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An Empires
of History

The Kingdom of England

Starting Resource: 32
-- From Land: 29
-- From Trade: 3

Capital Territory: London
Nation Class: Large

Total Starting Military
Infantry: 7
Cavalry: 4
Knights: 0
Artillery: 1
Generals: 1
Merchantmen: 3
Frigates: 2
Ships of the Line: 2

Click on the map to view your nation's position and starting troops

Stone Age hunter-gatherers eventually gave way to farmers and permanent settlements, with an advanced megalithic civilisation arising in western England some 4,000 years ago. It was replaced around 1,500 years later by Celtic tribes migrating from continental western Europe, mainly from France. These tribes were known collectively as "Britons", a name bestowed by Phoenician traders an indication of how, even at this early date, the island was part of a Europe-wide trading network.

The Britons were significant players in continental affairs and supported their allies in Gaul militarily during the Gallic Wars with the Roman Republic. This prompted the Romans to invade and subdue the island, first with Julius Caesar's raid in 55 BC, and then the Emperor Claudius' conquest in the following century. The whole southern part of the island roughly corresponding to modern day England and Wales became a prosperous part of the Roman Empire. It was finally abandoned early in the 5th century when a weakening Empire pulled back its legions to defend borders on the Continent.

Unaided by the Roman army, Roman Britannia could not long resist the Germanic tribes who arrived in the 5th and 6th centuries, enveloping the majority of modern-day England in a new culture and language and pushing Romano-British rule back into modern-day Wales and western extremities of England, notably Cornwall and Cumbria. Others emigrated across the channel to modern-day Brittany, thus giving it its name and Breton language. But many of the Romano- British remained in and were assimilated into the newly English areas.

The invaders fell into three main groups: the Angles, the Saxons, and the Jutes. As they became more civilised, recognisable states formed and began to merge with one another, the most well-known state of affairs being the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy. From time to time throughout this period, one Anglo-Saxon king, recognised as the "Bretwalda" by other rulers, had effective control of all or most of the English; so it is impossible to identify the precise moment when the Kingdom of England was unified. In some sense, real unity came as a response to the Danish Viking incursions which occupied the eastern half of England in the 8th century. Egbert, King of Wessex (d. 839) is often regarded as the first king of all the English, although the title "King of England" was first adopted two generations later by Alfred the Great (ruled 871 to 899).

In 1066, William the Conqueror and the Normans defeated the Anglo-Saxons at the Battle of Hastings and conquered the existing Kingdom of England. They instituted an Anglo-Norman administration and nobility who, retaining proto-French as their language for the next three hundred years, ruled as custodians over English commoners. Although the language and racial distinctions faded rapidly during the Middle Ages, the class system born in the Norman/Saxon divide persisted longer arguably with traces lasting to the modern day.

England came repeatedly into conflict with Wales and Scotland, at the time an independent principality and an independent kingdom respectively, as its rulers sought to expand Norman power across the entire island of Great Britain. The conquest of Wales was achieved in the 13th century, when it was annexed to England and gradually came to be a part of that kingdom for most legal purposes, although in the modern era it is more usually thought of as a separate nation (fielding, for example, its own athletic teams). Norman influence in Scotland waxed and waned over the years, with the Scots managing to maintain a varying degree of independence despite repeated wars with the English, in particular the Wars of Scottish Independence, and serious attempts at conquest were abandoned after the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton. Although it was on the whole only a moderately successful power in military terms, England became one of the wealthiest states in medieval Europe, due chiefly to its dominance in the lucrative wool market.

England also found itself in conflict with France, in particular during the Hundred Years' War. At on epoint England held more than half the lands in France, but by 1483 France had managed to reclaim its lands and had driven England from the mainland of Europe. England was just coming through a mild civil war known as the War of the Roses and is now poised to seek expansion once more. Its only land border is with Scotland. Scotland itself is not much of a threat of a decent border force is maintained, but actual conquest of the little kingdom may prove challenging. Sorting out Scotland, either through conquest or alliance is likely to prove most beneficial when looking to expand the empire onto the European mainland.

Visit the 1483 Discussion Forums to chat about England.

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