VIEWS: 14 PAGES: 57 POSTED ON: 6/25/2012
History of the British Isles Palaeolithic - Mesolithic-Neolithic The pre-Roman inhabitants of Britain had no written language, so their history, culture and way of life can be understood solely on archaeological grounds. First written record of Britain and its inhabitants was by the Greek navigator Pytheas, (around 325 BC). Palaeolithic Britain ranges from the period from almost 750,000 years ago until around 10,000 years ago. Inhabitants were bands of hunter-gatherers roaming all over northern Europe following herds of animals. In the lower Palaeolithic Homo erectus was present in what is now Britain. This time, southern and eastern Britain were linked to continental Europe by a wide land bridge allowing humans to move freely. Sites of excavation in Sussex illustrate an archaic Homo species called Homo heidelbergensis lived here around 500,000 years ago. These peoples made flint tools and hunted the large native mammals of the period (elephants, rhinoceri and hippopotami lived in the Isles at that time). The extreme cold of ice-age drove humans out of Britain altogether and the region does not appear to have been occupied again until the ice receded during from around 300,000 BC. Periods of glaciation and melting took place in the next thousands of years with tribes appearing and disappearing. In the Upper Palaeolithic Neanderthal occupation of Britain was limited and by 30,000 BC the first signs of modern human (Homo sapiens) activity are known. A final ice age covered Britain between around 70,000 and 10,000 years ago, eventually it was replaced by a warmer climate, perhaps reaching 17 degrees Celsius in summer. The first distinct Upper Palaeolithic culture of Britain is the Creswellian industry, producing refined flint tools, using bone, antler, shell, amber, animal teeth, and ivory. The possibility that groups also travelled to meet and exchange goods or sent out dedicated expeditions to source flint has also been suggested. Artistic expression seems to have been mostly limited to engraved bone although the cave art at Creswell Crags is a notable exception. In Mesolithic Britain (Around 10,000 years ago) the ice age finally ended. Temperatures rose, probably to levels similar to those today, and forests expanded further. By 8,500 years ago, the rising sea levels caused by the melting glaciers cut Britain off from continental Europe for the last time. The present day flora and fauna of the isles came into being. Environmental changes were accompanied by social changes, humans spread and reached the far north of Scotland during this period. The view of Mesolithic Britons as being exclusively nomadic is nowadays being replaced with a more complex picture of seasonal occupation or in some cases, permanent occupation and attendant land and food source management where conditions permitted it. During the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition (around 4500 BC) ancient Britons’ the farming of both crops and domestic animals was adopted in Britain in need for reliable food sources. Other elements such as pottery, leaf-shaped arrowheads and polished stone axes would have been adopted at his time earlier as part of the Neolithic ‘package’. The climate had been warming since the later Mesolithic and continued to improve, replacing the earlier pine forests with woodland. In the Neolithic (New Stone Age, circa. 4400 BC–3300 BC) the monumental architecture venerating the dead may represent more comprehensive social and ideological changes involving new interpretations of time, ancestry, community and identity. The Neolithic Revolution, as it is called, introduced a more settled way of life and ultimately led to societies becoming divided into differing groups of farmers, artisans and leaders. Forest clearances provided room for cereal cultivation and animal herds. Native cattle and pigs was started to be reared with sheep and goat introduced later, also the growing of wheats and barleys. Long barrows were used for communal burial. To build these huge organization of labour was necessary. Most of the population lived on the chalk uplands located on the south of the island. At that time the soil conditions made expansive agriculture possible, also resulted in overpopulation and later the overfarming of the land lead. In the Middle Neolithic (circa 3300 BC–circa 2900 BC) impressive chamber tombs were built. The earliest stone circles and individual burials also appear. These were centres of religious, political and economic power and although the precise purpose of these constructions remain a mystery, they could only have been built by people who had influence and authority over a very large area, possibly the whole of the British Isles. The stone rows of Stonehenge and Silbury Hill were built in the later Neolithic (c. 2900 BC-c. 2200 BC). The Bronze Age Bronze Age started in Britain at around 2,700 BC and brought the skill of refining metal. At first they made items from copper, but from around 2,150 BC smiths had discovered how to make bronze. Over the next thousand years, bronze gradually replaced stone as the main material for tool and weapon making. After 2400 BC new groups of people arrived in southeast Britain from Europe. They were stronger built, taller and better skilled in metal-working than earlier inhabitants. They became leaders of the early British society and by their burial costumes (individual grave containing pottery beakers – serleg) were called the “Beaker” people. Later in the period, cremation was adopted as a burial practice with cemeteries of urns containing cremated individuals. Their skills of working with bronze meant that stone tools were soon replaced by longer lasting metal ones. By around 1,600 BC the southwest of Britain was experiencing a trade boom as British tin was exported across Europe. The centre of the Beaker civilization was in Stonehenge, they added a new circle of stones around the old ones. From 1300 BC the centre of their authority was relocated in the Thames valley and southeast Britain. The lands found here was more fertile and could support more people, soon hill forts replaced the henges. Celtic Britain The Greeks used the word Keltoi and the Romans Celtae as a name given to certain tribes who occupied a part of western France, or Gaul. Both nations also used the word as denoting a people who used stone and bronze axes. Hence even to this day stone axes are known in the British Isles as Kelts or Celts. Around 750 BC iron working techniques possessed by the Celts reached Britain from southern Europe, which saw the introduction of the iron age, a metal much stronger and more plentiful than bronze. Iron revolutionised many aspects of life, most importantly agriculture. (e.g. iron tipped ploughs that made the farming of heavier soils possible, axes made of iron to make wood-clearings). It is presumed that the Celts drove the older inhabitants of the island westward and north, to Wales, Scotland and Ireland. During the next seven hundred years they arrived in many waves and occupied much of lowland Britain. By 500 BC the broadly termed Celtic culture covered most of the British Isles. The Celts were highly skilled craftsmen and produced intricately patterned gold jewellery and weapons in bronze and iron. Britons at this time lived in organised tribal groups, ruled by a chieftain. From the 2nd century BC refugees from the continent, running from Roman conquest fled and settled in southeast England and brought with them pottery making skills far more advanced than anything produced previously. The Belgae were partially romanised and were responsible for creating the first settlements large enough to be called towns. These were hill-forts and serves as centres of trade and centres of tribal areas. About 100 BC, iron bars began to be used as currency, while internal trade and trade with continental Europe flourished, largely due to Britain’s extensive mineral reserves. As the Roman Empire expanded northwards, Rome began to take interest in Britain. This may have been caused by an influx of refugees from Roman occupied Europe, or Britain’s large mineral reserves. The Celtic tribes were ruled by a warrior class, an influential sect of which was the priests, the so-called Druids. These people could not yet write or read, they memorised all the religious teachings, tribal history and laws. They met in sacred groves of trees near to rivers, their religious ceremonies often included human sacrifices. Some tribes were matriarchal, dominated by woman, who would be fierce warriors. One of the best known was headed by a woman called Boadicea and was the leader of the most important rebel against Roman rule. Roman Britain The first direct Roman contact came when the Roman general and future dictator, Julius Caesar, made two expeditions to Britain in 55 and 54 BC. Caesar had conquered no territory, but had established clients on the island and brought Britain into Rome’s sphere of political influence. Augustus prepared invasions in 34 BC, 27 BC and 25 BC. The first and third were called off due to revolts elsewhere in the empire, the second because the Britons seemed ready to come to terms. Britain paid more in customs and duties than could be raised by taxation if the island were conquered. By the 40s AD the Catuvellauni became the most powerful kingdom in south-eastern Britain, and were pressing their neighbours, ruled by the descendants of Julius Caesar’s former allies. In 43 AD Claudius’ invasion totalling about 40,000 men invaded the islands after all. Contemporary Roman sources say that Claudius received the surrender of the Britons without battle or bloodshed. Eleven tribes of South East Britain surrendered to Claudius and the Romans prepared to move further west and north. The Romans established their new capital at Camulodunum and Claudius returned to Rome to revel in his victory. The Romans had invaded the Isles because the Celts of Britain were aiding the Celts of the Gaul, enemies of the Empire. The Romans established a Romano-British culture across the southern half of Britain, from the River Humber to the River Severn. Between 44-60 later emperor Vespasian took a force westwards subduing tribes and capturing several oppidas (Latin name for pre-Roman towns) as he went. The border between Roman and Iron Age Britain however remained mutable during this period. Military expeditions were sent to campaign against the tribes of modern day Wales, and brought the Welsh borders under control but did not move further north or west, probably because Claudius was keen to avoid what he considered a difficult and drawn-out war for little material gain in the mountainous terrain of upland Britain. Consecutive Roman governors set out to conquest the northern part of the island, they called “Caledonia”. Most important of them was the famous Gnaeus Julius Agricola (70-84 AD). He took his troops north along the Pennines, building roads as he went. He built a fortress at Chester and employed tactics of terrorising each local tribe before offering terms. He took control of most of present day Scotland after the battle at Mons Graupius. This marked the high tide mark of Roman territory in Britain; shortly after his victory, Agricola was recalled from Britain back to Rome, and the Romans retired to a more defensible line. The costs of a drawn-out war outweighed any economic or political benefit and it was more profitable to leave the Caledonians alone and only under de jure submission. Roman occupation was withdrawn to a line subsequently established as one of the limes of the empire (i.e. a defensible frontier) by the construction of Hadrian’s Wall around 122. The successes and failures of the Romans in subduing the peoples of Britain are still represented in the political geography of the British Isles today, with the modern border between Scotland and England running close to the line of Hadrian’s Wall. The wall was the northern border of the Empire in Britain for much of the Roman Empire’s rule, and also the most heavily fortified border in the Empire. In addition to its use as a military fortification, it is thought that the gates through the wall would also have served as customs posts to allow trade taxation. In the reign of Antoninus Pius (AD 138-161) the Hadrianic border was briefly extended north to the Forth-Clyde isthmus, where the Antonine Wall was built around. The period of the 2nd to the 3rd centuries were spent in relative peace with occasional uprising on the part of the native Celtic tribes and local civil wars, the walls served as a protective shield where Roman legios could launch scouting expeditions only to retreat after the counterattacks of the so called barbarians, that is tribal Brits. During the middle of the third century the Roman empire was convulsed by barbarian invasions (Germanic tribes, Saxons, Franks), rebellions and new imperial pretenders. Britannia apparently avoided these troubles and still Roman legions found it more and more difficult to stop raidings through – the Hadrian’s Wall. Later due to revolts and uprising the province of Britannia was divided into four provinces. In the 4th century, Britain also saw increasing attacks from the Saxons in the east, and the Irish in the west. A series of forts was built, starting around 280, to defend the coasts, but these preparations were not enough and the Empire’s military resources were struggling after the catastrophic Battle of Adrianople in 378. There were growing barbarian attacks, but these were focused on vulnerable rural settlements rather than towns. Britain not only came under increasing pressure from barbarian attack on all sides towards the end of the 4th century, but troops were too few to mount an effective defence and rebellions occurred within the army as well. In AD 409 Rome pulled its last soldiers out of Britain. By the early 5th century with the higher levels of the military and civil government gone, administration and justice fell to municipal authorities consisted of Romanised Celts, and small warlords gradually emerged all over Britain, still aspiring to Roman ideals and conventions. Life in Roman Britain Gold, iron, lead, silver, marble and pearl reserves were exploited by the Romans in Britain along with more everyday commodities such as hunting dogs, animal skins, timber, wool and slaves. Foreign investment created a vigorous domestic market and imports were often of exotic Continental items such as fine pottery, olive oil, lavastone querns, glassware, garum and fruit. The Romans introduced new technical knowledge and large-scale industrial production to revolutionise the Mineral extraction industry. Many prospecting areas were in dangerous, upland country, and, although mineral exploitation was presumably one of the main reasons for the Roman invasion, it had to wait long until these areas were subdued. By the third century, Britain’s economy was diverse and well-established, with commerce extending into the non-Romanised north. The design of Hadrian’s Wall especially catered to the need for customs inspections of merchants’ goods. During their occupation of Britain, the Romans built an extensive network of roads, many of whose routes are still followed today. The Romans also built water and sewage systems. Under the Roman Empire imperial provinces were run by resident governors who were former senators who had held the consulship. These men were carefully selected often having strong records of military success and administrative ability. In Britain, a governor’s role was primarily military but numerous other tasks were also his responsibility such as maintaining diplomatic relations with local client kings, building roads, ensuring the public courier system functioned, supervising the civitates and acting as a judge in important legal cases. When not campaigning he would travel the province hearing complaints and recruiting new troops. To assist him in legal matters he had an adviser. Financial administration was dealt with by a procurator with junior posts for each tax- raising power. Each legion in Britain had a commander who answered to the governor and in time of war probably directly ruled troublesome districts Colchester was probably the earliest capital of Roman Britain but it was soon eclipsed by London with its strong mercantile connections. Provincial subdivisions in Roman Britain were as follows Britannia 43-early 3rd c. Capital Camulodunum (43-c.65), then London Britannia Inferior, Britannia Superior Early 3rd c. - Early 3rd c. - 293, 293, capital at Londinium capital at Eboracum Maxima Britannia Flavia Britannia Secunda, Caesariensis, Prima, Caesariensis, 293-410, 293-410, 293-410, 293-410, capital Eboracum capital capital capital Lincoln Londinium Cirenceste (Wikipedia) The town of Bath during the Roman period was a place where grand temples and bathing complexes were built, including the Great Bath. Rediscovered gradually from the 18 th century onward, they have become one of the city’s main attractions. There were three types of Roman settlement. These were 1. the coloniae, inhibited by Roman settlers 2. the municipia, where the whole population was given Roman citizenship 3. the civitas, populated by Celts under Roman administration All of these towns were given walls for better protection; they were well planes and contained roads, markets and shops. The population of London was about 20000. Beside towns there were also numerous villas, large farms. The workers lived in round houses made of planks and wickerwork (rőzsegát) the roof being thatch (nádtető). The Romans brought the skills of writing and reading to Britain, a high number of town dwellers could speak Latin and/or Greek fluently. With the Romans the toga also came into fashion. As far as religion is concerned the druids, the Celtic priestly caste believed to have originated in Britain were outlawed by Claudius, however, under Roman rule the Britons continued to worship native Celtic deities. Archaeological evidence for Christian communities begins to appear in the 3rd and 4th centuries. Small timber churches are suggested at Lincoln and Silchester and fonts have been found at Icklingham. Some early fourth century and the Roman villas contained Christian wall paintings and mosaics respectively. A large 4th century cemetery at Poundbury has been interpreted as an early Christian burial ground, although such burial rites were also becoming increasingly common in pagan contexts during the period. Anglo-Saxon England The History of Anglo-Saxon England covers the history of early medieval England from the end of Roman Britain and the establishment of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in the 5th century until the Conquest by the Normans in 1066. Various myths and legends surround the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons, some based on documentary evidence, some far less so. Two main literary sources provide the evidence. Gildas’ The Ruin of Britain (c. 540) is polemical, and more concerned with criticising British kings than accurately describing events. Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People is based in part on Gildas, though brings in other evidence. From the 4th century AD, Britons had migrated across the English Channel and started to settle in the western part of Gaul forming Brittany. Others may have migrated to northern Spain. The migration of the British to the continent and the Anglo-Saxons to Britain, should be considered in the context of wider European migrations. The invaders came from three powerful Germanic tribes, the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes. 1. Angles→east and north Midlands 2. Saxons →westward of the Thames Estuary (torkolat) 3. Jutes→along the south coast, mainly in Kent The Celts retreated to the territory later known as Wales and to the Scottish lowlands. The 5th and 6th centuries are known archaeologically as Sub-Roman Britain, or in popular history as the “Dark Ages”. Archaeological findings from this period also reveal that that Saxon immigrants and native Britons lived side by side in certain areas with the Britons adopting Anglo-Saxon practices. Throughout the 7th and 8th century power fluctuated between the larger kingdoms. Succession crises in Northumbrian meant that the hegemony of this kingdom was not constant, and Mercia remained a very powerful kingdom. The so-called “Mercian Supremacy” dominated the 8th century, though again was not constant, however, a rising Wessex, and challenges from smaller kingdoms, kept Mercian power in check, and by the end of the 8th century the “Mercian Supremacy” was over. This period has been described as the Heptarchy, the word referring to the seven kingdoms of Northumbria, Mercia, Kent, East Anglia, Essex, Sussex and Wessex were the main polities of south Britain. The Saxons also divided the land into administrative areas, counties (or shires), the borders of which remained unchallenged for a thousand of years and very much forms the basis of the present administrative system. The chief administrator of the shires was called the sheriff by the Saxons. In the late 8th century King Offa of Mercia received so much power that claimed the “kingship of the English” although as all of the rulers of his time he also had to rely on the Saxon institution of the witan, the main strengths of the English state between the 5 th and 10th century. The Witan (Witenagemot) was the remnant of the ancient tribal general assembly, which had soon developed into a convocation of the land’s most powerful warriors including senior clergy. Summoned by the king (and later by regional earls), witans would advise on the administration and organization of the kingdom, dealing with issues such as taxation, jurisprudence and both internal and external security. The Witan was also needed to approve the succession of each monarch. The new king could be whoever the Witan decided would best lead the country, not necessarily the offspring of the previous monarch. Although it had no authority over the king without its support no ruler could take authority granted. The Witan was in some respects a predecessor to Parliament, but had substantially different powers and some major limitations, such as a lack of a fixed procedure, schedule, or meeting place. The Saxons started to use heavier ploughs than the Celts and preferred long thin stripes of land. They also introduced the three-course rotation of the land (spring crops, autumn crops, common land – legelő). They also cut down a lot of forest and started to drain the wet land. The largest house in a Saxon village would be the manor, where taxes were paid and justice was administered. The well administered society of Saxon times signalled the beginning of a class system made up of a monarch, lords, soldiers, clergyman and farmers. Christianity Christianisation of Anglo-Saxon England began around AD 600, influenced by Celtic Christianity from the north-west and by the Roman Catholic Church from the south-east. The first Archbishop of Canterbury, Augustine took office in 597. In 601, he baptised the first Anglo-Saxon king, Aethelbert of Kent. Christianity in Britain during the seventh century existed in two forms distinguished by differing liturgical traditions, labelled the “Celtic” tradition – practiced Irish monks who resided in a monastery on the isle of Iona – and “Roman” traditions. The “Roman” practice refers to the practice of the remainder of the West Empire, which kept observances according to the customs of Rome. Whereas the Celtic Church was widely accepted by the ordinary people (their bishops would go from village to village and teach the Christian messages) the Roman Church established a strong presence at the courts of the kings. One of the main differences between the two traditions, and hence a source of controversy, was the proper calculation of Easter. Calculating the proper date was a complex process (involving a lunisolar calendar), and different calculation tables developed which resulted in different dates for the celebration of Easter. To settle the differences of the two “traditions” a synod was held at Whitby abbey. The “Roman arguments” were stronger and thus accepted as legitimate. The arguments were characteristic of Christian logic: (1) it was the practice in Rome, where the apostles Peter and Paul had “lived, taught, suffered, and are buried”, (2) it was the universal practice of the Church, even as far as Egypt (3) Columba had done the best he could considering his knowledge, and thus his irregular practice is excusable, but the Ionan monks at present did not have the excuse of ignorance, and (4) whatever the case, no one has authority over Peter (and thus his successors, the Bishops of Rome). The Synod of Whitby may have seemed simply one of many councils held concerning the proper calculation of Easter throughout Latin Christendom in the Early Middle Ages, nevertheless it was seen by many as the “subjugation” of the “British Church” to Rome and proved the strength of what remained of the Roman culture. Saxon kings assisted the growth of the Roman Church because they understood that the approval they received from Rome would make them rulers on “God’s approval” and ensure a kind of divine legitimacy to their authority. Cooperation between monarch and the clergy was widened by the foundation of monasteries that would serve as places of literacy and the origins of the new administrative class. The role of administering, registering property became important during the Saxon rule. The Roman Church was also favoured because of economic reasons: monasteries grew to be centres of local trade. The Celts who lived in the area known today as Wales were physically sealed of from the inland areas of the island by the earth wall built during the reign of King Offa. For its mountainous terrain the people could not achieve so widespread agricultural activities as elsewhere. Welsh society was based on family groupings, owners of a village. Headed by warriors these groups would constantly try to conquer their neighbours land and become kings. A constant state of violence characterised early Welsh history. Ireland escaped being invaded by either the Romans or the Saxons, thus the Celtic culture could flourish without any major threats. Society was based on tribal groupings which elected the king, there were five kingdoms in Ireland. Historical account in Ireland date to the arrival of Christianity and spread by a British slave, called Patrick who later became the patron saint of the land. Parallel with the establishment of Christian monasteries the power of the illiterate druid priest declined. The golden age of the Celtic culture was wiped away by the arrival of Viking raids, although for a short period of time it united the kingdoms that were in continuous conflict with one another. Early inhabitants of Scotland were the Picts, a matriarchal society, later they were accompanied by Celtic Scots and later their kingdoms were united. The Lowland was inhabited by Britons, who were less tribal and more part of the Romano-British world, yet were open to form alliance with the other animal farming people of the area and start trading relation with them. The spread of Celtic Christianity was also a uniting force. Columba – a Christian missionary – is remembered to have spread the words of Christ. At times when foreign armies wanted to invade the land the Pictish-Scot allegiance increased The Viking Rule The Vikings – Scandinavian warriors and traders – raided and explored most parts of Europe, south-western Asia, northern Africa and north-eastern North America. They come from Denmark and Norway and are of Germanic origin who by the eighth century started to build ships of war and set out on raiding expeditions to initiate the Viking Age. They were traders, colonizers and explorers as well as plunderers. Viking expansion has many components and causes. According to one view their desire for goods led Scandinavian traders to explore and develop extensive trading partnerships in the territories they explored. It has been suggested that the Scandinavians suffered from unequal trade practices imposed by Christian advocates and that this eventually led to the breakdown in trade relations and the start of raiding. British merchants who declared openly that they were Christian, and would not trade with heathens and infidels (Muslims and the Norse) would get preferred status for availability and pricing of goods through a Christian network of traders. According to others the Scandinavian population was too large for the peninsula, and there were not enough crops to feed everyone. This led to a hunt for more land to feed the ever growing Viking population. Particularly for the settlement and conquest period that followed the early raids, the internal strife in Scandinavia resulted in the progressive centralisation of power into fewer hands. This meant that lower classes who wanted not to be oppressed by greedy kings went in search of their own lands. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle gives the date for the first Viking attack in Britain for 793. They burnt churches and monasteries along the east, north and west coast of Britain and Ireland. From about 800 on, waves of Danish assaults on the coastlines of the British Isles were gradually followed by a succession of Danish settlers. During the next few decades little by little the Danes gained control over East Anglia, Northumbria and Mercia, leaving only Wessex to resist. After a time of plunder and raids, the Vikings began to settle in England. An important Viking centre was York, called Jorvik by the Vikings. King Ethelred of Wessex and his brother, Alfred fought numerous battles with various Viking warlords, most notably Guthrum the Old. As a result of the conquests the so called Danelaw came into being, the name given to the northern and eastern part of today’s England, in which the laws of the Danes held predominance over those of the Anglo-Saxons. This name is also used to describe the set of legal terms and definitions created in the treatises between the English king Alfred the Great and the Norwegian warlord Guthrum. This treaty was an agreement over the boundaries of their kingdoms, with provisions for peaceful relations between the English and the Vikings. The treaty outlined the boundaries of the Danelaw and allowed for Danish self-rule in the region. The Danelaw represented a consolidation of power for Alfred; the subsequent conversion of Guthrum to Christianity underlines the ideological significance of this shift in the balance of power. During the struggle against the Danes, Alfred built walled settlements called “burgs” (later known as “borough”) to keep them out. Later these became prosperous market towns. A new wave of Norwegian Vikings appeared in England in 947 when Erik Bloodaxe captured York. The Saxon rulers decided to pay the Vikings to stay away. To find the money he set a tax on all his people called Danegeld. This was the beginning of a regular taxation of the people to provide the money for armies. Ordinary villagers suffered the most from these taxes. The Viking presence continued through the reign of the Danish king Canute the Great (1016-1035), after which a series of inheritance arguments weakened the family reign. The Viking presence dwindled until 1066, when the Norwegians lost their final battle with the English. The Vikings conducted extensive raids in Ireland and founded a few towns, including Dublin. At some points, they seemingly came close to taking over the whole isle; however, the Vikings and Scandinavians settled down and intermixed with the Irish. Literature, crafts, and decorative styles in Ireland and Britain reflected Scandinavian culture. Vikings traded at Irish markets in Dublin. Much of the area known today as Scotland (almost all of the islands and some of mainland Scotland) was occupied by the Vikings for the longest period, from the early eights century to the early thirteenth century. The Vikings were one reason behind the formation of the Kingdom of Alba, which eventually evolved into Scotland. The influence of this period of Scandinavian settlement can still be seen in the North of England and the East Midlands, most evidently in place names: name endings such as "by" or "thorp" being particular giveaways. Danelaw caused the incorporation of many Norse words into the English language, including the word law itself, as well as the third person plural pronouns they, them and their. Many Old Norse words still survive in the dialects of Northeastern England. The 10th Century and the Norman Conquest Alfred of Wessex died in 899 and was succeeded by his son Edward the Elder. Edward began a programme of expansion in Mercia. His son, Athelstan, succeeded to the Mercian kingdom, and, after some uncertainty, Wessex. Athelstan continued the expansion of his father and aunt, and was the first king to achieve direct rulership of what we would now consider ‘England’. Certainly the titles attributed to him in charters and on coins suggest a widespread dominance. His expansion aroused ill- feeling among the other kingdoms of Britain, and he faced a combined Scottish-Viking army which he defeated. Interestingly, Anglo-Saxon England was probably the most ‘developed’ kingdom of the period; one has only to look at the way coinage was managed in the period to realise that 10th century Anglo-Saxon kings wielded far greater royal authority than their European counterparts. The end of the 10th century saw renewed Scandinavian interest in England and Canute the Great become king of the land (1017), one part of a mighty empire stretching across the North Sea. It was probably in this period that the Viking influence on English culture became engrained. It was during Canutes’s reign that Godwin – was one of the most powerful lords in England – became the earl of Wessex. Godwin later supported the claim of Edward the Confessor (Edward II) to the throne to whom he was a father-in-law and also the murderer of his brother. Edward at a very young age lived in Normandy populated by Normans – children and grandchildren of the Vikings who captured than settled in northern France. They soon began to speak French and were Christianized, but maintained to practice their fighting skills. Edward in Normandy developed an intense personal piety in his quarter-century of Norman exile, as a ruler he was more interested in the church than in kingship. He encouraged church building and by the time he died there was a church in almost every village of his land. It was he who started building the church at Westminster, it would be a Norman, not a Saxon building. Edward brought many Normans to his English court from France, but in the eyes of the Saxon landlords they were aliens. Edward had no heir and would have preferred a Norman Ruler, William of Normandy on the English throne, but the English landlords wanted a Saxon. Upon Edward’s death, Harold Godwinson was proclaimed king, even though several people had a claim to the English throne. Apart from Harold, William of Normandy and Harald of Norway (aided by Harold Godwin’s estranged brother Tostig). The decision was in the hands of the Witenamegot that under Anglo-Saxon law, held the ultimate authority to convey kingship. The Witan in 1066 approved of Harold to become the king of England and he was the first one to have a coronation in Westminster Abbey. King Harold however reigned for less than 10 months and during this time had to face strong opposition by both William of Normandy and Harald of Norway. William of Normandy though that he should have received the kingdom, and with the help of the Roman Church managed to turn the cause of England into an internationally authorized crusade. In other words he managed to re-dimension his hunger for the English throne and turned his campaign into a kind of “holy war”. Some sources argue that he was a great manipulator and early propagandist. The Bayeux Tapestry, portraying details of the conquest was an “incomparable work of Norman propaganda” (Schama 78). First he encountered Harald Hardrada, king of Norway in a surprise attack at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, having led his army north on a forced march from London in four days. In less then a fortnight he was back in the South and preparing to intercept William, who had landed around 7000 men in Sussex, the largest army since the time of Claudius. The two armies clashed at the Battle of Hastings, near the present town of Battle close by Hastings on October 14, where after a hard fight Harold – with his two brothers– was killed and his forces defeated. William became King William I on Christmas day 1066. Norman Britain Although the south of England submitted quickly to Norman rule, resistance continued, especially in the North. After six years William moved north in 1072, subduing rebellions by the Anglo-Saxons and installing Norman lords along the way. By 1086 only two of the greater landlords and two bishops were Saxons. However, particularly in Yorkshire, he made agreements with local Saxon Lords to keep control of their land in exchange for avoidance of battle and loss of any controlling share. The Anglo-Saxon world coming to an end was seen by many of the native countrymen as a trauma, a ruthlessly calculated, brutally executed act of aggression. According to the Saxon traditions of inheriting land and power the replacement of the ruling class by foreign speaking conquerors was by no means trivial. The loss of their land – the main source of income – was also a great loss for the Saxons. Of all the farmland of England William gave half to Norman nobles, a quarter to the Church and kept a fifth to himself. It is thus no surprise that once England had been conquered, the Normans faced many challenges in maintaining control. The Anglo-Saxon lords were accustomed to being independent from centralized government, contrary to the Normans who had a centralized system, which was resented by the Anglo-Saxons. Revolts had sprung up almost at once from the time of William’s coronation, led either by members of Harold’s family or disaffected English nobles. To deal with these, the new Norman lords constructed a variety of forts, castles such as the motte-and-bailey to provide a stronghold against a popular revolt (or increasingly rare Viking attacks) and to dominate the nearby town and countryside. The Tower of London was begun to be built by William. It was William who was the first king to organise his Kingdom according to the feudal system. The expression “feudalism” comes from the French, the word “feu“ referring to land held in return for duty or service to the lord. In the feudal system the king gave large estates to his main nobles in return for 40 days military service in case of a war. Nobles also had to give a portion of what they produced on their land. Greater nobles themselves gave their land to knights, freemen (for rent or military service) and serfs (who did most of the work and lived almost like slaves). According to the feudal principles every man had a lord and every lord had land. The king at the top of the hierarchy (top of a pyramidal country) was connected to even the lowest man in the country. At each level a man had to promise loyalty and service to his lord. When a noble died his male heir would get his estate. If he had no heir the land went back to the king, who would be expected to give it to another deserving noble. He would sometimes keep the land for himself for years and enjoy its wealth before giving it to a noble. This was necessary because the monarch had to make it sure that he had a good number of satisfied nobles, who would not want to rebel against him and would be willing to fight in wars for more land. Any remaining Anglo-Saxon lords who refused to acknowledge William’s accession to the throne or who revolted were stripped of titles and lands, which were then re-distributed to Norman favourites of William. If an Anglo-Saxon lord died without issue the Normans would always choose a successor from Normandy. In this way the Normans displaced the native aristocracy and took control of the top ranks of power. Keeping the Norman lords together and loyal as a group was just as important, as any friction could easily give the English speaking natives a chance to divide and conquer their minority Anglo-French speaking lords. A Norman lord typically had property spread out all over England and Normandy, and not in a single geographic block. Thus, if the lord tried to break away from the King, he could only defend a small number of his holdings at any one time. This proved an effective deterrent to rebellion and kept the Norman nobility loyal to the King. William facilitated contacts between the nobility of different regions and encouraged the nobility to organize and act as a class, rather than on an individual or regional base which was the normal way in other feudal countries. The existence of a strong centralized monarchy encouraged the nobility to form ties with the city dwellers, which was eventually manifested in the rise of English parliamentarianism. To understand the role of kingship and lordship in medieval England it is essential to realise that there was no idea of nationalism at that time. There may have been people speaking French in one part of the kingdom and English at the other. Land was more important than language. Even before the Normans arrived All of England had been divided into administrative units called shires of roughly uniform size and shape, and was run by an official known as “sheriff”. The shires tended to be somewhat autonomous and lacked coordinated control. Anglo-Saxons made heavy use of written documentation which was unusual for kings in Western Europe at the time and made for more efficient governance than word of mouth. The Anglo-Saxons also established permanent physical locations of government. One of this was a permanent treasury at Winchester, from which a permanent government bureaucracy and document archive had begun to grow. This sophisticated medieval form of government was handed over to the Normans and under the reign William I – a propagator of feudalism and the first ”data-base king” (Schama 100) grew even stronger. The Normans centralised the autonomous shire system. Because in the feudal system land was the main source of income William wanted to know exactly who owned which piece of land and how much it was worth. Relying on the information the financial experts at this court could find out how much was produced and how much he could ask in tax. He sent out people to survey the whole country and as a result put together his findings in the Doomsday Book which was one of its kind in Europe and served as the strengthening of centralised control. Despite the assistance William received from the pope he refused to accept the head of the Roman Catholic Church as a feudal lord. He created Norman bishops and gave them land on condition they would serve him. During the next century Rome would argue that the monarchs were answerable to God and that they should accept religious authority over both spiritual and earthly matters. After the death of William the Conqueror (1087) first his older, then his younger son would serve as kings, but their power was very insecure and could not come into terms with the remaining Saxon landlords who were opposed the Norman style of controlling the country. To pacify them Henry I issued the Charter of Liberties that bound the king to certain laws regarding the treatment of church officials and nobles. It is considered a landmark document in English history and a forerunner of the Magna Carta. After the death of Henry the question of succession divided the lords and led to a bloody civil war and saw the throne first go to Stephen of Blois and then to Henry’s daughter Matilda. With her death the rule of the House of Normandy ended. At the same time, the mid-12th century saw the coming of a calmer climate to the British Isles, harvest were abundant, the size of agricultural land grew considerably and technological innovations concerning crop growing and milling took place. Commercial connections were also multiplying The House of Plantagenets Angevins The House of Plantagenet also called the House of Anjou did not regard England their home until King John lost their French possessions. This long-lived dynasty is usually divided into three houses: the Angevins, the Lancastrians, and the Yorkists. This era of British history is characterised by monarchs who thought of the management of the kingdom as a family business. A good example of this was Henry II (crowned in 1154) who was the most powerful emperor at the time would make Ireland a part of his vast domain. He conquered it with the help of Norman lords and forced the Irish chiefs to accept his lordship. It was Henry II who made Dublin a capital and through his lords governed the east part of the country, the western parts remained in the hands of local chief. He did so with the authority of the pope, who hoped to bring the Irish Celtic Church under his own control. Canterbury clergy wished to assert their hierarchical supremacy over the newly created Irish diocesan structure, but with the help of loyal Norman dukes along with many Irish princes – who took oaths of homage to Henry – he extended his kingdom onto Ireland. In 1172, at the Synod of Cashel, Roman Catholicism was proclaimed as the only permitted religious practice in Ireland. He brought under control the reign of the barons who in previous decades had undermined the monarch’s grip on the realm. Henry had castles torn down which the barons had built without authorization during his predecessor’s reign, and he improved record keeping dramatically in order to streamline this taxation. Henry II established courts in various parts of England and first instituted the royal practice of granting magistrates the power to render legal decisions on a wide range of civil matters in the name of the Crown. His reign saw the production of the first written legal textbook, providing the basis of today’s “Common Law”. As a consequence of the improvements in the legal system, the power of church courts waned. The church naturally opposed this and found its most vehement spokesman in Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, formerly a close friend of Henry’s and his Chancellor. The conflict with Becket effectively began with a dispute over whether the secular courts could try clergy who had committed a secular offence. Henry attempted to subdue Becket and his fellow churchmen by making them swear to obey the “customs of the realm”, but controversy ensued over what constituted these customs, and the church proved reluctant to submit. The question, which of his sons would succeed Henry on the thrown lead to a lot of power struggle and amounted to treason and rebellion, finally it was Richard the Lionheart who became King of England having defeated his father in battle. Richard himself was more of a soldier than a statesman. First occupied Sicily, than captured Cyprus, which proved immensely valuable in keeping the Frankish kingdoms in the Holy Land viable for another century. Richard’s absence from the English political landscape meant that the highly efficient government created by his father was allowed to entrench itself. During the military adventures of Richard England went through a period of prosperity and the barons of the country gained a great degree of Sovereignty and power. Royal power was declining, not least to the activities of King John. His reign has been traditionally characterised as one of the most disastrous in English history: it began with defeats – he lost Normandy – and ended with England torn by civil war and himself on the verge of being forced out of power. During his reign John would make himself highly unpopular with the nobles, the merchants and also with the Church. He raised the amount of money one had to pay for inheriting family land and if a nobles family died out he would kept the land for a longer time that it was customary. He also angered his nobility by losing Normandy, where a lot of English nobles possessed land and thought that their king failed to carry out his duty to them. His rebellious barons forced him to sign Magna Carta in 1215, the act for which he is best remembered. (His reputation is a reason many English monarchs have refrained from giving the name John to their expected heirs.) By 1215 the barons were so unsatisfied with the English military failures, John’s conflicts with the church and the extra taxes (a kind of income tax) introduced that they banned together and as a sign of their rebellion travelled to London and forced King John to agree to the “Articles of the Barons”, to which his Great Seal was attached. This was the original Magna Carta, and amongst others it contained Clause 61, stating that an established committee of 25 barons could at any time meet and over-rule the will of the King, through force by seizing his castles and possessions if needed. This was based on a medieval legal practice known as distraint (záloglás), which was commonly done, but it was the first time it had been applied to a monarch. As soon as the barons left London the king renounced the document plunging England into a civil war. It ended after John’s death, when Henry III (still a child) was crowned in 1216 and the barons had the upper hand again. In the next 60 years the Magna Carta was reissued many times, although in shortened version and with some articles omitted. There were other signs indicating that feudalism – the use of land in return for services – was changing. The nobles would not serve their king after their compulsory forty days’ fighting service was over, so the king had to pay soldiers. There are a number of popular misconceptions about Magna Carta, such as that it was the first document to limit the power of an English king by law (it was not the first, and was partly based on the Charter of Liberties); that it in practice limited the power of the king (it mostly did not in the Middle Ages); and that it is a single static document (it is a variety of documents referred to under a common name). The set of documents may not have brought freedom to all, but it surely ended despotism. It looked upon law as a power independent of will of the king. Everybody – including the monarch – could be brought be brought before it, and reasons had to be enlisted before anyone got prosecuted Another misconception needs to be done away with: Magna Carta had little effect on subsequent development of parliament until the Tudor period. Knights and county representatives attended the Great Council (Simon de Montfort’s Parliament). The Council only existed to give input on the opinion of the kingdom as a whole, originally only met three times a year, and so was subservient to the king’s council, the Curiae Regis, which, unlike the Great Council, followed the king wherever he went. Still, in some senses the council was an early form of parliament. It had the power to meet outside the authority of the king, and was not appointed by him. While executive government descends from the Curiae Regis, parliament descends from the Great Council which was later called the parliamentum. Still, the Great Council was very different from modern parliament. There were no knights, let alone commons, and it was composed of the most powerful men, rather than elected. The Commons separated from the Lords in 1341. The right of the Commons to exclusively sanction taxes (based on a withdrawn provision of Magna Carta) was re-asserted in 1407, although it was not in force in this period. The power vested in the Great Council by (albeit withdrawn) Clause 14 of Magna Carta became vested in the House of Commons but Magna Carta was all but forgotten for about a century, until the Tudors. Henry III was the first English king to be crowned in Westminster Abbey that was rebuilt in Anglo-French Gothic style as a shrine to honour Edward the Confessor. His reign of Henry saw the upheaval if not of not nationalism, then nativism – “a politics of birthplace, of land of language” (Schama 145). Much of the second half of his reign could be characterised by his confrontation with Simon de Monfort, a French born English aristocrat who organized a very efficient opposition to monarchical powers. A dogmatic person, de Monfort believed that instead of a just rule, the English monarchy is tending towards tyranny, so after a long process of gaining public attention among the barons proposed radical changes in the structure of the English government. In Montfort’s system, the right to vote in Parliamentary elections for county constituencies was uniform throughout the country, granting a vote to all those who owned the freehold of land to an annual rent of 40 shillings. In the boroughs (törvényhatóság), the franchise varied and individual boroughs had varying arrangements. The archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls and barons were summoned, as were two knights from each shire and two burgesses from each borough. Knights had been summoned to previous councils, but the representation of the boroughs was unprecedented. This council would decide upon common business of the realm, the choice of ministers and councillors and also proposing and disposing of funds to make war or peace. The royal delegation within this committee was reduced to three. It is uncertain whether this concept of Sovereign rule was only a plan or it actually turned a reality during de Monfort’s life. Although Monfort was powerful, he and his revolutionary ideas were not popular among many landlords, who helped Henry to defeat and kill the Frenchman. The reign of Edward I (1272–1307) was rather more successful, he basically took the field of expansion on Britain. He wanted unconditional submission to being treated as the feudal overlord of the rulers of Wales and Scotland. This would have also meant obligation for these rulers to provide Edward with troops and money when he needed it. Unlike his father he took great interest in the workings of his government and undertook a number of reforms to regain royal control in government and administration. It was during Edward’s reign that Parliament began to meet regularly. And though still extremely limited to matters of taxation, it enabled Edward I to obtain a number of taxation grants which had been impossible before. He also conquered Wales by defeating Llewellyn ap Gruffydd in 1282, was the last native to hold the title, Prince of Wales. Since then this titles is given to all the heir-apparent princes of the royal family. After the conquest of Wales a huge castle- building wave took place (e.g. Conwy) and he also brought the English county system to the newly conquered land. Edward’s attention towards Scotland was fairly incidental, it followed the death of Alexander III of Scotland and the ensuing succession crisis. First it was intended to be the marriage of two realms with Scotland keeping its independent identity, laws and customs. He however had to keep in mind that Scotland was much stronger then Wales and that the foundations of feudalism were also strong. The feudal system, however, did not develop in the Highland where the tribal “clan system“ continued to flourish. While John Balliol (John of Scotland) became the new Scottish king, Edward I, who had gained recognition as Lord Paramount of Scotland, the feudal superior of the realm, steadily undermined the authority of John. Edward treated Scotland as a feudal vassal state, and repeatedly humiliated his appointee. Without direct rule Edward wanted to use feudal levies collected in Scotland to finance his war expeditions against France. When John resisted and travelled to France to form an alliance with the French against the English, Edward acted swiftly defeating the Scottish army – which had no serious war-experience for two generations – and establishing a colonial form of administration. Later due to the strong armed resistance of William Wallace and later Robert the Bruce though this developed into a costly and drawn- out military campaign. Edward might have persuaded some Scottish nobles to accept him, but the people altogether refused the rule of the English and began to develop a national identity. The son of Edward, Edward II, suffered a massive defeat at Bannockburn; but the campaign continued until the early years of Edward III, and was only finally abandoned after the conclusion of the Treaty of Northampton in 1328. It was also Edward I, who formally expelled all Jews from England. In the course of his persecution, he arrested all the heads of Jewish households, some 300 individuals were executed with all their possessions were confiscated. The reasons for such an anti-semitic act are disputed. It may have been the result of a ritual murdering of a Christian boy. It is also possible that the prosecutions took place solely for financial gain since the Jews (who dealt exclusively in money lending) were loaners of the monarchy. Oxford gained influence in the mid-13th century, and maintained houses for students. At about the same time, private benefactors established colleges to serve as self-contained scholarly communities. Soon after Cambridge followed. Edward III (aka. The Black Prince possibly coined by French chroniclers in reference to the ruinous military defeats he had inflicted on France or his cruelty in these), still under regency signed the Treaty of Northampton which he later rejected and committed very large armies to Scottish operations, and after much of the land lost previously has been recovered Edward had moved from a policy of conquest to one of suppression. Edward II and The Black Prince became symbols of the “code of chivalry”, the way in which a perfect knight should behave. Interest in the legendary King Arthur and his court grew. Chivalry was a useful way of persuading men to fight by creating the idea that war was a noble and glorious thing, whereas the reality of war was just the opposite: cruelty, death and destruction. Edward’s military problems, however, were on two fronts; the challenge from the French monarchy was of no less concern. The French represented a problem in three areas: first, they provided constant support to the Scottish through the Franco-Scottish alliance. Second, the French attacked several English coastal towns, leading to rumours in England of a full-scale invasion. Finally, the English king’s possessions in France were under threat, but not only that. The French king started to interfere with England’s trade, the export of corn and wool to and through Gascony and Flanders that made a lot of money to the English trade. Instead of seeking a peaceful solution to the conflict by paying homage to the French king, Edward laid claim to the French crown and after he was rejected the Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453) broke out. The financial demands of the Hundred Years’ War were enormous, and although the merchant classes – fearing their trade and wealth would decline – financed the war efforts, and the king and his ministers tried different methods of covering the expenses. The monarchy needed to resort to taxation of his subjects, but to do this he had to rely on the parliament – and in particular the Commons – which consequently gained political influence. A consensus emerged that in order for a tax to be just, the king had to prove its necessity, it had to be granted by the community of the realm, and it had to be to the benefit of that community. In addition to imposing taxes, parliament would also present petitions for redress of grievances to the king, most often concerning misgovernment by royal officials. Through this process the commons, and the community they represented, became increasingly politically aware, and the foundation was laid for the particular English brand of constitutional monarchy. In general we can say that the taxes imposed on the gentry and the merchants weakened the economic strength of town and countryside, but increased their political strength. The English army of the time was experienced, was lightly armed, and thus quick in manoeuvres and their most important weapon was the Welsh longbow. This enabled them a quick rate of fire. The value of longbow was proved in two victories, at Crécy in 1346 and at Poitiers in 1356 where the French king himself was taken prisoner. Later his freedom was bough and the treaty of Brétigny (1360) was signed. Edward II gave up his claim to the French throne but established control over areas previously held by the English (Aquitaine, including Gascony, parts of Normandy and the port town of Calais). Not only had the peace treaty halted the fighting bit a global epidemic later called the Great Plague/Black Death. In 1348, the Black Death struck Europe with full force, killing almost half of England’s population in less than 18 months. Whole villages died out or were abandoned, but the worst-hit areas were the bigger town, with little hygiene that could have stopped the spread of the epidemic. People were buried in mass graves. This loss of manpower, and subsequently of revenues, meant a halt to major campaigning. The great landowners struggled with the shortage of manpower and the resulting in the rise of labour cost. The king and Parliament tried – from time to time – control wage increase, but failed. The poor found that they could demand more money for work and did so. Rural England began to see a major transformation. Following the labour market hundreds of thousands migrated to find better economic and social prospects, this meant the end of serfhood for good. The great number of folks living in the countryside no longer did what they were told by their superiors, they started thinking for themselves, questioned the structure of social power, the ever present contract between submission (by the surfs) and protection (by the lords). Serf farmers who rented the manorial lands slowly became a new class, known as the “yeomen”. The plague did not, however, lead to a full-scale breakdown of government and society, and recovery was remarkably swift. Nevertheless agricultural land production shrank, but those who survived the plague enjoyed a greater share of the agricultural economy. Peasants also had an easier and more comfortable life. Other economic changes also took place during the 14th century, the replacement of wool export by finished cloth export. Merchants decided they can buy wool in England for half the price it was called in Flanders and started to produce finished cloth that was later sold elsewhere in Europe. Exporting a finished product instead of a raw material meant a clear benefit for England and the court. The West Country, Wales and Yorkshire all did well from clothmaking. Kings of the second half of the 14th century – namely Richard II and Henry IV – spent much of their reign defending himself against plots, rebellions and assassination attempts. This was a time of great unrest as both the aristocratic and the lower classes were concerned. The autocratic and arrogant methods of Richard II only served to alienate the nobility. The English Peasant Revolt of 1381 is another sign of the state of general atmosphere. When Richard II was crowned in 1376, the country was still in a state of shock from the third wave of the Black Death that rampage the island the previous year. The young king was greeted with much expectation to bring order and peace. To achieve this he first had to encounter the up and coming rural community, taking shape in a Peasant’s Revolt. The most direct cause of the revolt was the poll tax levied (3 occasions) to finance the Hundred Years’ War. The levy in 1381 was particularly unpopular, as each person aged over 15 was required to pay the amount of one shilling, which was a large amount then. The revolt was headed by John Ball, Watt Tyler and Jack Straw, who during their march to and London they ordered the burning of estates belonging to tax collectors, officials, sheriffs prominent members of the royal council and symbols of wealth and the aristocratic way of life. Tyler claimed that God had created all people equal, called for an end of feudalism and respect for honest labour. The revolt lasted less than 2 months with the reassertion of royal authority and the restoration pf peace with as little bloodshed as possible. Despite its name, participation in the Peasants’ Revolt was not confined to serfs or even to the lower classes. As the effects of the Black Death on the labour market wore off the landlords tried to force the peasants back into serfdom, because serf labour was cheaper than paid labour. Although the most significant events took place in the capital, there were violent encounters throughout eastern England – but those involved hurried to dissociate themselves in the months that followed. The revolt was never directly against the monarchy or the king, it was a responsible popular movement with loyalty and possessing political maturity. Tyler’s Rebellion is significant because it marked the beginning of the end of serfdom in medieval England. Tyler’s Rebellion led to calls for the reform of feudalism in England and an increase in rights for the serf class. As far as the Hundred Years’ War is concerned, after the treaty of Brétigny the fighting soon began again and the French forces during the next fifteen years took back all the land except the coastal port of Calais, Cherbourg, Brest, Bordeaux and Bayonne. This, but more relevantly the peasant’s revolt led to the strengthening of the nobility and the most powerful magnates of the realm. Richard – who in the meantime grew to be “an early Renaissance prince in the European mode” (Schama 220), a patron of the arts, feasts of arms and hunts who made Geoffrey Chaucer a diplomat and Clerk of The King’s Works for Richard II – paid insufficient attention to the power-hunger ancient aristocracy: their conflict was inevitable. The king did not look upon them as wise councillors, instead tried, with little success, to choose his own. It took some time to encounter them – namely Arundel, Warwick and Glouchester – face to face. He even took to robbing the magnate family of the Bolingbroke of its possessions and inheritance. This caused an outrage among other aristocratic families and due to Richard’s military inexperience was forced off the throne in 1399 and killed by starvation the following year. The growing discontent did not only focus on the court and the feudal system, but the Church too which was a feudal power and handled peasants and townspeople with cruelty. The tax paid to the pope – who was a foreigner and in the 14th century lived in Avignon and probably assisted the French side in their war with England – was also unpopular. The clergy was at the time appointed by the king and often acted as his administration. Another threat to the Church was the spread of religious writings relying on which private prayers could be held. This allowed people to pray and think without the control of the Church so it quickly declared people doing so heretics. This heresy would be named “Lollardy” and one of its main figures was an Oxford professor, John Wycliffe, who translated the Bible from Latin, however was not allowed to publish it. The Lollards were supported by a small fragment of literate nobles and merchants. Lancastrians The next king of England would be Henry IV of Bolingbroke (A.K.A. Henry of Lancaster) was Henry, who was tolerated as king since Richard II’s government had been highly unpopular. Nevertheless, within a few years of taking the throne, Henry found himself facing several rebellions in Wales, Cheshire and Northumberland. A century after Edward I annexed Wales the Welsh were ready to rebel against their feudal lords, the English. The border rebellion headed by Owain Glyndwr developed into a national revolt and in 1400 he was proclaimed by his supporters Prince of Wales. Since his army was not strong enough to defeat the English troops sent to put down the revolt, he took to guerrilla warfare. Although soon the Welsh understood that no matter how hard they fought they would never be able to free themselves from the English a feeling of national identity was strengthened. Otherwise Henry IV spent much of his reign defending himself against plots, rebellions and assassination attempts and had serious illnesses in the last years of his life. His son and successor, Henry V, as remembered among other by Shakespeare was first and foremost a warlord. Henry tackled all of the domestic policies together, and gradually built on them a wider policy. From the first, he made it clear that he would rule England as the head of a united nation, and that past differences were to be forgotten. His campaigns against France (1415, 1417, 1421) were likewise ambitious. In 1415 on the plains near the village of Agincourt, he turned to give battle to a pursuing French army. Despite his men- at-arms being exhausted and outnumbered, Henry led his men into battle, miraculously defeating the French. In 1417 after six months’ negotiation Henry was by the Treaty of Troyes recognised as heir and regent of France. The 1521 campaign would be his last as he died the following year from dysentery. As a result of his successes in the Hundred Years’ War, Henry V had left England in possession of considerable territories in France, but the momentum was lost on his death. Henry VI proved to be a deeply spiritual man, lacking the worldly wisdom necessary to allow him to rule effectively. Right from the time he assumed control as king in 1437, he allowed his court to be dominated by a few noble favourites; the faction in favour of ending the war in France quickly came to dominate, while the voices of Richard, Duke of York and Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, the leaders of the pro-war faction, were ignored. The government’s increasing unpopularity was due to a breakdown in law and order, corruption, the distribution of royal land to the king’s court favourites, the troubled state of the crown’s finances, and the steady loss of territories in France. By 1450, the French had retaken the whole province so hard won by Henry V. Returning troops, who had often not been paid, added to the sense of lawlessness in the southern counties of England, and Jack Cade led a peasant rebellion in Kent in 1450. On hearing the news of the English defeat in August 1453 (the result of which was that England lost all of its possessions except the port of Calais), Henry slipped into a mental breakdown and became completely unaware of everything that was going on around him. Henry’s character as king is best summed up as pious, indecisive and easily-led, and of course later in life, he became severely mentally unstable. He was kind and generous to those he cared about (which did not help the dire financial situation of his government) giving away land and titles to his advisors. Henry seems to have been a decent man, but completely unsuited to kingship in a violent society. He allowed himself to be totally dominated by the power-hungry factions which surrounded him at court and was later powerless to stop the outbreak of bloody civil war. At the time some sixty noble families would control Britain, many of which had a private army of their own. After Henry’s mental breakdowns became permanent the nobility were divided between those who remained loyal to Henry VI (the “Lancastrians”) and who supported the duke of York (the “Yorkists”). As a result of this situation the War of Roses (1455-1487) broke out. The Wars were fought largely by the landed aristocracy and armies of feudal retainers: between adherents of the House of Lancaster and the House of York. Both houses were branches of the Plantagenet royal house, tracing their descent from King Edward III. Support for each house largely depended upon dynastic marriages with the nobility, feudal titles, and tenures (hűbéri szolgálat). It is sometimes difficult to follow the shifts of power and allegiance. Yorkists The Yorkistst took power in 1471 and in a short period of time had three kings: Edward IV, Edward V and Richard III. Since ruling during the War of the Roses, they all saw periods of restoration and breakdown of law and order during their reign. Edward took up the struggle and won the throne in 1461 and put Henry into the Tower of London, but nine years later a new Lancastrian army rescued Henry and chased Edward out of the country. He would soon returned with a strengthened army of his own in 1471 defeated the Lancastrians again, just as he sent Henry back to the Tower only this time he gave orders to be killed. When Edward died in 1483 he had no heirs old enough to rule so Richard of Gloucester proclaimed himself king, Richard III and according to Shakespeare ordered his nephews to be killed. He was not popular among the nobility, this is the reason why the duke of Richmond (later crowned as Henry VII) landed in the south of England the lords were quick to desert and offer him service. In the battle of Bosworth Richard was defeated and this event marked the end of the house of Plantagenets and the rise of the house of the Tudors. The Wars of the Roses resulted in massive political upheaval and huge changes to the established balance of power. The most obvious effect was the collapse of the Plantagenet dynasty and its replacement with the new Tudor rulers who were to change England dramatically over the following years. With their heavy casualties among the nobility coupled with the effects of the Black Death, the wars are thought to have ushered in a period of great social upheaval in feudal England, including a weakening of the feudal power of the nobles and a corresponding strengthening of the merchant classes, and the growth of a strong, centralized monarchy under the Tudors. The war almost destroyed the English idea of kinship forever, there has been less and less respect for anything except the power to take the Crown. Another effect of the war was that almost half of the lords of the biggest noble families lay dead and the nobility as a class lost some of its strength. The war was disastrous for England’s already declining influence in France and by the end of the struggle few of the gains made over the course of the Hundred Years’ War remained, apart from Calais. Although later English rulers would continue to campaign on the continent, England’s territories were never reclaimed. Indeed, various duchies and kingdoms in Europe played a pivotal role in the outcome of the war; in particular the kings of France and the dukes of Burgundy played the two factions off each other, pledging military and financial aid and offering asylum to defeated nobles to prevent a strong and unified England making war on them. The post-war period was also the death knell for the large standing baronial armies, which had helped fuel the conflict. As a result the military power of individual barons declined, and the Tudor court became a place where baronial squabbles were decided with the influence of the monarch. As far as Scotland is concerned, the “Auld Alliance” (Scottish-French pact against the English) had a lot of disadvantages, and resulted in continuous invasions of the lowlands where most of the wealth of the country came. The Scottish kings also had to struggle a lot with their nobles. Due to the early deaths of three kings in a row, practical government was taken over by powerful nobles who kept private armies just like the English. In the Highland the clan system still dominated, however it no longer meant a family unit, but groups of people occupying an area of land following a particular chief. Not all the members of a clan were related by kinship, some groups joined for protection or because they did not want to leave the area. Clan Donald became the most powerful in the land. Scotland as a whole carried on building the national unity rooted in the legacy of William Wallace. Their parliament would meet once a year giving advice to the king, towns grew in importance and with the help of Flemish settlers’ wool, leather and fish exports grew. Education also grew in importance, three universities were founded in the second half of the Middle Ages (St Andres – 1412, Glasgow –1451 and Aberdeen – 1495). Tudors Henry VII would be the first Tudor monarch of England. The first of Henry’s concerns on attaining the throne was the question of establishing the strength and supremacy of his rule. His own claim to the throne being weak as it was, he was fortunate in that there were few other claimants to the throne left alive after the long civil war. He managed to secure his crown principally by dividing and undermining the power of the nobility, especially through the aggressive use of bonds and recognisances (kötelezvény) to secure loyalty, as well as by a legislative assault on the practice of maintaining private armies. Henry VII’s policy was both to maintain peace and to create economic prosperity. Up to a point, he succeeded in both. He was not a military man, and had no interest in trying to regain the French territories lost during the reigns of his predecessors. Henry VII built the foundations of a wealthy nation state and a powerful monarchy, he based royal on good business sense. He firmly believed that whereas fighting and glory were threats to business, business was good for the state. During the War of the Roses England’s trading positions had been badly damaged. The German Hanseatic League strengthened and took over important markets. Henry VII made important agreements with the Netherlands. He also made good money from the confiscating of large areas of land that were previously owned by landlord victims of the wars. He dealt with the rioting landlords in his court and justice slowly began to return and operate in the countryside. Henry’s aim was to make the court financially independent, he never spent money unless he had to. Although he raised taxes for waging wars, he did not start any. He maintained a good relation with the merchant and lesser gentry classes, and created a new nobility from among them. The only thing on which he was happy to spend money freely was the building of ships for a merchant fleet. In 1502, fate dealt Henry VII a blow from which he never fully recovered: His heir, the recently-married Arthur, died in an epidemic. Not wishing the negotiations that had led to the marriage of his elder son to Catherine of Aragon to go to waste, he arranged a Papal allowance for his younger son, later to be crowned Henry VIII to marry his brother’s widow – normally a degree of relationship that precluded marriage in the Roman Catholic Church. During his early reign Henry VIII led victorious campaigns in Normandy and beat of the Scottish army attacking northern territories led by James IV. Yet he realized that France and Spain was more powerful than England and wanted to hold the balance of power between these two giants. In 1525, King Henry’s increasing impatience with what he perceived to be Catherine’s inability to produce the desired heir was given a new spur when he became attracted to a charismatic young courtier in the Queen’s entourage, Anne Boleyn. Since neither of his cardinals – Wolsey and Thomas More – could or wanted to annul his marriage to Catherine he took things in his own hands and promoted other men of a different temper. Foremost among these were two gifted young clerics, Thomas Cromwell (to become chief adviser to the king) and Thomas Cranmer (the future Archbishop of Canterbury). Both of these men with Anne Boleyn and family were Protestant sympathizers. Protestantism marks a revisionist phase in the history of Christianity, an attack on the Christianity of spectacle and corruption, a propagator of religious wisdom based not on the words of a clergy controlled by Rome, but the words of the Bible itself. Lutheranism wanted both a depoliticised church, one that would not view its main purpose as sellers of salvation, rather pass down self-shepherdness. In England anti-clericalism revealed itself in numerous ways, like the translation and illegal rounding of the English translation of the Bible by William Tindale. It was in such circumstances that Cromwell made more daring proposal that Henry consider abolishing papal supremacy and declare himself head of the Church in England. He also he secretly married Boleyn in January 1533, and shortly thereafter, had his allies in Parliament pass a statute forbidding further appeals to Rome. Archbishop Cranmer quickly moved to declare Henry’s marriage to Catherine invalid and his new one to Anne Boleyn valid. Boleyn was crowned Queen of England on June 1. The Statute in Restraint of Appeals prohibited appeals from English ecclesiastical courts to the Pope. It also prevented the Church from making any regulations without the King’s consent. The Ecclesiastical Appointments Act 1534 required the clergy to elect bishops nominated by the Sovereign. The Act of Supremacy 1534 declared that the King was “the only Supreme Head in Earth of the Church of England”; the Treasons Act 1534 made it high treason punishable by death to refuse to acknowledge the King as such. The Pope was also denied sources of revenue such as Peter’s Pence. Part of this manoeuvre was the recognition that the Church was a huge landowner, the wealth of which could not completely control and keep in his kingdom. Henry was not the only king in Europe to “centralise” state authority. As far as financial matters were concerned Thomas Cromwell was authorized to visit monasteries, ostensibly to ensure that they followed royal instructions, but in reality to assess their wealth. In 1536, an Act of Parliament allowed Henry to seize the possessions of the lesser monasteries (those with annual incomes of £200 or less). They also closed 560 monasteries and other religious houses. The dissolution of monasteries was probably the greatest act of official destruction in the history of Britain. These steps were popular with the rising classes of landowners and merchants. He therefore gave or sold much of the monasteries’ lands to them. As these details reveal Cranmer and Cromwell made good use if the Renaissance idea of a strong prince in a strong Christian state: a form of tyranny, even state terror. These suppressions in turn contributed to further resistance among the English people, most notably in the Pilgrimage of Grace, a large uprising in northern England in October of the same year. Henry VIII promised the rebels he would pardon them and thanked them for raising the issues to his attention. Since the government was not yet ready to crush the rebellion agreed to look into the possibilities of a Catholic restoration. This tactic, which may remind us to the ones used to crush the revolt of 1381 helped to pacify the protesters who feeling that they have reached their goal returned to their homes. After the prosecution and execution of their leader, Robert Aske the rebels realized that the King was not keeping his promises and rebelled again later that year, but their strength was not as great and was crushed. As a result of the uprising pilgrimages marches and other religious festivals were banned. Though she was instrumental in helping to bring about these radical religious changes, the King’s relationship with his Queen quickly soured. After the Princess Elizabeth’s birth, Queen Anne had at least two pregnancies that ended in either miscarriage or stillbirth. After the death of Catherine of Aragon, Henry wanted to make up with Charles V (the Holy Roman Emperor and Catholic) that could be achieved by the relegitimation of his former wife to which his present one would not agree. Consequently Anne had to be dealt away with Henry had Anne arrested on charges of using witchcraft to trap him into marrying her, of having adulterous relationships with five other men, of incest with her brother, of injuring the King and of conspiring to kill him, which amounted to treason. The charges were most likely fabricated, nevertheless she was trialled and executed in 1536. In the final period of his life Henry would prove to be more of a conservative, orthodox Catholic and would agree less and less with Crammer’s openly Protestant dogmatic. Her last wife Catherine Parr helped reconcile Henry with his first two daughters, the Lady Mary and the Lady Elizabeth. In 1544, an Act of Parliament put them back in the line of succession After his death in 1547 Henry’s only surviving legitimate son, Edward (from Jane Seymour), inherited the Crown, becoming Edward VI. No account of the legacy of Henry VIII can overlook its dominating fact — the launching of the English Reformation. Though mainly motivated by dynastic and personal concerns, and despite never really abandoning the fundamentals of the Catholic faith, Henry ensured that the greatest act of his reign would be one of the most radical and decisive of any English monarch. His break with Rome in 1533-4 was an act with enormous consequences for the course of modern English history well beyond the end of the Tudor dynasty: not only in making possible the subsequent transformation of England into a vibrant (albeit very distinctive) Protestant society but also in the shift of economic and political power from the Church to the gentry, chiefly through the seizure and transfer of monastic lands and assets — a short-term strategy with long term social consequences. The power of the state was magnified, yet so too (at least after Henry’s death) were demands for increased political participation by the middle class. Henry worked with some success to once again make England a major player on the European scene but depleted his treasury in the course of doing so, a legacy that would remain an issue for English monarchs through the very end of the Tudor dynasty. Although Henry VIII had broken the link between the English church and Rome, it was during the reign of Edward VI that Protestantism was established for the first time in England. Cranmer was the driving force behind Edward’s reform spirit, a true and comprehensive reformation. As part of this Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer was published solely in English in 1549 to replace the four old liturgical books in Latin. The political aim of the work was to unite moderate religious factions into a single Protestant fold by obscuring the role of the Mass and downplaying the status of saints. Its use was enforced by an Act of Uniformity 1549 but it served only to antagonise both Protestants and Catholics. A cornerstone of the conflict was the new custom according to which priests could marry and people could divorce. Reformation also included the banning of all Catholic customs and ceremonies, the purification of church interiors, the limewashing of walls, and the publishing and distribution of English-language bibles. Although in some part of the country common tongue was not English (e.g. Cornwall they spoke Cornish). Reformation resulted in a divided country both geographically (Reformation was strongest in the southeast), and as far as generations were concerned (younger age-groups favoured an anti-Catholic Anglican Church). Problems in the countryside added to the conflict. Although the wool industry boomed during this period – the ongoing fencing in or enclosure of the landscape to raise sheep for individual proprietors – the displacement of common land caused great social unrest known as the enclosure riots. Henry’s early death and the unsuccessful attempts to leave the crown in hands (Lady Jane Grey’s) that would ensure the success of Reformation brought about the rule of Mary I (daughter of Catherine of Aragon and often referred to as Bloody Mary) and the restoration of the pre-Reformation England. The entire religious legislation of Edwards reign was repealed, England returned to Rome and the pre-1526 state of the Church, however tens of thousands of acres of monastery lands confiscated under Henry were not to be returned to the monasteries as the new landowners created by this distribution were very influential Cranmer with many evangelical priests were executed. Although enjoying a great deal of popularity in her early reign she lost all when she decided to marry the Spanish prince Phillip with the hope to produce an heir that would prevent the Protestant Elizabeth (still her successor under the terms of Henry VIII’s will) from succeeding to the throne. The Parliament even petitioned her to consider marrying an Englishman, fearing that England would be relegated to a dependency of Spain. She died childless and was followed by Henry VIIIth third heir, Mary’s half-sister, Elizabeth. Elizabeth I is sometimes referred to as The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, and was immortalised by Edmund Spenser as the Faerie Queen. Elizabeth I was the fifth and final monarch of the Tudor dynasty and reigned for about 45 years, during a period marked by increases in English power and influence worldwide, as well as great religious turmoil within the country. Elizabeth’s reign is referred to as the Elizabethan era or the Golden Age of Elizabeth. Playwrights William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, and Ben Jonson all flourished during this era; Francis Drake became the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe; Francis Bacon laid out his philosophical and political views; and English colonisation of North America took place under Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Humphrey Gilbert. One of the most important concerns during Elizabeth’s early reign was religion. She relied primarily on Sir William Cecil for advice on the matter. The Act of Uniformity 1559, to which she gave assent shortly after ascending the throne, required the use of the Protestant Book of Common Prayer in church services. Many bishops were unwilling to conform to the Elizabethan religious policy. These bishops were removed from the ecclesiastical bench and replaced by appointees who would agree with the Queen’s decision. Soon after her accession, many questioned whom Elizabeth would marry. The most likely cause, however, was probably Elizabeth’s reluctance to share the power of the Crown with another for fear that a marriage with a foreigner would provoke the same hostility as that of her sister Mary’s disastrous marriage to Philip II. She also did not want to risk making England a foreign vassal and possibly involving it in the unprofitable and unpopular wars that Mary’s marriage had done (including the loss of Calais, a great psychological and emotional trauma to the English), and marriage to a high-born Englishman would involve England in factional dispute at court. As a married queen, some would have expected her to give over her power to her husband, and take no part in matters of state. The Queen found a dangerous rival in her Catholic cousin Mary, Queen of Scots, who was the wife of the French King Francis II. In 1559, Mary had declared herself Queen of England with French support. Mary, Queen of Scots, had to suffer her own troubles in Scotland. As a result of her marriage to a Catholic nobleman, who was later murdered, the Scottish nobles imprisoned Mary and forcing her to abdicate in favour of her infant son, who consequently became James VI of Scotland. Mary later escaped from her prison and fled to England, where she was captured by English forces. Elizabeth was faced with a conundrum: sending her back to the Scottish nobles was deemed too cruel; sending her to France would put a powerful pawn in the hands of the French king; forcibly restoring her to the Scottish throne may have been seen as an heroic gesture, but would cause too much conflict with the Scots; and imprisoning her in England would allow her to participate in plots against the Queen. Elizabeth chose the last option and Mary was kept confined for eighteen years. In 1569, Elizabeth faced a major uprising, known as the Northern Rebellion as a result of which she chose not to continue her policy of religious tolerance. She instead began the persecution of her religious enemies, giving impetus to various conspiracies to remove her from the throne. To fight conspiracies, Parliament had passed the Act of Association 1584, under which anyone associated with a plot to murder the Sovereign would be excluded from the line of succession. One of these plots was allegedly linked to Mary who – as a result – was beheaded in 1586. In 1572, Elizabeth made an alliance with France against Catholic Spain and Philip II, who intended to invade England, but the navy led by Francis Drake prevented such event. English privateers continued to attack Spanish treasure ships from the Americas. The most famous privateers included Sir John Hawkins and Sir Martin Frobisher. In 1598 France and Spain finally made peace and the Anglo-Spanish War reached a stalemate after Philip II died later in the year. At the same time as England was fighting Spain, it also faced a rebellion in Ireland, known as the Nine Years War. Without any alternative heirs pressing their claims to the throne, James VI of Scotland was proclaimed King of England as James I a few hours after Elizabeth’s death on March 24, 1603. Elizabeth was a successful monarch, helping steady the nation even after inheriting an enormous national debt from her sister Mary. Under her, England managed to avoid a crippling Spanish invasion. Elizabeth was also able to prevent the outbreak of a religious or civil war on English soil. Elizabeth’s government did much to consolidate the work begun under Thomas Cromwell in the reign of Henry VIII, that is, expanding the role of the government and in effecting common law and administration throughout England. Stuarts •Before crowned as King of England, James I had been King of Scotland for 36 year, a considerable part of which still a child and ruled under regency. He then became Sovereign of England, Scotland and Ireland for 22 years, until his death at the age of 58. In Scotland James had managed to establish effective royal government and relative peace among the lords. James was pro-absolute monarchy and he wrote lengthily about the divine rights of the monarch, the theory of monarchical rule, which he compared to the ways feudal lords rule their land. He also made it clear in these texts that he viewed parliament as a kind of “head court” which foreshadows his difficulties with the English Commons. As King of England James had to handle a couple of conspiracies at the beginning of his reign, but later he established himself and many of his earlier advisors and aids as ruler of two realms. James was ambitious to build on the personal union of the crowns of Scotland and England to establish a permanent Union of the Crowns under one monarch, one parliament and one law, a plan which met opposition in both countries. In April 1604, however, the Commons refused on legal grounds his request to be titled “King of Great Britain”. In foreign policy, James achieved more success. Never having been at war with Spain, he devoted his efforts to bringing the long war with the Armada to an end, and in August 1604 he signed a peace treaty with the Spanish ruler. Freedom of worship for Catholics in England continued, however, to be a major objective of Spanish policy, causing constant dilemmas for James, distrusted abroad for repression of Catholics and at home for tolerance towards them. On 5 November 1605, a soldier called Guy Fawkes was discovered in the cellars of the parliament buildings guarding a pile of faggots, not far from about twenty barrels of gunpowder with which he intended to blow up Parliament House the following day. The sensational discovery of the Catholic Gunpowder Plot, as it quickly became known, aroused a mood of national relief at the delivery of the king and his sons which Salisbury exploited to extract higher subsidies from Parliament. As James’s reign progressed his government faced growing financial pressures, due partly to creeping inflation and the low taxation, but also to the financial incompetence of James’s court. He dissolved two parliaments which hesitated to long whether to grant him the money he required or not. In his later years he sold earldoms and other dignities as an alternative source of income. Another potential source of income was the prospect of a Spanish dowry from a marriage between Charles, Prince of Wales and the Spanish Infanta, Maria, which however was never realised. Peace with Spain was a way for James to maintain peace with Spain and avoid the additional costs of a war. Supported Catholic- leaning ministers and diplomats – together known as the Spanish Party – the policy was deeply distrusted in Protestant England. The outbreak of the Thirty Years War, however, jeopardized James’s peace policy. Matters came to a head when James finally called a parliament in 1621 to fund a military expedition in support of his son-in-law. The Commons on the one hand granted subsidies inadequate to finance serious military operations in aid of Frederick, and on the other – remembering the profits gained under Elizabeth by naval attacks on gold shipments from the New World – called for a war directly against Spain. James still refused to declare war, but his son, Charles – who in the meantime fell out with the Infanta a marriage with whom would have meant his conversion to Catholic religion – was more committed to start a war with Spain. Any assessment of James’ reign must take it into account that he had often neglected the business of government for leisure pastimes, such as hunting; and his later dependence on male favourites at a scandal-ridden court undermined the respected image of monarchy so carefully constructed by Elizabeth. Another part of his legacy involves the influence he had on his son, and ensuing king. He passed down to Charles a fatal belief in the divine right of kings, combined with a disdain for Parliament, which culminated in the English Civil War. During his reign the influence of Puritanism and other Nonconformist sects (most importantly the Baptists and the Quakers) grew. Because of their being disliked by the Anglican Church many members set sail for America where they hoped to live a free life. In 1620 the, so called, “Pilgrim Fathers” sailed in a ship called the Mayflower to Massachusetts. Charles (crowned as Charles I of England) hoped to unite the kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland into a new single kingdom, fulfilling the dream of his father. Many English Parliamentarians had suspicions regarding such a move because they feared that setting up a new kingdom might destroy the old English traditions, which had bound the English monarchy. Although pious Charles expected outright loyalty in return for “just rule”. He considered any questioning of his orders as, at best, insulting. This latter trait, and a series of events, each seemingly minor on its own, led to a serious break between Charles and his English Parliament, and eventually to war. Before the fighting, the Parliament did not have a large permanent role in the English system of government, instead it functioned as a temporary advisory committee – summoned by the monarch whenever the Crown required additional tax revenue, and was subject to dissolution by the monarch at any time. If the gentry were to refuse to collect the King’s taxes, he would lack the authority to compel them. These representatives did not, however, have any means of forcing their will upon the king – except by withholding the financial means required to execute his plans. One of the first events to cause concern about Charles I came with his marriage to a French Roman Catholic princess, Henriette-Marie de Bourbon. Charles also wanted to take part in the conflicts underway in Europe, known as the Thirty Years’ War, but experienced financial difficulty when his first Parliament refused to follow the tradition of giving him the right to collect customs duties for his entire reign, deciding instead to grant it for only a year at a time. Consequently he dissolved Parliament, but unable to raise money without it, he assembled a new one in 1628. The new Parliament drew up the Petition of Right that amongst others referred to Magna Carta, and Charles accepted it as a concession in order to get his subsidy. Charles I avoided calling a Parliament for the next decade. Depending upon their political affiliation, people referred to this time either as the “Eleven Years’ Tyranny” or as “Charles’ Personal Rule”. During the “Personal Rule”, Charles aroused most antagonism through his religious measures: Charles believed in a sacramental version of the Church of England, called High Anglicanism. Charles appointed William Laud as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1633 and started a series of reforms in the Church to make it more ceremonial, starting with the replacement of the wooden communion tables with stone altars. Puritans accused Laud of trying to reintroduce Catholicism, and when they complained, Laud had them arrested. Moreover, the church authorities revived the statutes passed in the time of Elizabeth I concerning church attendance and fined Puritans around the country for failure to attend Anglican services. The Church of Scotland, although reluctantly Episcopal in structure, had long enjoyed its own independent traditions. Charles, however, wanted one uniform church throughout Britain and introduced a new version (High Anglican) of the English Common Prayer Book into Scotland in the summer of 1637. This met with a violent reaction. A riot broke out in Edinburgh and before long Charles was forced to withdraw his Prayer Book and summon a General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. The differences could not be settled by meeting and as a result the Bishop Wars broke out. In the second phase of the war the royal forces in the north were defeated by a Scots army, and Charles was eventually forced to agree not only not to interfere with religion in Scotland, but to pay the Scottish war expenses as well. This however required instant cash, so he was forced to summon a new Parliament. The majority faction in the new Parliament, led by John Pym, took this appeal for money as an opportunity to discuss grievances against the Crown, and were opposed to an English invasion of Scotland. Charles dissolved Parliament after only a few weeks, this earning it the name “the Short Parliament”. Finance, or rather the lack of it forced Charles to summon yet another Parliament in November 1640. The new Parliament proved even more hostile to Charles than its predecessor and took the opportunity presented by the King’s troubles to force various reforming measures upon him. A law was passed which stated that a new Parliament should convene at least once every three years, without the King’s summons if necessary. Other laws passed by the Parliament made it illegal for the king to impose taxes without Parliamentary consent, and later, gave Parliament control over the king’s ministers. Finally, the Parliament passed a law forbidding the King to dissolve it without its consent, even if the three years were up. Learning about the destabilised state of politics in England and fearing a resurgence of Protestant power, the Irish Catholics sent their Ireland into chaos in late 1641. Thousands of Protestants were killed or chased of their land. Rumours circulated that the King supported the Irish, and Puritan members of the Commons were soon agitating that this was the sort of thing that Charles had in store for all of them. In early January 1642, accompanied by 400 soldiers, Charles attempted to arrest five members of the House of Commons on a charge of treason. This attempt failed. In the summer of 1642 these national troubles helped to polarize opinion, ending indecision about which side to support or what action to take. As the summer progressed, cities and towns declared their sympathies for one faction or the other. At the outset of the conflict, much of the country remained neutral, though the Royal Navy and most English cities favoured Parliament, while the King found considerable support in rural communities. The war quickly spread and eventually involved every level of society, throughout the British Isles. On one side, the King and his supporters thought that they fought for traditional government in Church and state. On the other, most supporters of the Parliamentary cause, initially took up arms to defend what they thought was the traditional balance of government in Church and state, which had been undermined by the bad advice the King had received from his advisers, before and during the “Eleven Years’ Tyranny”. The English Civil War The military events of the Civil War lasted for four years (1642-1646), including a decisive victory of the Parliamentarians in the Battle of Nasby and ended with the victory of the Parliamentarian forces. In the remains of his English realm Charles attempted to recover a stable base of support by consolidating the Midlands, but his resources exhausted and at Nasby he was captured. This marked the end of the First English Civil War. A series of Royalist uprisings throughout England and a Scottish invasion occurred in the summer of 1648. Forces loyal to Parliament put down most of the uprisings, but it took a few months before at Walton-le-Dale near Preston in Lancashire, the troops of Cromwell defeated the Royalists and this Parliamentarian victory marked the end of the Second English Civil War. The betrayal by Charles caused Parliament to debate whether to return the King to power at all. Those who still supported Charles’ place on the throne tried once more to negotiate with him. This was not successful and the so called Rump Parliament was ordered to set up a high court of justice in order to try Charles I for treason in the name of the people of England. At the end of the trial the 59 Commissioners (judges) found Charles I guilty of high treason, as a “tyrant, traitor, murderer and public enemy”. He was beheaded on 30 January 1649. Oliver Cromwell was a centre-figure in the Civil War. He was already a member of the 1628-29 Parliament and returned as Member of Parliament for Cambridge in the Short (1640) and Long (1640-49) Parliaments, and later entered the English Civil War on the side of the Roundheads that is the Parliamentarians. A brilliant soldier (nicknamed “Old Ironsides”) he rose from leading a single cavalry troop to eventual command of the entire army. It was he who set up the New Model Army which comprised professional soldiers led by trained generals, unlike other military forces of the era, which tended to have aristocratic leaders with no guarantee of military training. Apart from their military successes, the New Model Army troops also became famous for their Puritan religious zeal. The so-called Third English Civil War involved events in both Ireland and Scotland. Ireland had known continuous war since the rebellion of 1641. Increasingly threatened by the armies of the English Parliament after Charles I’s arrest, the Confederates signed a treaty of alliance with the English Royalists. Cromwell’s suppression of the Royalists in Ireland during 1649 still has a strong resonance for many Irish people. After the siege of Drogheda, the massacre of nearly 3,500 people – comprising around 2,700 Royalist soldiers and all the men in the town carrying arms, including civilians, prisoners, and Catholic priests – became one of the historical memories that has driven Irish-English and Catholic-Protestant conflict during the last three centuries. The Parliamentarian conquest of Ireland continued for another four years until 1653, when the last Irish Confederate and Royalist troops surrendered. It has been estimated that up to 30% of Ireland’s population either died or were exiled by the end of the wars. Almost all Irish Catholic owned land was confiscated in the wake of the conquest and distributed to the Parliament’s creditors, to the Parliamentary soldiers who served in Ireland, and to English people who had settled there before the war. The execution of Charles I altered the dynamics of the Civil War in Scotland, which had raged between Royalists and Covenanters since 1644. Charles II landed in Scotland in mid- 1650 and with his original Scottish Royalist followers and his new Covenanter allies, King Charles II became the greatest threat facing the new English Republic. Cromwell’s army soon took Edinburgh, and by the end of the year, his army had occupied much of southern Scotland. It took two more years to mop up the remnants of the Scottish resistance and under the terms of the “Tender of Union”, the Scots received 30 seats in a united Parliament in London, and a military governor was appointed to ensure security in Scotland. Charles II escaped to France. Cromwell was a central figure to the Civil War in more than one way. He was the third person to sign Charles I’s death warrant in 1649 and was an MP in the Rump Parliament being chosen by the Rump to take command of the English campaign in Ireland during 1649-50. He then led a campaign against the Scottish army between 1650-51. After the military actions ended Cromwell returned to London and was made Lord Protector on 16 December 1653, with a ceremony in which he wore plain black clothing, rather than any monarchical regalia. Cromwell had two key objectives as Lord Protector. The first was to offer “healing and settling” to the nation after the chaos of the civil wars. To Cromwell, the form this healing took was important. His second objective was spiritual and moral reform. He aimed to restore liberty of conscience and promote both outward and inward godliness throughout England. As Lord Protector, Cromwell was aware of the contribution the Jewish community made to the economic success of Holland, now England’s leading commercial rival. It was this – allied to Cromwell’s toleration of the right to private worship of those who fell outside evangelical Puritanism – that led to the return of the Jewish community to England in 1657, over 350 years after their banishment by Edward I, in the hope that they would help speed up the recovery of the country after the disruption of the Civil Wars. In 1657, Cromwell was offered the crown by Parliament as part of a revised constitutional settlement, presenting him with a dilemma, since he had been instrumental in abolishing the monarchy. Cromwell agonised for six weeks over the offer. He was attracted by the prospect of stability it held out, but turned it down. Instead, Cromwell was ceremonially re- installed as Lord Protector with greater powers than had previously been granted him under this title. Most notably, the office of Lord Protector was still not to become hereditary, though Cromwell was now able to nominate his own successor. The English restoration and the Glorious Revolution When he died in 1658 he was succeeded as Lord Protector by his son, Richard Cromwell, who although was not entirely without ability, had no power base in either Parliament or the Army, and was forced to resign in the spring of 1659, bringing the Protectorate to an end. In the period immediately following his abdication the head of the army, George Monck, took power for less than a year, at which point Parliament restored Charles II as king. These events became known as the English Restoration. As they resulted in the restoration of the monarchy with the consent of Parliament, the civil wars effectively set England and Scotland on course to adopt a parliamentary monarchy form of government. This was a major, probably the most significant momentum in British history: it meant the foundation of the political system of modern Britain. This system would result in the outcome that the future Kingdom of Great Britain, formed in 1707 under the Acts of Union. According to royalists, Charles II became king when his father Charles I was executed at the climax of the Second English Civil War. The English Parliament did not proclaim Charles II king at this time however, and England entered the period known to history as the English Interregnum. The Parliament of Scotland, on the other hand, proclaimed Charles II King of Scots on crowned him in 1651. He was popularly known as the Merrie Monarch, in reference to both the liveliness and hedonism of his court and the general relief at the return to normacy after over a decade of rule by Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans. Charles’ parliament (the Cavalier Parliament, 1661–79), enacted harsh anti-Puritan laws designed to shore up the position of the re-established Church of England in English society, even though he himself favoured a policy of religious toleration. Charles fought two wars with the Dutch over trade routes and rights. It was during this conflict that New Amsterdam was captured (and later renamed New York in honour of Charles’ brother James, Duke of York, the future James II of England/James VII of Scotland). Meanwhile, by a series of five acts around 1670, Charles granted the British East India Company the rights to autonomous territorial acquisitions, to mint money, to command fortresses and troops, to form alliances, to make war and peace, and to exercise both civil and criminal jurisdiction over the acquired areas in India. In 1670, Charles also granted a royal charter to establish the Hudson’s Bay Company in North America. The company eventually became the oldest corporation on the North American continent. It started out in the lucrative fur trade with the native people, but eventually colonized and governed a large portion of the land of what is known today as Canada. In 1665, Charles II was faced with a great health crisis: an outbreak of Bubonic Plague in London. Various attempts at containing the disease by London public health officials all fell in vain and the disease continued to spread rapidly. On 2 September 1666, adding to London’s woes was what later became famously known as the Great Fire of London. Although effectively ending the spreading of the Great Plague by burning the plague- carrying rats and fleas, the fire consumed about 13,200 houses and 87 churches, including St. Paul’s Cathedral. Charles II is famously remembered for joining the fire-fighters in combating the fire. Charles’ heir would be his unpopular Roman Catholic brother, James, Duke of York. Allegations about a Papist Plot, that set out to assassinate the king spread over the country, as a result of which the people were seized with an anti-Catholic hysteria; judges and juries across the land condemned the supposed conspirators; numerous innocent individuals were executed. The Parliament of 1679 introduced the Exclusion Bill, which sought to exclude the Duke of York from the line of succession. The bill was never accepted by parliament, but this only deepened the succession crises: some even sought to confer the Crown to Charles’s illegitimate children. The Abhorrers – those who opposed the Exclusion Bill – would develop into the Tory Party, while the Petitioners – those who supported the Exclusion Bill – became the Whig Party. With the future of the inheritance of the throne uncertain, Charles died in 1685. As part of his heritage we must note that Charles, a patron of the arts and sciences, helped found the Royal Society, a scientific group whose early members included Robert Hooke, Robert Boyle and Sir Isaac Newton. Charles was the personal patron of Sir Christopher Wren, the architect who helped rebuild London after the Great Fire in 1666. Wren also constructed the Royal Hospital Chelsea, which Charles founded as a home for retired soldiers in 1681. James II of England was the last Roman Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdom of Scotland, Kingdom of England, and Kingdom of Ireland. Many of his subjects distrusted his religious policies and supposed despotism. After putting down an anti-Catholic rebellion he sought to establish a large standing army. By putting Roman Catholics in charge of several regiments, the King was drawn into a conflict with Parliament. Parliament was prorogued (ülésszakot berekeszt) in November 1685, never to meet again during James’ brief reign. Religious tension intensified from 1686. James controversially allowed Roman Catholics to occupy the highest offices of the Kingdom. In the Declaration of Indulgence (1687), also known as the Declaration for Liberty of Conscience, James suspended laws punishing Roman Catholics and Protestant dissenters. After the birth of James’ son the threat of a Catholic dynasty was so strong, that several influential Protestants entered into negotiations with William, Prince of Orange, who was James’s son-in-law and nephew that eventually lead to the Glorious Revolution. On June 30, 1688, a group of Protestant nobles requested the Prince of Orange to come to England with an army. By September, it had become clear that William sought to invade and when he arrived many Protestant officers serving in James’s army defected and joined him. In 1690 he landed in Ireland and defeated James army, thud Protestant victory was complete. James fled to France and William convened an irregular Convention Parliament. (The procedure of calling a Convention Parliament had been previously used when succession to the Throne was unclear; it was a Convention Parliament, which restored Charles II to the Throne following the English Civil War and republican Commonwealth.) The Convention declared that James’s attempt to escape constituted an abdication of the government, and that the Throne had then become vacant. Essentially, this was a Deposition Parliament. James’s daughter Mary was declared Queen; she was to rule jointly with her husband William III. William and Mary subsequently granted their assent to an Act commonly referred to as the Bill of Rights (Declaration of Rights). The Act charged James II with abusing his power, thus seriously limited the power of the Sovereign. The king/queen was now longer able to raise taxes or keep an army without the agreement of the Parliament, was no longer allowed to act against any MP for what he said or did in Parliament. This meant that the “consent of the people” was no longer represented by the Sovereign, but overall power was practised by the Parliament. The Act of Settlement in 1701 amongst other things stipulated that no Catholic would henceforth be permitted to ascend to the English throne, nor could any English monarch marry a Catholic. This act has been in force since then. The 18th century Although Scotland did not accept the removal of James their rebellion was soon put down and the English now wanted the two countries to unite. Deeper political integration was a key policy of Queen Anne, (1702–14), who succeeded to the throne in 1702 as the last Stuart monarch of Great Britain and Ireland. Under the guidance of the Queen and her advisors a Bill of Union was drawn up and in 1706 negotiations between England and Scotland began. The circumstances of Scotland’s acceptance of the Bill are to some degree disputed. Scottish proponents believed that failure to accede to the Bill would result in the imposition of Union under less favourable terms and months of fierce debate on both sides of the border were to follow, particularly in Scotland where debate could often dissolve into civil disorder. The prospect of a Union of the kingdoms was deeply unpopular among the Scottish population at large, however following the near-bankrupt Parliament of Scotland did accept the proposals. A successful union meant that England would be financially responsible for paying the Scottish national debt, but in case the negotiations were unsuccessful, Scottish trade would have come under an English blockade. In 1707, the Acts of Union received their Royal assent, thereby abolishing the Parliament of the Kingdom of England and the Parliament of the Kingdom of Scotland to create a unified Kingdom of Great Britain with a single Parliament of Great Britain. Anne became formally the first occupant of the unified British throne and Scotland sent 45 MPs to the new parliament at Westminster. Perhaps the greatest single benefit to Scotland of the Union was that Scotland could enjoy free trade with England and her colonies overseas. For England’s part, a possible ally for European states hostile to England been neutralised while simultaneously securing a Protestant succession to the British throne. However, certain aspect of the former independent kingdoms remained separate. Examples of Scottish and English institutions which were not merged into the British system include the legal system and banking systems. The Presbyterian Church of Scotland and Anglican Church of England also remained separate as did the systems of education and higher learning. However, one particular provision of the Acts of Union, the renaming of Scotland and England as ‘North Britain’ and ‘South Britain’ respectively, failed to take hold and fell into disuse fairly quickly. By the end of Queen Anne’s rule the British Isles was becoming a trading empire and a country of developed industry and great wealth. The basis of the British Empire is closely connected to the idea of mercantilism, an economic theory that stressed maximizing the trade inside the empire, and trying to weaken rival empires. The modern British Empire was based upon the preceding English Empire which first took shape in the early 17th century, including the English settlement of the eastern colonies of North America (which would later become the original United States) and the smaller islands of the Caribbean such as Trinidad and Tobago, the Bahamas, Barbados, and Jamaica. These sugar plantation islands, where slavery became the basis of the economy, were part of Britain’s most important and successful colonies. The American colonies also utilized slave labour in the farming of tobacco, cotton, and rice in the south. Naval material and furs in the north were less financially successful, but had large areas of good agricultural land and attracted far larger numbers of British immigrants who would also utilize slave labour to farm agricultural commodities. The profits made at the colonies led to the development of the industry in mainland Britain, and the sudden growth of such cities as Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester. After the death of Queen Anne the Protestant ruler of Hanover, George would become the king (as George I, 1714-1727). Besides being the first king of Great Britain he was the Prince-Elector of the Holy Roman Empire. Early on in his reign he had to deal with the Jacobite Rebellion in Scotland that had Tory connections, so George allowed the Whigs to form a government. The leader of the Whigs, a certain Robert Walpole would become the first “prime minister” of the country and from then one this position become even more influential than that of the Sovereign. Walpole was gifted financially, it was during his premiership that the Bank of England as the main creditor to the state was established. With this printed bank notes appeared and came into use. Interest in financial matter among the population also grew, a great number of people who wanted to take share in the commercial wealth of the country invested in government bonds and shares of the trading companies (East India Comp., South Sea Comp.) The prices of shares would first soar, but when the confidence of people fell, so did their price. The economic crisis, known as the South Sea Bubble, had significantly damaged the credibility of the King and of the Whig Party, but Walpole defended both with skilful oratory in the House of Commons.Walpole skilfully developed the idea that government should work together in a small group, which was called the “Cabinet”, the members of which were together responsible for policy decision. It was he who made sure that the power of the king would be limited. From 1724 the political power of the monarch was gradually diminishing, and that of his ministers gradually increasing. Walpole’s position was threatened in 1727, when George I died and was succeeded by George II. For a few days, it seemed that Walpole would be dismissed, but the King agreed to keep him in office upon the advice of Queen Caroline. Over the next years, Walpole continued to share power with his brother-in-law (Lord Townshend), but gradually became the clearly dominant partner in government. During the following years, Walpole was more dominant than during any other part of his administration. Having secured the support of Queen Caroline, and, by extension, of King George II, he made liberal use of the royal patronage, granting honours and making appointments for political gains. He selected the members of his Cabinet, and was capable of forcing them to act according to his wish when necessary; as no previous head of the administration could wield so much influence. These are the factors why Walpole can properly be regarded the first “Prime Minister”. Walpole had many opponents including Lord Bolingbroke, William Pitt “the Elder” (later Lord Chatham) and such representatives of the contemporary literay scene, such as Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, Henry Fielding, Dr Samuel Johnson. Despite such opposition, Walpole secured the support of the people and of the House of Commons with a policy of avoiding war, which, in turn, allowed him to impose low taxes. He used his influence to prevent George II from entering a European conflict in 1733, when the War of the Polish Succession broke out. After the general elections of 1734, Walpole’s supporters still formed a majority in the House of Commons, though they were less numerous than before. Though he maintained his parliamentary supremacy, however, his popularity began to wane. In 1736, an increase in the tax on gin inspired riots in London. As far as his legacy is concerned Walpole’s influence on the politics of his day was tremendous. The Tories became a minor, insignificant faction, and the Whigs became a dominant and largely unopposed party. Walpole’s influence on the development of the uncodified constitution of Great Britain was less momentous. Although he is rightly regarded as Great Britain’s first Prime Minister, he relied primarily on the favour of the King, rather than on the support of the House of Commons. His power stemmed from his personal influence instead of the influence of his office. Most of his immediate successors were, comparatively speaking, extremely weak; it would take several decades more for the premiership to develop into the most powerful and most important office in the country. Walpole’s strategy of keeping Great Britain at peace contributed greatly to the country’s prosperity. Walpole also managed to secure the position of the Hanoverian Dynasty, and effectively countervailed Jacobitism. Another part of Walpole’s legacy is 10 Downing Street. George II offered this home to Walpole as a personal gift in 1732, but Walpole accepted it only as the official residence of the First Lord of the Treasury, taking up his residence there in 1735. His immediate successors did not always reside in Number 10 (preferring their larger private residences), but the home has nevertheless become established as the official residence of the Prime Minister. Meanwhile in Scotland Jacobite revolts took place occasionally, most notably in 1745 when James II’s grandson Prince Charles Edward Stuart (AKA Bonnie Prince Charlie) landed on the west coast, started a rebellion and even took Edinburgh, but failed to persuade the landlords of north England. He was defeated at Culloden the following year. After this unsuccessful rebellion British authorities acted to destroy the Scottish clan system in parliamentary acts of extreme vengeance. All aspects of Highland culture including the language and national costumes were forbidden. Highlanders were forced into the British Army to serve in the wider British Empire. Clan Chiefs were encouraged to consider themselves as owners of the land in their control, in the English manner. As these new landowners converted land to more profitable sheep pasture, many of the people were dispossessed, facing forcible eviction (kitelepítés). In what became known as the “Highland Clearances”, the population fell significantly. Large numbers of Highlanders resettled in the lowland cities, becoming the labour force for the emerging industrial revolution, many left for other parts of the British Empire, particularly for Nova Scotia, (East-Quebec) and Upper Canada (later known as Ontario). At the same time, the Scottish Agricultural Revolution changed the face of the Scottish Lowlands and transformed the traditional system of subsistence farming into a stable and productive agricultural system. This was another reason why large populations migrated to the Lowlands. Scots contributed to culture and science with such visionaries as the father of modern economics, the propagator of free market economy: Adam Smith. Internationally, Scotland’s fate was tied to that of the United Kingdom as a whole. Shortly after Culloden, Britain successfully fought the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763), demonstrating its rising significance as a great power. As a partner in the new Britain, Scotland began to flourish in ways that she never had as an independent nation. As the memory of the Jacobite rebellion faded away, the 1770s and 80s saw the repeal of much of the draconian laws passed earlier. It was towards the end of the reign of George II that the Seven Years’ War broke out. This was the first conflict in human history to be fought around the globe, although most of the combatants were either European nations or their overseas colonies. The British fought against Frances’ trade and included the taking over of Quebec in 1759 and Montreal the following year, that meant for the Brits the control of important fish, fur and wood trades. Whereas the French army was destroyed near the Spanish coast in India the army of the British East India Company defeated the French army. George III’s long reign (1760-1820) was marked by a series of military conflicts involving his kingdom and much of the rest of Europe. Early in his reign, Great Britain defeated France in the Seven Years’ War, becoming the dominant European power in North America and – after the victory of Robert Clive at Plassey that opened the province of Bengal to British rule – in India. Although a Hanoverian, he was born in Britain and wanted to take a more active part in government. He wished to be free to choose his own ministers, who would controll Parliament, that – at the time – still represented a very small segment of society. In the eighteenth century only house owners with a certain income had the right to vote. In today’s term Parliament was by no means an institution representing society. The favouritism which George initially showed towards Tory ministers led to his denunciation by the Whigs as an autocrat in the manner of Charles I. Later the Whigs would return to power and in agreement with George III issued the Royal Proclamation of 1763 that placed a boundary upon the westward expansion of the American colonies. The Proclamation’s goal was to force colonists to negotiate with the Native Americans for the lawful purchase of the land and, therefore, to reduce the costly frontier warfare that had erupted over land conflicts. The “Proclamation Line”, as it came to be known, was extremely unpopular with the Americans and ultimately became another wedge between the colonists and the British government that would eventually lead to war. With the American colonists generally unburdened by British taxes, the government found it increasingly difficult to pay for the defence of the colonies against native uprisings and the possibility of French incursions. When the Tories returned to power led by Lord North (1770-1782) the government was chiefly concerned with discontent in America. To calm the tensions most of the custom duties were withdrawn, with the exception of the tea duty. Consequently in 1773, a Boston mob threw 342 crates of tea, costing approximately £10,000, into Boston Harbour as a political protest, an event that became known as the Boston Tea Party. In Britain, opinion hardened against the colonists and as a reply Lord North introduced the Punitive Acts: the Port of Boston was shut down and legislative elections in the Colony of Massachusetts Bay were suspended. The American War of Independence began when armed conflict between British regulars and colonial militiamen broke out in New England in April 1775. A month later, delegates of the thirteen British colonies drafted a peace proposal known as the Olive Branch Petition. The proposal was quickly rejected in London because fighting had already erupted. A year later, on July 4, 1776 (American Independence Day), the colonies declared their independence from the Crown and became a new nation, the “United States of America”. The Declaration was a long list of grievances against the British King, legislature, and populace. According to the colonial population the British monarch has abdicated Government in the colonies, raided its seas, ravaged its costs, burnt its towns and destroyed many lives. George was offended when he learned of the charges of the colonists. In the war the British captured New York City in 1776, but the grand strategic plan of invading from Canada failed with the surrender of the British Lieutenant-General John Burgoyne at the Battle of Saratoga. In 1778, France signed a treaty of friendship with the new United States. George III obstinately tried to keep Great Britain at war with the revolutionaries in America, despite the opinions of his own ministers. To punish the Americans the king planned to destroy their coasting-trade, bombard their ports, sack and burn towns along the coast (like New London, Connecticut), and turn loose the Indians to attack civilians in frontier settlements. These operations, the King felt, would inspire the Loyalists; would splinter the Congress. The plan meant destruction for the Loyalists and loyal Indians, and indefinite prolongation of a costly war, as well as the risk of disaster as the French and Spanish were assembling an Armada to invade the British Isles and seize London. In 1781, after the surrender of Yorktown Lord North’s parliamentary support ebbed away and he subsequently resigned in 1782. George III finally accepted the defeat in North America, and authorised the negotiation of a peace. The Treaty of Paris and the associated Treaty of Versailles were ratified in 1783. The former treaty provided for the recognition of the United States by Great Britain. The latter required Great Britain to give up Florida to Spain and to grant access to the waters of Newfoundland to France. Whereas there were lost battles in America, there were victories in India. Clive and later Warren Hastings and Arthur Wellesley as future representatives of the Crown in India were no longer looking after trading relations, they were after direct hegemony of the vast subcontinent. The English soon got the rights to collect revenues and taxes from people in place of the Mughal ruler. Consequently the whole nature of the British presence in the land was transformed from overseeing trade relations to direct military rule. After the loss of the American colonies and a short constitutional struggle between the Whigs over who to form a cabinet, the Tories headed by William Pittt the Younger took power. For George III, Pitt’s appointment was a great victory. The King felt that the scenario proved that he still had the power to appoint Prime Ministers without having to rely on any parliamentary group. Throughout Pitt’s ministry, George eagerly supported many of his political aims. To aid Pitt, George created new peers at an unprecedented rate. The new peers flooded the House of Lords and allowed Pitt to maintain a firm majority. During Pitt’s ministry, George III was extremely popular despite the fact that by this time his health was deteriorating: he suffered from recurrent and, eventually, permanent mental illness. (This baffled medical science at the time, although it is now generally thought that he suffered from the blood disease called porphyria. Recently, owing to studies showing high levels of the poison arsenic in locks of King George’s hair, arsenic is also thought to be a possible cause of King George’s insanity and health problems.) Charles James Fox (a Whig politician) and William Pitt wrangled over the terms of which individual was entitled to take over government during the illness of the Sovereign. Although both parties agreed that it would be most reasonable for George III’s eldest son and heir apparent, the Prince of Wales, to act as Regent, they disagreed over the basis of a regency. Fox suggested that it was the Prince of Wales’s absolute right to act on his ill father’s behalf; Pitt argued that it was for Parliament to nominate a Regent. During his later reign George also aided the Royal Academy with large grants from his private funds. Great advances were made in fields such as in science and industry. The Industrial Revolution Although Pitt personally was against slavery, slave trading had generated astounding wealth for Britain. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century a series of technological advances led to the Industrial Revolution. Britain’s position as the world’s pre-eminent trader helped fund research and experimentation. The nation was also gifted by some of the world’s greatest reserves of coal, the main fuel of the new revolution. It was also fuelled by a rejection of mercantilism in favour of the predominance of Adam Smith’s laissez-faire capitalism that was based on strict free market without any state interference, economic interventionism and granted state monopolies. The Industrial Revolution saw a rapid transformation in the British economy and society. Previously large industries had to be near forests or rivers for power. The use of coal-fuelled engines allowed them to be placed in large urban centres. These new factories proved far more efficient at producing goods than the cottage industry of a previous era. These manufactured goods were sold around the world, and raw materials and luxury goods were imported to Britain. In short, we can say that Britain was able to succeed in the Industrial Revolution due to the availability of key resources it possessed. It had a dense population for its small geographical size. Enclosure of common land and the related Agricultural Revolution made a supply of this labour readily available. There was also a local coincidence of natural resources in the North of England, the English Midlands, South Wales and the Scottish Lowlands. Local supplies of coal, iron, lead, copper, tin, limestone and hydropower (vízenergia), resulted in excellent conditions for the development and expansion of industry. Also, the damp, mild weather conditions of the North West of England provided ideal conditions for the spinning of cotton, providing a natural starting point for the birth of the textiles industry. The beginning of the Industrial Revolution is closely linked to a small number of innovations, made in the second half of the 18th century: In the early 18th century, British textile manufacture was based on wool which was processed by individual artisans, doing the spinning and weaving on their own premises. This system is called a cottage industry. Flax (len) and cotton were also used for fine materials, but the processing was difficult because of the pre-processing needed, and thus goods in these materials made only a small proportion of the output. Use of the spinning wheel and hand loom (szövőszék) restricted the production capacity of the industry, but important advances increased productivity to the extent that manufactured cotton goods became the dominant British export by the early decades of the 19 th century. India was displaced as the premier supplier of cotton goods. With the invention of the cotton mill all the production processes were brought together in a factory, and with the use of non-human power — first horse power and then hydropower — made cotton manufacturing a mechanised industry. Before long steam power was applied to drive textile machinery. The major change in the metal industries during the era of the Industrial Revolution was the replacement of organic fuels based on wood with fossil fuel based on coal. Up to that time, British iron manufacturers had used considerable amounts of imported iron to supplement native supplies. This came principally from Sweden from the mid 17th century and later also from Russia from the end of the 1720s. However, from 1785, imports decreased because of the new iron making technology, and Britain became an exporter of bar iron as well as manufactured wrought iron consumer goods. Since iron was becoming cheaper and more plentiful, it also became a major structural material following the building of the innovative Iron Bridge in 1778. An improvement was made in the production of steel, which was an expensive commodity and used only where iron would not do, such as for the cutting edge of tools and for springs. The supply of cheaper iron and steel aided the development of boilers and steam engines, and eventually railways. Improvements in machine tools allowed better working of iron and steel and further boosted the industrial growth of Britain. As far as mining of minerals is concerned, the introduction of the steam engine greatly facilitated the removal of water and enabled shafts (tárna) to be made deeper, making possible more coal to be extracted. The steam engine was invented before the Industrial Revolution, but the adoption of James Watt’s more efficient steam engine from the 1770s reduced the fuel costs of engines, making mines more profitable. The development of the stationary steam engine was an essential early element of the Industrial Revolution, but until it spread the majority of industries still relied on wind and water power as well as horse- and man-power for driving small machines. As mentioned above, a fundamental change in the working principles of the steam engine was brought about by Watt. He created a machine in which constant temperature could be maintained in the cylinder (henger) and that engine efficiency no longer varied according to atmospheric conditions. These improvements increased engine efficiency and saving 75% on coal costs. At first the atmospheric engine could not be adapted to drive a rotating wheel. However by 1783 the more economical “Watt steam engine” had been fully developed into a double-acting (kettős működésű) rotative type, which meant that it could be used to directly drive the rotary machinery of a factory or mill. The development of machine tools, such as the lathe (esztergapad), planning (gyalu) and shaping machines powered by these engines, enabled all the metal parts of the engines to be easily and accurately cut and in turn made it possible to build larger and more powerful engines. These also helped the construction of a steam engine in which the engine and boiler were combined into a single unit compact enough to be used on mobile road and rail locomotives and steam boats. The Industrial Revolution could not have developed without machine tools. As I have already mentioned they enabled manufacturing machines to be made. They have their origins in the tools developed in the 18th century by makers of clocks and watches and scientific instrument makers to enable them to batch-produce (tömegtermel) small mechanisms. Gas-lighting had in impact on social and industrial organisation because it allowed factories and stores to remain open longer than with candles or oil. Its introduction allowed nightlife to flourish in cities and towns as interiors and street could be lighted on a larger scale than before. In 1824 Joseph Aspdin, a British brick layer turned builder, patented a chemical process for making Portland cement which was an important advance in the building trades. At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, inland transport meant navigable rivers and roads. Coastal vessels were employed to move heavy goods by sea. Railways or wagon ways were used for conveying coal to rivers for further shipment, but canals had not yet been constructed. Animals supplied motive power (mozgáshoz szükséges erő) on land, with sails providing the same on the sea. The Industrial Revolution improved Britain’s transport infrastructure with a turnpike (vámút) road network, a canal, and waterway network, and a railway network. Raw materials and finished products could be moved more quickly and cheaply than before. Improved transportation also allowed new ideas to spread quickly. The major turnpikes radiated from London and were the means by which the Royal Mail was able to reach the rest of the country. Heavy goods transport on these roads was by means of slow broad wheeled carts hauled by teams of horses. Lighter goods were conveyed by smaller carts or pack horses (igásló). Stage coaches transported rich people. The less wealthy walked or paid to ride on a carriers cart. Horse-drawn public railways did not begin until the early years of the 19th century. Steam-hauled (gőzhajtású) public railways began with the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 1825 and the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1830. The construction of major railways connecting the larger cities and towns began in the 1830s but only gained momentum at the very end of the Industrial Revolution. Railways helped Britain’s trade enormously, providing a quick and easy way of transport. The railways builders did not return to their rural lifestyles after their task was completed, but instead remained in the cities, providing additional workers for the factories. During the Industrial Revolution the empire became less important and less well-regarded. The British defeat in the American War of Independence (1775-1783) deprived it of one of its most populous colonies. This loss of the American colonies (except for the region known today as Canada) was coupled with a realisation that colonies were not particularly economically beneficial. It was realised that the costs of occupation of colonies often exceeded the financial return to the taxpayer. In other words, formal empire afforded no great economic benefit when trade would continue whether the overseas political entities were nominally Sovereign or not. The American Revolution helped demonstrate this by showing that Britain could still control trade with the colonies without having to pay for their defence and governance. Capitalism encouraged the British to grant their colonies self- government. The end of the old colonial system was most evident in the abolishment of the Corn Laws, the agricultural subsidies on colonial grain. The removal of these laws opened the British market to free competition, grain prices fell, and food became more plentiful. This push for free trade was coupled by the setting up of modern industrial production: mass manufacturing. From the turn of the century Britain enjoyed the benefits of being the world’s only modern, industrialised nation. Following the defeat of Napoleonic France, Britain was the “workshop of the world”, meaning that its finished goods were produced so efficiently and cheaply that they could often undersell (olcsóbban értékesít) comparable, locally manufactured goods in almost any other market. If political conditions in particular overseas markets were stable enough, Britain could dominate its economy through free trade alone without having to resort to formal rule or mercantilism. Britain was even supplying half the needs in manufactured goods of such nations as Germany, France, Belgium, and the United States. The Industrial Revolution was not without a darker side. In the countryside richer farmers wanted to change the system of farming and make the most of the new methods, techniques and equipment devised for agricultural production. This included the change of the system of landholding and led to the enclosures and the creation of unbroken areas, lands that made possible much greater and more efficient food production. In social term however the enclosures were damaging, the population was increasing rapidly and a new landless class was evolving. The sharp increase of poor people and – in bad years – high wheat prices led local magistrates to introduce new means of handling the poor. Authorities helped those whose wages were particularly low of the local rates and who had more children (Speedhamland Act). As a result of the enclosures more and more parish workhouses were set up. These hired workers to local businesses and gave food and accommodation to families. This was a system little better than slavery and saw the rise of child labour. Those who did not want to stay in these workhouses tried their luck in industrial towns. The early 19th century saw the passing of acts that limited child labour in the industry. In 1807 slavery was abolished by law in Britain, but it was not before 1833 that a similar act passed legislation for the British colonies. The French Revolution, by which the French monarchy had been overthrown, worried many British landowners. In France the revolution was lead by the so called “bourgeoisie”, or middle class, that lead the urban workers class and peasants against the king. In England this class, together with the gentry had been working together in the House of Commons and were basically governing the country. They were no sympathisers of the revolutionaries in France, they were clearly afraid that the working class and the peasants on the countryside might start revolts. Actually there were a lot of radicals within the ruling classes of Britain who called for reforms, but instead seeing them realised, they had to see their homes attacked by Tory crowds that were hoping the keep things as they were previously. Those in the Whig party who feared “Jacobinism” (sympathy with the revolutionary ideas) joined Pitt, whereas those who were for reforms joined the radical leader of the party Fox. Other forms of radicalism were not tolerated, some leaders of the revolutionaries were even imprisoned. Britain avoided revolution partly because of a new religious movement, one that came not from the Church of England, but from the industrial towns. John Wesley, an Anglican priest founded and spearheaded it travelling around the country for 53 years preaching and teaching. This religion (conservative in nature) was soon known as Methodism, a personal and emotional form of faith, and was practised in so called “chapels”. There were 360 of these in Britain at the end of the 18th century. Methodism taught people to be hardworking, honest, and to obey their lords while avoiding political radicalism and revolutionary ideas. Many were brought back to religion and Christianity through the teachings of Wesley. After the French occupation of what is known as Belgium and Holland today, Great Britain declared war on France in 1793, and George soon represented the British resistance. He allowed Pitt to increase taxes and raise an army. As well-prepared as Great Britain may have been, France was stronger, nevertheless the Isles had little to fear, since past attempts of invasions proved that capturing Britain was not an easy military manoeuvre. The First Coalition (which included Austria, Prussia, and Spain) was defeated in 1798 by the French. The Second Coalition (which included Austria, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire) was defeated in 1800. One by one European countries were defeated and forced to ally with Napoleon Bonaparte. Only Great Britain was left fighting Napoleon. Britain decided to fight the French at sea because it had a stronger navy and because its own survival depended on the control of its trade routes. British ships would damage French trade, attacking their ships as they were leaving port. Although the public wanted strong action in Europe, nevertheless in October 1801 peace was made with France and in 1802 the Treaty of Amiens was signed. George did not consider the peace with France as “real”; in his view it was an “experiment”. In 1803, the two nations once again declared war on each other. Pitt concentrated on forming a coalition with Austria, Russia, and Sweden. The Third Coalition, however, met the same fate as the First and Second Coalitions, collapsing in 1805. An invasion by Napoleon seemed imminent, but the possibility was extinguished after Admiral Horatio Nelson’s famous victory first near the coast of Egypt and then at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. A decade later it would be another Englishman, Lord Wellington who in 1815 defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. While tremendously popular in Britain, George was hated in Ireland for the atrocities carried out in his name during the suppression of the 1798 rebellion. This was started by the United Irishmen, a republican revolutionary group influenced by the ideas of the American and French Revolutions. As the 18th century progressed, liberal elements among the ruling class were inspired by the example of the American Revolution and sought to form common cause with the Catholic population to achieve reform and greater autonomy from Britain. The 1798 rebellion was probably the most concentrated outbreak of violence in Irish history and resulted in an estimated 15,000-30,000 deaths over the course of three months. These were slaughtered by government forces, but these rebellions convinced the British under Prime Minister William Pitt that the only solution was to end Irish independence once and for all. The legislative union of Great Britain and Ireland was completed on 1 January 1801, in both the Irish and the British parliaments, under the Act of Union 1800, changing the country’s name to “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland”. Ireland now sent around 100 MPs to the House of Commons at Westminster and 28 peers to the House of Lords, elected from among their number by the Irish peers themselves. (Catholics were not permitted this “great honour”.) The heir of George III was George IV, who had earlier served as The Prince Regent when his father suffered from a relapse into insanity. George’s nine-year office as Prince Regent, which commenced in 1811 and ended with the death of his father in 1820, was marked by victory in the Napoleonic Wars in Europe. George was a stubborn monarch, often interfering in politics, especially in the matter of Catholic emancipation, though not as much as his father. For most of George’s regency and reign, Lord Liverpool controlled the government as Prime Minister. George is remembered largely for the extravagant lifestyle that he maintained as prince and monarch. At first, it was believed that he would support Catholic emancipation, as, in 1797, he had proposed a Catholic Emancipation Bill for Ireland, but his anti-Catholic views became clear. By 1824 he was denouncing Catholic emancipation in public. Having taken the coronation oath on his accession, George now argued that he had sworn to uphold the Protestant faith, and could not support any pro- Catholic measures. The 19th Century and the Victorian Era The history of Britain in the 19th century was marked by power and confidence. As “the workshop of the world” the British Empire controlled large areas worldwide. At home the population started to grow rapidly that was absorbed by the developing towns. Besides internal migration many choose to immigrate to America. Politics and government became increasingly the property of the middle class. As far as foreign policy was concerned, Britain wanted a balance of power in Europe and free market that would give a clean advantage to its strong industry and trade. Britain emerged from the Napoleonic Wars as the only European nation not ravaged by financial plunder and economic collapse, and possessing the only merchant fleet of any useful size. All different kinds of war supplies were manufactured in the newly industrialised towns of the Midlands. When peace broke out in 1815 factory-made goods were no longer required in such large quantities as before. Cheep corn, that was exported to Britain from oversees threatened the collapse of many agricultural businesses. Farmers persuaded the government to introduce laws to protect locally grown corn. Consequently the price of bread doubled while wages stayed the same. Many farmworkers starved and turned to crime that was severely punished. In this situation a new poor law was introduced, according to which only those people received help, who actually lived in workhouses. These were crowded and dirty, gave little food to inhabitants who had to work from early morning to late at night. Also, sexes were separated, families were divided. Rioting among the poor was first limited to towns, e.g. Manchester (1819). The Whigs understood better than the Tories that the driving force behind the Industrial Revolution and consequently the wealth of the British Empire was the new townspeople who more and more requested social reforms. Part of this was reforming the parliamentary system and making it fairer. Whereas the Tories believed that the Parliament should represent property owners, the more “radical” Whigs though that it should represent the people. At the time, the death of the monarch (in this case George IV) required new elections and, in the general election of 1830 the Tories lost to the Whig Party under Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey. When he became Prime Minister, Lord Grey immediately announced that he would attempt to reform an electoral system that had seen few changes since the fifteenth century. The inequalities in the system were great; for example, large towns such as Manchester and Birmingham elected no members (though they were part of county constituencies), whilst minuscule (apró) boroughs such as Old Sarum (with seven voters) elected two members of Parliament each. Often, the small boroughs – also known as rotten boroughs and pocket boroughs – were “owned” by great aristocrats, whose “nominees” would invariably be elected by the constituents – who were, most often, their tenants – especially since the secret ballot was not yet used in Parliamentary elections. Although first the Commons and then the Lords rejected the Reform Bill, it became an act in 1832 as a result of strong public pressure. The Act granted seats in the House of Commons to large cities that sprang up during the Industrial Revolution, and took away seats from the “rotten boroughs”– those with very small populations. 203 boroughs existed before the act. Of these, 56 boroughs, each with a population of less than two thousand, were completely abolished. Thirty two-member boroughs, each with a population of less than four thousand, lost half their representation. The Act also increased the number of individuals entitled to vote, increasing the size of electorate by 50 to 80 percent, and allowing a total of 653,000 adult males (around one in five) to vote, in a population of some 14 million. The Act specifically disenfranchised (szavazati jogát megtagadja) women, sparking the British suffrage movement. The Act only applied in England and Wales; separate reform bills were passed in the same year for Scotland and Ireland. Other reform measures were passed later during the 19 th century; as a result, the Reform Act 1832 is sometimes called the First Reform Act, or the Great Reform Act. The Act also introduced a system of voter registration, to be administered by the overseers of the poor in every parish and township. It instituted a system of special courts to review disputes relating to voter qualifications. It also authorized the use of multiple polling places (szavazóhely) within the same constituency, and limited the duration of polling to two days, but later this was reduced to a single day. The Reform Act undoubtedly strengthened the House of Commons by reducing the number of nomination boroughs controlled by peers, but the Lords nonetheless remained powerful. Some aristocrats complained that, in the future, the government could force them to pass a bill, simply by threatening to create new peerages in the upper House. There was considerable public agitation for further expansion of the electorate. In particular, the Chartist movement, which demanded universal suffrage (általános választójog), equally sized electoral districts, and voting by secret ballot (tikos szavazás), gained widespread following. But the Tories were united against further reform, and the Liberal Party (successor to the Whigs) did not seek a general revision of the electoral system until 1852. Several historians credit the Reform Act 1832 with cementing the rise of modern democracy in Britain, it was without doubt the necessary political recognition that Britain had become an urban society. Some of the first attacks on industrialisation were the Luddites’ destruction of machines, but this had less to do with factory conditions and more to do with machines mass- producing linen much quicker and cheaper than the handmade products of skilled labourers. The army was called to the areas of Luddite activity (such as Lancashire and Yorkshire) and for a time there were more British soldiers controlling the Luddites than fighting Napoleon in Spain. Industrial sabotage became the primary weapon of those, who though that their condition was no better than slavery. Since 1824 workers had been allowed to join together in unions, most of which however were small and weak. They demanded reasonable wages and tried to stop bunglers (kontár) from working in their particular trade. Determined employers could still quite easily defeat strikers. In 1834 six farmworkers in a village called Tolpuddle formed a union and were determined to keep to their demands. Their employer found a law by which they could be punished. Although large populations demanded for their pardon (kegyelem), the government, afraid of seeming weak held to the verdict. Tolpuddle became a symbol of employers’ cruelty and the working classes’ need to defend themselves through a strong trade union. As a result of this, unions, workers and radicals put forward the People’s Charter in 1838. The Chartist movement’s aims were the following: Universal suffrage for all men over the age of 21; equal-sized electoral districts; voting by secret ballot; an end to the need for a property qualification for Parliament; pay for members of Parliament; annual election of Parliament. Chartism was possibly the first mass working class movement in the world. Its leaders have often been described as either “physical” or “moral-force” leaders, depending upon their attitudes to violent protest. The Chartists were united for a decade between 1838-48. In April 1848 a mass meeting on Kennington Common was organised by the Chartists to present another petition to Parliament. The Chartists (represented by some 50,000 people) had no intention of staging an uprising and the demonstration was peaceful. In a separate demonstration, rioters in Manchester attempted to storm the hated workhouses that resulted in the Chartists fighting the police. Eventually the mob was broken up, but rioters roamed the streets of Manchester for three days. According to the original plan of the Chartists, if the petition was ignored, they were to create a separate national assembly and press the Queen to dissolve parliament until the charter was introduced into law. However, plagued with indecision the national assembly eventually dissolved itself claiming lack of support. In 1848 Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Budapest and finally Italy erupted into revolution. Britain remained in peace partly due to the skill of prime minister Robert Peel, who believed that changes should be made slowly but steadily. Peel was considered one of the rising stars of the Tory party, first entering the cabinet in 1822 as Home Secretary. In this position he introduced a number of important reforms of British criminal law: most memorably establishing the Metropolitan Police Force (Metropolitan Police Act 1829) for London based at Scotland Yard. The 1,000 constables employed were affectionately nicknamed ‘Bobbies’ or, somewhat less affectionately, ‘Peelers’ (both terms are still used today). Although at first unpopular, they proved very successful in cutting the crime rate in London, and by 1835 all cities in the UK were being directed to form their own police forces. Known as the father of modern policing, Robert Peel developed the Peelian Principles which defined the ethical requirements police officers must follow in order to be effective. According to his most memorable principle “the police are the public, and the public are the police”. As Home Secretary he also changed the Penal code reducing the number of crimes punishable by death. He reformed the gaol (börtön) system, introducing payment for gaolers and education for the inmates (rabok). The Victorian era of the United Kingdom marked the height of the British Industrial Revolution and the high time of the British Empire. Queen Victoria (1837-1901) had the longest reign in British history, and the cultural, political, economic, industrial and scientific changes that occurred during her reign were remarkable. When Victoria came to the throne, Britain was essentially agrarian and rural; upon her death, the country was highly industrialised and connected by an expansive railway network. The first decades of Victoria’s reign witnessed a series of epidemics, crop failures and economic collapses. There were riots over enfranchisement and the repeal (hatályon kívül helyez) of the Corn Laws which were passed in 1846 during the Peel-government. The price of corn in the two decades after 1850 averaged 52 shillings. Due to the development of faster transportation through rail and steamboat and the modernisation of agricultural machinery, the prairie farms of North America were able to export vast quantities of cheap corn. Every corn- growing country decided to increase tariffs in reaction to this, except Britain and Belgium. Peel resigned in 1846, after the repeal narrowly passed, he was replaced by Lord John Russell. Peel had to go because his position as a member of the Tories was weakened, as most of the landowning class – which was hard hit by cheap export corn – were themselves Tories. Yet Peel had no other choice but to do away with the laws, since the power of the manufacturing middle class was growing greater than that of the landed gentry. At this time, Ireland saw the worst of famines. The Great Irish Famine was caused initially by potato blight (burgonyavész), which almost instantly destroyed the primary food source for the majority of the Irish people. Irish tenant farmers, forced into smaller and smaller land holdings, depended too much on potatoes as a food. Ireland was not unique in its single-crop dependency, common among exporting nations. The blight explains the crop failure but the dramatic and deadly effect of the famine was amplified by other factors of economic, political, and social origin. The impact of the Great Famine in Ireland remains unparalleled, in terms of the demographic decline, the Irish population falling by approximately 25 percent in just six years, due to a combination of mortality and mass emigration. Modern historians and statisticians estimate that between 800,000 and 1,000,000 died from disease and starvation. In addition, in excess of one million Irish emigrated to Great Britain, United States, Canada, Australia, and elsewhere, while more than one million emigrated over the following decades. One preconception must be made clear in connection with the emigration: since it was desirable to keep the family farm and land holding intact the families never emigrated together, only younger members of it did. In 1851 Queen Victoria opened the Great Exhibition of Industries of All Nations inside Crystal Palace, London. It exhibited the world the greatness of the British Industry, it was a celebration of iron, the material behind England as an industrial empire. With industrialisation the middle class grew rapidly in the 19th century. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, Britain had a very rigid social structure consisting of three distinct classes: the Church and aristocracy, the middle class, and the working class. The top class was known as the aristocracy. It included the Church and nobility and had great power and wealth. This class consisted of about two percent of the population, who were born into nobility and who owned the majority of the land. It included the royal family, lords spiritual and temporal, the clergy, high-ranking officers of state, and those above the degree of baronet. These people were privileged and avoided taxes. The middle class or bourgeoisie was made up of factory owners, bankers, shopkeepers, merchants, lawyers, engineers, businessmen, traders, and other professionals. These people could be sometimes extremely rich, but in normal circumstances they were not privileged, and they especially resented this. There was a very large gap between the middle class and the lower class. The British lower class was divided into two sections: “the working class” (labourers), and “the poor” (those who were not working, or not working regularly, and were receiving public charity). The lower class contained men, women, and children performing many types of labour, including factory work, seamstressing, chimney sweeping, mining, and other jobs. Both the poorer class and the middle class had to endure a large burden of tax (adóteher). This third class consisted of about eighty-five percent of the population. Victorian era morality is two-sided. Behind the widespread cultivation of an outward appearance of dignity and restraint prevailed such social phenomena as prostitution and child labour. Various social reform movements and high principles arose from attempts to improve the harsh conditions of both children, woman and working man. For the improvement of working conditions in the factories, the working hours were limited (Ten Hours Act). The Bank Holiday Act of 1871 which created a number of fixed holidays which all sectors of society could enjoy. The Victorians were impressed by science and progress, and felt that they could improve society in the same way as they were improving technology. The model town of Saltaire was founded, along with others, as a planned environment with good sanitation (közegészségügy) and many civic, educational and recreational facilities (szabadidőközpont), although it lacked a pub, which was regarded as a focus of dissent. Similar sanitation reforms, prompted by the Public Health Acts 1848 and 1869, were made in the crowded, dirty streets of the existing cities, and soap was the main product shown in the relatively new phenomenon of advertising. Victorians also strove to improve society through many charities and relief organisations such as the Salvation Army, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), and at the same time there were many people such as the nurse, Florence Nightingale trying to reform areas of public life. There were many movements to obtain greater rights for women, but voting rights did not come until the next century. The Married Women’s Property Act 1882 meant that women did not lose their right to their own property when they got married and could divorce without fear of poverty, although divorce was very rare during the 19th century. The Victorians are often credited with having invented childhood. Despite the image of large Victorian families, the trend was towards smaller families, probably because of lower infant mortality rates and longer life spans. Legislation reduced the working hours of children while raising the minimum working age, and the passing of the Education Act 1870 and 1891 set the basis for universal and free primary education, according to which children had to go to school up to the age of fourteen. A driving force behind this latter Act was the recognition that for Britain to remain competitive in the world it must remain at the forefront of manufacture and improvement. Victorian morality that can be summarised by a set of values that promote sexual repression, low tolerance of crime, and a strong social ethic. The social reform spirit soon conquered the world. This could happen thanks to the prominence of the British Empire, the Pax Britannia that also let to the spread of the English language, parliamentary democracy, technology, the British Imperial system of measures, and rules for commodity markets based on English common law. Beside Robert Peel, the most important political figure of the first half of Queen Victoria’s reign was Lord Palmerton. He began his parliamentary career as a Tory and concluded it as a Liberal. He is best remembered for his direction of British foreign policy through a period when the United Kingdom was at the height of its power, serving terms as both Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister. Some of his aggressive actions, now sometimes termed liberal interventionist, caused great controversy at the time. For the first twenty years of his career he remained a subordinate minister without influence on the general policy of the cabinets in which he served, though he was entirely devoted, like his friends Peel and Croker, to the Tory party of the day. Lord Palmerston often went against his own party’s ideas and values, he was a liberal in his sentiments, favourable to the march of technological progress, and entirely opposed to the notion of democratic government in Britain. During his lifetime the two traditional parties, the Tory and the Whig party developed into the Conservatives and the Liberals. With the development of the so called “two party system” parties demanded greater loyalty from their members. The two politicians and prime ministers of Britain that dominated the second half of the 19 th century were Benjamin Disraeli (Conservative) and William Ewart Gladstone (Liberal). Disraeli served in government for three decades, twice as Prime Minister: the first and thus far only prime minister of Jewish parentage to do so. He was the main driving force behind the Reform Act of 1868. The act enfranchised 1,500,000 people by giving the vote to all adult male urban householders and male lodgers paying £10 a year for unfurnished rooms. The Conservatives had virtually doubled the British electorate. Several towns that were previously unrepresented were given MPs, whilst places with a population of less than 10,000 lost an MP. 52 seats were thus redistributed from small towns to the new towns, the growing industrial towns, the northern counties and 1 to the University of London. Disraeli’s first premiership was dominated by the heated debate over the established Church of Ireland. Although Ireland was (and remains) overwhelmingly Roman Catholic, the Protestant Church remained the established church and was funded by direct taxation. His second government introduced various reforms, including the Artisan’s and Labourers’ Dwellings Improvement Act 1875, the Public Health Act (1875), the Sale of Food and Drugs Act (1875), and the Education Act (1876). His government also introduced a new Factory Act aiming to protect workers, the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act (1875) to allow peaceful picketing (sztrájkőrség-állítás), and the Employers and Workmen Act (1878) to enable workers to sue employers in the civil courts if they broke legal contracts. In the 1860s and 1870s, Gladstonian Liberalism was characterised by a number of policies intended to improve individual liberty and loosen political and economic restraints. First was the minimization of public expenditure on the premise that the economy and society were best helped by allowing people to spend as they saw fit. Secondly, his foreign policy aimed at promoting peace to help reduce expenditures and taxation and enhance trade. Thirdly, laws that prevented people from acting freely to improve themselves were reformed. During this administration he first introduced his Home Rule Bill for Ireland. It provided for the formation of a parliament for Ireland. The Bill did not offer Ireland independence, but the Irish Parliamentary Party had not demanded independence in the first place. The Bill was passed by the Commons but rejected by the House of Lords on the grounds that it had gone too far. After this defeat Gladstone resigned. Much of what we know today as modern state was built in the 1860s and 1870s, a period during which democracy grew quickly. Not only in Parliament, but due to the growth of the newspaper industry outside it. A good example of this was the spread of the “Co-operative movement” that consisted of a network of shops that sold goods at fair prices and shared the profit among their members. The number and influence of trade unions and members also grew, Union leaders wished to work within Parliament rather than outside it. It was also during these decades that the machinery of modern government was established and regular civil service (köztisztviselői réteg) started to assist in the running of the country’s affairs. The height of the Victorian era was not only formative period from the point of view of parliamentary democracy but the future of the monarchy as well. Queen Victoria was a popular Sovereign, her family was a model for moral and religious values. She showed the people that despite having lost its political power the monarchy can still be an integral part of the nation. And also to the empire, since Britain was most powerful and recognised on the international level during the Victorian era. For the governments serving under the queen the most important aim was to keep a balance of power around the world and parallel with this strengthen the British influence wherever it could. In May of 1857, the Indian Mutiny, a widespread revolt in India against the rule of the British East India Company, was sparked by sepoys (native Indian soldiers) in the Company’s army. The rebellion, which was put down after a year, involved not just sepoys but many sectors of the Indian population as well. In response to the Mutiny, the East India Company was abolished in August 1858 and India came under the direct rule of the British crown, beginning the period of the British Raj (the term used synonymously for the region, the rule, and the period, from 1858 to 1947, of the British Empire on the Indian subcontinent). Cultural and religious centres were closed down, properties and estates of those participating in the uprising were confiscated. Many existing economic and revenue policies remained virtually unchanged in the post-1857 period, but several administrative modifications were introduced, beginning with the creation in London of a cabinet post, the Secretary of State for India. The governor-general (called viceroy) headquartered in Calcutta, ran the administration in India, assisted by executive and legislative councils. Beneath the governor-general were the governors of Provinces of India, who held power over the division and district officials, who formed the lower rungs of the Indian Civil Service. For decades the Indian Civil Service was the exclusive preserve of the British-born, as were the superior ranks in other professions such as law and medicine. This continued until the 1880s when a small but steadily growing number of native-born Indians, educated in British schools on the Subcontinent or in Britain, were able to assume such positions. British attitudes toward Indians shifted from relative openness to racism, even against those with comparable background and achievement as well as loyalty. British families and their servants lived in accommodation at a distance from Indian settlements. Private clubs where the British gathered for social interaction became symbols of exclusivity and snobbery. The first steps were taken toward self-government in British India in the late 19th century with the appointment of Indian counsellors to advise the British viceroy and the establishment of provincial councils with Indian members. Actually, rule became more and more formal and despite such symbolic overtures, like Queen Victoria’s grandiose title of “Empress of India” (celebrated during Disraeli’s second premiership in the 1870s) did not annihilate the fact that the British share of the world’s export trade declined and the German, American, and French economic competition rose. China has been an important trading partner of the British since the 16th century. As a result of high demand for tea, silk, and porcelain in Britain and the low demand for British commodities in China, Britain had a large trade deficit with China and had to pay for these goods with silver. Britain began illegally exporting opium to China from British India in the 18th century to counter its deficit. The opium trade took off rapidly, and the flow of silver began to reverse. The Chinese Emperor took protective measures and the sale and smoking of opium was banned, mainly because of the large number of addicts. But with the government in Beijing (the north) merchants could not be stopped smuggling opium into the country from the south. The desire for more profit by the British East India Company was satisfied after it had been granted a monopoly on trade with China by the British government. By the 1820s China imported 900 tons of opium from Bengal annually and an overall volume of 1400 tons by 1838. In March of 1839, the Emperor appointed a new strict Confucianist commissioner to control the opium trade at the port of Canton. His first course of action was to enforce the imperial demand that there be a permanent halt to drug shipments into China. The British responded militarily, the British Indian army force arrived in 1840. British military superiority was clearly evident during the armed conflict. British warships caused chaos in coastal towns. In addition, the British troops, armed with modern muskets and cannons, greatly outpowered the Chinese forces. Hong Kong Island was first occupied by British forces during these years, and then formally ceded (átenged) from China at the end of the war. The British established a Crown Colony with the founding of Victoria City the following year. The Second Opium War (1856-1860) was fought for similar reasons and ended with the Convention of Peking, where China – among others – legalized the import of opium, and granted a number of privileges to British (and other Western) subjects within China. After the second war territories in the neighbourhood of Hong Kong were added to the colony. In 1898, Britain obtained a 99-year lease of Hong Kong, which became known as the New Territories and functioned as a free port. In 1875, the Conservative government of Benjamin Disraeli, bought the indebted (eladósodott) Egyptian ruler’s 44% shareholding (részesedés) in the Suez Canal for £4 million to secure control of this strategic waterway, a channel for shipping between the United Kingdom and India. Joint Anglo-French financial control over Egypt ended in outright British occupation in 1882. Next Britain wished to secure control of the Nile valley, leading to the conquest of the neighbouring Sudan in 1896–98 and confrontation with a French military expedition. Fear of Russia’s centuries-old southward expansion was a further factor in British policy. Britain feared that Russia would destroy the balance of power in Europe, and at the same time endanger Britain’s sea and land routes to India. When Russia and the Ottoman Empire clashed in the Crimean War, Britain sided with the Turks in the 1854. In 1878 the United Kingdom took control of Cyprus as a base for action against a possible Russian attack on the Ottoman Empire. Britain also invaded Afghanistan to forestall an increase in Russian influence there. It waged three bloody and unsuccessful wars in Afghanistan, as popular rebellions, invocations of jihad and impenetrable terrain frustrated British objectives. The First Anglo-Afghan War led to one of the most disastrous defeats of the Victorian military when an entire British army was wiped out by Russian-supplied Afghan tribesmen during the 1842 retreat from Kabul. During the 1890s the United Kingdom adopted the new policy wholeheartedly, quickly emerging as the front-runner in the scramble (hajsza) for tropical African territories. The British were primarily interested in maintaining secure communication lines to India, which led to initial interest in Egypt and South Africa. Once these two areas were secure, it was the intent of British colonialist and head of the privately owned British South Africa Company, Cecil Rhodes, to establish a railway and a telegraph line connecting Cape Town in the south to Alexandria in the north passing through a British Africa covering the continent. His company put pressure on the government for further expansion into Africa. This would result in the colonisation of Kenya, Uganda, Rhodesia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, parts of Cameroon. Not all the land could be taken peacefully. The British fought two wars for South Africa with the Boers (1880-1881 and 1899-1902). Paradoxically, the United Kingdom, the staunch (rendületlen) advocate of free trade, emerged in 1914 with not only the largest overseas empire thanks to its long-standing presence in India, but also the greatest gains in the “scramble for Africa”, reflecting its advantageous position at its inception. Between 1885 and 1914 the United Kingdom took nearly 30% of Africa’s population under its control. The United Kingdom’s empire had already begun its transformation into the modern Commonwealth with the extension of Dominion status to the already self-governing white- colonies of Canada (1867), Australia (1901), New Zealand (1907), Newfoundland (1907), and the newly-created Union of South Africa (1910). Politically these countries no longer depended on Britain, however, accepted the British monarch as their head of state. This transformation prepared the way from Empire to a British “Commonwealth of Nations” in the 20th century. In Wales, Scotland and Ireland significant changes also took place during the second half of the 19th century. In Wales average life expectancy doubled and by 1900 the population grew to over 2 million. From an agricultural society it also transformed into an industrial one due to its rapidly growing coal and steel industry. Population moved into the southeast coast. With the parliamentary reforms Wales was given a new voice, the strong working class soon got rid of the Tories and landowning families as the representatives of their interests. Scotland was likewise transformed into an industrialised area. Around Glasgow and Edinburgh there were vast coal mines and factories producing steel and iron in large quantities, which was the main reason why this part of the land became the centre of shipbuilding industry. The clearances (erdőírtás) on the Highlands continued, but this area never recovered from the collapse of the clan system and was mostly depopulated (elnéptelenedik). In Ireland things were not going as swift, for the majority Catholic population Irish Protestants were a reminder of the English way of rule. The struggle for power in the island thus was inseparable from the struggle between Catholics and Protestants. The large numbers immigrating to America after the great famine at the middle of the century was a serious demographic shock although the immigrants supported financially those who stayed home and later also supported the Irish freedom movement. The 20th Century The Edwardian period or Edwardian era in the United Kingdom is the period from 1901 to 1910, the reign of King Edward VII. It succeeded the Victorian period and is sometimes extended to include the period up to the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, the start of World War I in 1914, or even the end of the war in 1918. Socially, the Edwardian era was the period during which the British class system was at its most rigid, although paradoxically, changes in social thought, particularly the rising interest in socialism, attention to the plight of the poor and the status of women, expressed in, for example, the issue of women’s suffrage, together with increased economic opportunities as a result of rapid industrialization, created an environment in which there could be more social mobility and people would become more liberal. Most of the changes occurred during the premiership of Herbert Henry Asquish (1908-16). His liberal welfare reforms saw the emergence of the modern welfare state in the UK. The reasons for the reforms were: The rise of progressive liberalism within the Liberal Party Extensive research into the poor living conditions and poverty provided statistical evidence for genuine moral concern for the poor The threat from the emerging Labour Party. Socialism was an increasingly popular ideology; if the Liberals did not put forward popular policies, they were in danger of losing votes The condition of soldiers during the Boer War was considered unacceptable. The British government had trouble enlisting enough able-bodied recruits to the British army. Germany and the USA were overtaking Britain as economic powers – the success of social legislation in Bismarck’s Germany made leading Liberals want to put forward similar legislation. As far as reforms concentrating on children were concerned, it became illegal to sell children tobacco and alcohol or to send children begging. Juvenile courts and borstals (javítóintézet) were created instead for young offenders so they did not have to stand in adult courts and go to adult prisons for most offences. Furthermore free medical treatment for school children was introduced and free school meals were made compulsory. Pensions were introduced for the over 70 age-group. The pensions were made intentionally low to encourage workers to make their own provisions for the future. To be eligible (jogosult) you also would have had to live in the country for 20 years or more, so many immigrants could not claim their pensions, or British people who had worked abroad and returned to Britain to retire. Workers were given the right to sick pay and free medical treatment in return for a regular fee, and workers were also given the right to unemployment benefit. Compulsory health insurance was provided for workers earning less than £160 per year. Workers had to pay some money for which the scheme provided sickness benefit, free medical treatment and maternity benefit. The reforms put forward by the Liberals were not at all welcomed by the Conservatives, that dominated the upper house, the House of Lords. A battle emerged between the two Houses that resulted in crises over budget. The crisis however was not only about money, but reform. The Liberals wanted the powers of the Lords weakened so that they could not prevent the will of the Commons from being carried out. In 1911 the Parliament Act asserted the supremacy of the House of Commons by limiting the legislation-blocking powers of the House of Lords (the suspensory veto). Since then, provided the provisions of the Act are met, legislation can be passed without the approval of the House of Lords. One of the reasons for the Irish MPs’ support for the Parliament Act, and the bitterness of the Unionist resistance, was that the loss of the Lords’ veto would make possible Irish Home Rule. This seemed to be realised through the Government of Ireland Act (1914) that intended to provide self-government (“home rule”) for Ireland within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The Act was the first law ever passed by the British parliament that established devolved government in a part of the United Kingdom. With the outbreak of the First World War (Great War) in August 1914 the implementation of the act was postponed for a minimum of twelve months. Subsequent developments in Ireland led to further postponements which meant that the Act never took effect. Events in Ireland took a nasty turn in 1916. Irish nationalists opposed the country’s support for the war effort, believing Irishmen should focus on one closer to hand. In Easter 1916 a rebellion, the Easter Rising, took place in Dublin and there were minor incidents in other parts of Ireland as well. The Rising was an attempt by militant Irish republicans to win independence from Britain by force of arms. It was suppressed after six days of fighting, and its leaders were court-martialled and executed. This event however marked a crucial turning point on the path to attaining self-government. The rising put an end to the democratic-constitutional parliamentary movement to create independence for Ireland and replaced it with a radical physical-force approach. Had the war no started, the situation in Ireland might not have taken this dramatic turn. The danger of war with Germany had been clear from the beginning of the century. Britain could do nothing about this, since it had lost almost all advantage it had over other countries. Germany had greater natural wealth – including iron and coal – and also wheat- producing lands. Britain was also behind in science and technology. This resulted in a shift in the balance of power. This situation forced succeeding governments to make treaties or “understandings of friendship” with France, Japan and Russia. The government also started a programme of building battleships to ensure its upper hand on sea. Without this the island could be brought under blockade and would not have a chance of surviving without food and other essential goods. The situation turned for the worse when in 1914 the Triple Alliance was formed. Britain hoped to stay out of the war, but after Germany attacked Belgium, it immediately declared war. WW I with its modern weapons and the so called trench warfare (lövészárok-háború) caused huge casualties to everyone involved. The most often remembered campaign of the war is known as the Battle of Gallipoli. It was a result of a joint Imperial British and French operation to capture the Ottoman capital of Istanbul and provide a secure sea route for military and agricultural trade with Russian. The attempt failed with heavy casualties on both sides, many of which were caused by sickness and heat. On 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, the British Army endured the bloodiest day in its history, suffering 57,470 casualties and 19,240 dead. The entire offensive cost the British Army almost half a million dead. In 1916 the British government forced men to join the army whether they wanted or not. At the start of the war, the German Empire had cruisers scattered across the globe, some of which were subsequently used to attack Allied merchant shipping. The British Royal Navy systematically hunted them down, though not without some embarrassment from its inability to protect allied shipping. Soon after the outbreak of hostilities, Britain initiated a naval blockade of Germany. The strategy proved effective, cutting off vital military and civilian supplies, although this blockade violated generally accepted international law codified by several international agreements of the past two centuries. The 1916 Battle of Jutland developed into the largest naval battle of the war, after which the British asserted their control of the sea. After the US joining in the war the strength of the Central Power was crushed. From the British point of view WWI was won at a too great price. Not only did millions of its citizens lie dead or wounded, 40 % of its merchant ships were sunk by German U-boots. An important political development in Britain during the first two decades of t 20th century was the growth of the Labour Party. The Labour Party’s origins lie in the late 19th century increase of the urban proletariat and the extension of the franchise to working-class males, when it became apparent that there was a need for a political party to represent the interests and needs of those groups. Some members of the trade union movement became interested in moving into the political field, and after the extensions of the franchise in 1867 and 1885, the Liberal Party endorsed some trade-union sponsored candidates. In addition, several small socialist groups had formed around this time with the intention of linking the movement to political aims. In 1899 the Trade Union Congress called together for allying all the left-wing organisations and formed them into a single body which would sponsor Parliamentary candidates. The Labour Representation Committee (LRC) was created with Ramsay MacDonald as elected Secretary. In the 1906 election, the LRC won 29 seats and in their first meeting after the election, the group’s Members of Parliament decided to adopt the name “The Labour Party”. Support grew further during the 1910–1914 period along with an unprecedented level of industrial action with seamen, rail workers, cotton workers, coal miners, dock workers and many other groups all organising strikes. This was called the period of “Great Unrest” with many sympathy strikes also occurring. Labour’s electoral base resided in the industrial areas of Northern England, the Midlands, central Scotland and Wales. Party membership was often working-class but also included many middle-class radicals, former liberals and socialists especially in London and the South of England. Ramsay MacDonald became Prime Minister in January 1924 and formed the first ever Labour government and at the same time the Liberal party almost completely disappeared, some of its members joined the Labours, others the Conservatives. Parallel with the coming into power of socialist ideas the woman’s suffrage movement also gained power. It is important to note that the movement was primarily run by middle class women, particularly the unmarried ones, who – frustrated by their social and economic situation – sought an outlet in which to start change. Their struggles for change within society, along with the work of such advocates for women’s rights as John Stuart Mill, were enough to spearhead a movement that would encompass mass groups of women fighting for suffrage. Mill had first brought the idea of women’s suffrage up in the platform he presented to British electors in 1865 and although tried hard, did not succeed to include votes for woman in the 1867 Reform Bill. By 1912 their campaign reached its height as suffragettes carried out direct actions like chaining themselves to railings, setting fire to the contents of mailboxes, smashing windows and on occasions setting off bombs––when imprisoned they went on hunger strikes. During World War I, a serious shortage of able- bodied men occurred, and women were required to take on many of the traditional male roles. This meant that their wish could not be ignored any longer. Political movement towards women’s suffrage began during the war and in 1918, the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed an act granting the vote to women over the age of 30 who were householders, the wives of householders, occupiers of property with an annual rent of £5, and graduates of British universities. Finally, women in the United Kingdom achieved a right to vote on the same terms as men in 1928. Once women above 21 could vote, many people thought that they have gained full and equal rights. In reality their long battle for equal treatment and respect both at the workplace and at home still carries on. After the Eastern Rising was put down by the British, the Sinn Féin became the dominant voice of Irish Nationalism. The party won the majority of seats in the 1918 general elections. The long-standing demand for home rule had been replaced among Nationalists by a demand for complete independence. It was in such atmosphere that he Fourth Home Rule Bill passed legislation in Britain. The Act divided Ireland into two territories, Southern Ireland and Northern Ireland, each intended to be self-governing except in areas specifically reserved to the Parliament of the United Kingdom: chief amongst these were matters relating to the Crown, to defence, foreign affairs, international trade, and currency. The Anglo–Irish Treaty of 1921 between the Government of the United Kingdom and representatives of the de facto Irish Republic established an Irish dominion, known as the Irish Free State, within the British Empire and provided Northern Ireland an option to opt out of the Irish Free State, which it duly exercised. Having been given self government, Northern Ireland government under successive prime ministers practiced a policy of wholesale discrimination against the nationalist/ Roman Catholic minority. In the southern, Catholic counties a minority opposed the treaty, on the grounds that it did not create a fully independent state, or a republic, that it imposed an oath of fidelity to the British monarch on Irish parliamentarians and that it established the partition of the island. Their leader De Valera led the country into a bloody, 2 year long civil war between pro and anti-treaty sides. In 1937 the new “Constitution of Ireland” came into effect, renaming the Irish Free State to simply “Ireland”. The new state was not yet a republic, the British monarch continued to reign theoretically, but was only used as an ‘agent’ in international and diplomatic relations. After WWI veterans returned to a country that where economic hardship were very much present. The war meant many decades of accumulated wealth go up in smoke. Government control of the economy and increased taxation of the individual followed. No wonder that so did strikes. The General Strike of 1926 lasted nine days and turned out to be an unsuccessful attempt to force the government to act to prevent wage reduction and worsening conditions for coal miners. It ended because it was by no means a general strike, since the middle classes kept essential services running. For several months the miners continued to maintain resistance, but by October 1926 hardship forced many men back to work. The effect on the British coal-mining industry was profound. By the late 1930s, employment in mining had fallen by more than one-third from its pre-strike peak, but productivity had rebounded from under 200 tons produced per miner to over 300 tons by the outbreak of the Second World War. The Great Depression of 1929-36 broke out at a time when Britain was still far from having recovered from the effects of WWI more than a decade earlier. Economic output fell by 25% between 1918 and 1921 and did not recover until the end of the Great Depression. A major cause of financial instability, which preceded and accompanied the Great Depression, was the debt which many European countries had accumulated to pay for their involvement in the war. This debt destabilised many European economies as they tried to rebuild during the 1920s. During this decade the British economy became more dependent upon exports, and more vulnerable to any decline in world markets. The 1920s saw the development of new industries such as the motor industry and the electrical industry, but British products in these fields were not usually sufficiently advanced to compete in world markets, and so British products largely served the domestic market. MacDonald’s Labour Party was not radical in economic thinking, and was wedded to the orthodoxy of Victorian classical economics, with its emphasis on maintaining a balanced budget at any cost. In October 1929 the Stock Market Crash in New York was the precursor (kiváltó ok) of the Great Depression. The ensuing American economic collapse swept across the globe. World trade contracted, prices fell and governments faced financial crisis as the supply of American credit dried up. Many countries adopted an emergency response to the crisis by erecting trade barriers and tariffs, which worsened the crisis by further hindering global trade. The effects of the crises on the industrial areas of Britain were immediate and devastating, as demand for British products collapsed. By the end of 1930 unemployment had more than doubled, and exports had fallen in value by 50%. Government revenues contracted as national income fell, while the cost of assisting the jobless rose. The industrial areas were hardest hit, along with the coal mining districts. The Government reacted with public-sector wage cuts and large cuts in public spending (notably in payments to the unemployed) to avoid incurring a budget deficit (költsgvetési hiányt okoz). The junior government minister, Oswald Mosley, proposed that the government should take control of banking and exports, as well as increase pensions to boost purchasing power. Although this would have been the proper approach to the crisis, his idea was turned down. It was only following Britain’s devaluation of the pound that British export prices became more competitive on world markets. This led to a modest economic recovery and a fall in unemployment from 1933. Although the overall picture for the British economy in the 1930s was bleak, the effects of the depression were uneven. Some parts of the country and some industries were hit better than others. Although in London and the south east of England unemployment was initially as high as 15%, the later 1930s were a prosperous time in these areas, as a house building boom was fuelled by the low interest rates. The south was also the home of new developing industries such as the electrical industry, which prospered from the large-scale electrification of housing and industry. Mass production methods brought new products such as electrical cookers, washing machines and radios into the reach of the middle classes, and the industries which produced these prospered. Other parts of the country, such as south Wales, experienced mass unemployment and poverty. The north was also hit so hard: industries of primary importance, such as coal, steel and shipbuilding were smaller, less modern and efficient and over-staffed compared to continental rivals. In severely depressed parts of the country, the government enacted a number of policies to stimulate growth and reduce unemployment, including road building, loans to shipyards and tariffs on steel imports. These policies helped but were not, however, on a sufficiently large scale to make a huge impact on unemployment levels. The development of the motor industry – mainly concentrated in the Midlands – meant more of a remedy. It was result of the Great Depression that political radicalism started to govern in some countries (Germany, Italy, Austria, and Spain). This was coupled by a sweeping build-up of the military in these countries and. By 1937 British industry was producing weapons, aircraft and equipment for war with help of money from the US. Although the allied powers created the League of Nations to act in such strained international situations it was itself ineffective. The League’s goals included disarmament, preventing war through collective security, settling disputes between countries through negotiation, diplomacy and improving global welfare. The League lacked an armed force of its own and so depended on the Great Powers to enforce its resolutions, keep to economic sanctions which the League ordered, or provide an army, when needed, for the League to use. However, they were often very reluctant to do so. After a number of notable successes and some early failures in the 1920s, the League ultimately proved incapable of preventing aggression by the Axis Powers in the 1930s. The philosophy of managing international affairs was quite similar in Britain. As with many in Europe who had witnessed the horrors of the First World War and its aftermath, prime minister Neville Chamberlain (1937-1940), was committed to peace at any price short of war. Chamberlain – as even his political detractors admitted – was an honourable man, raised in the old school of European politics. He hoped to deal with Nazi Germany through diplomatic channels and handle any sign of dissent from within, particularly from Churchill. His legacy is marked by his policy regarding the appeasement of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany regarding the concession of Czechoslovakia to Hitler, marked by the Munich Agreement in 1938. Chamberlain believed passionately in peace for many reasons, thinking it his job as Britain’s leader to maintain stability in Europe. Like many people in Britain and elsewhere, he thought that the best way to deal with Germany’s assertiveness was to treat it with kindness and meet its demands. He also believed that the leaders of men are essentially rational beings, and that Hitler must necessarily be rational as well. Many of his contemporaries (e.g. Churchill) believed that he pursued the policy of appeasement (megbékítés) far longer than was justifiable. Still, the policy of keeping the peace had broad support; had the Commons wanted a more aggressive prime minister, Winston Churchill would have been the obvious choice. Even after the outbreak of war, it was not clear that the invasion of Poland need lead to a general conflict. With the resignation of Chamberlain (May 1940) the fighting spirit returned to British politics. After the outbreak of the Second World War, Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty. Following Chamberlain’s resignation, he became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in May 1940 and led Britain to victory against the Axis powers. His speeches were a great inspiration to the embattled Allied forces. Churchill’s greatest achievement was his refusal to capitulate when defeat seemed imminent, and he remained a strong opponent of any negotiations with Germany throughout the war. Few others in the Cabinet had the same degree of resolve. By adopting a policy of no surrender, Churchill kept democracy alive in the UK and created the basis for the later Allied counter-attacks of 1942-45, with Britain serving as a platform for the supply of Soviet Union and the liberation of Western Europe. His good relationship with Franklin D. Roosevelt secured vital food, oil and munitions via the North Atlantic shipping routes. It was for this reason that Churchill was relieved when Roosevelt was re-elected in 1940. By the summer of 1940 the United Kingdom was the only remaining opposing force in Europe. Germany began to prepare Operation Sealion, the invasion of Britain and the annihilation of the British Army, whose heavy weapons and supplies had been lost at Dunkirk. The Germans then attempted to gain air superiority by destroying the Royal Air Force (RAF) using the Luftwaffe. The ensuing air war in the late summer of 1940 became known as the Battle of Britain. The Luftwaffe initially targeted military infrastructure and radar stations, but later Hitler switched to the bombing British cities, an offensive which became known as The Blitz. Meanwhile The Royal Navy became severely stretched, having to remain stationed in the English Channel to protect against a German invasion. Although the war begun as a traditional European struggle, it quickly became worldwide. Both sides wanted to control the oil reserves of the Middle East and the Suez Canal, Britain’s route to India. In 1941 Japan, Germany’s ally, attacked British colonial possessions, including Malaysia, Burma and India. All except Ireland declared a state of hostility with Germany from among the countries possessing the British Dominion status. As a result, Britain used soldiers from all parts of its empire to help fight against Germany. In the summer of 1941, the Soviet Union entered the war on the side of the Allies, but they lost much of their equipment and manufacturing base in the first few weeks following the German invasion. Although a strong anti-communist he maintained good relations with the Soviet-Union and soon British supplies and tanks were flowing to help the Red Army. When the United States entered the war that December 1941, the Allied production of mass- produced ships, improved antisubmarine warfare tactics, sea route patrols with long range attack aircrafts, and ever-improving technology led to increasing U-boot losses on the part of Germany and more supplies getting through. This allowed for the massive supply build up in the United Kingdom needed for the eventual invasion of Western Europe. By the spring of 1944, the Allied preparations for the invasion of France and the initial stages for the liberation of Western Europe (Operation Overlord) were complete. They had assembled over 2 million men, of which 1.3 million were Americans, 600,000 were British and the rest Canadian, Free French and Polish. The invasion, code-named Operation Neptune but commonly referred to as D-Day, was set for June 5th but bad weather postponed the invasion to June 6, 1944. In the next year the Allied bombings of German towns did exceptionally large damage to the economy and the morale of the people, leading to surrender in the May of 1945. Although half of the number of men died in WWII than in the previous war, the casualties were sky high. Britain had to pay a heavy price for the mistakes of the inter-war year. The rise of anti-colonial nationalist movements in British colonies and the changing economic situation of the world in the first half of the 20th century challenged an imperial power now increasingly preoccupied with issues nearer home. The Empire’s end began with the onset of the Second World War, when a deal was reached between the British government and the leaders of the Indian independence movement, whereby the Indians would co-operate and remain loyal during the war, after which they would be granted independence. India was granted independence in August of 1947. Over the next two decades most of the former colonies would become independent. The United Kingdom’s efforts during World War II left the country all but exhausted and found its former allies unwilling to support the colonial status quo. Though the United Kingdom and its Empire emerged victorious from World War II, the economic costs of the war were far greater than those of World War I. The United Kingdom was heavily bombed and the submarine war cost the Empire almost its entire merchant fleet. The United Kingdom’s already weakened commercial and financial leadership were further undermined, heightening the importance of the Dominions and the United States as a source of military assistance. In the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, post-war decolonisation was accomplished in the face of increasingly powerful (and sometimes mutually conflicting) nationalist movements, with Britain rarely fighting to retain any territory. Burma achieved independence (1948) outside the Commonwealth; Burma being the first colony to sever all ties with the British with Ceylon (1948) to follow. The end of the United Kingdom’s Empire in Africa came with exceptional rapidity, often leaving the newly-independent states ill-equipped to deal with Sovereignty: Ghana was the first (1957) and Swaziland the last (1968). The United Kingdom retains Sovereignty over fourteen territories outside of the British Isles, collectively named the British overseas territories. British Sovereignty of two of the overseas territories, Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands, is disputed by their nearest geographical neighbours, Spain and Argentina respectively. Most former British colonies are members of the Commonwealth of Nations, a non-political, voluntary association of equal members, in which the United Kingdom has no privileged status. Although often marked by economic and political nationalism, the Commonwealth offers the United Kingdom a voice in matters concerning many developing countries, and is a forum for those countries to raise concerns. Notable non-members of the Commonwealth are Ireland, the USA and the former middle-eastern colonies and protectorates. In addition, the Commonwealth helps preserve many institutions deriving from British experience and models, such as Westminster-style parliamentary democracy, in those countries. The status of the United Kingdom changed in another sense too. Although it was influential at the time the “Atlantic Charter” – a document of the post-war world order guaranteeing freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from fear, and freedom from want – was put together and also played a rule in the formation in the United Nations and the Security Council, the emergence of the cold war bipolarised both Europe and the world likewise. Britain joined the NATO and although it became more fearful of Soviet intentions, it was also unhappy with the forceful attitude of its ally, the U.S. One thing is sure, unlike these two countries Britain did not become a superpower. For a long time in the mid-century, Britain lacked any interest in the European Common Market (European Community). After the loss of its colonies and imperial power it could no longer neglect European affairs, its main market has become the E.C., which it hoped to join from the early 1960s with little success. Finally it became a member state in 1973. At the end of the war many reforms were introduced, both by Conservatives and Labour Party ministers. Most of them agreed that there were social wrongs in the life of the country which had to be handled somehow. Both parties moved politically to the left and concentrated on social rights (e.g. education, free health care, old age pension, unemployment benefit). The 1950s saw the rise of a universal welfare state, a social democracy. Both parties agreed on most of the basic values, and disagreed mainly over methods. The Labour government also took control of the credit, the power and the transportation industries. This is called nationalization, which was nevertheless less successful than hoped. Workers in the nationalised industries did not feel involved and strikes were just as frequent as in the private sector. By the 1960s Britain was more “youthful” than ever, youth culture was booming and young people began to question the authority of the values their parents shared. They particularly rebelled against the rigid sexual rules of Christian society. Many lived a family life without getting married, the number of divorces also rose. A permissive society had been created, although it had numerous critics. By the end of the 1960s the situation in Northern Ireland grew into a crisis. For decades Ireland had been a self-governing province, but its government was controlled by Protestants, who feared the Catholic republicans and kept them out of responsible positions. In 1969 republican protesters flooded the streets and demanded equal rights and a fairer system. This later turned into a nationalist rebellion against the British Rule. The British army arrived to Northern Ireland in 1969 to protect nationalists from attack, and was warmly welcomed. However, the murder of thirteen unarmed civilians in 1972 in Londonderry by British soldiers (AKA “Bloody Sunday”) inflamed the situation and turned northern nationalists against the British Army. The appearance of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) and a campaign of violence by loyalist terror groups like the Ulster Defence Association and others brought Northern Ireland to the brink of Civil War. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, extremists on both sides carried out a series of brutal mass murders, often on innocent civilians. Among the most notorious outrages were the Le Mon bombing and the bombings in Enniskillen and Omagh. Some British politicians advocated British withdrawal from Ireland, but this policy was opposed by successive Irish governments, who called their prediction of the possible results of British withdrawal the Doomsday Scenario, with widespread communal strife, followed by the mass exodus of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children as refugees to their community’s ‘side’ of the province; nationalists fleeing to western Northern Ireland, unionists fleeing to eastern Northern Ireland. The worst fear was of a civil war which would engulf not just Northern Ireland, but the neighbouring Republic of Ireland and Scotland both of whom had major links with either or both communities. By the 1990s, the failure of the IRA campaign to win mass public support or achieve its aim by British Withdrawal was evident. A long decade of negotiation began producing in 1998 the so called “Good Friday Agreement” which was approved by a majority of both communities in Northern Ireland and by the people of the Republic of Ireland, where the constitution was amended to replace a claim it allegedly made to the territory of Northern Ireland with a recognition of Northern Ireland’s right to exist, while also acknowledging the nationalist desire for a united Ireland. The agreement contained the principle that the constitutional future of Northern Ireland should be determined by the majority vote of its citizens. It furthermore committed all parties to use “exclusively peaceful and democratic means”. Over the course of the 20th century, the population of Wales increased from just over 2 million in 1901 to 2.9 million in 2001, but the process was not linear – 430,000 people left Wales between 1921 and 1940 largely owing to the economic depression of the 1930s. In this era, most incomers settled in the expanding industrial areas, contributing to a partial Anglicisation of some parts of south and east Wales. The proportion of the Welsh population able to speak the Welsh language fell from just under 50% in 1901 to 43.5% in 1911, and continued to fall to a low of 18.9% in 1981. Tied as it was to the health of the British Empire, Scotland suffered after the First World War as it had gained beforehand. In the Highlands, which had provided a disproportionate (aránytalan) number of recruits for the army, a whole generation of young men were lost, and many villages and communities suffered greatly. In the Lowlands, particularly Glasgow, poor working and living conditions led to industrial and political unrest. In the Second World War naval bases and infrastructure in Scotland were primary German targets. The shipyards and heavy engineering factories in Glasgow played a key part in the war effort, and suffered attacks from the Luftwaffe. After World War II, Scotland’s economic situation became progressively worse due to overseas competition, inefficient industry, and industrial disputes. This only began to change in the 1970s, partly due to the discovery and development of North Sea oil and gas and partly as Scotland moved towards a more service-based economy. This period saw the emergence of the Scottish National Party and movements for both Scottish independence and more popularly devolution (jogkör átruházás). However, a referendum on devolution in 1979 was unsuccessful. In 1997, the Blair Labour government again held a referendum on the issue of devolution. A positive outcome led to the establishment of a devolved Scottish Parliament in 1999. From the late sixties and early seventies Britain started to fall behind economically. Prices grew rapidly and so did unemployment. Many believed that the immigrants were behind these unfavourable changes. Most of the immigrants arrived from the West Indies, later from Pakistan and East Africa. Thy settled in poor areas of large industrial cities. They were willing to do dirty or unpopular work. However the relationship between black and white populations was not easy. Just like woman in the past, they were not treated as equals. They would have to fight hard to win the same pay and work opportunities as white men. Laws were passed to prevent unequal treatment of coloured people and soon the state started to control the number of immigrants coming to Britain. Yet the problem was no longer the new immigrants but the second generation immigrants, who were born in Britain and seeing no advancement in their serious physical and economic situation and low living standard and condition started riots in Liverpool, Bristol and London. Another face of the social unrest was the emerging football hooliganism, a phenomenon that strengthened in the eighties, during Thatcherism. Mrs Margaret Thatcher was British Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990. As the first female and the longest serving Prime Minister of the twentieth century, Thatcher brought with her a completely new ideology and policies which were distinct just as her controversial style of leadership. However, unlike previous prime ministers, Thatcher had a significant impact on British politics as she was elected to power with a set of ideas that were not widely held by anyone else. She then used her power to push forward her personal agenda in the face of resistance from many areas such as public opinion, Whitehall, Cabinet, Parliament and social institutions such as universities and Trade Unions. Despite this resistance, she managed to pass much of her legislation and have many of her ideas accepted onto the political agenda. It is hard to understand just how much an impact Thatcher had on British politics unless it is compared to similar experiences in other Western democracies. With the exception of France, every country elected a right-wing party to power at the beginning of the 1980s. Together with the USA, where the Republicans returned to power in 1981, the New Right seemed to dominate in the world politics. The New Right occurred in the 1960s and manifested its agenda through Reagan and Thatcher in the 1980s and was perceived as an attack on traditional conservatism, which was seen to be betraying its principles by moving towards collectivism and undermining economic liberty. Also, it was against freedoms gained in the 1960s which Thatcher government saw as the seed of the problems which have occurred during the 1970s. Thatcher brought with her an ideological break with the past and a large project to change nearly every aspect of Britain in the belief that it would make the country great again. The Thatcher administrations have, at one and the same time been pro-active and prescriptive while also seeking to roll back the frontiers of the state. A whole battery of new measures and agencies have been used to increase central policy direction and control over local government while, at the same time, the rhetoric has involved an appeal to expanded consumer choice; to curbing and rationalising state power. Thatcherism was also distinctly anti-socialist, as it introduced monetarism with the strict control of public spending. Also the control of inflation without regarding the social consequences which led to massive unemployment signalled what Thatcherism saw as true Conservatism – a return to Nineteenth Century liberalism. During her premiership unemployment, which had been rising mildly throughout the late 1970s, nearly tripled during her first two terms (from 1,100,000 to 3,000,000). Though the Conservative Party’s parliamentary majority was large, it won with only a little over 40 percent of the vote in 1987; that figure reflected the lowest share of the vote for the Conservatives since 1922. Also, Thatcherism put a strong emphasis on populism as it praised the spirit of the middle-class values as the spirit of national greatness. Yet, Thatcherism also showed the true nature of the Conservative Party, which is the protection of property rights and all the assumptions and value judgements which have evolved as a coherent political ideology to protect the interests of property owners. Throughout her terms Thatcher pursued the policies that earned her the nickname of ‘Iron Lady’ because of her strict dominance over the ministers of her cabinet; the continuation of a strong monetarist policy; increased subjection of trade unions to legal constraints; and ‘privatisation’ of state-owned enterprises. She was strongly opposing further UK integration into Europe maybe as a way to preserve her powers (although she liked the idea of the single European market and free trade), while concentrating on the special relationship with the United States. Thatcher’s second government in 1983 which begun on an optimistic and victorious atmosphere just after the Falkland war, was soon struck with the Miners Strike in 1984. The miners went on strike to protest the closing of many pits which deemed unprofitable and this bitterness caused by the strike and the insensitivity of the government to their demands deeply divided the whole of British society. This may be the reason why the Conservatives won three consecutive elections under Thatcher – not only because the general public supported her political agenda, but rather because there was no realistic opposition against her. Nevertheless, Thatcher’s downfall came from her own party in 1990. After much controversy over Thatcher’s tax policy and over her reluctance to commit the United Kingdom to full economic integration with Europe inspired a strong challenge to her leadership, with her failure to support agreed party policies on Europe attracting severe criticism. Her failure in creating Poll Tax even resulted in demonstrations during 1989- 1990. This was soon followed by a leadership ballot which failed to secure her a convincing majority. She soon resigned and was succeeded by John Major who also won the next elections.
Pages to are hidden for
"History of the British Isles"Please download to view full document