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Phan Vân Quyên CFL-VNU

Wayland's Smithy
chambered cairn in Oxfordshire, England

• 18th century BC onwards : the Celts came from Europe,
intermingled with the native Britons

• 2000 years ago : Iron Age Celtic culture spread throughout

the British Isles

• Religious sites that had been built long before the arrival of
the Celts continued to be used in the Celtic period
• Sense of mystery = chief significance of prehistoric period

• Remains of astonishing monumental architecture of the

prehistoric time scatter the countryside of this island:

 stone circles
 standing stones
 rock carvings
 hill forts
 hill figures
 burial chambers
 barrows

prehistoric stone circle - Derbyshire, England


stone circle on Salisbury Plain in southern England


one of the most famous & mysterious archeological sites in the world

prehistoric standing stone in Gloucestershire, England

Rock carvings

hill fort in Dorset, England

hill figure in Wiltshire, England
in Wiltshire, England
the largest burial mound in Europe

burial chamber in Derbyshire

Bosiliack round cairn

chambered tomb in Cornwall, England

Lanyon Quoit

chambered cairn in Cornwall, England


chambered long barrow in Wiltshire, England

long barrow in Wiltshire, England

long barrow in Gloucestershire

• The Romans invaded
Britain in 43AD

• Roman occupation
continued for the next
four hundred years

• The Roman province

of Britannia covered
most of present-day
England and Wales
The Romans imposed their own way of life & culture

• making use of the existing Celtic aristocracy to govern

• encouraging this ruling class to adopt Roman culture &

language (Latin)
• Roman influence was largely confined to the towns :

+ villas
+ baths
most of them were soon
+ temples
destroyed or fell into disrepair
+ cities
+ impressive network of roads

• In the countryside : Celtic farming methods & speech remained dominant

→ Roman occupation : colonial control rather than large-scale settlement

→ little were left behind a long occupation
Hadrian’s Wall
the most famous
Roman remain
in England

built by the Romans in 2nd C

across the northern border of
their province of Britannia to
protect it from attacks by the
Scots and the Picts
Hadrian’s Wall
Hadrian’s Wall

was made a World Heritage Site

in 1987
London Wall

London was not built as

a city but as a fortress
by Roman invaders
at a place where
it was possible to cross
the River Thames
→ a wall was built around
the town for defence

After Norman Conquest,

people built outside the wall
Londinium = a small existing settlement
built up to become a trade & administrative centre
quickly became the most important town
eventually the capital of the new province of Britannia

London City
Roman bath

Roman bath
Roman villa at Chedworth
the Cult Room at Lullingstone Roman Villa
During Roman period, the Scots (a Celtic tribe)

• migrated from Ireland to Scotland

• became allies of the Picts (a Celtic tribe) and opponents of the Romans

→ the division of the Celts

• the Britons in England & Wales : under direct Roman rule

• the Gaels in Ireland & Scotland : not under Roman rule

→ development of 2 distinct branches of the Celtic group of languages


• 5th C : a number of tribes from north-western Europe
invaded and settled in large numbers, including the
Angles & Saxons

• End of 6th C : Angles & Saxons occupied & imposed their

way of life in nearly all of England & parts of southern


• Celtic Britons
driven westwards (S-W Scotland, Wales, Cornwall)
remained their culture & language
The legendary King Arthur,
a great English hero, who led the
Britons in battles against the Saxons
King Arthur & his knights of the round table
The Anglo-Saxons

• had little use for towns an cities

• had a great effect on the countryside :

+ introduced new farming methods

+ founded self-sufficient villages

→ formed the basis of English society for the next
thousand years

• During 6th C & 7th C, Christianity spread throughout Britain

+ 432 : Ireland was converted to Christianity

+ >150 years later, pagan Anglo-Saxons became Christians

• However, Celtic model persisted in Scotland & Ireland

for several hundred years
• 8th C : another wave of Germanic invasions
• Invaders : Vikings, Norsemen, Danes from Scandinavia
• 9th C : they conquered & settled the north & west of Scotland and
coastal regions of Ireland

• Small cultural differences between Anglo-Saxons and Danes :

+ led roughly the same way of life
+ spoke 2 varieties of the same Germanic tongue
(later combined to form the basis of modern English)
→ made the political unification easier

• End of 10th C :
+ England = one kingdom with a Germanic culture throughout
+ most of present-day Scotland was united in a (Celtic) Gaelic kingdom

1066 : the Normans successfully invaded England
• Norman invasion was small-scale :

+ no Norman village or area of settlement

+ Norman soldiers were given the ownership of land &

of the people living on it → became landlords

• A strict feudal system was imposed

→ the beginning of the English class system


French-speaking Normans

LESSER LORDS (each owning a village)

English-speaking Saxons PEASANTS

End of 13th C
• A large part of eastern Ireland & the whole of Wales : under the direct
rule of English king
(who was controlled by Anglo-Norman lords)

• Scotland : remained politically independent

(occasional wars with England)

• Parliament began its gradual evolution into the democratic body

which it is today
(bicameral; including elected representatives from urban & rural areas)
In the 14th C :
• England : a Germanic language (Middle English) had become the
dominant one in all classes of society

• North & west of Wales : (Celtic) Welsh language & culture remained

• Eastern Ireland : mostly adopted Gaelic language & customs

• Scotland : a cultural split had developed

+ The lowland (southern): gradually switched to English language &


+ The highlands : (Celtic) Gaelic culture & language prevailed

The Wars of the Roses
2 rival groups (supporting descendants of King Richard III) struggled for power

• The Lancastrians supported the descendants of the Duke of Lancaster

Symbol : a red rose

• The Yorkists : supported the descendants of the Duke of York

Symbol : a white rose

These are the 2 most powerful families in the country at the time.
Each wanted to make a member of their family the king of England

In 1485, Henry Tudor (House of Lancaster) defeated Richard III (House of

York) & became King Henry VII.
His marriage to Elizabeth of York united the 2 families and ended the wars
• The Black Death (bubonic plague) killed 1/3 population
→ shortage of labour

• The increasing importance of trade in the towns

→ Weakened the traditional ties between feudal lord and peasant

Consequences :
The strength of the great barons had been greatly weakened
The power of the English monarch increased
An era of stability and strong government
The Tudor dynasty

• Established a system of government departments, staffed

by professionals whose position depended on the
→ The feudal barons were no longer needed for making &
implementing government policy

• Parliament : the House of Commons became more

important because it represented the people with money
(newly powerful merchants, landowners)
• The rejection of the Roman Church
(political & personal rather than religious)
→ The rise of Protestantism in England

• A new spirit of patriotic confidence in England

(a distinct “island nation”)

• Patriotism + religious conviction → Protestantism became

the majority religion in England, in the form of Anglicanism

• Lowland Scotland : Calvinism = dominant religion

• Highland Scotland & Ireland : remained Catholic

The separation of religion from politics

• Throughout British history, religion has been closely connected with

kings, queens & politics
• England was a Roman Catholic country until 1534
• In 1525, King Henry VIII decided to divorce his queen (she had only
given him a daughter while he wanted a son)
• Henry fell in love with Anne Boleyn
• the Pope in Rome refused to give Henry permission to divorce
• Henry was so angry with the Pope that he ended all contact btw
England & Rome, divorced his wife without the Pope’s permission,
& married Anne Boleyn. He also ordered the Bible to be translated
into English
• In 1534, Parliament named Henry head of the Church of England
→ this is the beginning of the Anglican Church
The quarrel with Rome was political, not religious

• The Anglican Church did not starts a a Protestant Church &

Henry certainly did not regard himself as a Protestant
• At the time of the quarrel, Protestant movement in Europe was
growing very strong & spread to England
• Many people changed to this new religion
• In 1553, Mary became Queen of England. She was a Roman
Catholic →the country re-entered the Roman Church. Many
Protestants were burned at the stake for their beliefs
• In 1558, Elizabeth I was crowned & also became head of the
Anglican Church. Roman Catholicism was never again the
established religion of England
• Anglicanism : a form of Catholicism.
It is not very different from Catholicism in its
organization and ritual

• Calvinism : a more idealistic form of Catholicism.

It has strict insistence on simplicity, dislikes ritual
and celebration
→ It is from this date that the stereotype of the
dour, thrifty Scot developed
king henry viii Queen elizabeth i
Changing wives became a habit with King Henry VIII.
Altogether he had 6 wives

1. Catherine of Aragon :
2. Anne Boleyn : executed
3. Jane Seymour : died in
4. Anne of Cleves : divorced
5. Kathryn Howard : executed
6. Katherine Parr : survived,
lived longer than Henry
In the last quarter of the 16thC,
Shakespeare began writing his
famous plays
• In 1603, King James I of Scotland became the first
English king of the Stuart dynasty
→ England & Scotland were united

• Their parliament, administrative & judicial systems

continued to be separate

• Less linguistic differences : Modern English became the

written standard in England and Scotland
• The link between religion and politics became more intense

• Parliament established its supremacy over the monarchy

• Puritanism (ideological Protestantism) had grown in England :

+ fiercely anti-Catholic

+ regarded the practices & the hierarchical structure of the Anglican

Church, the luxurious lifestyle of the king and his followers as immoral

• This conflict led to the Civil War (1642-1649)

• The Civil War ended with
complete victory for the
parliamentary forces

• King Charles I was

captured and beheaded
in 1649
King Charles I was the first monarch in Europe to be executed
after a formal trial for crimes against his people
• Oliver Cromwell, the leader of the
parliamentary army, became “Lord
Protector” of a republic with a
military government

• For the first and only time, Britain

briefly became a republic and was
called “the

• When Cromwell died, he,

his system and the accompanied
puritan ethics became unpopular

• In 1660, the monarchy and the

Anglican religion were restored
• The conflict between monarch and parliament soon re-emerged

• Parliament drew up a Bill of Rights :

+ limited some of the powers of the monarch
+ allowed Dissenters (those who disagreed with the practices of
Anglicanism) to practice their religion freely

• King James II fled to Ireland, gathered a Catholic Irish army but was

Consequences :
• Irish Catholics were forbidden to vote or own land
• Fiercely anti-Catholic Scottish settlers possessed all the land
→ the tragic split in society in modern Northern Ireland
• This century was politically stable
• Monarch and parliament got on quite well together
• Within Parliament : formation of collections of allies

• The Whigs :
+ supported the Protestant values of hard work and thrift
+ were sympathetic to Dissenters
+ believed in government by monarch and aristocracy together

• The Tories :
+ had little sympathy for Catholics
+ respected the idea of the monarchy and the importance of the
Anglican Church

• This could be seen as the beginning of the party system in Britain

• In 1707, the Scottish Parliament joined with the English
and Welsh Parliament at Westminster in London

• However, Scotland retained its own system of law, more

similar to continental European systems than to that of
England (it does so to this day)
• 18th C was remarkable for cultural change

• British Empire was gradually expanded in the Americas,

along the west African coast and in India

• The increased trade with these new markets + many

technical innovations in manufacturing & transport
→ the Industrial Revolution
James Watt : a Scottish inventor
whose work played an important part
in the development of the steam engine.

Watt’s engines were the first to be suitable

for use in factories and therefore
were one of the major advances in industry
that led to the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution in England – 18th C
“the workshop of the world”
• Growth in industrial mode of production + advances in agriculture
→ greatest upheaval in the pattern of everyday life since the
Anglo-Saxon invasions

+ increasingly large and more efficient farms

+ hundreds of thousands of people moved from rural areas into
new towns & cities → urban development

• Northern England : raw materials for industry were available

→ became the industrial heart of the country

• Lowland Scotland & south Wales were also industrialized

• London : dominant business and trading center

The British empire
“The sun never sets on the British Empire”
Much of the attention of the country was focused abroad during this era
The British Empire was constantly being expanded, including :

• IRELAND: predominated by British culture & way of life

• CANADA, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND : had complete internal self-

government but recognized the overall authority of the British government

• INDIA : British colonists developed a distinctly Anglo-Indian way of life,

imposed British institutions & methods of government on the country

• Large parts of AFRICA : became part of the empire at the end of 19th C

• Numerous smaller areas & islands

Territories that were under the rule of the British Empire
A change in attitude towards colonization

Previously :
• Colonization = a matter of settlement, commerce, or military strategy
• Aim = simply to possess territory, not necessarily to govern it

During 19th C :
• Britain became the world’s foremost economic power with long years
of political stability
→ British had a sense of supreme confidence, even arrogance about
their culture & civilization
British came to see themselves as having a duty to spread this culture
& civilization around the world
→ Being the rulers of an empire = a matter of moral obligation
Great changes in social structure

• Most people live in towns and cities

• Factory owners + new & growing middle class of trades people held the
real power in the country
• They established a set of values (Victorian values) which emphasized :
+ Hard work
+ Thrift
+ Religious observance
+ Family life
+ An awareness of one’s duty
+ Absolute honesty in public life
+ Extreme respectability in sexual matters
• She came to the throne at 18 (1837)

• Her rules was the longest of any British king or queen

• She oversaw Britain at the height of its overseas power

• The British Empire was established in her reign, and it

reached its greatest expanse under her

• She oversaw Britain’s greatest period of industrial


• In her early life, she was happy, enthusiastic, very

popular with ordinary people

• Later she became a bad-tempered old woman

Queen Victoria
• Britain was no longer the world’s richest country
→ weakened Victorian confidence

• Labour Party was formed, represented the urban working class (majority
of population)

• Trade unions were formed and became a powerful political force outside
the institutions of government & parliament

• In Parliament : 2 opposition parties

+ The Liberals (“descendants” of the Whigs) was gradually replaced by
the Labour Party
+ The Conservatives (“descendants” of the Tories)
• Around 1920 : British Empire was at its largest & most powerful
- ruled about 25% of the world’s population
- occupied over 25% of the world’s land

• Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa gained their full

independence in 1931, India in 1947, most other countries of
the Empire in 1950s & 1960s

• 1st July, 1997, Hongkong was returned to China

(and became a special administrative region of China)

→ the final part in the story of the Empire

The commonwealth

• a legacy of the British Empire

• an association of 53 independent nations + several British dependencies

• set up in 1931

• most members used to be part of the British Empire

• all member states recognize the British monarch as Head of the


• some member states recognize the British monarch as their Head of State
(Australia, Canada, New Zealand, …)