British History

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Showing 13–24 of 33 results

  • England in 1065

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    In the early part of his reign. Edward the Confessor (r. 1042–66), maintained a precarious authority over his kingdom by playing the powerful earls against one another. His judgement faltered, however, in 1051, when his predilection for appointing Normans to senior ecclesiastical positions provoked a confrontation with the Witan, his... More
  • English Civil War 1642–43

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    The long-running feud between Charles I and parliament tipped into open war in August 1642, after rebellions in Scotland and then Ireland precipitated discontent with royal autocracy. Crucially, the Parliamentarian power base was in the wealthy southeast; a royal attempt to move on London was repulsed at Turnham Green. However,... More
  • English Civil War 1644

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    The battle of Marston Moor (2 July) was a decisive defeat for the Royalist cause. It shattered the aura of invincibility of Prince Rupert of the Rhine, and established the military reputation of Oliver Cromwell. With the assistance of the Scottish Covenanter army, the Parliamentarians now held sway over the... More
  • English Civil War 1645–46

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    After routing the Royal army at Naseby (14 June 1645), the New Model Army, together with 5,000 prisoners, seized the King’s personal effects, including correspondence exposing his attempts to inveigle Catholic European nations and the Irish Confederation into the war. They published the correspondence under the banner ‘The King’s Cabinet... More
  • Ethnic Population 1991

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    From 1951–91, the British population born outside the UK almost doubled, and, as a percentage of the total population, increased from 4.3 to 7.3 per cent. By 2011, the population born outside the UK had increased to 13.4 per cent. Traditionally, the largest non-UK component in the population has been... More
  • Industry in Britain 1715–1815

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    Coalbrookdale in Shropshire was the Industrial Revolution’s ‘Silicon Valley’, with Abraham Darby I, II and III, the tech titans of their day. The first Abraham pioneered the use of coal in iron-smelting, and the industrial use of Newcomen’s steam engine. The third Abraham constructed (from cast-iron) the revolutionary Iron Bridge.... More
  • Poll Tax Population 1377

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    The Poll Tax of 1377 was levied to finance the ongoing Hundred Years’ War with France, and graphically delineated England’s depopulation through the plagues and famines of the previous century. Nowhere was spared: London, with a population of perhaps 80,000 in 1300, was reduced to around 25,000 by 1377. The... More
  • Steam Engines in England c. 1800

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    Through most of the 18th century, the Newcomen steam engine dominated British industry, but it had shortcomings, which James Watt set out to address. In the 1760s, Watt produced an engine with greater fuel efficiency, but it was not until 1775 that he would design a model capable of the... More
  • The Act of Union 1707

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    The accession of the Stuart King James I (1603) unified the monarchies but not the polities of England and Scotland. Following the Restoration, Scottish Presbyterian Covenanters considered themselves betrayed by Charles II’s disavowal of the Treaty of Breda (1650), which had guaranteed support for their religious objectives, and mounted a... More
  • The Blast Furnaces of Southeast England c. 1574

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    Julius Caesar noted the smelting of iron on the Weald by native Britons at the time of his invasion. The Romans continued the industry, but it was discontinued after the Saxon invasions and not revived until the Medieval period. The blast furnace was pioneered in Belgium, with its first recorded... More
  • The Borders 1500–1600

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    The Marches along the Scots/English borders were first formally defined in 1249, with the intention of creating a buffer zone between the perpetually warring kingdoms. In practice, it meant the clans either side of the border were able to raid with impunity, by alternating their allegiances. The modern word ‘blackmail’... More
  • The Canal Systems of the British Isles

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    The burgeoning population and commerce resulting from the Industrial Revolution placed an immense strain on an internal transport network reliant on rivers, and often ill-maintained roads. While turnpike trusts greatly improved the coverage and quality of roads, more volume was still required, and was met initially by river navigation systems... More
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