The British Empire Timeline
Timeline Description: The British Empire, also known as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, was once the largest empire in the world. It is a constitutional monarchy run by a parliamentary system. The British Empire is seen as a symbol of strength, courage, and dignity, and it ranks as one of the 10 largest economies in the world.

Date Event
700 B.C. Beginnings (700 B.C. - 500 A.D.).

The Celts settle on the British Isles around 700 B.C. Around 55 B.C. Roman Emperor Julius Caesar tries to invade the island, but fails. In 43 B.C., however, Emperor Claudius sends soldiers for another attempt. This time the invasion is a success. The Romans stay on Britain for about 400 years.
410 A.D. From Romans to raiders (Around 410 - 597 A.D.).

With the fall of Rome in 410, many Romans leave Britain. The Angles, Saxons, and Jutes come and settle, eventually merging into the Anglo-Saxons with a common language. In 597 Augustine comes to convert the people to Christianity. All kings will be Christian within 100 years.
840 A.D. The Danes and Alfred the Great (840 - 899 A.D.).

The Danes are on the move around 840,taking land in the east. The Anglo-Saxon king, Alfred the Great, takes back the land. Then he makes a treaty with the Danes, giving them a portion of land with distinct boundaries.
1066 A.D. Norman conquest.

Harold Godwin inherits Edward the Confessor's throne, but Duke William of Normandy wants it. William defeats Harold at the Battle of Hastings and becomes king. He is crowned William the Conqueror on Christmas Day, 1066.
1086 A.D. Feudal system and a survey.

The feudal system is introduced. Portions of land are given to barons or lords in exchange for help in time of need. The land is worked by peasants who receive food and protection. William conducts a survey itemizing people, land, and animals. The Domesday Book is published in 1086.
1154 A.D. Henry II and King Richard (1154 - 1199 A.D.).

Henry II comes to power. He introduces trial by jury, a system that takes power away from the Roman Catholic Church. When Henry dies, Richard, known as the Lion-Hearted, rules, but he spends most of his time fighting in the Crusades.
1199 A.D. King John and the Magna Carta (1199 - 1215 A.D.).

Richard's brother John becomes king, but he abuses his powers. A group of barons force him to sign a document called the Magna Carta to acknowledge that no one, not even a king, is above the law.
1491 A.D. King Henry VIII (1491 - 1547 A.D.).

King Henry VIII starts to rule in 1509. When he has no sons, he asks the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church for a divorce from his wife so he can remarry, but he is denied. Henry doesn't want the Pope to tell him what to do. He separates from Rome, making himself head of the Church of England.
1533 A.D. Queen Elizabeth I (1533 - 1603 A.D.).

The British Empire flourishes under Queen Elizabeth I, who begins to rule in 1558. She encourages exploration and trade. In 1588, after the Spanish Armada is defeated by the Royal Navy, England now rules the seas.
1620 A.D. Pilgrims sail to America.

In order to practice their faith freely, a group of Separatists board the Mayflower and set sail from England to America. These Pilgrims establish the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts.
1642 A.D. Civil war and leadership (1642 - 1658 A.D.).

King Charles I dissolves Parliament. Conflicts lead to a civil war. Parliament member Oliver Cromwell has the king executed and a Commonwealth is formed. Cromwell becomes Lord Protector until his death in 1658.
1707 A.D. Scotland and England unite.

Scotland and England are two distinct countries. They unite, however, in 1707 when the English Parliament and the Scottish Parliament sign the Acts of Union. They are now the United Kingdom.
1750 The Industrial Revolution (Mid 1700s).

Starting into the mid 1700s and increasing through the 1800s, the Industrial Revolution is a time when machines are invented to help mass produce products. More people move into towns as the need for workers arise.
1783 A.D. American Independence (1776 - 1783 A.D.).

The colonies of America want their freedom from England and are willing to fight for it. They declare their independence in 1776. After a long battle, Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown in 1781, but the war isn't official until the Treaty of Paris is signed in 1783.
1819 A.D. Queen Victoria (1819

1901 A.D.)=Queen Victoria comes to power in 1837. The period of time she rules is called the Victorian Era, known for its social changes, empire expansion, and artistic styles. Victoria reigns for 64 years.
1914 A.D. World War I (1914-1918 A.D.).

Great Britain enters the war to help France. By the end of the war over 700,000 soldiers have died. The fighting has taken a toll on the country and its finances. England is no longer the number one nation in the world.
1939 A.D. World War II (1939 - 1945 A.D.).

When Adolf Hitler invades Poland, Britain and France declare war. In 1940 Hitler conducts a British invasion by bombing airfields and towns. The British fight back with their air force. Hitler backs down, but continues to bomb London and other towns in raids known as the Blitz.
1940 A.D. Churchill takes over (1940 - 1945 A.D.).

Winston Churchill becomes prime minster. He uses England to stage an invasion against Hitler. British, U.S., Canadian, and other troops cross the English Channel on June 6, 1944, converging on the beaches of Normandy. France is quickly liberated. In less than a year Hitler is defeated.
1953 A.D. Queen Elizabeth II.

On June 2, 1953, Queen Elizabeth II is crowned in Westminster Abbey. Her coronation is the first one to be shown on television.
1962 A.D. The Beatles and Queen Elizabeth (1962 - 1965 A.D.).

In November 1963 the Beatles perform live at the Royal Variety Performance in front of the Queen. In June 1965 the Queen honors the group by making them members of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Paul McCartney is later knighted by the Queen in 1997.
1968 A.D. Then and beyond.

Anti-Vietnam war sympathizers stage a protest outside the U.S. Embassy in London. Police are called to keep the peace. In 1969 Queen Elizabeth II names her heir by declaring her son Charles, the Prince of Wales. The future king is a humanitarian and environmentalist at heart. The British Empire has been a major player in the events of the world for more than a millennium, and its influence will continue as long as its people and their love of country endures.






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