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London Tower Bridge

Roman Britain

The earliest comprehensive historical records in British history date to the Roman period when Julius Caesar became the first Roman general to conduct a major expedition to the British Isles in 55BC.

Although this was short-lived, Emperor Claudius again invaded in 61 and this time the Roman occupation was permanent with Britain becoming absorbed into the empire. Although the Romans didn't have a lasting influence on the Island they were responsible for the early growth of some of the cities featured in this guide such as London, York, Chester and Bath.

Anglo-Saxons and the Danes

The Romans departed from Britain in 410 due to mounting pressures at the core of the empire. In their wake Southern Britain was increasingly settled by Germanic people from the Angle, Saxon, and Jute tribes. This influx pushed the native Romano-British to the north and west of the country and with time the various tribes were separated into what is now the South West of England, Wales and Scotland.

The Vikings made their first appearance in Britain during the raid on Lindisfarne of 793. In time they began to settle and eventually ruled their own province known as Danelaw. This was essentially an area of England north of a line between Colchester and Chester.

Middle Ages

In 1066 William of Normandy defeated King Harald Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings and became William I of England. The Norman era had begun and marked the end of Saxon and Danish rule in Britain. Despite the reforms of Henry I tensions remained high between Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman society and the 12th century saw power switch from the monarchy to the Norman feudal barons.

The Black Death or bubonic plague arrived in Britain in 1349 and killed approximately one third of the population. In 1412 the Welsh prince Owen Glendower was finally defeated by Prince Henry ( later Henry V ) to end Welsh hopes of self determination once and for all.

The Policy, started by Edward III, of giving land and therefore power to noble families culminated in the struggle for the crown of England, between the houses of York and Lancaster, known as the War of the Roses. This ended in 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth field when Richard III of York was slain by Henry Tudor who was subsequently crowned Henry VII.

British History Part 2


 
 
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