The United Kingdom has a long and complex history. Here are some key events and periods:
Prehistory: Archaeological evidence shows that humans have lived in what is now the United Kingdom for tens of thousands of years. The most famous prehistoric monument is Stonehenge, which was built around 2500 BCE.
Roman Britain: The Roman Empire conquered modern-day England and Wales in the 1st century CE. The Romans built roads, cities, and public works, and Latin became the dominant language.
Anglo-Saxon England: After the Romans left Britain in the 5th century, Germanic tribes (Angles, Saxons, and Jutes) migrated to the island and established their own kingdoms. In the 9th century, the Vikings began to raid and settle in England.
Norman Conquest: In 1066, William the Conqueror invaded England and defeated the Anglo-Saxon king Harold. William established Norman rule, which brought French influence to the language and culture.
Middle Ages: The Middle Ages (11th-15th centuries) saw a series of wars, conflicts, and social changes. England became a major power in Europe under the Plantagenet dynasty.
Tudor England: The Tudor dynasty (1485-1603) saw the reigns of Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I. This era was marked by religious conflict (the Church of England was established) and exploration (England began to colonize America).
Civil War and Commonwealth: In the 17th century, England experienced a series of conflicts between the monarchy and Parliament. In 1649, King Charles I was executed and England became a republic, or Commonwealth, under Oliver Cromwell.
Union with Scotland: In 1707, the Acts of Union joined England and Scotland into a single nation, called Great Britain. This also established the British Parliament.
British Empire: In the 18th and 19th centuries, Britain established a global empire, colonizing much of Africa, Asia, and the Americas. The Industrial Revolution transformed Britain’s economy and society.
20th century: Britain was a major player in both World Wars, and the country experienced significant political and social changes after World War II. The National Health Service was established, immigrants from Commonwealth countries came to Britain, and Scotland and Wales gained more autonomy.
Brexit: In modern times, the UK has been embroiled in debates over its relationship with the European Union.