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A brief account of english history

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Britain was invaded 4 times during her long history:





The first written reliable records of the history of Britain date back to the year 55 B.C. when Julius Caesar landed on the south coast to explore the country, but the conquest of Britain took place under the Emperor Claudius in the year 43 A.D. and the country was part of the Roman Empire for about 400 years. During this long period of time the Romans built towns, roads, baths, theatres, etc. They also built a wall across the island to separate Britain from Caledonia (Scozia). This wall, known as Hadrian's wall, is 73 miles long, that is about 120 kms.

Around the year 410 the Roman legions were obliged to leave Britain and soon after Anglo-Saxons tribes coming from the North Sea invaded and conquered the country from now on known as Angles Land i.e. (that is) England. They founded 7 kingdoms and imposed their language, the Anglo-saxon language, also called "old English".

During the IX century, tribes of Vikings or Danes conquered parts of England, but in the year 1016 the whole country  was part of a Danish Nordic Empire until the year 1042 when England regained her independence and a Saxon became King of England. His name was Edward, called the Confessor for his saintly life.

The last invaders were the Normans coming from France. At the death of King Edward, William Duke of Normandy claimed the throne of England as Edward's cousin and in the battle of Hastings, near London, he destryed the English forces and became King of England. It was the year 1066 A.D.

William, then called "the Conqueror", established  the "feudal system" in England.

An important result of the Norman conquest was the birth of a new language; the Normans spoke French and the people spoke Anglo-saxon; little by little the two languages gave life to "Middle English" from which derives the English spoken today.

The first successors of William were called Norman Kings but one of them, his great grandchild Henry II, was the first of a new dinasty: the Plantagenets, so called from Henry's habit of wearing a sprig of "planta genista" on his cap.

Henry II had two sons: Richard and John.

Richard, better known as "Lion Hearted" (Cuor di Leone) was more interested in fighting than in ruling and took part in the third Crusade and other war conflicts. All told, he spent only 10 months of his ten-year reign in England.

Richard's brother John is famous for two particular facts:

during a long war with France he lost all the English possessions in France inherited from his father, including Normandy. For this reason he was called "John Lackland" (Giovanni Senza terra).

John however is more famous for the concession to the Barons of the "Magna Carta Libertatum" considered as the beginning of political liberty in England. It was the year 1215.

During the following centuries, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, some other very important events took place in England, such as:

the birth of England's Parliament in 1332, under Edward III with two Houses: the House of Lords and the House of Commons;

the Hundred years'war (Guerra dei 100 anni) from 1338 to 1453.

This long war broke out because King Edward III claimed the French crown by right of his mother, a French princess.

At first the English were victorius in the battles of Crécy, Poitiers and Agincourt but in the end the French were saved by a miracle: a young peasant girl named Joan of Arc, declared that God has chosen her to save France and became leader of the French army passing then from one victory to another till the English lost all their possessions except Calais.

The war of the Roses, from 1455 to 1485.

Two years had scarcely elapsed when a civil war broke out in England for the possession of the throne between two rival Houses closely related: the House of Lancaster and the House of York. It lasted 30 years and was called War of the Roses because a red rose was the emblem of the Yorkists. The last battle at Bosworth in 1485 saw the victory of the Lancastrians whose leader Henry Tudor became King of England with the name of Henry VII.  

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