Talk:History of the United Kingdom

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 Definition An account of some of the happenings that have contributed to the creation of the country that is now known as the United Kingdom, or informally, Britain. [d] [e]


Moved from Britain to keep in line with other projects such as U.S. History and France, History. Denis Cavanagh 10:06, 16 December 2007 (CST)


The introduction seems wrong to me - I've never heard of 'prehistoric England', and that country, when it did come into existence, certainly did not control the rest of the island from the outset (Scotland was a separate country until 1707). Not quite sure how to reword, though. Another problem is the title 'Elizabethan Britain' - there was no such place, as Elizabeth I was Queen of England but not Scotland. John Stephenson 06:01, 2 June 2008 (CDT)

I'll fix some of it. Richard Jensen 07:30, 2 June 2008 (CDT)

Poor conceptual issues in this article

Nowhere is there any proper discussion of political and legal territorial changes, in particular those relevant to the long debate on at Elizabeth II concerning the correct name for the country (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) and how the declining fortunes of the Empire led to those changes. If you want to start an articles on something with gaps left in it, then fine: but it is not fine to set out the entire structure and ignore basic concepts. It needs to be rethought conceptually how to manage this properly. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 06:52, 3 June 2008 (CDT)

Honestly Martin, if you disagree with something change it yourself. It gets draining when all you ever hear is criticism. Denis Cavanagh 07:46, 3 June 2008 (CDT)

It is the role of editors to guarantee standards on CZ. Some editors write a lot, others do not. As I am very busy writing things every day for my work, it is a bit tiring for me to write much on CZ as well. My comments were directed at Richard, who has refused to accept the political and legal realities that there is no coherent entity called Britain. I am sorry if you feel offended, Denis, but I think this is a serious issue. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 10:57, 3 June 2008 (CDT)

I'm not offended Martin, just weary. I was the one who moved most of this article from the 'Britain' article and added a little on Lloyd George and post WWII. Other users have done the rest. This article is small and will grow, but it doesn't help when somebody stands over you with a whip telling you to get to work! Denis Cavanagh 11:20, 3 June 2008 (CDT)

Although I must add, you do have a point. The same structure has been taken for other articles like the polish or french history articles. It generally helps to get the framework up for a large survey article like this, and the trickier conceptual arguments belong to their own article. (A broad survey would largely talk about Kings, castles, wars, political reforms etc. rather than go into detail about the abstractions.) Denis Cavanagh 11:29, 3 June 2008 (CDT)

The intention was not to stand over with a whip, but to point out that a basic issue of "what is Britain?" is missing. If it helps, I can promise to add a section on citizenship and nationality changes in the post-colonial period, which seems central in terms of the history of Britain and its identity. I cannot do it before July, though. What is also needed is something about reconfiguration of territory in the post-colonial phase, which is basically post-1945. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 12:16, 3 June 2008 (CDT)

Abandoned article?

I am not a history student but I feel ashamed that this article has been left in this unfinished and patently inadequate state. Apart from its multiple gaps and omissions, it is depressingly light on sources and evidence, and gives a general impression of academic arrogance. Surely the subject deserves something better? Are there no CZ British historians ?Nick Gardner 22:46, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

I agree it's inadequate, but I feel we also need to establish what it's about. The opening seems to confuse Britain with British Isles, and mentions Ireland - but as it goes on it becomes confined to Britain and, increasingly, England. Material may have to be moved to other articles so that 'history of Britain' focuses mostly on that island, at least until the establishment of its political constituents. Arguably as well it should be 'history of Great Britain', as 'Great Britain' is the name of the island. John Stephenson 06:44, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Hi Nick, quite a lot of articles on CZ are haphazard and barely started. It is a construction site after all. Denis Cavanagh 13:30, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

It's okay with me if the article is moved to History of Great Britain. CZ:Naming Conventions states that this should be the proper name of the article anyway. Russell D. Jones 14:45, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
If what you are saying, Denis, is that if only I am patient I will find that CZ historians will continue the construction work, in due course, I should be content to stand back and wait. If so, I hope you will forgive my impatience. Anyway, in the meantime I have drafted in two paragraphs concerning prehistoric and Celtic life, and I have altered the opening section to define what seems to me to be the appropriate scope of the article. Although there are obvious differences between the histories of Ireland and of Great Britain, their histories are so interwoven (up to the end of the 19c) that it does not seem sensible to try to disentangle them. I hope the CZ historians will find what I have done helpful. If I should decide to attempt any further drafting, I will try to resist the danger of a pro-English bias.
I have no opinion about the choice of title provided that it is not obviously inconsistent with that scope (after all - as Norman Davies points out in The Isles - a certain amount of terminological confusion seems unavoidable). Nick Gardner 17:20, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
I was merely saying that there an awful lot of articles on CZ like this, its not that they are 'abandoned' exactly, but that there aren't enough people here to write them. And your doing a good job, hope it didn't seem like I was suggesting otherwise! Denis Cavanagh 17:59, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Revised structure

I have now set up what I hope is a usable structure for this article - that is to say a structure that will enable people to make ad-hoc contributions to the article while taking account of its developing balance - and without having to undertake any unwanted commitment to the article as a whole.

I have also set up a fairly comprehensive timeline with a view to its use as a means of avoiding tedious cataloguing of events in the main article, and as a way of providing links to the sources drawn upon in the main article.

I expect to put forward a few further chunks of drafting from time to time, and I hope that others will do likewise - Nick Gardner 11:46, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

Although it may appear otherwise, I have not (so far) deleted text, but merely hidden it. Nick Gardner 14:15, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

As the drafting has progressed, I have been able to crystallise my approach to the problem of collapsing into one article the vast volume of data that constitutes the history of Britain. I have considered the solution of making it simply an index to a large number of subsidiary Citizendium articles - which is the approach that is mainly used in U.S. History but at the present rate of progress, there is no prospect that that approach would serve the reader well at any time in the near future. It occurred to me that an article that gave the reader a broad appreciation of the developments that have played a significant part in the creation of Britain as it is now might be useful to some categories of reader. So, in the main article, I have tried to envisage the reader as a busy visiting martian who is looking for guidance about the happenings that contributed to the creation of Britain as it is now, without distracting material about transitory developments, however they may have been at the time. I have tried to meet the needs of those who want an index to more detailed material by using the timelines subpage for that purpose. I envisage that in the fulness of time the external links in those pages would be supplemented, or replaced by, internal links to CZ articles. Also, I plan to use the Addendum subpage to provide statistical data in support of statements in the main article.

I have put forward this explanation because I realise that I have stumbled as an outsider into an approach that differs from that used in other CZ history articles, without consulting existing history authors or editors. Should this give rise to serious objections from professional historians, I should feel bound to withdraw and leave the field to them. If so, I do ask to be told as soon as possible. - Nick Gardner 10:25, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

The article is still developing, so no objections here about that. I'll point out, though, that the article does start out talking about the British Isles generally, but by the section on Anglo-Saxons has narrowed itself to the History of England. I also noticed that the sections are getting longer (Tudors, for instance, is over twice as long as earlier sections, perhaps rightfully so, but the trend bodes ill for the future sections). I agree with your analysis of the problem Nick. The topic is so huge that it would be impossible to write a short article on it (some multi-volume works probably don't do it justice). So (I think) these over-arching articles would serve us and readers better as introductions and portals to a variety of more detailed subtopics. Howard struggles with this same issue with the Vietnam War group of articles. Russell D. Jones 12:19, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for that. I'm open to suggestions about happenings in Ireland during that period that are relevant to the outcome. I'll consider shortening the Tudors paragraph, but offhand I can't think what can be left out that isn't essential to an understanding of what is to follow. Nick Gardner 13:15, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
(Parenthetically and professionally I was struck by the periodization schema used, i.e., royal succession. U.S. historians use a schema called the "Presidential Synthesis" in which periods of time are broken up by presidential administrations. It was modeled on the British historians' use of royal succession as an explanatory schema, but it strikes me now how arbitrary and artificial royal succession is as an explanatory schema when I had previously thought it rather natural [probably because I had never given it much thought]. But it does seem to make more sense to have longer periods of time [i.e., Georgian England] than four/eight year administrations to explain trends. Russell D. Jones 12:19, 18 August 2009 (UTC))
Point taken, there's a lot of overlapping between reigns. I'll bear it in mind as I continue drafting. Nick Gardner 13:15, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
Nick, I'm not suggesting any changes here at all. Just pointing out a difference between British and US historians. Russell 13:23, 18 August 2009 (UTC)


I have no idea when "Britain" came into being, but I'll bet it wasn't until the modern era (post 1500); and I think the "Britons" are different from the "Brittish," (no? I never use the term "Briton" to refer to modern-era "British"; am I wrong?) and neither (or maybe one might) include the Celts, Picts, Jutes, Angles, Danes, Normans, Saxons, Irish, Welsh, or Scots. So, having stirred the pot, what exactly is "Britain, History" about? What is "Britain" in this context? It seems this article is more about the History of the British Isles or (nod to Winston Churchill) the History of the English-Speaking Peoples. Is a page rename in order? Russell D. Jones 00:08, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Russell: Fascinating! Your point is well taken, but you raise a question to which, I fear, there is no entirely satisfactory answer. To paraphrase Churchill, all I can really say in defence of the title is that "all the alternatives are worse"! There is a 7-page examination of the problem by the historian Norman Davies, who then evades the issue by adopting "The Isles" as the title of his 1999 history. But to follow his example would cause Googlers unnecessary suffering!!
To get back to your point, the Oxford English Dictionary defines "Britain" as
The proper name of the whole island containing England,Wales and Scotland, with their dependencies, more fully called Great Britain, now also used for the British state or empire as a whole
and adds an explanation that partially supports your point
After the Old English period, "Britain" was used only as a historical term until about the time of Henry VIII and Edward VI when it came again into practical politics in connection with efforts made to unite England and Scotland; in 1704 James I was proclaimed "King of Great Britain", and this name was adopted for the United Kingdom at the union in 1707 ...
As you may know, the term "Briton" (sometimes spelt "Brython") was the name of a Celtic tribe believed to have been among the country's earliest inhabitants, which is probably why the Romans called the place "Britannia". "Briton" is nowadays treated as synonymous with "British" although it is considered an old-fashioned or poetical term (as used, for example in the song "Rule Britannia"), and you are right to suggest that many Englishmen prefer to call themselves English. However, to use that word to refer to all of the country's inhabitants is guaranteed to bring forth howls of protest from the Scots. Unfortunately, "English-speaking" is too broad because it would include Australia and Canada (and I hear that a version of English is still used in the United States ?!) - and I understand that the word "England" did not come into use until around 700 to 800 AD. To meet your point as far as I can, I propose to alter the definition to "An account of some of the happenings that have influenced the development of the country now known as Britain" and to add something of the sort to the opening paragraph - unless someone comes up with a better alternative. Nick Gardner 08:54, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
What did George Bernard Shaw say about BE and AE language variants? "A single culture separated by a common language?"
Do you like the title "Britain, History?" Russell D. Jones 13:19, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
It was there when I started and I have yet to hear a decisive reason for changing it. Nick Gardner 16:40, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
I would like to join in here, but I'm having difficulty making any sense of what you're saying :) D. Matt Innis 17:23, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
What do you find difficult? I am saying that I believe the existing title to be a sufficiently good indication of the content of the article that it should enable readers to find what they are looking for. Anything that meets that criterion is OK by me. (Although a search for semantic perfection is an interesting pastime, I think it is more important to spend time on the content of the article.) Nick Gardner 05:11, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
I'm American. I was just playing along with your humor ;-) Unless, of course, it wasn't meant as humor! D. Matt Innis 17:15, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
That was slow of me, Matt! - and I do now appreciate the joke. It's good to share a chuckle - that is something we do have in common. Nick Gardner 20:16, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

Another American here. I don't know much about Britain, England, or any of that, but I think that the article is describing the history of all three countries (England, Scotland, and Ireland) is it not? If so, shouldn't the article be titled History of the British Isles?Drew R. Smith 11:05, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

No. The article is about "the happenings that have contributed to the creation of the country now known as Britain". An article about the British Isles would have to include the history of Ireland after its independence from Britain, which is excluded by that definition. Nick Gardner 12:44, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
Ok, good point. Like I said, I don't know much about it, just thought I'd stop by and offer my 2 cents. Drew R. Smith 12:51, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
Ehm, excuse my ignorance, but what country is "Britain"? What is the difference between "Britain" and "Great Britain" here? I've certainly heard "Britain" used (in fact, nobody I know talks about "Great Britain" in normal conversation) but is that not just a short-hand version of the official title "Great Britain"? Not being an expert in British history overall (though very familiar with the Anglo-Saxon period), perhaps I'm missing some really basic thing. After all, the article "Great Britain" on CZ links to this article here.
Another organizational quibble I have is about the earlier history of England. I find it somewhat misleading to divide the "Old English" period into "The Saxons" and "The Vikings" as if the latter replaced the former. The confusion is aided by the dates included in brackets. The "Saxon period" did not end ca. 800. It ended in 1066. Perhaps the titles and some of the text can be changed to provide a better introduction of the Viking raids and their influence on the forming of England? Michel van der Hoek 13:52, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
I have nothing to offer on this point. I certainly did not intend to suggest that the Saxons were wiped out by the Vikings - or, for that matter, by the Normans; nor that no Normans remained when the Plantagenets ruled. I have considered various ways of breaking the text into paragraphs that would not interfere with its readability, and all that I have been able to come up lack semantic precision in some respect. I have come to the conclusion that there is no entirely, unobjectionable solution to the problem - and that, in any case, the readability of the text is far more important than the semantic precision of the paragraph titles. If you know of a solution that avoids conflict between those two objectives, please go ahead and implement it. Nick Gardner 21:51, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
How about sub-subheadings? You could mark the entire period between Romans leaving and 1066 something like the "Anglo-Saxon period" and then divide in 1. Early Anglo-Saxon England, 2. Viking Raids and settlement, 3. Late Anglo-Saxon England. Or any other sub-subtitles. Michel van der Hoek 03:31, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
I have no objection.Nick Gardner 05:16, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
By the by, whoever added that phrase "As far as I am aware the term "Great Britain" is a pedantic version of "Britain", used in official documents etc." in my earlier comment, is not playing by the rules. I have deleted that comment as it was not mine. Please refrain from editing inside of other people's comments. 03:33, 25 August 2009 (UTC) ...said Michel van der Hoek (talk) (Please sign your talk page posts by simply adding four tildes, ~~~~.)
It was my answer to your question.Nick Gardner 05:16, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure that we actually have such a "rule", but I agree that it can get confusing to intersperse comments within others because it disrupts the signature and date feature. D. Matt Innis 03:48, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

<undent>I did implement the discussed reorganization of the Anglo-Saxon period since no-one objected. I'm not sure the subheadings work, especially because the first one makes the TOC rather awkward. Feel free to rename etc. Some of the material might need to be shifted between the sections to make the cut-offs work better (closing the seams of my "surgery"). (BTW: I did sign my previous post and immediately noticed my name did not appear and was somewhat confused but too lazy to fix it...) Michel van der Hoek 20:19, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

This article should be renamed to reflect the history of the country, rather than specifically an island of that country. I note that there is an article on the history of Canada, as opposed to an article on the history of North America. The article appears to be about the country, and even states "country" in the title, even though it names that country incorrectly. I will attempt to make improvements until such time as the article name itself is changed. --Mal McKee 18:54, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
No sensible reader will be in any doubt as to the identity of the country that is the subject of this article, so I am reluctant to devote time to debating alternative choices of title. But to use "The United Kingdom" to refer to the country as it was before that term came into use is absurd, and cannot be allowed to stand. I suggest that if there is to be a change to its former wording, the opening sentence should read "The history of "Britain", as presented in this article, is an account of some of the happenings that have contributed to the creation of the country now known formally as the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". However, I am not a professional historian, so I intend to refrain from implementing that suggestion until the matter is resolved by a ruling by a professional history editor Nick Gardner 22:43, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
You suggest that no "sensible reader" would be confused, but let me tell you that I am personally acquainted with a medical practitioner in the USA who is quite confused by many of the names and terms used in relation to the United Kingdom.
I don't see that it would be absurd to refer to the history of the region or territory of the country in its various states before it became the country it is now. It is equally absurd to refer to the country solely by the name of one of its major landmasses.
What I propose is no different from the concept of the articles on the histories of France or the Netherlands - both of which, as they now stand, describe the influence of such peoples as the Franks and both start with pre-history of the region and will undoubtedly included the changing territory that belonged to the countries as the nation states (and the very concept thereof) developed. The article we are discussing also goes into pre-history - into a time before the terms "Britain" or "Great Britain" came into use.
Commonly (mis)used terms are fair enough but an encyclopedia should be clear and unambiguous. "Britain" is an ambiguous term; "United Kingdom" (a less formal, but still common term) is less so. Equally, "Holland" is a common term, but the Netherlands is the more precise and unambiguous name. I honestly can't see any rational objection to changing the name of the article to "History of the United Kingdom" or "United Kingdom, history", or whatever the convention ends up being in Citizendium. --Mal McKee 23:10, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm certainly not going to suggest myself what name should be used, but I *would* like to point out that names do change as time passes. Nick, I believe, doesn't think "United Kingdom" could be used to describe the history of an area before that name actually existed. But let's take as an example the United States Open (tennis) in tennis. Right now we don't have our own article on this, but Wikipedia does -- Open tennis didn't begin until 1968, a long time ago, to be sure, but for geezers like me, who grew up with tennis *before* that date, the Open championships will always be "Forest Hills", the "West Side Club," or, their official name for 80 years or so, the United States National Championship. What Wikipedia has done, and I imagine that CZ eventually will do the same thing, is to simply conflate the two, with, of course, many redirects. So that WP can write something like, "Bill Tilden won the U.S. Open six times," when, of course, what Tilden was winning was the U.S. National Championship. I myself, I *think* have written phrases like, "Bill Tilden won the U.S. Open six times, when it was known by its original name of so-and-so" or "Bill Tilden won the U.S. National Championship, now known as the U.S. Open, six times." More precise, but really quite pedantic. I'm sure, with a little thought, that you can think of many similar examples. So I myself would not rule out, out of hand, calling the article "United Kingdom whatever"....
Well, I think there is a difference between a simple change of name, and more substantial changes. There will always be a difference between the history of a region, and the history of various countries occupying parts of the region. In the end there should be articles on History of the British Isles (telling the common history and summing up how history split up later). There certainly should be an article on History of the United Kingdom (briefly mentioning the prehistory and then concentrating how this Kingdom evolved). There should also be separate articles on History of England and History of Scotland (and on Wales?), and on History of Ireland, as well as articles on History of Northern Ireland and History of the Republic of Ireland. I do not know where History of Britain fits in, but the present article looks like History of the British Isles (not yet complete). In any case, it should be "History of *", not "*, History". Peter Schmitt 00:38, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
I'd agree with that last part, Peter. I'm open to logical suggestions as to why the ",history" convention should be kept though. Perhaps it was created with respect to alphabetical listing or something.
I don't see the need to create a separate article on "Britain" or "Great Britain" or the history therein - it would just be repeating information several times. Histories of the various states and sub-states is certainly understandable - although it would be repeating information, articles on the histories of the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man etc could all go into more specific and greater detail. Articles on Britain/Great Britain, Ireland and the British Isles should all probably be more geographical in nature and concise, with direction (links) to the various other articles. I don't see the need for articles on the histories of these geographical regions as the histories will already be included in the country articles, Republic of Ireland and United Kingdom. The article on North America is a geographical one, which includes concise information on the countries which exist there.
Hayford, your logic mirrors my own thinking on the subject. --Mal McKee 01:06, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
There is a field in Metadata for alphabetical order, introduced to be able to avoid titles like "Britain, History". As to repeating content: Since all these histories are rather involved, telling it from different viewpoints (territory, state(s)), and splitting it up helps to understand the structure of the development and to see the context. All on one page would make this page too long and too complicated. Peter Schmitt 01:20, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

<undent>That's what I had thought, Peter (re alphabetising)... but perhaps some people aren't aware of that functionality. I see the sense in your suggestion, but I think the main articles on the countries and the histories thereof should probably take priority, and the other articles (British Isles, Ireland, (Great) Britain) confined mainly to geographical info. --Mal McKee 01:27, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

I agree: It is up to the authors in what order topics are developed. However, to me (as a non-British outsider) this page, as it is, looks more like a summary of the development of the Isles (with some missing parts) than a treatment of (Great) Britain/United Kingdom. Peter Schmitt 01:55, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
That's probably because the history of the development of the isles into nation states is entwined and inseparable. You can't write an article about the history of the Republic of Ireland without mentioning some of the history of the United Kingdom, and vice-versa. It will probably become clearer once the article has been developed a lot more though. In the same sense, it would be hard to write a history of the USA without mentioning the United Kingdom of Great Britain. --Mal McKee 03:17, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
When I took over the drafting of this article, I did not question the choice of title, because I took it to be accepted practice since it had been adopted by an editor who had been a Professor of History. I did not feel qualified to question whether it was in fact accepted practice and I do not now feel qualified to debate the issue. I am convinced, in any case, that it is a waste of time to make it a subject of debate. Since the ex-professor is no longer available, I suggest that we seek and accept professional advice as to what is accepted practice from a history editor.Nick Gardner 10:23, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
I'd like to see agreement among the active authors of this article about what the name should be. I initiated this thread because I think the term "Britain" is inexact. I agree with Peter's logic above that there should be articles on both a geographical region as well as the political divisions within that region. (Nick earlier rejected my suggestion of an article on the history of the English-speaking peoples.) Nick, this article was not named by a professor of history but by a student at Trinity College. And we do seem to be reaching a meeting of the minds that this article needs a rename.
However, as Mal pointed out, we're running into the clunky naming convention. I also do not agree with the use of parenthetical modifiers ("comma History" or "comma Geography"). It is too old fashioned and does not use the technology to the best advantage. I would prefer "History of Great Britain," History of the United Kingdom," or "History of the British Isles" to "Britain, History," or "Great Britain, History" Since CZ has neither a master index nor a master table of contents such a naming convention is not needed.
However, debate on the naming convention was long and contentious on both the CZ talk pages and in the forum, and I have consented to let the convention rest pending a new Editorial Council. Any universal change in naming convention may well require the sanction of the EC. But I will say this, you will not find resistance from me regarding a name change to any of the discussed "History of ..."'s. Russell D. Jones 16:36, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
Russell, were you here a couple of years ago when, as you say, the discussion was both long *and* contentious about naming conventions. On the one side, as I recall, was Professor Jensen who both had his own ideas *and* was the leading contributor to "history" articles, so he was the one was initially naming most of them. On the other side was Larry and just about everyone else. Larry prevailed, as I recall, but by making a flat declaration that henceforth, at least in certain instances, title would be "thus and thus" and not "so and so." I can't remember if that single decision was what impelled Prof. Jensen to pack up and leave, but he certainly took his departure around that time. If we *do* decide to argue this again, before we do, let's see if someone can't go through the archives and find all the previous discussion -- it might save us a lot of time. Hayford Peirce 16:48, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
Hayford, if I was here, I was not very vocal in the debate. I'm under the impression that it was Jensen who advocated for the "Topic, subtopic" format. But, you're right, research of the debate would refresh for us the nature of the decision. Russell D. Jones 16:55, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
See CZ:Naming Conventions. The third paragraph addresses this case explicitly. See also the Typographical and stylistic rules which also bear on this. CZ policy is to eschew punctuation in article titles unless required by the name of the topic (e.g., Absalom, Absalom!). Russell D. Jones 17:17, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
So, I guess I'm not advocating a change in the naming conventions, and advocating a name change. Russell D. Jones 17:22, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
As I recall, the final, major argument came when Prof. Jensen was campaigning for Gettysburg, Campaign of or some such, and everyone else wanted Battle of Gettysburg. The latter prevailed, but Prof. Jensen departed. Hayford Peirce 17:49, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
Well, there should be articles on both the Gettysburg Campaign and the Battle of Gettysburg. Russell D. Jones 18:28, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
Well, yes. Of course, even. But Prof. Jensen didn't see it that way -- only old-fashioned, amateur dilettantes could *possibly* refer to "The Battle of Gettysburg", said he, along with evidence from 500 historical journals. Larry trumped him with 50,000 references from the Library of Congress.... Hayford Peirce 18:46, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
I see. I just read the whole three or four days of the discussion. Russell D. Jones 18:50, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

<undent>Well, I was here, and I despaired with the debate. Basically, we are not bound by out-of-date cataloguing conventions invented for filed card indexes. We are, however, obliged to take account of legal and historical accuracy of names alongide popular usage and weigh up the differing imperatives. One of the participants in these debates had the view that his opinion trumped all legal and factual issues, because he was an academic: this was not the view of the Editorial Council members or of Larry and others. Needless to say, the Naming Conventions issues are often difficult (as in the case of the changing names of what is now the UK or Britain), but personalizing the debate ensures that the outcome will be unpleasant. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 18:12, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

I just reread the whole thing (at the Gettysburg talk link) and it was Prof. Jensen who personalized it. Larry and the others kept trying to get him to give *examples* from other historians agreeing with his statements and he essentially repeated, over and over, "serious historians do so-and-so", as if everyone disagreeing with him was dust beneath his chariot wheels. Larry, of course, has a PhD. in philosophy and I'm sure that some of the other participants also had worthy credentials. So whaddya gonna do when *one* person personalizes? Of *course* Prof. Jensen eventually packed up his bat and ball and went home. But it's not the fault of the others.... Hayford Peirce 18:33, 3 January 2010 (UTC)


I renamed the article to be consistent with CZ:Naming conventions. Russell D. Jones 17:38, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

Thank you RussellNick Gardner 22:38, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

Really for new Editorial Council

In no way am I wedded to punctuation in titles, but I simply haven't been comfortable with sort sequence alone to handle closely related topic/subtopic. "Gettysburg, Battle of" makes sense to me if and only if there were a number of Gettysburg articles. So, if there were "Britain, History of, (date-sequence-1)" and "Britain, History of, (date-sequence-2)"...

My problem has been where there is a (branching) hierarchy, such as:

and note here that the comma convention is not needed and not followed at the lowest levels --User:Howard C. Berkowitz

What's wrong with:
The point is, Howard, that when you are writing you should also be creating links. Titles that do not have punctuation in them do not have to be piped. And it may not be a matter for the new EC. The old EC has granted power to workgroups to decide this matter.
Applying this to the UK we get:
Well, we run into historical problems here obviously because the "History of the United Kingdom to 1066" is nonsensical. In any case, the history workgroup should figure out how to handle this. Personally, I don't think we need to break this article by time. Russell D. Jones 23:59, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
Breaking it by time was simply an example of a reason to substructure, not one I was recommending.
I'm not sure what you are saying by "I should be creating links". I thought I did. Unfortunately, your examples of piping don't have a naming convention. Why not "Soviet criminal psychiatry", which is a quite common term? Why not "The Gulag"? The comma convention, in this case, is, at least, consistent. --Howard C. Berkowitz 00:09, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
Howard, an expert in these topics (as I'm sure you are) would know how best to categorize and title articles consistent with CZ:Naming conventions. I was just trying my best given the titles you posted. You certainly better than I would know how best to categorize and title this stuff. But it seems to me that keeping titles as close to conventional language usage as possible makes authoring easier. e.g., it's easier to type [[Battle of Gettysburg]] than [[Gettysburg, battle of|Battle of Gettysburg]], no? and when you're writing about Extrajudicial detention in the Soviet Union wouldn't it be easier and nicer to write "[[Extrajudicial detention in the Soviet Union]]" instead of "[[Extrajudicial detention, Soviet Union|Extrajudicial detention in the Soviet Union]]"? Russell D. Jones 00:18, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
Guidelines for titles are necessary to avoid chaos that would irritate users. However, these guidelines should not be considered as absolute and inflexible rules. There has to be room for adaptions and exceptions. Regarding the examples mentioned above: To me many of them seem to be candidates for parenthesis for disambiguation (and even for a disambiguation page) "History of UK (6)" or "History of UK (1066-1603)" or similar, and "Extrajudicial detention in the U.S. (American Civil War)" or "Extrajudicial detention (U.S., American Civil War)". --Peter Schmitt 12:03, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I agree with both Peter and Russell on this. Commas in titles are no longer necessary as they once had been in regard to cataloguing. I think this should apply in general to other punctuation. There are, of course, exceptions - the name of the Beatles album and song Help! is one I can think of off hand. --Mal McKee 00:03, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

Citation lacking

The passage

Many Northern Irish people served as soldiers nevertheless, but perhaps fewer than may have done: unionists felt jaded at their treatment by the government after the considerable effort made by them for the war effort in the First World War. However, production for the war effort from factories and farms in Northern Ireland was at a level which generally transcended the rest of the UK.

lacks any justifying citation. It should be either justified by documentary evidence or deleted. If it is retained, the otherwise inscrutable passages "fewer than may have done" and "their treatment by the government" should be elucidated Nick Gardner 08:57, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

Well, I can guess who probably wrote it. If it is that dear departed person, just delete, it, Nick.Martin Baldwin-Edwards 15:07, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
I know what you mean. It would be like him, but it wasn't him. Nick Gardner 16:54, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
I too know what you both mean, hehe, but I think that this is actually "a distinction without a difference" as the lawyers like to say. Unless Moses himself chiseled them into stone, the words in question should be treated in the same way with no regard to who originally wrote them, observing, of course, due deference, politeness, and professionalism, which, I would say, you most certainly have. Hayford Peirce 17:59, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
Fair enough. My point about who wrote it was merely whether that person is still around to justify or reference it. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 19:23, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
To be honest, I have no idea who you may be talking about.. I can only imagine Professor Jenson (was that his name?), who I don't imagine would actually have written this. It was of course myself who added the information. I agree with Hayford's view though.
The passage itself is written in my own words, based on information I have read in published books. I shall certainly endeavour to find a source as there seems to be some doubts concerning the facts. I would suggest the passage remain as is until I find citations - the article is far from approved status and sometimes I add information first, from my own knowledge, and then find sources at a later date.. sometimes if information is doubted, and sometimes because I feel there is perhaps a need to include a citation. --Mal McKee 23:29, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I think that's fair enough -- I myself frequently do the same (write first, cite later). If we were writing for WP, of course, within 16 seconds we'd have 14 templates plastered all over the place calling for citations, but over here we grant ourselves considerably more leeway, I think.

A comment here was deleted by The Constabulary on grounds of making complaints about fellow Citizens. If you have a complaint about the behavior of another Citizen, e-mail It is contrary to Citizendium policy to air your complaints on the wiki. See also CZ:Professionalism. Hayford Peirce 00:52, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

<undent>Well I've not managed to find anything online so far, and I really should turn in as it's getting late! I'll keep hunting and, when I get back home, I'll look through some books too. Certainly I'm aware that unionists in particular felt hard done by, by the government, and that this affected their collective conscience. Documenting my own awareness may prove difficult - but hopefully not impossible. I also suspect, on reading the passage back, that other statements I have made may need explaining. My problem is that, whilst I wanted to de-Anglicise the article (I felt it was slightly too English-centric), I had wanted to keep mention of Northern Ireland in particular to a minimum, so as to avoid tipping the balance in the other direction.. so a short sentence of paragraph here and there, in stead of a study in socialogical history. Give me time - I'm sure I can improve it or correct it if necessary.

One other thing I've noticed is that much of the article seems to have been written by one person, which means that added information interrupts the flow somewhat. This is obviously one of the flaws of this type of encyclopedia. The article, as it stood, seemed great to me in general. I hope to be able to go over it again at some point and see if I can reintroduce the flow it had. If I can't, hopefully other editors can at some point in the future. --Mal McKee 03:39, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

I suggest that, in order to preserve standards, the two sentences should be deleted until the necessary attribution is found, and clarification of the two obscure passages in the first sentence can be provided. Nick Gardner 11:52, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
I will leave it there for another two days Nick Gardner 06:29, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
You seem to have now removed the edits I'd made. I don't understand your anxiety Nick, but fair enough. I haven't been able to return home yet, for one reason or another, so I haven't attempted to track down a relevant source. I don't see the statements as being obscure, by the way. Northern Ireland is a small place so, other than the much written about Troubles, it is kinda obscure relative to the world in general. However, the attitudes of people in Northern Ireland in regard to the Second World War, after a certain number of people had felt somewhat betrayed by events which took place after the First World War, are reasonably well known at the local level.
Besides which, you removed the whole paragraph, and not merely the part within it which you quoted here as having an apparent (unexplained) problem.
There are other parts of the current article which don't have any attribution. Glancing at it just now, one example would be the following entry:
The period of over a thousand years of Celtic domination was succeeded in parts of Britain by a very different period of about four hundred years of Roman occupation. Whereas the people known collectively as Celts consisted of a large number of independent or loosely-associated tribes that occasionally coalesced into somewhat larger groupings, the Romans who invaded Britain were a closely coordinated, centrally-managed occupation force. Whereas the Celtic contribution had been largely genetic and cultural, the Roman contribution was largely technological and political.
To start with, "the people known collectively as Celts" is slightly ambiguous: who knew them as Celts? Certainly not the inhabitants of the British Isles at the time, anyway. Also, where is the proof that the Celtic contribution had been "largely genetic"? Considering many historians (including at least one written Roman record) believe that the Celtic-speaking peoples of Europe consisted of various different tribes of differing physical attributes. How close these various Celtic-speaking peoples were genetically is highly debatable. The passage, as it stands, seems to suggest that Celtic speaking people were all of one 'race'. How much impact did the various gene types introduced by the Celts have on the genetic pool of the aboriginal Pretani? It has recently been suggested that the genetic input of the Angles and Saxons was much lower than previously assumed, and that the major changes made were cultural (and political etc) which was administered by a very small population of Anglo-Saxon elite.
Also, I would suggest that the Celtic contribution to the British Isles was majorly political and also probably technological. Didn't they introduce chariot warfare? Didn't they have a quite well developed code of laws?
I don't know if anyone has necessarily challenged this, or other parts of the article, until now. Yet surely these general and sweeping statements need justifying citations also. And there are bound to be contrasting views and opinions from different experts on the particular example I plucked at random from the article. --Mal McKee 02:56, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
The passage referred to serves only as an introduction to the paragraph on the Romans that gives the reader a general impression of the contrast between their influence and that of the Celts of the preceding paragraph . I do not consider it necessary to provide citations for such passages. I had not realised that "their contribution had been largely genetic and cultural" could be read to imply that they were all genetically related. It was intended to indicate that the means by which they spread their influence had been genetic as well as cultural. But I have deleted the word just in case. Unless it is suggested that the impression given by the rest of the passage is misleading, I can see no reason to change it.
Deletion of the other passage was intended - as previously suggested - as a temporary measure pending its justification and clarification. It was done only after neither my suggestion nor my implied intention, of temporary deletion had been challenged. As it stood, few people would have known what it meant or why it was there. Nick Gardner 07:05, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Citation missing - again

Another unsupported statement about Northern Ireland has been inserted

one of the few regions of the UK to experience an increase (of some 0.5%) in 2010.

This is contrary to the only forecast about the region that I have been able to locate[1] and I propose to delete it within the next two weeks unless it is supported by a reference to an authoritative source. Nick Gardner 21:01, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

Without looking through the history of the article, I suspect this is an addition that I made a while ago. Northern Ireland had remained relatively unchanged by the recession, until recently. This recent affect is reflected by the forecast you managed to dig up. Being a resident of Northern Ireland myself, and someone who watches the local news broadcasts and reads the local news media, I can assure you that what I had posted is likely to have been accurate at the time I posted it. Unfortunately (for Northern Irish people) it seems the recession is catching up with Northern Ireland (I saw a report a couple of weeks ago on this). Feel free to leave the edit in place, and I will dig up a source for it. Unfortunately, my time on the Internet will be limited for the next two to three weeks, but I plan to get back to editing once I have sorted out a new ISP etc.
Keep up the good work though. :) --Mal McKee 20:27, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
Just a point of note - I realise the previous information (referred to in the previous section of this discussion page) is still an outstanding issue. As I am currently working on research into Northern Irish history and politics, I'm confident I will be able to find my sources for it too, once I return to editing. Thanks for your patience! --Mal McKee 20:30, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
There is no point in pursuing this here. A history is not the place for forecasts. I suggest that if you want to put forward estimates about the Northern Ireland economy, you do so on the addendum subpage of the article on the Great Recession. (For what it is worth, however, the current expert assessment[2] is that the NI economy is lagging behind the rest of the UK.)
It is also worth remembering that Northern Ireland amounts on most measures to less than 5 percent of the UK and is much smaller than, say, the South East, or the West Midlands. Nick Gardner 06:17, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
Hi. I'm back online now, and I haven't bothered looking for the source of the information, as I agree with you Nick - predictions aren't particularly apt for such an article. Besides that, the time the prediction was made was the end of 2009/beginning of 2010, and it was proven to be inaccurate (to a degree, as the experts suggested that the economy grew by 0.5%, as my source had suggested, but that of the rest of the UK grew by 1.2%). To that end, I've removed the specific text from the article.
I don't know what your comment about the size of the economies of Northern Ireland versus that of the South East or the West Midlands is about, to be honest.
I do think that the prediction of a "double-dip" (or not, as the case may be!) for the UK economy as a whole might be worthy of a mention, as it has been reported quite a lot in the news recently. Also, the fact that the economy of the UK as a whole saw a rise equal to that reported in 2001, as I think your News Letter link suggests.
As for the attitude of Northern Irish people during WWII, unfortunately I couldn't find the source amongst my literature at home. I think I have that in my home in the USA and it'll be a while before I can access that. If you have access to it, I believe it is in the book called 'A History of Ulster' by Jonathan Bardon. --Mal McKee 18:55, 14 September 2010

I propose the deletion also of the following passage:

Although Northern Ireland was also affected, it continued to maintain the lowest rate of unemployment of the UK. The Northern Irish economy had started to improve as the Troubles started coming to an end, with more foreign investment and tourism attracted to the region.

The sentence about unemployment was true of early 2009 but it ceased to be true later, and thus there is no justification for singling out that region of the UK for special mention. Nick Gardner 15:05, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

History editors?

The introduction makes it sound pretty general, but the actual article concerns itself almost entirely with England, and is structured accordingly. Similarly, the Timeline is mostly England. So is there in fact a consensus among historians that the UK should be regarded as "really" just a continuation of England, not a union of England and Scotland? Peter Jackson 18:38, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Ow! - OK, I have (reluctantly) amended the introduction to deal with such misunderstandings of the chosen purpose of the article. I accept that I could have adopted an all-embracing approach, but I could not see how make it readable. If I am wrong, I should be willing to defer to Peter Jackson's alternative - if he has one. Nick Gardner 21:53, 2 May 2012 (UTC)


This article is quite a good overview from a certain perspective. However, there are considerable problems with it. To take the section on the Stuarts as an example: (1) There are various quibbles. As, Milton is not your typical "Puritan" (a term in itself of dubious meaning, and not to be used without definition) and was more celebrated (or notorious) for his political defence of the Commonwealth than for his religious polemics, which were more libertarian than doctrinaire. And again, the term "authoritarianism" is used for the post-Restoration period, when actually Charles II, who was probably a crypto-Catholic, completely failed to get measures for greater toleration approved by parliament. (2) The article is over-allusive. "Commonwealth" and "Restoration" are mentioned without explanation or links to other articles. (3) There is surprisingly little mention of economic factors. In the English Civil War the gentry were probably split fairly evenly. What was decisive was the manpower and wealth of the City of London and its surrounding areas. Again, with the Act of Union, economic motives were probably uppermost. Scotland was a thinly-populated, poor country. Unlike Wales and Ireland it had had the political unity to resist English conquest, but recent economic disasters and the hopes for improvement made it desirable for the Scottish middle classes to agree to the unification. I have not examined the other sections in such detail, but they may well throw up other problems. I would not venture to amend the article in a major way, as it is written in a particular style, but I think it needs to be improved considerably. --Martin Wyatt 21:47, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

Martin: Your interest in the article is welcome, particularly as you can see ways of improving it. My own plans preclude me from returning to this article in the foreseeable future, but I shall try to keep in touch with whatever improvements you introduce. I wish you well with it, and I am glad to have provoked your interest. It's good to have you with us. Nick Gardner 22:17, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
I was doubtful of the term "authoritarianism" myself. My recollection, subject to correction, is that in the Interregnum Catholics and Anglicans were banned; if so, talk of a return to authoritarianism is misleading.
Charles II formally became a Catholic on his deathbed, so it seems reasonable to assume he was secretly one all along. (I wonder whether he holds the record for changes of religion by a famous person: he was brought up in the Church of England, joined the Church of Scotland when he became King of Scots after his father's execution, returned to the Church of England on his restoration and became a Catholic on his deathbed.)
Scotland's reasons for the union were economic: the English Parliament threatened to treat Scots as foreigners. England's reasons were political: it didn't want to risk a return of the Auld Alliance. Peter Jackson 14:35, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
I have reluctantly made changes to the section on the Stuarts myself, but it may be thought I have expanded it too much, and there may be disagreements over the slant/emphasis. At any rate I hope it reads a bit more like a history of the UK than a history of England. I have also put in some minimal text under the heading The establishment of Anglo-Saxon England, where there was none before. --Martin Wyatt 22:03, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Why reluctantly? Seems fine to me. Have you considered adding citations? Nick Gardner 15:31, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

Rename Category Removed

I removed the renaming tag; that debate seems closed and the article was still showing up on the Suggested Rename Category list. Russell D. Jones 17:13, 24 September 2013 (UTC)