The history of England did not begin until the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons, when the partition of Britain into several countries largely began.
At the height of the Roman Empire, Britannia was under the rule of the Romans. Their rule lasted until about 410, at which time the Romano-British formed various independent kingdoms. The Anglo-Saxons graduallygained control of England and became the chief rulers of the land.
Raids by the Vikings were frequent after about 800. In 1066, the Normans invaded and conquered England. There was much civil war and battles with other nations throughout the Middle Ages. During the Renaissance, England was ruled by the Tudors. England had conquered Wales in the 12th century and was then united with Scotland inthe early 18th century to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.
Following the Industrial Revolution, Great Britain ruled a worldwide empire, of which, physically, little remains.
I- History of England during the Middle Ages (the English Unification to the Tudors)
1) English Unification
Alfred of Wessex died in 899 and was succeeded by his son Edward the Elder. Edward, and his brother-in-lawÆthelred of Mercia, began a programme of expansion. It seems Edward had his son Athelstan brought up in the Mercian court, and on Edward's death Athelstan succeeded to the Mercian kingdom, and, after some uncertainty, Wessex.
Athelstan continued the expansion of his father.His expansion aroused ill-feeling among the other kingdoms of Britain, and he defeated a combined Scottish-Viking army at theBattle of Brunanburh. However, the unification of England was not a certainty. Under Athelstan's successors Edmund and Eadred the English kings repeatedly lost and regained control of Northumbria. Nevertheless, Edgar the Peaceful, who ruled the same expanse as Athelstan, consolidated the kingdom, which remained united thereafter.
2) The Normans consolidate the conquest
There were renewedScandinavian attacks on England at the end of the 10th century. Ethelred the Unready ruled a long reign but ultimately lost his kingdom to Sweyn of Denmark. Under his rule the kingdom became the centre of government for an empire which also included Denmark and Norway.
In 1042 the native dynasty was restored with the accession of Edward the Confessor. Harold Godwinson became king, in all likelihoodappointed by Edward the Confessor on his deathbed in 1066. However, William of Normandy, Harald III of Norway and Sweyn II of Denmark all asserted claims to the throne. Harold Godwinson fell in battle against William of Normandy at the Battle of Hastings. William was crowned king on Christmas Day 1066. The Norman Conquest led to a sea-change in the history of the English state. William ordered thecompilation of the Domesday Book in 1086, a survey of the entire population and their lands and property for tax purposes. William and his nobles spoke and conducted court in Norman French, in England as well as in Normandy. The use of the Anglo-Norman language by the aristocracy endured for centuries and left an indelible mark in the development of modern English.
His son, Henry I, also known as"Henry Beauclerc" worked hard to reform and stabilise the country and smooth the differences between the Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman societies.
During the reign of Stephen of Blois, Henri’s nephew, a civil war broke out. His conflicts with his cousin The Empress Matilda led to a civil war from 1139 – 1153.Stephen effectively reigned unopposed until his death in 1154.
3) England under thePlantagenets, who wants to be king?
In 1153, Stephen reached an accommodation with Henry of Anjou (who became Henry II) to succeed Stephen and in which peace between them was guaranteed. England was part of a greater union, retrospectively named the Angevin Empire. Henry II expanded his power through various means and to different levels into Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Flanders, Nantes, Brittany,...