Otázka: The History of Great Britain
Ancient Britain (before 42 AD)
First people to inhabit the British Isles were settlers from Europe. They arrived between 3,500 and 3,000 B.C and introduced farming, pottery and stone tools. Stone Age settlers built Stonehenge, an amazing monument which is located near Salisbury in the south of England. It consists of several stone circles and horseshoes, the biggest stones called trilithons were transported from Wales. No one knows why Stonehenge was built.
The Celts settled the land, they were ruled by warrior class and priest called Druids who passed all the knowledge from one generation to the next by memorising because Celts couldn´t read or write. The whole island was named Britannia.
Roman Britain (55BC – 410 AD)
The first Roman invasion was led by Julius Caesar in 55 B.C.. they fought Celtic Tribes and pushed them to the north and to the west. Celts didn´t like it and that´s why attacked Roman many times. Roman Emperor Hadrian built a wall to protect these lands, the border between England and Scotland Celts. This wall, in fact made a border between Scotland and England. One of famous Celtic army leaders was Boadicea, a wife of Celtic chieftain who had lost her husband and her sons in war with the Romans. Her tribe revolted against Romans, won several battles but finally was defeated – Roman army was better trained and armed.
Anglo – Saxon period (597 – 1066)
In the middle of 5th century were British Isles invited by tribes form Germany called Angles, Saxons and Jutes. Soon after 7 kingdoms, were formed and in 9th century King Alfred united all kingdoms into one. Roman monk Augustine bought Christianity to England in 597. He became the first Archbishop of Canterbury.
In 9th century, Danish Vikings started invasion to England and tried to control the lands. However, William of Normandy (in France) used the situation and attacked King Harold at the battle of Hastings 1066 and won. This battle change the future of England, Saxon King Harold was killed and William of Normandy became King of England = William the Conqueror (dobyvatel) and a new period of British History started.
Norman Conquest and Medieval Britain (1066 – 1487)
Normans occupied England, official language was French and they put down all the property into Domesday Book. Some of the kings joined the Crusades – Richard the Lionheart and made the economy of the country weaker and weaker. King John the Lackland became so unpopular that he was made to sign a new agreement with his nobles – Magna Carta. This limited the king´s power and guarantees the rights.
In following centuries, the Norman kings fought with France over the English throne. It resulted in The Hundred Year´s War, Edward III. wanted to be the King of France but the King wouldn´t agree to this so began the war between England and France. In England, two noble families claimed throne for themselves, Lancastrians who supported Henry VI. (a white rose) and Yorkists who supported the duke of York (a red rose), bought ambicious to win the throne. In The Wars of the Roses Henry Tudor defeated the last Yorkist Richard III. in the battle of Bosworth. Henry Tudor was crowned king immediately in the battlefield.
The Tudor period – Reformation Period (1485 – 1603)
This period was a turning point in British History. Henry´s Tudor son Henry VIII. built the foundation of powerful monarchy. England was in the middle Ages a small unimportant country but in Tudor period it became one of the leading world powers. Henry VIII. Split from Roman Catholic Church and established Church of England just to be divorced! He was married 6 times. He had two of his wife executed. He was cruel, he loved hunting a he wanted the money. He had three children – Mary (Bloody Mary) who was catholic, the Elisabeth and Edward – who died as a boy.
Elisabeth became an outstanding queen as Elisabeth I.. She never married, she kept them hopping and so managed to keep peace with their countries, she was called “Virgin Queen”. She was extremely strong and clever, she defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588 and she founded the British Empire. Scotland was united with England. The period of her rule if often called The Golden Age.
The Civil War and Restoration (1640 – 1649)
This century can be characterised as a period of conflict. In the bloody Civil War was the country divided between the supporters of King Charles I., who wanted to rule absolutely, and the supporters of the Parliament, who wanted to limit the King´s power.
The conflict resulted in the abolition of the monarchy and in Cromwell´s military rule (military dictatorship). Oliver Cromwell was the Puritan army leader. England was declared a republic under the name of The Commonwealth with Oliver Cromwell at the head-his official title was Lord Protector.
This period ended in the Glorious Revolution which marked the end of the English bourgeois revolution.
Industrial Revolution (1760 – 1850)
In this period Britain became the first industrial power in the world “the workshop the world”. Technological innovations, the invention of steam engine. The Empire was growing up. Struggles between France and Britain for world domination started in Napoleonic Wars.
The Victorian Era (1837–1901)
This period is called after Queen Victoria, the symbol of the stability of the British way of life. She was just eighteen when she came to the throne, she was good queen and ruled over 60 years – it was for Britain a time of long peace. Britain became the strongest power in the world. Britain became the greatest: industrial power, financial and commercial power, sea power, colonial power. Britain controlled a great deal of Africa, India, Canada and all of Australia and New Zealand. Victoria was the first monarch to live in Buckingham Palace.
Modern Age (20th century)
Great Britain played an active role in both world war – WW1 and WW2. The Royal Family, George VI. and his wife supported the nation during the German attack. Their daughter, the current queen Elisabeth II., has spent even more time on the throne than her great grandmother and she is still a symbol of Great Britain stability.