education Local government Maritime Military Social

Chronology

Prehistoric Roman Britain Lloegyr Anglo-Saxon England

Heptarchy

Kingdom of England Norman conquest Angevin Empire Wars of the Roses Tudor period Stuart period English Renaissance English Reformation Elizabethan era Jacobean era Civil War Union with Scotland Georgian era Regency Victorian era Edwardian period The Blitz

Geography

Counties Districts Gardens Islands Parishes Places Regions Towns

Politics

Economy

Middle Ages

Elizabethan government Independence Monarchy Parliament

Culture

Afternoon Tea Anglophilia Castles Country clothing Cuisine Demographics Education Folklore Fête Landscape garden Identity Innovations and discoveries English language in England Middle England Museums People

list

Religion

Church of England

Science education

Sport

Cricket

national team

Football

The Football Association national team

Rugby league

Rugby Football League national team

Rugby union

Rugby Football Union national team

Wimbledon

Symbols

Coat of arms Flags

national flag

Heraldry Oak
Oak
tree Royal Standards Royal Supporters St. George

St George's Day

Tudor Rose

Outline

Book Category Portal

v t e

United Kingdom articles

History

Chronology

Formation Georgian era Victorian era Edwardian era First World War Interwar Second World War UK since 1945 (social history)

By topic

Economic Empire Maritime Military

Geography

Administrative

Countries of the United Kingdom Crown dependencies Overseas territories City status Towns Former colonies

Physical

British Isles

terminology Great Britain

Coastline Geology Lakes and lochs Mountains Rivers Volcanoes

Resources

Energy/Renewable energy

Biodiesel Coal Geothermal Hydraulic frac. Hydroelectricity Marine North Sea oil Solar Wind

Food

Agriculture Fishing

English Scottish

Hunting

Materials

Flora Forestry Mining

Politics

Constitution Courts Elections Foreign relations Human
Human
rights Judiciary Law Law enforcement Legislation Monarchy

monarchs

Nationality Parliament

House of Commons House of Lords

Political parties

Government

Cabinet

list

Civil service Departments Prime Minister

list

Military

Royal Navy Army Royal Air Force Weapons of mass destruction

Economy

Banks

Bank of England

Budget Economic geography Manufacturing Pound (currency) Stock Exchanges (London Exchange) Taxation Telecommunications Tourism Transport British Rail

Society

Affordability of housing Crime Demography Drug policy Education Ethnic groups Health Immigration Innovation Languages Poverty Prostitution Public holidays Social care Social structure

Culture

Art Cinema Cuisine Identity Literature Media Music Religion Sport Symbols Theatre

Countries of the United Kingdom

England

History

social timeline

Geography Politics Law Economy

tourism

Education Health care Culture Religion Symbols

Northern Ireland

History Geography Politics

Assembly Executive First Minister and deputy

Law Economy

tourism

Education Health care Culture Religion Symbols

Scotland

History

timeline

Geography Politics

Parliament Government First Minister

Law Economy

tourism

Education Health care Culture Religion Symbols

Wales

History Geography Welsh Government Politics

Assembly First Minister

Law Economy

tourism

Education Health care Culture Religion Symbols

Outline Index

Bo

.