History of England in Brief

History of England in Brief – Guide 2024

The history of England is important to understand the past and present of English history with a brief summary . A fascinating land, an ancient civilization with numerous historical events. A timeline so full of dates that it is impossible to summarize English history in a few lines, a history that has influenced the fate of the entire world ! From the Saxons of Britain , the various successive monarchical dynasties , the global wars and conquests , to the Commonwealth . England, thanks to its history, preserves a rich cultural heritage. So let’s discover its history together in brief in our summary, better understanding the country during your trip to England!

The History of England

To understand the present it is important to know the past, thanks to a summary of the history of England in brief; however broad and full of dates it is. England was already inhabited during prehistory , seeing the first Roman invasion in 43 AD . The Roman legacy in Britain , which he ruled until the 5th century , has left a visible legacy in the country today . Later the Anglo-Saxons arrived , creating today’s town. The Norman William the Conqueror took the country in 1066 , introducing the feudal system , influencing culture and language. The English Middle Ages are characterized by internal power struggles, clashes with France and, in 1215, the signing of the Magna Carta .

A shocking event was the Black Death , which decimated the population and changed society forever in 1348 . The modern age opens with the Tudor monarchy , expansion into the colonies and Protestantism . In the 18th century the Industrial Revolution transformed England into an economic power, the first in the world, opening the contemporary age . The country’s role during the 20th century and in the world wars was leading, leading to the creation of the Commonwealth and entry into the European Union in the 21st century . After ancient Rome, England’s colonial empire was the largest ever, arriving at decolonization in the 20th century, the cultural influence of which is still strongly present. On 1 February 2020, England and the United Kingdom leave the European Union with Brexit .

So let’s look at a summary of the history of this country, to understand it in brief.

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The phases of England’s history

PeriodEpoche Storiche
Prehistory800 000 years ago – 54 BC
Britannia romana54 BC – 5th century
Middle Ages5th century – 1485
Modern era1485 – 1820
Tudor1485 – 1588
Stuart1588 – 1685
Georgian age1701 – 1820
Industrial Revolution1760
Victorian age1837 – 1901
Edwardian age1901 – 1910
World Wars20th century
Modern EnglandXX – XXI century
England today21st century – today…


The Paleolithic in English history and England in brief, as we will see in this summary, begins with the first human presence. The remains found suggest that England was the first colonized territory of the British Isles, thanks also to its climate. Sites from this period have been found at Happisburgh , Norfolk , with the oldest hominid tracks outside Africa . In 9,000 BC , with the end of the glaciation, the Mesolithic began and around 6,500 BC Great Britain definitively broke away from the continent . With the beginning of cultivation, the Neolithic began , around 4,000 BC .

In this period we see the first tombs and funerary monuments, such as Stonehenge . This also demonstrates an ancient interest in the cosmos. The processing of flint allows the production of artefacts and roads, along with deforestation . In the coastal area of ​​Somerset we find the Sweet Track , one of the oldest roads in the world. Furthermore, salt has been mined in North Yorkshire since the Neolithic period .

stonehenge - english england history summary
The Neolithic site of Stonehenge

Bronze Age

From 2,500 BC of the history of England in the summary, the Bronze Age and the processing of this alloy begins in Britain. Society is centralized and an authoritarian elite rises , including warriors and hunters, as well as more structured settlements . The Celtic languages ​​probably developed in this period. The Atlantic system collapses, maintaining contact with France across the Channel , spreading Hallstatt culture .

In this period, fortresses on the hills also developed , built mainly between 600 and 400 BC in the south. The Massaliot Periplus , a manual for navigating around the island , dates back to the 6th century BC . The first invasion of the Gallic tribe of Parisi begins in 300 BC, then in 150 and 100, coming to control the south of the Belgae . During his campaigns in Gaul , Julius Caesar invaded Britain in 54 BC during English history. He controlled the resources, goods and trade: Rome became the hub of everything and wealth.

The Conquest of Britain

In the history of England in brief summary, in two expeditions between 55 and 54 BC Julius Caesar invaded Britain, initially at the behest of the emperor Claudius . He landed in Kent with 40,000 men, defeating the tribes at the Battle of Medway . Aulus Plautius commanded the troops, waiting for the emperor to then arrive in present-day Colchester , then returning to Rome in triumph. The lands of the Catuvellauni became client kingdoms, while the rest of the country became a Roman province during English history . Vespasian in later years subjugated the tribes to the south, moving the borders to the rivers Trent and Severn .

Led by Boudicca , warrior queen, in 60 AD some tribes rebelled against Rome, taking Colchester, London, Winchester and St. Albans. Suetonius Paulinus , governor of then Londinium , evacuated the city before the rebels set it on fire, creating a layer of molten red clay under the city. Paulinus rallied the remnants of the Roman army for the Battle of the Watling Road , defeating Boudicca. In the 20 years following the Brief History of England, under Gnaeus Julius Agricola the empire expanded its borders, incorporating the north and Wales , consolidating it with Hadrian’s Wall in 138 . Roman power was only slightly dented by attacks from Scottish tribes and the Romans remained on the island for 350 years.

remains of the Roman fort of Arbeia, in South Shields
Remains of the Roman fort at Arbeia, South Shields

English Middle Ages

In our summary of the history of England in brief, the English Middle Ages is a central period. It began in the 5th century and ended in the 15th century , with the modern age . It opens with the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons and the departure of Rome’s legions, leaving Britain, until arriving at Henry VIII and the reformation of the Scotsman John Knox . With the Anglo-Saxons , English literature flourished with epic poems, such as Beowulf , and metalworking . They converted to Christianity in the 7th century , thus leading to the birth of convents and monasteries , until the Viking attacks between the 8th and 9th centuries. The collapse of the Roman Empire was the beginning of the Dark Ages : a period of urban crisis during English history.

In post-Roman Britannia

Between the 5th and 6th centuries we do not have many sources on English history, except from writings such as the Chronicle of Gildas , works, poems and a few remains. In 410 AD the Romans left the island, so Caledonians, Scots and Picts, north of Hadrian’s Wall , moved to the lowlands in England. The Britons, to defend themselves, asked for the support of Jutes, Angles and Saxons from the continent. Then, during the short history of England, the Anglo-Saxons rebelled , starting their settlement until the 7th century , eliminating the ruling class and establishing Germanic kingdoms from the 5th to the 6th century, founding small villages and spreading the language.

In Kent , the Isle of Wight and Hampshire the Jutes settled , the Saxons took south of the Thames, Middlesex and the Midlands. During our summary of the history of England, small communities led by powerful families called regios were born . Turbulent and violent kingdoms, with polytheistic cults that lived by hunting and breeding.

Hadrian's Wall - History of England summarized in English
Hadrian’s Wall at Walltown Quarry Country Park


The Christianisation of the island during English history began in 597 , with the arrival of missionaries led by Augustine in Kent ; sent by Pope Gregory the Great . King Ethelbert converted, so the kingdoms to the south and in Canterbury Augustine was invested as the first archbishop in the history of England, in short. The influence of the evangelizing monks also came from Ireland, who founded many monasteries, such as Saint Columba in Cornwall in 590 and in Northumbria Saint Aidan, in 635, founded the monastery of Lindisfarne . King Owsy of Northumbria, in Whitby, also converted. Various dioceses were established, creating the English Church . The Celtic culture together with the Latin one created many manuscripts about it at the hands of scholars of the time, such as that of Saint Bede the Venerable.

canterbury cathedral - english history
Canterbury Cathedral

The Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy and the Viking invasions

Among the various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms seeking supremacy between the 7th and 8th centuries, the political order was unstable . First the most powerful king was Ethelbert of Kent, later moving to the Kingdom of Northumbria and, in the 7th century, to the Kingdom of Mercia under King Penda . The kingdom of Mercia prevailed throughout the 8th century and King Offa of Mercia was considered his equal by Charlemagne . Pope Hadrian I also called him King of the English . Only in the 9th century did his supremacy end in favor of the Kingdom of Wessex . The term Heptarchy , in fact, indicates the period after Anglo-Saxon colonization, when the kingdom was divided into 7 . This ended in the 10th century, with the birth of the Kingdom of England, as we will see during its history briefly in the summary.

In the 8th century of English history, the Viking invasions from Denmark intensified , attacking the monastery of Lindisfarne in 793. In 865 the Viking army captured York , defeated the Kingdom of East Anglia and conquered the island definitively. This event quickly changed the history of England, also reaching Northumbria and Mercia. Only in 878 , at the Battle of Edington , did Alfred the Great achieve a victory, causing the Vikings to retreat to the Danelaw . Additionally, Alfredo created the Doom Book , a normative code, and increased education.

remains of lindesfarne monastery - history of england in brief
The remains of Lindesfarne Monastery

The unification of the Kingdom of England

During the history of England in our summary, King Alfred dies in 899 , and is succeeded by Edward the Elder . With his brother-in-law Ethelred of Mercia he began the expansion of the kingdom, building fortified cities. Athelstan , son of Edward, became king of Mercia upon his father’s death, continuing the expansion. He becomes the de facto first king of England. Only in the 10th century , however, did Edgar consolidate his kingdom, continuing to achieve victories against the Vikings. By killing his brother, Ethelred II takes power.

The Scandinavians’ desires still look towards England and Ethelred is defeated by Sweyn of Denmark, but regains the throne upon his death. Edmund II, son of Ethelred, left the throne to Cnut the Great , son of Sweyn, in 1016 upon his death . Only in 1042 , with Edward the Confessor, Wessex returned to the throne. In 1066 , upon the death of Edward, without heirs, Harold II took the throne by defeating Harald III Sigurdsson in the battle of Stamford Bridge .

The Norman conquest

In the 11th century during the summary of the history of England, in short, the Norman conquest occurred, together with the French and Bretons , led by the Duke of Normandy William I. Their final victory for control of the island came in 1066 , winning the Battle of Hastings . William had claims to the throne as Edward the Confessor named him successor, being without heirs, but he was crowned Harold . Harald III, the Norwegian king , and his brother Tostig also arrived to counter him, and they invaded the north in 1066 during English history. Harold defeated them at the Battle of Stamford Bridge , before William’s arrival and Harold died in battle. William faced numerous internal clashes until 1072 .

He built numerous castles in the kingdom, introduced the Norman language for the nobles and modified the fiefdom system. Furthermore, during English history he abolished slavery and thus began a rift in the English Middle Ages, but also in the European one. Scandinavia’s influence on the kingdom is reduced, creating one of the most powerful monarchies and starting Anglo-French hostilities , until 1904 . Furthermore, the Norman one was the last military conquest of the island by foreigners. Norman power was unstable and successions contested.

battle of hastings illustration - english history
Illustration of the Battle of Hastings

The period of Anarchy

William, Henry’s son, dies in 1120 , starting a dynastic crisis . Stephen I takes power , while the situation of the kingdom during the history of England, in the summary, deteriorates between feudal power and civil wars. Thus began the period called Anarchy during English history. Stephen comes into conflict with his cousin , the Empress Matilda who invades England in 1139 , captures her cousin and becomes queen . She was not loved by her subjects, however, in 1148 she was driven out of London , she returned to France and Stephen took back the throne. Without heirs, however, he accepts the Treaty of Wallingford , bringing his cousin’s son, Henry , to the throne . This puts an end to the civil war and in 1154 Henry becomes king.

The Angevin Empire

During the history of England, in brief, Henry II was the first Anjou-Plantagenet king , i.e. also Count of Anjou, in France . With his marriage to Eleanor he also took the Duchy of Aquitaine , dominating a large part of Western Europe and creating the Plantagenet Empire . He also restores the centrality of the monarchy, the royal treasury and invades Ireland, introducing the common law system. His sons fought for the succession, supported by France, Scotland and the Welsh royals. Richard I , clashing with his father, ascended the throne in 1189 . During his reign, however, Richard was busy during the Third Crusade and controlling the lands in France, so John , his brother, succeeded him upon his death in 1199 . After a few years, during the battle against Philip II Augustus in Bouvines he lost many French territories.

Due to the losses, taxes and conflicts with Pope Innocent III increase , also increasing the discontent of the English aristocracy. In 1215 he issued the Magna Carta , limiting the king’s power and ceasing hostilities with the papacy. At this moment he breaks the pact, starting the first baronial war . Upon John’s death, he was succeeded by Henry III . For a long time royal power was unstable, starting in 1264 the Second Barons’ War , after the annulment of the Provisions of Oxford . The king was ousted by Simon V of Montfort at the behest of Louis IX of France , subsequently bringing Edward I to the throne after defeating the rebels in 1267 .

The bridge of sighs, oxford - history of england in brief
The Bridge of Sighs, Oxford

The English Late Middle Ages

Edward I, while summarizing the history of England in brief, strengthens the authority of the crown by convening the first English parliament . He conquers Wales and advances to control Scotland. Edward II , however, was not so motivated, being defeated by the Scotsman Robert Bruce , who reconquered the territories in 1314 at the Battle of Bannockburn . Edward II was deposed in favor of his wife Isabella in 1327 , beginning a long reign. During this, Edward III makes England a military power, defeating the Kingdom of Scotland and claiming the French crown as the king’s grandson. Thus began the Hundred Years’ War . In the 1300s there were also catastrophes, such as famine , from 1315 to 1317, and the Black Death in 1348. Almost half of the English people died, thus starting peasant revolts in 1381. Edward III gave the aristocracy a lot of power, they strengthened and claimed the throne.

document 1665 deaths from the Black Death
© wikipedia – Document from 1665 with the deaths of the Black Death

The Hundred Years’ War

Among the most famous wars of the late Middle Ages in English history we see that of the Hundred Years, between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of France, which lasted from 1337 to 1453 . The triggering causes are multiple, but the official one was the dynastic line for the French crown and the claim of Edward III of England , as a grandson on the maternal side of Philip IV of France . The beginning of the war saw the English in favor, as a civil war also began in France between 1407 and 1435 . In 1420 the English occupied the north-west and took Paris , after 2 years Henry VI of England became king of France.

In 1429 the English took Orléans and the French, led by Joan of Arc commissioned by the dauphin Charles VII, broke the siege. Charles manages to enter Reims and be crowned king of France. The French made the English flee from all the territories, except for Calais which remained English until 1559 . In English history, but also in that of all of Europe, the Hundred Years’ War was very important, concluding the Middle Ages and falling together with Constantinople , today’s Istanbul.

joan of arc statue, paris - history of england in brief
Statue of Joan of Arc, in Paris

The War of the Roses

At the end of the 1300s of the history of England in the summary, Henry V dies in 1422 , popular for his victory in the Battle of Agincourt and leaving many programs incomplete, such as ending the crusade against the Muslims to take the Holy Land . With Henry VI the revolts increase, especially after the defeat in the war with France, giving him mental infirmity. The supporters of the House of York thus begin the Wars of the Roses . A small battle, which undermined the authority of the monarchy. Edward of York deposed the sovereign in 1461 and took the name Edward IV, winning in the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross against the Lancasters.

Henry VI was imprisoned in the Tower of London and died there in 1471 . In 1483 Edward IV dies, his son Edward V is declared illegitimate heir and he and his brother are locked in the Tower of London. Richard III came to power and the princes also died in the tower and Richard was remembered as a cruel ruler . In 1485 , a Lancastrian descendant, Henry Tudor, killed him at the Battle of Bosworth Field , becoming king and ending the war for the dynasty.

tower of london - english history - history of england in brief
The Tower of London

Tudor England

With Henry VII king during English history, the Wars of the Roses ended and the Tudors remained in power for 118 years . In 1486 he married Edward IV’s daughter, uniting Lancaster and York , managing to establish authority after many rebellions and plots. He sought an alliance with the Holy Roman Empire and Spain, but in 1493 he began a conflict with France , eventually reaching a compromise . He renounced the French claims, except the port Calais , still English.

He approached Scotland , marrying his daughter Margaret to James IV . Upon his death in 1509 , the crown passed to Henry VIII , who married Catherine of Aragon , his widowed sister-in-law. Of many stillborn children, only Maria , later known as the Sanguinaria, survives . With Henry VIII in France for the war that began in 1521 , James IV of Scotland began to invade England during his brief history, but was defeated at the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513 .

The Anglican schism

Catherine of Aragon fails to give Henry children, but the king wants a male heir so as not to place his daughter Mary on the throne. In 1527 she then tried to divorce , but clashed with her ties to the pontiff . Unable to obtain a divorce from the Catholic Church, he decides to secede from Rome with the Act of Supremacy: the Anglican schism . Catherine was banished from the English court in 1530 , without being able to see her daughter Maria, declared her illegitimate daughter . Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn in 1533 , with whom he however had a daughter, Elizabeth I.

Not seeing the heir guaranteed, Henry had Anne locked up in the Tower of London , and in 1536 she was beheaded for adultery . He then marries Jane Seymour, with whom he finally has a son: Edward VI . Elizabeth, like Mary, becomes an illegitimate child. Jane dies in childbirth and Henry remarries three times later. On the death of Henry VIII in 1547 , he was succeeded at 9 years old by Edward VI , with Edward Seymour as regent, dying of tuberculosis in 1553 and the throne passed to Mary I. A Catholic queen, she wanted to bring her kingdom back to Rome and the Protestants were condemned to the stake . In 1556 she married Philip of Habsburg , her cousin, and died in 1558 . She is succeeded by Elizabeth Tudor.

armor tower of london
Medieval armor in the Tower of London

The Elizabethan Age

After the death of her half-sister, Elizabeth Tudor during the history of England in short in the summary re-establishes the division from the church of Rome , creating a stable kingdom and strengthens the monarchy, as well as internal politics. Mary Stuart , her cousin, escaped from Scotland in 1569 , taking refuge in her court. However, she was imprisoned on charges of conspiracy and beheaded in 1587 . Elizabeth also sought to distance herself from France and Spain, who sought to stop Protestantism throughout English history. Among Elizabeth’s greatest successes was having thwarted the Spain of Philip II , causing the Invincible Army to shipwreck in 1588 . Furthermore, culture and economics flourished under her in England, with the Elizabethan theater and William Shakespeare .

the globe theate londra
The Globe Theatre, a Londra

To the Stuart Dynasty

With the death of the heirless Elizabeth I in 1603 , James VI, son of Mary of Scots , succeeded to the throne . During England’s brief history he was the first monarch to reign over Great Britain, informally uniting the crowns. He sought to establish new relations with Spain with the Treaty of London , ending the Anglo-Spanish War and did not participate in the Thirty Years’ War. However, religious conflicts increased , especially over the restoration of Catholicism . James, during English history, is unable to deal with parliament, proving hostile and with political absolutism , not knowing how to manage the finances of the kingdom.

Furthermore, English colonialism began to take shape in this period . In North America, in 1607 , the colony of Jamestown was founded , starting trade in the Indies. Upon James’ death in 1625 , Charles I became king, starting a struggle against parliament for power, fearing absolutist aspirations. Furthermore, his religious policy was hostile to the Protestant one, following an intermediate path of the Anglican Church. He married the Catholic Henriette Marie of France , collaborating with the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury . The tensions led to Personal Government , i.e. the dissolution of Parliament, and the English Civil War .

Victoria Memorial calcutta
Il Victoria Memorial, a Calcutta

The Civil War

In the first phase of the civil war during the history of England in the summary, Parliamentarians, the Roundheads , and the Royalists clashed from 1642 to 1649 . At the head of the roundheads was Oliver Cromwell and, after 4 years of clashes, the royalists won. Charles I is executed in 1649, Cromwell and Parliament establish the United Republic of England, Scotland and Ireland: the Commonwealth . The monarchy falls, Cromwell focuses on the independence of the Church , the right to property and freedom of worship , eliminating the extremists. Ireland has an iron fist , while Scotland has more freedom .

Cromwell becomes Lord Protector of the Realm , effectively starting a dictatorship , pacifying Scotland and restoring order to England. He wins the Anglo-Dutch War , initiating trade agreements, defeats Spain together with France in 1660 and his dominion lasts until 1658 ; when he dies. He is succeeded by his son Richard , resigning shortly after, unable to cope with all the power. The Royalists in 1660 reinstate the crown, with King Charles II .

The Glorious Revolution

During the history of England in brief, succession problems begin with the death of Charles II . After various clashes between parliament and supporters, James II was crowned in 1685 , starting with despotism . He wanted to return the kingdom to Roman Catholicism , starting new conflicts. Parliament thus appointed William III of Orange as the new king in 1672 . In 1688 William arrived in England, landing at Torbay , while James fled to France. To avoid new problems in the constitutional monarchy and centralization of power, the Bill of Rights is issued , thus beginning the glorious revolution . In Scotland and Ireland many remained loyal to the Stuarts , trying to put James back on the throne, starting the Jacobite rebellions , which ended in 1746 , with the Battle of Culloden .

Torquay to Torbay - history of England in brief - English history -
Torquay, a Torbay

The Georgian Age

With the death of William III of Orange, the Act of Succession was enacted in 1701 during English history . The crown passes to Anna Stuart , wife of Ernest Augustus of Brunswick-Lüneburg of Hanover . The crowns of Scotland and England are also united, creating Great Britain . In 1714 , with the death of Anne Stuart, the throne went to George I of Hanover , ending the Stuart dynasty . George I was not interested in Britain and did not speak English, having been born in Germany. During his reign, however, major political and military reforms were initiated , shaping the current political system .

Hanover Dynasty

In George I in the summary of the history of England George II ascended the throne in 1727 . The government was led by Sir Robert Walpole between 1730 and 1742, improving the constitutional system . Along with Prussia , Britain strengthened colonies in the Caribbean and North America , taking Canada from France. In 1760 George III succeeded , famous for having lost 13 colonies after the American War of Independence between 1775 and 1783. He thus formed the Second Empire , between Africa, Asia and India. Furthermore, he took part in the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars , ending at Waterloo in 1815 with the defeat of Napoleon , with his son the Prince of Wales.

From 1811 to 1820 was the age of regency , as he fulfilled the duties of the sick parent. In this period of English history arts and customs flourished , with the figure of the dandy , such as Beau Brummell. Furthermore, English romanticism was born , with authors such as Walter Scott and Jane Austen , but there were also social uprisings due to the beginning of the industrialized economy . In 1819 the infamous Peterloo massacre occurred .

In memory of the Peterloo Massacre
In memory of the Peterloo Massacre, Manchester

The years of the regency

In 1820 , with the death of George III, George IV succeeded from 1820 to 1830. The monarch had an extravagant and wasteful lifestyle , achieving negative popularity . Notable acts in this period of English history were the Roman Catholic Relief Act in 1829 , by which Catholics were again allowed to be part of the army and administrations. He was succeeded by his brother William IV , who worked with parliament passing the Reform Act in 1832 , designing the electoral system and influencing industrial forces. Also without heirs, upon his death he was succeeded by his niece, Alexandrina Victoria .

The Industrial Revolution

Under George III during English history there was also the industrial revolution from 1760 . With international trade during the 18th century, manufacturing production also grew , leading to the economic evolution of agricultural, commercial and artisanal systems, industrializing each phase. Mechanical energy machines, new energy sources , such as fossil fuels, were used. The change mainly affects the metallurgical and textile sectors , leading to an irreversible and profound transformation of the social and economic system.

The working class , the wage and the factory were born during the short history of England . But also the bourgeois, entrepreneurs and capitalism . With transportable energy sources, factories arose in the city and there was emigration of farmers from the countryside, also improving the roads. In 1784 , new technologies were born, such as Henry Cort’s puddling system and Edmund Cartwright’s power loom . The first suspension bridges were also built in the country .

Quarry Bank Mill in Styal, one of the first factories in England - history of England - history of England - the history of England in brief - short summary of the history of England
Quarry Bank Mill in Styal, one of England’s first factories

From liberalism to Luddism

In the 18th century during the history of England there was trade inspired by liberalism . After the Napoleonic Wars the country was under inflation and the Conservative government passed the Corn Laws in 1815 . High tariffs were imposed to preserve the British economy, favoring the landowners. Bourgeois entrepreneurs were resentful, finding trade difficult and restricted. The Corn Laws lasted until Victoria’s reign, abolishing them in 1849 .

From the worker Ned Ludd , Luddism arises during English history: an economic and social revolt . With the steam engines and the precarious conditions of the workers, resentment grew, igniting the revolt. The first were in 1811 in Nottingham , then Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire. Only in 1816 did they subside, with the first social security laws .

Nottingham Council House
Il Nottingham Council House

The Victorian Age

The Victorian era was one of the most complex phases in the history of England in short, from 1837 until the Queen’s death in 1901 . After the Georgian and before the Edwardian, it also coincides with the beginning of the European Belle Époque . It was a period of peace , thanks also to the Congress of Vienna , of economic growth and national confidence. The period also witnessed resistance to rationalism , romanticism , social and artistic values ​​and mysticism.

With the supremacy of the Royal Navy there was peace between the great powers, the Pax Britannica , also favoring colonial expansion . With the Crimean War , from 1853 to 1856, Great Britain began its global expansion, especially in Africa and Asia, making the British empire the largest ever. The political direction was always liberalism , implementing political reforms, expanding electoral suffrage and changing demography, doubling the population of Wales. Only in Ireland did it not increase, due to the Great Famine and this also brought numerous migrants to England.

manchester township
Manchester Town Hall, Victorian style

Rise of Queen Victoria

Victoria ascended the throne at the age of 18, in 1837 . Her reign is known for child labor in mines and factories, bringing about the Second Industrial Revolution, and the works of Charles Dickens . The younger children, however, were employed as chimney sweeps , and the prostitution of young girls was also a serious social problem. Victoria married her cousin, Prince of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha , Albert, in 1840. Vittoria allied herself with the Conservative Party and her popularity among all social classes was high. Even today she is a symbol of morality and dedication to the family . Her reign was as prosperous as ever. In 1851 , the Great World Exhibition was held in London , the first world’s fair. Here, photography makes its appearance . Additionally, artists such as John Everett Millais are highlighted in this period of English history .

Albert Memorial, Kensington Gardens londra
L’Albert Memorial nel Kensington Gardens, a Londra

The Edwardian Age

Let’s see in our summary the history of England in brief the Edwardian period, from 1901 to 1910 , under Edward VII . With the death of Vittoria in 1901 he was succeeded by his son who, unlike his mother, Edoardo loved social life and created a fashionable elite , influenced by continental art and his passion for travel . During his reign there were also political and social changes in English history, politicizing workers and women . The Edwardian period historically extends until the sinking of the Titanic , in 1912, until 1914, with the start of World War I , or in 1918 with the end of the war.

In this historical period, there began to be more and more popular discontent also with the division into classes, caused by exposure to the media. There was increased interest in socialism and women’s suffrage after the First World War. Musical comedy and English cinema also developed at this time . In 1908, the IV Olympics were held in London .

coronation Edward VII
© wikipedia – Edward VII’s coronation procession

World War I

During the 20th century of the history of England in the summary, the United Kingdom was at the center of the world powers. English diplomacy helped the balance between them, seeing the affirmation of Germany on the continent. To counter it, the United Kingdom entered the Triple Entente with Russia and France, opposed to Italy, Austria and Germany. Winston Churchill , to avoid the clash, proposed an agreement between Berlin and London and a truce on rearmament, but Kaiser Wilhelm II refused. On 28 June 1914 the attack in Sarajevo occurred , World War I began. On August 5, England sent a declaration of war to the Central Powers. The Battle of Ypres marks the end of the war of movement, beginning the war of attrition . After numerous losses, the armistice of Compiègn was signed in 1918 . Great Britain, albeit with numerous deaths and injuries, emerges victorious. In politics, the people’s discontent led to the emergence of the conservative party.

Dal 1920 to 1930

English history under the government of David Lloyd George of the Liberals from 1918 begins financial reforms, making capitalism flourish in London. Post-war England, however, suffers from the losses of the colonies and the increase in public debt. In 1926 a major strike was the wake-up call of the economic and social crisis that hit England during the economic depression . There was a tuberculosis epidemic and high infant mortality. In 1929 the Wall Street crash worsened the English economy throughout its history, increasing unemployment .

Labor , led by Ramsay MacDonald , was unable to do much and resigned in 1931 . Neville Chamberlain led the economic recovery from 1937 , thanks above all to the construction sector. Nazi Germany violated the Treaty of Versailles in 1936 , increasing tensions. England then proceeds to increase its air force and radar defense systems. In 1939 the German army invaded Poland , breaking the pacts and on 3 September the English Prime Minister, after attempts at compromise, declared war on Germany .

Douglas C-47 Dakota/Skytrain della Royal air force
The Douglas C-47 Dakota of the Royal Air Force

The Second World War

After Germany’s victory in Norway , Chamberlain resigned and Winston Churchill arrived to lead the government of broad agreements against the Germans. Germany begins the French Campaign , overwhelming the British at the Battle of Dunkirk , saving itself only through a naval evacuation. The Luftwaffe in 1940 begins aerial bombing of major cities in the United Kingdom, but the English Royal Air Force throughout the history of England was the turning point of the summary, averting the German invasion. The English move the field to the Mediterranean, landing in Normandy and seeing the allies in favor. Adolf Hitler commits suicide in his bunker and Alfred Jodl signs the fall of Germany . Winning the war brought the Labor Party into favor , beginning the process of nationalizing England.

Winston Churchill Statue London
Statue of Winston Churchill, in London

Decolonization and the post-war period

The legacies of war, throughout English history, also led to a financial crisis and rising public debt, devaluing the pound . The US loan under the Marshall Plan helped reevaluate trade and infrastructure. But the crisis was also the first cause of the decolonization process , which began in India in 1947. In 1960 practically all the colonies were independent , putting England in difficulty after the Suez crisis in 1956. Since 1950, with the reconstruction of after the war, the economy grew and a cultural movement developed that reached the whole world. Harold Wilson returned to government with Labor in 1964, ending 13 years of Conservative government, then giving way to James Callaghan. On 6 February 1952, succeeding her father George VI, Elizabeth II ascended the throne, later marrying Philip of Edinburgh , previously of Greece and Denmark; she granddaughter of Constantine I.

English history between the 20th and early 21st centuries

In the summary history of England, Margaret Thatcher was elected prime minister in 1979 and is remembered as a controversial figure , who however modernized the economy. Due to deindustrialization many industries were closed, but there was also an economic boom thanks to the liberalization of stock markets and privatization of state industries. Thatcher’s seizure of power is a symbol of the end of the sick English economy in Europe.

His policies also led to tensions , such as the 1985 miners ‘ strike . This historical period was also the height of the Northern Irish conflict and bombings in England. The Prime Minister addressed the Falklands conflict and Argentina ‘s invasion of the United Kingdom . He resigned in 1990 , followed by John Major and Tony Blair . The reign of Elizabeth II, however, lasted 70 years, becoming the longest in the history of England. Elizabeth died on September 8, 2022 .

westminster abbey nave
The Nave of Westminster Abbey

English History Today

Today, England is among the four constituent nations of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland , the only one that is not an administrative entity and does not have an autonomous government. Its capital, also the capital of the United Kingdom, is London . It borders Scotland to the north and Wales to the west . After the 2009 reform it is divided into 48 ceremonial counties, 27 administrative ones and 6 metropolitan areas. The English economy today is among the most important in the world and is a highly industrialized country. On 1 February 2020, England and the United Kingdom left the European Union with Brexit . The current head of state and monarch is King Charles III , who succeeded his mother Elizabeth II in 2022.

Thanks to England’s history, as we have seen in this summary, there are many historical and cultural sites to see here. Land that gave birth to the Beatles , Shakespeare and other important figures who changed world history . A modern country, mix of culture, traditions and people. An incredible trip to England is waiting for you!

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London today, Big Ben and the typical Red Buses

Recommended Trips throughout the History of England

After discovering the summary of the history of this magnificent country, to visit and discover the wonderful Welsh landscapes and the beauty of Cornwall, we recommend our Cornwall and Wales Tour. A journey to discover enchanting landscapes and extraordinary archaeological sites.

Tour Cornwall and Wales

In brief: 7-day Cornwall and Wales group tour from London.
Itinerary: London, Stonehenge, St. Michael’s Mount, Wells, Bath.
Duration: 8 days – 7 nights
Confirmed Departures
Code: ENARCH0801

Read also: History of China in Brief – 2024 Guide

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