Kingdom of England

The Kingdom of England (Latin: Regnum Anglorum, lit.'Kingdom of the English' or 'Kingdom of the Angles') existed on the island of Great Britain from 12 July 927, when it unified from various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, until 1 May 1707, when it united with Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Kingdom of England
1649–1660: Commonwealth
"Dieu et mon droit" (French)
"God and my right"[1]
The Kingdom of England in 1190
The Kingdom of England in 1190
Common languages
Roman Catholicism (927–1534; 1553–1558)
Church of England (1534–1553; 1558–1646; 1660–1707)[2]
Puritanism (1646–1660)
 927–939 (first)
 1702–1707 (last)
House of Lords
House of Commons
12 July 927
14 October 1066
May 1169
15 June 1215
24 March 1603
11 December 1688
1 May 1707
CurrencyPound sterling
Preceded by
Succeeded by
East Anglia
Welsh Marches
Principality of Wales
Great Britain
Today part of
  1. ^ Monarch of Wessex from 925.
  2. ^ Continued as monarch of Great Britain until her death in 1714.

In 927, the various Anglo-Saxon kings swore their allegiance to Æthelstan of Wessex (r. 924–939), unifying most of modern England under a single king.[3] In 1016, the kingdom became part of the North Sea Empire of Cnut the Great, a personal union between England, Denmark and Norway. The Norman conquest of England in 1066 led to the transfer of the English capital city and chief royal residence from the Anglo-Saxon one at Winchester to Westminster, and the City of London quickly established itself as England's largest and principal commercial centre.[4]

Histories of the kingdom of England from the Norman conquest of 1066 conventionally distinguish periods named after successive ruling dynasties: Norman (1066–1154), Plantagenet (1154–1485), Tudor (1485–1603) and Stuart (1603–1707, interrupted by the Interregnum of 1649–1660). Dynastically, all English monarchs after 1066 ultimately claim descent from the Normans; the distinction of the Plantagenets is merely conventional, beginning with Henry II (r. 1154–1189) as from that time, the Angevin kings became "more English in nature"; the houses of Lancaster and York are both Plantagenet cadet branches, the Tudor dynasty claimed descent from Edward III via John Beaufort and James VI and I of the House of Stuart claimed descent from Henry VII via Margaret Tudor.

Following the conquest of England, the Normans gradually sought to extend their conquests both to the remainder of the British Isles and additional lands on the Continent, particularly in modern-day France. Over time, this would evolve into a long-standing policy of expansionism pursued intermittently with steadily increasing levels of aggression by successive, now-styled "English", dynasties. Beginning in the 12th century, the Normans began making serious incursions into Ireland. The completion of the conquest of Wales by Edward I in 1284 put Wales under the control of the English crown, although Edward's attempts to completely subjugate Ireland met with very limited success while the initial success of his conquest of Scotland was undone by English military defeat under his son, Edward II. Edward III (r. 1327–1377) transformed the Kingdom of England into one of the most formidable military powers in Europe; his reign also saw vital developments in legislation and government—in particular the evolution of the English parliament. From the 1340s the kings of England also laid claim to the crown of France, but after the Hundred Years' War the English lost all their land on the continent, except for Calais. The subsequent outbreak of the Wars of the Roses in 1455 would ensure the English were never again in a position to seriously pursue their French claims.

After the turmoil of the Wars of the Roses, the Tudor dynasty ruled during the English Renaissance and again extended English monarchical power beyond England proper, in particular achieving the full union of England and the Principality of Wales in 1542. The Tudors also secured English control of Ireland, although it would continue to be ruled as a separate kingdom in personal union with England for centuries. Henry VIII triggered the English Reformation by breaking communion between the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church, although the doctrinal aspects of the Reformation which established the English Church as being recognizably Protestant would not be pursued in earnest until the brief reign of his young son Edward VI. Following a return to Catholicism under the similarly brief reign of Henry's eldest daughter Mary I, Mary's half-sister Elizabeth I (r. 1558–1603) re-established Protestantism under the terms of the Elizabethan Religious Settlement, meanwhile establishing England as a great power and laying the foundations of the British Empire by claiming possessions in the New World. While Henry also pursued an aggressive foreign policy north of the border in an attempt to subjugate Scotland, Elizabeth adopted a much more conciliatory position especially in light of developments such as Scotland's own Reformation and the eventual certainty that the Scottish monarch would succeed Elizabeth.

From the accession of James VI and I in 1603, the Stuart dynasty ruled England and Ireland in personal union with Scotland. Under the Stuarts, the kingdom plunged into civil war, which culminated in the execution of Charles I in 1649. The monarchy returned in 1660, but the Civil War had established the precedent that an English monarch cannot govern without the consent of Parliament. This concept became legally established as part of the Glorious Revolution of 1688. From this time the Kingdom of England, as well as its successor states the Kingdom of Great Britain and the United Kingdom, have functioned in effect as a constitutional monarchy.[lower-alpha 5] On 1 May 1707, under the terms of the Acts of Union 1707, the kingdoms of England and Scotland united to form the aforementioned Kingdom of Great Britain.[5]

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