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History of Great Britain

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History of Great Britain

4000BC - 1500BC Man migrated to Britain whilst it was still joined to the rest of Europe by a land bridge. Stonehenge and Avebury Ring are the most spectacular monuments from this period, but there are others. Stone Age man possessed great skills, but left behind only his archeology 1500BC - 43 AD As the Stone Age progressed to the Bronze Age and Iron Age, more tools became available. Farming became n economic proposition. Extended families lived in hill forts that they could defend. They could trade with Europe. Then the Romans arrived. 43AD - 410AD The Romans invaded Britain in force, quelled the odd rebellion and by 122 AD started building Hadrians Wall. They set up the network of roads that are still the backbone of Britain today. You can still see parts of Hadrian's Wall, Roman villas and many artifacts 410 AD - 1066 After the Romans left central rule disappeared. Angles and Saxons invaded from Europe and pushed the Celts to the fringes of Britain. Competing Anglo Saxon kingdoms and a mighty Viking presence led eventually to the Norman invasion in 1066
With the Normans, England became a unified country for the first time since the Romans left 600 years earlier. The Norman kings consolidated their hold on England, then took control of Wales and Ireland.
There followed a long period during the Middle Ages of squabbling over the throne, culminating with the Wars of the Roses, the house of Lancaster against the house of York. The Battle of Bosworth on 1485 saw the end of these wars with the victory of Henry VII.
The rule of the Tudors, including Henry VIII (he of the wives) and Mary and Elizabeth I, represented a period of rising English influence on the world - a series of continental wars and the age of the British navy. Colonisation of the Americas began.
The death of Elizabeth left no immediate successor, and the throne of England was offered to the Scottish King James. He was James VI of Scotland and became James I of England. This united England and Scotland for the first time in history though the official Act of parliament, the Act of Union was not passed for another hundred years.
The Stuart kings believed that they had a divine right to govern, and in a world that even then was starting to become democratic, this view caused increasing resentment. The struggle for supremacy between Parliament and the King as to who really ruled the country led to Civil War in 1641. The king, Charles I was defeated, and executed in 1649. Oliver Cromwell became head of state, and Britain continued with this form of government only for a brief period. Cromwell died, his son became head of state, but was not a popular choice. Parliament invited the son of the dead king to re-take the throne. So Britain resumed a monarchy under Charles II in 1660
This period cover the restoration of the monarchy - Charles II, James II , William III and Anne. With the succession of the German House of Hanover, parliamentary rule became properly established. The basis of our modern political parties came into being with the Whigs and the Tories.
Britain prospered, with the creation of her Empire (though the American Colonies were lost). The industrial revolution brought about a more urban society.
Little money had to be spent on debilitating wars, until Europe slid into World War I
 


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