History of England
Bones and flint tools found in Norfolk and Suffolk show that homo erectus lived in what is now England around 700,000 years ago.. At this time, England was linked to mainland Europe by a large land bridge. The current position of the English Channel was a large river flowing westwards and fed by tributaries that would later become the Thames and the Seine.
Archaeological evidence has shown that England was inhabited by humans long before the rest of the British isles because of its more hospitable climate
Roman conquest of Britain
By AD 43, the time of the main Roman invasion of Britain, Britain had already frequently been the target of invasions, planned and actual, by forces of the Roman Republic and Roman Empire. Like other regions on the edge of the empire, Britain had long enjoyed trading links with the Romans and their economic and cultural influence was a significant part of the British late pre-Roman Iron Age, especially in the south.
The History of Anglo-Saxon England covers the history of early mediaeval England from the end of Roman Britain and the establishment of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in the 5th century until the Conquest by the Normans in 1066.
Fragmentary knowledge of Anglo-Saxon England in the 5th and 6th centuries comes from the British writer Gildas (6th century) the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (a history of the English people begun in the 9th century), saints'' lives, poetry, archaeological findings, and place-name studies.
The dominant themes of the 7th to 10th centuries were the spread of Christianity and the political unification of England. Christianity is thought to have come from three directions — Rome from the south and Scotland and Ireland to the north and west.
Heptarchy is a term used to refer to the existence (as believed) of the seven petty kingdoms which eventually merged to become the Kingdom of England during the early 10th century. These included Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia, Essex, Kent, Sussex, and Wessex.
The Anglo-Saxon kingdoms tended to coalesce by means of warfare. As early as the time of Ethelbert of Kent, one king could be recognised as Bretwalda, or "Lord of Britain". Generally speaking, the title fell in the 7th century to the kings of Northumbria, in the 8th to those of Mercia, and finally, in the 9th, to Egbert of Wessex, who in 825 defeated the Mercians at Ellendun. In the next century his family came to rule all England.
Kingdom of England
Originally, England (or Angleland) was a geographical term to describe the territory of Britain which was occupied by the Anglo-Saxons, rather than a name of an individual nation state.
The Kingdom of England was not founded until the separate petty kingdoms were unified under Alfred the Great King of Wessex, who later proclaimed himself King of the English after liberating London from the Danes in 886.
For the next few hundred years, the Kingdom of England would fall in and out of power between several West-Saxon and Danish kings. For over half a century, the unified Kingdom of England became part of a vast Danish empire under Cnut, before regaining independence for a short period under the restored West-Saxon lineage of Edward the Confessor.
The Kingdom of England continued to exist as an independent nation-state right through to the Acts of Union and the Union of Crowns. However the political ties and direction of England were changed forever by the Norman conquest in 1066.
The Norman conquest of England was the conquest of the Kingdom of England by William the Conqueror (Duke of Normandy), in 1066 at the Battle of Hastings and the subsequent Norman control of England. It is an important watershed in English history for a number of reasons. The conquest linked England more closely with Continental Europe and lessened Scandinavian influence. The success of the conquest established one of the most powerful monarchies in Europe, created the most sophticated governmental system in Europe, changed the English language and culture, and set the stage for English-French conflict that would last into the 19th century.
The events of the conquest also paved the way for a pivotal historical document to be produced - the Domesday Book. The Domesday Book was the record of the great survey of England completed in 1086, executed for William the Conqueror. The survey was similar to a census by a government of today and is England''s earliest surviving public records document.
The Norman conquest, to this day, remains the last successful military conquest of England.