England

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England (en-us-England.ogg /ˈɪŋɡlənd/ (help·info)) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom.[5][6][7] It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west and the North Sea to the east, with the English Channel to the south separating it from continental Europe. Most of England comprises the central and southern part of the island of Great Britain in the North Atlantic. The country also includes over 100 smaller islands such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

The area now called England has been settled by people of various cultures for about 35,000 years,[8] but it takes its name from the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in AD 927, and since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world.[9] The English language, the Anglican Church, and English law—the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world—developed in England, and the country's parliamentary system of government has been widely adopted by other nations.[10] The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation.[11] England's Royal Society laid the foundations of modern experimental science.[12]

England's terrain mostly comprises low hills and plains, especially in central and southern England. However, there are uplands in the north (for example, the mountainous Lake District, Pennines, and Yorkshire Moors) and in the south west (for example, Dartmoor and the Cotswolds). London, England's capital, is the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures.[1] England's population is about 51 million, around 84% of the population of the United Kingdom, and is largely concentrated in London, the South East and conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East and Yorkshire, which developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century. Meadowlands and pastures are found beyond the major cities.

The Kingdom of England—which after 1284 included Wales—was a sovereign state until 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the new Kingdom of Great Britain.[13] In 1800, Great Britain was united with Ireland through another Act of Union to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1922 the Irish Free State was established as a separate dominion, but the Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act in 1927 reincorporated into the kingdom six Irish counties to officially create the current United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.


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Etymology

The name "England" is derived from the Old English word Englaland, which means "land of the Angles". The Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in England during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Angeln peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea.<sup>[14]</sup> According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first known use of "England" to refer to the southern part of the island of Great Britain occurs in 897, and its modern spelling was first used in 1538.<sup>[15]</sup> The earliest attested mention of the name occurs in the 1st century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used.<sup>[16]</sup> The etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars; it has been suggested that it derives from the shape of the Angeln peninsula, an angular shape.<sup>[17]</sup>

An alternative name for England is Albion. The name Albion originally referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus, specifically the 4th century BC De Mundo:<sup>[18]</sup> "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth. In it are two very large islands called Britannia; these are Albion and Ierne".<sup>[18]</sup> The word Albion (Ἀλβίων) or insula Albionum has two possible origins. It either derives from the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover, which is the first view of Britain from the European Continent.<sup>[19]</sup> An alternative origin is suggested by the ancient merchant's handbook Massaliote Periplus which mentions an "island of the Albiones".<sup>[20]</sup> Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity.<sup>[21]</sup> Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh Lloegr, which is derived from Arthurian legend.

History

Prehistory and antiquity

The oldest proto-human bones discovered in the area date from 700,000 years ago. The discovery, of Homo erectus remains, was made in what is today Norfolk and Suffolk.[22] Modern humans first arrived in the area around 35,000 years ago;[8] but due to the tough conditions of the Last Ice Age, known specifically in this area as the Devensian glaciation,[23] they fled from Britain to the mountains of southern Europe. Only large mammals such as mammoths, bison and woolly rhinoceros remained.[8] Roughly 11,000 years ago, when the ice sheets began to recede, humans repopulated the area; genetic research suggests they came from the northern part of the Iberian Peninsula.[24] The sea level was lower than now, and Britain was connected by land to both Ireland and Eurasia. As the seas rose, it was separated from Ireland 9,000 years ago and from Eurasia half a century later.[25] Beaker culture arrived around 2500 BC, and the making of food vessels constructed out of clay and copper was introduced.[26] It was during this time that major Neolithic monuments such as Stonehenge and Avebury were constructed. By heating together tin and copper, both of which were in abundance in the area, the Beaker culture people were able to make bronze, and later iron from iron ores. They were able to spin and weave sheep's wool, from which they made clothing.[26]

During the Iron Age, Celtic culture, deriving from the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures, arrived from Central Europe. The development of iron smelting allowed the construction of better ploughs, advancing agriculture (for instance, with Celtic fields), as well as the production of more effective weapons.[26] Brythonic was the spoken language during this time. Society was tribal; according to Ptolemy's Geographia there were around 20 different tribes in the area, however earlier divisions are unknown because the Britons were not literate. Like other regions on the edge of the Empire, Britain had long enjoyed trading links with the Romans. Julius Caesar of the Roman Republic attempted to invade twice in 55 BC; although largely unsuccessful, he managed to set up a client king from the Trinovantes. The Romans conquered Britain in AD 43 during the reign of Emperor Claudius, and the area was incorporated into the Roman Empire as Britannia province.[27] The best known of the native tribes who attempted to resist were the Catuvellauni led by Caratacus. Later, an uprising led by Boudica, queen of the Iceni, resulted in her death at the Battle of Watling Street.[28] This era saw a Greco-Roman high culture prevail with the introduction of law and order, Roman architecture, personal hygiene, sewage systems, education, many agricultural items, and silk.[28] In the 3rd century, Emperor Septimius Severus died at York, where Constantine was subsequently proclaimed emperor.[29] Christianity was first introduced around this time, though there are traditions linked to Glastonbury claiming an introduction through Joseph of Arimathea, while others claim through Lucius of Britain.[30] By 410, as their Empire declined, the Romans had left the island, to defend their frontiers in continental Europe.[28]


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References

Footnotes

External Link

Wikipedia Article on Engalnd

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