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A History of the
United Kingdom
of Great Britain
and Northern
Northern Ireland
First inhabitants of the island
• small bands of hunters
• Stone Age: immigrants
4,000 BC
Extract chalk
Build the mysterious stone
circles at Stonehenge and
• Bronze Age: Celts
800 BC
metal works
The Romans
• Julius Caesar came in 43 AD
• it took him 7 years to control most of
• The northern tribes were aggressive, so
he had to build the Hadrian's Wall to
isolate them
• The Romans brought stability, paved
roads and Christianity
• Queen Boudicca fought the Romans
(destroyed the 9th Legion, burned the
capital), but the Romans were never
completely defeated.
• The Romans left around 410 AD as their
empire declined.
Other invaders
• Tribes Angles, Jutes and Saxons
• Angles : the name England originates from this
tribe. Jutes are possibly from the Jutland
peninsula (ships). Anglo-Saxon dialects = Old
English language.
• About one third of Anglo-Saxon vocabulary
survived into modern English, including many
most basic and daily words.
• 7th century: Anglo-Saxon kings organize
fortresses and begin to think of themselves as
• 9th century: Vikings had invaded northern
parts and Danes invade the eastern England.
• a process of assimilation
The Normans (French)
• William of Normandy (William the
Conqueror), who arrived in 1066 with a
force of 12,000 men. After the Battle of
Hastings, he replaced English aristocrats
with French-speaking Normans.
• For the next 200 years, the language of
nobility was French.
• The Normans built impressive castles,
imposed taxes, counted the population
• A constant process of assimilation
• The next centuries saw a series of royal
fights, political intrigues, plagues, unrest
and revolt.
• The Hundred Years War with France: (13371453) House of Valois and the House of
Plantagenet fought for the French throne.
• Valois claimed the title of King of France
• Plantagenet claimed the thrones of both
France and England (they were already
kings in England, even if they came from
• Valois won, so Plantagenet kept the throne
of England.
The War of Roses
• The War of the Roses: between the House of York
(white rose) and the House of Lancaster (red rose) for
the throne of England.
• Lancaster won: Dynasty of Tudors.
16th century, King Henry VIII
handsome, clever
loved sports, music and dancing
very popular with his people
Wife (1): Catherine of Aragon (Spain)
Daughter (1): Mary
Marriage problems: religious and political solutions
• Main problem: no son to inherit the throne
• Religion in Britain: Catholic (7th-16th century)
• Life expectancy: 50 years (short), people are worried about their
life after death (they give 10% to the Church)
• Church = more powerful than the king
• Henry wants to get a divorce
• Only the Pope can approve
• Pope says no, Henry decides to break free from Catholicism and
creates a new religion (Church of England, Protestant+Catholic,
controlled by the king)
• The Bible is translated into English.
• Henry receives the money donated to church (he is very rich and
• The relationship between Church and State became difficult.
Marriage problems
• Wife (2): Anne Boleyn (English)
• Daugther (2): Elizabeth
• Wife (3): Jane Seymour
• Son (1): Edward
• Wife (4): Anne de Cleves (Germany)
• Wife (5): Catherine Howard
• Wife (6): Catherine Parr
Succession to the throne:
• King Edward VI
(1537 – 1553)
• Queen Mary I
(1516 – 1558)
• Queen Elizabeth I
(1533 – 1603)
The Elizabethan Era
PEACE in the kingdom (more than 50 years)
INDEPENDENCE (Spain, France)
FREEDOM to choose a religion
Discovery of NEW LANDS (America) + the
beginning of the English Empire
• Period of GREAT DEVELOPMENT of arts,
sciences, etc.
• SHAKESPEARE – perfection of English language