A Short History of England and the British Isles

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This paper will also consider the shape of society in this period, specifically on the culture and economy of Britain. Of course social class can no longer be seen simply as a material fact, or as a reflection of the workplace, important though this dimension undoubtedly was.

UK Britain England - explaining the difference

Social situation also requires a consideration of social cultures and mentalities. Of these some were class bound and some were not, and here the histories of religion and of ethnicity occupy a prominent place in the focus of the paper, both of them relatively new and expansive areas of research inquiry. Students are invited to reflect on features which render England and Britain unique in a European context.

For example: a notorious preoccupation with wealth creation; a religious geography based on the peculiarly AngloSaxon polarity between established Churches and Dissenters, and the absence of any tradition of a prestigious state bureaucracy on the Continental model.

Were these distinctive traditions a source of privileged advantage, or did they render the British Isles merely backward and provincial? Both points of view were advanced with much enthusiasm by Britons and Europeans alike over the lifetime of this paper. The paper covers the history of the British Isles throughout the twentieth century.

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This was a period of almost unprecedented political, social and economic change. The paper is open-ended, since it has no terminal date, and it allows us to examine contemporary Britain historically. The core of the paper is political, but political in the broadest sense.


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Ireland, with the exception of the northern six counties, had become an independent republic. Economically, particularly in its manufacturing sector, Britain found it difficult to compete and an apparent political and economic decline was, especially after the Second World War, one of the principal themes of British politics and public life. And yet, despite its preoccupation with failure, few other societies had such a successful twentieth century.

The human body, gender, and sexuality each have histories. Pioneering studies since the lates have shown how what bodies mean has changed over time as societies have idealised, represented, and regulated the body in distinct ways. The experience of being male, of having sex, of desiring someone of the same gender, of speaking with a feminine voice, of growing old in a relationship, or of changing gender was not the same in , and This paper asks how, why and with what consequences people have made gender and sexual identities from embodied experience in the British Isles since The paper has two thematic strands.

First, it examines how state, religious, medical and cultural authorities have categorised and regulated bodies including, most powerfully, in establishing binaries of gender identity and of sexual orientation. What made certain appearances, acts and relationships normative? Second, it examines how people accepted, negotiated, subverted or rejected these categories through their everyday actions and sense of self.

What circumstances enabled individuals or groups to alter what bodies might do, how they looked, and what they meant? How did gender and sexual identities interact with each other and with identities founded, for instance, in class, race or religion? These questions allow us to think about how individual, social and cultural change happened across more than five-hundred years. The paper engages critically with three linear narratives of historical change: of progressive liberation and the rise of individual freedoms; of increasing regulation and discipline; and of continuity in human biology and desires.

This case study of the British Isles allows these accounts to be scrutinised by considering how the gendered and sexual meanings of bodily experience were disseminated — and contested — across localities, the nation, empire and globe. Part A asks us to think thematically about patterns of continuity, change and diversity across five centuries.

Each topic is centred upon individual corporeal experience. Students will examine how embodied experience not only shaped gendered and sexual selfhood, but also how subjective experiences were mobilised to create collective identities and sometimes social change.

Intersectionality is integral to each reading list, so that the question of how bodies have been classed, racialised or disabled are interrogated in relation to the central themes of gender and sexuality. Topics in Part B focus on periods that have been identified historiographically as turning points in the categorisation, regulation and conceptualisation of gendered and sexual identities.

These six topics enable students to develop their thematic arguments in greater depth for time periods that interest them. This paper examines experiences and arguments that people made about bodies. In addition, many primary and secondary sources use language and express attitudes that are not acceptable in Britain today.

We have an ethical responsibility as historians to make sense of these past experiences and viewpoints while communicating in ways that are sensitive and appropriate to our society. This material remains thoughtprovoking, controversial — and important — to us all, but we will each be affected in different ways when we interrogate these topics as historians.

Please be aware of the content of this paper before choosing to study it, but do not hesitate to talk to a tutor if you have specific concerns.

What’s the Difference Between England, Britain and the U.K.?

Although the Scots voted, albeit more narrowly than generally anticipated, to remain within the United Kingdom in the referendum of , the result and unfolding repercussions of the referendum on British membership of the EU have only underlined the uncertainty that hangs over the configuration, nature, and future of the Union state. Unlike languages that developed within the boundaries of one country or one distinct geographical region , English, since its beginnings 1, or so years ago, evolved by crossing boundaries and through invasions, picking up bits and pieces of other languages along the way and changing with the spread of the language across the globe.

The history of the English language really started with the arrival of three Germanic tribes who invaded Britain during the 5th century AD. At that time the inhabitants of Britain spoke a Celtic language.


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But most of the Celtic speakers were pushed west and north by the invaders — mainly into what is now Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Early Modern English — — the tempest ends in a storm : In the 14thth century, following the Hundred Years War with France that ended French rule of the British Isles, English became the language of power and influence once again.

It got a further boost through the development of English literature and English culture, spearheaded by William Shakespeare. Towards the end of Middle English, a sudden and distinct change in pronunciation the Great Vowel Shift started, with vowels being pronounced shorter and shorter. From the 16th century the British had contact with many peoples from around the world. This, and the Renaissance of Classical learning, meant that many new words and phrases entered the language.

The Animated History of England

The invention of printing also meant that there was now a common language in print. Books became cheaper and more people learned to read. Printing also brought standardization to English.

A short history of English

Spelling and grammar became fixed, and the dialect of London, where most publishing houses were, became the standard. In the first English dictionary was published. From around , the English colonization of North America resulted in the creation of a distinct American variety of English. Spanish also had an influence on American English and subsequently British English , with words like canyon , ranch , stampede and vigilante being examples of Spanish words that entered English through the settlement of the American West.

French words through Louisiana and West African words through the slave trade also influenced American English and so, to an extent, British English. From the development of local dialects and slang in countries as far apart as the US, South Africa and New Zealand, and in cities as different as New York, Oxford and Singapore, to the incorporation of tech vocabulary into everyday English. The Normans - Letter of Anselm to Pope Paschal. The Treaty of Westminster, Regnal Lists: Animated Maps: The Battle of Agincourt. The Years War. Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.