History of the United Kingdom/Timelines

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(Sources in addition to those shown: Bernard Grun The Timetables of History, Simon & Schuster, 1991;  Norman Davies: The Isles, A History, Appendix 42, Macmillan 1999;  Key Dates of Parliament, House of Commons, 2008.[[1]];  .Chris Scarre (ed) The Human Past, Thames and Hudson, 2005. James Ingham's translation of the Anglo Saxon Chronicle [2])

For population estimates see the addendum subpage[3]

For further detail see the Channel 4 timeline[4]

All entries before 1707 refer to England unless clearly not.


Star Carr [c 8770 BC] - a Mesolithic campsite in Yorkshire, inhabited by hunter-gatherer toolmakers.
Cheddar Man [5][6] [c 7000 BC] - a stone-age dweller in a Somerset cave who had DNA in common with a 20th century Somerset man.
Settlers first arrive in Ireland, either by crossing from Great Britain over the ice sheets to the north, or by boat across the North Channel, between [c 7500 to 6000 BC]
The Sleeve (La Manche) - The English Channel[7] first separates Britain from the European mainland [c 6000 to 4000 BC].
By the Neolithic Age [4000 to 2500BC] most Britons had stopped living as hunter-gatherers and become farmers
The Beaker people [8] [c 2500 to 1600] - pottery-making settlers from the European mainland in what is now the London area.
Megalith builders [9]
Newgrange[10] [c 3200 to 2000 BC] - an ancient temple, the central cavity of which is illuminated at the time of the winter solstice by sunlight penetrating the length of a narrow entrance passage.
Stonehenge[11].[c 2600 to 1500 BC] - a Neolithic/Bronze Age circle of standing stones, aligned on the midsummer and midwinter solstices.
Arrival of Celtic-speaking peoples and culture starts to influence the British Isles [c 2000 to 600 BC].

600 BC to 43 AD

Celtic immigration[12][13]

Brythons reach Britain and Ireland [c 600 BC to 300 AD]; Gaels reach Ireland later and over a period of around eight hundred years eventually come to dominate the island. The two branches of their language evolve from the Celtic language of central Europe[14]
The Wetwang Chariot[15] and the Battersea Shield [16] - examples of advanced Celtic culture

43 to 410 AD

Roman occupation 43 - 410 AD

Invasion[17] the Romans conquer the South of England by 47 AD, and the rest of England during the next 30 years.
Rebellion[18] the "client kingdom" of the Iceni, led by Queen Boadicea, attack their Roman allies in Colchester and London and are then overwhelmed and massacred[61 AD]
Suetonius[19] - Roman governor of Britain who defeated Boudicca's rebellion.
Agricola[20][78 AD] - extends Roman control into North Wales and Scotland.
Hadrian's wall[21] - a fortification guarding the northern border of Roman Britain[122 AD]
Christianity reaches Britain [200+]
St Alban's martrydom[22] [23] - a Roman soldier is beheaded for practising Christianity and protecting a priest.
Septimus Severus' Caledonian campaign[24] [208-211}
Edict of Caracalla - all freeborn men receive Roman citizenship [212]
Scotti from Ireland conduct raids on Britain. [c300-c800]
Constantius' Caledonian campaign[25][306]
Edict of Milan - the tolerance of Christianity[26] [313]
Council of Nicea[27] - the Church rejects Arianism and adopts a Creed[[28]]
Theodosius' campaign against Picts and Scots [367]
Christianity becomes Rome's state religion - Emperor Theodosius forbids other forms of worship [29] (391).
Withdrawal of the legions [401]
The end of Britain's allegiance to Rome [410]


400 to 800

Celtic Ireland

Patrick is taken in a raid by the Scotti on Britain into slavery in Mount Slemish in Antrim. He later escapes back to Britain.
Saint Palladius[30] becomes first Bishop of Ireland - having been sent to Ireland by Pope Celestine [431].
Saint Patrick(432-c459)[31] returns to Ireland and helps to spread Christianity there. [432]
- becomes Bishop of Ireland following the transfer of Palladius to Ireland.
Scotti from the Irish kingdom of Dal Riada settle on Argyll in Scotland.
Saint Ninian[32] [33] founds a monastery in Scotland [400?].

Saxon Britain (the term Saxon is used in this article to refer to people from Northern Germany that are sometimes known as Angles, Saxons and Jutes)

King Vortigern(c425-c459)[34] of Kent invites a force of Saxon mercenaries under Hengist(?) [35] to help him defeat his enemies. [449]
Ambrosius Aurelanius (c460-c475) leads resistance to the Saxons
King Arthur(?)(c475-c515)[36] takes over leadership of resistance the Saxons.
Bangor and Movilla become important centres of learning and Christianity, sending many scholars, monks and missionaries to Iona and throughout Britain and Europe.
Saxons defeated at Mount Badon[37] [500?]
Gradual disintegration of the British state following death of Arthur followed by local rule by various warlords.
Saint Columba[38] lands on Iona in Western Scotland, founds a monastery there [563] and converts the Scotti of Dal Riada to Christianity
The Book of Kells[39][40] illuminated manuscript thought to have been the work of the monks of Iona.
Saint David(c550-589) [41]helps to spread Christianity among the pagan Celtic tribes of Western Britain and becomes Archbishop of Wales
Saint Augustine(597-604) [42] becomes Archbishop of Canterbury, having been sent to Britain by Pope Gregory with 40 other monks (597).
Aethelferth of Northumbria and Aethelbert of Kent share effective control of England
Development of the principles of English :The law[43].
Saint Aidan travels from the monastery of Iona to Northumbria, becomes Bishop of Lindisfarne (634-51) and helps convert Northumbria to Christianity[44].
Synod of Whitby (664)[45] - representatives of the indigenous Christian church persuaded to accept Roman practice.
The Venerable Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People[46](731)
The Witenagemot, or Council of Wise Men[47] - an early precursor of parliament consisting of nobles and leading churchmen, that served as an advisory council to a succession of kings until it was replaced in the 11th century by the Great Council.


801 to 1066

838: English conquest of Cornwall[1]
The unification of Scotland
Kenneth MacAlpin[48], King of the Scots, becomes King of Picts to form the united Celtic kingdom was known as Scotia– 843 AD, and is succeeded by Domald I (860-863), Constantine I (863-877), Aed (877-878), Giric and/or Eochaid (878-889), Donald II (889-900), Constantine II (900-943), Malcolm I (943-954), Indulf (954-962), Dubh (962-966), Cullen (966-971), Kenneth II (971-995), Constantine III (995-997), Kenneth III (997-1005), Malcolm II (1005 -1034 ), Duncan I (1034-1040), Macbeth (1040-1057) (earlier dates somewhat uncertain).
Battle of Dunsinane [49](1054) - Malcolm Canmore defeats of MacBeth at Dunsinane with the help of Edward the Confessor and becomes Malcolm III (1058-1093)King of Scotland.
Viking and Danish invasions
Vikings raid the monastery at Lindisfarne (793)
First wave of Danish invasions of England
Alfred the Great, [50](871-899) - Anglo-Saxon king of southern England (Wessex) who developed and codified its legal system, created an effective military capability and was the leader of its opposition to the Danish invasion.
Alfred takes refuge from his enemies in the Somerset marshes[51] (878)
Danish armies take control of all of England except the kingdom of Wessex (865-879)
Alfred commissions the writing of the Anglo Saxon Chronicle [52]
Alfred recaptures London (885)
Second Danish invasion (890)
Viking settlements at Dublin[53], Waterford and Limerick [914-920
Norwegians under Erik Bloodaxe occupy York (947)
Massacre of Danes on St Brice's day[54] (1002)
Danish Conquest of England (1013)
Brian Boru, High King of Ireland, (reigned 1002-14), defeated the Vikings at Battle of Clontarf[55], Co.Dublin, (1014) but loses his own life during the battle.
Canute the Great[56], King of Denmark and England (1016-1035), and the Danish conversion to Christianity
Edward the Confessor made King (1042)
Harold [57] (1035 - 1066) becomes King of England (1066)
Harold subdues Wales[58] (1063)



Norman Conquest

Battle of Hastings ends Anglo-Saxon rule of England and establishes a Norman dynasty
William I [59] (1066 - 1087)
Treaty of Abernethy (1072) - Malcolm III of Scotland swears allegiance to William the Conquerer[60] (and later to Rufus[61] (1091)).
Domesday Book (1086)[62] - a (still available) detailed record of most of the land and associated resources held by and on behalf of the king
William II (1087 - 1100)
First Crusade (1096-9) - Jerusalem recaptured from its Muslim holders
Feudal system [63] - a social system of rights and duties based on land tenure and personal relationships in which land is held in fief by vassals from lords to whom they owe specific services and with whom they are bound by personal loyalty.
The Great Council[64] - the deliberative assembly that advised the Norman kings, which consisted of their landed tenants-in-chief.
Henry I (1100 - 1135)
David I of Scotland invites Norman barons to establish estates in Scotland (1124)
Stephen (1135 - 1154)
The Anarchy (1135 - 1154)[65] - an armed dispute over the succession between Matilda, daughter of Henry I and her cousin, Stephen of Blois.
Treaty of Winchester[66] - an agreement that Matilda's son Henry was to be Stephen's successor.
The Welsh Marches [67]
Geoffrey Of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae (The History of the Kings of Britain)[68] (1136)



Henry II[69] (1154-1189)
Thomas à Becket Archbishop of Canterbury[70] (1162 - 1170) murdered in Canterbury Cathedral.
Rory O'Connor, High King of Ireland [1166 - 1175]
Dermot MacMurrough loses the kingship of Leinster and requests help from Henry II (1166 - 1171)
Richard I (1189 - 1199) - Richard the Lionheart, an heroic but mainly absentee king'
Norman invasion of Ireland[71] and the establishment of an Anglo-Norman colony there.
Irish kings do homage to Henry II (1171)
Treaty of Windsor[72] between Henry II and Rory O'Conor, High King of Connaught (1175).
Third Crusade (1189) - led jointly by Richard the Lionheart that achieved no more than the capture of Acre and Jaffa and a promise of Christian access to Jerusalem
King John (1199 - 1216) - seals the Magna Carta [73][74] (1215) - which includes a statement of rights and which sets up a council that the king has to consult in order to raise taxes.

13th century

Henry III (1216 - 1272)
The Provisions of Oxford[75] - Simon de Monfort's parliamentary reforms. (The Great Council is now referred to as a "parliament")
Edward I (1272 - 1307)
"Model Parliament" (1295)[76] - summoned by Edward I with extended representation compared with earlier parliaments.
"The Auld Alliance"[77] a diplomatic and military agreement between Scotland and France for joint action against England.(1295)
Battle of Stirling Bridge - at which a Scottish army led by William Wallace defeated the English
John Baliol, is crowned King of Scotland (1292) [78]
Edward I invades Scotland (1296] deposes John Baliol from the Scottish throne, and is himself accepted by the Scottish nobility as ruler of Scotland[79]


14th century

1300    Edward I invades Scotland.

1307    Edward II (1307-1327)

1314    Battle of Bannockburn[80]

1315-22 The Great Famine.
  1320    Declaration of Arbroath[81] - a plea to the Pope for Scotland's independence.

1323    William of Occam's Summa Logicae[82] (logic handbook) - rejects the Church's contention that theology is a science.

1327    Edward III (1327 - 1377)

1337    Beginning of Hundred Years War[83] - an intermittent conflict about the English claim to the French throne.

1348-50  The Black Death[84] reduces the population by about a third.

1366    Statutes of Kilkenny [85] - an English attempt to suppress Irish culture by the prohibition of the use of the Irish language and the practice of Irish customs.

1377    Richard II (1377-1399)

1381    Peasants' Revolt [86].- a revolt against taxes and serfdom.

1382    John Wycliffe's Confession Concerning the Eucharist[87] - challenges the doctrine of the Church.

1390    Richard III's Irish expedition

1390s    Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales

1397    The Twelve Conclusions of the Lollards[88] - an attack on the doctrines and conduct of the Church.

1399    Henry IV (1399 -1413)


15th century

1401     De Heretico Comburendo[89] - legislation enacting death by burning as the penalty for heresy.

1413    Henry V (1413-22)

1415    Agincourt[90] - longbows against crossbows: a victory over a French army by an outnumbered English Army.

1422    Henry VI (1422-61)

1429     Franchise Act [91] - restricted voting in elections for county members to freeholders of land worth more than 40 shillings annually. City and borough franchises were much more varied.

1453    End of Hundred Years War - leaving England with no French possessions except Calais.

1455 -1485 The Wars of the Roses[92] - small-scale fighting that causes heavy casualties among the aristocracy and results in the victory of the House of Lancaster over the House of York.

1460    Statute of Drogheda[93] (Poyning's Law) - under which Ireland adopts the entire body of English law.

1461    Edward IV (1461-83)

1476    Caxton's printing press[94]

1483    Richard III (1483-85)


Tudor Era 1485-1603

1485     Battle of Bosworth Field [95] between Richard III and Henry, Earl of Richmond, afterwards Henry VII (1485-1509)

1489    Thomas Cranmer [96] (1489 - 1556) - architect of English Reformation, advisor to Henry VIII

1494 William Tyndale [97] (c.1494-1536) - 16th century theologian, translated the New Testament into English

16th century

1503     Marriage of Margaret, daughter of Henry VII to James IV of Scotland.

1509    Henry VIII (1509-47)

1511    England joins Holy League[98] - against France.

1513     Battle of Flodden [99] - major defeat of Scots army and death of James IV.

1516 Thomas More's Utopia[100]

1526     William Tyndale's[101] translation of the New Testament.

1534     The Act of Supremacy[102] - makes Henry VIII the head of the new Anglican Church, legalising the break with Rome.

1535     Dissolution of the monasteries[103]

1535    Laws in Wales Act[104]

1535     Thomas More[105], Lord Chancellor, executed for refusing to recognise the break with Rome.

1536     Hans Holbein[106] portrait of Henry VII[107]

1536     Pilgrimage of Grace[108] - a popular uprising against the closure of the monasteries.

1541    Henry VIII is declared King of Ireland[109]

1542     Battle of Solway Moss[110] - minor defeat of James V's Scottish raiders.

    James V of Scotland dies and is succeeded by Mary Queen of Scots [111]

1542     Great Debasement[112] - reduces the silver content of the coinage from 75% to 25% by 1551.

1547     Edward VI (1547-53)

1549     Cranmer's English Prayer Book[113] (revised 1552).

1553     Mary I[114] becomes Queen, reimposes Catholicism and crushes Wyatt's rebellion[115].

1558    Elizabeth I [116](1559-1603) - restores Anglicanism[117].

1560     Scots Confession of Faith[118] - a rejection of Scottish allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church and the founding document of the Church of Scotland, drafted by John Knox and others and approved by meeting of the Scottish Parliament, but without Royal Assent.

1561 - 1626 Francis Bacon

1562     The 39 Articles[119] - the beliefs to be practised by the Anglican church.

1564 - 1616 William Shakespeare

1567     Forced abdication of Mary Queen of Scots[120] and succession of James VI[121].

1583     William Lee invents a knitting machine[122] but Queen Elizabeth refuses the grant of a patent on the grounds that the machine would throw hand knitters out of work

1586     Treaty of Berwick[123] - between Elizabeth 1 and James VI of Scotland.

1587    Franchise Act (Scotland)[124] sets a land ownership-based entitlement to vote as in England.

1588     The Spanish Armada [125] an unsuccessful attempt at invasion.

1593     William Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis


17th century

1600     The East India Company is founded and is granted the monopoly of trade with "the Indies"[126].

1601     Poor Law[127][128] - created a national system to provide for the poor, replacing the parish-based systems of the Acts of 1552, 1563, 1572, 1576 and 1597.


Stuart Era 1603-1688

1603     James VI of Scotland becomes James I of England (1603-25).

1605     Francis Bacon's "The Advancement of Learning" [129] - makes the case for the inductive method of reasoning.

1605    Gunpowder Plot

1609     The Ulster plantation[130] - of thousands of Scottish and English Protestant settlers.

1620     The voyage of the Mayflower carrying the 100 Puritans that came to be known as the Pilgrim Fathers] from Plymouth to Cape Cod.

1623     The Statute of Monopolies[131] prevented the king from creating new domestic monopolies.

1625    Charles I (1625-49)[132]

1628     The Petition of Right[133] -established Habeas Corpus.

1632     Christopher Wren [134] (1632 - 1723) - mathematician and architect, designer of St Paul's Cathedral.

1639     "Bishops Wars" [135] between England and Scotland over Charles I's attempt to reform Scottish church.

1641     Parliament's "Grand Remonstrance"[136] [137] is rejected by the King.

1642     Parliament's "Nineteen Propositions"[138] ultimatum is rejected by the King.

1642-46     Civil War[139] between Charles I and the forces of Parliament led by Oliver Cromwell.

1644     John Milton's Areopagitica[140] - a tract in favour of the freedom of the press.

1649     Execution of Charles I and abolition of the monarchy.


The Interregnum - the period between the execution of Charles I in 1649 and the Restoration of the monarchy under Charles II in 1660 during which the various governments of the Commonwealth and Cromwell's Protectorate were in power.

1649     The Agreement of the People[141] - the demand by the Levellers for rule by a representative assembly elected by universal male suffrage.

1649     the "Rump", what remains of the House of Commons, declares England to be a "Commonwealth", i.e. republic.

            Cromwell invades Ireland.

1651     Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan[142] - defines government as, a social contract by which power is irrevocably delegated to an absolute sovereign.

1652     Act for the Settlement of Ireland [143]

The Restoration. Charles II (1660-85)[144]

1661-5   The Clarendon Code[145] - used to persecute "dissenters" (from Anglicanism) but all mainstream Protestant churches legalized after the Revolution.

1663 Thomas Newcomen[146] (1663 - 1729) - pioneer of the steam engine

1665     Great Plague

1666     Fire of London

1673    Test Act[147]. Catholics excluded from office.

1685    James II (1685-88)
      Monmouth Rebellion[148] an unsuccessful rebellion led by James, Duke of Monmouth, a Protestant and Charles II's bastard son, who claimed his parents were secretly married.

1687     Isaac Newton's Principia[149] - the founding document of the "scientific revolution" in thinking about the universe.

1688    The Glorious Revolution deposed James II

      Bill of Rights - severely limited the power of the king over Parliament.

1689    William III[150] and Mary II.

1690     John Locke's Treatise on Government [151] - the people's delegation of power to a sovereign is conditional upon their continued consent.

1690    The Battle of the Boyne[152]

1694    The Bank of England [153]


18th century

1701-14 War of Spanish Succession[154]

1707    Act of Union - with Scotland [155].

1711     David Hume[156] (1711-1776) A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-1740), the Enquiries concerning Human Understanding (1748) and Concerning the Principles of Morals (1751),

1714     Hanoverian succession.
              George I (1714-27)

1715    First major Jacobite Rising

1717     The Gold standard - the £ is linked to gold at £3 17s 10½d per troy ounce[157]

1727    George II (1727-1760)

1733     John Kay invents the flying shuttle[158] - the first step in the mechanisation of weaving.

1745    Second Jacobite Rising - "the '45"

1746    Battle of Culloden.

1760    George III (1760-1820).

1763    Treaty of Paris - French possessions in America and India are ceded to Britain.

1768     Cast iron production at the Coalbrookdale foundry[159].

1764     James Hargreaves builds the first "spinning jenny"[160] - a major improvement on the spinning wheel.

1769     James Watt's patent for a steam engine [161] - a major improvement of Newcomen's "atmospheric engine".

1772     The James Somerset(t) Ruling - a slave is released by a writ of Habeas Corpus[162]. Popularly supposed to have declared slavery illegal in England, though the formal ruling in this case only forbade his taking out of the realm by force[2]

War of American Independence[163] 1775 -81 - and the creation of the United States of America.

1776     Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations - advocacy of "laisser-faire" on the grounds that the only legitimate goal of government is growth of national income.

1785     Edmund Arkwright invents the power loom[164]

1788     The colonisation of Australia [165]

1792     Thomas Paine's The Rights of Man[166]

1798    United Irishmen rebellion fails.

1799     Combination Acts - outlawed trades unions.

Napoleonic Wars[167] 1789 - 1815.


19th century

1801    Act of Union[168] takes effect, making Ireland a part of the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland" with representation in the kingdom's parliament.

1805    Battle of Trafalgar[169]. A decisive defeat of the French and Spanish navies that established Britain as the dominant naval power for over a century

1807  Abolition of the Slave Trade Act[170] bans transportation of slaves from Africa to the Americas.

1809  Charles Darwin [171] (1809 - 1882) - Victorian naturalist, author of The Origin of Species

1812  Charles Dickens [172] (1812 - 1870) The foremost novelist of the Victorian era and a vigorous social campaigner.

1815    Battle of Waterloo[173] Defeat of the French army under Napoleon Bonaparte by the British and Prussian armies under the Duke of Wellington and Blücher.

1820    George IV (1820-30).

1829    Catholic Emancipation Act [174] enables Catholics to be Members of Parliament.

1830    William IV (1830-37).

1832     Reform Act - raised the proportion of adult English males entitled to vote to 20 per cent.

1833     Act abolishing slavery in most British colonies [175]

1834     The Tamworth Manifesto [176] - Robert Peel's election manifesto (sometimes considered to be the founding document of the Conservative Party).

1835     Joseph Whitworth's machine tools[177]

1837     Queen Victoria (1837-1901)/

1838     Maiden voyage of the Great Western - Brunel's ocean-going screw-propelled iron steamship.

1839     Sir Robert Peel's[178] Metropolitan Police Act[179]

Irish Famine 1845-1850.

1846    Repeal of Corn Laws.

1848    Peoples' Charter [180] - a petition for male suffrage, secret ballots, equal constituencies, no property qualification, payment for MPs, annual elections.


Crimean War 1853 - 56.

Indian Mutiny 1857-8.

1858     The Government of India Act[181] - transfers the military and administrative functions of the East India Company to the Crown.

1859     The formation of the Liberal Party[182]- an alliance Whigs, Peelites and Radicals, formed to provide an opposition to the Conservative Party.

1859     Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species

1861     John Stuart Mill's Representative Government[183] - argues the case for a qualified extension of the suffrage.

1867     Reform Act[184] - gave the vote to every male adult householder living in a borough constituency, and to male lodgers paying £10 for unfurnished rooms.

1867     The British North America Act[185] establishes the Dominion of Canada.

1868     Trades Union Congress [186]- created

1870    Education Act[187] - created publicly-funded elementary schools for children (attendance was made compulsory in 1880).

1871     Trade Union Act[188] - recognised trades unions as legal corporations.

1874    Disraeli's First Conservative Government (1874-80).

1874    Birth of Winston Churchill [189](1874 - 1965)

1880    Gladstone's Liberal Government.

1888 John Logie Baird[190] (1888 - 1946) - inventor of television.

1898    Battle of Omdurman

1899-1902 Boer War.



1900     The Labour Representation Committee is formed[191] - (the forerunner of the Labour Party) and makes an electoral pact with the Liberal Party.

1901    Edward VII (1901-10).

1902     Treaty of Vereeniging[192] marking the surrender of South Africa to Britain.

1902-05 Balfour's Conservative Government.

1903     Women's Social and Political Union[193]- "suffragettes" launch a "votes for women" campaign.

1905-08 Campbell-Bannerman's Liberal Government.

1908-1915 Asquith's Liberal Government (Lloyd George Chancellor of the Exchequer)

1908     London hosts the Olympic Games

1910    George V (1910-36)

1911     National Insurance Act[194] - enacts publicly-financed health insurance, and unemployment insurance for workers in the building, engineering and shipbuilding industries.

First World War. 1914-18

1914     UK declares war on Germany[195]

1915-16 Asquith's Coalition Government.

1916    Easter Rising[196] - an Irish rebellion is violently suppressed.

1917     The Balfour Declaration[197] - in favour of a Jewish home in Palestine.

1918     Armistice[198]


The inter-war years

1918     Representation of the People Act - gave the vote to men over 21 and women over 30 - increasing the electorate from 8 million to 21 million.

1919    Treaty of Versailles

1919     League of Nations mandates [199]- Palestine, Transjordan, Iraq, and Tanganyika are mandated to Britain.

1919-22 Irish War of Independence

1920    Government of Ireland Act - Devolved government (Home Rule) for Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland.

1920-22    Unemployment Insurance Acts[200] - extended coverage to most males earning less than £250 a year and introduced "seeking work" and means tests.

1922     Anglo-Irish Treaty [201] - The Irish Free State becomes a Dominion of the British Crown.

1922-23 Irish Civil War[202]

1925     The United Kingdom returns to the gold standard

1926    General Strike [203] - involved over 1.5 million workers and the closure of mines, transport, newspapers, docks and power stations..

1926     Baird's television system.

1928     Equal Franchise Act - gave women the right to vote on the same terms as men.

1928    Fleming discovers penicillin

1929-31  The Slump (the Great Depression in the United Kingdom)

1930     BBC transmits a television play[204]

1931     Statute of Westminster[205] - independence for the Dominions of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the Union of South Africa .

1931    The United Kingdom leaves the gold standard.

1935     Robert Watson Watt's[206] radar receives its first trial (then called "radio direction finding"}.

1936    Abdication of Edward VIII.

1936     John Maynard Keynes The General Theory of Employnent, Interest and Money"[207]

1936     Alan Turing's On Computable Numbers[208] - includes the "Turing Machine" (the first specification of a computer)

1936    George VI (1936-52}

1937     The Irish Free State becomes Éire[209]

1938    Munich Pact with Germany.


Second World War

1939     Britain and France declare war on Germany[210]

September: evacuation of children from London


June:    Fall of France
July-September: Battle of Britain[211] - a planned invasion of Britain is narrowly averted as Germany fails to achieve air supremacy.
September:    start of the London Blitz[212] - a 57-day bombing attack on London.

1940-45     Battle of the Atlantic[213] - German submarines sink three million tons of allied shipping in a nearly-successful blockade.


March:     Lend-Lease[214] - authorises the supply of defence equipment in the interests of the defence of the United States, on terms to be determined by the President.
April: Belfast Blitz becomes the greatest loss of life in any UK city during a night raid. Belfast loses just over half its housing stock as a result, leaving around one hundred thousand people homeless.
June:    Germany invades the USSR
July:    The US bans trade with Japan
December:    Pearl Harbor,
Germany declares war on the United States.

1942    battles of the Coral Sea, Alamein, Stalingrad - the first allied victories

1942    The Beveridge Report[215] - a proposal for a system of government-managed health and unemployment insurance funded by compulsory weekly contributions.

1944    D Day landings - open the Battle of Normandy

1944    Bretton Woods Conference [216] - created a system of fixed exchange rates linked to the $ which was to be freely convertible to gold.

1944     Employment policy White Paper - a commitment to "full employment".


February: Yalta Conference[217] - the "partition" of Europe.
May:    Surrender of Germany
June:    San Francisco Conference[218] - the making of the United Nations.
July:    Potsdam Conference[219] - the final 3-power meeting.
August:    Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the surrender of Japan
August 21; Termination of Lend-Lease aid
October: United Nations Charter is ratified.
December: Anglo-American Loan Agreement - for a loan of $3.76 billion repayable over fifty years with 2 per cent interest.

Post-war Britain

1945-51 Clement Attlee's Labour Government - financial crisis and austerity

1947     Independence for India and Pakistan

1948    The Marshall Plan[220] - a 4-year $13 bn programme of US aid towards European Reconstruction

1948     National Health Service[221].

1949     North Atlantic Treaty Organisation formed

The London Declaration allows republics to retain membership of the Commonwealth, acknowledging King George VI as Head of the Commonwealth.

1951-55 Winston Churchill's Conservative Government.

1953     Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Francis Crick and James Watson establish the structure of DNA.

1954    the end of food rationing

1955-57 Anthony Eden's Conservative Government.

1956    Suez crisis.

1957-63 Harold Macmillan's Conservative Government.

1963-4 Alec Douglas-Home's Conservative Government.

1964-70, 1974-6 Harold Wilson's Labour Governments.

1965    Monopolies and Mergers Act 1965[222]

1968-69 Start of The Troubles in Northern Ireland.

1970-74 Edward Heath's Conservative Government.

1971     Return to a floating exchange rate - after the USA abandons the convertibility of the $ [223]

1973    Britain joins the European Economic Community. European Communities Act[224] makes EC law enforceable in the UK.

1976-9 James Callaghan's Labour Government.

1978    Winter of Discontent

1979-1990 Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Governments.

1982    Falklands War.

1986    Single European Act - introduced Qualified Majority Voting to most European Union decisions [225].

1990-97    John Major's Conservative Government.

1992     Maastricht Treaty [226][227]

1992     Tim Berners-Lee's project for a "World wide web"[228][229]

1997    Tony Blair's "New Labour" Government.[230]

Anglo-Irish Agreement[231] establishes the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning.

1998     Devolution[232]

   Scotland Act [233] - set up a Scottish Executive (later "The Government of Scotland") and a Scottish Parliament.
   Government of Wales Act[234] - established a National Assembly for Wales.
   Good Friday Agreement[235] - a plan for the devolution of power to Northern Ireland
   Northern Ireland Act[236] sees the installation of a devolved coalition government.

1998     Bank of England Act[237] - transferred responsibility for monetary policy from the Treasury to the Bank of England.

    Human Rights Act[238]
    The Good Friday Agreement[239] including plans for a Northern Ireland assembly with a power-sharing executive, the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons, the future of policing in Northern Ireland, and the release of paramilitary prisoners.


21st century

2000     Freedom of Information Act[240]

2003-2009  Iraq War

2005     Constitutional Reform Act, 2005[241] transfers the Lord Chancellor's legal functions to the Lord Chief Justice and creates a new, independent Supreme Court[242] replacing of the judicial committee of the House of Lords.

1998 - 2006 Northern Ireland returns to relative peace.

2007     Gordon Brown's Labour Government.

2008     Crash of 2008

2009     Recession of 2009

The end of British combat operations in Iraq[243]

2010     David Cameron's Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition Government.

2011     Last British troops withdraw from Iraq[244]

Air Force operations against Gaddafi's forces in Libya[245]

2015     David Cameron's Conservative government

2016     UK decides in referendum to leave EU

Theresa May's Conservative government


  1. Oxford Illustrated History of Britain, 1984, page 58
  2. Oxford Companion to Black British History, 2007, page 458; Macmillan Encyclopedia of World Slavery, 1998, volume 1, page 368