History of England

England began to develop into what we know it as today in 1588, with the defeat of the Spanish armada, but the history of England extends much further into the past than that. Evidence shows that humans inhabited what is now southern England long before any other part of the British Isles, and even before the island broke away from Europe. We know that people had lived on this land at least 8,000 years ago.

On November 5, 1605, the most famous attempt on the assassination of King James I, known as the Gunpowder Plot, was executed by a group of Catholic conspirators. This group was led by Guy Fawkes, and he and others were caught and killed for their actions. This event in the history of England is celebrated to this day with Guy Fawkes' night.

In 1642, the first English Civil War began. King Charles I fled to Scotland, but failed, and on his second escape, the short second Civil War began. In 1649, the King was captured again and beheaded. The following period consisted of a time of anarchy, which may have had a considerable effect on the history of England, but in 1660, the monarchy was restored.

A great period of devastation in the history of England occurred between 1664 and 1666, known as The Great Plague. An outbreak of the bubonic plague, it killed a total of 70,000. In 1666, the Great Fire of London destroyed about 15,000 buildings.

The 18th and 19th centuries were characterized by a period of industrialization. Work unions began to form, and starting in 1801, England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland united as "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland." In 1921, the southern part of Ireland established the "Irish Free State," now known as the "Republic of Ireland," leaving "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland."