England has been a country since the 5th century AD when the Anglo-Saxons arrived from Germany. A monk named Bede wrote ‘A History of the English people’; thereby inventing the word ‘English’. Egbert was the first King of England; crowned in 802.
England was conquered by the Danes in the late 9th century. The English regained their independence after a century. In 1066 the Norman conquered England. The Normans provided the new royal family. However, the Norman kings intermarried with the old Anglo-Saxon royal family.
In the Middle Ages almost everyone was a farmer and 99 per cent of people were Christians. Only a few boys went to school; learning everything through Latin. Very few girls attended school.
From the 11th century England and Wales gradually united.
The English royal family fought each other several times over who should be king. When not fighting each other the English fought against the French. The English conquered much of western France in the Hundred Years War but eventually lost it all.
In 1533 Henry VIII took England out of the Catholic Church and set up the Church of England. This was to allow him to annul his marriage and to seize church property. For the next 150 years there was upheaval as the country argued about whether the country should be Catholic or Protestant.
In the 1640s the English Civil War took place. King Charles I lost and he was beheaded. Oliver Cromwell ruled the country but did not become king. Then the monarchy was restored.
In the 18th century England and Wales became fully united with Scotland. This formed the United Kingdom. The UK fought against France at this time and conquered many other territories.
In 1801 Ireland joined the UK. The UK was busy fighting Napoleon at the time.
The 1830s was a time of great change. More men were given the right to vote. The country came close to Revolution. The Industrial Revolution took away some jobs. Cities and factoris grew apace.
Queen Victoria ruled in the late 19th century. She set a sombre tone for the country’s zenith.
In 1914 the UK fought the First World War. It was Britain’s bloodiest ever conflict. The British and their allies finally prevailed.
The 20s and 30s were times of mass unemployment but also technical innovation. People desperately wanted to avoid another war. The Prime Minister Chamberlain strove to do so. But he felt obliged to declare war on Germany in 1939. Chamberlain was then replaced by Churchill who was a much more inspiring war leader.
The Allies won in 1945. A Labour government came in and founded the welfare state. For the next 35 years power passed back and forth between Labour and the Tories.
In the 80s Thatcher was Prime Minister. She controlled inflation but caused mass unemployment.
In 97 Blair became PM and Labour was back in office. Blair was popular until the Iraq War. Labour was booted out. Then the Tory government called a referendum on the European Union. Now the UK is leaving the EU.