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  1. 1. GEOGRAPHY OF THE BRITISH ISLES (see map)The British Isles are divided in two big islands: Great Britain and Ireland.The union of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland forms the United Kingdom. Its flag is called"The Union Jack". Its important to point out that Ireland is divided in four provinces, one of them Ulster.Ulster is then divided in 9 counties, 6 forming Northern Ireland and the other three belonging to the Republicof Ireland.The first thing to take into account when studying British geography is the importance of the sea in itsHistory. Since the British Isles, as islands, are surrounded by the sea, they are isolated. The sea acts then as agood frontier and allows an independent life. Sea can be a way of getting into the British Isles (before 1.066they suffered lots of invasions), but it is also a natural defensive barrier (nobody was able to invade the Islesfrom 1.066).In relation with its geological history (which is important to consider when studying its History), till 5.000BC Ireland and Great Britain were united to the continent, but then Ireland separated from Great Britain andlater on, both islands separated from the continent, till they reached their present configuration. The facts thattake us to this conclusion is the presence of animals both in the British Isles and in the continent and theabsence of, for example, snakes on Ireland (since this specie couldnt cross the land before the division).Its important to remember its position between two political blocks (Europe and America), and the strongrelation with America (since it had been a colony, with lots of people emigrated there when colonisationtime).When studying the physical map, one can realise how the natural division between Highlands (Scotland,Wales, Northern Ireland) and Lowlands (England, Ireland) has influenced the division of countries. TheHighlands is a more difficult place to live in, since it presents a harder climate; this made Lowlands a moreattractive place to live in or invade (thats the reason why this part suffered more invasions). So, Lowlands hasmore population and that makes it have more weight in politics (especially England, although now the rest ofthe United Kingdom is searching for more independence).Main cities:• London. It is the political centre of the United Kingdom. The main reason is that it has always been a commercial centre, since its located near the continent. London was first made capital by the Romans, but it had been a commercial centre since long time ago.• Birmingham. It acts as a link between London and the industrial North, formed by a belt of cities and towns as Manchester or Liverpool.• Manchester, Liverpool... They are important industrial cities (mainly of iron or textile industries) that help in making England wealth in the XIX century. The goods manufactured there are then taken to London, and later on they are exported. Train is still the main way of taking those goods; the radial system in which the railway its configured has to do with the location of the manufacture and the deliver of the goods: • From London to Birmingham and then to the belt of industrial cities. • From London to western ports: from Bristol the products are taken to America; from Southampton they are taken to the East (India).In Scotland and Ireland this radial system is imitated: 1
  2. 2. • In Scotland: from Edinburgh to Saxon Shore (then to France) or to Glasgow (it is both an industrial centre and a port). • In Northern Ireland: Belfast is both an industrial centre (shipbuilding) and a port with connections with America.• Another cities like Cambridge and Oxford are educational centres. They are situated near London because of the political weight of England caused by the more dense population.Physical accidents and divisions.The Solway Firth and the Tyne River act as a natural frontier between Scotland and England. Romans in factmade a wall to divide both countries following this natural line. It was later on called the "Celtic Fringe",since England was romanized but Scotland wasnt (it remained Celtic); that causes important differences inculture.The Cambrian Mountains are also a natural frontier between Wales and England. This isolated position ofWales made the country a land of refuge after invasions. That was because the invaders (like Romans),generally coming from the continent, pushed Celtic people towards the West.The conclusion we can obtain about these facts is that natural elements have an important influence in Historyand in cultural differences.There is also a secondary division we can observe through the suffix "−shire" in the name of some places.This division comes from the Vikings times; a shire was a kind of county which is important when studyingBritish History (medieval divisions). Every shire had a shire−reeve, that was a man who collected taxes andonce a year took them to London. Then, shire−reeves from all England put the money on the top achequered−cloth. When all the chequers of the cloth were full, the Queen said the collection had beensuccessful.BASIC CHRONOLOGICAL DIVISIONS in the History of the British Isles.1066 AD. Battle of Hastings. Normans invaded the British Isles. Its an important point in the History of theIsles because it was the last invasion they suffered.25000 BC. Paleolithic covers a huge range of years.12000 BC. It was the start of Mesolithic. The Melting of the Ice took place round this time, which allowed aneasier life in the British Isles, although clime remained quite cold. It isnt known if there was any human lifebefore this point in the Isles, but there may be some hunters. From this time on, we had groups of hunters andgatherers moving to this region, but they didnt settle down (they were nomads). We have very littlearchaeological rests from this time, excepting some small tools called "microlites".4000−3000 BC. In these years, Great Britain and Ireland separated from each other. So, they were no more soaccessible as they had been before, and the only way of approaching the Isles was with good navigation skills.3000 BC. It was the beginning of Neolithic. A revolution took place: it was the appearance of farming, whichallowed people to settle down in a concrete place. These farmers who came from the continent followed twomain routes. One was following the valley of the river Rhine and then cross the sea towards the Isles. Theother one came from the Iberian Peninsula and sailed towards the North to reach England or Ireland (legendstell that Iberian people founded Ireland). In the Orkney Islands there was an important settle down at this time.2000 BC. The British Isles suffered a foreign influence from new groups coming from the continent. The 2
  3. 3. main innovations they brought in were the use of bronze and a more elaborated pottery. At this time there wasa strong culture established in the centre of England, the "Wessex Culture", which built up monuments as thestone circles "Stonehenge". This culture remained important until 1000 BC.1000 BC. The Wessex Culture disappeared. The Southern coast became the centre of attention and big stonewalls (called "Brocks") were built with a defensive objective. The Celts were then trying to invade the Isles.Celt people were not a pure race, but a group of people from different places that shared culture and language(because they came from a group that had spread along Europe and developed their own particularities). Celtsintroduced the use of iron, which made them stronger at battles. Some legends deal with a fear to iron thatobliged people to hide in the mountains, which has a relation with these historical facts.Celts finally occupied the whole area in 700 BC. In some parts of the British Isles they absorbed the previousculture (even using earlier monuments), but in others they pushed population to the west. The result of this isthe presence of a human type across the western coast of Ireland which has an Iberian origin and aspect(although some people think its a consequence or the "Invincible Army" disaster, theyre wrong).Celtic culture was later on destroyed by Romans, who described Celts as wild and uncivilizated people. Onthe contrary, Celts were a very sophisticated culture and it was brilliant in some features that nowadays canstill be noticed in language and culture; they were also excellent farmers. During the Celtic period womenmay have had more independence than they had again for hundreds of years; two of the largest tribes wereruled by women (like Boadicea, who fought against Romans and after some victories, was defeated and kill).55 BC. A brief Roman expedition leaded by Julius Caesar arrived to the British Isles. The Romans invadedbecause the Celts of Britain were working with the Celts of Gaul against them, and they realised that the onlyway of conquering Gaul was attacking from the north. Once Romans won the war, they forgot about theBritish Isles for some years.AD 43. Romans finally settled down, imposing their language, culture, laws and tradition, destroying theCeltic roots. Using the oral transmission, the Celtic druids tried to keep their cultural memory alive throughgenerations, but Romans destroyed druids to make an easier imposition of Roman culture. So, we dont havemuch information about Celts.Scotland (Caledonia) and Ireland were areas excluded from the Roman invasion. Romans separated Scotlandfrom England by means of an artificial wall from coast to coast: the "Hadrians Wall" (later on called the"Celtic Fringe").Romans brought the skills of reading and writing to Britain, and soon Latin and Roman traditions wereaccepted, especially by town people. Latin disappeared when the Anglo−Saxons invaded Britain.The most obvious characteristic of Roman Britain was its towns, which were the basis of Romanadministration and civilisation. Many of this towns were at first army camps; the Latin word, castra, hasremained part of many towns names to this days with the endings chester, caster or cester (Gloucester,Leicester, Winchester, Chester, Lancaster). They were connected by an excellent system of roads, whichbecame the main roads of modern Britain. The biggest change during the Roman occupation was the growthof large farms, called villas.AD 430. Three Germanic tribes invaded the British Isles: the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes. The first twowere strongest, so they are known as the "Anglo−Saxons". They had important differences with Romans: • Romans were urban (they created a radial system of roads and founded Londinium), modern and Christian (since the age of Constantine in AD 318) • Anglo−Saxons had a Northern Mythology (with gods as Tig, Thor, Wodin, Frei that are the origin of 3
  4. 4. the days of the week...) and they imposed a new language, culture and religion. Christianity was then pushed to the west (Ireland). Anglo−Saxons also brought a new agricultural system: they used a heavy plough only suitable for long straight lines across the field (it was difficult to turn corners with it), but very useful for hard soils. So, each village land was divided into two or three large fields, then divided again into strips; each family had a number of strips. Anglo−Saxons also had a social division based on alderman (local officials, then warlords), manors (kind of local administrator)... this is the origin of a class system, made up of kings, lords, soldiers and workers on the land.The first Anglo−Saxons who came to the Isles were mercenaries; they were paid by Southern inhabitants todefend from the pressure of the northern tribes (Pits and Scots) that had taken force after Romans left.Anglo−Saxons found England a good land to settle down, and being superior in war to the inhabitants, theyinvade it.Anglo−Saxons didnt have one single kind, but several. This caused the division of England in 7 differentkingdoms (its known as the "Period of the Heptarchy"). It was the origin of places like Wessex (WesternSaxons), East Anglia (Eastern Angles)... In fact, the name of England was originally Angleland (land ofAngles). This was not a peaceful period due to the hard competence between kingdoms.The crisis came at the end of the 8th Century, with the appearance of Vikings.AD 865. The term "Viking" apparently means "inhabitant of the fjords", but in fact they were not called thatway at the time because they were Danes, Norwegians and Swiss. All three came from the North, followingdifferent routs that can be summarised in three: • Norwegians followed a West−South line and reached Ireland. They discovered Iceland, Greenland and North America (Erik "The Red"). • Swiss followed a line towards the East, and got into Russia (establishing the capital in Kiev) and maintained relations with Constantinopla. • Danes. Their only alternative was following to the South, navigating both shores of the Isles. They were responsible for attacks in the French coast and Iberian Peninsula; they even crossed Gibraltar and attack the Roman Empire.As a result of the position of the British Isles, they suffered attacks from the three invaders. The first attackstook place in the 8th century, and they were very quick. England was then a Christian land, with monasteriesalong the coast which were often destroyed by the Danes. Around AD 540, the Isles suffered huge expeditionswith the idea of settling down. All Anglo−Saxon kingdoms fell with the exception of Wessex, dominated byking Alfred "The Great". It was the time when most of the British land was under the "Dane Law".King Alfred "The Great" started then the "Reconquest of the Dane Law". Since he initiated the emerge ofEngland, he is considered the first king of England. The reconquest took several generations, and itculminated with a mixture between Anglo−Saxon and Viking elements and population. This racial blend isvisible in the case of king Cnut, which was from Viking origin.1066. England was then a successful blend of Anglo−Saxon and Viking people, but it then suffered anotherinvasion: the Normans. Normans came from the Duchy of Normandy, in the Norman France. They had aViking origin, because France let Vikings settle down progressively in their own lands to protect themselvesfrom the attacks.William, who was Duke of London, is the responsible of the successful Norman invasion of England. Hebecomes king of England: William I "The Conqueror".For understanding the reasons for the Norman invasion we need to go back in time. Before 10066 the king in 4
  5. 5. England was Edward "The Confessor" (who started the building of many cathedrals like Westminster), buthe died without leaving heir. Traditionally, kings were elected by the "Witan", which was an institutionformed by a group of free men. Normally the system for choosing a new king was following the heritage line,but in the case of Edwards succession, Witan must follow a different rule. The main candidate that Witanthought about was Harold Godwinson, who was the strongest man in the land; he finally became KingHarold I.But there were two other candidates who argued that they had rights to the crown. One of them was HaraldHaardrabe, who was connected to the old Viking line of King Cnut. The other one was William ofNormandy, who claimed that with a past marriage, an Anglo−Saxon link had been established with hisfamily.Since Witan had yet decided to choose Harold Godwinson as king, two attacks took place in 1066. First,Harald Haardrabe attacks Harold I in the Battle of Stanfordbridge, but the king defeated him. Later on,William of Normandy fights against Harold I in the Battle of Hastings: William kills Harold I and becomesthe new king of England.Although William I had a small army in comparison to the Anglo−Saxon population, it was more a colonistexpedition rather than a military one. Men of all ranges (soldiers, nobility...) formed this army, and in abouttwo years they got all the titles of Anglo−Saxon nobility because William had divided all the lands heconquered among his army members. This was the way of introducing feudalism, and it allowed William tobe the supreme feudal master. Each man owning a feud must be in service to the king with taxes (money) andsoldiers for the war. Feudalism was a system that gave benefits both to the king and the nobility, but the onessuffering the bad consequences were the people in the lower classes, who must work the land withoutobtaining any benefit ("they were bound to the land").Another reason for the Norman victory was that they were very well military trained. They imposed horrorand they bring a strong weapon: the castle. Castles were the centres of power and terror, and they allowed thedomination of the land around. So, the first thing after winning at Hastings or at any other place was alwaysbuilding a castle; it was build in wood in one day, and later the wooden walls were replaced by stone wallsand other elements were added.Normans imposed their law, culture, power and language (old English becomes the language of the poorpeople and it is culturally relegated; the language of the new aristocracy were Latin and French).The problem of Normans was that they had divided loyalties: since they had lands both in Normandy and inEngland, they had duties with the French king and with the English king, William I, and they didnt knowwhether to defend England of France.Even William, who was also Duke of Normandy, was then subjectof the French king. Thats the origin of theconflict between the two crowns.With feudalism, the king needed to know how much their lands produced so that he could impose taxes with acertain degree of justice. Taxation appeared; it was a system by which royal officers went through the countiescollecting the taxes. The "Doomsday Book" was the book in which they took note of the taxes. It was called"Doomsday Book" because for some of them it was their last day.When William died in 1087, he left the Duchy of Normandy for his elder son, Robert, and England forWilliam, but his youngest son Henry didnt receive anything at all.When Robert went to fight the Muslims in the Holy Land (the crusades), he left his brother William II incharge of Normandy. But William II died in a suspicious hunting accident in 1100. He had not married and 5
  6. 6. didnt have any heirs, so Henry decided to take the English crown. Since his brother Robert was coming backfrom the crusades, Henry, who had been with William a t the time of the accident, acted quickly and wascrowned king: Henry I. His brother Robert tried to invade England, but it was a completely failure and hereturned to Normandy. But Henry I knew that lots of the nobles want to win back their Norman lands, so heinvades Normandy and captured Robert. Normandy and England were reunited under one ruler.Henry I solved the quarrel about investitures between the State and the Church, and he did his best to keeppeace between Normandy and England. There were many ups and downs during this time. Henry Is mostimportant aim was to leave everything to his daughter Matilda (who was married to the Duke of Anjou, inFrance). There had been no queens in England before because it was a male universe. The nobility rejectedMatilda as a queen and defended the candidature of Stephen of Blois, who was Henrys nephew and was inBoulogne, nearer England. It was the beginning of a period called "The 19 Winters" because most of the yearswere dominated by a civil war between Stephen and Matilda. Finally, in 1153, both sides agreed that Stephencould keep the throne but only if Matildas son, Henry, could succeed him. Stephen died the following yearand England and the lands in France (Normandy, Anjou) were united under Henry II.Henry II was probably the strongest king in medieval British history. He was just 19 when he received thecrown. By his marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine, he obtained much more possessions south of Anjou. Anyway,Henry II was still a subject of the King of France, although he was stronger.Henry II was a great political organiser. Thanks to him England had a well judicial system organisation: hemade the "Assize of Clarendon", which was the origin of the "Common Law"; it guarantied justice to all thesubjects.The only problem was that the religious figures possessed their own Common Law. Thomas Beckett defendedthe rights of the religious to have their own law, but the king killed him. This problem wont be solved duringHenry IIs reign.Historically, Ireland has been very much a marginal land. The Church punished Henry II withexcommunication for murdering Thomas Becket. Henry II had to pay a fine consisting in receiving 100 lashesin public, and he was offered to command an army on crusade, which he did against his desires. Ireland wasoccupied and it became a duchy. This was the first state of colonisation, and thats the reason why there aremany Irish surnames (like Fidtgerald) with a Norman origin.What we know as the "Irish problem" started then, in the XII Century. When Henry III died, the land had tobe divided: the throne was first for his son Richard I ("The Lionheart") and then to his other son John("Lackland").Richard I only spent six months in England, a fact that shows how disastrous he was. John was worst thanhim and all his decisions were terrible for England; he was called "Lackland" because he lost all his fatherspossessions. Nobility also lost many territories, so they fought against John and forced him to sign the "MagnaCarta" (also called the "Charter of English liberties"); thanks to it the rights of the crown were regulated. ButJohns son, Henry III, didnt accept the terms of the "Magna Carta" and he founded the Parliament.The Parliament brought a time of splendour for the British Empire. Henrys descendants, Edward I andEdward II tried to conquer Wales and Scotland, (but both suffered an enormous defeat in Scotland).This was the time of "The Hundred Years War", which was a period dominated by the struggle betweenEngland and France. It was, in fact, a time with many periods of war. Englands troubles with France resultedfrom the French kings growing authority in France, and his determination to control all this nobles, becausethose who had lands in England (even the king of England) refused to recognise the French kingsovelordship. This war can be divided in two parts: the first half of the XIV century and the second half. 6
  7. 7. The first part of the struggle started during the reign of Edward III. Those were years of victory for Britain(battle of Poitiers), and England conquered many new territories from France. War became a business formany people.The reason for this success is mainly military training. Some years ago, England had learned terrible lessonsin Scotland and Wales, when England tried to dominate them. In the case of Wales, England had succeeded,but not in the case of Scotland (battle of "Bannockbum"); Scotland and England had become then enemies.After this defeat, England developed a new kind of war (being lightly armed and quickly in movement wascrucial), which was very effective in France. Its most important weapon was the Welsh longbow, used bymost of the ordinary footsoldiers. But when the French army learnt these techniques, things changed.Another important reason for Englands success was the changing in the feudal services of the early days(taxes and men for the war), that were in fact a deficient system because the men for the war werentprofessionals. Then the king decided to collect more money instead of men for the war. With this money, hecould pay professional soldiers, who were entirely dedicated to war.In the second part of the XVI century, France adopted new military techniques, and it was united as a nation.Soon France conquered back all the territories that England had won during the first part of the straggle,excepting Calais. Its the time of the French splendour, because France is fighting at its own territory, it isunited as a nation and it has new tactics of war.From 1348 to 1349 war was interrupted due to the "Black Death" (bubonic plague), which was a devastatorillness which could killed half the population of a country in one year. In the case of England, the effects wereterrible, causing a grave depopulation. After the "Black Death", the nation was weaker than France, which hadrecovered better and faster. This was another reason for the emerge of France.The moment that England started to suffer defeats, the initial unity between crown and nobility collapsed,which the brief exception of the reign of Henry V (who had some success). Theres a panorama of disruptionwhich causes a civil war in England, "The War of the Roses" (its called like that because the roses were inthe emblems of the houses of York and Lancaster, the two leaders of the straggle). It began with a "coupdetat", and the crown changed from the York house to the Lancaster house. Lancaster thought they could dobetter at France, but for they couldnt, York fought back. All the houses of Britain fought in the two blocks.This period was closed in 1485 in the battle of Bosworth, fought between Richard III (York) and Henry VIII(Lancaster), where Richard III was killed and Henry VIII became the king. Later, Henry VIII married to aprincess of the house of York to bring peace and unity to both houses. It brought a new dynasty of kings, theTudor, which will last more for more than a century.The beginning of the Renaissance in Britain is marked by the battle of Bosworth. The most important kingsand queens during this time (1485−1603) were Henry VIII (first part of the XVI), Mary (central XVI) andElizabeth I (last years of XVI).The situation of England at the beginning of the XVI century is the following: it had suffered a civil war, itwas surrounded by enemies (Scotland and France) and it was very weak in Europe. In the XVII century,England started the expansion overseas and colonise America, becoming a colonial power. Its in the XVIIcentury when the United Kingdom is founded, including the adhesion of Scotland. And it is also a culturallyimportant time (Shakespeare,...).Henry VIII was, at the beginning, a defender of the Catholic Church (he even wrote a book against MartinLuther). But this changed with the problem of his succession: Henrys first wife, Catherine of Aragon, gavehim no male heir but a daughter, Mary. Henry wanted a boy desperately so he tried to persuade the pope toallow him to divorce from Catherine. But the pope was controlled by Charles V, who was king Holy RomanEmperor and king of Spain, and also Catherines nephew; for both political and family reasons he wanted 7
  8. 8. Henry to stay married to Catherine. In 1527 the pope was caught and locked in the castle of Sant Angelo inRome, and so he was forced to forbid Henrys divorce.Another problem was the financial situation, which had deteriorated along the years. Henry had too manybusinesses to pay, while the English Church was rich (it possessed a fifth of all the wealth at the country).Henry took then the decision of creating his own Church, and be the head of the Church to gave to himself thedivorce. He created then the Anglican Church, widely Protestant, of which Henry VIII was the supreme head.Everyone in England was obliged to make the Oath of Supremacy: they had to swear that they wanted Henryas the supreme head of the Church. When he gave himself the divorce, he married Anne Boleyn. He alsomade the dissolution of the monasteries, which meant that all the lands of the Church went to Henrys hands.This was a tremendous tragedy for thousands of people who worked as religious figures (most of thembecame beggars), and despite the fact that the population accepted Henry, a number of catholic ritualsremained (Northern regions of England suffered the Pilgrimage of Grace, because they went against Henry).England became again a very wealthy kingdom thanks to the appropriation of the richness of the Church.Anne Boleyn gave Henry a daughter, Elizabeth, but not a male child. It was his third wife (Jane Seymour)who gave him a boy, Edward, but she died during the birth.When Henry VIII died, in 1547, there were three legitimate candidates for the crown: Mary, Elizabeth andEdward. Edward became king simply because he was a man. Edward VI followed the line of his father, butthe two girls were different, since Mary was a catholic (because her mother was it) and Elizabeth was aprotestant. There was then an uncertain future in religious terms.Politically, Edward VI was the supreme ruler of England, and he had plans for expansion that would nevercome true. He was very young and sick, and he finally died in 1553, provoking a problem of successionbecause or the different religion of the legitimate heirs (Mary was Catholic and Elizabeth was Protestant).Mary was crowned queen, and she made England return to Catholicism. She imposed this religion in a verycruel manner; thats why she was called Bloody Mary. It was a time of instability, in the point of a civil war.Mary died in 1558, and her sister Elizabeth becomes queen of England the following year.Elizabeth I represented the union of the two roses, Lancaster and York. For years, she never showed clearly ifshe supported Catholicism or Protestantism, which brought peace and stability to the country.Elizabeth I became a kind of Goddess in Earth thanks to the official propaganda. She was the symbol of purityand virginity. Some historians consider that she occupied the place that the elimination of Virgin Mary intimes of Henry VIII had left. Even the official pictures of Elizabeth I are perfectly studied: they dont have anyshadow and show a queen who never becomes elder. This propaganda allowed a feeling of unity and stability.At given times, Elizabeth I was shown to the public in processes along the reign, to make the population feelthat they were seeing a living goddess. These were very elaborated rituals with the idea of promoting herimage.The reason for this propaganda was fear. It wasnt in fact a golden age (excepting the cultural life) as somehistorians say; England had serious problems. The state elaborated the myth of Elizabeth I to keep peoplequiet and united around her figure. There were two main reasons for the English fear: Europe and the problemof religion.For understanding the fear of Europe we need to go back in past. The Spanish possessions in the LowCountries had became rebelled in 1556, and Spain wanted to defend Catholicism and to recover the controlover them. The king of Spain, Philip II, needed then to send troops and money to the Low Countries, but therewas a part of the sea dominated by France (which was an enemy). Philip II, by his marriage to the Englishqueen Mary, had achieved the guarantee that his ships could take refuge in England. But when Mary died and 8
  9. 9. Elizabeth I came to the throne, she declared Protestantism and, gradually, Spain became an enemy. Spanishships had to follow then a larger and more expensive route, the Spanish route (Cartagena>Naples>Milan>LowCountries). Thats why Philip II decided to invade England, which is the origin of the English fear in times ofElizabeth I.Another reason for fear was the question of religion. Although Elizabeth I had declared Protestantism, theywere lots of Catholic people. From 1568 the queen of Scotland, Mary Stuart, who was catholic and legitimateheir to the throne, had been kept prisoner in England by order of Elizabeth I. Soon the Catholics, assisted bySpain, decided to kill Elizabeth I so that Mary could heritage the throne, but hey failed in the four occasionsthey tried. In 1587 Elizabeth gave the order of executing Mary Stuart; this was a disaster not only for EnglishCatholics, but for Spain also. As a result, in 1588 Philip II decides to invade England and then catch thethrone with the enterprise of The Armada. It was a complete failure, which marked the starting point of theSpanish decline and the English growth. But the problem had not still been solved, and Philip II tried it againand again, although he never succeeded.The new Spanish strategy was using Ireland as a back door to attack and conquer England. At that time,Ireland was a tribal society, divided into clans in which the majority was Catholic. The idea was to promote aninternal acceptation of the Spanish invasion to then jump into England. Since this situation was extremelydangerous for the country, England was forced to take an action in Ireland: the immediate colonisation ofIreland. It was a brutal and savage colonisation, in which Irish Catholics suffered a lot. When Elizabeth diedin 1608, England had planted new people in two conflictive areas: the Ulster plantation (North) and theMunster plantation (South). That meant that lands belonging to Catholics had been given to Protestantfamilies, so Catholic population was expelled and a new artificial Protestant population was created. Thats theorigin of the Irish problem.At the end, although the propaganda Elizabeths counsellors had been effective to success in the crisis, theentire thing collapsed when the queen died, giving birth to the civil war that had been postponed for years.The tension between Spain and England, which hadnt finish with the failure of The Armada, decreased in1604, because both Philip II and Elizabeth I had died; from that time onwards, there is peace between the twocountries.Since Elizabeth I had died without leaving any heirs, a new dynasty came to the throne: the Stuart. Elizabeth Ihad executed Mary Stuart (queen of Scotland), but she had a son who was alive. He was James VI ofScotland, who became King James I of England. The Stuart dynasty is going to dominate the XVII century,which can be divided in 3 periods: • James I, Charles I • Civil Wars • Charles II, James IIOne of the characteristics of the Stuart Kings was that they gradually became inclined to Catholicism. James Iwas totally protestant; Charles I was protestant but married a catholic; Charles II was secretly a catholic andJames II was openly catholic. Religion is then one of the great problems of the Stuart dynasty, because theirinclination towards Catholicism made them little popular. Although in times of James I the Catholic Churchwas considered an enemy, the later inclination to Catholicism was probably due to political interests;Catholicism was the faith of European absolutist monarchs, so Stuarts saw in this religion a support forabsolutism.Another common feature was their tendency towards absolutism. It the case of England, absolutism waspractically impossible, because the decisions of the king were always controlled by Parliament. But Stuartdynasty came from Scotland, where the king was the absolute ruler, and therefore they wanted to declare 9
  10. 10. absolutism.The situation went worth as the time passed. James I had accepted the supervision of Parliament, but CharlesI decided to rule in his own and closed it. The result was the First Civil War, in which King Charles I andParliament were confronted. Parliament won the struggle, and Charles I was executed. This was the fistofficial execution of a king, because he hadnt respected the rights of Parliament.But this execution provoked a convulsion in the population, because it was popularly believed that James Iand Charles I had a sort of miraculous nature. This instability provoked the Second Civil War, whichconfronted those who wanted to go ahead without a monarchy (called Puritans, Roundheads or Republicans)and those who wanted a restoration of the monarchy (called Realist Parliamentarians). This second war haddevastating effects, and the winner were the Puritans or Radicals, commanded by Oliver Cromwell. He gavehimself the title of Lord Protector of the Commonwealth. Thats why England is called Protectorate underhis rule.In 1568 Oliver Cromwell died. A minority wanted to declare his son new Lord Protector, but the majoritywanted Charles II (Charles Is son) to come back from France where he was refugee. So, in 1616 themonarchy is restorated with Charles II: its the Restoration.The Whigs were a group of MPs who were afraid of an absolute monarchy, and of the Catholic faithconnected with it, so they didnt want Charles as a king. They were opposed by the Tories, who upheld theauthority of the Crown and the Church, although they believed that kings authority depended upon theconsent of Parliament.Charles II was politically fool and he followed the style of his father. He secretly supported Catholicism andput some catholics in his government, which implied corruption. He wasnt in fact very popular to the people.When Charles II died, the crown passed to his brother James II, who was openly catholic and wanteddesperately to declare Catholicism in England. It was the most unpopular measure in English history, and in1668 he had to abandon the country by popular demand and take refuge in France. This event is called theBloodless Revolution or Glorious Revolution, because it was pacific and popular.A new king is then called to the country: William de Orange, who was king of Holland and was married toone of James IIs daughters. He was also the official defender of Protestantism, so in Ireland, which had beentraditionally catholic, there were people ready to fight against the new king (the Jacobites, defenders of JamesII). There was then a Jacobite rebellion, but they were defeated by the protestants (defenders of William deOrange) in the Battle of the Boyne.The XVII th century its the first time in which we can talk about the United Kingdom. The idea of the UnitedKingdom comes from the past, but its in the XVII th century when there is a real political union representedin the new king, James I, who was at the same time king of England (including Wales and Ireland) and ofScotland.But in fact there was not a total political union, because there was division caused by the problems of religion:England and Wales had become Anglicans, England was still very Puritan, Scotland was Presbyterian andIreland was Catholic. This diversity of religions caused problems (like the expulsion of Catholics fromIreland) and were the seed of later problems (problem of Northern Ireland).Another important question in the XVII th century was the expansion and growth of colonialism, that hadbegan in times of Elizabeth I (with the first colonial voyages by Sir Walter Ralegh and Francis Drake). Withthe Stuart monarchy, the foundation of the first British Empire takes place (by the end of the XVII th century,England has 13 colonies). But across the Atlantic, there was the same religious division that there was in the 10
  11. 11. U.K. There were three main reasons for starting the race of colonialism: wealth, population and the officialpropaganda. • Wealth. Spain was at that time a colonial force, and it was the mirror everyone looked at, because thanks to its colonies it had obtain tremendous economical benefits. America was then a kind of golden cake where Europeans searched for gold and silver (e.g.: legend of El Dorado). • Population. By the beginning of the XVII th century, England was overpopulated. This implied a growth in crime, unemployment and housing necessity. Colonialism was then seen as an answer to these problems: colonies we the place for those people who were out of society (criminals, religious dissenters...). • Official propaganda showed colonies as place where a new beginning was possible to everyone who worked hard. This propaganda attracted many people at the U.K. who had nothing at all, and could search for a new status in the colonies. Thats the origin of the American dream: anyone can build himself a new life, independently from his origin. So, both the government and the people in search for opportunities didnt matter if there were any natives in the land.The problem with colonialism was the location of the new colonies. When Britain started the colonialist race,Spain controlled South America, some places of North America and the old possessions of Portugal in theEast. So, the only place where Britain could place its colonies was the empty lands of North America. Theystarted then in Rhode Island, in the coast. But this provoked several fights against Spain, because it wasconsidered that America was only for Spain (the Pope had given the land to Spain in the Tratado deTordesillas). Most of the struggles in Europe in the XVII th century had a colonial reason, because England,France and Holland were trying to start a colonial empire, and Spain defended its territories (e.g. War of theThirty Days). In these wars, England gained more colonies, like Jamaica (occupied by Cromwell).The question of colonialism in the XVII th century is also the cause of latter struggles between England andFrance (e.g.: Napoleonic wars as Trafalgar), because they both had an increasing power (since Spain andHolland were in decline).The First Civil War is the reason of the cultural tragedy of the XVII th century. When Puritans won this war,all the theatres were closed, and it was the end of the golden age of Shakespeare and Marlowe. With theRestoration in 1616 there was a revival in culture, although the level in drama was not the same as before. Butthanks to Charles II there was a second golden age in music, architecture, painting, literature, and science.From the year 1714 onwards the Hanover *dynasty would rule England. This dynasty had a German origin,and it is known as the dynasty of the Georges. The XVIIIth century was characterised by the expansionismand the lost of colonies.By the year 1773, England was the first colonial empire in the world. The whole century would be full of warsbetween France and Spain (the Bourbon Dynasty) and between England and Holland. In both cases, one of theblocks is catholic, whereas the other one is protestant. Wars of the XVIIIth century are different than before:they are long campaigns, with many different battlefields, and they become international. Wars are fought inEurope and in the colonies; they are highly positive for England. • In the case of the Spanish Succession, England captured the territories of Minorca, Gibraltar and Canada. • In North America, England occupied 13 colonies (all the eastern coast) and Canada (war of Spanish succession). As a result, by the year 1773 England was the only power present in North America. • In Central America, England got the Caribbean Sea (Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados), which was a very strategic place. • In South America, there was an agreement with Spain, called the Asiento, by which England merchants could sell products to the Spaniards. This trade with South America allowed England to 11
  12. 12. sell slaves in America. • In Asia, since the Spanish colonies disappeared, England got India, Sri Lanka, and some commercial links with China. • In the Mediterranean Sea, England occupied Minorca and Gibraltar (war of Spanish succession), which were of commercial importance. • In Africa, it occupied commercial positions like the Cape of Good Hope and St. Helena. These were strategic territories that guard the rout to India. • In Australia and Tazmania, Captain Cook took some territories.But in the year 1773, the loss of colonies started and it culminated in 1776 with the declaration ofindependence in America. That was a terrible loss after a war between the colonies and the Mother Country,sort of a civil war. There are three main reasons for this quarrel: • Structure of the Empire. The whole British Empire was organised centrally, from London. England imposed hard conditions to the colonies about farming, industry and taxes, and none of them had degree of autonomy. All the products were taxed in England, so this tremendous taxation was good for England, but not for the colonies. As a result, the claim of the colonies would be No taxation without representation. • Absence of danger. The danger of France for the colonies had been expelled by 1773, so American colonies had a degree of security. • George IIs policy decided not to let such liberty to America. This was a royal mistake, and the idea of the Empire disappeared.The loss of the American colonies marked the end of an age and the beginning of another. One of theconsequences was an important reversal in economy. The other one was the French Revolution (1789). TheFrench Revolution took the example of the American colonies and their democratic principles (the idea offighting the inequality of American citizens in respect to their metropolis). The idea of get independencewithout an unfair king or system was a bomb that influenced the French Revolution. It was the end of anancien regine and the emerge of a new figure, Napoleon. This would be the period of the Napoleonic Warsbetween France and England.The XVIIIth century marks also the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. By the time that the NapoleonicWars ended (Waterloo, 1815), England was fully industrialised. It was a gradual develop due to variousreasons:• The demographic growth in second half of the century meant a bigger market than ever before and plenty of cheap labour. This growth can be explained by the improvement of life conditions, although there were in fact great differences between England and Ireland. The real reason for this demographic growth seems to be the bigger birth rate, caused to a mayor availability of goods (and allowed this by the Agrarian Revolution).• The previous Agrarian Revolution > more births > Industrial R. The boom in science in this century caused the introduction of new crops, breading experiments, change in techniques of manure...and all of this made the agrarian production increase.• The Transport Revolution was necessary for transporting the production. A new net of roads were built thanks to private companies (turnpikes). Citizens had to pay a toll for using those roads. For the fist time, all the industrial centres were communicated by a radial system with centre in London. In this time, also a new huge net of canals were built to allowed an easier transport of products. The people who built these canals, the navvies, constructed later on the railway. These new roads and canals transformed the English landscape, and the system was exported to the colonies and other countries.• The Technical Revolution transformed the means of production. In England, it affected the most important industrial sectors: textile and iron.• In the textile sector, the introduction of the Spinning Jenn (a spinning machine operated by one man that 12
  13. 13. made the work of 12 men) allowed a bigger production. But then more cotton was needed, and the commerce with the USA was re−established. At the end of the XVIIIth century, England became the main producer and exporter of cloth in the world.• In the iron sector, the steam engines and the use of coal as new source of energy made the production of iron increase; England became the first producer in the world.Industries were to be found in the North and West of England, where a number of towns increased theirpopulation (Liverpool, Sheffield, Newcastle...). They were the backbone of the Industrial Revolution; in thiscities industrial slums (suburbs) appeared, where people lived in miserable conditions.As a result, the wealthiest country in the world at the end of the XVIIIth century had a part of its population inmiserable life conditions. Distances between poor and rich people increased enormously and the clime was ofunrest, which was the seed for a possible social revolution. But before, there are several questions to take intoaccount.The battle of Waterloo (1815) was very important for England, because it meant the final defeat of Napoleon,the end of Napoleonic Wars (which had started in the final years of the XVIIIth century) and it marked theconsolidation of the second English Empire. There were three main reasons for the English victory inWaterloo:• Napoleon own mistakes guided by his ambitions. Both the Russian and the Spanish campaign had been disasters that weakened Napoleons power.• Crucial role of the English navy, commanded by Nelson (death in the battle of Trafalgar). The well situation of the navy allowed England to be present in different stages and to make a naval blockade. This naval blockade was proved to be very effective to maintain the international trade by sea, whereas trade in France was restricted to the land.• The industrialisation of England, which allowed a massive production of coal, iron and cloth. These products were in many cases exported, and they gave an enormous profit although those were times of war. By 1851 England was fully industrialised.England was then the wealthiest and more industrialised country in the world. These was shown to the rest ofthe world during The Great Exhibition (1851, Victorian times), which took place at The Crystal Palace inLondon. It was a symbol of English industrial power: even the Crystal Palace was an industrial revolution,since it was the first pre−fabricated building.But this had a terrible dark side behind: millions of inhabitants of the wealthiest country were the poorestpeople in the world. These people worked in terrible conditions, because work and production was based onthe effort and suffering of many people who worked for low rages, all days of the week (except Sundays) andwith a terrible schedule.The pressure of working masses obliged the government to make a new law in 1842 to introduce newmeasures in working conditions: The Great Reform. This law not only provoked changes, but it also showedthe miserable working conditions and life (e.g. children from 5 years old were working for 60−70 hours aweek in mines, there were no hygienic conditions...). Some of the changes of The Great Reform were: • No children under nine could work in mines. • No children under ten could work in textile factories. • Hour of working was limited to 55 hours a wee.This law opened the way to many Reforming Groups which were trying to improve working conditions. Themost important of them was Chartism; this group produced a document called The Charter of Rights whichwas not accepted by the government. Some of the petitions were: 13
  14. 14. • Universal male suffrage (at those times, only men who could prove they had a regular income could vote, so workers were excluded). • Representation in Parliament (to be an MP men had to prove they had a high income, so only high classes could be members). • Right of association (workers needed to associate to get improvements in their conditions, but it was forbidden; the bobbies as a special police force created at those times to control worker reunions, specially in industrial towns). • Redistribution of seats in Parliament (each city had a given number of seats, but the fast growth of population in industrial areas provoked that cities as Manchester had less seats than another ones less populated; the solution to this unfair situation was then to give more seats to the more densely populated areas).The social pressure was then very strong, and it could have been a social revolution if it hadnt appear therailway.The railway not only made distances smaller and travels faster, but it also caused the creation of employmentthat alleviated the social pressure because millions of people could then get a job (even when the railway wasexported). So, it can be said that the railway saved England form a social revolution.But the workers situation wasnt the same in all places belonging to the English crown, especially in Ireland.Between 1845 and 1850 Ireland lost three million people: 1.5 or 2 million emigrated, and 1 or 1.5 million diedfor starvation. These were called in Ireland The Famine Years, because the basic diet for most Irish in thosedays were potatoes (because they didnt have money for anything more). And the worst thing came when in1845 the potato crop is destroyed by a killer fungus, so there was nothing to eat. There is important to takeinto account that Ireland was in fact a great producer of milk, butter, cereals, etc., but they were not given tothe Irish people because the production was given to commerce (following the policy of laissez faire). As aresult, millions of people died from starvation and those who had an opportunity emigrated.This policy was the biggest English mistake in Ireland, and it is still remembered as a great attack to Irishpeople. This situation explains the presence of Ireland in USA and Canada (New York is called in Ireland thenext parish).This terrible event caused the born of secret societies which were given money from abroad to prepare theindependence of Ireland, most of them were catholic, like the I.R.B. or Irish Republic Brotherool (later on theIRA).But apart from violent groups as the IRB, there were also some political groups in the second half of theXIXth century that searched for a peaceful answer to the Irish problem. The idea was to get the Home Rule,which was a kind of self−government, but it was denied during all XIXth by England. This situation explainsthe origin of Sinn Fein (Ourselves Alone), a political group that defended the Home Rule.The question of Home Rule has to do with the Famine Years, because after that terrible situation, Irish peopleconsidered that, since they didnt get any advantage from being part of England, it was better to beindependent.The question of Ireland shows the two faces of England during the XIXth century: although England was themost powerful nation in the world, the problem of Ireland was still there.The world during the second half of the XIXth century was in a very complex situation, full with conflictsdue to a colonial reason. The situation of England as the most powerful country made the internationalrelations very difficult, and the English colonial empire suffer lots of conflicts: 14
  15. 15. • The Opium War, the Far East (1840s), which confronted England with China. England had at those times some commercial stations in China, but wanted to improve the trade, using opium as currency (China had at those days a great demand of it although it was not legal, and England could grow it in other parts of the empire). When Chinese authorities tried to stop the illegal trade of opium, the confrontation with England started.At the end, both nations got to an arrangement: England wouldnt use opium as currency, but it got morecommercial stations. • The Crimean War, Africa (1854), which confronted England with Russia. This war had its origin in the problem of the declining state of the Turkish Empire, because then a number of nations wanted to gain some territorial gains with its collapse. Russia was the most important of them (it was known as The Bear), but if Russia got strategic territories, the situation for some English colonies would be very dangerous. When Russia got Afghanistan (in the Peninsula of Crimea), India (the Jew of the Crown for England) was then in a very serious danger of being attacked by Russia. The confrontation started then: England, with the support of France and Turkey, fought against Russia.The Crimean War was a failure for England and it had a terrible cost. It proved that English army need tochange its tactics and techniques, which hadnt changed from times of Waterloo.It was also the first war in which the figure of the war correspondent appeared, and that allowed the Englishpublic to be more concerned about the suffering of their troops. This increasing concern was the reason whyFlorence Nightingale, Flo, created the first group of military nurses, which later on would became the RedCross. • The Indian Mutiny, 1857. India was the principle English possession, where English rule was extended all over the country, even beyond places like Khabul and Jallalabad (Afghanistan). The territory was massive, so England couldnt control it using only its own troops, and it was obliged to form a native force; the result was of 40 thousand English troops and 500 thousand native troops.England had already started to westernise India, which included, for example, the imposition of English as theofficial language, the massive construction of railways and the suppression of native traditions and customsthat the English considered savages. This imposition provoked a gap between the English and the Indiansocieties, which exploded in 1857 with a rebellion of native troops, The Mutiny.England suppressed the mutiny but the cost was high, and distances between both populations growth.England started a new policy of imposition of power, because India was a possession that the governmentwanted to keep at all costs. • Conflict of Afghanistan, 1880s. England was very aware of the Russian expansion, which had got very near to the Indian frontier. England then extended the British rule to the North of India, Afghanistan, to stand the line of defend far away from India. Another reason was that Afghanistan produced lots of opium, of which England could make use to commerce with China.But it was a very difficult area to maintain, and in the Kabul disaster (1883) the city was taken by the nativepopulation, so England had to retreat its frontieres. • Africa was the great cake of those years, waiting to be divided among the colonial powers, although there was already some European presence. Basically, the whole continent was unknown, and the religious or reporters expeditions (e.g. Livinstone) began to discover its richness in natural resources like rubber, gold, diamonds, agriculture... 15
  16. 16. The division of Africa was made peacefully in the assemblies of the Partition of Africa, and the results were: • Congo was given at personal title to the king of Belgium (a little important colonial power), so private companies could operate freely. • German, who wanted to be a colonial power, got some territories. • The partition didnt take into account the native population, which was a tribal society. This artificial partition created great problems between tribes that still have effects in our days. • England occupied a good position both in the North and in the South, forming a belt of territories. They were very strategic areas: South Africa (capital Cape Town) and Egypt (the Suez Canal, whose control allowed a shorter voyage to India).By the partition of Africa (1878−1914), Great Britain added 12,173,000 Km2 to their possessions. So, it wasthe greatest imperial power at the time, with most of their possessions placed in Africa. The basiccharacteristics of British presence in Africa were:• The presence is much more extended in the east than in the west, with the establishment of commercial companies (East Africa Company, directed by Gen Mackenzie).• A division between north and south can be made, although the supreme interest of Great Britain was to create a belt of territories to unite north and south. That division was due to the presence of Germany, which had increased its colonial power by the end of the XIXth century.Germany, in order to establish a connection with the Turkish Empire, created the Germane−Turkish railway(from Berlin to Baghdad). But this was a threat to the British empire.• The massive presence of Great Britain in the south of Africa encouraged the creation of the South Africa Company, commanded by Cecil Rhodes.The only territories in the south that didnt belong to Great Britain were two islands (Transvaal and OrangeFree State), that belonged to Holland. The inhabitants of those lands were called Boers, and their society wasbasically agricultural.The problem arose at the end of the XIXth century, because of the discover of diamonds and of gold mines atthose Dutch territories. De Veer (Dutch) argued that Holland should firmly maintain the monopoly ofdiamonds, but Great Britain was very much interested in annexing those territories.This situation provoked the Boer War, won by Great Britain. Consequences: • It was a serious war that caused sufferings and loses. • Germany proved to be an active imperial power. • Great Britain annexed the territories, although British and Boer societies agreed to co−rule the land. But this leaded to another problem, the exclusion of the black society: the Apartheid system. Great Britain is then the responsible for the building of concentration camps in South AfricaThe colonial question was the main factor which provoked a destructive event in history: THE I WORLDWAR, 1914−1919.Origin.The colonial question had to do with the development of Germany as a colonial power during the end of theXIXth century. Germany, in order to expand and have an empire, started a process of re−armament. TheGerman objective was to conquer lands in the Turkish Empire, so the country took action in the Balkans andNear East, which were crucial territories. 16
  17. 17. But Germany became a threat for England when they occupied some places in the Low Countries, too near theBritish Isles. England decided then to jump into war against Germany.The I World War had been announced through all the conflicts of the XIXth century, and people like Engelshad tried to avoid it with their texts (XVIIIth century).In fact, the war was something that a number of nations were looking forward. For example, the text of Engelsshows those were times of general happiness, that has to do with the national pride of England and Germany.The war was then a way of showing which country had the supremacy. It was an example of theNeo−Darwinism or survival of the fittest, applied to the human society.In the I World War, it is important the influence of industrialisation. All industries were put in service to war,making new weapons like tanks or gas. Their effects were devastating to all nations, and practically ageneration disappeared in this war.There was also a general state of bankruptcy in Europe, due to the relations established between the countriesin conflict.The Treaty of Versailles put an end to the war. It was agreed by the winners of the war that the debt should bepaid by Germany, the looser. Terrible conditions were then imposed to Germany, that suffered the worstinflation in the history of the world. In the long run, it is a fact that explains the II World War.In the Treaty of Versailles Germany lost the Alsace and Lorraine, its colonies, and territories in Poland,including some productive areas. Germany lost 6500 km2 of its possessions.Concerning the army, Germany could not maintain an army superior to 100000 men, with no artillery, notanks and no submarines, just light infantry.In this treaty, a the principle of war guilt was imposed, so Germany had to pay to the winners as acompensation for the war (100000 million marks in gold). This money was not paid regularly, so in a fewyears the Valley of the Ruhr, which was the most industrial area of Germany, was taken.As a consequence of the Treaty of Versailles, the German inflation increased in the 20s, so Germanpopulation suffered miserable conditions. There was a feeling of hurt pride that made the Nazism appear. TheMein Kampf and Hitlers figure emerged with the support of millions of German people. These were ideas ofracial superiority, need of expansion, national pride and unity... a message that the country wanted to hear.Nazism gave hopes to the Germans, so the development of this group by the late 30s was tremendous and itcouldnt be stopped.The prize that England had to pay for the war was high: many colonies assisted England during the war andthey wanted recognition. Its the case of Ireland, where the Home Rule Bill had to be studied again. Englandthen gave a partial independence, making a partition of the Irish island in two halves: Northern Ireland and theRepublic of Ireland. The partition in fact was problematic from the very beginning. The ones who wanted theunity were basically the Protestant population of Northern Ireland (unionists), which were a majority in thatarea. They wanted to stay united to England because they were a minority in the whole Ireland.The majority of this area was due to the plantations made in the XVIIIth century, the Munster and Ulster. TheMunster was a territory that never had got progress, so they wanted a union with England. On the contrary, themajority of the Irish people wanted the Home Rule Bill. England gave independence to the whole country, butthen the Unionists fought against it and finally, Ireland got a partial independence.But in the south of Ireland, a civil war started between Unionists and Independents. One Independent was 17
  18. 18. Michael Collins, who created the IRA. It was a terrible war for Ireland, which suffered many miseries.The idea of setting London as the operational centre of a Club of Nations (being the Queen or King its topfigure) took form at those years. The ancient English Empire turned into the Commonwealth. Its principleswere equality between nations and helping each other to maintain the empire. That was the prize that Englandhad to pay for their mistakes in Ireland, Australia, etc. The financial and economical effects were good,because still nowadays New Zealand depends on the United Kingdom, and the Queen of England is also, intheory, Queen of Australia.THE II WORLD WAR (1940−1945)The conflict was more international than the I World War. The Allies (England, France, Russia and USA)were confronted with the Axis (Germany, Italy and Japan).The cost of the war (toll) was great: millions of civilian lives were lost, and this war showed its most horribleaspect in tragedies like Hiroshima, the bombing of London, Nagasaki...The consequence of the II World War as a world disrupted. Economically, it was even worst. Roosevelt,Stalin and Churchill became the leaders after the war. It was also the end of the imperial dream, because itwas evident then that it was an enormous paradox. England was not an empire ever after.By 1945 the world was divided between USA and the communist Russia: these were the years of the cold warbetween the two contenders.RELIGIONThe predominant religion through British History is Christianity, which was first brought by the Romans. TheRoman emperor Constantine was the first one to give Christianity as the official religion of his empire, and itwas one of the great legacies of the Romans. By the time they left, in the IVth century, part of the British Isleshad been christianised.But before the IV th century, there were several religious beliefs to take into account.• THE EARLY TIMES (BEFORE IVth)The earliest occupations were as a rule of small groups of hunters and gatherers moving from place to placeand leaving few traces. Probably, they venerated the sun and the moon. Also, as Robert Graves argues, theyprobably venerated a mother goddess, because many archaeological rests in Europe represent a female figurewith a prominent womb, which can be seen as a cult of fertility. In the case of Ireland, this female figure isstill present in its name, Erin, which derives from Erinia, their mother goddess.The first archaeological traces appear when the hunters and gatherers settle down. Then, the cult of the deathappears, bringing the first burial monuments with it. In the case of Britain, the first burial monuments are whatwe call the Round Chambers, which were cameras surrounded by walls of stones and covered with earth.There are two kinds of chambers: simple round chamber (spread in Maes House) and round chamber with acorridor or passage (spread in Newgrange).These structures have to do with early beliefs. In the case of the round chambers with a corridor, morecomplex than the simple ones, the chamber is illuminated by the sun once a year during a moment, in thesolstice of winter. The conclusion is that this early people had some astronomical knowledge. When talkingabout these first inhabitants, we are talking about Iberians, which must have had some knowledge ofnavigation to reach the British Isles. Then, when they settled down, this astronomical knowledge remained in 18
  19. 19. their cult.These monuments made of stone are typical of megalithic times, similar to the dolmens in the IberianPeninsula. • Stonehenge and the Stone Circles.We know few things about these monuments. In a way, they are connected with the Round Chambers, buttheir purpose was not burial. The case of Stonehenge is still very mysterious, because in fact it is formed bytwo circles.This mysterious form has caused several definitions of Stonehenge through history. • A visual monument of Dracontia (XVIIIth century), because it should represent the shape of a snake. This theory has been rejected because there are no evidences. • It had to do with the Circle of King Arthur and the legend about Merlin petrifying giants who had come from Ireland (Medieval times). But we have stone circles also in Ireland, generally facing the Atlantic, and very close to the coast (maybe because they were made by early navigators). • A place of sacrifice for the Celtic Druids. It is true that Celts made use of Stonehenge, but it had been built in 3000 BC, long before they arrived to the British Isles. • Now it is considered a calendar, which can be seen by observing the situation of the stones: they seem to be aligned to represent the solstices so they could celebrate their ceremonies. And this takes us to the cult of Sun and Moon. But that doesnt explain their circular shape, or why the stones were brought from miles away. This may have to do with some primitive dances which certain places of Europe still possess, a kind of dance of the giants. This idea of circle is very ancient in human history: a movement in a circular shape has a rotation to the right (positive, dance of fertility) and to the left (associated with the worst, like war or death dances). The ritualistic dances might then have something to do with Stonehenge as a place of ceremony. • The Celtic religion.Most of Celtic tribes venerated the figures of the heads with three faces, which represented love, life anddeath.Most rituals of the Celtics were agrarian and time cults.Due to their veneration to the Sun and Moon, the Celtic calendar was divided in thirteen months of 28 dayseach, according to the thirteen lunar phases. The last month, which made the number 13 in their calendar, wasthe month of the death, which is the origin of the negative idea associated to this number. Each lunar phasecan be divided into two fortnights (13 or 15 days). The thirteen months of the Celtic calendar are divided theninto four parts: • 1 November or Shamhain (cult to the deaths) • 1 May or Beltane (day of purification; it represented the day in the life) • 1 February or Lugnassad • 1 August or OimelcIn the agrarian cults, the Celtic goddess of fertility was Brigid, associated with the tribe of the Brigantes inGreat Britain. The image of Brigid soon developed into a representation of the three faces.Historians have got to the conclusion that there was a totemic tree for each month (Robert Graves, The whitegoddess). There were a series of tree which were thought to have magic−religious properties: 19
  20. 20. • The oak (dpús in Greek, where the name of druids derived), whose fruits, the acorns, gave the power of seen the future. • The apple trees were the trees of wisdom and knowledge. • The yew tree (tejo) was the tree of death.The Epic was soon used for the Celts to transmit orally the achievements of their divinities (like the cycle ofCuchulain). In the epic cycles of their divinities there is always a maritime travel to the underworld (el másallá) from which the divinity comes back. Later on, Christianity will adapt the story of Cuchulain to convert itin the story of St. Brendan, who was told to have come back from a travel to hell. This idea of going to theunderworld or world of divinities with the idea of bringing something to the mortals is also present in mythsof other cultures (like Prometeo in the Greek mythology, who brought the fire from the gods).But in this mortal world, the person in charge of preserve all this rituals was the druid or great priest.The role of Druids was basic in Celtic culture. The word druid probably derives from the Greek dpús (oak),which may have to do with the magic properties of acorn. Some of the characteristics of druids were:• Diviners, seers.• Sacrificial priests.The little we know about them comes from Roman writers, whose connotations were usually bad (theyconsidered Celts as savages). We then know that animals sacrifices was carried out, with the idea of seeingthe future. This divination was also present in the Roman culture, where the organs of animals were examined.We also know this because in some regions like Ireland, which was a very backward region till the XVthcentury, many of the Celtic customs were maintained till very late in history. In medieval times, the figure ofthe fili or bards occupied an important place in society; maybe they were the inheritors of the druids.• Recorders of history (memory of the clan).We know that bards in medieval times were important members of the clan, which probably happened alsowith druids in Celtic times.Druids were also political advisers, which might explain why people like Julius Caesar hated them so much.Since druids represented the roots of the Celts, Romans wanted to destroy them to destroy then the society.The medieval bards were also the founders of schools, but they were usually handled by Christian monks.This may explain the 4th role of the druids.• Teachers of other druids.In the case of bards, they were extracted from aristocratic families. Probably the same happened with druids,who were brought from druidic families. Druids were responsible for the oral transmission of the history ofthe clan to the next generation. These Celtic stories were later on written down in medieval times by monks.One of this medieval books is Leabhar Grabhála or Book of Invasions, which narrates the foundation ofIreland. The story maintains that there had been four invasions, but only the one coming from the IberianPeninsula (commanded by king Hiberus) was successful. From this time onwards, Ireland began to develop.In fact, the Book of Invasions fit perfectly the real history of Ireland, in which the final Celtic invasion pushedthe Iberians to the west.There were also druidic schools, like in the island of Mona (Anglesa), which seems to have been a centre ofknowledge; other examples are Tara and another one in France. 20
  21. 21. • Judges.Julius Caesar wrote that druids acted in public justice. Going to the medieval time, there were importantpeople in society called the Brehons, who developed a system of justice called The Brehon Laws whichexisted till the end of the XVIth century. The Brehons differentiated three kinds of categories in law: murder,private property and inheritance.The Brehon Law is connected with the druids, of which they had taken their inheritance. Brehons followed therule of compensation in their laws.Historians have also come to the conclusion that druids must have played the role of international referees orarbiters between different tribes or even nations. Druids were very respected figures through all the Celticworld, so they could move freely (for example, they had the power of stopping a battle).• Official poets or bards for the king and court.Medieval bards could even be very aggressive in their poems or songs without being punished; this role mightbe related with druids.As a rule, druids were men, but it is thought that there were also druidesses (like Morgana in Arthurs legend),although we cant be sure.Druids made use of herbs, of which they had a profound knowledge.• THE ROMAN WORLDWhen the Romans finally settle down in Great Britain (43 AD), Britain jumped into the western civilisation.Romans are not only responsible for creating a system of roads or for bringing Britain closer to the continent,but also for the impose of Christianity in Britain.But Christianity wasnt brought by the Romans till the end of their occupation of Britain. We can make then adivision in time:• Pre−Constantine years• Constantine (IVth century AD)• Post−Constantine yearsConstantine was the first Roman emperor who made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire inthe IVth century AD (Edict of Nicea), a measure that also affected Great Britain.But the imposition of Christianity in England didnt meant a quickly and final elimination of other religions,but a time of coexistence between the great variety of cults in Britain together with Christianity: • Celtic cults (a background which never disappeared in Roman times) • Cult of Mythras (this cult had come from the East and it was even followed by many Roman soldiers; Christianity in fact inherited many aspects of Mithraism).The fall of Rome (476 AD) was an event with tremendous consequences for religion. The main reason for thefall of the Roman Empire was the invasions, which needs to be explained.The Roman frontiers (specially the Rhine and the Danube) were broken and the whole Roman Empire in theWest was over run by a number of barbarian tribes coming from many places outside the empire (like Goths, 21
  22. 22. Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Franks, Germans, Vandals, Slavs, Huns, Jutes, Saxons and Angles). The occupation ofRoman territories was made gradually. The movement of these tribes was due to a chain effect of one grouppushing another, till the final push went against Rome.The Huns (from the Far East) made the first push of this chain. They were expert in mobile war combinedwith the use of terror. They created an enormous fear in many people outside the Roman frontiers, who feltthen unprotected.These unprotected groups saw then Rome as a place that granted security, since Roman civilisation wasconsidered superior and admirable. The groups of barbarians wanted then to take part in the Roman Empire,but that was a time in which the Roman status quo was falling. The push against Rome was the final attackthat made the Roman Empire fall.After the fall of Rome, there were two great cultural islands in Europe where the Roman culture survived,but which remained isolated for many years:• Central Europe, Italy, France (bigger part)• Wales, Ireland, ScotlandThe Church was the only Roman institution that survived in this period of general confusion. A sort ofintegrity was maintained in the Christian church, which kept on using the Roman policy methods for its ownobjectives and organisation.The Church as the survival institution of the Romans remained only in the areas 1 and 2, because:• Central Europe, Italy and France were limited: • To the North with Vikings • To the East with Slavs • To the South with Islam • To the West with Angles, Saxons and Jutes• Wales, Ireland and Scotland were separated from 1 by Anglo−Saxons. These groups had yet pushed the native population of Britain to the West.The existence of these two isolated areas takes us to understand the reason why there were two differentchurches in the British Isles: • The Celtic Church, which was the institution that survived in Wales, Ireland and Scotland • The Roman Church, which was the institution conserved in Central Europe, Italy and France. They considered the Pope as a kind of emperor. • See texts 7 and 8 of Sourcebook on British CivilisationThe coming of the Roman Church to Scotland was made in 563−5 AD and to England in 597 AD.These texts, written by the monk and historian Venerable Bede, tell about the first coming of Roman Churchto England, although it had happened first in Scotland. The reason for this manipulation might be a desire ofestablishing a rank of importance, so the event to take in mind was the coming of Christianity to England(because Bede was English and also a Roman Christian monk).In the final clash between the Celtic and the Roman churches, the Roman church was chosen in the Synod of 22
  23. 23. Whitby. The Synod of Whitby took place at Northumbria, and it was carried out by the orders of its kingOswy, who wanted to decide a religion. He finally decided to accept the Roman branch, and sinceNorthumbria was the most important kingdom of that time, it influenced the rest of England.But which steps lead to the Synod of Whitby?The Romans had left England around 407 AD to defend the south of their empire, leaving the Britishpopulation without any defend from invasions of Jutes, Saxons or Angles. In 500 Ad, in a manuscript aboutthe battle of Mons Badanious, it is told about a king called Arthur that won this struggle against the invaders,which is the origin of the legend.The new waves of invaders pushed the native population to the west. Between 430 and 460 a monk called StPatrick (now the patron of Ireland) christianised Ireland. He might be from Wales or Cornwall, but waspushed into Ireland due to the new waves of invaders.The Celtic church was monastic and exported missionaries to other areas. An example of this travellingchurch is the legend of monk St Brendan, who was supposed to have travelled into the Atlantic, coming acrossland in the middle of the ocean. What we know for certain is that someone called St Columba, was the monkresponsible for taking Christianity from Ireland to Scotland. Columba was the founder of the first Christianmonastery in Scotland, Iona (563−565).In 597 AD the Roman Church sent a new mission to England. The Roman Church was the only institution ofthe Roman Empire that had survived after the collapse. The mission sent to England was commanded bymonk Augustine, who arrived at Kent. The king of Kent accepted the establishment of the Roman Church,offering them Canterbury as a gift (it would become the religious capital of England). Later on the RomanChurch set in Canterbury began to expand, which inevitably took to a collide with the Celtic church.Its important to mark the differences between these two branches. The Celtic church had developed for yearsmaking a process of amalgamation with the pagan or druidic world. Celtic monks took elements from thenative believes to explain the Bible, like the Adans apple (apple was the tree of knowledge for Celts), StBrigida (Bridgid was a Celtic goddess). Easter was celebrated differently from the Roman Church. Celticmonks shaved their heads like druids did, whereas Roman monks made themselves the tonsure.The clash between the Celtic and Roman churches took place in Northumbria. The king Oswy decided then tochoose the Roman branch (Synod of Whitby), leaving the Celtic church in the north−west of Britainseparated from the Roman church in the south−east. But why this Anglo−Saxon replaced his own religionwithout any violence?The reason why Oswy chose the Roman church was the prestige of the Roman culture and civilisation,because Anglo−Saxons didnt possess that knowledge of organisation that Romans had (libraries, education,taxation...) that Anglo−Saxons needed so much to organise their reigns. The Roman monks were thenconsidered useful by the kings, so the imposition of Christianity was made from top of society to bottom.The Roman monks were well received at Kent because the kings wife was Christian. They presentedthemselves as good utensils to organise the political life in Britain. But missionaries not only offeredknowledge, but also life after death if Christianity was accepted and the punishment of hell if their religionwas not accepted.The Celtic church continued existing for centuries, although the Roman Church had won. When Ireland wasinvaded by England (XIIth c, Henry II) one of the reasons for invasion was religion. This campaign took thenthe characteristics of a crusade, supported by the Roman Church of England, which was interested ineliminating the Celtic church. This invasion meant the elimination of the Celtic church appart from the 23
  24. 24. destruction of the Celtic life and culture.The importance that the Celtic Church had can be seen in the splendour of their architecture and manuscriptslike the Book of Kells.The Celtic monasteries were in fact simple communities with no commodities. Celts were also very skilful inthe illumination of manuscripts that contained Christian and pagan elements, representing the perfect blend ofthe Celtic church in those times. The same blend of ornamentation is present in coffers, chalices, stonecrosses...The western culture was conserved thanks to the Celtic monks and their manuscripts. The lost of the pastknowledge in the rest of Europe is the reason why this period is called The Dark Age.From the Synod of Whitby onwards, both king ad church worked together for centuries. This strong link wasdemonstrated in the territory of the Franks, an event with tremendous effects for the whole Europe.Franks was one of the tribes moving to the west when Rome collapsed. One of their early kings, Clovis (Vthcentury), divided the territory of the Franks among his children. This was the beginning of the dynasty of theMerovinghan kings. But later on, they became very weak, because the nobles that supported their feudalsystem were becoming much more stronger that the king himself.One of this strong nobles was the major−domo Charles Martel, who had a son called Pepin the Short. Pepinwanted to make a coup détat (753−4) to become king, so he then presented a petition to the Pope: the Popewould bless the coup détat and in exchange, Pepin would defeat the Lombards, taking their lands and givingthem to the Pope. Thats the origin of the Papal Domain, and the first evidence of church and state workingtogether.The confirmation of this co−operation arrived when Pepins son, Charlemagne, inherited the throne of theFranks. When the Pope was been threaten again by the Lombards, Charlemagne fought against them anddefeat them as his father had done in the past. In exchange, the Pope gave him the title of Holy RomanEmperor (800AD). The church got then an army to be defended. Charlemagne became a sort of semi−sacredfigure, so he won political stability. And the right of inheritance became a sacred thing, blessed by the Church.But the problems in the stability of western Europe soon arrived.The Carolingian territories were surrounded by enemies: • Mediterranean and most of the Iberian Peninsula: Islam • North: Vikings • East: Slavs and MagyarsCharlemagne was for the first time able to organise his government, because he was rounded by scholasticpeople belonging to the Roman Church that supported him.Thanks to Charlemagne, the church got scholastic schools, abbeys and a revival of culture (althoughCharlemagne never learned to read or write, he was very concerned about the importance of culture).Thanks to the support of the church, he was able to centralise his power, setting a new patron that would soondevelop into the feudal system. He was the central figure of the empire, with the lands divided among thenobles (dukes and earls). The pyramid of society was characterised by a total absence of a middle class:King 24
  25. 25. Nobility Religious figuresServesThe church is responsible for this state of society because: • They had converted the king in a semi−sacred figure • They helped him with the government and laws • They helped him in maintaining the central government and the nobility.Charlemagne created a series of emissaries or missi dominici, who were usually religious figures who visitedareas of the empire to then report it to the king.In a minor scale, the same happened in England, although it didnt belong to the Carolingian empire.Anglo−Saxon kings gradually adopted Christianity and a new way of government supported by the church.In fact, when the second generation of Roman monks (commanded by Theodore of Tarsus) arrived toCanterbury, the city had yet converted in the religious and cultural centre of England. • See text 8The first remarkable thing of this text is that it is a written promulgation of laws, something that was veryunusual before the arrival of the Roman monks.Examining these laws, we can see a blend between the Church and the Angle−Saxon culture:• The church could suffer no taxation at all, and they would pray for the king without compulsion. By this, the church is establishing itself as an element superior than the king and as a free institution. It shows the enormous power that the church had got in only one generation.• The punishments for crimes against church and king are equal.• The 3rd law proves that the church excluded anyone who didnt follow them. Church wanted to impose moral principles on the whole community, dictating social rules. Altough these ideas were new to the Anglo−Saxon population, they had to follow them by force, because the church had the support of the king and the nobility. With the growing prosperity of the church, it soon became wealth and powerful.The growing power of the church soon provoked problems in the union with the state. These problems had todo with the notion of power in early medieval times. All feudal monarchs tended towards absolute power andcentralism (like Charlemagne did), but they needed subjects to increase their power. Then, the kings derivedtheir power from two sources: God (king were anointed by God, they were sacred figures) and their subjects(taxation to get material power).Due to this aspiration of power the feudalism was born. To obtain money, the king divided his country amongnobles who must respond before him. Nobility could govern their lands but they had to give the king some ofthe benefits.But what role did church occupied in this system? Church was becoming wealth and they were owners of vastamounts of lands. The Church wanted to be a free institution, which was not subject of the king because itonly responded before God. This early friction would soon grow due to the increasing power of the Church,which was becoming dangerous for the kings government. This is called The Fight of Investitures.IV. THE VIKING PERIOD. The Normans 25
  26. 26. The first Viking raids had a tremendous effect on the Anglo−Saxon government and society.Some of the earliest Viking attacks went against monasteries (like Iona, Lindisfrane, and Jarrow), so religionsuffered a great impact.Vikings imposed their own faith, but they became Christian the moment they settled down in the place. Oneof the reasons for this is that Vikings had had contact with Christianity long before they arrived to England.Another reason is that the labour of Christian Anglo−Saxon figures was very important.The Viking attacks had then a great impact on religion, but in fact, the Anglo−Saxon Church was then in agolden period, full of great cultural activities like The Anglo−Saxon Chronicle. There were hundreds of littlechurches all over the country, so the Christian Church was strongly connected to the people. For example, theSt Peters Pence was a costum by which everyone paid a pence to the Church on St Peters Day, and part ofthis money was send to Rome. It was a very respected custom not only by the common people, but also by theAnglo−Saxon kings, who were the ones that had imposed it. The strong connection between Church andpeople was also due to the usage of the same language, the Anglo−Saxon English, instead of the differentlanguage (French and Latin) that Normans would impose with their arrival.The Norman invasion provoked then great changes in the Anglo−Saxon Church.First, the Norman invasion had been blessed by the Pope: even when William I fought in the Battle ofHastings (in which he won Harold Haardrabe and got the throne), he wore a banner of the Pope. The Battle ofHastings was then a kind of crusade, but why?The reason has to do with the Pope of those times, Gregory VII. He made one of the first reformations of theChurch, called The Gregorian Reform, which consolidated the Church as we know it nowadays. Before thisreformation, many religious Christian figures were married and had children that inherited their charges andthis was a problem for the Church. Gregory VII imposed then the Cannon Law, which forbid religious figuresto marry. Probably, Gregory VII saw in William I the possibility of spreading the Reform through England, ashe did after the Battle of Hastings.The Norman invasion provoked also a tremendous change at the head of the Church. In the course of 15 years,all the Anglo−Saxon religious figures were replaced by Norman figures or people under Norman control.William I used William Lanfrank to impose the Gregorian Reform, which changed the Church in England.Some of the changes were, for example, the introduction of the Cannon Law and that the religious crimes (orcrimes which had to do with the Church) would be judged only by the Church.William Lanfrank is also responsible for the imposition of the French Style or French Culture. This explainswhy the monks of the order of Cluny (the Cluniacs), who had a French origin, became so relevant in England,establishing big Cluniac monasteries in the place. The French Style affects also the architecture: instead of thelittle churches of Anglo−Saxon times, new big cathedrals and temples were built.But the cathedrals are not only a symbol of the increasing power and wealth of the Church, but also a sign of anumber of drawbacks. The big stone cathedrals contrasted enormously with the normal houses: there was thena gap between Church and peasants. The Norman Church was miles away from the common people, insteadof the strong connection that the Anglo−Saxon Church had had before. The Norman Church had become anaristocratic institution, which only spoke French and Latin. This difference in language made that English wasrelegated in all cultural and religious aspects; English became the language of the poorest and it grew freely, afact that may explain the anarchy of the English Grammar.The final break between Church and government arrived at times of William II, due to the role of Anselm ofBec. Anselm was a prominent religious figure and an intellectual, who had come from the continent and had 26