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The history of the first settlements in England started at least 500 000 years ago. The first modern humans arrived during the Ice Age when Britain was already connected to the European mainland. Those settlements created the ancient megalithic monuments of Stonehenge and Avebury.
England went through the invasions of Celtics tribes, Romans and Germanic tribes who left tracks all over the land.
Successions of Kings and Queens built an hectic and twisted history. The 12th & 13th centuries were times of Royal intrigues & troubled successions: Robin Hood, Richard I "Lionheart" and John "Lackland". Many wars for the conquest of French territories led English Kings to forget about the rulling of the country itself and provoked many future internal troubles and conflicts many of which led to long-lasting terrifying wars.
Henry VIII was a major character in the history of England. He was one of the most powerful kings of England and his reign was a turning point. He got married six times and proclaimed himself head of the Church of England to get rid of the rule of the Pope and Vatican.
Henry VIII changed the face of England, passing the Acts of Union with Wales (1536-1543). He initiated the exploration of the world and the trade with Europe. He is also well known for the cruelty with which he dealt with political enemies and unfaithful wives.
Elizabeth I the daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife Anne Boleyn, went on with her father's projects and went further with the colonial conquests. England was living its first golden age. It was the time of great navigators like Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh, age of enlightenment with the philosopher Francis Bacon (1561-1626), and playwrights such as Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) and William Shakespeare (1564-1616).
During the 17th century, religious troubles between Catholics and Protestants led to deep divisions and civil war.
The 18th century was marked by the American War of Independence and the Industrial Revolution. Cradle of industrialisation, England was pioneer of the modern world trade.
The 19th century and the Victorian period was the peak of British world with the colonialism and industrial development.
After the two world wars, Queen Elizabeth II tried hard to rehabilitate the image of the monarchy, but the troubled sentimental lives of her children have made the headlines of the tabloid newspapers at least since the marriage of Charles, Prince of Wales, with Lady Diana Spencer.
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