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500,000 B.C
People migrate to Britain from Europe.
6,500 B.C
Seas rise, cutting Britain off from mainland Europe
c.5000 B.C
Neolithic (new stone age) Period begins; first evidence of farming appears; stone axes, antler combs, pottery in common use.
3000 B.C
New Stone Age begins: farming people arrive from Europe.
First stone circles erected.
c.2500-1500 B.C
Most stone circles in British Isles erected during this period; pupose of the circles is uncertain, although most experts speculate that they had either astronomical or ritual uses.
c.2300 B.C
Construction begun on Britain’s largest stone circle at Avebury.
2100 B.C.
Bronze Age begins
2000 B.C
Stonehenge built
c.1800-1200 B.C
Control of society passes from priests to those who control the manufacture of metal objects.
c.1200-1000 B.C
Emergence of a warrior class who now begins to take a central role in society.
c.1100 B.C
Geoffrey of Monmouth suggests that Brutus arrives about this time.
c.1000 B.C
Earliest hill-top earthworks ("hillforts") begin to appear, also fortified farmsteads; increasing sophistication of arts and crafts, particularly in decorative personal and animal ornamentation.
750 B.C
Iron Age begins:
c.600 B.C
Iron replaces bronze, Iron Age begins; construction of Old Sarum begun.
c.150 B.C
Metal coinage comes into use; widespread contact with continent.
c.100 B.C
Flourishing of Carn Euny (Cornwall), an iron age village with interlocking stone court-yard houses; community features a "fogou," an underground chamber used, possibly, for storage or defense.
55 B.C
Julius Caesar’s first invasion of Britain.
54 BC-43 AD
Julius Caesar’s second invasion of Britain. British forces led, this time, by Cassivellaunus, a capable commander. Despite early Roman advances, British continued to harass the invaders, effectively. A "deal" with the Trinovantes (tribal enemies of Cassivellaunus), and the subsequent desertion of other British tribes, finally guaranteed the Roman victory. Caesar’s first two expeditions to Britain were only exploratory in nature, and were never intended to absorb Britain into the Roman sphere, at that time.
Jesus Christ is Born in Bethlehem
5 A.D
Rome acknowledges Cymbeline, King of the Catuvellauni, as king of Britain
51 A.D
Caratacus, British resistance leader, is captured and taken to Rome
61 A.D
Boudicca, queen of the Iceni, led uprising against the Roman occupiers, but is defeated and killed by the Roman governor, Suetonius Paulinus
63 A.D
Joseph of Arimathea came to Glastonbury on the first Christian mission to Britain.
c.75-77 A.D
The Roman conquest of Britain is complete, as Wales is finally subdued; Julius Agricola is imperial governor (to 84)
122 A.D
Construction of Hadrian’s Wall ordered along the northern frontier, for the purpose of hindering incursions of the aggressive tribes there into Britannia
133 A.D
Julius Severus, governor of Britain, is sent to Palestine to crush the revolt
184 A.D
Lucius Artorius Castus, commander of a detachment of Sarmatian conscripts stationed in Britain, led his troops to Gaul to quell a rebellion. This is the first appearance of the name, Artorius, in history and some believe that this Roman military man is the original, or basis, for the Arthurian legend. The theory says that Castus’ exploits in Gaul, at the head of a contingent of mounted troops, are the basis for later, similar traditions about "King Arthur," and, further, that the name "Artorius" became a title, or honorific, which was ascribed to a famous warrior in the fifth century.
197 A.D
Clodius Albinus, governor of Britain, another claimant to the Imperial throne, is killed by Severus at the battle of Lyon
208 A.D
Severus goes to defend Britain, and repairs Hadrian’s Wall
209 A.D
St. Alban, first British martyr, was killed for his faith in one of the few persecutions of Christians ever to take place on the island, during the governorship of Gaius Junius Faustinus Postumianus (there is controversy about the date of Alban’s martyrdom. Some believe it occurred during the persecutions of Diocletian, in the next century, although we opt for the earlier dating).
c.270 A.D
Beginning (highly uncertain dating) of the "Saxon Shore" fort system, a chain of coastal forts in the south and east of Britain, listed in a document known as "Notitia Dignitatum."
287 A.D
Revolt by Carausius, commander of the Roman British fleet, who rules Britain as emperor until murdered by Allectus, a fellow rebel, in 293
303 A.D
Diocletian orders a general persecution of the Christians
306 A.D
Constantine (later to be known as "the Great") was proclaimed Emperor at York.
311 A.D
Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire ends.
313 A.D
Edict of Toleration proclaimed at Milan, in which Christianity is made legal throughout the empire.
314 A.D
Three British bishops, for the first time, attend a continental church gathering, the Council of Arles.
324 A.D
Constantine finally achieves full control over an undivided empire. He was a skillful politician who is popularly believed to have made Christianity the official religion of the empire because of his personal convictions. In actuality, that act was merely an expedient intended to harness the power of its "God" for the benefit of the state. He re-located the imperial headquarters to Byzantium, whose name he then changed to Constantinople.
Despite his outward enthusiasm for Christianity and its powerful God, he didn’t close many pagan temples during his reign. He did, however, strip them of their former wealth, which was then shifted to various Christian churches. This produced the result that many of the fledgling churches were put on a very firm financial footing and many of their members enjoyed great prosperity. The persecution of Christianity had stopped, perhaps, but its co-opting had just begun.
Early Christianity had no official hierarchies and functioned best as a series of small church groups worshipping with and caring for their own members while spreading Christ’s Gospel in their local areas. Constantine’s move created a top-heavy structure that would quickly depart from its original purity; a church beholden to the state, out of touch with the needs of its adherents and concerned only with its own comfort. Eusebius, the early Christian historian, has given us some additional insights into the motivations of the Emperor Constantine in his "Ecclesiastical History"
337 A.D
Constantine received "Christian" baptism on his deathbed. Joint rule of Constantine’s three sons: Constantine II (to 340); Constans (to 350); Constantius (to 361)
360s A.D
Series of attacks on Britain from the north by the Picts, the Attacotti and the Irish (Scots), requiring the intervention of Roman generals leading special legions.
369 A.D
Roman general Theodosius drives the Picts and Scots out of Roman Britain
383 A.D
Magnus Maximus (Macsen Wledig), a Spaniard, was proclaimed Emperor in Britain by the island’s Roman garrison. With an army of British volunteers, he quickly conquered Gaul, Spain and Italy.
397 A.D
The Roman commander, Stilicho, comes to Britain and repels an attack by Picts, Irish and Saxons
402 A.D
Events on the continent force Stilicho to recall one of the two British legions to assist with the defense of Italy against Alaric and the Visigoths. The recalled legion, known as the Sixth Victrix, was said by Claudian (in "De Bello Gallico," 416) to be "that legion which is stretched before the remoter Britons, which curbs the Scot, and gazes on the tattoo-marks on the pale face of the dying Pict." The barbarians were defeated, this time, at battle of Pollentia.
403 A.D
Victricius, Bishop of Rouen, visited Britain for the purpose of bringing peace to the island’s clergy, who were in the midst of a dispute, possibly over the Pelagian heresy.
405 A.D
The British troops, which had been recalled to assist Stilicho, were never returned to Britain as they had to stay in Italy to fight off another, deeper penetration by the barbarian chieftain, Radagaisus.
407 A.D
In place of the assassinated Marcus, Gratian was elevated "to the purple," but lasted only four months. Constantine III was hailed as the new emperor by Roman garrison in Britian. He proceeded to follow the example of Magnus Maximus by withdrawing the remaining Roman legion, the Second Augusta, and crossing over into Gaul to rally support for his cause. Constantine’s departure could be what Nennius called "the end of the Roman Empire in Britain. . ."
408 A.D
With both Roman legions withdrawn, Britain endures devastating attacks by the Picts, Scots and Saxons.
409 A.D
Prosper, in his chronicle, says, "in the fifteenth year of Honorius and Arcadius (409), on account of the languishing state of the Romans, the strength of the Britons was brought to a desperate pass." Under enormous pressure, Britons take matters into their own hands, expelling weak Roman officials and fighting for themselves.
410 A.D
Britain gains "independence" from Rome. The Goths, under Alaric, sack Rome.
413 A.D
Pelagian heresy said to have begun, by Prosper (Tiro) of Aquitaine in his "Chronicle."
420-30 A.D
Pelagian heresy outlawed in Rome (418), but in Britain, enjoys much support from "pro-Celtic" faction. Traditionalists (pro-Romans) support Roman church. During this time, according to Prosper, Britain is ruled by petty "tyrants."
421 A.D
Honorius issued a decree forbidding any Pelagians to come nearer to Rome than the one-hundredth mile marker.
c.432 A.D
Traditional dating for the beginning of St. Patrick’s mission to Ireland
c.438 A.D
Probable birth of Ambrosius Aurelianus, scion of the leading Romano-British family on the island.
440 - 450 A.D
Period of civil war and famine in Britain, caused by ruling council’s weakness and inability to deal with Pictish invasions; situation aggravated by tensions between Pelagian/Roman factions. Vacated towns and cities in ruin. Migration of pro-Roman citizens toward west. Country beginning to be divided, geographically, along factional lines.
c.441 A.D
Gallic Chronicle records, prematurely, that "Britain, abandoned by the Romans, passed into the power of the Saxons."
c.445 A.D
Vortigern comes to power in Britain.
446 A.D
Britons (probably the pro-Roman party) appeal to Aetius, Roman governor of Gaul, for military assistance in their struggle against the Picts and the Irish (Scots). No help could be sent, at this time, as Aetius had his hands full with Attila the Hun.
C. 446 A.D
Vortigern authorizes the use of Saxon mercenaries, known as foederati, for the defense of the northern parts against barbarian attack. To guard against further Irish incursions, Cunedda and his sons are moved from Manau Gododdin in northern Britain to northwest Wales
c.447 A.D
Britons, aroused to heroic effort, "inflicted a massacre" on their enemies, the Picts and Irish, and were left in peace, for a brief time. Could this heroic effort have been led, again, by St. Germanus?
c.448 A.D
Death of St. Germanus in Ravenna. Civil war and plague ravage Britain.
c.450 A.D
In the first year of Marcian and Valentinian, Hengest arrives on shores of Britain with "3 keels" of warriors, and are welcomed by Vortigern. This event is known in Latin as the "adventus Saxonum," the coming of the Saxons.
c.452 A.D
Increasing Saxon settlement in Britain. Hengest invites his son, Octha, from Germany with "16 keels" of warriors, who occupy the northern lands, to defend against the Picts. Picts never heard from, again.
c.453 A.D
Increasing Saxon unrest. Raids on British towns and cities becoming more frequent.
c.457 A.D
Death of Vortigern. Vitalinus (Guitolinus) new leader of pro-Celtic Pelagian faction. Battle of Aylesford (Kent) in which Ambrosius, along with sons of Vortigern, Vortimer and Cateyrn, defeat Hengest for the first time.
458 - 460 A.D
Full-scale migration of British aristocrats and city-dwellers across the English Channel to Brittany, in northwestern Gaul (the "second migration"). British contingent led by Riothamus (perhaps a title, not a name), thought by some to be the original figure behind the legends of Arthur.
c.458 A.D
Saxon uprising in full-swing. Hengest finally conquers Kent, in southeastern Britain.
460 - 470 A.D
Ambrosius Aurelianus takes full control of pro-Roman faction and British resistance effort; leads Britons in years of back-and-forth fighting with Saxons. British strategy seems to have been to allow Saxon landings and to then contain them, there.
c.465 A.D
Arthur probably born around this time.
c.466-73 A.D
Period of minimal Saxon activity. Refortification of ancient hillforts and construction of the Wansdyke possibly takes place during this time.
c.466 A.D
Battle of Wippedesfleot, in which Saxons defeat Britons, but with great slaughter on both sides. Mutual "disgust and sorrow" results in a respite from fighting "for a long time."
C. 469 A.D
Roman emperor, Anthemius, appeals to Britons for military help against Visigoths. Reliable accounts by Sidonius Apolonaris and Jordanes name the leader of the 12,000 man British force, Riothamus. The bulk of the British force was wiped out in battle against Euric, the Visigothic king, and the survivors, including Riothamus, vanished and were never heard from, again.
c.470 A.D
Battle of Wallop (Hampshire) where Ambrosius defeats Vitalinus, head of the opposing faction. Ambrosius assumes High-kingship of Britain.
473 A.D
Men of Kent, under Hengest, move westward, driving Britons back before them "as one flees fire."
477 A.D
Saxon chieftain, Aelle, lands on Sussex coast with his sons. Britons engage him upon landing but his superior force drives them into the forest (Weald). Over next nine years, Saxon coastal holdings are gradually expanded in Sussex.
c.480 A.D
Vita Germani, the Life of St. Germanus, written by a continental biographer, Constantius.
c.485-96 A.D
Period of Arthur’s "twelve battles" during which he gains reputation for invincibility.
486 A.D
Aelle and his sons overreach their normal territory and are engaged by Britons at battle of Mercredesburne. Battle is bloody, but indecisive, and ends with both sides pledging friendship.
c.490 A.D
Hengest dies. His son, Aesc, takes over and rules for 34 years.
c.495 A.D
Cerdic and Cynric, his son, land somewhere on the south coast, probably near the Hampshire-Dorset border.
c.496-550 A.D
Following the victory at Mt. Badon, the Saxon advance is halted with the invaders returning to their own enclaves. A generation of peace ensues. Corrupt leadership, more civil turmoil, public forgetfulness and individual apathy further erode Romano-British culture over next fifty years, making Britain ripe for final Saxon "picking."
c.496 A.D
Britons, under overall command of Ambrosius and battlefield command of the "war leader" Arthur, defeat Saxons at the Siege of Mount Badon.
c.500-50 A.D
Spread of Celtic monasticism throughout Europe
c.501 A.D
The Battle of Llongborth (probably Portsmouth), where a great British chieftain, Geraint, King of Dumnonia, was killed. Arthur is mentioned in a Welsh poem commemorating the battle.
508 A.D
Cerdic begins to move inland and defeats British king Natanleod near present-day Southampton.
c.515 A.D
Death of Aelle. Kingdom of Sussex passed to his son, Cissa and his descendents, but over time, diminished into insignificance.
519 A.D
Kingdom of the West Saxons (Wessex) founded with Cerdic its first ruler.
c.530-40 A.D
Mass migration of Celtic monks to Brittany (the "third migration").
c.534 A.D
Death of Cerdic. Cynric takes kingship.
c.540 A.D
Probable writing of Gildas’ "De Excidio Britanniae."
c.542 A.D
Battle of Camlann, according to Annales Cambriae. Death (or unspecified other demise) of Arthur (according to Geoffrey of Monmouth).
550 A.D
St. David takes Christianity to Wales
563 A.D
Irish monk, St. Columba founds a monastery on island of Iona and begins conversion of the Picts to Christianity
c.570 A.D
Probable death of Gildas.
584 A.D
Foundation of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia in England
597 A.D
The Roman brand of Christianity is brought to Britain for the first time by St. Augustine, the missionary sent from Pope Gregory to convert the Saxons. Augustine founded a monastery and the first church at Canterbury, and was proclaimed its first Archbishop.
633 A.D
Mercians under Penda defeat Northumbrians
642 A.D
Mercians under Penda again defeat the Northumbrians
655 A.D
Oswy, king of Northumbria, defeats and kills Penda of Mercia
664 A.D
Synod of Whitby; Oswy abandons the Celtic Christian Church and accepts the faith of Rome: decline of the Celtic Church
731 A.D
Venerable Bede, British monk, completes his history of the Church in England
735 A.D
Death of the Venerable Bede
757 A.D
Offa, King of Mercia (to796): he builds Offa’s Dyke to keep out the Welsh
779 A.D
Offa, King of Mercia, becomes King of all England
782 A.D
Charlemagne summons the monk and scholar Alcuin of York to head the palace school at Aachen: revival of learning in Europe
793 A.D
Vikings invade Britain for the first time in a surprise attack on the monastic community at Lindisfarne (Holy Island).
796 A.D
Death of Offa: end of Mercian supremacy in England
802 A.D
Egbert, King of Wessex (to839)
828 A.D
Egbert of Wessex is recognized as overlord of other English kings
839 A.D
AEthelwulf, son of Egbert, King of Wessex (to 858)
844 A.D
Kenneth MacAlpine, King of the Scots, conquers the Picts; founds a unified Scotland
858 A.D
AEthelbald, eldest son of AEthelwulf, King of Wessex (to 860)
860 A.D
AEthelbert, second son of AEthelwulf, King of Wessex (to 865)
865 A.D
AEthelred I, third son of AEthelwulf, King of Wessex (to 871)
871 A.D
The Danes attack Wessex; are defeated by AEthelred at Ashdown
878 A.D
Alfred decisively defeats the Danes at Edington; by the Peace of Wedmore, England is divided between Wessex in the south and the Danes in the north, the Danelaw
886 A.D
Alfred captures London from the Danes
899 A.D
Edward the Elder, King of Wessex (to 924)
901 A.D
Edward the Elder takes the title "King of the Angles and Saxons"
913 A.D
Edward the Elder recaptures Essex from the Danes
924 A.D
Athelstan, son of Edward the Elder, becomes king of Wessex and effective ruler of most of England (to 939)
926 A.D
Athelstan annexes Northumbria, and forces the kings of Wales, Strathclyde, the Picts, and the Scots to submit to him
937 A.D
Battle of Brunanburh: Athelstan defeats alliance of Scots, Celts, Danes, and Vikings, and takes the title of "King of all Britain"
939 A.D
Edmund, brother of Athelstan, King of England (to 946)
945 A.D
Dunstan becomes abbot of Glastonbury
946 A.D
Edred, younger brother of Edmund, King of England (to 955); Dunstan is named his chief minister
955 A.D
Edwy, son of Edmund, King of England (to 959)
956 A.D
Dunstan sent into exile by Edwy
957 A.D
Mercians and Northumbrians rebel against Edwy
959 A.D
Edgar the Peaceful, younger brother of Edwy, King of England (to 975)
975 A.D
Edward the Martyr, son of Edgar, King of England (to 978)
978 A.D
Edward the Martyr murdered at Corfe Castle; AEthelred II, the Unready (ill-counselled), younger brother of Edward the Martyr, King of England (to 1016)
980 A.D
The Danes renew their raids on England attacking Chester and Southampton
991 A.D
Battle of Maldon: Byrhtnoth of Essex defeated by Danish invaders; AEthelred II buys off the Danes with 10,000 pounds of silver (Danegeld)
992 A.D
AEthelred makes a truce with Duke Richard I of Normandy
994 A.D
Danes under Sweyn and Norwegians under Olaf Trygvesson sail up river Thames and besiege London; bought off by Aethelred
1003 A.D
Sweyn and an army of Norsemen land in England and wreak a terrible vengeance
1007 A.D
AEthelred buys two years’ peace from the Danes for 36,000 pounds of silver
1012 A.D
The Danes sack Canterbury: bought off for 48,000 pounds of silver
1013 A.D
Sweyn lands in England and is proclaimed king; AEthelred flees to Normandy
1014 A.D
The English recall AEthelred II as King on the death of Sweyn; Canute retreats to Denmark
1015 A.D
Canute again invades England; war between Danes and Saxons
1016 A.D
Edmund Ironside, son of AEthelred II, King of England: he and Canute divide the kingdom, Canute holds the north and Edmund Wessex; Edmund is assassinated; Canute, King of England (to 1035)
1017 A.D
Canute divides England into four earldoms
1019 A.D
Canute marries Emma of Normandy, widow of AEthelred II
1035 A.D
Death of Canute: his possessions are divided; Harold I, Harefoot, becomes King of England (to 1040)
1040 A.D
Hardicanute, King of England (to 1042); he dies of drink
1042 A.D
Edward the Confessor, son of AEthelred II, King of England (to 1066)
1051 A.D
Earl Godwin exiled (until 1052): he returns with a fleet and wins back his power
1052 A.D
Edward the Confessor founds Westminster Abbey, near London
1053 A.D
Death of Godwin: his son Harold succeeds him as Earl of Wessex
1055 A.D
Harold’s brother Tostig becomes Earl of Northumbria
1063 A.D
Harold and Tostig subdue Wales
1064 A.D
Harold is shipwrecked in Normandy; while there, he swears a solemn oath to support William of Normandy’s claim to England
1065 A.D
Northumbria rebels against Tostig, who is exiled
1066 A.D
Harold II is crowned king the day after Edward the Confessor dies. Tostig and Harold Hardraada of Norway invade England: Harold defeats them at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, killing both; Battle of Hastings: 19 days after battle of Stamford Bridge, William of Normandy lands at Pevensey, defeats and kills Harold; William I, the Conqueror, first Norman King of England (to 1087)
1067 A.D
Work is begun on building the Tower of London.
1068 A.D
The Norman Conquest continues until 1069: William subdues the north of England (the "Harrying of the North" ): the region is laid waste
1072 A.D
William invades Scotland, and also receives the submission of Hereward the Wake.
1077 A.D
Hereward the Wake begins a Saxon revolt in the Fens of eastern England; Lanfranc, an Italian lawyer, becomes William’s formidable Archbishop of Canterbury. Lanfranc rebuilds Canterbury Cathedral and establishes the primacy of the see of Canterbury over York, but does not enforce clerical celibacy.
1080 A.D
William, in a letter, reminds the bishop of Rome that the King of England owes him no allegiance.
1086 A.D
Domesday Book is completed in England
1087 A.D
William II, Rufus, King of England (to 1100); his elder brother, Robert, is Duke of Normandy
1093 A.D
Donald Bane, King of Scots (to 1097), following the death of his brother, Malcolm III, in battle against the English
1097 A.D
Edgar, second son of Malcolm Canmore, King of Scotland (to 1107); he defeats Donald Bane with the assistance of William II of England
1099 A.D
Crusaders capture Jerusalem; Godfrey of Bouillon is elected King of Jerusalem
1100 A.D
Henry I, youngest son of William the Conqueror, King of England (to 1135), following assassination of William Rufus
1106 A.D
Henry I defeats his brother Rober, Duke of Normandy, at battle of Tinchebrai: Robert remains captive for life
1113 A.D
Founding of the Order of St. John is formally acknowledged by the papacy
1114 A.D
Matilda (Maud), daughter of Henry I of England marries Emperor Henry V
1118 A.D
Hugues de Payens founds the order of Knights of Templars
1120 A.D
William, heir of Henry I of England, is drowned in wreck of the "White Ship"
1129 A.D
Empress Matilda, widow of Henry V, marries Geoffrey the Handsome, Count of Anjou, nicknamed " Plantagenet "
1139 A.D
Matilda lands in England
1141 A.D
Matilda captures Stephen at the battle of Lincoln, and reigns disastrously as queen; she is driven out by a popular rising and Stephen restored
1148 A.D
Matilda leaves England for the last time
1152 A.D
Marriage of Louis VII of France and Eleanor of Aquitaine is annulled on grounds of blood relationship; Eleanor marries Henry of Anjou, allying Aquitaine to his lands of Anjou and Normandy, two months after her divorce
1153 A.D
Henry of Anjou, son of Matilda, invades England and forces Stephen to make him heir to the English throne
1154 A.D
Henry II, King of England (to 1189); he also rules more than half of France; Pope Adrian IV (to 1159) (Nicholas Breakspear, the only English pope)
1155 A.D
Henry II appoints the Archdeacon of Canterbury, Thomas a Becket, as Chancellor
1159 A.D
Henry II levies scutage, payment in cash instead of military service
1162 A.D
Becket is appointed Archbishop of Canterbury and at once quarrels with Henry II over the Church’s rights
1164 A.D
Constitutions of Clarendon; restatement of laws governing trial of ecclesiastics in England; Becket is forced to flee to France
1170 A.D
Becket is reconciled with Henry II, returns to Canterbury; is murdered by four knights after Henry’s hasty words against him
1173 A.D
Rebellion of Henry’s eldest sons, Henry, Richard, and Geoffrey, supported by their mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine; Thomas a Becket canonized
1189 A.D
Richard I, Coeur de Lion, eldest surviving son of Henry II, King of England (to 1199)
1191 A.D
The bodies of King Arthur and Guinevere were reported to have been exhumed from a grave at Glastonbury Abbey; Richard I conquers Cyprus and captures the city of Acre
1192 A.D
Richard I captures Jaffa, makes peace with Saladin; on the way home he is captured by his enemy, Duke Leopold of Austria
1193 A.D
Leopold hands Richard over to Emperor Henry VI, who demands ransom
1194 A.D
Richard is ransomed and returned to England
1199 A.D
John Lackland, youngest son of Henry II, King of England (to 1216)
1203 A.D
John of England orders the murder of his nephew Arthur, Duke of Brittany
1207 A.D
Pope Innocent III appoints Stephen Langton Archbishop of Canterbury (Langton is the man who divided the books of the Bible into chapters); John refuses to let him take office
1208 A.D
Innocent III lays England under interdict
1209 A.D
Cambridge University is founded in England; Innocent III excommunicates John for attacks on Church property
1213 A.D
Innocent III declares John deposed; John resigns his kingship to the pope and receives it back as a holding from the Roman legate, thereby ending the interdict.
1215 A.D
Signing of Magna Carta; English barons force John to agree to a statement of their rights
1216 A.D
Henry III becomes king of England at age nine (to 1272)
1227 A.D
Henry III begins personal rule in England
1256 A.D
Prince Llewellyn sweeps English from Wales
1264 A.D
Simon de Montfort and other English barons defeat Henry III at battle of Lewes
1265 A.D
De Montfort’s Parliament: burgesses from major towns summoned to Parliament for the first time; Henry III’s son Edward defeats and kills Simon de Montfort at battle of Evesham
1269 A.D
Rebuilding of Westminster Abbey begun by Henry III.
1272 A.D
Edward I, King of England (to 1307)
1283 A.D
Edward I defeats and kills Llewellyn, Prince of Wales, and executes Llewellyn’s brother David; conquest of Wales complete
1290 A.D
Edward I expells all Jews from England
1291 A.D
Scots acknowledge Edward I of England as suzerain; he arbitrates in succession dispute
1295 A.D
Model Parliament of Edward I : knights and burgesses from English shires and towns summoned. First representative parliament
1296 A.D
Edward I of England deposes John Balliol from Scottish throne
1297 A.D
Battle of Cambuskenneth: Scottish patriot William Wallace defeats English army
1298 A.D
Edward I defeats Wallace at battle of Falkirk and reconquers Scotland
1301 A.D
Edward I of England invests his baby son Edward as Prince of Wales
1305 A.D
The English capture and execute William Wallace
1306 A.D
New Scottish rebellion against English rule led by Robert Bruce. Robert I, the Bruce crowned King of Scotland (to 1329) at Scone
1307 A.D
Edward I dies on march north to crush Robert Bruce. Edward II, King of England (to 1327)
1310 A.D
English barons appoint 21 peers, the Lords Ordainers, to manage Edward II’s household
1312 A.D
Order of Knights Templar abolished
1314 A.D
Battle of Bannockburn: Robert Bruce defeats Edward II and makes Scotland independent
1326 A.D
Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer sail from France with an army to rebel against Edward II of England
1327 A.D
Parliament declares Edward II deposed, and his son accedes to the throne as Edward III. Edward II is hideously murdered, nine months later
1328 A.D
Charles IV dies, ending the Capetian dynasty. Philip of Valois succeeds him as Philip VI.
1329 A.D
Edward III of England does simple homage for Aquitaine (Guienne), but refuses to do liege homage.
1333 A.D
Edward III invades Scotland on Balliol’s behalf and defeats the Scots at battle of Halidon Hill
1336 A.D
Edward places an embargo on English exports of wool to Flanders.
1337 A.D
Philip declares Edward’s fiefs forfeit and begins harassing the frontiers of Aquitaine; Edward III, provoked by these attacks on his territories in France, declares himself king of France; "The Hundred Years’ War " begins (ends 1453)
1338 A.D
Treaty of Koblenz: alliance between England and the Holy Roman Empire; Edward III formally claims the French crown.
1340 A.D
French troops commanded by Bertrand du Guesclin; Edward, the Black Prince, sacks Limoges
1340 A.D
Naval victory at Sluys gives England the command of the English Channel; English Parliament passes four statues providing that taxation shall be imposed only by Parliament
1346 A.D
Edward III of England invades France with a large army and defeats an even bigger army under Philip VI at the Battle of CrÚcy
1347 A.D
The English capture Calais
1348 A.D
Edward III establishes the Order of the Garter; Black Death (bubonic plague) reaches England
1351 A.D
The English remove the Pope’s power to give English benefices to foreigners
1353 A.D
Statue of Praemunire: English Parliament forbids appeals to Pope
1356 A.D
Edward the Black Prince, son of Edward III, defeats the French at the battle of Poitiers, capturing King John II
1358 A.D
The Jacquerie
1360 A.D
Peace of Bretigny ends the first stage of the Hundred Years’ War. Edward III gives up claim to French throne
1369 A.D
Second stage of war between England and France begins
1372 A.D
French troops recapture Poitou and Brittany; Naval battle of La Rochelle: French regain control of English Channel
1373 A.D
John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, son of Edward III, leads new English invasion of France
1374 A.D
John of Gaunt returns to England and takes charge of the government; Edward III in his dotage, the Black Prince is ill
1375 A.D
Truce of Bruges ends hostilities between England and France
1376 A.D
The Good Parliament in England, called by Edward the Black Prince, introduces many reforms of government; Death of Edward the Black Prince, aged 45; The Civil Dominion of John Wyclif, an Oxford don, calling for Church reforms
1377 A.D
Richard II, son of the Black Prince, King of England (to 1399)
1381 A.D
Peasants’ Revolt in England; John Wyclif, an Oxford theologian, publishes his "Confession", denying that the "substance" of bread and wine are miraculously changed during the Eucharist.
1382 A.D
John Wyclif is expelled from Oxford because of his opposition to certain Church doctrines
1386 A.D
John of Gaunt leads an expedition to Castile, which he claims in his wife’s name; fails 1388
1387 A.D
Geoffrey Chaucer begins work on The Canterbury Tales
1389 A.D
Richard II, aged 22, assumes power
1394 A.D
Richard II leads expedition to subdue Ireland; returns to England 1395
1396 A.D
Richard II marries the seven-year old Princess Isabella of France
1399 A.D
Death of John of Gaunt; Gaunt’s eldest son, Henry of Bolingbroke, lands in Yorkshire with 40 followers, and soon has 60,000 supporters: Richard II is deposed; Bolingbroke becomes Henry IV, King of England (to 1413)
1400 A.D
Richard II murdered at Pontefract Castle; Owen Glendower proclaims himself Prince of Wales and begins rebellion
1401 A.D
Persecution of Lollards for revolting against clergy.
1402 A.D
Henry IV enters Wales in pursuit of Glendower
1403 A.D
Battle of Shrewsbury; rebellion by the Percy family: Henry IV defeats and kills Harry "Hotspur" Percy
1406 A.D
Henry, Prince of Wales, defeats Welsh
1413 A.D
Henry V, King of England (to 1422)
1415 A.D
Henry V invades France, and defeats the French at Agincourt
1416 A.D
Death of Owen Glendower
1420 A.D
Treaty of Troyes
1422 A.D
Deaths of Henry V of England and Charles VI of France; Henry VI, King of England (to 1461)
1424 A.D
John, Duke of Bedford, regent for Henry VI of England, defeats the French at Cravant
1428 A.D
Henry VI begins siege of Orleans
1429 A.D
A French force, led by military commander Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc), relieves the siege of Orleans; Charles VII crowned king of France at Rheims
1430 A.D
Burgundians capture Jeanne d’Arc and hand her over to the English
1431 A.D
Jeanne d’Arc burned as a witch at Rouen; Henry VI of England crowned king of France in Paris
1453 A.D
Bordeaux falls to the French, Hundred Years’ War ends; England’s only French possession is Calais; In England, Henry VI becomes insane
1454 A.D
Richard, Duke of York, is regent of England while Henry VI is insane; Printing with movable type is perfected in Germany by Johannes Gutenberg
1455 A.D
Henry VI recovers. Richard of York is replaced by Somerset and excluded from the Royal Council; War of the Roses - civil wars in England between royal houses of York and Lancaster (until 1485); Battle of St. Albans. Somerset defeated and killed
1460 A.D
Battle of Wakefield. Richard of York is defeated and killed; Earl of Warwick (the Kingmaker) captures London for the Yorkists; Battle of Northampton: Henry VI is captured by Yorkists
1461 A.D
Battles of Mortimer’s Cross and Towton: Richard’s son, Edward of York, defeats Lancastrians and becomes king; Edward IV, King of England (to 1483)
1465 A.D
Henry VI imprisoned by Edward IV
1466 A.D
Warwick’s quarrels with Edward IV begin; forms alliance with Louis XI
1470 A.D
Warwick turns Lancastrian: he defeats Edward IV and restores Henry VI
1471 A.D
Battle of Barnet. Edward IV defeats and kills Warwick; Henry VI dies, probably murdered in the Tower of London
1475 A.D
Edward IV invades France; Peace of Piequigny between England and France
1476 A.D
William Caxton sets up printing press at Westminster
1483 A.D
Death of Edward IV; Edward V, King of England; he is deposed by his uncle, Richard Duke of Gloucester; Richard III, King of England (to 1485); Edward V and his brother are murdered in the Tower of London
1484 A.D
Caxton prints Morte D’Arthur, the poetic collection of legends about King Arthur compiled by Sir Thomas Malory
1485 A.D
Battle of Bosworth Field: Henry Tudor, with men, money and arms provided by Charles VIII of France, defeats and kills Richard III in the decisive (but not final) battle of the Wars of the Roses.
1486 A.D
Henry VII (Tudor) married Elizabeth of York uniting houses of York and Lancaster.
1486 A.D
Henry VII joins the Holy League; commercial treaty between England and Netherlands.
1487 A.D
Battle of Stoke Field: In final engagement of the Wars of the Roses, Henry VII, defeats Yorkist army "led" by Lambert Simnel (who was impersonating Edward, the nephew of Edward IV, the only plausible royal alternative to Henry, who was confined in the Tower of London).
1497 A.D
John Cabot discovers Newfoundland
1502 A.D
Margaret, daughter of Henry VII, marries James IV of Scotland.
1509 A.D
Henry VIII, becomes king.
1513 A.D
Battle of Flodden Field (fought at Flodden Edge, Northumberland) in which invading Scots are defeated by the English under their commander, 70 year old Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey; James IV of Scotland is killed.
1515 A.D
Thomas Wolsey, Archbisop of York, is made Lord Chancellor of England and Cardinal
1517 A.D
The Protestant Reformation begins; Martin Luther nails his "95 Theses" against the Catholic practice of selling indulgences, on the church door at Wittenberg
1520 A.D
Field of Cloth of Gold: Francois I of France meets Henry VIII but fails to gain his support against Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V
1521 A.D
Henry VIII receives the title "Defender of the Faith" from Pope Leo X for his opposition to Luther
1529 A.D
Henry VIII dismisses Lord Chancellor Thomas Wolsey for failing to obtain the Pope’s consent to his divorce from Catherine of Aragon; Sir Thomas More appointed Lord Chancellor; Henry VIII summons the "Reformation Parliament" and begins to cut the ties with the Church of Rome
1530 A.D
Thomas Wolsey dies
1532 A.D
Sir Thomas More resigns over the question of Henry VIII’s divorce
1533 A.D
Henry VIII marries Anne Boleyn and is excommunicated by Pope Clement VII; Thomas Cranmer appointed Archbishop of Canterbury
1534 A.D
Act of Supremacy: Henry VIII declared supreme head of the Church of England
1535 A.D
Sir Thomas More is beheaded in Tower of London for failing to take the Oath of Supremacy
1536 A.D
Anne Boleyn is beheaded; Henry VIII marries Jane Seymour; dissolution of monasteries in England begins under the direction of Thomas Cromwell, completed in 1539.
1537 A.D
Jane Seymour dies after the birth of a son, the future Edward VI
1539 A.D
Dissolution of Glastonbury Abbey; buildings torched and looted by king’s men; Abbot Richard Whiting is executed by hanging atop Glastonbury Tor.
1540 A.D
Henry VIII marries Anne of Cleves following negotiations by Thomas Cromwell; Henry divorces Anne of Cleves and marries Catherine Howard; Thomas Cromwell executed on charge of treason
1542 A.D
Catherine Howard is executed
1543 A.D
Henry VIII marries Catherine Parr; alliance between Henry and Charles V (Holy Roman Emperor) against Scotland and France
1544 A.D
Henry VIII and Charles V invade France
1547 A.D
Edward VI, King of England): Duke of Somerset acts as Protector
1549 A.D
Introduction of uniform Protestant service in England based on Edward VI’s Book of Common Prayer
1550 A.D
Fall of Duke of Somerset:; Duke of Northumberland succeeds as Protector
1551 A.D
Archbishop Cranmer publishes Forty-two Articles of religion
1553 A.D
On death of Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey proclaimed queen of England by Duke of Northumberland, her reign lasts nine days; Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England (to 1558); Restoration of Roman Catholic bishops in England
1554 A.D
Execution of Lady Jane Grey
1555 A.D
England returns to Roman Catholicism: Protestants are persecuted and about 300, including Cranmer, are burned at the stake
1558 A.D
England loses Calais, last English possession in France; Death of Mary I; Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, becomes Queen; Repeal of Catholic legislation in England
1560 A.D
Treaty of Berwick between Elizabeth I and Scottish reformers; Treaty of Edinburgh among England, France, and Scotland
1563 A.D
The Thirty-nine Articles, which complete establishment of the Anglican Church
1564 A.D
Peace of Troyes between England and France
1567 A.D
Murder of Lord Darnley, husband of Mary Queen of Scots, probably by Earl of Bothwell; Mary Queen of Scots marries Bothwell, is imprisoned, and forced to abdicate; James VI, King of Scotland
1568 A.D
Mary Queen of Scots escapes to England and is imprisoned by Elizabeth I at Fotheringay Castle
1577 A.D
Alliance between England and Netherlands; Francis Drake sails around the world (to 1580)
1584 A.D
William of Orange is murdered and England sends aid to the Netherlands; 1586 Expedition of Sir Francis Drake to the West Indies; Conspiracy against Elizabeth I involving Mary Queen of Scots
1587 A.D
Execution of Mary Queen of Scots; England at war with Spain; Drake destroys Spanish fleet at Cadiz
1588 A.D
The Spanish Armada is defeated by the English fleet under Lord Howard of Effingham, Sir Francis Drake, and Sir John Hawkins: war between Spain and England continues until 1603
1597 A.D
Irish rebellion under Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone (finally put down 1601)
1600 A.D
Elizabeth I grants charter to East India Company
1601 A.D
Elizabethan Poor Law charges the parishes with providing for the needy; Essex attempts rebellion, and is executed
1603 A.D
Elizabeth dies; James VI of Scotland becomes James I of England
1604 A.D
Hampton Court Conference: no relaxation by the Church towards Puritans; James bans Jesuits; England and Spain make peace
1605 A.D
Gunpowder Plot; Guy Fawkes and other Roman Catholic conspirators fail in attempt to blow up Parliament and James I.
1607 A.D
Parliament rejects proposals for union between England and Scotland; colony of Virginia is founded at Jamestown by John Smith; Henry Hudson begins voyage to eastern Greenland and Hudson River
1610 A.D
Hudson Bay discovered
1611 A.D
James I’s authorized version (King James Version) of the Bible is completed; English and Scottish Protestant colonists settle in Ulster
1614 A.D
James I dissolves the "Addled Parliament" which has failed to pass any legislation
1618 A.D
Thirty Years’ War begins, lasts until 1648
1620 A.D
Pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in the "Mayflower"; found New Plymouth
1622 A.D
James I dissolves Parliament for asserting its right to debate foreign affairs
1624 A.D
Alliance between James I and France; Parliament votes for war against Spain; Virginia becomes crown colony
1625 A.D
Charles I, King of England (to 1649); Charles I marries Henrietta Maria, sister of Louis XIII of France; dissolves Parliament which fails to vote him money
1628 A.D
Petition of Right; Charles I forced to accept Parliament’s statement of civil rights in return for finances
1629 A.D
Charles I dissolves Parliament and rules personally until 1640
1630 A.D
England makes peace with France and Spain
1639 A.D
First Bishops’ War between Charles I and the Scottish Church; ends with Pacification of Dunse
1640 A.D
Charles I summons the "Short " Parliament ; dissolved for refusal to grant money; Second Bishops’ War; ends with Treaty of Ripon; The Long Parliament begins.
1641 A.D
Triennial Act requires Parliament to be summoned every three years; Star Chamber and High Commission abolished by Parliament; Catholics in Ireland revolt; some 30,000 Protestants massacred; Grand Remonstrance of Parliament to Charles I
1642 A.D
Charles I fails in attempt to arrest five members of Parliament and rejects Parliament’s Nineteen Propositions; Civil War (until 1645) begins with battle of Edgehill between Cavaliers (Royalists) and Roundheads (Parliamentarians)
1643 A.D
Solemn League and Covenant is signed by Parliament
1644 A.D
Battle of Marston Moor; Oliver Cromwell defeats Prince Rupert
1645 A.D
Formation of Cromwell’s New Model Army; Battle of Naseby; Charles I defeated by Parliamentary forces
1646 A.D
Charles I surrenders to the Scots
1647 A.D
Scots surrender Charles I to Parliament; he escapes to the Isle of Wright; makes secret treaty with Scots.
1648 A.D
Scots invade England and are defeated by Cromwell at battle of Preston Pride’s Purge: Presbyterians expelled from Parliament (known as the Rump Parliament); Treaty of Westphalia ends Thirty Years’ War
1649 A.D
Charles I is tried and executed; The Commonwealth, in which ; England is governed as a republic, is established and lasts until 1660; Cromwell harshly suppresses Catholic rebellions in Ireland
1650 A.D
Charles II lands in Scotland; is proclaimed king.
1651 A.D
Charles II invades England and is defeated at Battle of Worcester; Charles escapes to France; First Navigation Act, England gains virtual monopoly of foreign trade
1653 A.D
Cromwell dissolves the "Rump" and becomes Lord Protector
1654 A.D
Treaty of Westminster between England and Dutch Republic
1655 A.D
England divided into 12 military districts by Cromwell; seizes Jamaica from Spain
1656 A.D
War with Spain (until 1659)
1658 A.D
Oliver Cromwell dies; succeeded as Lord Protector by son Richard; Battle of the Dunes, England and France defeat Spain; England gains Dunkirk
1659 A.D
Richard Cromwell forced to resign by the army; "Rump" Parliament restored
1660 A.D
Convention Parliament restores Charles II to throne
1661 A.D
Clarendon Code; "Cavalier" Parliament of Charles II passes series of repressive laws against Nonconformists; English acquire Bombay
1662 A.D
Act of Uniformity passed in England
1664 A.D
England siezes New Amsterdam from the Dutch, change name to New York
1665 A.D
Great Plague in London
1666 A.D
Great Fire of London
1667 A.D
Dutch fleet defeats the English in Medway river; treaties of Breda among Netherlands, England, France, and Denmark
1668 A.D
Triple Alliance of England, Netherlands, and Sweden against France
1670 A.D
Secret Treaty of Dover between Charles II of England and Louis XIV of France to restore Roman Catholicism to England; Hudson’s Bay Company founded
1672 A.D
Third Anglo-Dutch war (until 1674); William III (of Orange) becomes ruler of Netherlands
1673 A.D
Test Act aims to deprive English Roman Catholics and Nonconformists of public office
1674 A.D
Treaty of Westminster between England and the Netherlands
1677 A.D
William III, ruler of the Netherlands, marries Mary, daughter of James, Duke of York, heir to the English throne
1678 A.D
’Popish Plot’ in England; Titus Oates falsely alleges a Catholic plot to murder Charles II
1679 A.D
Act of Habeas Corpus passed, forbidding imprisonment without trial; Parliament’s Bill of Exclusion against the Roman Catholic Duke of York blocked by Charles II; Parliament dismissed; Charles II rejects petitions calling for a new Parliament; petitioners become known as Whigs; their opponents (royalists) known as Tories
1681 A.D
Whigs reintroduce Exclusion Bill; Charles II dissolves Parliament
1685 A.D
James II of England and VII of Scotland (to 1688); rebellion by Charles II’s illegitimate son, the Duke of Monmouth, against James II is put down
1686 A.D
James II disregards Test Act; Roman Catholics appointed to public office
1687 A.D
James II issues Declaration of Liberty of Conscience, extends toleration to all religions
1688 A.D
England’s ’Glorious Revolution’; William III of Orange is invited to save England from Roman Catholicism, lands in England, James II flees to France
1689 A.D
Convention Parliament issues Bill of Rights; establishes a constitutional monarchy in Britain; bars Roman Catholics from the throne; William III and Mary II become joint monarchs of England and Scotland (to1694), Toleration Act grants freedom of worship to dissenters in England; Grand Alliance of the League of Augsburg, England, and the Netherlands
1701 A.D
James II dies in France. Act of Settlement directs succession, should Anne die childless, to the (Protestant) House of Hanover--unless "the Old Pretender," James (son of James II) or, later, Bonnie Prince Charlie, "the Young Pretender," would ! abjure Roman Catholicism.
1707 A.D
Act of Union between Scotland and England.
1714 A.D
Anne dies; Dynastic crisis; George I (of Hanover) succeeds unopposed.
1715 A.D
Jacobite rebellion.
1720 A.D
Charles Edward Stuart (a.k.a. Bonnie Prince Charlie or the Young Pretender) born in France to James (the Old Pretender).
1721-42 A.D
Robert Walpole Prime Minister.
1727 A.D
George I dies; George II crowned.
1733 A.D
John Kay’s flying shuttle.
1745 A.D
Jacobite rising in support of Bonnie Prince Charlie.
1754 A.D
Anglo-French war begins in North America.
1756-63 A.D
Seven Years’ War.
1757 A.D
Clive captures India from the French.
1758 A.D
First threshing machine.
1759 A.D
British Museum opens.
1760 A.D
George II dies; his grandson crowned George III.
French surrender Montreal to the British.
Wedgwood opens pottery works.
1763 A.D
Treaty of Paris ends the Seven Years’ War. France cedes Canada and the Mississippi Valley to Britain.
1764 A.D
Hargreaves invents the spinning jenny.
1766 A.D
James "the Old Pretender" dies in France.
1769 A.D
Arkwright invents a spinning machine.
1773 A.D
Boston Tea Party.
1775 A.D
American Revolution begins.
Watt’s first efficient steam engine.
1776 A.D
American colonies declare their independence.
1783 A.D
Peace treaty signed in Paris between Great Britain and the United States.
1785 A.D
Cartwright builds power loom.
1788 A.D
Bonnie Prince Charlie dies in France.
1801 A.D
Union of Great Britain and Ireland.
1805 A.D
Battle of Trafalgar.
1811 A.D
Prince of Wales named Regent to act for George III, now insane.
1811-12 A.D
Luddite riots in the North and the Midlands. Laborers attack factories and break up the machines which they fear will replace them.
1812-14 A.D
War of 1812 between England and the United States.
1814 A.D
Treaty of Ghent ends Anglo-U.S. War.
England and allies invade France.
Napoleon exiled to Elba.
1815 A.D
Napoleon escapes Elba; begins the "Hundred Days."
Battle of Waterloo; Napoleon exiled to St. Helena in the South Atlantic.
Corn Laws passed.
1820 A.D
George III dies; succeeded by Prince Regent as George IV. Cato Street Conspiracy
1922 A.D
Irish Free State established.
1829 A.D
Catholic Emancipation Act.
Peel establishes the Metropolitan Police.
1830 A.D
George IV dies; his brother William IV succeeds.
Manchester - Liverpool Railway (first in England).
1832 A.D
st Reform Bill: adds £10/year householders to the voting rolls and reapportions Parliamentary representation much more fairly, doing away with most "rotten" and "pocket" boroughs. Adds 217,000 voters to an electorate of 435,000.
1833 A.D
Slavery abolished throughout the British Empire.
Factory Act.
1834 A.D
New Poor Law.
Houses of Parliament burn down.
1837 A.D
William IV dies; succeeded by his niece, Victoria.
1840 A.D
Queen Victoria marries her cousin Albert, who becomes Prince Consort.
Penny post started.
S.F.B. Morse invents the Telegraph.
Grammar Schools Act.
1842 A.D
Copyright Act
1845-6 A.D
Potato Failure in Europe; starvation in Ireland.
1850 A.D
Telegraph cable laid under English Channel.
1851 A.D
Great Exhibition ("Crystal Palace").
1855 A.D
Livingston discovers Victoria Falls.
1858 A.D
First Atlantic cable laid
1861 A.D
Albert dies; Victoria retires into mourning.
1864 A.D
Geneva Convention establishes Red Cross.
1866 A.D
Telegraph cable laid under the Atlantic.
1867 A.D
Second Reform Bill: enfranchises many workingmen; adds 938,000 to an electorate of 1,057,000 in England and Wales. (Disraeli’s legislation)
1876 A.D
Victoria named Empress of India.
1880 A.D
War with Transvaal.
1884-5 A.D
Third Reform Act and Redistribution Act extend vote to agricultural workers; electorate tripled.
1885 A.D
Fall of Khartoum.
1886 A.D
First (Irish) Home Rule bill rejected.
1887 A.D
Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.
1897 A.D
Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.
1899-1902 A.D
Boer war.
1901 A.D
Victoria dies; Edward Prince of Wales succeeds.
1914-18 A.D
The "Great War" (World War I).
1916 A.D
Easter Rising in Dublin.
1938 A.D
Chamberlain cedes Czech territory to Hitler at Munich.
1939-45 A.D
World War II.
1940 A.D
Battle of Britain.
The battle of Britain was the attempt by the German Luftwaffe to gain air superiority over the Royal Air Force (RAF), before a planned sea and airborne invasion of Britain (Operation Sealion).
The failure of Nazi Germany to destroy Britain's air forces to allow for an invasion or to break the spirit of either the British government or people is widely considered the Third Reich's first major defeat.
1947 A.D
Britain’s coal industry is nationalised
1947 A.D
India gains independence from Britain
1948 A.D
National Health Service is established
1949 A.D
Republic of Ireland comes into being
1950 A.D
British troops arrive to support US forces in the Korean War
1951 A.D
Conservatives under Winston Churchill win the general election
1952 A.D
Elizabeth II succeeds her father, George VI. 6 February 1952
1953 A.D
Watson and Crick publish their discovery of the structure of DNA
1955 A.D
Commercial television starts with the first ITV broadcast
1955 A.D
Winston Churchill retires as prime minister
1956 A.D
’Cambridge spies’ surface in Moscow after disappearing in 1951
1956 A.D
Britain switches on its first nuclear power station
1956 A.D
Britain and France invade Egypt after nationalisation of the Suez Canal
1957 A.D
Britain tests its first hydrogen bomb
1958 A.D
Motorway system opens with the M6 Preston bypass
1965 A.D
Comprehensive education system is initiated
1965 A.D
Death penalty is abolished
1966 A.D
England win the football World Cup
1967 A.D
Abortion and homosexuality are legalised
1969 A.D
Concorde, the world’s first supersonic airliner, makes its maiden flight
1971 A.D
Decimalised currency replaces ’pounds, shillings and pence’
1973 A.D
Britain joins the European Economic Community
1978 A.D
World’s first test-tube baby is born in Oldham
1978/79 A.D
Strikes paralyse Britain during the so-called ’Winter of Discontent’
1979 A.D
Conservative Margaret Thatcher becomes Britain’s first female prime minister
1979 A.D
IRA kill the Queen’s cousin Lord Mountbatten
1981 A.D
Humber Bridge opens, the longest single-span bridge in the world
1982 A.D
Argentina invades the British territory of the Falkland Islands on 2 April and are beaten on 14 June 1982
1984 A.D
12-month ’Miners’ Strike’ over pit closures begins
1984 A.D
IRA bombers strike at the Conservative conference in Brighton
1986 A.D
Major national industries are privatised
1989 A.D
Tim Berners-Lee invents the World Wide Web
1990 A.D
Introduction of new local taxes sparks ’poll tax’ riots in London
1991 A.D
Liberation of Kuwait begins as Allies launch Operation Desert Storm
1992 A.D
Channel Tunnel opens, linking London and Paris by rail
1994 A.D
First women priests are ordained by the Church of England
1997 A.D
Britain hands Hong Kong back to China
1997 A.D
Diana, Princess of Wales, dies in a car crash in Paris
2000 A.D
The Queen Mother celebrates her 100th birthday, the first member of the Royal Family to reach her centenary.
2001 A.D
Foot-and-mouth disease wreaks havoc on rural Britain
2001 A.D
Islamic terrorists crash aircraft on targets in New York and Washington
2001 A.D
Britain joins the US in strikes on Taleban-controlled Afghanistan
2003 A.D
Britain joins the US in an invasion of Iraq
2005 A.D
Kyoto Protocol on measures to control climate change comes into force
2005 A.D
Suicide bombers kill 52 people on London’s transport system
2005 A.D
Civil partnerships give same-sex couples legal rights
2005 A.D
Ellen MacArthur becomes the fastest person to sail single-handed around the world and at 28 years old, the youngest person to receive a damehood.


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