Saturday, 22 November 2014

Twenty events that changed a nation

I have tried, with some difficulty, to pick the key event of each of the last 20 centuries in the United Kingdom - these had to be events that happened on British soil and had an impact on the whole country.  Notice the key themes of conquest, division and unification.

1st – Roman invasion of Britain by Emperor Claudius (43)

2nd – Hadrian’s Wall is built, dividing north from south (122-)

3rdBritain divided into two provinces, Britannia Superior and Britannia Inferior, with administrative centres at London and York (214)

4thSustained raids by Picts, Irish, and Saxons. Hadrian's Wall abandoned and military commander Fullofaudes captured or killed (367)

5th – Saxons begin conquest of Britain (409)

6th – Mission of Augustine to England (597) begins spread of Christianity

7thSynod of Hertford gives the Archbishop of Canterbury authority over the whole of the English Church (672)

8th – Viking invasions begin – raids on Lindisfarne (793)

9th – Alfred, King of Wessex, halts Danish advance south in England (871) and counters by expanding his control of Merica

10th – Unification of England (959) – Edgar becomes King of England, unifying the kingdoms of      Northumbria, Mercia and Wessex. He was crowned in 973

11th – Norman conquest of England (1066) – William I crowned King of England

12th – Henry I dies, nominating Matilda his heir, but Stephen claims the throne and becomes King of England (1135) leading to civil war in later years

13th – King John, still struggling financially after Richard’s expenditure on the Crusades, makes concessions to the English barons by signing the Magna Carta (1215)

14th – Battle of Bannockburn: Scotland defeats England (1314)

15th – Battle of Bosworth (1485): Henry Tudor defeats Richard III, effectively ending the Wars of the Roses and reunifying the country, leading to greater stability, particularly financially

16th – Henry VIII breaks with Rome (1534) leading to the reformation

17th – English Civil War (1642-1649)

18th – Sir Robert Walpole becomes the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1721)

19th – Introduction of railways – First passenger line: Stockton to Darlington (1825)

20th – First general radio broadcasts (1920) - the age of communication begins

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