Sunday, May 07, 2006

An English History for my American cousins.

After an alarming conversation about Henry II and Thomas A'Beckett the other day I have decided to provide an outline of English History.
I am using the chapter titles from the rather marvellous 1964 edition of a Concise History of England by F.E.Halliday 'From Stonehenge to the Atomic age'. The title's are Halliday's the rest is my own. I promise no research, merely a mumbling recital of schoolboy facts.

I. Early Invaders
II. Three centuries of peace 43-410
III. The rise and fall of Wessex 410-1066
IV. From despotism to anarchy 1066-1154
V. The making of the nation 1154-1307
VI. Foriegn war and civil war 1307-1485
VII. Renaissance, Reformation and a new world 1485-1603
VIII. King, Parliament and Civil War 1603-1649
IX. Cromwell and a united Commonwealth 1649-1660
X. From Restoration to revolution 1660-1688
XI. Toleration and the struggle with France 1688-1714
XII. Cabinet Government and the first British Empire 1714-1760
XIII. Loss of the American Colonies
XIV. The industrial revolution and Napoleonic War 1783-1830
XV. Reform, free trade and prosperity 1832-1865
XVI. Gladstone and Disraeli 1865-1886
XVII. The Conservatives and Imperialism 1886-1905
XVIII. Liberal reform and the first world war 1906-1918
IXX. Between two wars 1918-1939
XX. The second world war and after 1939-1964

At this point my trusty 1964 edition ends. I shall add another chapter to bring the 21st century reader up to date. Look forward to a final chapter including Margaret Thatcher, Lady Diana and Wayne Rooney.
I will not batter you with everything at once, I shall begin with the first 'chapterette'

I. Early Invaders
In the beginning the Islands of Britain were inhabited by tribes of early farmers and their communities. They had a system of law and order and apart from tribal rivalries and petty violence the land was in order. Then the Romans came under the rule of Caesar Claudius. The Romans suppressed what native resistance occurred and began to naturalise their new lands. By the time they eventually left about 400 years later it would have been difficult to distinguish many of the Romans as foreign . The Romans left much behind, much of which can still be seen today in places such as Bath, Northumberland and East Anglia. The Romans founded cities such as Colchester (don't bother visiting) , Chester (OK but full of wealthy Scousers), and Bath (Gorgeous Darling!) and greatly enhanced the city of London, making it Britain's primary city.

Next week.... part II, Three centuries of peace.


bri said...

I almost made it through three sentences but then I saw something about Romans blah blah Caesar blah blah blah and my mind turned to mush. Because I lack innate curiosity and old things make me fall asleep. Ancient history is entirely too remote for me to bother with. But keep up the good work. Maybe by the time we get to Princess Diana I'll wake up - I LOVED her wedding dress when I was 5.

Anonymous said...

Funny, when you got to the Romans my interest was peaked, maybe it's a roman thing