UK History Index
United Kingdom History
Source: U.S. Department of State
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c.5000 BC - Neolithic Period begins: stone axes, antler combs, pottery.
c.2150 BC - Bronze Age begins.
c.2000 BC - Metal objects are widely manufactured in England. Construction begun on the inner
ring of bluestones at Stonehenge.
c.1000 BC - First hill forts appear. Farming takes on industrial scale.
c.750 BC - Iron replaces bronze, Iron Age begins.
c.500 BC - Evidence of the spread of Celtic customs and artefacts across Britain.
c.150 BC - Metal coinage comes into use. Widespread contact with continent.
55 BC - Julius Caesar's first expedition to Britain.
54 BC - Julius Caesar's second expedition.
43 AD - Romans legions under Aulus Plautius land at Richborough (Kent) for a full-scale invasion
of the island.
44 - Incorporation of Britain into the Roman Empire by Emperor Claudius.
63 - Joseph of Arimathea came to Glastonbury on the first Christian mission to Britain.
75-77 - Wales is finally subdued.
122 - Construction of Hadrian's Wall along the northern frontier.
209 - St. Alban, first British martyr, was killed for his faith in one of the few persecutions of
Christians ever to take place on the island, during the governorship of Gaius Junius Faustinus
303 - Diocletian orders a general persecution of the Christians.
306 - Constantine (later to be known as "the Great"), a governor of Britain, proclaimed Emperor
311 - Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire ends.
312 - Constantine defeats and kills Maxentius, in the battle of Milvian Bridge.
313 - Edict of Toleration proclaimed at Milan, in which Christianity is made legal throughout the
324 - Constantine achieves full control over an undivided empire.
337 - Constantine baptised on his deathbed.
369 - Roman general Theodosius drives the Picts and Scots out of Roman Britain
383 - Magnus Maximus (Macsen Wledig), a Spaniard, was proclaimed Emperor in Britain by the
island's Roman garrison. With an army of British volunteers, he quickly conquered Gaul, Spain and
388 - Maximus occupied Rome itself. Theodosius, the eastern Emperor, defeated him in battle and
395 - Theodosius, the last emperor to rule an undivided empire, died, leaving his one son,
Arcadius, emperor in the East and his other son, the young Honorius, emperor in the West.
396 - The Roman general, Stilicho, acting as regent in the western empire during Honorius'
minority, began transfer of military authority from Roman commanders to local British chieftains.
406 - In early January, 406, a combined barbarian force (Suevi, Alans, Vandals & Burgundians)
swept into central Gaul, severing contact between Rome and Britain. In autumn 406, the remaining
Roman army in Britain decided to mutiny. One Marcus was proclaimed emperor in Britain, but was
407 - Constantine III, declared the new emperor by Roman garrison in Britian, crossed with the
remaining legion into Gaul, rendering Britain defenseless, and effectively ending the Roman
authority in Britain.
408 - Britain endures devastating attacks by the Picts, Scots and Saxons.
410 - With the Roman legions having already departed, Emperor Honorius notifies the English that
they are now their own defenders. Rome, in effect, abandons Anglia, precipitating the beginning
of the "dark ages" in Britain.
428 - Vortigern invites a number of Germanic warriors to aid him in consolidating his position in
c.434 - St. Patrick is captured by pirates and taken to Ireland as a slave.
c.440 - St. Patrick escapes from his captors and returns to Britain.
c.440-50 - Civil War and famine in Britain, caused by ruling council's weakness and inability to
deal with Pictish invasions; situation aggravated by tensions between Pelagian/Roman factions.
Vacated towns and cities in ruin. Migration of pro-Roman citizens toward west. Country beginning
to be divided, geographically, along factional lines. King Glywys of Glywysing flourishes in
446 - Britons (probably the pro-Roman party) appeal to Aetius, Roman governor of Gaul, for
military assistance in their struggle against the Picts and the Irish/Scots. No help could be
sent, at this time, as Aetius had his hands full with Attila the Hun.
c.446 - Vortigern authorizes the use of Saxon mercenaries, known as foederati, for the defence of
the northern parts against barbarian attack and to guard against further Irish incursions. The
Saxons are given a little land in Lincolnshire.
c.448 - Civil war and plague ravage Britain.
c.456 - St. Patrick leaves Britain once more to preach in Ireland.
465 - Battle of Wippedsfleet (or Richborough), in which the Britons defeat the Saxons, but with
great slaughter on both sides. The latter are confined to the Isle of Thanet and there is a
respite from fighting "for a long time."
c.465 - 'King' Arthur probably born around this time.
477 - Saxon chieftain, Aelle, lands on Sussex coast with his sons and Saxon coastal holdings are
gradually expanded in Sussex.
c.485-96 - Period of Arthur's "twelve battles" during which he gains reputation for
c.495 - The Germanic King Cerdic and his son, Cynric, land somewhere on the south coast,
establishing the Kingdom of Wessex.
c.496 - The Siege of Mount Badon. Britons, under the command of the "war leader" Arthur, defeat
the Saxons and possibly Cerdic of Wessex.
c.496-550 - Following the victory at Mt. Badon, the Saxon advance is halted with the invaders
returning to their own enclaves. A generation of peace ensues.
519 - Kingdom of the West Saxons (Wessex) founded with Cerdic its first ruler.
549 - "Yellow" Plague hits British territories, causing many deaths, including King Maelgwn of
Gwynedd. Ireland also affected. Saxons, for whatever reason, are unaffected by it.
552 - King Cynric of Wessex defeats the British at Old Sarum and, in 558 at Barbury Castle.
571 - King Cuthwulf of Wessex invades Midland Britain and defeats the British at the Battle of
638 - Edinburgh is besieged by the Angles of Northumbria. Northumbria embraces North Rheged in a
c.645 - Gwynedd and much of Wales is in the grasp of famine.
661 - King Cenwalh of Wessex invades Dumnonia. Saxon settlers found Somerset in Eastern Dumnonia.
662 - Death of King Brochfael of Meirionydd
664 - Plague devastates Gwynedd.
c.680 - St. Boniface educated at a Celtic Christian Monastery in Exeter.
682 - The West Saxons "drove the British [of Dumnonia] as far as the Sea" (possibly around
784 - Construction of Offa's Dyke, the artificial bank and ditch boundary between England and
Wales, is begun at the command of King Offa of Mercia.
c.805 - King Egbert of Wessex formally establishes kingship over the people of Devon after a
gradual integration over many years. Dumnonia is reduced to cover only the Cornish in Cerniw.
838 - The British of Cerniw join forces with the Vikings and attack Saxon Wessex. King Egbert
defeats them at the Battle of Hingston Down.
853 - Mercia and Wessex attack Powys.
877 - The Vikings invade Wales once more and King Rhodri Mawr of Gwynedd, Powys & Seisyllwg is
forced to flee to Ireland.
903 - The Vikings raid Anglesey.
914 - The Vikings harry the Welsh Coast and move up the Severn. They capture Bishop Cyfeilliog of
Ergyng, but are driven out by Saxon levies from Hereford and Gloucester.
899 - Death of King Alfred the Great of Wessex & All England. He is succeeded by his son, Edward.
901 - King Edward the Elder of Wessex takes the title "King of the Angles and Saxons". He is
succeeded by his son, Eric.
902 - The Norsemen are expelled from Dublin.
913 - King Edward the Elder of England recaptures Essex from the Danes.
917 - Lady Aethelflaed of the Mercians cements an alliance with Kings Constantine II of Alba and
Constantine mac Aed of Strathclyde against Norse York. She captures the city of Derby, while her
brother, King Edward the Elder of England, takes Towcester.
918 - Death of King Eric of East Anglia. East Anglia brought under Wessex rule.
919 - Lady Aelfwynn of the Mercians is brought to the court of her maternal uncle, King Edward
the Elder of England, and deprived of her authority in Mercia. King Edward formally annexes the
country. The end of independent Mercian rule.
937 - Battle of Brunanburh: Athelstan defeats alliance of Scots, Strathclyde Britons and Vikings,
and takes the title of "King of all Britain"
c.955 - Archbishop Oda of Canterbury rebuilds Canterbury Cathedral.
975 - Edward the Martyr, son of Edgar, King of England (to 978).
980 - The Danes renew their raids on England attacking Chester and Southampton. Manx Vikings led
by King Godfred I ally themselves with Prince Custennin of Gwynedd and raid Anglesey and the
Lleyn Peninsula. Custennin is killed.
c.988 - Manx Vikings, under King Godfred I, ravage Anglesey.
991 - Battle of Maldon: Byrhtnoth of Essex is defeated by Danish invaders; Aethelred II buys off
the Danes with 10,000 pounds of silver (Danegeld).
992 - Aethelred makes a truce with Duke Richard I of Normandy.
994 - Danes under Sweyn and Norwegians under Olaf Trygvesson sail up river Thames and besiege
London; bought off by Aethelred.
1012 - The Danes sack Canterbury: bought off for 48,000 pounds of silver.
1013 - King Sweyn Forkbeard of Denmark lands in England and is proclaimed king; Aethelred II the
Unready flees to Normandy.
1014 - The English recall Aethelred II the Unready as King on the death of King Sweyn Forkbeard;
the latter's son, Canute (II), retreats to Denmark and turns his attention to annexing Norway.
1015 - King Canute II of Denmark & Norway again invades England; war between Danes and Saxons.
1016 - Edmund Ironside, son of Aethelred II the Unready of England, becomes King. He and King
Canute II of Denmark & Norway meet on the Isle of Alney near Deerhurst and agree to divide the
kingdom: Canute holds the north and Edmund Wessex; Edmund is assassinated; Canute takes the
throne as King Canute the Great of England.
1017 - King Canute the Great divides England into four earldoms.
1019 - King Canute the Great marries the Dowager-Queen Emma, widow of Aethelred II.
1035 - Death of Canute the Great of England, Denmark & Norway: his possessions are divided;
Harold I Harefoot, becomes King of England (to 1040).
1040 - Hardicanute, King of England (to 1042); he dies of drink.
1042 - Edward the Confessor, son of Aethelred II, King of England (to 1066).
1066 - Harold II is crowned king the day after Edward the Confessor dies. Tostig and Harold
Hardraada of Norway invade England. Harold defeats them at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, killing
1066 - William duke of Normandy ("William the Conqueror"), landed at Hastings, defeated the
armies of king Harold Godwinson of the Saxons, in a famous battle on October 14th, 1066, killed
Harold and became king.
1067 - Work is begun on building the Tower of London.
1068 - The Norman Conquest continues until 1069: William subdues the north of England (the
"Harrying of the North" ).
1072 - William invades Scotland, and also receives the submission of Saxon Hereward
1087 - William II, Rufus, King of England (to 1100); his elder brother, Robert, is Duke of
1099 - Crusaders capture Jerusalem; Godfrey of Bouillon is elected King of Jerusalem.
1100 - Henry I, youngest son of William the Conqueror, King of England (to 1135), following
assassination of William Rufus
1106 - Henry I defeats his brother Robert, Duke of Normandy, at battle of Tinchebrai: Robert
remains captive for life.
1113 - Founding of the Order of St. John is formally acknowledged by the papacy
1114 - Matilda (Maud), daughter of Henry I of England marries Emperor Henry V
1129 - Empress Matilda, widow of Henry V, marries Geoffrey the Handsome, Count of Anjou,
nicknamed " Plantagenet "
1139 - Matilda lands in England
1141 - Matilda captures Stephen at the battle of Lincoln, and reigns disastrously as queen; she
is driven out by a popular rising and Stephen restored.
1152 - Marriage of Louis VII of France and Eleanor of Aquitaine is annulled on grounds of blood
relationship; Eleanor marries Henry of Anjou, allying Aquitaine to his lands of Anjou and
Normandy, two months after her divorce.
1153 - Henry of Anjou, son of Matilda, invades England and forces Stephen to make him heir to the
1154 - Henry II, King of England (to 1189); he also rules more than half of France; Pope Adrian
IV (to 1159) (Nicholas Breakspear, the only English pope).
1162 - Becket is appointed Archbishop of Canterbury and at once quarrels with Henry II over the
1164 - Constitutions of Clarendon; restatement of laws governing trial of ecclesiastics in
England; Becket is forced to flee to France
1170 - Becket is reconciled with Henry II, returns to Canterbury; is murdered by four knights
after Henry's hasty words against him.
1173 - Rebellion of Henry's eldest sons, Henry, Richard, and Geoffrey, supported by their mother,
Eleanor of Aquitaine.
1189 - Richard I, Coeur de Lion, eldest surviving son of Henry II, King of England (to 1199)
1191 - Richard I conquers Cyprus and captures the city of Acre.
1192 - Richard I captures Jaffa, makes peace with Saladin; on the way home he is captured by his
enemy, Duke Leopold of Austria.
1193 - Leopold hands Richard over to Emperor Henry VI, who demands ransom.
1194 - Richard is ransomed and returned to England.
1199 - John Lackland, youngest son of Henry II, King of England (to 1216).
1209 - Cambridge University is founded in England.
1215 - Signing of Magna Carta; English barons force John to agree to a statement of their rights.
1216 - Henry III becomes king of England at age nine (to 1272).
1264 - Simon de Montfort and other English barons defeat Henry III at battle of Lewes
1265 - De Montfort's Parliament: burgesses from major towns summoned to Parliament for the first
1272 - Edward I, King of England (to 1307)
1290 - Edward I expells all Jews from England
1291 - Scots acknowledge Edward I of England as suzerain.
1295 - Model Parliament of Edward I : knights and burgesses from English shires and towns
summoned. First representative parliament.
1296 - Edward I of England deposes John Balliol from Scottish throne.
1297 - Battle of Cambuskenneth: Scottish patriot William Wallace defeats English army.
1298 - Edward I defeats Wallace at battle of Falkirk and reconquers Scotland.
1306 - New Scottish rebellion against English rule led by Robert Bruce. Robert I, the Bruce
crowned King of Scotland (to 1329) at Scone.
1307 - Edward I dies on march north to crush Robert Bruce. Edward II, King of England (to 1327).
1314 - Battle of Bannockburn: Robert Bruce defeats Edward II and makes Scotland independent
1326 - Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer sail from France with an army to rebel against Edward II
1327 - Parliament declares Edward II deposed, and his son accedes to the throne as Edward III.
Edward II is hideously murdered, nine months later
1328 - Charles IV dies, ending the Capetian dynasty. Philip of Valois succeeds him as Philip VI.
1333 - Edward III invades Scotland on Balliol's behalf and defeats the Scots at battle of Halidon
1338 - Treaty of Koblenz: alliance between England and the Holy Roman Empire; Edward III formally
claims the French crown.
1340 - Naval victory at Sluys gives England the command of the English Channel.
1346 - Edward III of England invades France with a large army and defeats an even bigger army
under Philip VI at the Battle of Crécy.
1347 - The English capture Calais.
1348 - Black Death (bubonic plague) reaches England.
1356 - Edward the Black Prince, son of Edward III, defeats the French at the battle of Poitiers,
capturing King John II.
1360 - Peace of Bretigny ends the first stage of the Hundred Years' War. Edward III gives up
claim to French throne
1369 - Second stage of war between England and France begins.
1370 - French troops commanded by Bertrand du Guesclin; Edward, the Black Prince, sacks Limoges.
1372 - French troops recapture Poitou and Brittany; Naval battle of La Rochelle: French regain
control of English Channel.
1373 - John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, son of Edward III, leads new English invasion of France
1374 - John of Gaunt returns to England and takes charge of the government.
1375 - Truce of Bruges ends hostilities between England and France.
1377 - Richard II, son of the Black Prince, King of England (to 1399).
1389 - Richard II, aged 22, assumes power.
1413 - Henry V, King of England (to 1422).
1415 - Henry V invades France, and defeats the French at Agincourt.
1422 - Deaths of Henry V of England and Charles VI of France; Henry VI, King of England (to
1424 - John, Duke of Bedford, regent for Henry VI of England, defeats the French at Cravant.
1428 - Henry VI begins siege of Orleans.
1429 - A French force, led by military commander Joan of Arc (Jeanne d'Arc), relieves the siege
of Orleans; Charles VII crowned king of France at Rheims.
1430 - Burgundians capture Jeanne d'Arc and hand her over to the English.
1431 - Jeanne d'Arc burned as a witch at Rouen; Henry VI of England crowned king of France in
1453 - Bordeaux falls to the French, Hundred Years' War ends; England's only French possession is
Calais; In England, Henry VI becomes insane.
1475 - Edward IV invades France; Peace of Piequigny between England and France.
1483 - Death of Edward IV; Edward V, King of England; he is deposed by his uncle, Richard Duke of
Gloucester; Richard III, King of England (to 1485); Edward V and his brother are murdered in the
Tower of London.
1485 - Battle of Bosworth Field: Henry Tudor, with men, money and arms provided by Charles VIII
of France, defeats and kills Richard III in the decisive (but not final) battle of the Wars of
1486 - Henry VII (Tudor) married Elizabeth of York uniting houses of York and Lancaster.
1487 - Battle of Stoke Field: In final engagement of the Wars of the Roses, Henry VII, defeats
Yorkist army "led" by Lambert Simnel (who was impersonating Edward, the nephew of Edward IV, the
only plausible royal alternative to Henry, who was confined in the Tower of London).
1496 - Henry VII joins the Holy League; commercial treaty between England and Netherlands.
1509 - Henry VIII, becomes king.
1517 - The Protestant Reformation begins; Martin Luther nails his "95 Theses" against the
Catholic practice of selling indulgences, on the church door at Wittenberg.
1533 - Henry VIII marries Anne Boleyn and is excommunicated by Pope Clement VII.
1534 - Act of Supremacy: Henry VIII declared supreme head of the Church of England
1535 - Sir Thomas More is beheaded in Tower of London for failing to take the Oath of Supremacy
1536 - Anne Boleyn is beheaded; Henry VIII marries Jane Seymour; dissolution of monasteries in
England begins under the direction of Thomas Cromwell, completed in 1539.
1537 - Jane Seymour dies after the birth of a son, the future Edward VI.
1540 - Henry VIII marries Anne of Cleves following negotiations by Thomas Cromwell; Henry
divorces Anne of Cleves and marries Catherine Howard.
1542 - Catherine Howard is executed.
1543 - Henry VIII marries Catherine Parr; alliance between Henry and Charles V (Holy Roman
Emperor) against Scotland and France.
1544 - Henry VIII and Charles V invade France.
1547 - Edward VI, King of England.
1549 - Introduction of uniform Protestant service in England based on Edward VI's Book of Common
1553 - On death of Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey proclaimed queen of England by Duke of
Northumberland, her reign lasts nine days; Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of
Aragon, Queen of England (to 1558); Restoration of Roman Catholic bishops in England.
1554 - Execution of Lady Jane Grey
1555 - England returns to Roman Catholicism: Protestants are persecuted.
1558 - England loses Calais, last English possession in France; Death of Mary I; Elizabeth I,
daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, becomes Queen.
1560 - Treaty of Berwick between Elizabeth I and Scottish reformers; Treaty of Edinburgh among
England, France, and Scotland.
1564 - Peace of Troyes between England and France.
1567 - Murder of Lord Darnley, husband of Mary Queen of Scots, probably by Earl of Bothwell; Mary
Queen of Scots marries Bothwell, is imprisoned, and forced to abdicate; James VI, King of
1568 - Mary Queen of Scots escapes to England and is imprisoned by Elizabeth I at Fotheringay
1577 - Alliance between England and Netherlands; Francis Drake sails around the world (to 1580).
1587 - Execution of Mary Queen of Scots; England at war with Spain; Drake destroys Spanish fleet
1588 - The Spanish Armada is defeated by the English fleet under Lord Howard of Effingham, Sir
Francis Drake, and Sir John Hawkins: war between Spain and England continues until 1603.
1600 - Elizabeth I grants charter to East India Company.
1603 - Elizabeth dies; James VI of Scotland becomes James I of England.
1607 - Parliament rejects proposals for union between England and Scotland; colony of Virginia is
founded at Jamestown by John Smith; Henry Hudson begins voyage to eastern Greenland and Hudson
1610 - Hudson Bay discovered
1611 - James I's authorized version (King James Version) of the Bible is completed; English and
Scottish Protestant colonists settle in Ulster.
1614 - James I dissolves the "Addled Parliament" which has failed to pass any legislation
1618 - Thirty Years' War begins, lasts until 1648
1620 - Pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in the "Mayflower"; found New
1622 - James I dissolves Parliament for asserting its right to debate foreign affairs
1624 - Alliance between James I and France; Parliament votes for war against Spain; Virginia
becomes crown colony
1625 - Charles I, King of England (to 1649); Charles I marries Henrietta Maria, sister of Louis
XIII of France; dissolves Parliament which fails to vote him money
1628 - Petition of Right; Charles I forced to accept Parliament's statement of civil rights in
return for finances
1629 - Charles I dissolves Parliament and rules personally until 1640
1630 - England makes peace with France and Spain
1639 - First Bishops' War between Charles I and the Scottish Church; ends with Pacification of
1640 - Charles I summons the "Short " Parliament ; dissolved for refusal to grant money; Second
Bishops' War; ends with Treaty of Ripon; The Long Parliament begins.
1641 - Triennial Act requires Parliament to be summoned every three years; Star Chamber and High
Commission abolished by Parliament; Catholics in Ireland revolt; some 30,000 Protestants
massacred; Grand Remonstrance of Parliament to Charles I
1642 - Charles I fails in attempt to arrest five members of Parliament and rejects Parliament's
Nineteen Propositions; Civil War (until 1645) begins with battle of Edgehill between Cavaliers
(Royalists) and Roundheads (Parliamentarians)
1643 - Solemn League and Covenant is signed by Parliament
1644 - Battle of Marston Moor; Oliver Cromwell defeats Prince Rupert
1645 - Formation of Cromwell's New Model Army; Battle of Naseby; Charles I defeated by
1646 - Charles I surrenders to the Scots
1647 - Scots surrender Charles I to Parliament; he escapes to the Isle of Wright; makes secret
treaty with Scots.
1648 - Scots invade England and are defeated by Cromwell at battle of Preston Pride's Purge:
Presbyterians expelled from Parliament (known as the Rump Parliament); Treaty of Westphalia ends
Thirty Years' War
1649 - Charles I is tried and executed; The Commonwealth, in which ; England is governed as a
republic, is established and lasts until 1660; Cromwell harshly suppresses Catholic rebellions in
1650 - Charles II lands in Scotland; is proclaimed king.
1651 - Charles II invades England and is defeated at Battle of Worcester; Charles escapes to
France; First Navigation Act, England gains virtual monopoly of foreign trade
1653 - Oliver Cromwell dissolves the "Rump" and becomes Lord Protector
1654 - Treaty of Westminster between England and Dutch Republic
1655 - England divided into 12 military districts by Cromwell; seizes Jamaica from Spain
1656 - War with Spain (until 1659)
1658 - Oliver Cromwell dies; succeeded as Lord Protector by son Richard; Battle of the Dunes,
England and France defeat Spain; England gains Dunkirk
1659 - Richard Cromwellforced to resign by the army; "Rump" Parliament restored
1660 - Convention Parliament restores Charles II to throne
1661 - Clarendon Code; "Cavalier" Parliament of Charles II passes series of repressive laws
against Nonconformists; English acquire Bombay
1662 - Act of Uniformity passed in England
1664 - England siezes New Amsterdam from the Dutch, change name to New York
1665 - Great Plague in London
1666 - Great Fire of London.
1667 - Dutch fleet defeats the English in Medway river; treaties of Breda among Netherlands,
England, France, and Denmark
1668 - Triple Alliance of England, Netherlands, and Sweden against France
1670 - Secret Treaty of Dover between Charles II of England and Louis XIV of France to restore
Roman Catholicism to England; Hudson's Bay Company founded
1672 - Third Anglo-Dutch war (until 1674); William III (of Orange) becomes ruler of Netherlands
1673 - Test Act aims to deprive English Roman Catholics and Nonconformists of public office
1674 - Treaty of Westminster between England and the Netherlands
1677 - William III, ruler of the Netherlands, marries Mary, daughter of James, Duke of York, heir
to the English throne
1678 - 'Popish Plot' in England; Titus Oates falsely alleges a Catholic plot to murder Charles II
1679 - Act of Habeas Corpus passed, forbidding imprisonment without trial; Parliament's Bill of
Exclusion against the Roman Catholic Duke of York blocked by Charles II; Parliament dismissed;
Charles II rejects petitions calling for a new Parliament; petitioners become known as Whigs;
their opponents (royalists) known as Tories
1681 - Whigs reintroduce Exclusion Bill; Charles II dissolves Parliament
1685 - James II of England and VII of Scotland (to 1688); rebellion by Charles II's illegitimate
son, the Duke of Monmouth, against James II is put down
1686 - James II disregards Test Act; Roman Catholics appointed to public office
1687 - James II issues Declaration of Liberty of Conscience, extends toleration to all religions
1688 - England's 'Glorious Revolution'; William III of Orange is invited to save England from
Roman Catholicism, lands in England, James II flees to France
1689 - Convention Parliament issues Bill of Rights; establishes a constitutional monarchy in
Britain; bars Roman Catholics from the throne; William III and Mary II become joint monarchs of
England and Scotland (to1694), Toleration Act grants freedom of worship to dissenters in England;
Grand Alliance of the League of Augsburg, England, and the Netherlands.
AGE OF EMPIRE
1689 - Parliament draws up the Declaration of Right detailing the unconstitutional acts of King
James II. James' daughter and her husband, his nephew, become joint sovereigns of Britain as King
William III and Queen Mary II. Parliament passes the Bill of Rights. Toleration Act grants rights
to Trinitarian Protestant dissenters. Catholic forces loyal to James II land in Ireland from
France and lay siege to Londonderry
1690 - King William defeats the Irish and French armies of his father-in-law at the Battle of the
Boyne in Ireland
1691 - The Treaty of Limerick allows Cathloics in Ireland to exercise their religion freely, but
severe penal laws soon follow. The French War begins
1692 - The Glencoe Massacre occurs
1694 - Death of Queen Mary; King William now rules alone. Foundation of the Bank of England.
Triennial Act sets the maximum duration of a parliament to three years
1695 - Lapse of the Licensing Act
1697 - Peace of Ryswick between the allied powers of the League of Augsburg and France ends the
French War. Civil List Act votes funds for the maintenance of the Royal Household
1701 - The Act of Settlement settles the Royal Succession on the Protestant descendants of Sophia
of Hanover. Death of the former King James II in exile in France. The French king recognizes
James II's son as "King James III". King William forms a grand alliance between England, Holland
and Austria to prevent the union of the Spanish and French crowns. The War of the Spanish
Succession breaks out in Europe over the vacant throne
1702 - Death of King William III in a riding accident. He is succeeded by his sister-in-law,
Queen Anne. England declares war on France as part of the War of the Spanish Succession
1704 - British, Dutch, German and Austrian troops, under the Duke of Marlborough, defeat the
French and Bavarians at the Battle of Blenheim. British, Bavarian and Austrian troops under
Marlborough defeat the French at the Battle of Ramillies, and expel the French from the
Netherlands. The British capture Gibraltar from Spain
1707 - The Act of Union unites the kingdoms of England and Scotland and transfers the seat of
Scottish Government to London
1708 - The Duke of Marlborough defeats the French at the Battle of Oudenarede. The French incur
heavy losses. Queen Anne vetoes a parliamentary bill to recognise the Scottish militia. This is
the last time a bill is vetoed by the sovereign
1709 - Marlborough defeats the French at the Battle of Malplaquet
1710 - A Tory ministry is formed, under Harley, with the impeachment of Dr. Sacheverell and the
fall of the Whig government
1713 - The Treaty of Utrecht is signed by Britain and France, thus concluding the War of the
1714 - Death of Queen Anne at Kensington Palace. She is succeeded by her distant cousin, the
Elector George of Hanover, as King George I. A new parliament is elected with a strong Whig
majority, led by Charles Townshend and Robert Walpole
1715 - The Jacobite Rebellion begins in Scotland with the aim of overthrowing the Hanovarian
succession and placing the "Old Pretender" - James II's son - on the throne. The rebellion is
1716 - The Septennial Act sets General Elections to be held every seven years
1717 - Townshend is dismissed from government by George I, causing Walpole to resign. The Whig
party is split. Convocation is suspended
1719 - South Sea Bubble bursts, leaving many investors ruined after speculating with stock of the
'South Sea Company'
1721 - Sir Robert Walpole returns to government as First Lord of the Treasury. He remains in
office until 1742 and effectively becomes Britain's first Prime Minister
1722 - Death of the Duke of Marlborough. The Jacobite 'Atterbury Plot' is hatched
1726 - First circulating library in Britain opens in Edinburgh. Jonathan Swift publishes his
1727 - Death of great British scientist, Sir Isaac Newton and of King George I (in Hanover). The
latter is succeeded by his son as King George II
1729 - Alexander Pope publishes his ' Dunciad'
1730 - A split occurs between Walpole and Townshend
1732 - A royal charter is granted for the founding of Georgia in America
1733 - The 'Excise Crisis' occurs and Walpole is forced to abandon his plans to reorganise the
customs and excise
1737 - Death of King George II's wife, Queen Caroline
1738 - John and Charles Wesley start the Methodist movement in Britain
1739 - Britain goes to war with Spain in the 'War of Jenkins' Ear'. The cause: Captain Jenkins'
ear was claimed to have been cut off during a Naval Skirmish
1740 - Commencement of the War of Austrian Succession in Europe
1742 - Walpole resigns as Prime Minister
1743 - George II leads British troops into battle at Dettingen in Bavaria
1744 - Ministry of Pelham
1745 - Jacobite Rebellion in Scotland led by 'Bonnie Prince Charlie'. There is a Scottish victory
1746 - The Duke of Cumberland crushes the Scottish Jacobites at the Battle of Culloden
1748 - The Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle brings the War of Austrian Succession to a close
1751 - Death of Frederick, Prince of Wales. His son, Prince George, becomes heir to the throne
1752 - Adoption of the Gregorian Calendar in Britain
1753 - Parliament passes the Jewish Naturalization Bill
1754 - The ministry of Newcastle
1756 - Britain, allied with Prussia, declares war against France and her allies, Austria and
Russia. The Seven Years' War begins
1757 - The Pitt-Newcastle ministry. Robert Clive wins the Battle of Plassey and secures the
Indian province of Bengal for Britain. William Pitt becomes Prime Minister
1759 - Wolfe captures Quebec and expels the French from Canada
1760 - Death of King George II. He is succeeded by his grandson as George III
1761 - Laurence Sterne publishes his 'Tristram Shandy'
1762 - The Earl of Bute is appointed Prime Minister. He becomes very unpopular and employs a
1763 - Peace of Paris ends the Seven Years' War. Grenville ministry.
1765 - Rockingham ministry. The American Stamp Act raises taxes in the colonies in an attempt to
make their defence self-financing
1766 - Chatham ministry. Repeal of the American Stamp Act
1768 - Grafton ministry. The Middlesex Election Crisis occurs
1769 - James Watt patents the Steam Engine
1769-70 - Captain James Cook's first voyage to explore the Pacific
1770 - Lord North begins service as Prime Minister. The Falkland Island Crisis occurs. Edmund
Burke publishes his 'Thoughts on the Present Discontents'
1771 - The Encyclopedia Britannica is first published
1773 - American colonists protest at the East India Company's monopoly over tea exports to the
colonies, at the so-called 'Boston Tea Party'. The World's first cast-iron bridge is constructed
over the River Severn at Coalbrookdale
1774 - Parliament passes the Coercive Acts in retaliation for the 'Boston Tea Party'
1775 - American War of Independence begins when colonists fight British troops at Lexington.
James Watt further develops his steam engine
1776 - On 4th July, the American Congress passes their Declaration of Independence from Britain.
Edward Gibbons' publishes his 'Decline and Fall' and Adam Smith, his 'Wealth if Nations'
1779 - The rise of Wyvill's Association Movement
1780 - The Gordon Riots develop from a procession to petition parliament against the Catholic
1781 - The Americans obtain a great victory of British troops at the surrender of Yorktown
1782 - End of Lord North's time as Prime Minister. He is succeeded by Rockingham in his second
ministry. Ireland obtains short-lived parliament
1783 - Shelburne's ministry, followed by that of William Pitt the Younger. Britain recognises
American independence at the Peace of Versailles. Fox-North coalition established
1784 - Parliament passes the East India Act
1785 - Pitt's motion for Parliamentary Reform is defeated
1786 - The Eden commercial treaty with France is drawn up
1788 - George III suffers his first attack of 'madness' (caused by porphyria)
1789 - Outbreak of the French Revolution
1790 - Edmund Burke publishes his 'Reflections on the Revolution in France'
1791 - James Boswell publishes his 'Life of Johnson' an Thomas Paine, his 'Rights of Man'
1792 - Coal gas is used for lighting for the first time. Mary Wollstonecraft publishes her
'Vindication of the Rights of Women'
1793 - Outbreak of War between Britain and France. The voluntary Board of Agriculture is set up.
Commercial depression throughout Britain
1795 - The 'Speenhamland' system of outdoor relief is adopted, making wages up to equal the cost
1796 - Vaccination against smallpox is introduced
1798 - Introduction of a tax of ten percent on incomes over £200. T.R. Malthus publishes his
'Essay on Population'
1799 - Trade Unions are suppressed. Napoleon is appointed First Consul in France
1799-1801 - Commercial boom in Britain
1800 - Act of Union with Ireland unites Parliaments of England and Ireland
1801 - Close of Pitt the Younger's Ministry. The first British Census is undertaken
1802 - Peace with France is established. Peel introduces the first factory legislation
1803 - Beginning of the Napoleonic Wars. Britain declares war on France. Parliament passes the
General Enclosure Act, simplifying the process of enclosing common land
1805 - Nelson destroys the French and Spanish fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar, but is killed in
1808-14 - Peninsular War to drive the French out of Spain
1809-10 - Commercial boom in Britain
1810 - Final illness of George III begins
1811 - Depression caused by Orders of Council. There are Luddite disturbances in Nottinghamshire
and Yorkshire. The King's illness leads to his son, the Prince of Wales, becoming Regent
1812 - Prime Minister Spencer Perceval is assassinated in the House of Commons by a disgruntled
1813 - Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice' is published. The monopolies of the East India Company
1815 - The defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo marks the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Peace
is established in Europe at the Congress of Vienna. The Corn Laws are passed by Parliament to
protect British agriculture from cheap imports
1815-17 - Commercial boom in Britain
1817- Economic slimp in Britain leads to the 'Blanketeers' March' and other disturbances
1818 - Death of the King's wife, Queen Caroline. Mary Shelley's publishes her 'Frankenstein'
1819 - Troops intervene at a mass political reform meeting in Manchester, killing and wounding
four hundred people at the 'Peterloo Massacre'
1820 - Death of the blind and deranged King George III. He is succeeded by his son, the Prince
Regent, who becomes King George IV. A radical plot to murder the Cabinet, known as the Cato
Street Conspiracy, fails. Trial of Queen Caroline, in which George IV attempts to divorce her for
1821 - Queen Caroline is excluded from the coronation
1821-23 - Famine in Ireland
1823 - The Royal Academy of Music is established in London. The British Museum is extended and
extensively rebuilt to house an expanding collection
1824 - The National Gallery is established. Commercial boom in Britain
1825 - Nash reconstructs Buckingham Palace. The World's first railway service, the Stockton and
Darlington Railway opens. Trade Unions are legalized. Commercial depression in Britain
1828 - The Duke of Wellington becomes British Prime Minister
1829 - The Metropolitan Police Force is set up by Robert Peel. Parliament passes the Catholic
Relief Act, ending most restrictions on Catholic Civil Rights. They are allowed to own property
and run for public office, including parliament
1830 - Death of King George IV at Windsor. He is succeeded by his brother, William IV. Opening of
the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. Rise of the Whigs, under Grey
1830-32 - First major cholera epidemic in Britain
1831 - 'Swing' Riots in rural areas against the mechanization of agricultural activities. The new
London Bridge is opened over the River Thames
1832 - The first or great Reform Act is passed. This climax of a period of political reform
extends the vote to a further 500,000 people and redistributes Parliamentary seats on a more
1833 - Abolition of Slavery throughout the British Empire. Parliament passes the Factory Act,
prohibiting children aged less than nine from working in factories, and reducing the working
hours of women and older children. Start of the Oxford Movement in the Anglican Church
1834 - Parliament passes the Poor Law Act, establishing workhouses for the poor. Robert Owen
founds the Grand National Consolidated Trade Union. The government acts against 'illegal oaths'
in such unionism, rsulting in the Tolpuddle Martyrs being transported to Australia. Fire destroys
the Palace of Westminster.
1835 - Parliament passes the Municipal Reform Act, requiring members of town councils to be
elected by ratepayers and councils to publish their financial accounts
1835-36 - Commercial boom with 'little' railway mania across Britain
1837 - Death of King William IV at Windsor. He is succeeded by his niece, Victoria. Births,
deaths and marriages must be registered by law. Charles Dickens publishes 'Oliver Twist,' drawing
attention to Britain's poor.
1838 - The Anti-Corn Law League is established. Publication of the People's Charter. The start of
1839 - Chartist Riots take place
1840 - Queen Victoria marries Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. The penny post is instituted
1841 - The first British Census recording the names of the populace is undertaken. The Tories
come to power. Sir Robert Peel becomes Prime Minister
1844 - Parliament passes the Bank Charter Act. Foundation of the Rochdale Co-Operative Society
and the Royal Commission on the Health of Towns
1844-45 - Railways mania explodes across Britain. Massive investment and speculation leads to the
laying of 5,000 miles of track
1845-49 - Irish Potato Famine kills more than a million people
1846 - End of Sir Robert Peel's Ministry. Whigs come to Power. Repeal of the Corn Laws
1848 - Major Chartist demonstration in London. Revolutions in Europe. Parliament passes the
Public Health Act
1851 - The Great Exhibition is staged in Hyde Park. Thanks to Prince Albert, it is a great
1852 - Death of the Duke of Wellington. Derby's first minority Conservative government.
Aberdeen's coalition government is established
1853 - Vaccination against smallpox is made compulsory. Queen Victoria uses chloroform during
birth of Prince Leopold. Gladstone presents his first budget
1854 - The Northcote-Trevelyan civil service report is published The Crimean War begins, as
Britain and France attempt to defend European interests in the Middle East against Russia
1855 - End of Aberdeen's coalition government. Palmerston's first government comes to power
1856 - Crimean War comes to an end. The Victoria Cross is instituted for military bravery
1857-58 - The Second Opium War opens China to European trade. The Indian Mutiny erupts against
British Rule on the sub-continent
1858 - Derby establishes his second minority government. Parliament passes the India Act
1859 - End of Derby's second minority government. Palmerston brings his second Liberal government
to power. Charles Darwin publishes his 'The Origin of the Species'
1860 - Gladstone's budget and the Anglo-French Cobden Treaty codifies and extends the principles
of free trade
1861 - Death of Prince Albert, Prince Consort
1862 - Parliament passes the Limited Liability Act in order to provide vital stimulus to
accumulation of capital in shares
1863 - Edward, Prince of Wales, marries Princess Alexandra of Denmark. The Salvation Army is
1865 - Death of Palmerston. Russell establishes his second Liberal government
1866 - Russell and Gladstone fail to have their moderate Reform Bill passed in parliament. Derby
takes power in his third minority Conservative government
1867 - Derby and Disraeli's Second Reform Bill doubles the franchise to two million. Canada
becomes the first independent dominion in the British Empire under the Dominion of Canada Act
1868 - Disraeli succeeds Derby as Prime Minister. Gladstone becomes Prime Minister for the first
1869 - The Irish Church is disestablished. The Suez Canal is opened
1870 - Primary education becomes compulsory in Britain through the Forster-Ripon English
Elementary Education Act. Parliament also passes the Women's Property Act, extending the rights
of married women, and the Irish Land Act
1871 - Trade Unions are legalized
1872 - Secret voting is introduced for elections. Parliament passes the Scottish Education Act
1873 - Gladstone's government resigns after the defeat of their Irish Universities Bill. Disraeli
declines to take up office instead
1874 - Disraeli becomes Conservative Prime Minister for the second time
1875 - Disraeli purchases a controlling interest for Britain in the Suez Canal. Agricultural
1875-76 - Parliament passes R.A. Cross's Conservative social reforms
1876 - Queen Victoria becomes Empress of India. The massacre of Christians in Turkish Bulgaria
leads to anti-Turkish campaigns in Britain, led by Gladstone
1877 - Confederation of British and Boer states established in South Africa
1878 - The Congress of Berlin is held. Disraeli announces 'peace with honour'
1879 - A trade depression emerges in Britain. The Zulu War is fought in South Africa. The British
are defeated at Isandhlwana, but are victorious at Ulundi
1879-80 - Gladstone's Midlothian campaign denounces imperialism in South Africa and Afghanistan
1880 - Gladstone establishes his second Liberal government
1880-81 - The first Anglo-Boer War is fought
1881 - Parliament passes the Irish Land and Coercion Acts
1882 - Britain occupies Egypt. A triple alliance is established between Germany, Austria and
1884 - Parliament passes the third Reform Act which further extends the franchise
1885 - Death of General Gordon at Khartoum. Burma is annexed. Salisbury succeeds Gladstone with
his first minority Conservative government. Parliament passes the Redistribution Act
1886 - Gladstone's third Liberal government fails to pass its first Irish Home Rule Bill through
the House of Commons. Gladstone resigns as Prime Minister. Split in the Liberal Party. Salisbury
establishes his second Conservative-Liberal-Unionist government. The Royal Niger Company is
chartered. Gold is discovered in the Transvaal
1887 - Queen Victoria celebrates her Golden Jubilee. The Independent Labour Party is founded. The
British East Africa Company is chartered
1888 - The County Councils' Act establishes representative county based authorities
1889 - London Dockers' Strike. The British South Africa Company is chartered
1892 - Gladstone forms his fourth Liberal government
1893 - Second Irish Home Rule Bill fails to pass the House of Lords
1894 - Rosebery takes power with his minority Liberal government
1895 - Salisbury forms his third Unionist ministry
1896 - The British conquest of the Sudan begins
1897 - Queen Victoria celebrates her Diamond Jubilee
1898 - British rule over Sudan fully established. German Naval expansion begins
1899 - British disasters in South Africa
1899-1902 - Boer War in South Africa
1900 - Salisbury wins the Khaki election. The Labour Representation Committee is formed.
Parliament passes the Commonwealth of Australia Act
1901 - Death of Queen Victoria. She is succeeded by her son, Prince Albert, as King Edward VII
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