3000 bc – the iberians
They crossed from the Iberian peninsula when there was still a land-bridge but we don’t know much about them.
700 bc - the celts
They were nomadic people from Central Europe who were farmers, lived in clans each with a chief and a druid and worked metals. They left their culture and language, particularly in Wales, Scotland and Ireland
43 – 411 ad - the romans
The Romans spent almost 400 years in Britain and introduced their language (Latin), building skills and system of administration. They named the country ‘Britannia’ and left the first written records.
5th – 7th Century AD
– The angles, saxons and jutes When the Romans were called back to defend Rome, hordes of Germanic tribes invaded England. They were similar people and divided England into 7 kingdoms (see place names today). They were tall, with fair hair and blue eyes and the Teuton language joined with Celtic and Latin to create early English.
9th century – the vikings
The Vikings were fierce pirates who raided Britain’s coasts and established some seaports (Dublin and Swansea). They came from Norway and Denmark and made York their capital. They introduced Scandinavian into the language.
1066 – the Norman conquest
(The Battle of Hastings)
William Duke of Normandy (called The Conqueror) defeated the English king, Harold and was crowned King of England in Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1066. The Normans built many castles all over Britain (the Tower of London), introduced the feudal system and French became the language of the court.
1215 – the Magna Carta
King John was forced by his barons to sign a document which limited the power of the king. It is an important symbol of political freedom and a first step towards human rights and the personal freedom that Britons enjoy today.
1492 – the discovery of America
This marked the decline of the Mediterranean countries and the rise of those with access to the New World.
1485-1603 – The Tudor dynasty
Also known as the English Renaissance it was a golden period of inventions, exploration , discovery and culture (Shakespeare). The monarchs were Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. Britain became Great Britain.
1534 – the Act of Supremacy Henry VIII broke with the Church of Rome and established the Protestant Church of England. He proclaimed himself Head of State and Head of the Church.
1588 – the defeat of the Spanish Armada
King Phillip of Spain built an invincible fleet of ships and tried to invade England but was defeated. This marked the decline of Spain and the emergence of Britain as a super-power.
1689 – the Bill of rights
An Act passed by the British Parliament establishing the ‘Rights and Liberties’ (freedom of speech and debate) of subjects and also limiting the power of the king. It has become the basis of human rights all over the world.
1776 – American independence
A colonial struggle against the British which resulted in the American Declaration of Independence.
1837-1901 – QUEEN VICTORIA’S REIGN
This was a period of political stability, scientific progress and social improvement (the Industrial Revolution). Britain had an Empire and Victoria became Empress of India. When she died Britain was the most powerful country in the world.
1914-18 – the first world war
Britain with its allies (the Commonwealth, France, Russia, the USA and Italy) won this bloody war
1929 – the Wal Street crash
On 24th and 29th October, share prices fell dramatically on the American Stock Exchange. This caused a Great Depression that spread around the world.
1939-1945 – the second world war
Britain fought against Nazi Germany and Italy
1973 – Britain joins the eec
Following a referendum, the people voted yes to join the EEC (today the European Union) but by a very narrow margin.