Anglais economy and society (lea l3)
BRITAIN AND ITS HISTORICAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THE EUROPEAN CONTINENT
• Has isolationism always existed? • When and how did isolationism come about? • Has isolationism been the main reason for the difficulties of British integration into EU?
By studying the past, it will be easier to understand British identity.
It will be clear that British identity has always been intertwined with continental Europe.
Part I : The Historical Background
Chap 1 : The original links
For most of prehistory, what we call now the British islands were attached to the continental landmass.
British Isles = England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (= GB) + Ireland.
Britain became separated from mainland shortly before 6 000 BC.
Significant settlement had begun earlier (from 10 000 to 6 000 BC). All the European people intermingled.
Despite the disappearance of the land link, communication between pp of Europe and pp of British Isles continued and even flourished.
During the Mesolithic period, people were mostly hunter-gatherer.
They were definitively changed by the Neolithic revolution. It involves the spread of the concept of farming from the Syria to continental Europe between 11 000 and 9 000 BC.
Brought by the revolution, the agriculture advances lead to the establishment of permanent settled communities. Their capacities for production were the origins of regular trade and commerce.
During the Neolithic period in the British Isles (5 000 to 2 000 BC), there was increased trade and commerce with the European continent. Copper, gold and tin were exported from the British isles. There were commercial proximity between the continent and the isles, but there was also cultural proximity, as examples: the megaliths (Stonehenge >> 3 000 BC: winter and summer solstice). Megaliths were strong signs of the Neolithic culture. Their aim was to unite the social structures of the human society with