The Outstanding Events in the Life of Great Britain
There were many outstanding events
in the history of Great
was added to the Roman Empire in 43 AD. After
the withdrawal of Roman Legions in 410, waves of Jutes, Angles, and Saxons
arrived from German lands. They contended with Danish raiders for control from
the 8th through 11th centuries. The last successful
invasion was by French speaking Normans in 1066,
who united the country with their dominions in France.
Opposition by nobles to royal
authority forced King John to sign the Magna Carta in 1215, a guarantee of
rights and the rule of law. In the ensuing decades, the foundations of the
parliamentary system were laid.
English dynastic claims to large
parts of France led to the
Hundred Years War, 1338-1453, and the defeat of England. A long civil war, the War
of the Roses, lasted 1455-85, and ended with the establishment of the powerful
Tudor monarchy. A distinct English civilization flourished.
Under Queen Elisabeth I, England became a major naval power, leading to
the founding of colonies in the new world and expansion of trade with Europe and the Orient. Scotland
was united with England when
JamesVI of Scotland was crowned James I of England in 1603.
A struggle Parliament and the Stuart
kings led to a bloody civil war, 1642-49, and the establishment of a republic
under the Puritan Oliver Cromwell. The monarchy was restored in 1660, but the
"Glorious Revolution" of 1688 confirmed the sovereignty of
Parliament: a Bill of Rights was granted in 1689.
In the 18th century,
Parliamentary rule was strengthened. Technological and commercial innovation
led to the Industrial Revolution. The thirteen North American colonies were
lost, but replaced by growing empires in Canada
Britain went to war with France in 1793. Admiral Lord
Horatio Nelson won a great victory over the French fleet at Trafalgar, off the
southern coast of Spain
in 1805. But after 11 months of peace, Napoleon started the war again. An
allied army led by Duke of Wellington defeated Napoleon at waterloo. Britain’s role
in the defeat of Napoleon, 1815, strengthened its position as the leading world
Then came the Era of Reforms. In
1831 there was introduced a Reform Bill which gave the vote to the middle
classes and representation to factory towns.
The British Empire reached its
greatest power during the reign of Queen Victoria
which brought prosperity and an expanding empire in Asia and Africa.
Though victorious in World War I, Britain
suffered huge casualties and economic dislocation. . Ireland
became independent in 1921, and independence movements became active in India and other
colonies. The country suffered major bombing damage in World War II, but helped
out against Germany
single-handedly for a year after the fall of France in 1940.
Great Britain lost more than 900 000
men in World War I, and about 2 100 000 were wounded.
From September, 1940, to May, 1941
attacked and damaged British cities in the Battle of Britain. In World War II
lost about 360 00 men and some 145000 civilians died on the home front.
Industrial growth continued in the
post-war period, but Britain
lost its leadership position to other powers.