The first settlers probably came to Britain during the Paleolithic age. In the year 43 AD Britain was invaded by the Romans and made a part of the Roman Empire till the year 400 AD. The United Kingdom is presently ruled by Queen Elizabeth-II.
Around 500 AD Christian missionaries arrived in Britain and Christianity spread as a religion. In the last quarter of the 9th century Britain was invaded by the Vikings. The Invasion of Britain by William and Conqueror in 1066 altered the course of British history.
With William’s victory the system of feudalism was abolished. Under this system land was given to powerful Lords and Barons in exchange for which they agreed to remain loyal to the King and fight for him in wars. The United Kingdom is still ruled by the descendants of William the Conqueror.
Also Read: Contributions of Britain to the World
In the year 1215 an agreement called the ‘Magna Carta’ was signed between the noblemen and the King. This agreement ensured that the king would justfully tax the nobles.
In 1282 Wales was conquered by Edward-I and brought under English control.
In the following years British navy grew in might and the British ruled the seas and trade flourished with distant lands. In 1588 the British took on the might of the Spanish Armada and defeated them.
Between 1642 and 1649 there was a civil war between the King and the Parliament in which the king was defeated and executed. For the next nine years the country was ruled as a Republic by Oliver Cromwell, the Parliamentary leader.
Also Read: Phases of British Rule in India
Charles-II however overthrew Cromwell and became king in 1660. In year 1707 Wales, Scotland and England were united and in 1801 Ireland was united to form the United Kingdom. The one of the smallest, the United Kingdom became the most powerful country within fifty years of its formation.
By 1850 the United Kingdom controlled the largest empire in history. The countries controlled by British still form the Commonwealth of Nations.
Also Read:History of India in a Nutshell