England is the premiere part of the United Kingdom. England combined with Wales, Ireland and Scotland make up the United Kingdom. Scotland is to the North of England, Wales to the West, the Irish Sea to the Northwest, the Celtic Sea to the Southwest, North Sea to the East, with English Channel separating it from continental Europe. Most of England comprises the central and southern part of the island of Great Britain in the North Atlantic which includes over 100 smaller islands such as Scilly, Man, and Wight. England has been settled by humans of various cultures for over 35,000 years. England gets its name from the Germanic tribe – the Angles, who settled here 5th-6th century. England became unified in AD 927 and became a significant cultural and world leader since the Age of Discovery in the 15th century. The English language, the Anglican Church, and English system of Law became common base and usage for many countries around the world. Its parliamentary system of government has been adopted by many other nations. The Industrial revolution that began in 18th century England transformed English society into the world’s first industrialized nation. They also laid the foundations of experimental science. Southern and Central England primarily consists of low hills and plains, but up north and the southwest there are uplands including mountainous lake districts, the Pennines, and the Yorkshire Dales in the North; and Dartmoor and Cotswolds in the southwest. England’s capital is London, which is the largest metropolitan area in the Kingdom which developed as a industrial region during the 19th century. Beyond the major cities lie rural villages, meadowlands, farms, and pastures. The Kingdom of England which added on Wales in 1284 beginning as a sovereign state until May 1, 1707; when the Treaty and Acts of Union united the political powers of the Kingdom of Scotland with England to form the new Kingdom of Great Britain. By 1800 Great Britain was united with Ireland through another act of Union becoming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. 1922 saw the Irish Free State established as a separate dominion even though the Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act in 1927 reincorporated into the Kingdom six Irish counties to create the current United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
“England” is derived from the Old English word “Englaland” meaning “Land of the Angles” who were one of the Germanic tribes that settled the area during the Early Middle Ages. “Angles” came from the “Angeln peninsula” in the Bay of Kiel of the Baltic Sea. The first known use of the term “England” referred to the southern part of the island in 897 and the modern spelling was first seen in use by 1538. An alternative name for England is “Albion” which refers to the entire island of Great Britain. This was first used by Aistotelian Corpus in the 4th century BC De Mundo: “Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth. In it are two very large islands called Britannia; these are Albion and Ierne”. This term either derives from Latin “albus” meaning “white”, refering to the white cliffs of Dover which is often the first view of Britain from the European Continent. Alternatively could be from an ancient merchant’s handbook “Massaliote Periplus”, which mentions an “island of the Albiones”. The Welsh Lloegr on Arthurian Legend calls England “Loegria”.
The most important rivers in England, because of their ports of London, Liverpool, and Newcastle, are the tidal rivers Thames, Mersey and Tyne. As an Island, the tides raise the level of water in the estuaries of these rivers that enable ships to enter the ports. The Severn is the longest river in England (354 kilometres/220 mi) which empties into the Bristol Channel and is notable for its Severn Bore tidal waves that can reach 2 metres (6.6 ft) in height. The oldest range of mountains in the country is the Pennines, comprised of mostly sandstone, limestone, and coal; ranges 400 kilometres (250 miles) long, and is called the “backbone of England” which originated from the end of the Paleozoic Era around 300 million years ago, peaking at Cross Fell in Cumbria. Karst landscapes in calcite areas are found in Yorkshire and Derbyshire. Pennine landscape is high moorland in upland areas indented by fertile valleys of the region’s rivers containing three national parks – the Yorkshire Dales, Northumberland, and the Peak District. The highest point in England is Scafell Pike in Cumbria at 978 metres (3,209 ft). English Lowlands are to the south of the Pennines, consisting of green rolling hills, including the Cotswold Hills, Chiltern Hills, North and South Downs meeting at the sea where they form white rock exposures such as the cliffs of Dover. England’s climate is a temperate maritime climate hosting mild temperatures not much lower than 0 C (32 F) in winter and not much higher than 32 C (90 F) in summer. Damp weather is predominant though subject to change at any time. Coldest months are January and February, with July normally the warmest month. Months with mild to warm weather with least rainfall are May, June, September and October. The climate here is influenced by proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, its northern latitude and warming of the waters around the Gulf Stream.
The first proto-human bones in England date to 700,000 B.P. This was of “Homo Erectus” found in what is now called “Norfolk and Suffolk”. “Homo Sapien Sapien” arrived in the area about 35,000 B.P. but during the Devensian glaciation, apparently fled from Britain to the mountains of southern Europe when only large mammals such as mammoths, bison, and wooly rhinoceros remained in the area. 11,000 years ago, when the ice sheets began to recede, humans repopulated the area, suggesting they came from the northern part of the Iberian Peninsula when the sea level was lower and Britain was connected by land to both Ireland and Eurasias. 9,000 years ago when the sea rose, it separated Britain from Ireland and Eurasia a half a century later. Around 2500 B.C.E. what is known as the “Beaker” cultre arrived where constructed food vessels were found made of clay and copper during which time the major Neolithic monuments such as Stonehenge and Avebury were constructed. With the heating of tin and copper, the Beaker culture people were able to make bronze and later iron from the iron ores. At this time you saw spinning and weaving of sheep’s wool for clothing manufacture. By Late Bronze Age – the inhabitants of England were part of a major maritime trading networked culture called the “Atlantic Bronze Age” that included Britain, Ireland, France, Spain, and Portugal where the Celtic languages developed with Tartessian as the first written Celtic language discovered. During the “Iron Age” Celtic Culture, derived from the “Hallstatt” and “La Tene” Cultures which arrived from Central Europe, the development of iron smelting allowed for the construction of better ploughs which advanced agriculture and the production of more effective weapons. The language at the time was “Brythonic” and society consisted of over 20 different tribals and was defined as “tribal”. Earlier divisions are unknown because the earlier Britons were not literate and had no written history. When trading began with the Romans, a written history was developed. Julius Caesar of the Roman Republic attempted to invade Britain twice in 55 B.C.E. which was primarily unsuccessful even though he managed to set up a client king from the Trinovantes. In 43 C.E. The Romans successfully conquered Britain during the reign of Emperor Claudius and incorporated Britain into the Roman Empire as the province “Britannia” even though some tribes were still resistant. Boudica, the Queen of the Iceni, led an uprising that resulted in her death at the Battle of Watling Street. During this era Britain saw a make-over with the incorporation of Greco-Roman high culture bringing in law and order, Roman architecture, personal hygiene, sewage systems, agricultural technology, silk, and education. By 3rd centure C.E. Emperor Septimius Severus died and Brittania was taken over by Constantine introducing Christianity for the first time into the area (others claim Joseph of Arimathea introduced Christianity first to Glastonbury earlier as well as Lucius of Britain). 410 C.E. the Roman Empire began to decline in Brittania with an abandonment by the Roman Empire who needed to return to continental Europe to defend their frontiers there.
With the Roman retreat of 410 C.E. Britain was open to invasion by Pagan seafaring warriors known as the “Saxons” and “Jutes” who took over the southeastern part of Brittania even though at first they were held off by the Briton’s victory at the Battle of Mount Badon. In the North, the sub-Roman Brythonic Kingdoms in the north were collectively known collectively as the “Hen Ogledd” were conquered by Angles during the 6th century. Much of the history of this time is debated and in controversy amongst scholars as reliable accounts are non-existent or scarces as is archaeological evidence which is why the time period is called “The Dark Ages”. 7th century saw a coherent set of Anglo-Saxon petty kingdoms known as the Heptarchy that emerged in central and southern Britain labelled : Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia, Essex, Kent, Sussex, and Wessex. Christianity was lost during the Dark Ages after the founding of the Heptarchy but was re-introduced in the south by Rome’s Augustine and in the north by Ireland’s Aidan afterwards. This was followed by Viking conquests in the north and east, Alfred the Great imposed Danelaw on the land, and the English Kingdom became Wessex. His grandson, Athelstan unified England in 927 C.E. after Edred defeated the Viking Eric Bloodaxe. King Cnut the Great then incorporated England into an Empire that included Denmark and Norway but Wessex Dynasty was restored later under Edward the Confessor. It was on Saint Crispin’s Day that the “Battle of Agincourt” was fought and the English saw victory against the French Army during the 100 Year’s War. England was conquered by William the Conquerer of Normandy in 1066 C.E. back into the hands of France. This introduced feudalism and maintained power through barons who set up castles across England and brought in the new aristocratic elite language of “Norman French” into the area. The House of Plantagenet from Anjou inherited the English throne under Henry II, adding England to the Angevin Empire of fiefs where they reigned for three centures claiming fame to the monarchs Richard I, Edward I, Edward III, and Henry V. This time period saw changes in trade and legislation, including the Magna Carta that limited sovereign’s powers by law and protected the privileges of freemen. At this time Catholicism and Monasticism flourished bringing in philosophers and establishment of Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. 13th century the Principality of Wales became the Plantagenet fief and the Lordship of Ireland was gifted to the English Monarchy by the Pope. 14th century the Plantagenets and House of Valois claimed to be legitimate claimants to the House of Capet as well as France – resulting in a clashing of powers during the 100 years war. 1348 England was hit by the “Black Death” epidemic that killed up to half of England’s population. 1453-1487 Civil War broke out between the Yorkists and Lancastrians that became known as the “War of Roses” resulting in Yorkist loss of the throne entirely to the Welsh noble family of the Tudors.
It was during the Tudor period that the Renaissance reached England by means of Italian courtiers who reintroduced artistic, educational, and scholarly debate from classical antiquity. This brought the England science and technology which advanced England’s naval skills including the invention of the theodolite and movements to explore the West. The Explorations were sparked by the Ottoman Empire’s control of the Mediterranean Sea that blocked off trade withthe East for the Christian states of Europe.
1534 C.E. When the Catholic Church had disagreements about divorce with Henry VIII, communion between England and the Catholic Church was broken and the Acts of Supremacy procaimed the monarch head of the Church of England. The division was a political one rather than the Protestant’s assumed theological reasoning for the split. THe 1535-1542 Acts legally incorporated Henry’s ancestral land of Wales into the Kingdom of England. Religious conflicts broke out throughout the land during the reigns of Henry’s daughters Mary I and Elizabeth I – who attempted to bring England back to Catholicism and the latter asserted supremacy of Anglicanism. During the Elizabethan period, Francis Drake led the English fleet to defeat the invading Spanish Armada. A race to the West with Spain, established the first English Colony in the Americas under Walter Raleigh in 1585 named Virginia. The East India Trading Company of England then began to compete with the Dutch and the French for the New World. 1603 England was inherited by Stuart King of Scotland who created a personal union under James I and styled himself as King of Great Britain. England was then thrown into conflict as an English Civil War broke out between the supporters of Parliament and King Charles I known as Roundheads and Cavaliers respectively. This was a interwoven part of the wider multi-faceted Wars of the Three Kingdoms involving Scotland and Ireland. The Parliamentarians were victorious and Charles I was executed. The Kingdom of England was replaced with the Commonwealth. Oliver Cromwell as leader of the Parliament forces declared himself Lord Protector in 1653. When Cromwell died, England was weary of Puritan rule, and thereby invited Charles II to return as monarch in 1660 with the Restoration. Constitutionally it was determined that the King and Parliament should rule together. The Royal Society was developed bringing in science and the arts as a stronghold in England. 1666 Saw the Great Fire of London that gutted the capital. London was rebuilt and Parliament broke into two factions – the Tories and the Whigs. Tories initially supported Catholic King James II while many of the Whigs deposed him – and the Revolution of 1688 led to the invitation of dutch Prince William III to become Monarch. The Northern Jacobites who continued to support James and his sons caused controversy. The Parliaments of England and Scotland both agreed to England and Scotland to join in political union creating the Kingdom of Great Britain. This union allowed for the law and national church of each to remain separate.
At this time the Royal Society and other English initiatives combined with Scottish Enlightenment created innovations in science and engineering that rocketed the British Empire into being a world power. This drove the Industrial Revolution that caused a world-wide change in socio-economic and cultural conditions that resulted in industrialized agriculture, manufacture, engineering, mining, road-making, railworks, and waterworks. This allowed for expansion and development beyond its borders. England’s Bridgwater Canal was established in 1761 and brought in the canal age to Britain. 1825 brought the world’s first permanent steam locomotive hauled passenger railway – the Stockton and Darlington Railway – bringing public-transportation travel to all citizens. The Industrial Revolution saw many workers moving from England’s countryside to the urban industrial areas to work in factories. During the French Revolution, England maintained relative stability. During the Napoleonic Wars – Britain fended off Napoleon Bonaparte’s planned invasion from the south-east. Victorious was Lord Nelson at sea and the Duke of Wellington by land. This fostered a concept of “Britishness” and a united national British people that was shared with by the Scots and the Welsh.
In the Victorian Era, London became the largest and most populated metropolitan area in the world and the British Empires vast trade network push incredible growth and standing for the British military and Navy. The Chartists and the suffragettes caused political agitation which enabled legislative reform and universal suffrage. Powere shifts in east-central Europe led to World War I – which took great losses on English soldiers. With World War II, the United Kingdom fought again for the Allies with Winston Churchill as the wartime Prime Minister. Warfare technology developments caused severe damage by air-raids during the Blitz. After the war, the British Empire experienced rapid decolonization as well as a series of technological advancement. Automobiles became the primary means of transport and Whittle’s development of the jet engine led to wider air travel. By the 20th century, significant population movement took place to England from other parts of the British Isles, the Commonwealth, as well as the Indian subcontinent. By 1970 England moved away from manufacturing and onwards toward the Service industry. With the United Kingdom’s joining of the common market initiative called the European Economic Community led to the formation of the “European Union”. Late 20th century, United Kingdom moved towards devolved governance in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland which had in effect created a greater emphasis on a more English-specific identity and patriotism.
England is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. The Acts of Union 1707 eradicated a Government of England since operating under the Treaty of Union that joins together England and Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. Prior to this England was ruled by its Monarch and the Parliament. Today it is governed directly by the Parliament of the United Kingdom even though other U.K. countries have devolved governments. Now the United Kingdom is a member of the European Union where the elections are held regionally in England to decide who is sent as Members of the European Parliament. The 2009 EU Parliament Election saw the regions of England elect the following MEPs: twenty-three Conservatives, ten Labour, nine United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), nine Liberal Democrats, two Greens and two British National Party (BNP). Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have their own devolved parliament or assemblies for local issues which has caused a need for a counterbalance in England. Since this has not taken effect, causing England to be the only country of the United Kingdom not to have free cancer treatment, prescriptions, residential care for the elderly, and free top-up university fees which has led to a steady rise in English nationalism. English Law is the foundation of many legal systems throughout the Western world-view. The legal systems of the Courts of England and Wales while having similar basis they work from are separate legal systems. Law is made up by judges sitting in courts applying their common sense and knowledge of the legal precendent-star decisis-to the facts before them. The court system is headed by the Supreme Court of Judicature, consisting of the Court of Appeal, the High Court of Justice for civil cases and the Crown Court for criminal cases. England consists of as many as four levels of subnational division controlled through a variety of types of administrative entities to create the local governments of England. In 1994 The Government Offices were established – creating the highest tier of local government that are the nine regions of England – North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands, East, South East, South West, and Greater London and are used to deliver a wide range of policies and programmes regionally and to elect members of the European Parliament on a regular basis. Below the regional level all of England is divided into 48 ceremonial counties which are used primarily as a geographical frame of reference and have developed gradually since the Middle Ages, with some established as recently as 1974. Each of these counties has a Lord Lieutenant and High Sheriff that represents the British monarch locally. There are 6 metropolitan counties that do not have county councils which are run by principal authorities that are councils of the subdivisions based on the metropolitan boroughs. 27 non-metropolitan “shire” counties have a country council and are divided into districts each with its own district council and are typically found in rural areas. Some remaining non-metropolitan counties are seen as a single district and correspond to large towns or counties with low populations that are known as unitary authorities.
United Kingdom From Above: