I. LANGUAGE AND CULTURE
The concept of culture is very difficult to define (there are more or less 500 definitions). There are two different main approaches to this concept:
Connected with the history of civilization:
This approach is related with the idea of culture, sometimes called formal culture. The topics included in this approach: subjects like history, geography, literature, philosophy, etc. In general, the collective achievements of people of a country in the arts of science, technology, politics, etc. This approach comes from the area of humanities. The curriculum of these topics can be defined in text books.
Connected with anthropological and sociological aspects:
It is known as culture in a small seen or deep culture. It is connected with the daily patterns of living, so it refers to attitudes, habits, believes, values, etc. We don't have a defined curriculum. It has a more ethnographic approach based on observation and data collection, so we observe the behaviour of people. It is often based no oral phenomenon.
Connection between language and culture:
One important way in which culture manifests itself through language. Culture is recorded, mediated and interpreted by means of language. Language also expresses and embodies the values, believes and meanings which members of a community share.
There are words that have different meaning in different societies, or concepts that are expressed in a different way depending on society we are talking about. For instance: in Spanish we associate the concept of good with bread, but in English we use different words as in this expression: as good as gold. It happens the same with capital punishment which has different connotation in USA than in Spain.
Language and Culture are closely connected and that in order to become efficient we must master the linguistic structures, but we must also be aware of the cultural nuances. Culture should not be an hindrance (obstacle) when learning a language, it must be an aid.
Due to this connection between language and culture there are some scholars who have studied language from a cultural point of view. One of these authors is Br"gger (from the Scandinavian school). He talks about:
Cultural Syntactics: the way we organized sentences. It depends on where we place the subject to have one meaning or another. For instance:
The American army attacks the Taliban
The Taliban attack the American army
The Taliban and the American army fight in Afganistan
By giving the subject to one part or to the other, we are saying who starts the action. In the 3rd phrase we don't have a specific subject, we are not putting the blame in one group or another.
Another example that shows the importance of the way we build sentences and the cultural, social or political implications they have:
El problema de los emigrantes (they are the problem).
Los problemas de los emigrantes (they have problems).
Just by changing from singular to plural, the meaning changes. Language is not neutral.
Cultural Morphology: For instance, in English we have the pronoun You to express the singular and the plural, and also the idea of formality/informality. In Spanish we have the paradigm tú/vosotros, usted/ustedes. We Spanish also distinguish the masculine from the feminine.
Cultural Pragmatics: is language in use. It deals with how we make things or actions with words. There're different ways of asking for something or apologizing depending on our culture.
Cultural Semantics: has to do with the meaning of words. For instance, the word new is associated with USA, the new country, in contrast with Europe that is the old continent. In USA there are a lot of places named New: New York, New Jersey, etc. Also the president Roosevelt called his philosophy as New Deal, and there was also called the New Frontier.
The conclusion of Br"gger: Familiarity with cultural ideas and the way in which they are expressed are necessary to became proficient in language.
Teaching and learning aspects to be taken in account (according to the linguist Dunnet):
Languages can not be translated word for word. Mainly when we are dealing with idioms, idiomatic expressions, because they are based on its culture. We can see many examples in the tittles of films: Some Like It Hot ( Con faldas y a lo loco), Murder at 1600 ( Asesinato en la Casa Blanca), etc.
The tone of speakers carries meaning (angry, nice things, etc). In questions, Spaniards and English use a rising intonation. But some languages (India, Pakistan) do not have this rising intonation to question, so they use the same.
Gesture and body language also vary an different cultures and languages.
All cultures have taboo topics. In English, for instance, to talk about death or the word toilet.
All these principles/tenets show that knowing the grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation for a language does not always guarantee understanding.
We, as teachers, must be aware of difficulties our students may have at comprehension (reading and listening) or at production level (writing and speaking).
According to comprehension, sometimes we make some subconscious cultural assumptions and we take for granted that our students have the same background that we have. Even the level we speak or the level of our grammar is ok, the general level of the text can be not understood because the cultural background is missing.
According to production, students may also make some mistakes regarding style or registers because they lack the knowledge about social rules and social relationships. Students should be aware of the social rules in specific countries, specific cultures. However it is really difficult or almost impossible to teach all these social rules. Sometimes even difficult for the native speakers of a language. For instance, when we are taking about a social event with a monarch or the Pope or some person who inspire respect, most of us wouldn't know the protocol.
In despite of these difficulties, it should be our goal to reach what Hymes called Communicative Competence: it is the intuitive mastery that native speakers possess to use and interpret the language properly and in interaction (this means when to speak, who to speak, what to say, how to say).
This idea of communicative competence has sometimes been placed with another concept proposed by Chomsky named Linguistic Competence: it refers to the grammatical mastery of a language (regarding the syntax, semantics and phonology).
In fact, both concepts complement each other because to have communicative competence implies having linguistic competence, so first we should know how to build a correct sentence and second we should know in which context to use it.
How can we cope (deal) with this: these concepts have to be seen/understood in a different way when we're talking about foreign speakers.
That's why Canale and Swain proposed another kind of competence: the strategic competence. It refers to the knowledge of communicative strategies that foreign language learners have to get meaning across.
The communicative strategies could be:
Another author, Bryan, speaks about intercultural competence which is also connected to foreign language learning. When we learn a language, specially as adults, we have our own culture and social background, and we can't leave it aside when we're learning the new language. We put together our own cultural background with the culture of the language we're learning. It's a connection of cultures.
We also can use this language as a lingua franca, for instance when a Spanish and a German talk in English.
There are also some difficulties connected to the relation between language and culture. For instance in the case of learning English, which culture are we going to study connected with the English language? American, British, Indian or Australian? The same happens with the Spanish: culture of Spain or Mexico, Argentina or Colombia culture?
II. CULTURAL STUDIES
Culture has been present in different degrees in language teaching and learning in the last two centuries.
ðn the 19th century we can find two different situations connected with foreign language teaching:
Modern language teaching was preparatory to the study of literature in another language, so teaching was focused on formal and written language.
Connected with the field of philology that at that time consisted no the careful historical explication and interpretation of the language of a text in relation to the period and the culture to which it belonged. So interdisciplinarity was important and language, literature and culture were took into account.
At the beginning of the 20th century, many people thought that some knowledge of the history of the people who spoke a language was necessary in a language program/syllabus. So in Germany it was developed something known as knowledge of a culture (kultur-kunde), and in the UK and USA, culture was considered as a valuable addition to the teaching of a language, but it was given a subordinated role.
By late 80´s, a new interdisciplinary subject started to appear on the syllabus in different countries. It got the name of Cultural Studies. This is an umbrella term which embraces multiplicity of studies of contemporary Britain. This subject would sometimes be linked to:
The teaching of English language: in this case, the main objective was the study of the life institutions of the country we're studying (education, government, etc.). The teaching of these Cultural Studies was based on factual information (names of kings, historical events, technological events, etc.). And very often, it was background information for literary studies. This approach was often taken in non English speaking countries.
Literary studies: in this case, the aim was the study of cultural products and the examination of different discourses. And by discourses we understand advertisement, music, cinema or radio, etc. The comparative aspect was also important here in the sense of cross disciplinarity (to take elements from different disciplines: phonology, semantics, etc.). This approach is often taken in English speaking countries.
Why are there differences between these two approaches?
There are three reasons:
1st reason: Language. To be proficient or not in the language of the culture we're studying.
2nd reason: The native and non native perspective. Having been born in one country or another gives us a perspective or another.
3rd reason: Being resident or not. This takes us to a research in a different way. When you are not resident of this country, the comparative element is important.
Two different perspectives regarding Cultural Studies:
Institutional Perspective: the country is considered in terms of its key institutions (system of government, education system, industry, religion, etc.), so we use facts, statistics. For instance, we can talk about how many immigrants are in Britain.
Culturalist Perspective: it deals with the less tangible areas of a society, and it is based on observation and analysis (and not in facts as the other perspective). Using the same example of the immigrants, a culturalist perspective would have to do with the issue of the Britishness. So we can study the same aspect from two different perspectives.
Could these two perspectives be linked together?
According to some scholar and a linguist called Montoomery, the way to link these two perspectives is language. Language from a sociolinguistic point of view.
In sociolinguistics, we make a difference between:
Dialect: connected with the user of a language. According to the user, there are variations in language depending on age, gender, geograhy, ethnicity. These group of elements are related to identity.
Register: connected with the use of a language. According to the user, there are variations in language depending no the addresser ( use of formal/informal lang depending on the hearer), religion, trade (doctor, lawyer, etc). These set of aspects are connected to institutions.
Cultural Studies can be defined as a set of practices and theories coming from humanities and the social sciences. It is an interdisciplinary field where several methodologies converge. This convergence (union) allows us to understand some phenomena that could not be understood by single disciplines.
The starting point of Cultural Studies was a challenge to the concept of culture as ` high ' or formal culture.
Defining features of Cultural Studies:
contemporaneity: one of the main purposes of Cultural Studies is to interpret the distinctive aspects of contemporary society or culture (for instance, the idea of Britishness). The intention is to understand the present.
CS is discoursed oriented: contemporary social phenomena and also the culture practices are examined through the discourses they produce. For example, we can examine political discourses/speeches like the president Aznar´s affirmation “ España va bien” where we can ask if he is saying that the country goes well or it is his politic that is right.
Comparative methodology: try to understand what's happening in two different countries/societies, or what's happening in the same society but at different levels.
Disciplinary perspectives: CS has often been founded as an anti-discipline or a a-discipline in the sense that it takes elements from different disciplines.
Origins and development of CS:
Although at that time CS wasn't called this way, it started with some anthropologists like Boas, Sapir and Whorf who were interested in language and its interrelation with culture.
They used ethnographic methodologies like surveys, interviews, old tales, etc. To study what they wanted. This will later apply to media studies.
These people had the influence of some European Schools like the School of Frankfurt: a group of scholars who belong to different fields ( philosophers, linguists, sociologists, etc.)
By late 40´s and 50´s, some civil movements like the movement in defense of women or black people, which gave a new perspective to CS.
Nowadays, we can distinguish two different positions:
Anthropological perspective which focus on values, beliefs and attitudes.
Cultural sociology which focus on the social products like leisure. For instance, the influence of technology in our lives. Also products in connection with education and art.
The origins of CS go back to three seminal books published by R. Hoggart, by R. Williams, and by E.P. Thompson. These three authors started a new British intellectual and political tradition. They all had worked or trained in a tradition of literary criticism. But the novelty was that they use this methodology (how to analyze a play, a novel, etc) to “read” other kinds of texts like popular literature, romances, popular music, etc.
The main concern was to understand what culture meant in post-war Britain. They understood that culture had to involve a whole way of life (not just a play, a novel, etc.).
There was another artistic movement known as the Generation of 1956 formed by a group of writers writing realist literature (so, dealing with everyday life). One example is a playwright named Shelag Delanoy.
In the same period, the Institute of Contemporary Arts was founded (1950´s) and it also contributed to give a new perspective to the idea of Art.
The following decade, 1960´s, the Birmingham Center for Contemporary CS was founded. This was a very important event because this became a place of research of CS and a center of publication of works.
Nowadays, several Universities at Britain have several courses on CS, at different levels. For instance, Warwich, Strathclyde and Sheffield Universities.
I. THE BRITISH ISLES
We have to distinguish between the geographical term and the political term.
Geographically, the British Isles are made up of:
two big Islands: Great Britain and Ireland
Some small Islands: Shetland Islands (North), Orkney Islands, Hebrides (West Scotland), Isle of Man (Irish Sea), Isle of Wight (South), Channel Islands (between England and France) and the Isles of Scilly (South West).
Politically, we have:
the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland which is made up of 4 different countries: Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
According to the small Islands, all of them are part of UK, except the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
Republic of Ireland or Eire.
PHYSICAL FEATURES: MOUNTAINS AND RIVERS
Great Britain is traditionally divided into two main regions, the highlands and the lowlands. Scotland and Wales lie within the highland region, as well as northern, north-western, and south-western England.
Scotland is divided into three regions: the Highlands, the Central Lowlands and the Southern Uplands.
Wales comprises primarily the Cambrian Mountains.
England is divided into two lowland areas (East Anglia and the South-East) and three main upland regions: in the north are the Pennine Hills and Peak District, and in the north-west the Cumbrian Mountains.
Northern Ireland has the Sperrin and Antrim mountains in the north and north-east which are an extension of the Scottish Highlands. With the Mourne Mountains, which contain Northern Ireland's highest point, Slieve Donard (852 m/2,796 ft).
In the Republic of Ireland there are no Highlands
These features have influenced the history and the development of the country because to go there, you always have to go through the sea.
Also geography has influenced settlements and the military conquest of different areas. It is easier to move around in the Lowlands. This explains that population has always concentrated in the Lowlands. If more people live there, there was more economic and political power. Life is easier in the Lowlands than in the Highlands (for instance because of the growth of food).
Also physical features have influenced the political union of the country. The mountains in Wales have been a kind of a border between England and Wales. The same happens with the Scotland mountains because they are a natural border between Scotland and the rest of England.
UK is a relatively small country compared to Spain or France, but due to the physical features it has many different kinds of landscape.
Related to rivers, we have:
Scotland: Clyde, Forth
England and Wales: Tyne, Humber, Trent, Severn, Thames.
Northern ireland: Bann, Lagan
Republic of Ireland: Riffey
It is similar to the Northwest of the continental Europe. This means that the clime is very variable, but these Isles haven't got an extreme climate.
Britain is considered as a very wet country, but we can distinguish between dry and wet months: dry months are from February to August, and wet months are from September to January.
The amount of rain also depends no the area where we are. The further east you go, the less rain you get. More rain in the west.
Britain has have a long agricultural tradition. It has gone through several agricultural revolutions, and its revolution has brought new farming methods. People working in agriculture in Britain has decreased in this last century (specially last decades). However, Britain is a highly productive and efficient country regarding agriculture and it produces 2/3 of the food needs of the country.
Regarding farms, there are dairy farms (specialized in producing milk, cheese, butter, etc), beef farms, sheep farms, pig farms and poultry farms.
Regarding vegetables and cereal it is important the fact that in the mountainous areas is difficult to cultivate food. Some cereals are barley, wheat and oats.
In the last years (80´s-90´s), agriculture in Britain has had many problems due to the mad cows, and more recently to the foot-and-mouth disease. Exports of food to other countries has been prohibited and this has affected the British farms.
Britain is one of the leading fishing countries in Europe. They operated in Continental Waters, North Sea, Irish Sea and in the Atlantic.
Both, employment and income from the fishing industry, have declined in recent years. One reason is that the amount of fish available has diminished. In spite of this, the British Fishing Industry still covers 55% of the needs of the country.
In recent years, there have been disputes between the government and fishermen maybe due to the European Union coalitions.
Many forests in Britain have disappeared through out centuries, and in fact, nowadays the forest in Britain only covers 15% of the needs of the country. So Britain is heavily dependent on wood imports. That's the reason why the government has started several tree planting programs in the country.
Nowadays, Britain has the largest energy resources in the European Union. The reason is that in the 1970's, oil and gas reserves were found in the North Sea. Since then, Britain has become a self-sufficient country regarding energy.
The oil and gas industry also make an important contribution to the national economy: on one hand because of saving money (there is no need to buy to other countries), and no the other hand because it creates employment.
Britain is the 5th oil producer in the world, and it has got 14 refineries.
Traditionally, coal has been the most important energy resource in the country. In fact, coal is one of the reasons of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries.
In the middle of the 20th century, coal was used for transport, industries, in houses (for instance, to cook), and nowadays it is only used for thermal power stations. Many coal pits has been closed down in the last decades.
Apart from oil and gas and coal, Britain has nuclear power stations: 20% of the electricity is generated by nuclear power stations.
In the economy of any country and talking about industry, we have to distinguish between:
Primary Sector: agriculture
Secondary Sector: manufacturing
Tertiary Sector: services
Regarding manufacturing, Britain has traditionally have a large manufacturing sector. Raw materials were imported to Britain, they were manufactured and the product was exported. At some point, maybe 19th century, Britain was called the workshop of the world. This situation has changed through out the 20th century, and in the last decades (the 70´s and 80´s), there has been a decline in some of the traditional industries: the iron industry, the making cars or machines industry, ship building, textile industry, etc. which were concentrated in the North of Britain, Scotland and Wales. They have have to become assisted areas getting the support from the government.
However, there has been a growth in the oil and gas industry, but also in the electronic and microelectronic industries (which are set in the South of England).
There has also been a growth in the service sector: banking, insurance, catering, and transport which has taken an important part of the activity in the country.
Most freight transport is carried by road. This makes Britain to have one of the highest road traffic densities in the world. However, less than 1% of the roads in Britain are motorways. So the network of motorways in Britain is quite insufficient.
Traffic in private cars has increased and passenger transport in long distance coaches has expanded and decreased.
The rail way service has traditionally been very important in the UK. In fact, it is one of the oldest in Europe. However it is quite expensive and the network has become old, and several accidents has taken place in recent years.
Britain has also have an important amount of ports and harbors used for international trade.
And regarding air traffic, Britain has got two of the busiest airports in the world: Heathrow and Gatwick.
II. THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
USA is a federal republic of 48 states are in the continent plus Alaska (separated from USA by Canada) and the Hawaii Isles. So USA has 52 states.
Area: 3,618,000 sq miles (9,370,000 sq km)
Capital city: Washington, DC (pop: 570,000)
People: Caucasian (71%), African American (12%), Latino (12%), Asian (4%), Native American (0.9%)
Languages: English, plus many secondary languages, chiefly Spanish
Religion: Protestant (56%), Roman Catholic (28%), Jewish (2%), Muslim (1%)
President: George W Bush
Geographically speaking, we can say that USA is basically divided vertically into 7 areas:
The Atlantic Coast Gulf
Canadian or Lauretian Shield
Cordilleran province (Rocky Mountains)
Inter mountain Range (Grand Canyon)
Pacific west Coast
New England: it is small region compared to the rest of the country, but it has been a centre of culture and civilisation since the arrival of the first settlers. This area was not appropriate for agriculture, so quite soon different kinds of industry developed: ship building, fishery, trade, etc.
New York: financial and cultural metropolis well known all over the world.
Philadelphia: where the Independence of the country was devised.
Washington DC: is not a part of any state, but it isn't a state. It is under federal control.
On the coast we find marshes which are difficult to cultivate. But when we go a little bit inland, for instance in Virginia, there are rich areas with large tobacco and cotton plantations.
This name comes from the time before the Civil War. It was the West of the country in that time because nobody has gone further. The Great Lakes are in this area (in the North) where we have important industrial and financial cities like Chicago, Michigan and Detroit.
In the South we have the area of the Mississippi River which at some time was called “Bread Basket area”.
The Great Planes:
In the 19th century was known as the Great American Desert. It was the land where the Indians were pushed to, and which has extreme temperatures: very little rain, heavy snow in winter and strong winds.
Important Rivers: Colorado River, Missouri.
The weather is quite dry, cold in winter and specially in the south the population density is very low: Texas, New Mexico, Arizona)
Washington: concentrates an important amount of population
Oregon: is developing little by little
California: with exceptional climate is the promised land. It has got mild weather and it is a great producer of oranges and grapes. It has also an important industry mainly high technology.
Is bigger than any other state in USA. The weather is very cold, but a little bit mild in the South. The soil is very poor and not appropriated for agriculture. But it has got important forests. It has got the highest pick in The States.
A group of islands in the Pacific. They have got mild tropical climate and their main income is tourism.
Apart from these 52 states, there are other territories which are under the control of USA:
Puerto Rico: is a free associated state. It is dependent, but it has very strong relation with USA. Sometime it is named the 51st state.
Panama: in the year 2000, the Canal was transferred to the Panama government.
The Virgin Islands
With such a big extension of territory, they have all kinds of climate:
In most of the North Coast cities, on both sides, the weather is very cold in winter and very hot in summer.
In the South Coast, on both sides, they have very mild temperatures.
In the Centre weather becomes more extreme and very cold in the mountains.
In the South, specially South East, they suffer of hurricanes, tornados and floods.
RIVERS AND LAKES
USA has got an important network of rivers, canals and lakes. Mainly we can speak about two main areas or rivers: Mississippi (North West) and Colorado ( South West).
Five great lakes in the North which have been very important for the development of the economy in the Canadian and American side: Ontario, Erie, Huron, Michigan, Superior.
In the East of the country, main products are tobacco and cotton. If we go a little bit to the West, we find a cereal production area. From the middle of the country to the West, there is no production. This area corresponds with the desert and the Rocky Mountains. But in the West Coast ( mainly California), we find oranges and grapes.
It has a similar distribution to agriculture, so we find a lot of industries in the East of the country, nothing in the area of the deserts, and in the West coast we also find some industries:
Energy: coal in the East and oil in the South East (Houston, Texas) but also in the West coast.
Mechanic or iron & steel industry: North East ( Detroit, Chicago).
Textile industry: North East, and also in the cotton area (South East).
Aircraft production is very important in West Coast, in California.
I. EARLY TIMES
50,000 BC: this is the first mark of people living in Britain.
10,000 BC: people inhabitant the Isles were organized in small groups of hunters and fishers.
3,000 BC, which is called the Neolithic or New Stone Age:
People have already learnt how to keep animals, so they didn't depend on hunting.
They also learnt how to grow crops, so they cultivated things they needed.
They also have learnt how to make pottery, so how to keep food in containers.
These people are supposed to have come from the Iberian Peninsula.
We know this because there are remains of some public works belonging to this period:
The barrows: burial mounds made of earth or stone
Henges: circles of earth banks and ditches. Inside these circles there were wooden building and stone circles. These henges were centers of economic, political and religious power. The best known of these henges is Stonehenge which is supposed to have been a kind of “capital city” at the that time. We cam find these henges all over the British Isles: Orkney Isles, Ireland and also in the South West.
We can find a settle farming class that had learnt how to enrich the soil with natural waste material (This is the difference between the previous).
They could also work the metal, mainly the bronze.
In this period the tools and weapons were made of bronze and not of stone as in the previous period.
The centers of local power were hill-forts: family villages in fortified enclosures.
Another change is that the power in the British Isles moved to the Thames Valley.
By 700 BC this tribe arrived to the Island and stayed there during seven centuries. They came from central Europe and they are important in the British history because they are the ancestors of many people in Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and Ireland. Their influence is still present in the country thanks to the fact that Celtic languages are still spoken in these areas: Gaelic (Scotland), Welsh (Wales), Cornish (Cornwall) and Irish (Ireland).
The Celts were organized into different tribes and these tribes had chiefs (tribal chiefs).
In this period, the hill-forts remained and these hill-forts were also centers of local power.
The Celts were technically advanced and they could work the iron, so they had better weapons and better tools.
They were practiced farmers and they had more advanced ploughing methods thanks to the use of iron. They could work heavier/harder soils.
The Celts were also good traders, and they traded across their border to two different places: by the Firth of Forth (importance of the port of Edinburgh in order to trade with Europe), and by the River Thames (importance of London). At this time these two cities started to be important.
The Celts also traded with other tribes in Ireland through the Isle of Anglesey.
The Celtic tribes were ruled by a warrior class and some of the important members of this warrior class were the priest called druids. These druids couldn't write or read but they memorized all the religious teaching, the tribal laws, the history, the medicine, any kind of knowledge necessary for organization of the Celtic society.
At the end of these 7 centuries, the Romans arrived to the Island. It was the year zero or the beginning of the Christian era. One example of the their influence over Britain is in the mane of the Isle: the word Britain comes from the Greco-Roman noun Britani < Pretani < Britannia.
The first chief who came to Britain was Julius Caesar, in 55BC. He gathered information about the Island, but he didn't invaded it.
It was early in 43 AD, when a Roman army led by Claudius invaded the Island and made it part of the Roman Empire. The conquest of the Island was quite easy because the Romans had a better trained army and the Celts were fighting against themselves.
Romans were interested in Britain because two reasons:
the Celts in Britain were helping the Celts of Gaul against the Romans by giving them food and by allowing them to hide in Britain.
Britain became an important food producer (mainly cereals) and Rome needed food for its army and for the other parts of the empire that didn't have so much food.
The influence of the Roman- British civilization covered only part of the Island: from The River Humber downward and from The River Severn eastward. The Romans could never conquer what they called Caledonia (Scotland) and they even had to build a wall across the country to stop the tribes coming from the North coming into the Roman area: Hadrian´s Wall.
This Romano-British civilization lasted for around four centuries of occupation because by the year 400 AC, the Roman Empire started to collapse. In 410 Roman soldiers abandoned Britain.
They had a great influence in the history and culture of the country:
Romans brought reading and writing to Britain. It was important for the spreading of ideas and for the establishment of power.
They left in Britain the organization of towns which had their origin in Celtic settlement in market centres and military camps. What Romans did was to turn these places into towns following a grid-like plan:
When the Romans left the country there were around 20 towns with 50,000 inhabitants (a huge number at that period). They had markets, shops and even had some public services.
Romans built an important network of main and secondary roads linking most important towns. Most of these roads started from London ( 20,000 inhabitants at that period) and went out to the other cities. Some of these routes have been kept nowadays. So the most important town was London which became the capital city of this Roman territory and it had became an important trading centre with Northern Europe.
Outside the towns, there were some large farms called villas which produced food, crops and animals that were taken to towns and distributed from there.
These Germanic tribes -also called Anglo-Saxons- came from North and Central Europe (Denmark, Netherlands, what is now Germany, etc) qround the year 400 AD. The reason to invade Britain was that its wealth was a temptation for any tribe.
The Saxons were warlike and illiterate.
We distinguish three tribes:
Jutes: they settled in the Southeast of the Island, in the area of Kent
Angles :they conquered the biggest area and settled in the east and midlands of the Island; this is in East Anglia, Mercia, Northumbria.
Saxons: they settled in the south of the Island except Kent; this is in Essex, Sussex and Wessex.
These three tribes established 7 different kingdoms or an heptarchy:
East Anglia (Angles)
People living there, the Celts, were pushed into the mountains in the North, so to Scotland. They also were pushed to Weallas (Wales), some others to the area of Cornwall and some other crossed the sea and went to the Roman region of Armonica (what later became Brittany).
Ireland wasn't invade by Romans, neither by the Saxons, so it remained Celtic. This is the period when the legend of King Arthur started.
Characteristics of the Celts who were pushed by the Saxons:
They all lived in tribes and they had their tribal chieves. They even had some kingdoms that were independent from the Saxon kingdoms.
This people retained the Celtic language and Celtic culture.
Land holding and animal property system which was a community system: the land/animals belonged to the whole tribe/ to the whole community.
They were Christians.
They created some institutions. The best known is the Witan: a kind of King's council, a group of people who advice and support the King on different matters. This Witan has survived up to nowadays known as Privy Council. So the aim of this Witan has survived.
Administration of the country:
They divided the land into administrative areas that they called shives. In each shire, there was a shire reeve or a sheriff who was the local administrator. Each shire was divided into districts, and in each district there was a manor or a big house. This was the place where the local villager went to pay taxes, where justice was administrated and it was also the place where man gathered to make an army when it was necessary. The lord of the manor house was encharged of organizing all these things and he also had to make sure that the land was properly shared.
The Saxons introduced new techniques in agriculture (new ploughs). This new plough was a very heavy one which was difficult to use and to turn. Therefore, the land had to be ploughed in straight lines. So the common land belonging to the whole village was divided into several fields, and then a field was divided into long stripes of land:
Each family had several of these stripes of land. At the same time, the plough had to be puled by several oxen. A few families could afford to have so many animals, so they were shared in order to have a co-operative kind of work.
The land was divided into tree: one devoted to spring crop, other devoted to autumn crop, and the 3rd was left to rest. They kept turning and this was used up to the 18th century:
Christianity had been introduced in the last part of the Roman period. It became quite popular with Celts and the Celts kept this Christian religion.
When the Saxons arrived, they brought their own Gods and religion. At he end of the 6th century, the year 597, the Pope at that time (Gregory The Great) decided to send a monk called Augustine to the Isles in order to reestablish Christianity. Augustine became the 1st archbishop of Canterbury. The kind of religion he established was known as the Roman Church. Quite known by the nobility, it was involved in the power and it had very good connections with Pope.
However, there was another church known as the Celtic Church: that was the Christianity that had been retained by Celts. It was popular with ordinary people. The bishops were not interested in power, but spreading the word of God. They came out of the monasteries to be with the ordinary people. Very often, they didn't agree with the Pope.
The one which became more important was the Roman Church because it increased the power of the monarchs. How? The Church established several monasteries which became centers of learning and education. Men were taught to read and write, and they also were trained to work in the administration of the monarch. The stronger the administration was, the stronger the monarch could be.
One of the monarch who made a greater use of the church was King Alfred (King of Wessex in 9th century). He used those men educated in monasteries to establish a new system of law to educate other people, and he and his men wrote books about important events in the country.
Vikings were another group of people who were in the Isles at the same time as the Saxons. They didn't throw the Saxons away. They arrived in the Island around the 8th century and they came from Norway. They accepted Christianity quite quickly, and settle with the local population, specially in the North of the Island.
There were fights between the Saxons and the Vikings. In fact, King Alfred fought against the Vikings and even they made a treaty which established a kind of border or divisory line between the area ruled by the Vikings, Danelaw, and the are ruled by the Saxons.
This treaty didn't avoid future fights/wars, in fact they were fighting until the end of this period.
The last Saxon king, Edward the Confessor, built many churches in the country. When he died, there wasn't an obvious heir to the Crown. Finally, a Saxon called Harold Godwinson was elected King of England (but his reign lasted for a few time).
Edward had spent some time in Normandy (an area in France where people from Norway -the Vikings- had established).
William, Duke of Normandy, claimed the Crown of England. So he took his army ( well armed and organized) to England and in a battle in Hastings he defeated Harold. So William was crowned King of England in 1066. This is an important date because it means the end of a period and the beginning of the Middle Ages or also know as the Norman Period.
II. THE MIDDLE AGES
It covers from the 11th century to the 15th century, and it is divided into two periods:
Early period: 11th century to 13th century
Late period: from 14th century to 15th century
THE NORMAN CONQUEST
The Anglo-Saxons didn't accept the Norman ruling and there were several fights between them. The Norman soldiers were a true army of occupation and this means that they destroyed the places they couldn't control (they burnt houses, they killed animals, etc).
Very few Saxons Lords could kept their lands. In fact, in a period of 20-30 years, 4000 Saxons Lords were replaced by 200 Norman Lords.
When William I and his army conquered new land, he was very careful in the way he gave this land to his officers. What he did was to give small pieces of land to his officers to avoid their possible future rebellions. From all the land he conquered, William gave one half to the nobles, one quarter to the church, and he kept a fifth part for himself. The rest was property of Saxons Lords and small communities.
William also kept the system of sheriffs that existed with the Saxons because they were a balance to the power of the local nobles.
The Normans also established the feudal system (which started with the Saxons, but was developed much more further by the Normans). The word feudalism comes from the French term feu meaning “land held in return for service to a lord”.
A Lord had land, and this land he owned was held by his vassals. The vassals had to do several services for the lord who had :
to serve the King in war
to give part of the produce of the land
to serve the King on the Grand Council ( the Witan in the Saxon period)
After God (who was the most important spiritual Lord), the 1st more important Lord was the King who gave land to → several greater nobles who could also give land to → lesser nobles who could give land to → knights. So there was a kind of human chain starting with the King and ending with the lowest free man.
There were two basic principles in Feudalism:
every man had a Lord
every lord had land
The Lord also had responsibilities towards his vassals: to give land and protection.
When a Noble died, his land was normally taken over by his son, but the son had to get King's permission and make an special payment.
GOVERNMENT (Different monarchs of this period)
William I was King of England and also Duke of Normandy. When he died, he left Normandy to his son Robert and England to his son William.
William II died in a hunting accident and his brother Henry took the Crown.
Henry I became King of England, but his brother Robert didn't like this. So there were some fights between them. As henry wasn't happy enough being the king of England, he invaded Normandy, he captured Robert as prisoner and he was again like his father: King of England and Duke of Normandy. Both land were united again.
Henry had a child, but when he was still a child, he died. Henry tried to have another baby, but he didn't succeed. So eventually he decided that his daughter Matilda would succeed him.
Matilda was married with a French noble called Geoffrey Plantagenet and a short time before Henry I died, Geoffrey and Henry I quarrelled. So the succession was put into question.
Matilda became Queen, but there was another candidate: Stephen. The nobles preferred Stephen and he was elected King. Matilda didn't agree with this so she fought against him. There were several wars and battles, and finally they came to an agreement: Stephen could be King with the condition that Matilda´s son would succeed him.
When Stephen died, he was followed by Henry II.
Henry II destroyed many castles and forced his nobles to live in manor houses that were undefended. Henry II was a very powerful monarch and he ruled over more land than any previous English King.
During all his life, he was fighting against his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine and also against his sons.
When he died, he was followed by his son Richard, known as the Lion-heart.
Richard I has been one of the most popular Kings of the history of Britain. He was very popular on this time although he spent very little time in the country (he was fighting away in the Crusades). He also scoured the country. And he was King only for 10 years.
When he died, he was succeeded by his brother John.
John I, unlike his brother, was very unpopular with the most important social groups at the time: the nobles, the Church and the merchants. Why? One reason is that he was very greedy. For instance, when a noble died and his son had to pay some money, he asked for more money that was the custom. He also increased taxes the merchants had to pay. Nobles, merchants and churchmen didn't like this.
He became even more unpopular when the French King invaded Normandy and the English Lords lost their lands there.
When John called the nobles to go to Normandy and tried to recover the land there, the nobles marched to London where they joined the merchants. And then, in a place near London called Runnymede, they forced the King John to sign a document known as Magna Carta.
This Magna Carta has traditionally been considered symbol of freedom, but in fact, it gave no freedom to the majority of the population in England. It was an statement which established the relationship between the nobles and the church with the King. It also limited the powers of the King.
King John signed this document very unwillingly and he had no intention to keep the agreement. Only his death save the country from another war.
John was succeeded by his son Henry, so became Henry III when he was only 9 years old. As he grew up, he was surrounded by foreign friends and he also spent money supporting the Pope at the time. His nobles didn't like this, so they decided to take over the government and have an elected council of nobles. This council of nobles was called Parliament.
These nobles also took control of the treasury.
Some nobles remained loyal to Henry, so he could recover part of the power. But some balance between the power of the nobles and the power of the king remained.
In fact, the 1st real Parliament was called by Henry's son: Edward I. On this occasion, Edward I included people coming from different social groups, different social classes.
Edward I needed money, and the way to get it was by means of taxes. The people who paid more taxes were the merchants and the gentry. They were the wealth makers of the country. This group of people (merchants & gentry) were the origin of what later became the House of Commons. Edward decided to have two representatives from each shire/town.
Edward was also determined under his control Wales, Scotland and Ireland:
In Wales there was a group of rebels, but they were defeated by Edward who managed to conquer the whole of Wales. He united Wales to England under the same administration. From this moment, the heir to the throne of England has always taken the tittle of “ Prince of Wales”.
Scotland has its own strong monarchy. However, at the end of the 13th century, there was a crisis over succession to the throne because there were around 13 candidates to the Crown. In order to avoid a civil war, they decided to invite Edward I to settle the matter. Before that (to elect a successor), he wanted all these candidates to pay homage to him ( so they were his vassals). Once they had paid him homage, he invaded Scotland and he put one of the candidates on the throne: John of Balliot. Edward's attitude and treatment of the Scottish people started a resistance movement in Scotland. This resistance movement was led by William Wallace. When he was defeated and killed, the fight was continued by Robert Bruce who was one of the 13 candidates to the throne years before. After many fights, Edward I was defeated and didn't manage to conquer Scotland.
Ireland had been conquered by the Normans in the previous century. Edward I took as much money and men as he needed in order to fight against Wales and Scotland.
Edward I was succeeded by his son Edward II who continued the fights his father started with Scotland and Ireland. But Edward II had also problems with his own nobles. He had problems because he was giving too much power to his favourites: Galveston and the Spencers who were not nobles. The nobles rebelled against Edward II, he was captured and beheaded.
Once Edward II was killed, he was succeeded by his son Edward III. He decided to declare war on France. The excuse he had was that he claimed the throne of France because his mother was French. But the real reason to declare the war was that France and Scotland had made an alliance, and this was dangerous for England. Another reason was that France was interfering with English trade and other parts of Europe.
The war started in 1337 and it lasted until 1453 (Henry VI), and it was known as the Hundred Years War.
Edward III represented the age of chivalry. There was a call of chivalry which established that a knight :
had to fight for his good name if insulted
had to serve the King and God
had to defend any lady in need
The interesting thing of chivalry movement is that it was a useful way of persuading men to go to war to fight for the King.
When Edward II died, he was succeeded by his son Richard II. He had many problems with his nobles, specially with his family. He fought against his uncle John of Gaunt (Duke of Lancaster). He was finally deposed and killed. Richard II had no children, so there were several candidates to the throne: one coming from the House of Lancaster and other coming from the House of York.
Finally, the candidate coming from the House of Lancaster was stronger, so Henry IV became King. He spent all his reign trying to re-establish his power and fighting against the House of York.
When Henry IV died, he was succeeded by his son Henry V who took over the war against France. He defeated the French army in the battle of Agincourt, and after this battle a treaty was signed. This treaty established that Henry V would marry the French King's daughter, and that Henry V would succeed the French King in the throne.
Unfortunately for Henry, he died before the French King, so he never became King of France. His son, who was a baby then, inhereted both the English and the French throne.
Henry VI followed hisfather on the throne. He was a peaceful person liked learning and education. In fact, he established two important centers of learning: Eaton College, and King´s College in Cambridge.
Henry VI continued the fight with France in the sense that he had to defend his Crown, but finally he was defeated in 1453 and the Hundred Years War was over.
Henry VI had other problems: part of the nobility, the Lancastrians, supported him; but there was another part of the nobility, the Yorkist, who supported a different candidate to the throne. So there were several fights and Edward IV ( from the House of York) became King.
The Lancaster vs York fights continued, and Henry VI managed to recover the throne. These fights were known as the War of the Roses.
Edward IV was followed by his son: Edward V. He was a child when he became a king and his reign lasted only for one year because his uncle Richard III took him and his brother (Edward IV) to the power of London and they died there.
However, Richard III was quite unpopular, and a couple of years after he became King, someone called Henry (the VII), who belonged to the House of Tudor, claimed the throne of England. When a battle between Richard (the III) and Henry (the VII) was about to start, Richard's army changed side and joined Henry. So Richard III was defeated and killed, and Henry Tudor was crowned as Henry VII.
With Henry VII we have the beginning of the Tudor period, the beginning of a new century and the end of the Middle Ages.
LIFE IN THE MIDDLE AGES
One of the important elements in the Middle Ages was the Church, and there were problems between the Church and the monarch.
Since the times of William I, there had been a struggle between the Church and the State. William had refused to accept the Pope as his feudal lord, and he had created his own bishops. This was a struggle for power and money (not religious).
Similar problems continued with William II and all the following monarchs. However, the most important crisis took place during the reign of Henry II:
He appointed his friend Thomas Becket archbishop of Canterbury. He had the hope that Becket would help him to bring the Church under control, but Becket didn't and he even went against the King. Becket had to escape to France and when he came back to continue his fight against Henry II, he was killed on altar steps of the cathedral. It was believed that he was killed by men sent by Henry II. This event shocked all Christian Europe and Henry had to ask the Pope's forgiveness, and the Pope recovered some privileges that he had lost.
Literary works connected with this event are Murder at the Cathedral and Canterbury Tales. When Becket was murdered, his tomb became a place of pilgrimage.
Towards the middle of the period, there was a growing discontent in the population towards the Church. Why?
The Church was a feudal power and the bishops and archbishops behave with the same cruelty way as any other feudal lords.
The taxes paid to the Church. Part of these taxes were given to the Pope, and the Pope at that time was living in France. So they had the feeling that they were giving the money to the enemy.
All this Church/State discontent had nothing to do with the situation of the Church in the country side, in the small villages. Here, the local priest was normally a peasant of the community who was normally married and who could hardly read. In fact, the Church usually belonged to the local lord and he had more power over the local priest than the Pope.
This was also the period when many monasteries and nunneries were established. There were several reasons for people entering these monasteries and nunneries, but the main one is that they were centres of wealth and learning.
In the 13th century, a new phenomenon appeared. This was the creating of some brotherhoods of friars. These friars were wandering preaches who went from place to place spreading the words of God. They were not interested in the Church power, but in people.
In the 14th century, there were some new religious ideas which condemned the Church hierarchy and the material possessions of the Church.
The spread of religious writings and also the increase in private prayer was a threat to the authority of the Church. Why? Because if they could read, they could think independently and differently from the Church.
As the Kingdom grew, it was necessary to have people who could administer taxes, justice and also who could carry out the King's instructions.
Winchester was the capital city, but later it moved to Westminster in London.
The King was responsible for the administrations for law and justice. In the previous periods, for instance with the Anglo-Saxons, justice had been a family matter. With the arrival of the Normans, the nobles acted on behalf of the King. But Henry I decided that he wanted the same kind of justice everywhere in the Kingdom. This was later called “Common Law”. To have justice for everybody, he appointed some judges who travelled from place to place. These travelling judges still exist today and they are called circuit judges.
This Common Law was based on comparisons, on previous cases and on decisions. Any sentence became a kind of law for later cases.
The King's Court (travelling judges) couldn't cope with all the cases and that's why Edward III appointed some justices of peace. These justices of peace, also named magistrates, deal with less important crimes and offences and they were chosen from lesser nobility and also from the gentry. They were chosen for their fairness and honesty. These magistrates still exist nowadays in Britain.
Society and Economy:
From the year 1066 to 1300, the population in England had trebled. The problem was that there wasn't enough food for everybody. So the shortage of food led to a rise in prices. The consequence of this was poverty and hunger.
In 14th century there were several plagues, the worst of which was the Black Death. This Black Death reached every part of Britain and it was more serious in the years 1348-1349. In fact, Black Death killed one third of the population at the time. By the end of 14th century, the population had bee halved by the different plagues (from 4 millions to 2 millions).
This fall in the population had consequences for the economy. There were few people to work the land and they could ask for money for their work. So those who survive the plagues were in a better situation.
At the beginning of this period, 9 tenths of the population lived in the country side.
Parallel to the feudal system (based on land in exchange of service), there was also a manorial system based on land in exchange of labour.
Being an agricultural society, England was almost self-sufficient. There was important trade within England. However, they needed to import some products, for instance, salt or spices. But they also exported some products. The most important one was wool. It was exported to the Low Countries and some other areas in Europe.
A very high price was charged for this wool, and the King also put some taxes on the wool exporting. Most of this wool was produced in monasteries which had large flocks of sheep.
Around the middle of the period, there was a change and the export of wool was replaced by finished cloth. Merchants realised that they could get more profit by making the cloth in Britain and exporting it later.
The rest of the people lived in towns, where they managed to free themselves from the feudal links or ties. To do so, they had had the support of the monarchs. Why did the monarchs support towns? Because they realised that towns could create a good balance with the power of the local feudal lords. Towns had had to buy their rights, so the Kings had given/sold them charters of freedom. These charters had a very high price, but the price was worth it. Why? Having a charter of freedom, a town could raise its own taxes, and they could also have their own courts.
In these towns, society and economy was controlled by the guilds. These guilds were brotherhoods of different merchants and traders that were created to protect trade in cities. People had to pay to become a member of these guilds and the towns´s leaders were chosen from among the members of the guilds.
Later, throughout the period, these guilds became craft guilds, and now the members of each guild belong to specific trade/craft. The members of this guilds had rights but also duties, specially regarding price and quality.
The central idea of this guilds was to protect the production and the trade of a whole town. However, these guilds ended up by protecting those who were already members.
Another important aspect in this period was the development of a new social class that would later known as the middle class. By the end of the period, 15th c., most merchants were well educated people. This middle class was made up of people who were skilled in law, administration and trade, and who created a new atmosphere in the country.
The relationship between the middle class and the Crown also changed. Edward I who first called to members of the gentry and merchants to became part of the Parliament, and he called them because he needed money.
Later, when Edward III asked them for more money, they asked to see the royal accounts.
The creation of the House of the Lords, and the House of the Commons.
In the 14th century, there were some popular revolts. Most of them due to the increase in taxes, but there were some other reasons.
Literacy and Culture:
During this period, literacy (skill of reading and writing) grew in the country due to the establishment of schools. Some of them were grammar schools which were independent of the Church, but some others were Church schools (dependent on the Church).
These schools were necessary because there was a great demand for educated people who could work in the administration of the country, in trade and in the Church.
At the end of the 12th century, two schools of higher education were stabilised: Oxford and Cambridge.
The connection between France and Scotland lead to the establishment of several universities in Scotland in the 15th c., for instance: St. Andrews, Glasgow, and Aberdeen.
Referred to language: with the arrival of the Normans, many French words became part of the English language. In fact, for some time, French and Latin were the only written language in the country. But as the period went by, French became less and less used. Edward III even forbade the use of French in his army.
English had continued to be used by ordinary people, but they stopped writing it. However, in the 14th century, it was recovered thanks to the work of authors like Chaucer and Langland.
Another important event was the setting up in 1476 of the 1st printing press in England. It made books cheaper and it encouraged literacy.
III. THE TUDORS
The Tudor period is one of the most popular and the best known period in the history of England. It is also well known because of the Church Reformation took place then. It covers
from 1485 to 1603, ant it covers the reign of 5 different Kings:
Henry VII demanded his right to the English throne, and he did this because the was a far relative of John of Gaunt (Duke of Lancaster). Henry VII married Elizabeth of York, so he united both families: York and Lancaster.
Although he united the two families, all the previous wars had killed many members of the nobility and this gave Henry VII the opportunity to create a new monarchy which was very strong because it didn't depend on the nobility. It was also financially independent because the monarch had got he money from the nobles who had died (without descendants).
Henry VII was interested in trade and the profit of trade was also for the King because he had taxes on trade. He was a very good at business (he managed to make a lot of money and keeping it, saving it). In fact, he had some merchants and members of the gentry as his advisers. He also build a huge merchant fleet.
Unfortunately, all the money that has been carefully saved by Henry VII, was wasted by his son Henry VIII.
Henry VIII was a wasteful and self-indulgent person who spent a lot of money on a magnificent court. He liked luxury (expensive food, cloth, painters, musicians, etc.). He also wasted a lot of money on pointless wars in Europe. He wanted to became an important influence in Europe and he wanted to keep balance between the most important countries in Europe at that time: France and Spain. But he wasn't successful.
In spite of all the money his father had left, he needed more money. He got extra money from the gold and silver that had started to arrive from the new discovered America. The problem is that he misused this gold and silver, and the consequence was a serious inflation in the country.
Another way of having money was by getting more land. And who was an important land owner at that time? The Church. But apart from this, Henry VIII didn't like the Church very much because he couldn't control it.
Apart from that, the taxes that were paid to the Church were not paid to the Crown.
Henry VIII had been married to Catherine of Aragon (Juana la loca´s sister) for 16 years without having a male heir for the Crown. He decided to divorce Catherine. He tried to persuade the Pope to allow this divorce. This would be quite easy in normal circumstances because his chief minister, Cardinal Wolsey, had an important position in the Church. But at that time, the Pope was controlled by Charles the I of Spain, V of Germany, who was Catherine's uncle. Both for political and family reasons, Charles didn't want this divorce, so the Pope didn't allow it. Of course Henry VIII got very angry and he persuaded the bishops in the country to make him head of the Church of England. This later became a law which was passed a Parliament was Act of Supremacy in 1534.
This break with the Church of Rome was political and not religious. Henry wanted to control de Church and to get its money, but he didn't approved of the new ideas of Reformation that had been started by Martin Luther or John Calvin in other parts of Europe.
Some years later, Henry VIII took the Church reformation a bit further. Together with his chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, he made a survey of the Church properties. Then, he closed around 600 monasteries and religious houses.
After that, he sold the land to the merchants and nobles that supported him.
Some historians consider that the closer of monasteries was one of the biggest mistakes in the history of Britain.
Henry VIII tried to have the same Church Reformation in Ireland. The difference here was that nobility didn't agree with this Reformation, and didn't agree with the closing of monasteries. There were several wars and eventually, Ireland became gain a colony of England. A great amount of merchants from England and Scotland went to settle in Ireland (in the Northern area: Ulster). These protestant settlers took most of the good land in Ulster. There were so many of these settlers that after their arrival change the name of the places. For instance, a city called Derry was turned into Londonderry.
The phenomena of settlers taking land in Ireland is known as the Plantation, and the settlers are called the planters. Some historians see in this event the origin of the problems that Protestant-Catholics are having in Northern Ireland.
Henry VIII had three official childrens: Mary, Elizabeth and Edward and this last one was who first succeeded him.
Edward VI became king when he only was 9 years old. As he was a child, the country was ruled by a council of nobles. These nobles supported Protestantism because it was the only way in which they could keep their land.
Something that helped to develop the new Protestantism ideas was a new prayer book that was introduced under Edward VI´s reign. It was popularly known as The Book of the Common Prayer. It was used in all the churches in an obligatory was, so all the churches were following Protestantism. The book was introduced by means of an Act called Act of Uniformity.
Edward reigned only for 7 years because he died when he was 16 years old. He was succeeded by Mary (his eldest sister).
Mary was a Catholic and she was supported by ordinary people. But she had the opposition of the most of the nobility. On the top of that, she made several mistakes:
She decided to marry Philip II of Spain (his nephew). He was rejected by Parliament and by England, but finally Parliament accepted the marriage under very limited conditions. This provoke tensions between Mary and the Parliament.
She burnt around 300 Protestant people. This provoke several revolts. Mary's reign lasted only for 5 years and she was succeeded by her sister Elizabeth.
Initially, Elizabeth tried to bring together all the different sector of society, specially those that were in religious disagreement. However, at the beginning of her reign, several new articles (39) definitely settled Protestantism in England.
Apart from that, she brought the Church under her authority and made the Church part of the state machine. For instance:
She made the parish” (the area served by a local church) into the administrative unit of the state. She identified the “parish” with a state administrative unit. So Church and State became the same thing.
She made going to Church on Sundays something compulsory by law. Religion law in the country.
She also introduced a book of sermons which taught that rebellion against the Crown was seen as rebellion against God. Identification of religion and state.
Eventually English people almost believed that to be a Catholic meant being an enemy of England.
Elizabeth was very interested in trade (in this she followed her grandfather). Therefore she considered that England's greatest trade rival would also be its greatest enemy.
At that time, one of the most important trading countries was Spain, therefore, Spain was an enemy of England.
At that time, Spain ruled the Netherlands but they were fighting for their independence. Also Spain was at war with France.
The only way for Spain to rich the Netherlands was by sea, but to do so, they had to go along the English Channel.
England decided to help the Dutch, first allowing them to use their harbours and later by giving them money and soldiers.
Sometime before, English ships had started to attack Spanish ships coming back from America loaded with gold and silver. The Spanish ships were attacked by pirated called sea dogs, and the ships were privately owned. The seadogs had the support of the Queen because part of the gold and silver was given to her.
Philip II got tired of this situation (English helping the Dutchs, and the ship attacks) and he decided to conquer England. So he built a huge fleet of ships known as the “Armada”. But before the ships could set off from Cadiz, they were destroyed by one of the seadogs called Drake. So Philip II had to built again the fleet (bigger and better than the previous one).
On this occasion, they failed again because English ships were faster and they could shoot further. They also failed because they were very unlucky with the weather: there were very strong winds and an important part of the fleet was destroyed by the storms and against the rocks in Scotland and Ireland.
Elizabeth also encouraged traders to settle abroad and to establish a new colonies For instance, in America. In this period, England started selling West African slaves to work in the Spanish colonies.
Elizabeth had no children, so when she died there was no direct heir to the throne. The legitimate heir to the throne was a member of the Stuart family who was the ruling family in Scotland.
What happened in Scotland?
Scotland had its own monarchy and it was quite strong. The Scottish Kings always tried to avoid war with England, and they even married members of the English monarchy. But this didn't really work and there were fights between both countries. For instance, Henry VIII fought James IV, defeated him and killed him. Henry VIII continued fighting with James V who was also defeated.
An agreement was signed to marry Edward (Henry VIII´s son) with Mary (James VI´s daughter). But the Scottish Parliament rejected and turned down this agreement. Scotland became a Protestant country and also for political and economic reasons.
The nobles could take the land from the Church. But the difference in Scotland was that the Church or the Kirk of Scotland, didn't make the monarch head of the Kirk. It was ruled by means of an assembly.
When Mary became Queen, she was a Catholic, but she didn't try to bring Catholicism back to Scotland. However, she had other problems and she had to escape from Scotland to England. She murdered her 2nd husband and she married his murderer.
When Mary Stuart arrived to England, she had new problems because she was taken to prison by Elizabeth. After remaining there for 20 years, she was beheaded. Why? Because being a Stuart was a threat to Elizabeth as a possible candidate to the Crown of England. But also because Mary was a Catholic, and because she had decided to appoint as her heir Philip of Spain.
When Mary escape from Scotland, her son became king of Scotland as James VI. When Elizabeth died, James was the legitimate heir to the English Throne becoming James I of England and James VI of Scotland. The same person was King of two different countries
A new period started, the Stuart period. But also a new century, the 17th .
LIFE IN THE TUDOR PERIOD
Administration (the role of the Parliament in this period).
Parliament got stronger in this period and it increased its authority. Why? The different monarchs often used Parliament to increment their policy ( Act of Supremacy, Act of Uniformity, Articles: Reformation is a good example).
But using Parliament for the own purposes, they were giving Parliament more power. Something else is that within Parliament, power started to shift from the House of Lords and the House of Commons. In fact, the Commons represented richer and more influential classes than the Lords.
Parliament in fact, didn't represent the people. Why? 1st because too many members of the Parliament did not live in the places they represented; and 2nd because there were many people who couldn't vote these members of the Parliament. The consequences of this will be very important in the following century.
Economy and Society
In this century there was a serious economic crisis. In the 16th c., population increased quite fast. And the consequence is that there were no enough food for everybody. On top of that, to make their work, many land owners found that they could make more money from sheep farming than from growing crops. So they decided to enclose the land or to put fences to keep the animals.
The problem was not only enclose their land, but also the common land belonging the whole village. So people had no land, and no food.
The situation got so serious that through the century, several steps had to be taken in order to help the poorer. The 1st poor law (1601) was past at Parliament, and it made people responsible for the poor in the area. The JPs (Justices of Peace) had the power to raise money for the poor in the “parish” area.
In spite of the economic crisis, the cloth making industry was growing, but there was another industry which had started: steel industry used to make muskets ( a new weapon used by the army at that time).
In this way, Birmingham or Manchester became big industrial towns.
The 16th century is the period of the Renaissance in England 8later than in other countries). There were several important philosophers. The 1st important one was Thomas More with his work Utopia.
Due to all religious reformations, there were a lot of writings about this thing.
Music and painting were also flourishing in the Tudor period.
But the most important artistic expression was literature. We have some important poets: Spencer, Sidney, Wyatt. And we have the best known playwriters: Shakespeare, Marlowe and Johnson.
IV. THE STUARTS
The most important event was the shift/change from Absolute Monarchy to Parliament Monarchy. In the middle there was a civil war, a Republic.
All these changes in politics were possible because there were some changes in society too. For instance, the economic power moved faster and faster into the hands of merchants and the gentry. So the Crown could not longer get money or govern without the support of these people. As a consequence of this, merchants and gentry wanted to have more power.
James I, VI of Scotland, (1603-1625) was an absolute monarch, as all the previous monarchs who believed in the divine rights of kings. This means that he believed that he had been chosen by God to be King. Therefore, he only could be judged by God.
He expressed these ideas openly and this brought him problems. One of the 1st problems he had in his reign was an economic one: Elizabeth (the previous monarch) had left a huge debt and he had to ask Parliament to get money to pay for this debt. Parliament agreed , but in return they wanted to debate King's policy. James I disagreed and he kept quarrelling with Parliament during his reign.
The situation wasn't much different when Charles I (1625-1649) became king. Initially he tried to get money without the help of the Parliament by borrowing it from bankers and merchants. But in 1628, Parliament passed an Act which obliged the monarch to raise money only through Parliament. This Act was known as the Petition of Rights.
This Act gave Parliament control over the state money and over an important part of the law. When Charles I realised the amount of power he had given to Parliament, he decided to dissolve it (1629).
After this, he managed to govern without help of Parliament for 10/11 years. But in the late 1630´s , some religious conflicts started to appear in England and neighbouring areas.
These conflicts were:
the new branches of Protestantism that started to appear, for instance, Puritanism. Puritans wanted a more democratic organisation in the Church. A good number of members of Parliament were Puritans (or agreed with Puritan ideas), and also merchants.
Another conflict took place because Charles I appointed William Laud archbishop of Canterbury, who wanted to bring back some aspects of Catholicism (quite unpopular during the Tudor period). William Laud also tried to take the same organisation as the Anglican Church had to the Scottish Kirk. The Scoots didn't accept this, so there were some fights. Charles I was defeated and finally he had to agree to respect the Scottish political and religious ways. He also had to pay them a large amount of money. The problem was that he couldn't get all this money without Parliament, so he had to recall Parliament.
Some more religious problems that took place after Parliament had been recalled happened in Ireland: Protestant settlers continued going to Ireland. There was a rebellion against this Protestants English and Scottish settlers, and around 3000 of them were killed. It was necessary to send an army to control them, but Charles I and Parliament quarrelled over who should control the army ( The King or the Parliament?).
Parliament considered that this rebellion was against Parliament and not against the King. Therefore, the King could use this army against Parliament. And this is that the King did, he went to Nothingham and gathered another army to fight against Parliament. So we have two armies fighting one against the other, so a Civil War started. Only around 10% of the population was involved in this Civil War.
These were the two armies:
King's army: Charles I was supported by members of the House of Lords, and just a few of the House of Commons. These people were know as the Royalists or cavaliers. Their army controlled mostly the North and West of England.
Parliament's army: supported by mostly of the Commons and by merchants and the people in London, and the navy. They were known as the Round Heads. Their army controlled the South and south-east of England, including London. They also controlled the sources of wealth 8so they could get money).
Charles I was defeated at the battle of Noseby in 1645. And once the King had been defeated, there were several possibilities:
to bring the King back to the throne and impose some conditions on him
to create a new system of Government without a King.
By that time, most people wanted the King back, but they fear Parliament and its army. However some Parliament army commanders were determined to get rid of the King. So when 2/3 of the members of Parliament didn't want to put the King on trial, they were removed of Parliament, and the rest of the Parliament members judged the King. They found him guilty (for treason) and executed him. So now the possibility was to create a new system of Government: A Republic.
This Republic started in 1649 and lasted until 1660, and it was a failure. The Republic was led by Oliver Cromwell and his supporters. They created a very severe govern. They had got rid of monarch and now they tried to get rid of the Lords and the Anglican Church. But they didn't succeeded. They ruled more and more by degree and by direct military rule.
There were some rebellions, and one of them took place in Scotland. Scoots were defeated and brought under Republic rule.
There was also a rebellion or some protest in Ireland. So Cromwell took an army there and 6000 Catholics were killed as a kind of punishment for the killing of 3000 Protestants.
Some disagreements started between the army and Parliament, so Cromwell decided to dissolve Parliament. Cromwell became a Lord protector and he had a greater powers than Charles I had had. He prohibited the celebration of Easter and Christmas, and he also forbade the representation of plays at the theatres and to play games on Sunday.
Cromwell died and he was succeeded by his son. But he wasn't able to govern the country. So the army commanders started to quarrel among themselves, and one of them decided to go to London to arrange a new elections an invite Charles II (Charles I´s son) to return to the Kingdom.
So we have again a monarch in England: Charles II (1660-1685). This period is called Restoration.
When Charles II became king, he cancelled most of the laws that had been passed during the republic. He was attracted to the Catholicism. Church and Parliament feared that he could become a Catholic, and that's why Parliament passed the Test Act in 1673 which prevented any Catholic from holding public office ( to become a member of Government, Political Institutions, Parliament, etc.). However, it didn't prevent a Catholic to become a King. That's why it was possible for James II to become king.
James II (1685-1688) was Charles II´s brother, and he was a Catholic. As soon as he became king, he tried to remove the laws which stooped Catholics from taking positions in Government or Parliament. He also tried to bring back the Catholic Church.
James II had a daughter who was a protestant, Mary, and who was married to William of Orange who was the Protestant ruler of Holland.
James II had no sons, so Protestants in England expected that Mary would inherited the Crown. However, in 1688, James II had a male child. Then different sectors of the political and religious life in England joined in inviting William of Orange to invade England.
William of Orange went to England with an army, but James II´s supporters deserted him, so there were no fight, no bloodshed. This event (the arrival of W. Of Orange to England and no fight) is known as the Glorious Revolution.
The Throne was offered to both William III and Mary II. The most important thing here was that Parliament had decided who had to be the King. So this is a change from an Absolute Monarchy (God elects the King), to a Parliamentary Monarchy: Parliament elect the King, and also control the monarch (so Parliament is more powerful than the monarch).
The power that Parliament had over the King had been written in a Bill of Rights: established that the King couldn't raise taxes or have an army without the agreement of Parliament.
Of course, not everybody was happy with the removal of James II. For instance:
In Ireland, people had held that with James II asking, they could recover the land that Protestants had taken. But when James II was removed, their hopes were destroyed. When James II was removed, he had to escape to Ireland and there he cancelled the laws that gave properties to the Protestants. The Protestants locked themselves in the city of Londonderry. James circled the city and finally King William went to Ireland and defeated James II at the battle of the River Boyne.
In 1701, Parliament passed the Act of Settlement: ensured that only Protestants could inherit the Throne of England. This Act is still in use in England, so no Catholic can inherit the Throne.
Queen Mary died before William III, but when both were dead, Anne I (Mary's sister) inherited the Throne.
Problems continued in some parts of Ireland because in Scotland they had no accepted the English removal of James II, and there had been several rebellions. Scotland was at that time a separate Kingdom. So English feared that Catholic Stuart could be back to Throne.
At the same time, Scotland needed to remove the limits on trade within England. So the English Parliament offered Scotland union with them. The Scots accepted and Scotland became part of England by an Act of Union in 1707.
Now the whole Island was called Great Britain, it was a single state with one Parliament, but three different communities: Scotland, Britain and Wales.
Scotland lost its Parliament but it kept a separate legal system and a separate church.
During the 17th century, Britain's main enemies had been Spain, Holland and France. At the end of the century, with William of Orange, Holland became an ally of England in different European wars. At the end of one of these wars, the Treaty of Utrecht was signed. And England by means of this treaty, was given Gibraltar and Menorca in Spain, and most of the French colonies in North America.
LIFE IN THE 17TH CENTURY
Change from an Absolute Monarchy to Parliamentary Monarchy was possible because there was a revolution in thought in several areas: politics, religion, science, and many others.
Through the century, there had been some changes but by the middle of the century most people of the country thought that the power should be in hands of Parliament and not in hands of the Monarch. And that is what happened.
Another thing is the emergence of the firsts political parties:
they didn't want an Absolute Monarchy.
they didn't like the Catholic faith, (but they believed in religious freedom).
they didn't want to have a regular army.
they agree with the authority of the Crown and the Church.
in general, they supported royalist position.
At the beginning of the 17th century, the influence of Puritanism had increased among the merchants and the gentry. They had persuaded James I to have a new authorised version of the Bible, that was published in 1611. And this Bible was read by merchants, gentry and also some of the labourers.
Puritans were a group, but there were other groups such as Baptists and Quakers. These groups were known as nonconformists because they didn't conform with the official Anglican Church. Some nonconformists, mainly Puritans, were executed, so some of them decided to leave the country and go to America.
We have some important scientific and philosophers in this century:
Francis Bacon who defended that every scientific idea had to be tested by experiment. This idea had been a tradition in the British Science.
William Harvey who discovered the circulation of blood.
Isaac Newton who wrote the book Principia which has been considered as the best book in the history of science.
Christopher Wren an architect and also an astronomer ( St. Paul Cathedral).
The Royal Society was founded. This society protected and supported science, research, etc. it appeared in this century.
To support this revolution in thoughts, there was the help of newspapers. They were important because they helped to spread every kind of ideas (political, religious, etc). they were possible because literary had spread and also thanks to the printing techniques.
Economy and Society:
Through the 17th century, the economic situation improved. On one hand, there were some farming improvements an therefore there was more food. But at the same time, the increase of population stopped. People married latter than in the other period.
The economy improved and by the middle of the century it was quite good. Trade continued being important in England. Within Britain there was a network of waterways that made transport easier and more fluent. And this change habits in buying and selling because it appear the fixed slops.
Regarding international trade, Britain had colonies in different places in the world (India, America, etc). they got products like species or sugar, and they traded with it.
London became, by far, the largest city in the country. It controlled most of the sea trade, but it suffered two different disasters in the middle of the century: The Great Plague (1664-5) and The Great Fire (1666).
In London a new class of rich aristocrats appeared. Many of them belonged to the nobility, but not all of them. They weren't considered as equals by the old nobility.
Another interesting thing is that in this period coffee houses for the middle classes and alehouses for workers became meeting points, and they were centres of popular culture where news could be shared and exchanged.
V. BRITISH COLONIES IN AMERICA
Previous tribes in America:
The Pueblo: where is nowadays the United States.
The Apache: quite near the Pueblo
The Dakota (allies) / The Sioux (enemies)
Several tribes in the Pacific Coast
Before England got there, some other European countries had got there. Historians have found evidence that the Vikings went there.
Also the Spanish, of course who in fact occupied America, explored the Southern part of what id today the United States. They founded several cities in Florida and New Mexico.
There were also French explorers who went mostly to the North part of North America.
The arrival of Europeans greatly affected all the native people because they took new weapons, but also new diseases. They were very hungry for land, so they took more and more land from the native inhabitants. These native people were almost destroyed.
As early as 1497, Henry VII sent an explorer called John Cabot to explore the new land, and to look for a passage to Asia. He wasn't very successful, however his voyages were later used by English governments to claim land on the Atlantic coast of America.
The first real attempt to settle there took place almost one century later, in 1585. It took place thanks to Sir Walter Raleigh. A group of people landed in a place that they called Virginia in honour of Queen Elizabeth who was the unmarried Queen. This first settlement again wasn't very successful, but they kept trying.
Finally, in 1607 Jamestown was founded. It wasn't a proper town, but just a few huts (this is the period of the story Pocahontas).
Many of the settlers who went to America were in fact sent by rich investors in London. These investors had founded the Virginia Company whose purpose was to set up colonist, and of course, to make some profit. Some of the settlers were landowners children from London. Many of these people were forced to leave the country due to the enclosure system in England, and because of the idea that England was overcrowded.
Some of the settlers went there as indentured workers. This meant that they were as servants for around seven years, and in exchange for food and cloths and after that they became free to work for themselves. From 1619, black Africans started to be sold as slaves to the American colonist.
In this year, another important thing happened: the House of Burgesses met for the first time. This House was made up of elected representatives from the different settlements. And this started an important tradition in the American life. The tradition is that in America people should have a say in matter that concern them.
A year later, there was an important event, 1620, and it was the arrival of the pilgrim. These were people who were looking for religious freedom. after the Church reformation that had taken place in England, there were some people who still disliked some aspects of this Church. They didn't like the power of bishops, the decoration, etc. in general they wanted a more plain Church, that is to say a pure Church. That's why they were called puritans. They were attracted to the ideas of John Calvin.
To escape the persecution, some of them set off from Plymouth on a boat called the Mayflower, and loaded in Cape Cod in Massachusetts. More Puritans continued to arrive and first the town of Boston was founded, followed by the foundation of Rhode Island or Pennsylvania, and after New York( which was founded by the Dutch with the name of New Amsterdam).
What was life like in the colonies?
By 1733, there were 13 colonies and they stretch from New Hampshire in the North to Georgia in the South. These colonies are usually divided in 3 groups:
New England: was centred around Massachusetts. The population was mainly made up by craftsmen, farmers and some fishermen. They depended quite a lot on the sea, and for instance Boston became an important town.
Middle Colonies: two of the most important ones were New York and Pennsylvania. The capital city of Pennsylvania was Philadelphia. By 1770, Philadelphia had become the largest city in America with 28000 inhabitants. Most people here were merchants and craftsmen and were more tolerant on religious matters, probably because they had different origins (not only English, but German, Dutch, Swedish, etc).
In these two groups of colonist, land was mainly distributed among groups of people. For instance, church congregations. Towns were created quite easily and this is what is called a Township in administration of the local government.
Southern Colonies: Virginia and the Colonies of Georgia. Here we find mostly wealthier plantation owners and black slaves working for them.
In these colonies, land was given to individual people and this allowed big concentration of land. This model was based on the Country (and not on the town). Regarding Government each colony had a governor who was appointed by the King, and each governor might have a council of people to advise him.
Apart from this, there were Assemblies whose members were elected by the colonists.
All white males who had land had the right to vote, and in practise this meant that many more people could vote in America than in many countries in Europe.
The frontier. In this period, people in America lived less than 50 miles away from the Coast (beginning of the 17th century).
VI. THE 18TH AND 19TH CENTURIES IN THE UK AND IRELAND
We have the House of Hanoverians with six different monarchs:
In this two centuries, there were two main events:
Agricultural and Industrial Revolution
The British Empire
Another important characteristic of these centuries is that power moved from Kings to Ministers, and the parties they belonged. Now monarchs reigned, but they didn't rule.
Another important thing in the 19th century is that there were important political reforms.
When Queen Anne died, there were two candidates to the throne:
James (son of James I) who was a Catholic and wanted to give Catholicism. So he lost the chance because of the law.
George: a member of the House of Hanover who became king as George I and reigned from 1714 to 1727.
James and his followers were not happy with this, and there was a Jacobite revolt in 1715. The revels were defeated, so no change in the country and George continued being King.
George I´s most important Prime Minister was Robert Walpone who is often considered the 1st prime Minister. He developed the idea of Cabinet: a small group of ministers within the Government working together, and who are supposed to resign if they deeply disagree with the decisions made with the other members.
George I was succeeded by his son George II who governed from 1727 to 1760. His most important Minister was William Pitt “the elder” who considered that trade was an important means to get money for the country, and that Britain had to defeat France who was a rival in trade.
So a war started between Britain and France, and as a consequence Britain (won) took Quebec and Montreal in what is modern Canada. They also took part of India that had been French colony.
In this period, there was a 2nd Jacobite Revolt (1745) and on this occasion, it was led by James II´s grandson Charles Edward known as Bonny Prince Charlie. They were defeated again, so nothing happened.
George II was succeeded by his son George III who reigned from 1760 to 1820. He made peace with France and the most important event during his reign was the American War of Independence (1775-1785). As a result of this, he lost all the American Colonies except Canada. Some politicians in Britain supported the Colonist in this war, and they were known as Radicals.
Another important event that took place in Europe at this time was the French Revolution, 1789, which wasn't greatly supported in Britain. However, when Napoleon became the emperor of France and invaded most of Europe, Britain had to interfere. So Britain decided to fight at sea against France, for instance, preventing France from using the ports in different places.
In this fight against Napoleon, two people were important:
Nelson, who fought against Napoleon in Egypt and in Spain (Trafalgar).
Wellington, who defeated Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo.
What happened in Ireland in this century?
James II had been defeated, so Protestants had gained power, and they had passed several laws which greatly hurt the Catholics. For instance:
Catholics no members of the Parliament
Catholics couldn't become lawyers, go to the University, join the army or take any official position.
Catholics Schools were forbidden
The son of Catholic parents who became Protestant, could take over his parents properties.
Bu the end of this century, some of these laws were removed, but at the same time, the 1st Orange Lodge appeared: associations of Protestant people who are against Catholics.
Ireland was definitely united to Britain in 1801. Parliament in Dublin disappeared, so now there was a single parliament for both Islands. This union lasted for 120 years.
In 1810, George II was declared officially mad, and therefore a Regency was established ( he was the king, but his son was the ruler).
George IV became king in 1820 and his reign lasted until 1830. Nothing important happened in this period. He was succeeded by his brother William IV (1830- 1837). In this period, some of the most important political reforms in the country took place.
William IV was succeeded by his niece Victoria (1837 - 1901). Britain became one of the most powerful countries in the world, and this can be seen in the economy strength of the country, and the huge empire Britain had.
POLITICAL REFORMS IN THE 19TH CENTURY
A reform became absolutely necessary in the law and system of representation in the 19th century. This reform finally came with the Reform Bill in 1832: this Bill increased the number of voters (many towns were represented for the 1st time as Birmingham and Manchester).
This Reform Bill was an important step towards Democracy.
Some years later, in 1838, workers and radical politicians put forwards a People's Charter where they demanded :
Universal male suffrage
The right for a man without property to become a member of the Parliament
Vote by secret ballot
Equal electoral districts
Payment for the members of the Parliament
This charter was refused at the House of Parliament, so it was a failure and the movement disappeared.
Around the middle of the century, some new political ideas started to appear. These ideas became known as Liberalism because they defended free trade and social and political reform. These Liberal ideas, specially those regarding economy, had their origin in a book written by Adam Smith in 18th century called Enquiry into the Wealth of Nations. These ideas are considered the basis for Capitalism.
With all these ideas and reforms, what we can consider nowadays a modern state was already made by the 1860´s 1870´s. For instance, a modern state is a state where:
party organisation had develop
the information is given : for instance, newspapers can contribute to the strength of public opinion.
So Democracy in Britain grew quickly. An example of this can be that the House of Commons grew to the size of 650 members and the House of Lords lost part of its position.
At the same time, the machinery of modern Government was also set up. And for machinery we understand the institutions that make the Govern work, such as:
regular civil service (work in the administration of the country).
The army was reorganised (until then, they could buy its position), so the commissions couldn't be bought.
The administration of the law was reorganised
Local Government in towns was also reorganised to give proper services to the people.
AGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
The Empire and Economic Revolution are linked, because in the 18th century, trade brought money to the country and this money made possible the agricultural and industrial revolution.
Agricultural Revolution: In the country, the process of enclosing common land continued because some people thought that it was necessary for the improvement of agriculture. The problem was that enclosure was carried out by Act of Parliament and that many people were left without land and work.
Some technological improvements made agriculture more profitable. For instance, the improvement was root crops, and this made no longer necessary to leave the land rest.
Growing animal food also made possible to keep animals in the same place through winter without taken them to different places.
So the profit, the money agriculture produced, could be invested in industry. So we can say that the Industrial Revolution is the result of a combination of circumstances:
Money: money came from trade and agriculture
Labour: many people were left without work in the country because of the enclosures, so there were people ready to work in factories.
a greater demand for goods: this people needed goods, manufactured products.
new power: at the beginning of 18th century, some simple machines had been invented. But now a better use of coal made possible to have iron and steal in greater quantities and better quality. With this iron and steel, it was possible to have more complex and heavier machines. For instance, John Wilkinson started to build bridges and chapels made of iron. James Watt invented the steam machine and several machines were invented for the cloth making industry.
better transport: canals and roads were improved, and around the middle of the 19th century, the railway became an important element for transport.
This Industrial Revolution made some cities grow: Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, and Glasgow and Edinburg in Scotland. South Wales also developed thanks to the coal mines in that area.
One consequence of the Industrial Revolution was the creation of a new social class: the Proletariat or the factory workers. They tried to join together to protect themselves against their employers. These associations were called combinations, but they were initially forbidden. They were only legalised since 1824, and they were the called unions.
Sometimes there were organised some riots to protest against the working conditions, the low salaries, or the unemployment (because better machines sometimes replace works in factories).
A negative consequence of the Industrial revolution was child labour. Children were useful to factory owners because they were easy to discipline and they could do some kind of jobs that grown up people could not do.
Britain had been expanding territory since the 16th century. And by the 18th, it had a huge Empire. This Empire had been built on trade, but also on the need to protect the territories against other European countries.
Britain had been taking over more and more land, and by the end of the 19th century we can speak about a political Empire rather than a trading Empire.
After the lost of the American colonies (1783), Britain had stooped the creating of new colonies. However, around 1850, a colonial competition started in Europe and many European countries started to occupied new territories. Britain started several colonial wars which were very expensive for the country. These wars took place mostly in Asia and Africa:
Opium wars: china
Indian Mutiny: India
Africa: the situation was a bit special because European countries used the excuse of bringing civilisation to the continent to invade new territories, and the continent was divided into areas of interest. Some countries where Britain had wars, were South Africa because Dutch settlers were there . in Egypt because Britain was interested in the Suez Canal and Sudan.
LIFE IN THE 18TH &19TH CENTURIES
At the end of the 19th century, Britain had become the workshop of the world in the sense that Britain was manufacturing and selling products to many countries in the world. However, the situation had been quite different at the beginning of the century.
In 1789 took place the Napoleonic Wars, and during these years, England became the supplier for most European countries. Napoleonic wars ended in 1815. These had several consequences for Britain:
Many of the products Britain was producing were no longer necessary.
Some British soldiers who had taken part in the wars, came back and were looking for a job, and they created more unemployment.
At the same time, improvements in farming methods reduced the number of people needed in the country, and this also created unemployment. The situation became quite serious and in 1834 it was necessary to have a new Poor Law. Result of this law was the creation of workhouses where people got lodgement and work.
The situation changed by the middle of the century. In 1851 Queen Victoria opened the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace. The aim of this exhibition was to show the world the greatness of Britain's industry. It was great because Britain was producing more iron than the rest of the world together. Britain owned more than half of the world's total shipping.
Apart from that, Britain had a strong banking system that supported the Industrial Empire of the country.
Around 1890, the railway network had been completed and around 1851 the railway had started to being used for the passengers, so people could more faster and more easily.
Something else that contributed to the improvement of the economy was the introduction of a cheap postage system.
In the 19th century, economy was influenced by some economic theories called Liberalism. Liberal ideas established that government should not interfere in trade or industry. Owners of factories and merchants were free to do whatever they wanted. These liberal ideas sometimes led to situations of slavery and misery for industry workers or poor people in general.
Several governments had to pass laws to improve working conditions and social conditions in general. We will see the consequences of this in the 20th century, but as example in 1900-10:
free school meals were provided
old age pensions scheme
labour exchange were established
people were made to pay for a national insurance.
These actions and some others were the beginning of a welfare state.
In 1845- 47, potato crop failed in Ireland and the consequence was hunger or famine and many people were forced to emigrate, mostly to the USA, but also to Australia and New Zealand.
A middle class had existed in Britain for centuries. However during these two centuries, middle class grew in size and variety. There were many differences regarding wealth, social status or the kinds of work they carried out.
Part of this middle class were the professions (people working for the Church, in Law or Medicine, or members of the civil service, in diplomatic service, in the army or the banking system) or the commercial classes (owners of big factories, small shops keepers or office workers).
It was a period of great social movement, so people changed from one level to another.
Another important question was the growth of towns, of course as a consequence of the Industrial Revolution. The problem was that towns grew faster than services they had. One of the most important problem was the lack of drainage (to supply water, to dispose of waste). Many towns became centres of disease.
They tried to provide towns with social services. They also started to build parks, libraries, public baths.
Expanding towns were Northern England, Midlands, Glasgow, South Wales.
1839- 1901: Influence Britain in this period by setting a model of family life, but also by establishing some moral or religious values.
The adjective Victorian (1825) when appeals to a person, attitude or behaviour, has several meanings:
family virtues, but also
Leisure time: people for the first time had free time to do other things. Museums, parks or libraries were built. people also started to travel for pleasure and some sports became popular as cricket or football.
Some new religious movements were started in this period. One of them was Methodism which started with a man called John Wesley. This was a personal and emotional from of religion. People were organised in small groups called chapels and he members of these chapels had to contribute to the expenses of the activities they did.
Quakers had a social concern, warned about poor people and also some other Christian groups.
They all influenced and managed to solve some of the social problems of the period. For instance, they asked against slavery and they managed to get it abolish in 1833. They also managed to pass several factory acts which for instance limited child labour.
Education and Culture:
1870 & 1891: Education Acts. Two Education Acts: all children were obliged to go to school up the age of 13. Education became compulsory, but also free.
Some new Universities known as Redbrick Universities were built in the new industrial cities. They focused on science and technology.
Regarding literature, we must mention on the one hand poetry (romantic poets of the 18th century), and on the other hand novels (the 19th century Victorian novel).
This was a period of scientific advancement, new technologies were introduced. Probably the most important scientific theory was proposed by Darwin in his book The Origin of Species. This theory had important consequences in several fields. It started a great debate between faith and reason in society, mainly connected with the Churches.
One conclusion of this theory: there were advanced and inferior races. British considered that they belonged to the advanced ones, so it was their duty to protect and govern inferior races. This encouraged Colonialism.
VII. FROM INDEPENDENCE TO THE CIVIL WAR IN THE USA
In the 18th century, Britain and France were involved in different colonial wars in different parts of the world (India, Europe, North America, etc). The result was that France gave Britain the colonies in Canada and East of the Mississippi. So the territory that Britain had in North America increased.
At the same time, different conflict started to appear between Britain and the colonies, for instance:
Britain had a more authoritarian system of government which contrasted to the assembleery system in the colonies.
George III was the British monarch at the time. In 1763, he forbade the colonist to settle West of the Appalachians. Before new treaties were signed with the Americans (and the colonists wanted to expand their territory).
Colonies were made to pay new taxes on sugar, coffee, textiles and some other products. They were also made to pay for the food and whether of the British soldiers sent there to protect the colonies.
In 1765, Stamp Act was passed by the British Government. The intention was to raise money to pay for the defence of the colonies. People in the colonies opposed to this Act, to this law, mainly because they said that no taxation without representation. They refused to buy and sell British products until the law was retired. The Act was finally withdrawn, but then a Declaratory Act was passed. It stated that the British Parliament had full power over colonies.
Some time later, new taxes were placed on tea and some other goods. Some of the colonists boarded a British merchant ship and they threw several boxes of tea into the sea. This action was know as the Boston Tea Party. The British reaction was to close Boston harbour, and to stop trade until the tea was paid.
At the same time, some new laws were passed, and they were known as Intolerable Acts. They reduced the power of the colonists. Some British warships were also sent to Boston.
In 1774, a group of colonial leaders met in Philadelphia in the First Continental Congress. They claimed to be loyal to the British King, but they refused to trade with Britain. The consequence of this is that in 1775, there was the 1st big fight between British soldiers and the militia men from the colonists in a place called Concorde. This was the beginning of the War of Independence.
THE FIGHT FOR INDEPENDENCE
In April, 1775, took the 1st fight between the British soldiers and the militia men. One month later, may 1775, the 2nd Continental Congress met in Philadelphia. They started to act as an American National Government. They had an army under the command of George Washington and they had representatives in several European countries. They were a kind of ambassadors looking for support in European countries.
About a year later, the 4th of July 1776, the Continental Congress issued a Declaration of Independence. This document had been written by Thomas Jefferson and it was inspired by the writing of a British thinker called John Locke.
The War of Independence lasted from 1775 to 1783, and it was quite unbalanced in the sense that American Colonists (militia men) couldn't be considered a real army. However they got the support of France and Spain, and the British were pushed towards the Southern colonies.
The British army, or redcoats, surrendered in 1781, but the Treaty of Paris which brought the definite peace, was signed in 1783. This treaty also recognised the independence of the colonies. However, there was a problem: at that time, these colonies were not a single nation, but a group of several states.
THE PATH TOWARDS A NATION
In this period after the War of Independence is known as the “Critical period”. In 1787, all the states sent delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, with George Washington chairing the meeting. These people wrote a document called The Constitution of USA. This Constitution set up a federal system of Government meaning that there was a central Govern, a central power. But the states also had a certain amount of power.
The Government of the country was divided into 3 different branches:
Executive: encharged of everyday affairs and also encharged of executing the laws. This branch of power was represented by an elected person who was the president.
Legislative: encharged of making the laws, and it was represented by the Congress which was divided into two different institutions: a) The House of Representatives
b) The Senate
Judicial: encharged of making decisions regarding any disagreement about meaning of laws. Represented by the Supreme Court.
This Constitution came into effect in 1789. But in 1791 it already had 10 amendments (these are known as The Bill of Rights).
After this, we have a single nation. Once the USA has become a single nation, they can think about the expansion of a nation.
THE EXPANSION OF A NATION
The USA needed to grow as a nation. And it did so at the expense of the Amerindians. In the last centuries, 17th, 18th and 19th, several laws had been passed to push the Amerindians towards the mountains and some other inhospitable areas. The consequence of this was that many of them died in fights or of hunger.
Colonists continued to move towards the Pacific. When a number of white males living in a territory reached 5000, they could elect their own law making body, and they could send representatives to the Congress.
When the population of a territory reached 60000, then this territory could became a state.
So one way of growing was moving West and conquering new territories by settling there. And another way to expansion was taking land over from other countries. This was the case of Louisiana which belonged to France: by 1800, Louisiana belonged to France, but it was sold by Napoleon to the USA in 1803.
American people had been setting for some years in the area of Texas. There had been disputes between the Mexican Government and the American settlers. In 1845 both countries reached an agreement and Texas became part of the USA.
However, problems between both countries continued. And eventually, Mexico was forced to hand over another territory between Texas and the pacific (Mexican Cession, 1848).
By the middle of the 19th century, the USA had already became what it is now the USA. However, as the country was growing, conflicts started between the Northern and Southern states.
NORTH AND SOUTH CONFLICT
Territories on the West had been recently conquered, so they had not its own identity. And this means that problems between North and South wasn't its problem.
Problems between North and South were mainly about two issues:
The South needed slaves to work on the plantations, whereas the North was against slavery.
Regarding Britain, the North defended import taxes which protected its industry. And South disagreed with them (these taxes).
Another question connected with this is that the number of workers needed for agriculture was decreasing whereas the number of workers needed for industry was increasing. This means that South agriculture was becoming weaker and North industry was becoming stronger.
In the 1830´s, some Southern states defended the idea that if a federal law harmed their interests, they had the right to disobey it. This idea became known as the States Rights Doctrine.
At the same time, opponents of slavery formed a new political group called the Republican Party. Some years went by with the Party became stronger. In the elections of that year, 1860, the Republican candidate called Abraham Lincoln, won the elections.
Some Southern states had threatened to break away from the USA if Lincoln won the election. When he won, the Southern states declarated themselves an independent nation called the Confederate States of America (also know as the confederacy).
In November 1860 were the elections and Lincoln became president in March 1861. He promised not interfere with slavery, but he warned the Southern States that he would not allow them to break up the USA. So this year, 1861, a Civil War between the Union (North) and the Confederacy (South) started and it lasted for 4 years (1865).
Lincoln as president
Union army was led by officers like Grant and Sherman
Union was stronger in population, in the production of food, and in the manufacturing capacity.
They only could win the war invading the South.
Davis as president
Confederacy army was led by Lee and Jackson
They had no industry, the population was smaller and they had fewer resources.
Fights took place in its territory.
The War took place mainly in two areas:
Virginia, whose capital Richmond was also the capital of the Confederacy.
The best known battle and the worst one in this civil war took place in Gettysbury in Pennsylvania (in the North). Around 50000 men were killed or wounded.
The Confederacy army, with general Lee at head, surrendered to Grant. This was 1865 in a place called Appomattox, and the War finished.
During the war, life in the South was full of hardships whereas in the North was next to normal (battlefield was the South).
During the war also, in 1862, the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued. This established that all slaves had to be made free. The immediate consequence after the war was the abolition of slavery. this took place thanks to a new amendment: 13th amendment.
The war had some other consequences.
CONSEQUENCES OF THE WAR
The North came out of the war with its economy and social structure almost intact. However, the South had been devastated and its economy had been seriously undermined (Plantations were destroyed, no slaves to work, etc).
Just 4 days after the surrender of the South, Lincoln was killed when he was at the theatre.
Lincoln was succeeded by his vice-president Johnson. He established that as soon as the Confederate states promise to be loyal to the Government of the USA, they could elect new assemblies.
Another condition was that when a South state accepted the 13th amendment, they would be considered as full and equal members of the Union.
Some of these states were reluctant to give equal rights to the former slaves, and their assemblies managed to pass laws which kept black people in an inferior position. These were known as the “Black Codes”.
Federal Government (Congress) reacted against them and they passed (Congress) a Civil Rights Act. A bit later, they introduced the 14th amendment which gave black people full rights of citizenship. For instance, now they had the right to vote.
Most Confederate states refused to accept this 14th amendment and Congress had to pass the Civil Rights Act. Reconstruction Act placed those states that refused the 14th amendment under military rule.
Finally, all the South states accepted all the conditions and acts that the North and Congress had established.
By 1870, all the South states had Reconstruction Governments, but this is politically speaking because these political measures didn't prevent the emergence of some racist organisations like the kuklux klan, or they didn't prevent segregation.
Although black people were now free, they had no land, no money and no means to make a living on it.
VIII. THE GROWTH OF THE USA
THE COMPLETION OF A HUGE NATION
The idea of expansion continued until the Civil War, but after that, the idea of frontier disappeared. Factors that contributed to this completion of the nation:
Was discovered in California in 1848, and many people were eager to become rich overnight, so they were looking for their piece of gold. Quite soon, this people were mining in Nevada, Colorado, Montana or Wyoming. This people set up towns, villages. Settlements of different kind started to appear in these places (for instance, Denver). Great Plains were also populated by people going to West looking for gold.
In the early 60´s, Congress had granted land and money in order to build the railway. Two companies were involved in the building of the railway:
The Union Pacific Railroad Company which started to build a railway going from East to West (from Atlantic to pacific).
Central pacific Railroad Company which started to build a railway from West to East (from Pacific to Atlantic).
In 1869, the railways met in Utah. By 1884, there were 4 major lines crossing the continent from East to west (or West to East). Workers who built these railways were immigrants coming from Ireland and some other workers brought from China.
The Great Plains were good to rear animals. Cattlemen made a good use of the railway to trade with their animals. These animals travelled along regular routes named trails, and some cities were founded where some of these trails met. For instance, Dodge City. Animals were transported by train to cities in the East of the country. And meat was exported to Europe.
In 1862, Congress passed the Homestead Act which gave free farms or homestead to people who were willing to go West and settle there. These farms were relatively big (160 acres). After 5 years, the farms became their property, or it could became after 6 month if they paid a small amount of money. Life in these homesteads was very hard because soil was wild (lack of water) and there were plagues of insects.
There were quarrels because between he cattlemen and the homesteaders because the homesteaders wanted to protect their land by enclosing it. And the cattlemen wanted the land open to animals to walk freely on the land.
This expansion/growth of the country was made at the expense of the Amerindians. Amerindians tried to drive a new commerce away from their land. But they didn't succeeded. Then, they trued to make treaties with different Governments. However, they didn't usually kept the agreements, and most Amerindians were taken to reservations. The consequence had been that Amerindians nowadays are far behind other American groups regarding health, life expectations, wealth or education.
FROM 1861 TO 1865 (CIVIL WAR)
After the Civil War, the USA experienced an extraordinary economic transformation. Although there were some industries in the North East of the country, in 1860´s and 70´s, the USA was still considered a farming country.
However, in the last decades, industry grew quickly. There were several facts which contributed to this quick development of industry:
The production of coal and iron: vast/huge deposits of these minerals were discovered in this period in the USA. So from 1860 to 1900, the production of coal had grown 10 times, and the production of iron had grown 20 times higher.
The increase of this production was a cause and a consequence of the industrial development. Apart from coal and iron, the country had natural resources of other minerals.
Money: in spite of the Civil War, the country (specially the North) continued to create wealth. The economy didn't stop, so there was money to invest on industry. Apart from that, money was coming from Europe.
Businessmen (social and economic class): many of these businessmen had little scruples to take over other companies and drive them out of business. In this way, they could control the prizes in the market. Very often, they formed corporations which were huge industrial organisations that could become bigger (called trusts).
Government Support: industry had the support of the government.
Congress passed several Acts to create monetary stability
They granted money and land to several companies (the best example is the railway).
They gave private companies control over mineral resources.
They contracted the actions of the trade unions.
In this period, there was an economic philosophy named: laissez-faire: Government would not interfere in the private affairs.
The Establishment of the Mass-production System: making individual alike parts of a machine which are later assembled. Each worker carried out an specific task. This system was improved by using a moving assemble line.
Technological Advancements: new machines for factories were invented, but also something like telephone or telegraph improved and encouraged trade (more fluent communication).
Availability of labour: the population in the country was growing. The birth rate and life expectations went up.
Immigration is also important because in this period, there were people from all over the world (Ireland, Italy or Poland, and some other European countries). There were an important amount of Jews coming from different parts of the world. There were so many people waiting to enter the country, that Government decided to open a place in New York harbour: Ellis Island.
One consequence of the increase of population was a growth in the demand of goods. So demand was another fact for the growth of industry.
Railway: it made trade more fluent, and it stimulated both the production and consumption, and it opened new markets.
The result of all these factors is that by 1900, the USA was one of the richest and most productive/industrial countries in the world.
Workers became organised in unions to improve their working conditions, and their salaries. But very often they failed due to two or three circumstances:
competition between American born and immigrant workers
confrontation with their employers
confrontation with the Government.
The USA was still a group of colonies until 1783 (end 18th century). During the following century, the 19th, the USA very busy became a country (write a constitution, establishing a system of government, and occupying new territories, expanding, etc).
When the European countries were taking part of the colonial raise of Africa, the USA were busy in their own affair. So the USA didn't took place in this raise.
The situation changed at turn of the 20th century. In 1898 the Spanish American War took place and it was fought in mainly 2 main places: Cuba and the Philippines.
The USA were interested in them (but also king Philip II of Spain) because it was a good place to control the Pacific, South East Asia and Chine where they had economic interest. Cuba was quite near the USA, so it could be a good piece of land.
Spain was defeated in this war, and the USA got Cuba, Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam.
In this period, the USA also annexed Hawaii. And together with Philippines, they allowed USA to control the Pacific.
In early 1900´s , there was another phenomenon called the Dollar Diplomacy: Government encouraged American people to invest in areas that were strategically important for the USA. The consequence of this was that these places became economically dependent of the USA.
Why were the USA interested in this expansionism? Historicisians have given two main reasons:
The fear to European interference in South American affairs:
As early as 1823, an American president, Monroe, warned European countries not to interfere in Latin American affairs. He said that the American continents were not subject to future colonisation by European countries, and that acting could bring problems. This was the Monroe´s Doctrine.
In 1904, president Roosevelt added a corollary known as Roosevelt's corollary where he insisted in the same idea: the USA would intervene in Latin America whenever they thought it necessary.
In the following years, Americans Governments often acted on this corollary. And American soldiers were sent to different countries: Nicaragua, Haiti or the Dominican Republic.
Manifest destiny which is connected with the idea of superior races:
Manifest destiny is connected with the ideas put forwards by Darwin in his book. The USA considered themselves a superior country, so they had the right and the duty to protect (and control) the other societies.
Apart from these two reasons, there were also some other factors such as religious reasons (spreading Christianity) or economic reasons.
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