Online Test Banks
Score higher
See Online Test Banks
eLearning
Learning anything is easy
Browse Online Courses
Mobile Apps
Learning on the go
Explore Mobile Apps
Dummies Store
Shop for books and more
Start Shopping

Cheat Sheet

British History For Dummies

British history is full of wonderful people (quite a few of whom were clearly stark raving mad, but that’s history for you) and exciting events – all of which helped make Britain the sort of place it is today. This Cheat Sheet sets out the lie of the land, and identifies the leaders and the events that mattered.

The British Isles: The Lie of the Land

The islands of Britain and Ireland are normally referred to as ‘the British Isles’ – not a politically accurate term (Ireland is not ‘British’) but no-one has yet come up with a workable alternative.

image0.jpg

The Historical Periods of Britain

The history of Britain is usually divided by historians into a series of periods. This list gives you some of the highlights of each period.

Ancient Britain

  • Neolithic Britain c12,000 BC–c2,750 BC

  • The Beaker people and the Bronze Age c2,750 BC–750 BC

  • Iron Age and La Tène culture c750 BC–43 AD

  • Roman Britain 43 AD–410

The Middle Ages

  • Anglo–Saxon raids and settlement 449–c550

  • Separate Anglo–Saxon Kingdoms c550–924

  • Anglo–Saxon England united 924–1066

  • Danish rule 1016–1042

  • Norman period 1066–1154

  • The Anarchy 1135–1148

  • The Plantagenets 1154–1399

  • Conquest of Ireland begins 1155

  • Scottish Wars of Independence 1296–1357

  • Hundred Years War with France 1337–1453

  • Wars of the Roses 1455–1485

Early Modern Britain

  • Tudor period 1485–1603

  • English Reformation begins 1532

  • Union of Crowns of England and Scotland 1603

  • Expansion into America begins 1620

  • Civil Wars and Revolution 1642–1660

  • Royal Society incorporated 1662

  • Revolution Settlement 1688–9 and Union of England and Scotland 1707 create basis of modern British state

The Modern Age

  • Changes in agriculture begin 1730s

  • Beginnings of industrialisation 1770s–1780s

  • Wars in America and with France help to unify British state 1770s–1815

  • Victorian Age 1837–1901

  • Great Exhibition marks highpoint of Victorian era 1851

  • Imperial expansion in Africa 1880s–1890s

  • Great War 1914–1918

  • Second World War 1939–1945

  • Height of industrial unrest 1960s–1980s

  • Britain within the European Union 1970s–2000s

Rulers of England 924–1603

The first king acknowledged as king of all England was the Saxon King of Wessex, Athelstan, who came to the throne in 924. Later, Edward I brought Wales under English rule and Henry VIII incorporated it into England. Elizabeth I, who died in 1603, was the last ruler of England not to rule Scotland as well.

House of Wessex

  • Athelstan 924–939

  • Edmund I 939–946

  • Edred 946–955

  • Edwy ‘the Fair’ 955–959

  • Edgar ‘the Peaceful’ 959–975

  • Edward ‘the Martyr’ 975–978

  • Ethelred II ‘the Unredy’ 978–1016

Danish Usurpation

  • Sweyn Forkbeard 1014

House of Wessex

  • Edmund II ‘Ironside’ 1016

Danes

  • Cnut (Canute) 1016–1035

  • Harald I ‘Harefoot’ 1035–1037 (regent); 1037–1040 (king)

  • Cnut II (Harthacnut) 1040–1042

House of Wessex

  • Edward ‘the Confessor’ 1042–1066

  • Harold II Godwinsson 1066

Normans

  • William I ‘the Conqueror’ 1066–1087

  • William II ‘Rufus’ 1087–1100

  • Henry I ‘Beauclerc’ 1100–1135

  • Stephen 1135–1154

Angevins–Plantagenets

  • Henry II 1154–1189

  • Richard I ‘Coeur de Lion’ 1189–1199

  • John ‘Lackland’ 1199–1216

  • Henry III 1216–1272

  • Edward I 1272–1307

  • Edward II 1307–1327

  • Edward III 1327–1377

  • Richard II 1377–1399

House of Lancaster

  • Henry IV 1399–1413

  • Henry V 1413–1422

  • Henry VI 1422–1461

House of York

  • Edward IV 1461–1483

  • Edward V 1483

  • Richard III 1483–1485

Tudors

  • Henry VII 1485–1509

  • Henry VIII 1509–1547

  • Edward VI 1547–1553

  • Lady Jane Grey 1553

  • Mary I 1553–1558

  • Elizabeth I 1558–1603

Rulers of Scotland 843–1625

The first king who is generally regarded as having ruled over all of Scotland was Kenneth MacAlpin, who had managed to conquer both the Picts and the Scots by 842. No-one knows exactly when he was declared king, so 843 is an approximation. All the kings of Scotland until the thirteenth century were descended from Kenneth MacAlpin whether through the male or female line, though different branches of the royal house were often deadly rivals for the throne.

The last king of a separate Scotland was James VI, who died in 1625. In 1603, he also became King of England as King James I.

House of MacAlpin

  • Kenneth MacAlpin c.843–c.858

  • Donald I 859–862

  • Constantine I 862–876

Interregnum

  • Interregnum – no overall king 876–877

House of MacAlpin

  • Aed c.877–878

  • Eochaid 878–889 and Giric 878–889 (probably shared the throne)

  • Donald II 889–900

  • Constantine II 900–c.943

  • Malcolm I MacDonald c.943–954

  • Indulf 954–962

  • Dubh ‘the Black’ 962–966

  • Culen 966–971

  • Kenneth II 971–995

  • Constantine III ‘the Bald’ 995–997

  • Kenneth III 997–1005

  • Malcolm II 1005–1034

  • Duncan I 1034–1040

House of Moray

  • Macbeth 1040–1057

  • Lulach 1057–1058

House of MacAlpin

  • Malcolm III Canmore 1058–1093

  • Donald III Bane 1093–1094

  • Duncan II 1094

  • Donald III Bane 1094–1097 (resumed the throne)

  • Edgar 1097–1107

  • Alexander I 1107–1124

  • David I 1124–1153

  • Malcolm IV ‘the Maiden’ 1153–1165

  • William ‘the Lion’ 1165–1214

  • Alexander II 1214–1249

  • Alexander III 1249–1286

  • Margaret, ‘the Maid of Norway’ 1286–1290

Interregnum

  • English overlordship (Edward I) 1290–1292

House of MacAlpin

  • John Balliol 1292–1296 (abdicated)

English invasion and Occupation

  • Edward I of England 1296–1306

House of Bruce

  • Robert I de Brus (Bruce) 1306–1329

  • David II 1329–1371

House of Stewart

  • Robert II ‘the Steward’ 1371–1390

  • Robert III (John Stewart) 1390–1406

  • James I 1406–1437

  • James II 1437–1460

  • James III 1460–1488

  • James IV 1488–1513

  • James V 1513–1542

  • Mary, Queen of Scots 1542–1567

  • James VI 1567–1625 (became James I of England, 1603)

Rulers of England and Scotland 1603–1707

King James VI of Scotland inherited the throne of England in 1603. Although this is called ‘the Union of the Crowns’, in fact the crowns of England and Scotland remained separate until the Act and Treaty of Union of 1707 joined them in the new Kingdom of Great Britain.

House of Stuart

  • James I (James VI of Scotland) 1603–1625

  • Charles I 1625–1649

Commonwealth and Protectorate

  • Commonwealth (Republic) 1649–1654

  • Oliver Cromwell 1654–1658 (Lord Protector)

  • Richard Cromwell 1658–1659 (Lord Protector)

  • Commonwealth (Republic) 1659–1660

House of Stuart

  • Charles II 1660–1685

  • James II (James VII of Scotland) 1685–1688

  • William III and Mary II 1689–1702

  • Anne 1702–1714

Rulers of Great Britain 1707–1801 and of the United Kingdom 1801–Present

The Act and Treaty of Union of 1707 between the Parliaments of England and Scotland created a Kingdom of Great Britain which consisted of England (which incorporated Wales) and Scotland. In 1801 the Act of Union, passed by the British and Irish Parliaments, created a new United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. After the 1922 Anglo–Irish Treaty this became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the name the country retains to this day.

House of Hanover

  • George I 1714–1727

  • George II 1727–1760

  • George III 1760–1820

  • George IV 1820–1830

  • William IV 1830–1837

House of Saxe–Coburg–Gotha

  • Victoria 1837–1901

  • Edward VII 1901–1910

House of Windsor

  • George V 1910–1936

  • Edward VIII 1936

  • George VI 1936–1952

  • Elizabeth II 1952–

British Prime Ministers 1721–Present

The office of Prime (or ‘first’) Minister developed in the eighteenth century, when the First Lord of the Treasury came to be regarded as the official head of the government. The first person who is generally regarded as having acted as Prime Minister was Sir Robert Walpole.

Sir Robert Walpole 1721–1742 Whig
Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington 1742–1743 Whig
Henry Pelham 1743–1754 Whig
Thomas Pelham-Holles, Duke of Newcastle 1754–1756 Whig
William Cavendish, Duke of Devonshire 1756–1757 Whig
Thomas Pelham-Holles, Duke of Newcastle 1757–1762 Whig
John Stuart, Earl of Bute 1762–1763 Tory
George Grenville 1763–1765 Whig
Charles Watson-Wentworth, Marquess of Rockingham 1765–1766 Whig
William Pitt, Earl of Chatham 1766–1768 Whig
Augustus Fitzroy, Duke of Grafton 1768–1770 Whig
Frederick North, Lord North 1770–1782 Tory
Charles Watson-Wentworth, Marquess of Rockingham 1782 Whig
William Petty-Fitzmaurice, Earl of Shelburne 1782–1783 Whig
William Cavendish-Bentinck, Duke of Portland 1783 Whig–Tory coalition
William Pitt (the Younger) 1783–1801 Tory
Henry Addington1801–1804 Tory
William Pitt (the Younger) 1804–1806 Tory
William Wyndham Grenville, Lord Grenville 1806–1807 Whig–Tory coalition (The Ministry of All the Talents)
William Cavendish-Bentinck, Duke of Portland 1807–1809 Tory
Spencer Perceval1 809–1812 Tory (assassinated)
Robert Jenkinson, Lord Liverpool 1812–1827 Tory
George Canning 1827 Tory
Frederick John Robinson, Lord Goderich 1827–1828 Tory
Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington 1828–1830 Tory
Charles Grey, Earl Grey 1830–1834 Whig
William Lamb, Viscount Melbourne 1834 Whig
Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington 1834 Tory
Sir Robert Peel 1834–1835 Tory–Conservative
William Lamb, Viscount Melbourne 1835–1841 Whig
Sir Robert Peel 1841–1846 Tory–Conservative
Lord John Russell 1846–1852 Whig
Edward Smith-Stanley, Earl of Derby 1852 Tory–Conservative
George Hamilton-Gordon, Earl of Aberdeen 1852–1855 Whig
Henry John Temple, Viscount Palmerston 1855–1858 Whig
Edward Smith-Stanley, Earl of Derby 1858–1859 Tory–Conservative
Henry John Temple, Viscount Palmerston 1858–1865 Whig
John Russell, Earl Russell 1865–1866 Whig–Liberal
Edward Smith-Stanley, Earl of Derby 1866–1868 Tory–Conservative
Benjamin Disraeli 1868 Conservative
William Ewart Gladstone 1868–1874 Liberal
Benjamin Disraeli (Earl of Beaconsfield from 1876) 1874–1880 Conservative
William Ewart Gladstone 1880–1885 Liberal
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, Marquess of Salisbury 1885–1886 Conservative
William Ewart Gladstone 1886 Liberal
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, Marquess of Salisbury 1886–1892 Conservative
William Ewart Gladstone 1892–1894 Liberal
Archibald Primrose, Earl of Rosebery 1894–1895 Liberal
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, Marquess of Salisbury 1895–1902 Conservative
Arthur Balfour 1902–1905 Conservative
Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman 1905–1908 Liberal
Herbert Henry Asquith 1908–1916 Liberal
David Lloyd George 1916–1922 Liberal–Conservative coalition
Andrew Bonar Law 1922–1923 Conservative
Stanley Baldwin 1922–1924 Conservative
James Ramsay MacDonald 1924 Labour
Stanley Baldwin 1924–1929 Conservative
James Ramsay MacDonald 1929–1931 Labour
James Ramsay MacDonald 1931–1935 National Government (Labour–Conservative–Liberal coalition)
Stanley Baldwin 1935–1937 National Government (Conservative–Liberal)
Neville Chamberlain 1937–1940 National Government
Winston Spencer Churchill 1940–1945 Coalition (Conservative–Labour–Liberal)
Clement Attlee 1945–1951 Labour
Winston Spencer Churchill 1951–1955 Conservative
Anthony Eden 1955–1957 Conservative
Harold Macmillan 1957–1963 Conservative
Sir Alec Douglas-Home 1963–1964 Conservative
Harold Wilson 1964–1970 Labour
Edward Heath 1970–1974 Conservative
Harold Wilson 1974–1976 Labour
James Callaghan 1976–1979 Labour
Margaret Thatcher 1979–1990 Conservative
John Major 1990–1997 Conservative
Anthony (Tony) Blair 1997–2007 Labour
Gordon Brown 2007–2010 Labour
David Cameron 2010– Coalition (Conservative–Liberal Democrat)
  • Add a Comment
  • Print
  • Share
blog comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement

Inside Dummies.com

Dummies.com Sweepstakes

Win $500. Easy.