The history of the United Kingdom spans over 5,000 years, from the Stone Age to the present day. The UK is made up of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The earliest human settlement in the UK dates back to 800,000 BC.
The first major civilization in the UK was that of the Celts, who established communities across much of the country by the time of the Roman invasion in 43 AD. The Romans conquered much of Britain, but were eventually pushed back by the Anglo-Saxon invasions of the 5th and 6th centuries.
In the 9th century, the Vikings invaded and occupied parts of England, Scotland and Ireland. However, by the 10th century, they had been driven back by the Anglo-Saxons and the Norman Conquest.
The Norman Conquest saw William the Conqueror take control of England in 1066. The Normans established their rule over England, and later extended it to parts of Wales and Scotland.
In the 13th and 14th centuries, the UK saw the rise of powerful monarchs such as Edward I and Edward III. This period also saw the Black Death, which killed up to a third of the country’s population.
The 16th century saw the reigns of powerful monarchs such as Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. It was a time of great change, with the English Reformation and the establishment of the Church of England, as well as the rise of colonialism and the start of exploration and trade with other countries.
By the 18th century, Britain had become a leading world power, with a vast empire that spanned the globe. The Industrial Revolution brought unprecedented economic growth, and the country’s economy boomed.
The 20th century saw two world wars, which had a profound impact on the UK. In the aftermath of World War II, Britain’s empire began to shrink, and the country faced economic and social challenges. However, it remained a major global power, and it continues to be an important player on the world stage today.