Table of contents
Table of contents
Entry about England
II. Government and politics
Entry. England (Old English: Englaland, Middle English: Engelond) is the largest and most populous constituent country of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total population of the United Kingdom, while the mainland territory of England occupies most of the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west. Elsewhere, it is bordered by the North Sea, Irish Sea, Celtic Sea, Bristol Channel and English Channel.
England became a unified state in the year 927 and takes its name from the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes who settled there during the 5th and 6th centuries. The capital of England is London, the largest urban area in Great Britain, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most, but not all, measures.
England ranks amongst the world's most influential and far-reaching centres of cultural development. It is the place of origin of the English language and the Church of England, and English law forms the basis of the legal systems of many countries; in addition, London was the centre of the British Empire, and the country was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. England was the first country in the world to become industrialised. England is home to the Royal Society, which laid the foundations of modern experimental science. England was the world's first modern parliamentary democracy and consequently many constitutional, governmental and legal innovations that had their origin in England have been widely adopted by other nations.
The Kingdom of England was a separate state, including the Principality of Wales, until 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union resulted in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain.
I. Bones and flint tools found in Norfolk and Suffolk show that Homo erectus lived in what is now England about 700,000 years ago. At this time, England was joined to mainland Europe by a large land bridge. The current position of the English Channel was a large river flowing westwards and fed by tributaries that would later become the Thames and the Seine. This area was greatly depopulated during the period of the last major ice age, as were other regions of the British Isles. In the subsequent recolonisation, after the thawing of the ice, genetic research shows that present-day England was the last area of the British Isles to be repopulated, about 13,000 years ago. The migrants arriving during this period contrast with the other of the inhabitants of the British Isles, coming across lands from the south east of Europe, whereas earlier arriving inhabitants came north along a coastal route from Iberia. These migrants would later adopt the Celtic culture that came to dominate much of western Europe.
Roman conquest of Britain
By AD 43, the time of the main Roman invasion, Britain had already been the target of frequent invasions, planned and actual, by forces of the Roman Republic and Roman Empire. It was first invaded by the Roman dictator Julius Caesar in 55 BC, but it was conquered more fully by the Emperor Claudius in 43 AD. Like other regions on the edge of the empire, Britain had long enjoyed trading links with the Romans, and their economic and cultural influence was a significant part of the British late pre-Roman Iron Age, especially in the south. With the fall of the Roman Empire 400 years later, the Romans left England.
The History of Anglo-Saxon England covers the history of early mediaeval England from the end of Roman Britain and the establishment of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in the 5th century until the Conquest by the Normans in 1066.
Fragmentary knowledge of Anglo-Saxon England in the 5th and 6th centuries comes from the British writer Gildas (6th century) the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (a history of the English people begun in the 9th century), saints' lives, poetry, archaeological findings, and place-name studies.
The dominant themes of the seventh to tenth centuries were the spread of Christianity and the political unification of England. Christianity is thought to have come from three directionsfrom Rome to the south, and Scotland and Ireland to the north and west.
From about 500, England was divided (it is believed) into seven petty kingdoms, known as the Heptarchy: Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia, Essex, Kent, Sussex, and Wessex.
The Anglo-Saxon kingdoms tended to coalesce by means of warfare. As early as the time of Ethelbert of Kent, one king could be recognised as Bretwalda ("Lord of Britain"). Generally speaking, the title fell in the 7th century to the kings of Northumbria, in the 8th to those of Mercia, and in the 9th, to Egbert of Wessex, who in 825 defeated the Mercians at the Battle of Ellendun. In the next century his family came to rule all England.
Kingdom of England
Originally, England (or Englaland) was a geographical term to describe the part of Britain occupied by the Anglo-Saxons, rather than a name of an individual nation-state. It became politically united through the expansion of the kingdom of Wessex, whose king Athelstan brought the whole of England under one ruler for the first time in 927, although unification did not become permanent until 954, when Edred defeated Eric Bloodaxe and became King of England.
In 1016 England was conquered by the Danish king Canute the Great, and became the centre of government for his short-lived empire which included Denmark and Norway. In 1042 England became a separate kingdom again with the accession of Edward the Confessor, heir of the native English dynasty. However,the political ties and direction of England were changed forever by the Norman Conquest in 1066.
The Kingdom of England (including Wales) continued to exist as an independent nation-state right through to the Acts of Union.
The next few hundred years saw England as a major part of expanding and dwindling empires based in France, with the "Kings of England" using England as a source of troops to enlarge their personal holdings in France for many years (Hundred Years' War) ; in fact the English crown did not relinquish its last foothold on mainland France until Calais was lost during the reign of Mary Tudor (the Channel Islands are still crown dependencies, though not part of the UK).
In the 13th century, through conquest Wales (the remaining Romano-Celts) was brought under the control of English monarchs. This was formalised in the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284, by which Wales became part of the Kingdom of England by the Laws in Wales Acts 15351542. Wales shared a legal identity with England as the joint entity originally called England and later England and Wales.
An epidemic of catastrophic proportions, the Black Death first reached England in the summer of 1348. The Black Death is estimated to have killed between a third and two-thirds of Europe's population. England alone lost as much as 70% of its population, which passed from seven million to two million in 1400. The plague repeatedly returned to haunt England throughout the 14th to 17th centuries. The Great Plague of London in 16651666 was the last plague outbreak.
During the English Reformation in the 16th century, the external authority of the Roman Catholic Church in England was abolished and replaced with Royal Supremacy and ultimately describes the establishment of a Church of England, outside the Roman Catholic Church, under the Supreme Governance of the English monarch. The English Reformation differed from its European counterparts in that it was a political, rather than purely theological, dispute at root. The break with Rome started in the reign of Henry VIII.
The English Reformation paved the way for the spread of Anglicanism in the church and other institutions.
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations that took place between Parliamentarians and Royalists from 1642 until 1651. The first (16421645) and second (16481649) civil wars pitted the supporters of King Charles I against the supporters of the Long Parliament, while the third war (16491651) saw fighting between supporters of King Charles II and supporters of the Rump Parliament. The Civil War ended with the Parliamentary victory at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651.
The Civil War led to the trial and execution of Charles I, the exile of his son Charles II and the replacement of the English monarchy with the Commonwealth of England (16491653) and then with a Protectorate (16531659) : the personal rule of Oliver Cromwell. After a brief return to Commonwealth rule, in 1660 The Crown was restored and Charles II accepted Convention Parliament's invitation to return to England. During the interregnum the monopoly of the Church of England on Christian worship in England came to an end, and the victors consolidated the already-established Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland. Constitutionally, the wars established a precedent that British monarchs could not govern without the consent of Parliament although this would not be cemented until the Glorious Revolution later in the century.
Great Britain and the United Kingdom
Although embattled for centuries, the Kingdom of England and Kingdom