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Military history of the United Kingdom

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The military history of the United Kingdom covers the period from the creation of the united Kingdom of Great Britain, with the political union of England and Scotland in 1707,[1] to the present day.

From the 18th century, with the expansion of the British Empire and the country's industrial strength, Britain's military force became one of the largest and most powerful in the world, particularly that of its navy, with advanced technology and bases across the world. It declined during the 20th century in the wake of two world wars, decolonisation, and the rise of the United States and the USSR as the new superpowers. Britain has been involved in a great many armed conflicts since the union in 1707, on all continents except for Antarctica. Today it still remains a major power with frequent military interventions across the globe since the end of the Cold War in 1991.

The present-day British Armed Forces encompass the Royal Navy, the British Army, and the Royal Air Force.

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the United Kingdom is a nation located in the British Isles made up of England Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland thousands of years ago the Isles were inhabited by long-forgotten pre-celtic people known as the beaker culture named for their distinctive pottery beakers little is known of them but it has been suggested that these people laid the foundations for the mysterious stonehenge a series of heavy standing stones which were transported from 150 miles away and arranged to form a calendar marking the days of the summer and winter solstice over time waves of Celtic speaking people arrived from the European continent who soon came to form the brittonic Gaelic and Pictish people these people were not a unified people but were rather many tribes who shared a similar pagan religion language and culture the Romans invaded conquering what's now England and Wales but failed to conquer the Pictish tribes to the north the Romans launched several campaigns into this land they called Caledonia however their fortifications were soon overrun and abandoned and they retreated to Hadrian's Wall their conquered lands were incorporated into the Roman Empire becoming the province of Britannia they brought Roman customs and laws improved infrastructure and connected many towns and cities with Roman roads when the Romans left there was a great migration of Germanic tribes these were the Jutes Angles and Saxons with their language Old English their settlement pushed many Britons to areas in Wales Brittany and a kingdom known as Domino Nia while Scotland eventually evolved into four kingdoms thus most of these were the Scots who were originally from Ireland the Britons of Strathclyde the anglo-saxon kingdom of Benicia and the pics of Alba for unknown reasons the Jutes disappeared from history but the Angles and Saxons eventually formed Seven Kingdoms Wessex Sussex Kent Essex East Anglia Murcia and Benicia became Northumbria after the collapse of Domino Nia the remaining territory of Cornwall fought against the powerful kingdom of Wessex corn will eventually fall under the control of Wessex but it managed to keep its own culture Wales at this point was also made up of several separate kingdoms the largest being Gwynedd in the North poets in the East and differed to the south the British Isles soon saw numerous Norse raiders from Scandinavia these were the Vikings and they began settlement on many of the Scottish Isles the Isle of Man and they even founded the city of Dublin in Ireland the Scots in the pics then decided to unite under Kenneth MacAlpine to form the Kingdom of Alba the kingdom of albergue grew strong over the years and eventually Strathclyde was bought into the fault meanwhile Danish Vikings arrived in the Anglo Saxon kingdoms for conquest after fighting the king of Wessex Alfred the Great the Danelaw was formed a land where the laws of the Danes held influence over the anglo-saxons controlling the region and its affairs the anglo-saxons eventually defeated the last Viking king of York Erich blood acts and Athelstan became the first king of the English although the newly formed Kingdom of Denmark would conquer England and even found a short-lived Danish dynasty under Knut the Norseman had a dramatic impact on the Isles so it's no wonder some words in the English language have Norse origin after defeating formidable sea Raiders from Ireland the Western Isles Scandinavia and anglo-saxon forces from Murcia were fed up Llewellyn's subdued his rivals in southwest Wales Llewellyn became the only Welsh King ever to rule over the entire territory of Wales he was defeated by the English Earl Harold Godwinson and killed by his own men leading to the Welsh kingdoms splitting apart once more at the death of Edward the Confessor there was a succession dispute between four claimants Harold Godwinson was elected as king and managed to defend England from an invasion by the Norwegian King Harald Hardrada however Howard had semaj his army south to defend against yook William of Normandy who could cross the English Channel according to tradition at the Battle of Hastings Harald was killed by an arrow to the eye and the Norman invaders were victorious the new King William defeated a number of rebellions built a new design of castles called moats and Bailey's and introduced a number of reforms like trial by combat and the Domesday book the Norman dynasty invaded into South Wales and parts of Ireland creating the lordship of Ireland at court Nobles spoken conducted sessions in the anglo-norman language which endured for centuries and left an incredible mark in development of modern English after a brief Civil War henry ii would marry Eleanor of Aquitaine establishing the Angevin Empire beginning a long rivalry against France Richard the Lionheart defended much of this territory and also became a central Christian commander during the Third Crusade achieving considerable victories against his Muslim counterparts Saladin under king john heavy taxes were imposed on his barons in order to pay for his expensive Foreign Wars the Baron's rebelled and forced John to sign the Magna Carta a charter that established the principle that everyone was subject to the law even the king guaranteeing the rights of individuals the right to justice and the right to a fair trial most of North Wales remained independently ruled by several Welsh princes until twelve sixteen when Llewellyn the Great became the ruler of the Principality of Wales this would be the case until it but the first who conquered Wales in 1284 effectively becoming parts England at the death of King Alexander the third Scotland was left with 14 rivals for succession to prevent civil war the Scottish magnates asked Edward the first of England to elect a claimant John Balliol was elected King but was constantly undermined by Edward who opposed Scottish independence Edward decided to launch several campaigns to conquer Scotland and depose King John to which he acquired the nickname hammer of the Scots under a brave Scottish Knight William Wallace the Scots mounted resistance against the English defeating them at the Battle of Stirling Bridge Edward marched north in person and defeated Wallace in battle but Wallace managed to escape he was later captured and executed but his efforts allowed Robert the Bruce to rise up and defeat the English securing Scottish independence when the King of France died without an heir Edward the third was technically eligible to the crown through his mother the French Court denied his claim and instead installed Philip of Valois Edward paid homage to Philip as he owned the lands of Gascony and was essentially a vassal to the King of France due to disagreements Edward reasserted his claim to the throne and invaded France beginning the Hundred Years War the English achieved notable victories at the Battle of Crecy Poitiers and Agincourt thanks to the technical superiority of the longbow but was unable to conquer the French with the appearance of Joan of Arc who lifted the French spirit and turned the tide of the war upon the death of Edward the third an entire generation was skipped in the line of succession which prompted bitter rivalry between several claimants most notably were the houses of York and Lancaster tensions were high until a bloody age of warfare erupted between these two factions in the Wars of the Roses it's so in-depth and complicated this period would likely become a video of its own the wars ended with the arrival of the Tudor dynasty Henry the eighth wanting a divorce split with the church creating his own Church of England this ultimately led to a series of religious differences between future English monarchs in between his six wives and naval adventures Henry gave Wales representation in Parliament and created the kingdom of Ireland but realistically he only controlled an area known as the pale in addition Henry's paranoia and suspicion amounted to tens of thousands of executions including his friends and wives during the 16th century the largest of most powerful Empire was Spain under king philip ii england under Elizabeth the first were helping Dutch rebels reject Spanish rule and many English privateers were also intercepting Spanish silver on its journey back from the new world this angered the spanish king and the final straw came when Elizabeth had Mary Queen of Scots executed because she did not want Scotland falling under Catholicism the Spanish Armada consisting of 130 ships was deployed to invade England at the Battle of Gravelines and English victory forced the Spanish fleet to sail around the British Isles before storms in the north of Scotland destroyed the remaining ships in metallian the english led by Sir Francis Drake amassed their own Armada to invade Spain but this too became a failed endeavor born in this period William Shakespeare became a renowned poet playwright and actor who contributed significantly to English literature when Queen Elizabeth of England died without an heir her closest male relative was James the sixth of Scotland James was elected as King of England and Scotland in a personal Union although the country's remain separate political entities as the first monarch to rule the entire island of Great Britain several assassination attempts were made by Catholic conspirators one such assassination attempt was the Gunpowder Plot by Guy Fawkes who tried to blow at Parliament's after a failed colony known as Roanoke England established a successful colony known as Jamestown which would eventually evolved into the 13 colonies at first expeditions to the new world were mainly driven by religious motives which were predominantly to convert the natives to their faith but colonies became more profitable as demand for new world crops like tobacco and sugar increased British ships also made a monopoly on the transportation of captive African slaves that crossed the Atlantic to the Americas millions of Africans were shipped in cramped horrific conditions to work on brutal plantation in the Americas and essentially became property to their masters for 300 years this practice continued in the British Empire until it was fully abolished in 1833 this period also saw a wave of plantations in Ireland where Irish lands were confiscated and given to English and Scottish settlers tensions would rise between Charles the first and Parliament following disagreements conflicts between Royal and parliamentary authority within England led to the English Civil War the country became divided between parliamentarians known as the Roundheads and Royalists known as the Cavaliers under Oliver Cromwell and the New Model Army the parliamentarians defeated Charles and executed him for treason cromwell became Lord Protector and dissolved the monarchy but shortly after his death it was restored under charles ii charles ii married Catherine of Braganza and when she arrived from Portugal she introduced the greatest beverage of all the time TEA Tea had been used by China for centuries but its arrival in the 17th century captured the interest of the English aristocracy and soon captivated every other Englishman in 1685 a catholic James ii became king in a largely Protestant nation James's daughter Mary and her Dutch husband William would both Protestant and many Nobles unhappy with the Catholic King invited William to become King William found considerable support when he invaded and he was soon crowned King William the third in what became known as the Glorious Revolution although Williams supporters dominated the government there remained a significant following for James ii in the scottish highlands clan MacDonald of Glencoe was one such group who had not been prompt in pledging allegiance to the new monarch for this reason alone 38 members of the clan were murdered in what became known as the massacre of Glencoe after Scotland's failed colonial endeavours in Nova Scotia and Panama and an economic crisis in the 1690s there was a union between England and Scotland forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain the House of Stuart's had ruled Britain for just over a century but ended with the death of Queen Anne Sophia of Hanover the granddaughter of James the first and her son George became King Great Britain soon found itself drawn into several European Wars most notable being the war of the Spanish Succession and the Seven Years War victories in these Wars resulted in territory for the Empire particularly in North America although it resulted in considerable debts in order to make up for this debt King George the third ordered heavy taxes be placed on the thirteen colonies this among other reasons culminated into the American War of Independence and with financial help from France and Spain the Americans were victorious the East India Company which was founded by Elizabeth the first had grown rapidly and even operated its own military and controlled a sizable amount of territory the company had set up fortified warehouses where they traded with many India rulers acquiring important luxuries like textiles and spices one of the most important cities of all was Bengal as it had a large taxable population the governor of Bengal robert clive ordered that the population grow opium to export to China instead of growing food as it proved to be a great source of income however when a famine struck it resulted in the deaths of millions of people meanwhile Captain James Cook arrived at New Zealand and the southeast coast of Australia although he wasn't the first to discover the area because of past Portuguese and Dutch explorers however unlike the Dutch of Portuguese Britain claimed as their new penal colony known as New South Wales with the first convicts arriving in 1778 a new threats had emerged from France French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte Music Napoleon had come to dominate most of Europe but Britain's advantage was that she was an island and the Royal Navy had become a major force at sea invasion of Britain was near impossible and in a series of coalition's Napoleon was defeated by the end of the Napoleonic Wars Britain was growing rapidly into a superpower based on their supremacy of naval engineering furthermore in Ireland the great famine struck a disease killing potato plants Ireland which had merged with Britain relied heavily on this crop for food but the British government forced Ireland to export what little food they had to other areas without any aid or food Ireland's population plummeted by half due to starvation and emigration to countries like the United States things weren't looking so great in India either as India was rebelling against company rule the East India Company had employed many Indian soldiers known as sepoys who were under the command of British soldiers these sepoys grew increasingly unhappy and a revolt soon occurred yet it quickly failed due to a lack of unity between Indians after the rebellion the British government took direct control with Queen Victoria being declared Empress of India during the 19th century the world was forever changed by the Industrial Revolution society was transformed by technological advances and increasing mechanization and would launch Britain to global dominance some of the greatest innovations and inventions were the sewing machine the fire extinguisher steam powered engines and turbines the electric motor and photography The Telegraph was also a major invention as a message could now be sent from Britain to India in a matter of hours the establishment of railways and trains also transformed transport forever instead of travelling days by horse and carriage it now only took a matter of hours by train engineering and communication advance is not only United the Empire they triggered a manufacturing boom like no other people flocked from rural areas to city centres for jobs productivity reached an all-time high but the consequences of mass migration resulted in extremely cramped and polluted cities however with these problems that were generated it resulted in an improved sewage system Newcastle focused on shipbuilding Manchester the cotton industry Liverpool became a major trading centre Middlesbrough fixated itself on iron and steel works the presence of iron ore limestone and large coal deposits in the West Midlands and southeast Wales prompted the establishment of ironworks and Scotland boomed in the linen industry the Victorian era also saw a major change in society as families from the poorest backgrounds gained access to education although it was much stricter than today's standards the 1860s also saw the rise of the greatest food combination ever fish and chips towards the end of the 19th century European powers came together at the Berlin conference to divide Africa between them a group in South Africa known as the Boers who originally Dutch settlers proved difficult for the British the Boers lived in two nations the free orange states and the Republic of Transvaal and both resisted British rule using guerilla warfare to counter this the British placed many women and children in their tens of thousands into concentration camps when many died from starvation and disease Britain became a major player in the First World War and many men proudly volunteered to serve and protect their country the Great War as it was called saw the use of new technology such as dreadnoughts warplanes artillery machine guns grenades chemical weapons bolt-action rifles and the first use of the tank many faced horrific conditions in the trenches and witness groups of battles millions died and many returned home shell shocked by what they had seen the Empire reached its territorial heights in 1921 after gaining territory from Germany and the crumbling Ottoman Empire the Empire now ruled over 400 million people and controlled one quarter of the world's land mass but the reality was Britain could no longer afford to build bases or ships to defend its empire as it had before 19:14 Ireland finally managed to break away from British rule and formed the Irish free states and shortly after became a republic the Second World War was more brutal and horrific than the first most of Europe had fallen under German occupation and under Prime Minister Winston Churchill Britain stood strong during the Battle of Britain and the Blitz Britain were extremely successful at intercepting and decoding enemy communications with the likes of Alan Turing who cracked the German Enigma code the war ended with an allied victory but many nations within the Empire felt a desire for independence and it was clear the Empire was about to break India was one such nation who were ready to declare their independence Mohandas Gandhi practiced a nonviolent approach and this proved successful are shortly after India gained independence the Commonwealth of Nations was formed to improve relations and economic ties with former colonies this still remains today with 53 members united by language history culture and shared values of democracy the British Empire officially ended with Hong Kong Britain's last colony being handed over to China in 1997 the Empire committed many atrocities on many different people imposing their culture and civilization while often wiping out native ones on the other hand this brought about globalization and the uniting of the modern world and without such innovations and industrialization the world might have been a very different place the United Kingdom suffered a small economic recession in 2008 but has since recovered it is a multicultural society with each region retaining a presence of its history and culture if you ever visit look out for the Welsh cake the haggis the whiskey the Chelsea bun the par mo the Cumberland sausage the Yorkshire pudding or the Cornish pasty the UK remains a member of NATO United Nations and the World Trade Organization and uses the pound currency in 2016 a referendum resulted in 51.9% of voters in favor to leave the European Union although the countries within the United Kingdom became divided on the matter leading to the many questions of its future unity thank you for watching let us know your thoughts in the comments like subscribe follow us on Twitter support us on patreon have a good one


18th century

19th century

20th century

21st century

List of civil wars

  1. Jacobite Rebellions (1715–16; 1719; 1745–46) - the last civil war in Great Britain
  2. The Troubles - in Northern Ireland, with some (terrorist) activity in Great Britain

Further reading

  • Black, Jeremy. A military history of Britain: from 1775 to the present (2008)

See also


  1. ^ Acts of Union 1707, accessed 31 December 2010; Uniting the kingdom?, accessed 31 December 2010; Making the Act of Union 1707 Archived 2011-05-11 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 31 December 2010
  2. ^ "First British troops arrive in Somalia as part of UN mission". The Guardian. May 2, 2016. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  3. ^ "Cargo bomb plot: SAS hunting al-Qaeda in Yemen". the telegraph. 2 November 2010.
  4. ^ "UK and US spend millions to counter Yemeni threat". the independent. 30 October 2010.

Further reading

  • Higham, John, ed. A Guide to the Sources of British Military History (2015) 654 pages excerpt
This page was last edited on 5 April 2019, at 14:55
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