Thursday, 15 December 2011

The Making of the United Kingdom

The first chapter of "Life in the United Kingdom" - which is non-examinable - deals with the meanings of the various terms often applied to the country - UK; British Isles; Britain; Great Britain. Although used interchangeably, they have precise meanings.  The "United Kingdom" is the correct name of the State. The British Isles also include the independent state of Ireland, whereas Great Britain strictly refers to the main island (excluding therefore Northern Ireland - a part of the UK and other offshore islands)

A high speed history is given in the following sections

- Early Britain: from the arrival of man to the Norman Conquest in the 11th Century
- The Middle Ages: from late 11th Century to 1485
- The Early Modern Period: from the accession of Henry VII (accession is the polite term - he invaded England & overthrew Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth. (see my post of April 2011), his right to the throne by blood was pretty weak) to 1688.
- Stability and the Growth of Empire: from the reign of William & Mary (another Foreign led and financed invasion to replace a King who had outlived his welcome) to the outbreak of the First World War
- The Twentieth Century: mistitled section, as it only covers 1914 to 1945! (though an important period)
- Politics in Britain since 1945: from Labour taking power in 1945 to the last Labour Government (remember that the current edition is from 2007. I'm sure a new edition can't be far off)