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During the reign of Queen Victoria, the British Empire grew to cover India, Australia and large parts of Africa. It became the largest empire the world has ever seen, with an estimated population of 400 million people.
During the Second World War, Germany waged an air campaign against Britain, but the British resisted with their fighter planes and eventually won the aerial battle, called ‘the Battle of Britain’.
The decade of the 1960s was a period of significant social change and known as the ‘Swinging Sixties’. There was growth in British fashion, cinema and popular music.
St George is the patron saint of England, and St George’s Day is celebrated on 23 April each year.
The Bill of Rights in 1689 confirmed the rights of Parliament and the limits of the king’s power. The balance of power between monarch and Parliament had now permanently changed.
The television was developed by John Logie Baird in the 1920s. Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1990.
The Industrial Revolution was the rapid development of industry that took place in the 18th and 19th centuries. Britain was the first country to industrialise on a large scale.
The Turner Prize was established in 1984 and celebrates contemporary art.
In 1918, women over the age of 30 were given the right to vote. (In 1928, women were given the right to vote at the age of 21, the same as men.)
Britain was the first country to industrialise on a large scale. This happened because of the development of machinery and the use of steam power.
In 1588, during the reign of Elizabeth I, the English defeated the Spanish Armada (a large fleet of ships), which had been sent by Spain to conquer England and restore Catholicism.
After the English Civil War, Charles I was executed and England became a republic. Oliver Cromwell was recognised as leader of the new republic, and was given the title of Lord Protector.
James I authorised a new translation of the Bible into English. The translation is known as the ‘King James Version or the Authorised Version’.
During the Roman occupation of Britain, Emperor Hadrian built a wall in the north of England to keep out the Picts (ancestors of the Scottish people). Parts of the wall can still be seen today.
During George I’s reign the most important minister in Parliament became known as the Prime Minister. Sir Robert Walpole was the first British Prime Minister, from 1721 to 1742.
In the Crimean War Britain fought with Turkey and France against Russia. It was the first war to be covered extensively by the media.
After 1833, 2 million Indian and Chinese workers were employed to replace the freed slaves.
In 1688, important Protestants in England asked William of Orange to invade England and proclaim himself king in place of James II. There was no resistance, and the event was later called the ‘Glorious Revolution’.
The Grand National is held at Aintree near Liverpool, and Royal Ascot is a five-day race meeting held in Berkshire.
Many of the great thinkers of the Enlightenment were Scottish. Adam Smith developed ideas about economics. David Hume wrote about human nature.
The Habeas Corpus Act of 1679 guaranteed no one could be held prisoner unlawfully. This legislation remains relevant today, and every prisoner has a right to a court hearing.
R A Butler oversaw the Education Act of 1944 (often called the ‘Butler Act’), which introduced free secondary education in England and Wales.
Sir Alfred Hitchcock and Ridley Scott are British film directors who have had great success in the UK and internationally.
Tilda Swinton and Colin Firth are two British film actors who have recently won Oscars.
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