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Kingdom of England

From Academic Kids

The Kingdom of England was a state on the island of Great Britain, covering roughly the southern two-thirds. In addition to what is now known as England, it also covered Wales from 1536 to 1707. The Kingdom was abolished in 1707 by the Union with Scotland Act and became part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

Contents

A Quick History of the Kingdom

Origins

The Kingdom of England has no specific founding date. The Kingdom could trace its origins to the so-called Heptarchy. That is the rule of what would later become England by seven minor Kingdoms: East Anglia, Essex, Kent, Mercia, Northumbria, Sussex, and Wessex.

The Kings of Wessex started becoming increasingly dominant over the other kingdoms of England during the 8th century. The process would continue during the 9th century. Alfred the Great (reigned 871 - 899) was the first King of Wessex to style himself "King of England".

His son Edward the Elder (reigned 899 - 924) exceeded the military achievments of his father by establishing his rule over the Danelaw. The death of his sister Ethelfleda in 918, resulted in him usurping the rule of Mercia from his niece Aelfwynn in 919.

In 927 the last kingdom of Dark Ages England, Northumbria, fell to the King of Wessex Athelstan, a son of Edward the Elder. He was the first to reign over a united England. Not the first de jure King of England but certainly the first de facto one.

Vikings, Danes and Normans

England has remained in political unity ever since. However the Kingdom was subject to new invasions by the Vikings during the late 10th century. The raiders were coming from Denmark. In response Ethelred II of England ordered the slaughter of all Danish people present in England during 1002. This only managed to attract the attention and hostility of Sweyn I of Denmark and Norway. Sweyn staged four full scale invasions of England for the remainder of his life.

Sweyn was proclaimed King of England in opposittion to Ethelred II in 1013. He died on February 2, 1014. His son Canute the Great continued the war. Ethelred II died on April 23, 1016. His son Edmund II of England was soon defeated by Canute. Canute agreed to co-rule with Edmund II but the later died on November 30, 1016. Leaving England united under Danish rule.

The Danish rule continued until the death of Harthacanute on June 8, 1042. He was a son of Canute and Emma of Normandy, widow of Ethelred II. Harthacanute had no heirs of his own and was succeeded by his half-brother Edward the Confessor. The Kingdom of England was independent again.

Peace only lasted until the death of childless Edward on January 4/January 5, 1066. His brother-in-law was crowned Harold II of England. His cousin William the Bastard , Duke of Normandy immediately claimed the throne for himself. William launched an invasion of England and landed in Sussex on September 28, 1066. Harold II and his army were in York following their victory in the Battle of Stamford Bridge (September 25, 1066). They had to march across England to reach their new opponents. The armies of Harold II and William finally faced each other in the Battle of Hastings (October 14, 1066). Harold fell and William remained the victor.

William was able to conquer England with little further opposition. He was not however planning to absorb the Kingdom to the Duchy of Normandy. As a Duke, William still owed allegiance to Philip I of France. The independent Kingdom of England would allow him to rule without interference. He was crowned King of England on December 25, 1066.

Changes in area of influence

The Kingdom of England and the Duchy of Normandy would remain in personal union until 1204. King John of England, a fourth-generation descendant of William I, lost the continental area of the Duchy to Philip II of France during that year. The remnants of the Duchy remained in the rule of John and his descendants. They are known as the Channel Islands.

John still held both the titles and land of the Duke of Aquitaine. His grandson Edward I of England managed to defeat Llywelyn the Last and effectively conquer Wales in 1282. He created the title Prince of Wales for his eldest son Edward II in 1301.

Edward II was father to Edward III of England, whose claim to the throne of France resulted in the Hundred Years' War (1337 - 1453). The end of the war found England defeated and retaining only a single city of France:Calais.

The Kingdom had little time to recover before entering the Wars of the Roses (1455 - 1487). The "Wars" was actually a civil war over possession of the throne between the House of Lancaster and the House of York. They were actually descendants of Edward III and closely related. The end of the wars found the throne held by a female line descendant of the House of Lancaster married to the eldest daughter of the House of York. Henry VII of England and his Queen consort Elizabeth of York were the founders of the Tudor dynasty which ruled the Kingdom from 1485 to 1603.

Meanwhile Wales retained the same administrative system active in it since before the 13th century. The second Tudor monarch, Henry VIII of England, would change it with the Acts of Union 1536-1543. Wales was no longer a personal fiefdom of the King of England but annexed to England. The new area of the Kingdom even produced representatives for the English Parliament.

Mary I of England , eldest daughter of Henry VIII, had a less successful reign. Calais was captured by Francis, Duke of Guise on January 7, 1558. English rule had to be limited to southern Great Britain. The northern was still held by the Kingdom of Scotland under the House of Stuart.

Personal Union with Scotland

The House of Tudor ended with the death of its last monarch, Elizabeth I of England, on March 24, 1603. Her closest male relative was James VI of Scotland. The two British Kingdoms were under a personal union until 1707.

The Act of Union 1707 peacefully merged both Kingdoms to the United Kingdom of Great Britain (1707 - 1801). Their last Queen regnant became Queen Anne of Great Britain. Their respective Parliaments were merged into a Parliament of the United Kingdom which held meetings in Westminster, London. At this point, England no longer existed as a separate political entity and has since had no national government.

Other notes

England has been a monarchy for its entirety (since its creation about 927 to the present day), except for the eleven years of English Interregnum (1649 to 1660) that followed the English Civil War.

The rule of executed King Charles I of England was replaced by that of a republic known as Commonwealth of England (1649 - 1653). The most prominent general of the republic, Oliver Cromwell, managed to extend its rule to Ireland and Scotland.

The victorious general eventually turned against the republic. Establishing a new form of goverment known as The Protectorate. With himself as Lord Protector until his death on September 3, 1659. He was succeeded by his son Richard Cromwell. However, anarchy eventually developed, as Richard proved unable to maintain his rule. He resigned his title and retired into obscurity. The Commonwealth was re-established but proved unstable. Exiled claimant Charles II of England was recalled to the throne in 1660 in the English Restoration.

The present monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Elizabeth II, is the modern successor to the Kings and Queens of England. The title of Queen (and King) of England has however been out of use since 1707 and is incorrect when it applies to her in popular use. Elizabeth can trace her descent to the Kings of Wessex of the 1st millennium.

The capital of the Kingdom was Winchester , Hampshire until the Norman Conquest of 1066. William I the Conqueror (1066-1087) selected London as his capital. London served as the capital of the Kingdom until its end in 1707 and continues to remain the capital of England. The city has also served as the capital of both the United Kingdom of Great Britain (1707 - 1801) and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1801 - 1922). Today it remains the capital of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

See also

Preceded by:
The Heptarchy
Kingdom of England
927-1707
Succeeded by:
Kingdom of Great Britain
id:Kerajaan Inggris
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