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BRITISH HISTORY

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BRITISH HISTORY British history is really rich and can not be explained in a few minutes, so I would like to point out the major and most important information. The British Isles have been inhabited since the prehistoric times. It is believed that people from Europe migrated there across the land bridge which used to connect the Isles with continental Europe. Stonehenge was probably built by these early inhabitants. Stonehenge is large prehistoric monument. It is a huge circle of standing stones and no one is sure about its purpose. Maybe it used to be astronomical clock. Stonehenge is a huge mystery. The next settlers were Celtic tribes. Celts arrived about 750 B.C. They were divided into many tribes. Each of the tribe had own chief. They worshipped many gods and their priests were called Druids. Later on, they converted to Christianity and spread it to Scotland and northern England. Their language survives in Welsh and Gaelic and in names oh rivers. In 40 B.C. England was invaded by the Romans. England became a Roman colony called Britannia. To protect themselves from Celtic tribes they built the Hadrian’s Wall. In 41 A.D. Londinium was found and lately became a capital city. Romans were building roads, cities, forts and baths. They had a huge influence on English language. Romans stayed in the isles until the 5th century when the Anglo-Saxons from Northern Europe pushed them out. In the middle of the 5th century the Angles, Saxons and Jutes came from Germany, Denmark and Netherlands. They drove Celtic people into the Wales and Scotland mountains. There were 7 kingdoms. Anglos gave England its name. At the beginning of the 11th century there had been a huge unrest. The king died. The new king Harold had to face several attacks from north and south. On the north he defeated King of Norway. But he wasn’t lucky on the south. William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, defeated Saxon king Harold in Battle of Hastings in 1066. Harold was killed, and William became the new king. This was a major turning point in English history. England became a strong, centralised country under military rule. William was a harsh ruler, he destroyed many villages to prevent riots. He introduced feudal system and French language. In 1215, king John signed the Magna Carta which limited the power of ruler and gave some rights to ordinary people. In 15th century there were two wars. The first - War with France (The 100 years war) started as a dynastic conflict between Edward III of England and Philip IV of France. The second was War of the Roses. Two great English noble houses wanted the crown – Lancastrians (red rose) and Yorkists (white rose). The 30 years of civil war ended with the last war when Lancastrians defeated Yorkists. Actually, it was Henry Tudor’s army. He lately brought peace between the families by marrying Yorkist princess Elizabeth. The Tudor period in 16th century was a turning point in English history.England was in the middle Ages a small unimportant country but in Tudor period it became one of the leading world countries. There were several factors that contributed the rise of England. the great geographical discoveries /America, India/ trading expeditions were encouraged by Elizabeth I they were often combined with piracy, two well-known pirates = Sir Walter Raleigh (he founded the first English colony in North America and called it Virginia in honour of the Queen) and Sir Francis Drake TWO RULERS – Henry VIII - he had 6 wives, he became the Head of the English Church, because he wanted divorce, but Pope wouldn’t let him do it, so he founded the English Church (names of his wives (the first Catherine Aragon-one daughter Mary, Anne Boleyn-was executed, Jane Seymour, Anne from Cleves, Catherine Howard-executed too, Catherine Parr) Anne Boleyn´s daughter, Elizabeth became Queen of England, she ruled not by force, but by female diplomacy, many European kings longed to control England, but she remained unmarried, she kept them hoping and so managed to keep peace with their countries, she was called “Virgin Queen”. Also, the Elizabethan age produced the world´s greatest dramatist William Shakespeare. 17th century its called Civil War and the Restoration.The country was divided. On the one side there were royalists supporting the king, on the other side were parliamentarist supporting the parliament. King Charles I wanted to rule absolutely, but Parliament wanted to limit king’s power. Parliamentary forces were led by Oliver Cromwell.England was declared a republic under the name of The Commonwealth with Oliver Cromwell at its head-his official title was Lord Protector. After the civil war monarchy was restored and the era of restoration began. Later King James II was accused of trying to bring back Catholicism. He was deposed, and his son-in-law William of Orange and his wife Mary became joint sovereigns. The event is known as Glorious Revolution. Also, Isaac Newton discovered gravity at this time. In 18th century Britain and France were rivals in race to conquer the world. Britain started to blossom and became huge, powerful empire. Britain gained a lot of colonies in West Africa, India, Northern America. 19th century was still full of sea discoveries. But France and Spain troubled the Britain at sea. But their fleets were defeated in Battle of Trafalgar by Admiral Nelson. Napoleon lost at Waterloo and Britain continued gaining power and expanding. The industrial revolution fuelled the prosperity of Britain. The Victorian Era continued the period of stability and economical growth. This period is named after queen Victoria. She was the longest ruling monarch. She had 9 children with prince Albert. After her husband died she was wearing only black. Also, the colonial growth was enormous at that time. Britain is very proud of this period. In 20th century, there were two wars. Britain was influenced mainly by the second world war. Also, Britain was always on the winner’s side. During the WWII the Pr

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