I have included only a few items concerning the history of this empire. A good source for more details can be
found on Wikipedia or in history books.
EARLY YEARS AND ROME:
Early inhabitants of the region were various Celtic groups:
Picts; Scots (a later amalgam of Gaels and Picts). In 53 BC,
Gaius Julius Caesar staged two invasions
into Britain at
Kent in 53 BC and the following year
Caesar defeated local forces and
installed Manubracius as a client king. Rome controlled areas south of the
(later called the Severus) and
Hadrian walls. Rome also made
Londinium (London) a major port city.
Circa 410 AD, Rome withdrew its legions and left Roman citizens in Britain to manage their own affairs. The legendary
Arthur seized power and led local forces against invading
Saxons ( a confederation of north Germanic tribes) in 446 AD. Although legendary
stories of Arthur exaggerated his "Round Table" and other accomplishments, he probably was an actual historical
post-Roman figure who opposed the Saxons.
Offa (575-796 AD), the Anglo-Saxon king of
Mercia, built a 150-mile
Offa's Dyke along the eastern border of
Wales to prevent incursions by
forces from Powys.
In 787 AD, three, Viking ships from
Norway raided Portland Bay.
For many years thereafter, Vikings raided England for booty. In 865 AD, an army of Danish Vikings led by
Guthrum, Halfdan and Ivar "the Boneless" Ragnarsson (Great Viking Army)
invaded East Anglia. They conquered York and Mercia.
In 871 AD, king Bagsecg brought reinforcements from Scandinavia.
King Alfred the Great defeated the Danes at the
Battle of Edington, but a treaty allowed them
to control the Danelaw. Eric Bloodaxe led the last wave of
invaders from Norway to England in 947 AD. He captured York, became king of Northumbria and probably ruled the
WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR:
William of Normandy (later called
William the Conqueror) claimed right to the
English throne and landed an invasion force near the old Roman
fort at Pevensey. After defeating the
Viking invaders at Stamford, King Godwinson force-marched his army to confront William. Both sides gathered at
Hastings (aka Battle). Godwinson died on
14 October 1066 AD during the Battle of Hastings.
William spent years consolidating control over England and expanding its borders. He also built numerous castles
throughout his realm, such as those at Dover and
London. By 1130 AD,
Norman possessions reflected the beginnings of an
ultimate British Empire. In 1169 and 1171 AD, Normans under King Henry II,
launched a two-phase invasion of Ireland. Henry faced turmoil from
instigating the murder of Thomas Becket (former friend and the
Archbishop of Canterbury) in 1170 AD and a Great Revolt in 1173-1174 AD.
ELIZABETH I AND WAR WITH SPAIN:
The British Empire evolved following Henry VII's attempt to at
exploration. In 1496 AD, he commissioned an expedition by John Cabot,
who sailed in The Matthew and "discovered"
WARS WITH FRANCE: Richard I, known as "Lionhearted" for his military prowess, ruled Norman lands
and was a principle foe of Saladin (Salah ad-Din), the great
leader of Islam during the Third Crusade.
Richard mainly lived in France and only spent six months in England.
England and France were frequent antagonists throughout much of their histories.
In 1337 AD, King Edward III contested seizure of Aquitaine
by French king, Philip VI, which precipitated the
Hundred Years War. Among the famous battles and events were:
Agincourt (1415 AD); Crécy
(1346 AD); Siege of Orléans (1428-1429 AD), which ended via help from
Joan of Arc. At Agincourt, the skill of English archers
proved superior to armored French knights.
British defeats (such as the Battle of Carillon) resulted in
William Pitt becoming Prime Minister. He bolstered military forces in the Colonies,
which led to the capture of Carillon (renamed Fort Ticonderoga)
and a British victory at Québec in 1759 AD. A French victory near Québec
(Sainte-Foy) failed to turn the tide, and France sued for
peace. England received vast territory in North America, including Canada.
French Acadians were deported to France or various of the 13 colonies.
England was a key opponent to Napoléon Bonaparte.
During his expedition in Egypt, the British navy crushed a French fleet in the
Battle of the Nile. Later on 21 October 1805 AD, Admiral
Horatio Nelson won a spectacular victory against the French at
Trafalgar. During the Penisular War in
Spain on 16 May 1811 AD, British and French forces fought a bloody but
indecisive battle at Albuera.
British troops played a key role in defeating Napoléon at
on 18 June 1815 AD. He eventually died in 1821 AD while in captivity
on the small British island of Saint Helena.
COLONIES AND EMPIRE:
Early in the 17th century AD, British forces and civilians colonized many settlements in North America and the Far East.
In 1600 AD, two companies challenged Portugal's monopoly in the
region. The Dutch East India Company (VOC) seized control over the
Dutch East Indies while the British
East India Company (1600-1874 AD) eventually accounted for one half of
world trade and controlled India with a private army. Its rule effectively started in
1757 AD, following the Battle of Plassey, and ended after the
Indian Rebellion of 1857-1858 AD. British highlanders
and Gurkha troops defeated tribesmen at Dargai Heights in the
Khyber area of Pakistan in 1897 AD.
England and the Netherlands allied against France during the
Nine Years' War (1688-1697 AD), which resulted in a stronger British Empire.
British forces further expanded the empire in South Africa.
However, Zulu tribesmen wiped out a 1,300-man British force in January 1879 at the Battle of
Isandlwana. Immediately thereafter 155 British troops withstood
assaults at Rorke's Drift by 3-4,000 Zulus. Also in South Africa,
British forces defeated Dutch Boers after two wars between 1880 and 1902 AD, thereafter
ruling the region until later in the twentieth century.
AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR: (1775-1783)
A series of progressively draconian tax and control measures caused American colonials
to resist British laws. The English mercantile economic system (similar to the so-called "free trade" practices of modern America) deliberately
kept colonial lands underdeveloped and lacking important freedoms. One key event was the Boston Tea Party
in December 1773 AD. King George III ordered a blockade of the port and quartered
troops to ensure repayment of the destroyed tea. General Thomas Gage ordered troops on an
expedition to confiscate weapons at Concord,
Massachusetts. They fired upon local
Lexington, which precipitated open warfare with Great Britain. Local militia inflicted heavy
casualties during the Battle of Bunker Hill.
WORLD WAR I:
The notorious Rothschild and other international bankers
in Europe and the United States manipulated nations into starting World War I (28 July 1914-11 November 1918 AD).
The war weakened England and onerous reparations on Germany set the stage for a
Nazi rise in Germany. It also ended the empires of
Austria-Hungary and Ottoman.
WORLD WAR II:
In 1938 AD, German troops moved into Austria.
Hitler claimed the German-speaking Sudetenland region of
Czechoslovakia the following year (and later seized the whole country
in March 1939 AD). British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain,
bowed to Hitler and claimed to have achieved "peace for our time." His cowardice encouraged further Nazi expansionism.
On 1 September 1939 AD, Hitler and Joseph Stalin of the
Soviet Union invaded and partitioned
Poland per a secret agreement, which also granted the Baltic States
to the Soviets. Prior to the invasion, Britain promised to aid Poland.