History of the UK 2 (presonalities)

The Norman Conquest (1066)

In 1066 Edward the Confessor, Anglo-Saxon king, died. As he had no son, his brother-in-law, Harold became the king. However, the Duke of Normandy, later known as William the Conqueror, also claimed the throne.  In 1066 he beat King Harold at the Battle of Hastings. Harold was killed and William the Conqueror became king. The conquest had far-reaching consequences for England. The relations with Scandinavia were cut and it came under French cultural influence.

Henry VIII

He was famous for his 6 wives. He wanted to divorce with his first wife – Catharine of Argon – because they did not have a son, only a daughter Mary (known as Bloody Mary), but he did not get the Pope’s permission. Henry established his own Church – the Church of England – in 1532. He became the head of the Church so he could divorce. Then he married Anne Boleyn. They also had only a daughter – Elizabeth. Anne Boleyn was executed for adultery. Henry and his third wife had a son – Edward. His wife died soon. Then he married his fourth wife but he divorced with her because he did not like her. His fifth wife was also executed for adultery. His 6th wife widowed, Henry died. He dissolved monasteries and took their property. His only son Edward became the king, but he soon died.

 

Elizabeth I

Elizabeth is Henry’s second daughter. Her mother is Anne Boleyn. She was a protestant queen. Her nickname was ‘Virgin Queen’ because she had never married; she had no husband and no children. During her reign there were no wars because she had a clever policy. Her reign was the Golden Age for drama and literature. Catholics started to think of someone to replace her. Mary – Queen of Scots – was a Scottish queen. Catholics wanted her to become the Queen of England because they were afraid of Elizabeth. There were several attempts to kill Elizabeth and Mary was involved in them so Elizabeth executed Mary. Mary’s husband Philip II wanted the English throne after Mary died. But his Spanish army was defeated which made England a great sea power.

 

Oliver Cromwell

He was Puritan. At the Battle of Naseby Oliver Cromwell and the New Model Army crushed the Royalists. He became the Lord Protector. Between 1649 and 1660 England is called The English Republic. Oliver was unpopular with people and when he died, they wanted the monarchy back.

1660 – RESTORATION OF MONARCHY – After Oliver’s death, Charles’ son, also called Charles returned as a King Charles II. During his reign there was the Great Plague which was topped next year by the Great Fire of London.

  • He was an English military and political leader and later Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland.
  • He took power away from the monarchy and gave it to people in the form of a stronger parliament.
  • He defeated King Charles I. in Civil war in 1649 and King was executed.
  • Then he became a Lord Protector.
  • He died in 1658.
  • After his death the monarchy was restored.

 

James II

James II became a king after his brother Charles II. First he was the Prince of Wales and then the Duke of York (because he is the second son, he used the title Duke of York). New York was named after him. Between 1688 and 1689, there was a Glorious Revolution. The Bills Of Rights were introduced in 1689. It said that only a Protestant could become the king. This did not prevent the Jacobites trying to make the Catholic, James Stuart, king and supporting Bonny Prince Charlie. The Parliament gave the throne to a different king – William of Orange because James II escaped. But James II had a son – James Eduard. James Eduard and his son Body Prince Charlie wanted the throne back.

Queen Victoria 1837-1901

She was the granddaughter of the King George III. Her rule was the longest of any British king or queen, and happened at the same time as Britain’s greatest period of world power and industrial development. She married Prince Albert and had nine children.

  •                     She became a queen at the age of 18.
  •                     She was the longest reigning English monarch.
  •                     This period is called Victorian England.
  •                     She spread her Empire to India, Canada, and New Zealand.

 

Winston Churchil

  • He was a British statesman who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955.
  • Churchill was also an officer in the British Army, a non-academic historian, and a writer.
  • He led his country until the end of the war.
  • His famous sentence “Nothing but blood, tears, toil and sweat”.
  • He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 for his overall, lifetime body of work.

Margaret Thatcher

She introduced important changes to British economy. She is a British Conservative politician who became the first female prime minister of Britain and was one of the longest serving British prime ministers of the 20th century. After winning three general elections, she was forced to resign in 1991 by members of her own party. They criticized her attitude to the European Union. She was made life peer in 1992 and is still a well-known public figure.      

  •                     She was the first Prime Minister.
  •                     She served as Prime Minister three consecutive terms.
  •                     She was an advocate of privatisation of state owned industries.
  •                     She reformed the trade unions, lowered taxes, and reduced inflation.
  •                     On the othr hand, during her reign were high unemployment and civil conflicts.
  •                     In 1982, she led Britain to victory in the Falklands War.
  •                     She is known as the Iron Lady.

 

Elizabeth II

She has been the queen of the UK since 1952. She was crowned in 1953. She is the daughter of the King George VI and his wife Queen Elizabeth. She has an only sister – Princess Margaret. She married the Prince Philip of Greece who was made the Duke of Edinburgh. Her duties today are mainly ceremonial and the real power lies in the hands of the prime minister and his Cabinet.

 

Neville Chamberlain

  • Was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940.
  • Chamberlain is best known for his appeasement foreign policy and for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, which mean occupation the German-speaking Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia by Germany army.
  • He led Britain through the first 8 mounth of WWII.

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