England, country and constituent part of the island of Great Britain which comprises, together with Wales, the main division of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
England covers the entire territory of the island to the east of Wales and to the south of Scotland. The capital is London. It is also the capital of the United Kingdom and the headquarters of the Commonwealth headquarters. Its surface is 130,423 km2, including the Isles of Scilly, located in the Atlantic Ocean, the Isle of Wight, close to the southern coast and the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea, between England and Northern Ireland.
According to intershippingrates.com, one of England’s main physiographic features is the deep coastal slopes, which have created excellent and diverse natural ports, among which Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Middlesborough, Southampton, Bristol and Liverpool stand out.
The main mountain region, the Peninsular Mountains, is the most important region in the north of England. The central region is known as the Midlands and covers the Fens, a vast swampy area after centuries of obstruction of some rivers, such as Ouse and Witham.
South of the Bristol Channel lies a plateau that culminates in the mountains and wilderness of Cornwall, Devon and Dartmoor. From Salisbury, in the south of England, countless mountain ranges extend in many directions. The climate is moderated by the seas that surround the island and warm due to the Gulf Stream, but relatively temperate for the latitude in which it is.
Most of the inhabitants are descended from the first Celtic peoples and from the subsequent invasions of Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Danes and Normans.
The population, in 2017, was 55,620,000 inhabitants. The demographic density, of approximately 307 inhabitants / km2. In 2017, the population of the main cities was: London with 8,000,000 inhabitants, Birmingham with 1,500,000 inhabitants, Liverpool with 1,300,000 inhabitants, Leeds with 800,000 inhabitants and Sheffield with 750,000 inhabitants.
The Anglican Church is predominant. The second most important religion is Catholic. Among the countless Protestant confessions are the Methodist (the most frequent), the United Reformist Church and the Presbyterian Church of England. There are also Muslim and Jewish communities.
In the first millennium BC, the Celts invaded the British Isles, subjecting the inhabitants of the islands. Their priests, the Druids, dominated society. In the year 409, Rome abandoned Britannia after a weak romanization. British chiefs, mainly Christians, ruled small and unstable kingdoms.
In the middle of the 5th century, the Romans continued to hire Germanic mercenaries to defend themselves against the warrior peoples of the north (Picts and Scots). These mercenaries rebelled against their British chiefs and around the 7th century they began to found Germanic kingdoms across the island.
The invaders had several origins: Angles, Saxons, Frisians, Jutes and Francs, but their culture, known as Anglo-Saxon, was similar. Around the 7th century there were seven Germanic kingdoms: Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia, Essex, Wessex, Sussex and Kent. In the year 937, with the battle of Brunanburh, a unified government for all England was created. The king governed with the help of a council of advisers who participated in the enactment of laws and oversaw the election of kings. William I, the Conqueror, gave England a new impetus.
Norman feudalism was the basis for the redistribution of land among the conquerors and in England a new aristocracy and a renewed social and political structure emerged. England moved away from Scandinavia to benefit France, an orientation it would maintain for 400 years. When William died in 1087, he bequeathed England to his second son, William II, and Normandy to his eldest son, Roberto. In time, Henry I (his third son), achieved both kingdoms: England in 1100, when William II died and, in 1106, Henry conquered Normandy. Henry II, count of Anjou and grandson of Henry I, ascended the throne in 1154. He ended anarchy and developed customary law, which was applied throughout England by the courts of the kingdom.
Henry’s kingdom encompassed more than half of France and the reign over Ireland and Scotland. His sons conspired against him on several occasions, supported by the kings of France and by his own mother, Leonor de Aquitaine. John Landless, Henry’s son, lost Normandy in 1204. In 1213, after a long struggle with Pope Innocent III over the investiture of Stephen Langton as archbishop of Canterbury, he finally recognized that England was a papal fiefdom. All of this precipitated the dispute with the nobility who, tired of their despotism, refused to participate in the reconquest of Normandy. When John died in 1216, the barons admitted his son Henry III as king and took control of the government, confirming the Magna Carta in 1225. With Edward I, who reigned between 1272 and 1307, the old feudal council of the king was developed until a Parliament was created which in the following century was divided into two chambers: Lords and Commons. After the Hundred Years’ War and the dynastic conflict known as the War of the Two Roses (1455-1485), the Tudor dynasty was established. Henry VIII, who reigned between 1509 and 1547, won in 1513 the French and soon after the Scots. His wife, Catarina de Aragão, gave him six children, but only one, the future Maria I, reached adulthood.
Wishing for a son and enthusiastic about Ana Boleyn, Henry asked the Pope for a divorce but, as he was not granted, he founded the Anglican Church, being its main leader and rejecting the authority of Rome but maintaining Catholic dogma. Thomas Cromwell, Count of Essex, one of Henry’s great administrators, oversaw the revolutionary changes that took place from 1530 onwards, the rupture with Rome and the dissolution of the monasteries, the further enlargement of Parliament, mainly of the House of Commons, as well as the creation of a new bureaucratic structure with the Private Council and with other institutions controlled by the kingdom.
Elizabeth I helped the Protestant rebels in Spanish Holland. Their ships defeated the Invincible Armada in 1588 avoiding the invasion of England. In 1603 Ireland was conquered. The ascension to the throne of the Scottish king James I of England, who reigned between 1603 and 1625, united the crowns of England and Scotland. Puritans were increasingly dissatisfied with the Church of England, which they considered too Catholic. See Gunpowder Conspiracy. During the reign of Charles I, between 1625 and 1649, the king defended a monarchy by divine right and the Parliament, which insisted on maintaining independence, faced off. Supreme Court President Edward Coke supported Parliament’s decision to prosecute the king’s ministers (1621) and contributed to the creation of the Rights Petition in 1628. Like the Magna Carta, it forced Carlos I to admit that there were limits to his authority. Parliamentarians finally won the English civil war, thanks to the support of Scotland and also due to the military leadership of Oliver Cromwell, who expelled all members of the opposition from Parliament.
The Rabadilla Parliament banned the monarchy together with the House of Lords, establishing a republican regime (the Commonwealth) in England. A new Council of State, which depended on the army, was created and given the poor legitimacy of Parliament, Cromwell became the master of the situation. Between 1649 and 1651 he submitted Ireland and Scotland, which soon joined the Commonwealth. Through a text adopted by the Council of State and supported by the New Army (known as the Instrument of Government), Cromwell assumed the power of the nation, with the title of protective lord of the Republic of England, Scotland and Ireland. After Cromwell’s death in 1658, General George Monck, prepared for the return to exile of his eldest son, King Charles I. In 1673, the Test Act excluded Catholics from public office.
The papal conspiracy of 1678 and the action of not including Jaime, the king’s Catholic brother, in the next reign, showed two political tendencies, the Whigs, who defended the supremacy of Parliament and who called for the expulsion of Catholics from the English throne and the Tories , who were Anglicans, supporters of the royal prerogative and who were not against Jaime, whenever he offered guarantees in the religious field. The king died in 1685, and the throne passed to James II. His opponents, incited by the 1688 Declaration of Indulgence, which favored Catholics, and by the birth of a son enabling a Catholic succession, asked William III to form a provisional government. This revolution was called the Glorious Revolution.
Before Jaime II’s daughter, Ana, came to the throne in 1702, all of her children had already died. In order to prevent the return of the Catholic Stuart, Parliament approved the Act of Establishment in 1701, which allowed the accession to the throne of a Protestant, the elector of Hannover, Sofia, granddaughter of James I and her descendants. The Scots accepted the Union Act of 1707, the result of which was the fusion of kingdoms and the creation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain.