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HISTORY OF THE UK

5.05.2010

Like every old country on Earth the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland long and very interesting history. Since ancient times Celtic and Anglo-Saxon tribes inhabited these numerous islands, not far from Europe . In the first century before Christi Julius Caesar, the Roman dictator, came to Britain on purpose to make it a part of the Roman Empire . He managed it, and the Romans left the Britain only in the 5 th century A.D. Since that time several independent kingdoms existed and developed on the territory of the modern UK . They were of course often at war with each other. It the 9 th century the Scottish Kingdom was founded on the north of the Island of Great Britain .


In 1066 the Royal house of Norse came to England . Wilhelm the Conqueror defeated the king Harold II at the battle of Gastings . After that Wilhelm the Conqueror became the King of England.


There was always a serious confrontation between France and England because Kings of both countries wanted to rule them as a united state. In 1337 a war began which lasted more than one hundred years. That’s why it is called the Hundred-Years-War. During the war both English and French armies were victorious over each other. But soon after French troops leading by Jeanne D’Arc raised the siege of Orlean England lost all hard-won cities expect for the port of Kale which was won back by France in 1558.


The War of the Roses (1455-87) was a civil war between the Royal houses of Lancaster and York . After the Yorkists were defeated Henry VII of Lancaster married Elizabeth of York.


The Christianity was brought to England in the 6 th century. English were Catholics. But in the 16 th century Henry VIII broke off relations with the Roman Catholic Church and since that time most English are protestants.


The 16 th and 17 th centuries are marked by the unification of different parts of England into one indivisible state. First Wales , in 1542, and later Scotland , in 1603, joined England . Since that time they were under the same monarch and this state became the United Kingdom of Great Britain. The United Kingdom had many colonies in the North America, in Asia, and in the Oceania . Some of them, for example the USA and India , got their independence after wars against the UK . Some other countries like Australia became independent according to a bilateral agreement. But Canada and New Zealand are still dominions of the UK .


The cultural life of England was rich in events too.


The teaching has existed in Britain in some form since the 11 th century. In the 13 th century the first English universities in Oxford and Cambridge were founded because Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris . And one century later the St. Andrews University in Scotland was established. In the last 14 th century Jeffry Chaucer, the founder of the literary English language, wrote the famous “Tales of Canterbury ”. In 1477 Willam Caxton printed the first book in England . The greatest English writer Shakespeare created his unfading plays and sonnets in the 16 th -17 th centuries.


In the 17 th century a civil war between the Monarch and the Parliament happened, and the King, Charles I, was put to death. After that the country was ruled by Oliver Cromwell. But in 1660 the monarchy was reconstructed.


I’d like just to list other important events of the history of the UK . The end of the 18 th and the beginning of the 19 th centuries are marked by the industrial revolution. In 1805 in the battle of Trafalgar Admiral Lord Nelson destroyed the French Fleet. After that he became a British national hero. 1837-1901 – that is the period when Queen Victory ruled the country. World War the First in 1914-18 touched the life in the UK too, of course, as well as World War the Second in 1939- 45. In the first third of the 20 th century British women obtained many civil rights, for example, to elect the members of Parliament and to be elected too. And in 1979 first woman, Margaret Thatcher, was elected the Prime Minister of the UK . In 1973 the United Kingdom joined the European Union.



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