Britain was part of the continent of Europe until about 6000
BC. Stone-age people arrived 3000 ago. In the 1st century BC arrived Celts. They
worshipped many gods, and their priests were called druids. They believed the
soul is immortal and offered human sacrifices.
England was added to the Roman Empire in 43 AD, the Romans army was lead by Julius Caesar. The Romans built camps, fortresses and roads. Another Roman emperor, Hadrian, made on the border between today's Scotland and England a wall as a protection against the invasion of the Celtic tribes from the North. In spite of Roman occupation, the old Celtic social system was not completely destroyed and the British language existed side by side with Latin. Trade flourished and Christianity was brought to Britain. Also London was founded by Romans.
After the withdrawal of Roman legions in 5th century waves of the Jutes, Angels and Saxons arrived from German lands. The Roman Empire split at the year 476. They drove Celtic people into the mountains of Wales and Scotland, and fought with the Danes from the 8th to the 11th centuries. Alfred the Great in wanted to unify Anglo-Saxon kings. He was very well educated (as well as our Karl IV.), ha also started to write Anglo-Saxon chronicle, the first prosaic piece. He protected the England but when he died, the Danish King Canute made Britain part of his Scandinavian Empire. His sons were too weak to reign at Britain and it became independent. There were some kings, one of the most important was Edward Confessor. After his death, his immature son became a king. But he was too young, so the most powerful man Anglo-Saxon Herold became a king. In 11th century was the last successful invasion by French speaking Normans led by William, Duke of Normandy, who became William the Conqueror after defeating Harold in the Battle of Hastings in 1066. William was brought up on the court of Edward Confessor and claimed that Edward wanted him to be a king of Britain. William the Conqueror established a strong central government and appointed Norman nobleman to high positions. He made London the capital town and built the Tower of London. In this time the Norman and Anglo-Saxon language and customs merged. They influenced each other.
Henry II gained a piece of French Empire in the South. He made Thomas Becket Archbishop of Canterbury and a few years later he let him executed. He had two sons Richard I, the Lion-Heart, the oldest son. He was killed in a war in France. His brother John I, Lackland is known for two things. He lost almost all the English possessions in France, only the town Calais remained. In conflict with his barons he was forced to sing the Magna Charta - a guarantee of rights and the rule of law. In Magna Charta stood, that nobody can be punished without sending to the trial. The time of Edward I was marked by his wish to win back power from the barons. He joined Wales to England. His son, Edward II., married Isabelle, a daughter of French king. He had a son, Edward III.
The Capulet's dynasty in France died and Edward III. wanted to be a king of France. This led to the Hundred Years˘ War (in the 14th century) and the defeat of England. At first, English won, at Crécy - the Czech king John of Luxemburg was killed there. But then Joan of Arc became a leader of French army. Later she was proclaimed as a witch and was burnt. After this war the English practically lost their power in France.
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