BBC - History : British History Timeline
Britain's relationship with Europe has been difficult from the start. Take a look back at major developments, from France blocking Harold. In this article, we take a look at the ups and downs of this often fraught relationship! 55 BC – Julius Caesar leads the first Roman military expedition to Britain. This timeline covers the main points of British (and English) foreign policy from to the . The relationship ends for more than two centuries. . The Elector of Hanover becomes king of Great Britain as George I; start of the Hanoverian.
Louis annexes less Spanish territory than what he planned on.
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The French decide that the Dutch will be their next target, and accordingly Louis seeks to break up the Triple Alliance by bidding for English and Swedish friendship. Secret Anglo-French alliance formed.
In exchange for French subsidies and a promise to send an army to England should another civil war break out between king and Parliament, Charles II agrees to convert to Catholicism and to fight with France against the Dutch.
Until the Glorious Revolution ofEngland was a close ally of France. Third Anglo-Dutch War begins. Revelation of the pro-Catholic Secret Treaty of Dover causes public backlash against the war and the Crown.
French support was a major factor in British diplomacy until the midth century. William allows James and his family to escape after being captured as the threat of a Jacobite restoration supported by France forces gives those who supported the Glorious Revolution a vested interest in ensuring that England is not defeated by France, and James is restored. Parliament accordingly votes for all the war taxes William requests. From William's viewpoint, James is more useful as king in exile in France than as a prisoner in the Tower of London.
Reflecting the changed foreign policy orientation caused by the Glorious Revolution, William has England join the anti-French League of Augsburg and declare war on France as a stadtholder of the United Provinces, William had already declared war on France on 26 November During the Grand Embassy of Peter I the Russian tsar visited England for three months; improved relations and learned the best new technology especially regarding ships and navigation.
The largest portion of the Spanish realms are to go to Josef Ferdinand of Bavaria. The treaty is undermined when Josef Ferdinand dies in Another partition treaty signed between France, England and the United Provinces concerning the Spanish succession with the Bourbons receiving Naples, Sicily, Milan and the Spanish fortresses in Tuscany and the rest of the Spanish realms going to the Austrian Habsburgs.
War declared against France. Gibraltar captured on 4 August by the combined Dutch and British fleets; becomes British naval bastion into the 21st century Louis XIV sues for peace.
The French agree to the Allied demand that the Archduke Karl become King of Spain, but the talks break down over the Allied demand that Louis send an army to Spain to depose his grandson Philip. Louis XIV says he was willing to concede to the Allied demands over the Spanish succession, but rejected the demand that he send an army to Spain to depose as an insult to French national honour. Marlborough victorious over Villars, but Malplaquet is a Pyrrhic victory with the British losing twice what the French suffered.
Vigorous attacks by the Tory opposition on the Whig government for the war, its support of "Butcher Marlborough" and widespread corruption in regards to war contracts. General election results in a landslide victory for the Tories on a peace platform. Newfoundland, and the land surrounding Hudson Bay.
The lower Great Lakes-Ohio area became a free trade zone. The Spanish Netherlands becomes the Austrian Netherlands. Having strategically important Low Countries under Bourbon control is seen as a threat to Britain. Regency of Duke of Orleans pursues policy of peace and friendship towards Britain. War of the Quadruple Alliance against Spain.
Failed Spanish invasion in support of Jacobites ; Spanish fleet dispersed by storms. Spanish land in Scotland but are defeated at Battle of Glen Shiel. The use of British power to further Hanoverian goals is deeply unpopular with public opinion. Peace signed with Sweden. Sir Robert Walpole as in effect the Prime Minister.
Deprivation was widespread and industrial relations deteriorated. War debts to the United States and non-payment of European allies' war debts meant the government could not pay for many planned reforms.
The Geddes Report recommended heavy cuts in education, public health and workers' benefits. In an effort to quell the unrest, Emir Faisal was made king and administrator of the country. King Faisal was a member of the Hashemite family, who had been important British allies against the Ottoman Empire. It turned southern Ireland into a dominion - rather than a republic - called the 'Irish Free State', with the British sovereign as head of state.
The fact that the treaty still bound Ireland to Britain caused deep conflict and led to the outbreak of the Irish Civil War. The pro-treaty faction under Michael Collins accepted partition and believed the treaty would eventually lead to a republic. The war ended in victory for the pro-treaty Free State government under Collins who was assassinated but caused lasting bitterness. With his government fatally compromised, Lloyd George resigned.
Law called a general election on 15 November Ill health forced Bonar Law to retire in He died six months later. Baldwin proposed to abandon free trade, hoping that tariff reform would help to beat unemployment - an unpopular measure. Following the elections of Decemberthe reunited Liberals joined Labour to extinguish tariff reform by a vote of no confidence.
Labour was unable to realise its more radical ambitions because of its reliance on Liberal support. This helped Macdonald allay fears that a party representing the working class must be revolutionary, but disappointed many supporters on the left. In October, MI5 intercepted an apparently seditious letter from a Soviet official to British communists.
Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald agreed to the suppression of the 'Zinoviev letter', but it was leaked just before the election. Stanley Baldwin's Conservatives won by a landslide. Labour's share of the vote actually increased, but the Liberals were totally eclipsed. The move resulted in massive deflation and overvaluing of the pound. This made British manufacturing industries uncompetitive, which in turn exacerbated the massive economic problems Britain was to face in the s. Around 50 scientists assembled in his attic workshop in London to witness the event.
It was not until after the World War Two that televisions became widely available. Well-organised government emergency measures and the lack of widespread public support for the strikers meant it was called off after nine days. The Imperial Conference in London went further towards legally defining a dominion by recognising that the dominions Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa were autonomous and equal in status, a decision that was later affirmed by the Statute of Westminster.
Reith's mission was improve Britain through broadcasting, and he famously instructed the corporation to 'inform, educate and entertain'. September The first 'talkie' film with dialogue is shown in Britain British audiences were introduced to talking pictures when the 'The Jazz Singer', opened in London.
Cinema-going was immensely popular during the s and s and virtually every town, suburb and major housing development had at least one cinema.
There was often a double bill of a main and 'B' feature, supported by a newsreel. Howard Florey and Ernst Chain developed penicillin further so it could be used as a drug, but it was not until World War Two that it began to be mass produced. It lasted for two years. Labour won seats, the Conservatives and the Liberals Macdonald's administration coincided with the Great Depression, a global economic slump triggered by the Wall Street Crash.
In Britain, unemployment had peaked just below three million by It was only with rearmament in the period immediately before the outbreak of World War Two that the worst of the Depression could be said to be over.
Ramsay Macdonald, a committed internationalist and pacifist, was an enthusiastic believer that the League of Nations could make the world disarm through dialogue.
But inJapan seized Manchuria and pulled out of the League.
The rise of militarist regimes across Europe meant that by the idea of 'collective security' was looking increasingly unworkable. Five million Indians copied him in defiance of the government. Gandhi was imprisoned fromas were approximately 60, others. Notably, the commission did not have any Indian members. Although the commission recommended representative government in the provinces provincial assembliesit advised that power should remain with the British Viceroy.
The Indian National Congress, which wanted dominion status granted immediately, organised huge demonstrations. The collapse of the Round Table talks led to further mass non-cooperation in India.
A new Government of India Act was passed ingranting Indians an elected assembly and extending the powers of the eleven provincial assemblies. Gandhi was promised dominion status for India, but it was rejected by the INC because he had failed to consult its minority leaders. The May Committee recommended slashing government expenditure, including unemployment benefit. Macdonald agreed, but the measures were voted down by his cabinet colleagues.
He offered his resignation to the king, George V, but was instead persuaded to lead a 'national government' coalition, which included Conservatives and Liberals, but only three Labour ministers. He was returned to power with pro-national government MPs, of which were Conservatives.
The Labour Party expelled Macdonald for what was perceived as treachery. The new national government forced through the measures that Macdonald's Labour colleagues had vehemently opposed. After a second general election win inDe Valera began unilaterally dismantling the Irish Free State's relationship with Britain.
The party never became part of the political mainstream and was banned in Moseley was interned during the war and twice attempted unsuccessfully to return to parliament in post-war Britain. He died in Its strategic importance and oil reserves ensured that Britain maintained a military presence there. Its objective was to secede from the United Kingdom. There remained a strong political determination to avoid war at all costs.
On 2 October, he invaded Ethiopia. Despite public sanctions, in a secret agreement dubbed the Hoare-Laval Pact, France and Britain devised a partition plan which gave Italy two-thirds of Ethiopia. The 'power behind the throne' during Macdonald's premiership, Baldwin remained prime minister until 28 Maywhen he was succeeded by Neville Chamberlain. July First Penguin paperbacks go on sale, bringing literature to the masses Publisher Allen Lane felt there was a need for cheap, easily available editions of quality contemporary writing.
They cost just sixpence, the same price as a packet of cigarettes, and were available in traditional bookshops, but also in railway stations and tobacconists. Three million Penguin paperbacks were sold within a year.British Monarchy Family Tree (Alfred the Great to Queen Elizabeth II)
It was a revolution in publishing that massively widened public access to literature. These visits, his apparently genuine concern for the underprivileged and his official overseas tours on behalf of his father made him popular in Britain and abroad. But his choice of bride would spark a constitutional crisis. He had fallen in love with a married American woman, Wallis Simpson. When she obtained a divorce in Octoberit opened the way for her to marry Edward.
The treaty allowed the British to retain control of the Suez Canal for the next 20 years, and for Britain to reoccupy the country in the event of any threat to British interests.
The marchers attracted considerable public sympathy, but the crusade ultimately made little real impact. In heavy industry areas like the north east the Depression continued until the rearmament boom of World War Two. Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin advised him that the British people would not accept her because she was a divorcee.
Faced with losing the woman he loved, Edward chose instead to abdicate. On 11 December, he broadcast his decision to the nation. He married Wallace Simpson in France in June They became the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Baldwin was widely credited with averting a constitutional crisis that could have ended the monarchy. The monarch visited his armies on several battle fronts and founded the George Cross for 'acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger'.
Ina government white paper recommended that the final number of Jewish immigrants should be limited to 75, and Palestine should become independent under majority Arab rule. The outbreak of World War Two put the issue on hold. In addition to making Ireland a de facto republic, the constitution laid claim to the whole of Ireland, including Ulster. De Valera became the 'Taoiseach', the equivalent of prime minister. Many were given homes by British families, or lived in hostels. Very few of them saw their parents again.
Notably, Britain had not intervened in the brutal Spanish Civil War in order to avoid antagonising Italy. The decision of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to recognise the king of Italy as emperor of Ethiopia following the Italians' unprovoked invasion was a concession too far for Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, who resigned.
The treaty was deeply resented by both countries for its allocation of 'war guilt' and imposition of heavy reparations.
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When the German army marched into Austria in Marchthey were welcomed by cheering crowds of Austrians.
Chamberlain returned to Britain claiming he had achieved 'peace in our time'. In fact, it would come to be a clear demonstration that appeasement did not work, as by March Hitler had seized the rest of Czechoslovakia. Conscription was introduced for the first time in peacetime on 27 April, with little protest.
Egbert died on Iona in Scotland. His greatest book was the 'Ecclesiastical History of the English', a major source for the history of Britain in the immediate post-Roman period.
He was made Archbishop of Mainz in AD and was able to reorganise the whole German church, including founding many bishoprics. The support of the Frankish rulers in modern day France was vital to his work.
He many even have crowned Pippin the first Carolingian king in AD. He resumed missionary work among the Frisians in AD, but was murdered by them shortly afterwards. The ensuing civil war saw Offa emerge as his successor and become the most powerful of the English kings of the later 8th century. His name survives to this day in 'Offa's Dyke', the mile-long earthwork which marked his border with the Welsh kingdoms. Both men were killed in the battle and the heroism of their bodyguards caused the event to be recorded in the 'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle', the oldest surviving piece of narrative prose in English.
Between them they visited all the kingdoms and held reforming councils. Offa, king of Mercia, was given an archbishopric for his lands in the short-lived metropolitan see of Lichfield. Later generations of Scottish monarchs claimed Constantine as a king of the Scots, but he seems to have been king of the Picts, a tribe that inhabited much of northern Scotland.
The St Andrew's sarcophagus, one of the finest pieces of sculpture from Europe at this time, may belong to his reign.
The reeve of Dorchester a local high-ranking official went to greet them after they landed, perhaps accustomed to welcoming Scandinavian merchants. Viking attacks increased in intensity over the coming decades, until the Vikings assembled a 'Great Army' equipped for conquest in about AD. He heard about the attack on the monastery in his native Northumbria and wrote: In the third attack, in AD, 68 monks were killed and most of the rest fled to safety in the monastery of Kells County Meath, Ireland.
They took with them the gospel book now known as the 'Book of Kells', a lavishly illuminated manuscript, which is one of the greatest treasures of Celtic art. But in AD he not only conquered Mercia, but forced the Northumbrians to submit as well. From then on, Wessex retained its dominance in England. Egbert's grandson, Alfred, initiated the creation of the single kingdom of England. Some sources suggest that around AD the kingdom of the Scots and the Picts was amalgamated, and that from this date historians can speak of a 'kingdom of Scotland'.
According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Athelstan fought a sea battle against the Vikings off Sandwich, capturing nine ships and putting the rest to flight.
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The Vikings - who had assembled a 'Great Army' equipped for conquest rather than raiding - took advantage of the opportunity to defeat and kill both kings. They also slaughtered many people both inside and outside the city, before moving south.
The city became Yorvik, the Viking capital in England. He was beheaded and his head thrown away to prevent proper burial. Much later, his head was finally reunited with the body, and both were buried in the royal residence, which later became known as Bury St Edmunds. They took booty and captives, including the king of Strathclyde, back with them to Dublin, their capital in Ireland. None of these battles were decisive.
Their army then moved south from Repton into Mercia where they were met by King Burhred, who was driven overseas and died in Rome. He returned in AD and was killed, although the precise manner of his death is unclear. Alfred, king of Wessex, took refuge in the marshes of Athelney Somerset. After Easter, he called up his troops and defeated the Viking king Guthrum, who he persuaded to be baptised.
He later brought Guthrum to terms and created a settlement that divided England. Alfred and Wessex retained the west, while the east between the Thames and Tees rivers was to be Viking territory - later known as the 'Danelaw' - where English and Danish Vikings were equal in law. October Alfred the Great of Wessex dies and is succeeded by his son Edward the Elder Alfred, king of Wessex, was the only English ruler to earn the moniker 'the Great'.
At the time of his death, his kingdom was the only English realm that had preserved its independence from the Vikings. Under his son, Edward the Elder, the armies of Wessex began the conquest of the rest of England from the Vikings. She built fortresses and pushed into the territory of the Danes Vikings.