The History of England

The History of England

What do Scots, Welsh, and historians hate most about the history of England? They don’t like when we say “England”, “Britain”, or even “England.” In truth, England was actually the birthplace of the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, people from the northern German and Baltic regions who took over the Roman province of Britannia. While native ‘Britons’ and ‘Picts’ retained control over some regions, the entire island was conquered by the ‘Anglo-Saxons’.

King Henry VIII’s split with the Roman Catholic Church

The split between the Church and the English monarchy dates back to the early 1500s. The young Henry VIII’s relationship with Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, his Lord Chancellor, helped him maintain his Roman Catholicism. In 1521, the young monarch defended the Roman Catholic Church against Luther’s accusations of heresy. Together with John Fisher, he wrote The Defence of the Seven Sacraments. Despite these challenges, Henry was rewarded with the title of ‘Defender of the Faith’.

Queen of Scots abdicated her throne

When Mary, Queen of Scots abdicated her English throne, she did so because she feared that the Catholic European church would gain influence and the execution of a queen would undermine the monarchy. The campaign to kill Mary emboldened parliament and the resulting execution paved the way for Charles I’s execution sixty years later. Mary’s abdication does not mean that her country was a failure, however. Her tolerance helped her make Scotland stable, even if it was temporarily.

King Edward I’s struggle for power

In the early 13th century, the Provisions of Oxford introduced a new form of government, a fifteen-member Privy Council, which advised the king three times a year. Though initially opposed to these reforms, Edward later changed his mind. He formed a formal alliance with reformer Simon de Montfort. The reformer’s efforts put him at odds with his father, but the two reconciled a year later.

Cnut’s struggle for power

In the tenth century, a Danish king named Cnut began a war with the English, resulting in the North Sea Empire. Cnut, the son of the Danish King Sweyn Forkbeard, was born at a time of rising Viking power. Saxon kingdoms had driven the Danes out of England, but now the Danes were posing a threat. Cnut’s name first appears in connection with the Viking invasion of England.

William the Conqueror’s invasion

When William the Conqueror decided to invade England, he did so with a massive risk in mind. If he were to fail, William would have lost everything. But as luck would have it, William was successful. In a few years, he would be crowned King of England in Westminster Abbey. William the Conqueror’s invasion of England had a great impact on the history of England.

The Industrial Revolution in England

Early factories were dark and filthy. They lacked capital, and they were subject to a window tax, which taxed factory owners according to the number of windows in their building. Factory owners chose to have fewer windows, so they could avoid this tax. In addition to the window tax, increased production and lowered costs meant better working conditions for workers and a steadily increasing standard of living. The Industrial Revolution in England created more jobs than any previous period in British history, and the standard of living increased significantly.