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keskiviikko 18. tammikuuta 2017

Netherlands, Cool Facts #163

<= 162. Surinam                                                                                                           164. Albania => 

The current Dutch flag was adopted officially in 1937. Variants of this flag had existed since 1572. The Dutch flag is the oldest tricolor flag still in use. 

The Dutch tricolor has influenced many other flags like the Russian flag (1693) and French flag (1794). The Russian and French flag have then further influenced many other national flags. The French flag has influenced mainly the flags in former French colonies in Africa. The Russian flag has influenced many other Slavic flags

The Dutch flag has also influenced its own former colonies like many Boer Republics established in South Africa in the 1800s, or the Indonesian flag. It's said that in Indonesia the nationalists, who wanted the force the Dutch out of their country, ripped apart the Dutch flags separating the blue stripe. This is how the Indonesian flag was born. 

Flags influenced by the Russian flag

Flags influenced by the Dutch flag

2. Name of the country 

The Netherlands
Refers to the entire country.

Refers to North and South Holland, two of the country's twelve provinces. Sometimes the designation Holland is used for the whole country.

Low Countries
The name used for the region, which currently comprises areas from Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. After the Eighty Years' War (1568-1648) the Low Countries were divided into an independent northern Dutch Republic and Spanish controlled Southern Netherlands, which later developed into Belgium.

Twelve Dutch provinces

3. Dutch Geography 

- Only Bangladesh, South Korea and Taiwan have a larger population and higher population density
- Only about 50% of the land exceeds one meter above sea level 
- About 17% of the current land mass has been reclaimed from the sea and lakes
- The huge North Sea flood in 1953 collapsed several dikes causing the drowning of more than 1800 people 
- The Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt rivers form deltas in the Netherlands
- Old saying "God created the world, the Dutch created the Netherlands". 

Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta 

4. Separation of Belgium and the Netherlands

House of Valois-Burgundy rule, 1354-1581
The House of Valois-Burgundy and their Habsburg heirs ruled Low Countries between 1384-1581. These areas included present-day Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Eighty Years' War, 1568-1648
War between the Seventeen Provinces and their Spanish ruler started in 1568. In 1579 the northern part of the Seventeen Provinces formed the Union of Utrecht to support each other against the Spanish army. In 1581 seven northern provinces declared independence and deposed Philip II of Spain as reigning monarch. The southern provinces remained under Spanish rule as Spanish Netherlands, this region later developed into Belgium.

Belgium annexed back to the Netherlands, 1815
Southern Netherlands (Belgium) was added to the Dutch Kingdom in the Congress of Vienna in 1815. The aim was to create a strong country on the northern border of France.

Independence of Belgium, 1830
The Southern Netherlands, which had been culturally separate from the north since 1581 opposed the annexation and in 1830 the Southern Netherlands gained independence as Belgium.

Belgian Revolutin 1830
Benelux countries map

The Dutch Golden Age spanned much of the 17th century. During this time the Dutch Empire grew becoming one of the major economic and seafaring powers in the world. 

Dutch colonization 
The Dutch East India Company and the Dutch West India India Company established colonies and trading posts all around the world from South America, North America and Asia. 

1614 The settlement of New Amsterdam was established in the southern part of Manhattan (present-day New York) 
1652 The Dutch established the Cape Colony
1667 The colony of Suriname was established 

Dutch science, military and art (especially painting) were known all over the world. 
The Netherlands became the world's first thoroughly capitalist country. 
First full-time stock exchange emerged in the Netherlands. 

1636-1637 Tulip mania, world's first asset-inflation bubble.
1689 The Dutch stadtholder William or Orange and his wife Mary were invited to England as rulers 

Eighty Years' War 1568-1648 
Thirty Years' War 1618-1648 
1672 Disaster Year, the Dutch Republic was simultaneously in war with France, England and three German Bishoprics. 

Map of Dutch colonies

Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring
Astronomer, by Gerrit Dou
Fishing for Souls, 1614 


8000BC Mesolithic tribes resided in Friesland and Drenthe, where the world's oldest canoe was found
57-53BC Roman forces under Julius Caesar conquered the area south of Oude Rijn and west of the Rhine
69 Batavian rebellion between the border tribe Batavia and the Roman Empire
490s Clovis I conquered and united all territories in southern Netherlands in one Frankish kingdom
650-734 Frisian Kingdom under King Aldegisel and King Redbad emerged with Utrecht as its centre of power
843 The Frankish Carolingian empire was divided into three parts - East, Middle and West Francia
900-1000s The Holy Roman Empire (the successor state of East Francia) ruled much of the Low Countries, but weren't able to maintain political unity
1100s Farmers from Flanders and Utrecht started draining and cultivating uninhabited swampy land in the western Netherlands
1350-1490 Hook and Cod wars were fought over the title of count of Holland
1384-1581 The House of Valois-Burgundy and their Habsburg heirs ruled Low Countries
1568 Eighty Years' War between the Seventeen Provinces and their Spanish ruler started 
1579 The northern part of the Seventeen Provinces formed the Union of Utrecht to support each other against the Spanish army
1581 Act of Abjuration, the declaration of independence of 7 northern provinces deposing Philip II of Spain as reigning monarch, the southern provinces (present-day Belgium) remained under Spanish rule as Spanish Netherlands
1614 The Dutch founded the settlement of New Amsterdam on the southern part of Manhattan
1636-1637 The world's first asset-inflation bubble, the tulip mania  
1648 Spanish King Philip IV finally recognized the independence of the seven north-western provinces in the Peace of Münster
1652 The Dutch settled the Cape Colony 
1672 Disaster Year, the Dutch Republic was simultaneously in war with France, England and three German Bishoprics 
1689 The Dutch stadtholder William or Orange and his wife Mary were invited to England as rulers 
1795 Dutch republicans proclaimed the Batavian Republic with the support of French revolutionaries, the stadtholder William III of Orange had to flee to England
1806 Napoleon Bonaparte set up the Kingdom of Holland as a puppet kingdom governed by his brother Louis Bonaparte
1810 Louis Bonaparte was forced abdicate he had tried to serve Dutch interests instead of his brother's, after this the Netherlands were part of the French Empire until 1813 when Napoleon was defeated in the Battle of Leipzig
1815 Congress of Vienna added the southern Netherlands to the north to create a strong country on the northern border of France and the son of the previous stadtholder proclaimed himself King William I 
1830 The Southern Netherlands, which had been culturally separate from the north since 1581, gained independence as Belgium 
1863 The Netherlands abolished slavery
1873 Slaves in Suriname were fully freed
1890 William III died without no surviving male heirs, Luxembourg became independent because the ascendancy laws prevented William's daughter Queen Wilhelmina to become the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg
1910s The Netherlands were neural during the First World War
1940s Germany occupied the Netherlands during the Second World War
1944-1945 Canadian, British and Polish troops were responsible of liberating much of the Netherlands
1945 Indonesia declared independence from the Netherlands
1947 Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands formed the Benelux customs union
1948 Queen Wilhelmina was succeeded by her daughter Juliana
1949 The Netherlands joined Nato
1975 Suriname became independent from the Netherlands
1980 Queen Juliana was succeeded by her daughter Beatrix 
2010 Netherland Antilles was dissolved after referendums on Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba leading to the incorporation of these three islands into the country of the Netherlands as special municipalities

maanantai 9. tammikuuta 2017

Suriname, Cool Facts #162

<= 161. USA                                                                                                           162. Netherlands => 

1. Dutch Speaking Country

- The official language of Suriname is Dutch
- Over 60% of the population speaks Dutch as a mother tongue
- Dutch is the official language of Suriname, Belgium and the Netherlands
- Suriname and the English-speaking Guyana are the only South American countries with non-Romance languages

2. Suriname and New York 

The Dutch and the English had disputes over the area of Suriname. In 1667 during negotiations leading to the Treaty of Breda, the Dutch decided to keep the plantation colony of Suriname, which they had got from the English. The English got to keep New Amsterdam, which was the main city of the former colony of New Netherland. Later New Amsterdam was renamed after the Duke of York as New York.

At the time England and the Netherlands had conflicts because England tried to end the Dutch domination  of world trade during a period of intense European commercial rivalry. The Treaty of Breda was made after the Second Anglo-Dutch War, which had resulted in Dutch victory.

Conflicts between the Netherlands and England:

1652-1654 First Anglo-Dutch War: English victory
1665-1667 Second Anglo-Dutch War: Dutch victory
1672-1674 Third Anglo-Dutch War: Dutch victory
1688-1689 Glorious revolution
1781-1784 Fourth Anglo-Dutch War: British victory

Four Days Fight, during the second Anglo-Dutch War

3. Independence of Suriname

Suriname gained independence in 1975 although 40% of the population, mainly Asians, opposed the independence. There were fears that the country would fare worse under independence than as a constituent country of the Kingdom of Netherlands. This was the reason why about one third of the population, about 160,000 people, moved from Suriname to the Netherlands after the Surinamese independence.

In the elections of 1977 NPS was accused of fraud, which caused a lot of discontent causing a large chunk of the population to flee to the Netherlands. Living conditions didn't improve much later when Henck Arron's regime was overthrown in a military coup. There were many counter-coup attempts in the 1980s. 

Henck Arron

4. Dictator Dési Bouterse

Dési Bouterse military coupIn 1980 Dési Bouterse led the military coup in which Henck Arron's government was overthrown. Dési Bouterse led the military dictatorship until 1987 after which he remained in charge of the army. In 1990 Bouterse dismissed the ministers by telephone after being dissatisfied with the government. This event was called as the "Telephone Coup". Bouterse's power began to wane after the elections of 1991. 

Surinamese Interior War 1986-1991 
The ethnic Maroons started the civil war after a personal feud between Bouterse and his former bodyguard Ronnie Brunswijk, a Maroon himself. The Jungle Commando led by Brunswijk fought against the national army led by Bouterse until 1991 in the remote interior region of Suriname. Runaldo Venetian the civil president elected in the elections of 1991 made a peace treaty with the guerrilla group ending the civil war.

Counters-coup attempts against Bouterse 1980 April 
1980 August 
1981 March 
1982 March

Bouterse returns to power in 2010In the elections of 2010 Bouterse returned into power and is currently (2017) still the head of state in Suriname. Bouterse is a controversial person as he has been accused of human rights violations and drug trade but he was still democratically elected as president after everything.

Human rights violations and crimes
1982 December murders: the murder of fifteen prominent young Surinamese men, who had criticized the military dictatorship 

1986 Moiwana massacre: Bouterse is suspected to have commanded the massacre of 35 people, mostly women and children and burning the house of Brunswijk. 
2000 Drug trafficking: Bouterse was sentenced in absentia in the Netherlands to 11 years in jail after being convicted of trafficking 474 kilos of cocaine. 

Wikileaks cables released in 2011 revealed that Bouterse had been active in drug trade until 2006. As the president of Suriname he enjoys national immunity from arrest in Suriname but he has no international immunity because he was convicted of the drug offense before his election in 2010 as Head of State. Europol has issued an arrest warrant for him. 

Dési Bouterse

5. Multicultural Population of Suriname 

Symbolism in the flag
The flag of Suriname reflects the multicultural population of the country. The five points of the star represent the ethnic groups of Suriname, the White, the Black, Indigenous, Indian and Chinese populations. 

Religions (2012 data)
Christianity 48,4% 

Hinduism 22,3%
Islam 13,9% 
Other religions 4,7% 
Unaffiliated 10,7% 

Background of the ethnic diversity
In 1863 slavery was abolished in Suriname and the slaves had to be replaced by indentured laborers from present-day Indonesia and India. During the late 1800s and early 1900s small number of laborers were also recruited from China and the Middle East. The descendants of the immigrants preserved their language, religions and customs creating a variety of cultures in Suriname. 

The smallest population in South America
From all the independent countries of South America, Suriname has the smallest population, only about 566,000 people.

Ethnic diversity of Suriname


3000BC First indigenous settlements were established by the Arawak people, who were conquered later by the Caribs by using their superior sailing ships
1500s French, Spanish and English explorers visited the area
1600s Marshall's Creek along the Suriname River, established by the English was the earliest documented colony in Suriname, the Dutch started also establishing plantation colonies
1667 Treaty of Breda ended the disputes between the Dutch and the English for control of this territory and as a result the Dutch decided to keep the plantation colony of Suriname, they had gained from the English and the English got to keep New Amsterdam, the future New York
1683 The Society of Suriname was established to manage and defend the colony
1815 After the Vienna Congress the territory became the Dutch Guiana
1863 The Netherlands abolished slavery in Suriname, under a gradual process that required slaves to work on plantations for 10 years for minimal pay
1873 Most freed slaves abandoned the plantations and to make up for the shortage of labour, the Dutch recruited and transported contract or indentured workers from the Dutch East Indies
1918 Bauxite mining was started, which became the backbone of the Surinamese economy
1941 USA occupied Dutch Guiana to protect the bauxite mines to support the Allies war effort
1953 The name of Dutch Guiana was changed to Suriname and along with the Netherlands Antilles and the Netherlands it became one of the constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
1975 Suriname became independent, although 40% of the population resisted independence fearing the decline of living standards, which is why 160,000 people moved to the Netherlands after the independence
1980 Military coup overthrew the first prime minister Henck Arron's government and the coup leader Dési Bouterse started leading the country until 1991
1980 Opponents of the military regime attempted counter-coups in April, August, March 1981 and March 1982
1986 The Maroons led by Ronnie Brunswijk started a five-year civil war against the army of Bouterse
1987 National elections were held and the National Assembly adopted a new constitution that allowed Bouterse to remain in charge of the army
1990 "Telephone Coup", dissatisfied with the government Bouterse dismissed the ministers by telephone
1991 After the elections Runaldo Venetiaan brought civilian regime back and he made a peace treaty with the guerrilla movement
1995 Suriname joined CARICOM
1996 Power shifted legally after the elections to Jules Wijdenbosch, who was supported by Dési Bouterse, who had became rich in drug smuggling and the Interpol and the Netherlands had made an arrest warrant of him
1999 Dési Bouterse was convicted and sentenced to prison after the drug smuggling charges made by the Netherlands
2000 Venetiaan was re-elected as president
2005 Venetiaan was re-elected again
2010 The former dictator Dési Bouterse returned to power
2015 Bouterse was re-elected 

United States, Cool Facts #161

<= 160. Great Britain                                                                                                162. Suriname => 

1. USA borders

The original 13 colonies that formed the United States of America were established between 1607 and 1732. The first one was Virginia Colony at Jamestown in 1607. The last one of them was Georgia Colony established in 1732. 

The original 13 colonies

Louisiana Purchase 1803-1804
In 1803 USA bought the Louisiana territory from France. The Kingdom of France had controlled the Louisiana territory from 1699 until 1762, when it was ceded to Spain. In 1800 Napoleon regained ownership of Louisiana back to France. The territory included land from fifteen present U.S states and two Canadian provinces.

Florida and Texas
1819 Spain ceded Florida to USA
1845 USA annexed the Republic of Texas

1846 Oregon Treaty with Britain, led to U.S. control of the present-day American Southwest

Oregon Treaty 1846
Alaska Purchase
1867 Alaska was bought from Russia

Alaska purchase 1867
Hawaii annexation
1898 Hawaii was annexed by USA
1959 Hawaii became the 50th U.S. state

Hawaiian annexation ceremony, 1898

2. American Revolution

1765 the American Revolution started when the American colonial society rejected the authority of the British Parliament to tax them and to create laws affecting them without any colonial representatives in the government.
1773 Boston Tea Party, the colonists (aka Patriots) destroyed a shipment of taxed tea from the Parliament-controlled East India Company.
1774 The Patriots set up their own alternative government to better coordinate their resistance against Great Britain, while other colonists known as Loyalists preferred to remain aligned to the British Crown.

American Revolutionary War 1775-1783

1775 Fighting between Patriot militia and British regulars at Lexington and Concord developed into a global war. Patriots in all of the thirteen colonies formed Provincial Congresses that assumed power from the old colonial government and suppressed Loyalism. They built also the Continental Army under the leadership of George Washington.
1776 Lee Resolution  on July 2, which was the actual vote for independence.
1776 Declaration of Independence on July 4, declared that the Thirteen Colonies were independent states and had no allegiance to the British Crown.
1777 The Articles of Confederation was an agreement among all thirteen colonies of USA that served as its first constitution.
1777 A British army was captured at the Battle of Saratoga.
1781 A combined American-French force captured a second British army at Yorktown, effectively ending the war in the United States.
1783 Treaty of Paris formally ended the conflict confirming the complete separation from the British Empire.

Territorial changes after the conflict

- Great Britain ceded areas east of Mississippi River, south of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River
- Great Britain ceded East Florida and West Florida  to Spain

Allies of USA 
- Since 1776 France had provided supplies to USA and entered the war in 1778
- Spain joined the war as an ally of France, intending to capture Gibraltar and the British colonies in the Caribbean
- The Dutch entered the war as well but lost to the British on all counts and had to cede some territory to the British

Declaration of Independence paper
Declaration of Independence meeting

3. American Civil War 1861-1865 

Beginning in 1861
The civil war started when seven Southern slave states declared their secession from the U.S. and formed the Confederate States of America. The North (Union) started fighting against these southern states then.

Reasons of the secession
- Northern anti-slavery policies
- Southern white nationalism
- North's desire to preserve the Union
- Abraham's Lincoln's victory in the 1860 presidential election without being the the ballot in ten of the Southern states
- South's dependancy on slave labour in their cotton plantations

USA states in 1861 
- There were 34 states in USA
- 19 were free states, which formed the North or "Union"
- 15 were slave states

The Confederacy  
- 7/15 slave states were part of the Confederacy
- After the Battle of Fort Sumter 11/15 slave states were part of the Confederacy
- 4 slave states never declared a secession: Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri

End of war
In 1865 the Confederate armies surrendered, the Confederate government was dissolved and slavery was abolished in USA.

Between 620,000-750,000 soldiers died in the civil war, which is more than American military deaths in the two world wars combined. As much of the South's infrastructure was destroyed, the Reconstruction Era (1863-1877) overlapped and followed the civil war restoring national unity, strengthening the national government, and granting civil rights to the freed slaves.

Map of USA during civil war
American civil war

4. American Indian Wars

The American Indian Wars were the multiple armed conflicts between European colonists, later American settlers and then the American government and the native peoples of North America. The conflicts were fought between 1540-1924. The European colonists also fought against each others allying with the natives for the control of North American territories. The indigenous people were slowly pushed northward and westward as the Europeans colonized the countries, they had inhabited for the previous centuries.

The first war was fought between the Spanish conquistadors and the Puebloan people in Tiguex War in 1540. The last war was fought in 1924 between the native people and the American government.
After the last war USA extended to its present borders and the Indian reservation system was established by various treaties with individual tribes.

States that were involved in the Indian Wars between 1540 and 1924: 

Spanish Empire
French Empire
English Empire
Dutch Empire
British Empire
Republic of Texas
Confederate States of America

Battle of Little Bighorn between the Americans and Sioux people

5. Dirty Thirties 

The Dust Bowl also known as the Dirty Thirties was a period of severe sand storms, that greatly damaged the ecology and agriculture of the American and Canadian prairies in the 1930s. The phenomenon was caused by severe drought and the failure to apply dryland farming to prevent wind erosion. 

Three waves of drought

During the 1920s the farmers had started converting arid grassland to cultivated cropland. The native deep-rooted grasses had been displaced that normally trapped soil and moisture even during periods of drought and high winds. This unanchored soil was then turned to dust in the 1930s and the winds blew them away in huge clouds that blackened the sky. The dust clouds traveled from the Great Plains across the country as far as the East Coast, striking cities like New York and Washington D.C.

Th dust storms affected an area of about 400,000 square kilometers and caused tens of thousands of families to abandon their farms.

Dust storm in Texas, 1935
After a dust storm 
Ecoregions of the Great Plains


15,000 Years ago the first inhabitants arrived to North America from Siberia
1492 Columbus started his first voyage after which the Spanish set small settlements in New Mexico and Florida. France had several small settlements along the Mississippi River
1607 The English established the Virginia Colony at Jamestown
1620 The English established the Pilgrims' Plymouth Colony
1732 Georgia was colonized by the British and so the 13 colonies were established that would become the United States of America
1730s and 1740s The Great Awakening was a Christian revivalist movement that swept British America
1754-1763 British forces seized Canada from the French during the French and Indian War (part of the Seven Years' War)
1776 Lee Resolution  on July 2, which was the actual vote for independence
1776 Declaration of Independence on July 4, declared that the Thirteen Colonies were independent states and had no allegiance to the British Crown
1777 The Articles of Confederation was an agreement among all thirteen colonies of USA that served as its first constitution
1778 James Cook arrived in the Hawaiian Islands
1783 Britain recognized the independence of USA
1787 Nationalists led the Philadelphia Convention in writing the United States Constitution, which was ratified in state conventions in 1788
1789 George Washington was the first president elected under the new constitution
1791 The Bill of Rights was adopted
1800-1840s The Second Great Awakening converted millions to evangelical Protestantism
1803-1804 Louisiana Purchase from France, the territory included land from fifteen present U.S states and two Canadian provinces
1812-1815 War of 1812 fought by USA against UK, British North American colonies and its native American allies
1819 Spain ceded Florida to USA
1845 USA annexed the Republic of Texas
1846 Oregon Treaty with Britain, led to U.S. control of the present-day American Southwest
1848-1849 California Gold Rush
1861-1865 American Civil War
1867 Alaska was bought from Russia
1898 Hawaii was annexed by USA
1898 After the Spanish-American War Spain ceded Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to USA
1914-1917 During World War I USA was neutral until 1917 when it joined the Allies
1920 Women's suffrage was granted
1929 The Crash of Wall Street started the Great Depression
1930 Dust Bowl aka the Dirty Thirties, was a period of severe sand storms that greatly damaged the ecology and agriculture of the U.S.
1941 Japan launched the attack to Pearl Harbour after which USA joined the Allies during Second World War
1950-1953 USA fought against communist Chinese and North Korean forces in the Korean War
1955-1975 During the Vietnam War, USA fought alongside South Vietnam against North Vietnam and its allies
1959 Hawaii became the 50th U.S. state
1968 Civil Rights Act sought to end racial discrimination
1969 USA sent a man on the moon
1991 The Cold War ended after the collapse of the Soviet Union
1994 North American Free Trade Agreement was made
2001 Terrorists struck the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon near Washington
2001-2014 War in Afghanistan started after the September 11 attacks
2003-2011 War of Iraq
2007 The Great Recession began in december and ended in June 2009

"Maailman maat - liput ja historia" by Kimmo Kiljunen

tiistai 3. tammikuuta 2017

United Kingdom, Cool Facts #160

<= 159. Ireland                                                                                                                   161. USA => 

1. Four Kingdoms of Great Britain

Great Britain comprises countries that were previously part of four different kingdoms, the kingdoms of Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland. Northern Ireland and Ireland were separated in 1922. Here's a timeline of the history of how Great Britain was formed.

Wales becomes part of Kingdom of England 1535-1542
1535-1542 Wales became a full and equal part of the Kingdom of England after the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542. Before the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542 Wales had been already conquered by Edward I of England between 1277 and 1283 before they were effectively incorporated into the Kingdom of England.

Kingdoms of Scotland and England form Great Britain 1707
In 1707 Scotland entered into a political union with the Kingdom of England forming the new Kingdom of Great Britain.

Kingdom of Ireland forms a union with Great Britain 1801
In 1801 Ireland entered into political union with the Kingdom of Great Britain forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

Northern Ireland and Ireland become separated 1922
In 1922 Northern Ireland remained part of Great Britain as Ireland became independent as the Irish Free State that year.

Flag of Great Britain 
The flag of Great Britain is a combination of the crosses of the patron saints of England, Scotland and Ireland.

2. Periods in English history 

Roman Britain c. 43-410

Province of Britannia within the Roman Empire
Anglo-Saxon c. 500-1066
Early medieval England existing from the end of Roman Britain until the Norman conquest. It consisted various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms until King Athelstan united them in 927 as the Kingdom of England. Between 1016-1035 it became part of the North Sea Empire of Cnut the Great, a personal union between England, Denmark and Norway.

Map of England in 878

Norman 1066-1154
William the Conqueror ended the Viking rule in Great Britain in 1066 and started the Norman rule.

Locations of some of the events of the Norman conquest in 1066

Plantagenet 1154-1485

Great Britain in 1370

Tudor 1485-1603
 - Elizabethan 1558-1603

The 5 Tudor rulers between 1485-1603

Stuart 1603-1714
 - Jacobean 1603-1625
 - Carolean 1625-1649
 - Interregnum 1649-1660
 - Restoration of monarchy 1660-1688

Stuart rulers of Great Britain

Georgian 1714-1830
 - regency 1811-1837

The era with kings of House of Hanover, a German royal house, which provided monarchs of Great Britain and Ireland between 1714 until 1901 when Queen Victoria died.

Victorian 1837-1901

Queen Victoria

Edwardian 1901-1914

King Edward VII

First World War 1914-1918

British Empire in 1914

Interwar Britain 1918-1939

British Empire in 1921

Second World War 1939-1945

British forces during the Namsos Campaign

Post-war Britain 1945-

Queen Elizabeth, ruler of Great Britain since 1953

3. Constitutional monarchy

Civil Wars
Between 1642 and 1651 there were three civil wars fought in Great Britain. The wars were fought between the Parliamentarians and Royalists supporting the king.

Maps of territory held by Royalists and Parliamentarians

Abolition of monarchy
In 1649 King Charles I was executed and Oliver Cromwell replaced the monarchy by establishing the republican Commonwealth.

Oliver Cromwell
Restoration of monarchy
In 1660 Oliver Cromwell died and monarchy was restored as Charles II, the son of the executed King Charles, was restored to the thrones of the three realms.

Constitutional monarchy 
England became a constitutional monarchy in 1688 after the Declaration of Rights, which was made after the Glorious Revolution where King James II of England was overthrown. The English parliament substituted the king with Mary II of England and his dutch husband Wilhelm of Orange. Wilhelm used the name William III when he became the king and his wife Mary II of England was actually the daughter of the overthrown King James II of England. The two jointly ruled England with the parliament. This was a turning point in British history, starting the age of constitutionalism.

Mary II and William III

4. Pax Britannica

The period of relative peace in Europe between 1815-1914. In Latin Pax Britannica means "British Peace".

The beginning of Pax Britannica 
After victorious Napoleonic Wars against France, Great Britain became the global hegemonic power in 1815 until the First World War. Great Britain had almost none serious international rivals, except Russia in central Asia.

Major wars during Pax Britannica

1839-1842 First Opium WarGreat Britain against Qing Dynasty China
1853-1856 Crimean War: Great Britain and France defeated Russia protecting the Ottoman Empire
1856-1860 Second Opium War: Great Britain and France against Qing dynasty China
1859 Second Italian War of Independence: Second French Kingdom and the Kingdom of Sicily against the Austrian Empire
1866 Austro-Prussian War: Austria-led German Confederation states against Prussia-led German Confederation states
1870-1871 Franco-Prussian War: Second French Kingdom against the North German Confederation led by the Kingdom of Prussia

Technology helping Great Britain 
The industrial revolution had started in Great Britain in the late 1700s accelerating the speed of new technology emerging and economic growth. The steamship and the telegraph inventions that helped Great Britain to control and defend its empire. In 1902 the British Empire was linked together by a network of telegraph cables, which was called the All Red Line.

Victorian Era 1837-1901
Queen Victoria reigned the British Empire for the majority of time of the Pax Britannica. During her reign Great Britain was the world's richest and most powerful state. Queen Victoria is one of the most famous British rulers in history.

Great Britain did a lot of things that benefitted also other countries all over the world. The Royal Navy suppressed piracy and blocked slave trade. USA and Great Britain had outlawed Atlantic slave trade in 1807 and later in 1833 slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire.

End of Pax Britannica
There were many things that started the decline of British supremacy. Here's a list of causes:

- Breakdown of the continental order, which had been established by the Congress of Vienna
- Emergence of new powerful states like Italy and Germany
- The industrialization of Germany, Japan and USA

British Empire in 1886

5. British territories

Great Britain has still 14 territories that were part of the British Empire that haven't chosen independence or have voted to remain British territories. Most of the territories that are inhabited are autonomous, with the UK retaining responsibility for defense and foreign relations.

British Overseas Territories (BOT)
  1. Akrotiri and Dhekelia 
  2. Anguilla 
  3. Bermuda
  4. British Antarctic Territory
  5. British Indian Ocean Territory
  6. British Virgin Islands 
  7. Cayman Islands 
  8. Falkland Islands
  9. Gibraltar
  10. Montserrat
  11. Pitcairn Islands 
  12. Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha 
  13. South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands 
  14. Turks and Caicos Islands 

British Overseas Territory map (2012)


2000BC Stonehenge was built
500BC The Celtic tribes arrived from Central Europe
55BC The Celts were driven to the north and to Ireland after the Romans with Julius Caesar started conquering Britain
120 Hadrianus built a wall to defend from the Scottish tribes, thus Ireland and Scotland remained outside of Roman power
400s Germanic tribes started arriving to Great Britain after the fall of the Roman Empire
500s Christianity was adopted
700-800s Vikings from Denmark and Norway made trips to the British islands
827 King Egbert of Wessex unified the Anglo-Saxon small kingdoms under his power and Kenneth MacAlpine unified Scotland
1066 Battle of Hastings, William, the Duke of Normandy conquered England from Harold Godwinson, the last Anglo-Saxon king of England 
1337-1453 The Hundred Years' War was waged between the rulers of the Kingdom of England and the rulers of the Kingdom of France 
1453 The Hundred Years' War ended, England lost all of its areas in the mainland Europe
1534 Henry VIII started the English reformation separating the Church of England from papal authority and appointed himself the head of the Church of England
1600 British East India Company was founded
1603 James VI, King of Scots inherited the crowns of England and Ireland as the Tudor rule ended after the death of Elizabeth I
1642-1646 First English civil war
1648-1649 Second English civil war
1649 King Charles I was executed and Oliver Cromwell replaced the monarchy by the establishment of the republican Commonwealth
1649-1651 Third English civil war
1660 Cromwell died and monarchy was restored as Charles II became the king
1688 Glorious Revolution, King James II of England was overthrown and the Dutch Wilhelm III of Orange became the king as William III of England 
1688 After the Declaration of Rights England became a constitutional monarchy
1688-1746 Jacobite Uprisings sought to remove the Protestant House of Hanover from the British throne and to restore the Catholic House of Stuart
1700s Great Britain was involved in the Atlantic slave trade by transporting an estimated 2 million slaves from Africa to West Indies
1707 The united Kingdom of Great Britain came into being after the parliaments of England and Scotland ratified the 1706 Treaty of Union 
1775-1783 American Revolutionary War between Great Britain and its thirteen North American colonies
1783 Great Britain recognized the independence of USA
1801 Ireland became part of Great Britain 
1807 Great Britain banned slave trade
1815-1914 Pax Britannica, a relatively peaceful time in Europe and the world during which the British Empire adopted the role of global policeman
1833 Great Britain banned slavery 
1837-1901 During Queen Victoria's reign Great Britain became the world's most influential state
1914-1918 Great Britain fought victoriously with France, Russia, USA and other allies against Germany and its allies in the First World War
1922 Northern Ireland remained part of Great Britain but present-day Ireland became independent with Dominion status as the Irish Free State
1939 Great Britain entered World War II by declaring war on Germany after the nazis had invaded Poland and Czechoslovakia
1947 India and Pakistan became independent
1949 Great Britain was one of the founding members of Nato
1960 Great Britain was one of the 7 founding members of EFTA
1960s Almost all the rest of the British colonies became independent
1973 Great Britain joined EEC, the predecessor of EU 
1979 Margaret Thatcher became prime minister of Great Britain
1982 The British won the Falkland War against Argentina
1997 Scotland and Wales got their own parliaments
2014 In a referendum of Scottish independence 55% of voters rejected independence
2016 Great Britain voted to leave the European Union