History of Great Britain
History is an interweaving of events and people, and its not just about kings and queens, its about ordinary people and how events influenced them. The British Isles have a rich history going back thousands of years.
The first evidence of human life was in 250 000 BC, after 200 000 years there was a new type of human people, who were ancestors of modern British, they were smaller and lived only 30 years.
After the Ice Age about 5 000 BC Britain became an island.
About 3 000 BC (New Stone Age) people arrived on boats, they were more intelligent, because they kept animals, grew corn, crops and knew how to make pottery.
The most interesting building from this period of time is STONEHENGE.
This Celtic place came into being in a few stages between years 3 050 and 1 600 BC. It is situated in the South of England. It is a circle giant of grey rocks. Inside the circle there is a complex in the form of horseshoe. This complex was used as an astronomical observatory. Its meaning and purpose remain a mystery.
And what is Stonehenge?
Aglo-Saxons named this building Stonehenge, which means a ‘hanging stone’.
A British stylist from the 17th century thought that it was a survival of Roman architecture. In the 18th and 19th centuries, people supposed that it was a sanctuary of the Druids who brought human victims there.
Today the majority of people think that Stonehenge is a ceremonial burial place or an astronomic calendar. Others believe that here aliens landed and used Stonehenge as a sensitive surface for their expeditions.
Between 600 and 800 BC Britain was invaded by the CELTS.
They were the ancestors of many people of Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. They were tall, had fair or red hair, blue eyes, and came from Central Europe or Russia. They traded with Europe for money, used Roman coins, which are still used in Gall (France). They were ruled by the Druids, who performed ‘barbaric’ rituals, which involved human sacrifice. The Celts believed in an after-life.
They were organised in different tribes and at the head of tribes stood chiefs.
ROMAIN BRITAIN (55 BC – 440 AD)
In AD 43 the Romans began an invasion which resulted in the Roman occupation of Britain, which lasted over 400 years. To prevent attacks from the North, the Romans built Hadrian’s Wall in 122, which was 117 km long. Despite the Roman occupation, the old Celtic social system was not completely destroyed and the British language existed side by side with Latin. The Romans left in the first half of the 5th century.
On the order of Hadrian (117 – 138 AC) a defensive wall, which protected country against the invasion of wild tribes, was built in Northern Britain. Later it became a border between England and Scotland.
In the second half of the 5th century, there where attacks from Germany, led mainly by the Angles, Saxons and Jutes. They settled on the east and south-east coast and began to spread across the island, driving back the original Britons into the western part. At the beginning of the 9th century, the Danes and the Norsemen attacked England (Vikings).
King Alfred the Great was successful in stopping their influence in the southern parts of the country. He started the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which was one of the most important historical works. In 1066 Harold was elected a new king but he was still only a boy. There William of Normandy (William the Conqueror) saw his chance and he defeated the army of Harold in the battle of Hastings. He controled Normandy (north of France). He was the king in England, too. Henry I,his son, issued a Charter of Liberties. Henry’s only son drowned in the sea.
A very famous king is Richard the Lion-Heart, who was a crusader. After his death in war in France, his brother John I Lackland lost almost all the English possessions in France, including Normandy. In conflict with barons he was forced to sign the Magna Charta in 1215.
Hundred years’ war
Starting in 1337, the Hundred Years’ War was a revival of the fighting between England and France. These two powers had engaged in minor battles against each other, on and off, for than a half dozen times in the past three hundred years. The war was officially fought over the French throne, the two contenders being the actual king of France, Phillip VI, and the king of England, Richard III, who claimed that he was the rightful heir. Realistically, the "heir to the throne" debate was an excuse for England to conquer more land, and thus gain more wealth. In the beginning, the war was a complete disaster for France. The English won three major battles, all of which were fought on French soil.