England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. England (“land of Ængle”) takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries.
There is an abundance of archeological items from England’s past. Around 2,500 BC major Neolithic monuments such as Stonehenge and Avebury were constructed.
The Romans invaded Britain in 43 AD during the reign of Emperor Claudius, subsequently conquering much of Britain, and the area was incorporated into the Roman Empire as Britannia province. The best-known of the native tribes who attempted to resist were the Catuvellauni led by Caratacus. Later, an uprising led by Boudica, Queen of the Iceni, ended with Boudica’s suicide following her defeat.
Roman military withdrawals left Britain open to invasion by pagan, seafaring warriors from north-western continental Europe, chiefly the Saxons, Angles, Jutes and Frisians who had long raided the coasts of the Roman province and began to settle, initially in the eastern part of the country. These settlements eventually came together into various kingdoms including Northumbria, Mercia, Wessex, East Anglia, Essex, Kent, and Sussex.
In the early 9th century there were attacks from Vikings (Danes). Wessex under Alfred the Great was left as the only surviving English kingdom. Eventually, there was a political unification of England and a native royal dynasty was begun with Edward the Confessor in 1042. In 1066 there was the Norman conquest of England led by Duke William of Normandy. The new French-speaking aristocracy had a profound and permanent effect on the English language.
From that time on there were various monarchs and struggles for the throne. Blah, blah, blah, blah…history, something or other, etc. on and on….. Let’s just sum up the history of England with this short video, lol:
Most of England’s landscape consists of low hills and plains, with upland and mountainous terrain in the north and west of the country. The Pennines, a range of hills and mountains, is known as the “backbone of England.” The Pennine landscape is high moorland in upland areas, indented by fertile valleys of the region’s rivers. In the West Country, Dartmoor and Exmoor of the Southwest Peninsula include upland moorland supported by granite, and enjoy a mild climate
Other well-known areas of England are:
- The Cotswolds – with a grassland habitat and golden-colored stone
Click here to visit the Cotswolds via Google Earth!
- The Fens/Fenlands – a marshy region that was drained centuries ago|
Click here to visit Fenland District in Google Earth!
- The White Cliffs of Dover – a region of English coastline facing the Strait of Dover and France and featuring white cliffs composed of chalk with streaks of black flint
Click here to visit the White Cliffs of Dover via Google Earth!
Home to the Industrial Revolution, major industrial cities such as Manchester and Birmingham brought together the labor, raw materials, and industry connections necessary to manufacture products.
The port city of Liverpool gave access to the world markets established by Britain’s extensive colonial empire, and the colonies provided raw materials, new ideas, and cheap labor for the new industrial factories.
Great Britain was an avid colonizer and controlled colonies on all inhabited continents. Raw materials such as cotton, which did not grow well in Britain, became a major import that fueled the textile mills of the Industrial Revolution.
Industrialization caused a rural-to-urban shift in Britain. In 1800, only 9 percent of the population lived in urban areas, but by 1900 some 62 percent resided in cities and towns. As of 2010, over 90 percent of Britain’s population is composed of urban dwellers. The British colonial empire also caused a migration pattern whereby people moved from colonies to the home country, with the core area located in the Midlands of northern England. Cheap immigrant labor and resources from the colonies provided the manufacturing enterprises of wealthy British industrialists with good fortunes. Raw cotton was brought in from the colonies of India and Egypt. Cheap labor, brought in from the Caribbean and South Asia, resulted in a more diverse population in industrialized northern England.
As the information age developed, the industrial centers of northern England gave way to a post-industrialized southern England. The north’s heavy industries experienced a decline in demand. Factories closed, production became automated, and unemployment increased. The transition from the Industrial Revolution to a postindustrial society turned northern England into the Rust Belt of the British Isles. The port of Liverpool has been updated with modern and automated systems that do not require the high level of manual labor that was necessary during earlier industrial times. Rail service connects Liverpool with London, which is connected to Paris through a tunnel under the English Channel called the Chunnel.
The postindustrial economic activities have shifted the focus of employment away from manual labor to the service sector of information. Many places have looked to tourism to boost their economic situation. Northern England has many attractive physical environments that have been developed into major tourist attractions. The Lake District of northern England is a noted vacation destination, and short mountains and scenic landscapes attracted a number of England’s writers.
If you have 25 minutes to set aside, you may want to watch this video about North England’s Lake District (which is such a pretty area!!). My family has always enjoyed the Rick Steves videos! 🙂
The city of Blackpool on the Irish Sea, just north of Liverpool, is a major vacation destination for the English. The dales and moors of northern England, complemented by the short Pennines, provide a sharp contrast to the urban metropolitan landscapes of London and southern England.
If you like stories about animals, you may want to read this book that takes place in the English countryside: All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot.
” In All Creatures Great and Small, we meet the young Herriot as he takes up his calling and discovers that the realities of veterinary practice in rural Yorkshire are very different from the sterile setting of veterinary school. Some visits are heart-wrenchingly difficult, such as one to an old man in the village whose very ill dog is his only friend and companion, some are lighthearted and fun, such as Herriot’s periodic visits to the overfed and pampered Pekinese Tricki Woo who throws parties and has his own stationery, and yet others are inspirational and enlightening, such as Herriot’s recollections of poor farmers who will scrape their meager earnings together to be able to get proper care for their working animals. From seeing to his patients in the depths of winter on the remotest homesteads to dealing with uncooperative owners and critically ill animals, Herriot discovers the wondrous variety and never-ending challenges of veterinary practice as his humor, compassion, and love of the animal world shine forth. James Herriot’s memoirs have sold 80 million copies worldwide, and continue to delight and entertain readers of all ages.”
P.S. I read this book when I was a teenager and really enjoyed it. 😉
Anchored by the city of London, southern England also is home to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.
This is Great Britain’s most affluent region and is a center of postindustrial activity. Located on the Thames River, London is a central player in the world economic markets.
Southern England also houses about one-third of the UK population. With immigration from the former colonies, this region is also becoming more diverse. This is an urbanized region, where the cost of living, transportation, and housing is high. For example, the price of gasoline in the United Kingdom might be two or three times that in the United States. Many urban dwellers do not own automobiles but instead use public transportation.
England is the most populous region of the United Kingdom with a density of about one thousand people per square mile. About half the population increase is because of immigration. The UK population is aging as a result of smaller family sizes and a growing number of senior citizens. This trend is common in countries in stage 5 of the index of economic development. Immigrants from many parts of the world have targeted England as their new home. Many are from former British colonies in Asia and Africa. England has a diverse population. Islam is the fastest-growing religion, even though Muslims make up less than 10 percent of the total population. London is even home to a growing Sikh community.
About one-fifth of Europe’s largest corporations have their headquarters in London. The city’s cultural influence is felt around the world in the fashion industry, media, entertainment, and the arts. London is an international city that has a powerful draw for tourists. The core economic region of Europe is anchored by London’s international recognition.
Southern England is also home to Great Britain’s seat of government. The UK government is considered a constitutional monarchy with a king or queen as head of state. The parliament is the official legislative body with a prime minister as head of government. The parliament has two bodies: the House of Commons, whose members are elected, and the House of Lords, whose members are appointed for life. As head of state, the monarch is mainly a figurehead with little actual political power. A number of dependencies remain under the British Crown as far as sovereignty is concerned. Small islands such as Guernsey, Jersey, the Isle of Man, and various islands in the Caribbean and Atlantic and Pacific Oceans remain under the British government for administrative, economic, and defense purposes.
Click to watch a YouTube video about how Britain’s political system works.
Other fun facts about England:
- The red telephone box, a telephone kiosk for a public telephone designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, is a familiar sight on the streets of England.
- Fish & chips is a popular dish in England. Bangers and mash is also popular!
Curious about traditional English food? Watch this video:
✎ There is an abundance of archeological items from England’s past.
✎ The French language had a profound and permanent effect on the English language.
✎ Northern England is home to the Industrial Revolution.
✎ London is in Southern England. Southern England is Great Britain’s most affluent area.
✎ The UK government is considered a constitutional monarchy with a king or queen as head of state. The parliament is the official legislative body with a prime minister as head of government.
Now, let’s head to Wales!
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Images and additional info credits:
CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=560459
Derwent Water – Lake District
By Diliff – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7185732
Thames River (derivative of):
By Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31466860
By Diliff – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6488843
People of Britain circa 600
By User:Hel-hama – Vectorization of File:Britain peoples circa 600.png drawn by User:IMeowbotborder data from CIA, people locations from The Historical Atlas by William R. Shepherd, 1926 edition, with clarifications supplied by en:User:Everyking per references used in en:Penda of Mercia. Anglo-Saxon coastline from Hill, ‘An Atlas of Anglo-Saxon England’ (1981) (the grey areas marked ‘sea, swamp or alluvium’ show where little Anglo-Saxon settlement occurred, because (according to Hill) there was at different periods either large areas of mud, marshland or open sea)., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4684278
By garethwiscombe – https://www.flickr.com/photos/garethwiscombe/1071477228/in/photostream/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13278936
By Saffron Blaze – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18256670
By Dr Border at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2528839
Cliffs of Dover info
Cliffs of Dover photo
K2 telephone kiosks
By M0tty – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20322020
Fish and chips
By LearningLark from United States – Modern Fish and Chips, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35032954
Bangers and mash
By Missvain – Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=67961415