United Kingdom History

United Kingdom History

Early history to the Middle Ages

Already in the first millennium BC, Celtic tribes populated Britain and mingled with the indigenous people. 54 BC Southern England was occupied by Caesar’s troops, Scotland and Northern Ireland remained independent. At the beginning of the 5th century, northwestern Germanic tribes conquered the main part of England. The Celts were able to survive in Wales and Scotland. The sub-kingdoms of Kent, Sussex, Essex, East Anglia, Wessex, Mercia and Northumbria emerged. Their residents grew together under the influence of Christianization to the Anglo-Saxon people. The Vikings, who invaded repeatedly in the 9th and 10th centuries, could only be driven out under Wilhelm the Conqueror, the Duke of Normandy, by his victory at Hastings in 1066.

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The Magna Charter from 1215 is considered the cornerstone of the English constitution. The parliament with later upper and lower house developed and in 1360 the representatives of the counties and cities had a say. In 1284, Wales and temporarily the Kingdom of Scotland were conquered by England. Edward III’s Claim the Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453) against France started on the French crown. The French army under Joan of Arc brought about a turn in 1429, except for Calais, all possessions in France were lost. The subsequent “Rose War” of the royal houses Lancaster (red rose) and York (white rose) established the dynasty of the Tudor, who were in power from 1485 to 1603. In 1534 Henry VIII broke with the Pope and created an independent official church.

Modern times

According to AbbreviationFinder, the outstanding personality of the late 16th century became Queen Elizabeth I. With the victory of her fleet in 1588 over the Spanish Armada, England’s rise to maritime and commercial power began. The founding of the English colony in North America in 1584 coincided with the formation of the East Indian Company (1600), which laid the foundations for the English colonial power. With Shakespeare and F. Bacon, the culture in England in the Elizabethan era reached a glamorous high point. At the beginning of the 17th century, Elizabeth’s successor, Jacob I, was able to connect Scotland with England for the first time; he was King of England and Scotland in personal union. A troubled time began: The “Petition of Rights” gave tax rights to parliament,after its dissolution in 1629, an uprising by the Calvinist Scots prompted the king to convene the “Long Parliament” (1640). A general civil war broke out in 1643, which Oliver Cromwell used to expel the Presbyterians from parliament, have the captured king executed, and declare England a commonwealth. Rebellions by royalists in Ireland and Scotland were put down. Under Cromwell’s dictatorship, England became the first Protestant power in Europe. Rebellions by royalists in Ireland and Scotland were put down. Under Cromwell’s dictatorship, England became the first Protestant power in Europe. Rebellions by royalists in Ireland and Scotland were put down. Under Cromwell’s dictatorship, England became the first Protestant power in Europe.

The Restoration brought the Stuarts to the throne in 1660. After a war against Holland (1665-67) New York was acquired and the North American possessions expanded. Domestically, at the same time, the Tories, which primarily represented the small nobility, and the Whigs, which were based more on trade and noble land, developed. Following the Glorious Revolution of 1688, Parliament set out “Bill of Rights” to safeguard against the abuse of royal power, and an act of tolerance guaranteed religious freedom to other Protestant groups in England, Scotland and Ireland. In 1707 the kingdom gave itself the name Great Britain after the personal union between England and Scotland, which had existed since 1603, had been transformed into a real union by uniting the two parliaments.

18th and 19th centuries

Through the “Act of Settlement” 1701 the house of Hanover became a candidate for throne; King George I started a personal union between Great Britain and the House of Hanover that lasted until 1837. The British Empire came into being. Canada was conquered in the course of the Seven Years’ War (1756-63), rule in India was expanded and Australia was taken over in 1788. Colonies were lost in 1783 as a result of American independence, but the industrial revolution that started in 1760 ensured Britain’s economic advantage in Europe for a long time. Admiral Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar in 1805 brought Great Britain the undisputed command of the sea, ten years later Wellington and Prussia won the decisive battle against Napoleon at Waterloo.

The development of the modern constitutional state began with the Congress of Vienna in 1815, at the same time the national movement of the oppressed Catholic Irish developed. In 1829 the Catholics were formally assimilated to the Protestants. The Liberals and the Conservative Party emerged from the Whigs and Tories. Slavery was abolished in 1833 and the slave trade had been banned since 1807. The emerging unions gradually succeeded in significantly improving the economic and social situation of the workforce.

Queen Victoria’s accession to the throne ended the personal union between Great Britain and the House of Hanover. Under her, uprisings in India were put down and the presence in Asia was strengthened by new sea bases in Singapore (1819), Aden (1839) and Hong Kong (1842). British imperialism peaked under its most determined representative, Joseph Chamberlain. Numerous African countries were incorporated into the world empire and the dominions Canada (1867), Australia (1901), New Zealand (1907) and the South African Union (1910) were formed.

20th and 21st centuries

At the beginning of the 20th century, the German Empire became a new political and economic competitor in Europe. Britain gave up “Splendid Isolation” and formed an alliance with Russia and France. Comprehensive social reforms have been carried out domestically, including compulsory insurance against illness and unemployment. The First World War forced the parties to form a coalition government of the Conservative Party and Labor Party for the first time. Demands for an independent Irish republic were put down (Dublin Easter Rising in 1916), followed by the formation of a republican government in Dublin in 1919 and the separation of Northern (Ulster) and Southern Ireland a year later. A peace treaty granted Northern Ireland (Ulster) Homerule and Southern Ireland independence and Dominion status.

At the end of the First World War, the British Empire had its largest expansion, partly due to the takeover of former German possessions, but at the same time there were first signs of dissolution due to the strengthening of national movements in the individual countries. Domestically, the interwar years were characterized by mass unemployment and strikes. The Great Depression in 1931 led to the formation of a national coalition government for the second time, which tried to overcome the crisis with rigorous measures. In terms of foreign policy, the relaxation between France and Germany was supported and at the same time the British Empire was restructured into the “British Commonwealth of Nations”, in which the Dominions were given equality with the mother country.

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An appeasement policy towards Nazi Germany was intended to prevent an impending. The principle of non-interference was abolished in 1939 by guaranteeing Poland’s independence, and after the Germans invaded Poland, Britain declared war on Germany, which ended in 1945 with Germany’s unconditional surrender.

The post-war period brought about profound changes for the British Empire and the Commonwealth. The coal, iron and steel industry, the electricity industry, the transport industry, civil aviation and the Bank of England were nationalized under Labor. A free health service has been set up. 1951 Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne, in 1955 Churchill resigned as Prime Minister. Changing governments subsequently attempted to improve the economically unsatisfactory situation through political intervention. One of the goals was to push back union power and curb inflation. 1973 joined the Kingdom of the EEC. In 1979 M. Thatcher was elected Prime Minister. It manages to curb inflation through restrictive economic and monetary policies,at the same time there were numerous company collapses. Despite fierce resistance, the revision of the union laws restricted the monopoly of the unions and narrowed the right to strike. Thatcher was succeeded by John Major as Prime Minister in 1990 and Tony Blair from the Labor Party in 1997. Its government came under domestic political pressure due to Britain’s participation in the 2003 Iraq war (affair about the suicide of the former Iraqi weapons inspector David Kelly), but was re-elected in 2005. Blair resigned in June 2007; his successor was Gordon Brown. A party donation scandal, failed attempts to reform and gross mishaps in data protection cost him popularity points.The Brown government also had to deal with the financial crisis and the ensuing economic downturn. It launched extensive rescue packages. David Cameron’s conservatives emerged victorious from the 2010 elections, but missed the absolute majority of the mandates. Cameron formed a coalition with the Liberal Democrats: the first coalition in the country since 1945.

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