Timeline of English history

This is a timeline of English history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in England and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of England.

This is a dynamic list and may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness. You can help by expanding it with reliably sourced entries.
Millennia: 1st BC · 1st–2nd · 3rd

1st century BC

Year Date Event
55 BC Roman General Julius Caesar invaded Great Britain for the first time, gaining a beachhead on the coast of Kent.
54 BC Caesar invaded for the second time, gaining a third of the country. These two invasions are known as Caesar's invasions of Britain.

Centuries: 1st · 2nd · 3rd · 4th · 5th · 6th · 7th · 8th · 9th · 10th · 11th · 12th · 13th · 14th · 15th · 16th · 17th · 18th · 19th · 20th

1st century

Year Date Event
43 Aulus Plautius led an army of forty thousand invading Great Britain. Emperor Claudius makes Britain a part of the Roman Empire. This is known as the Roman conquest of Britain.

2nd century

3rd century

4th century

Year Date Event
368 Great Conspiracy: A year-long series of raids by the Picts and Saxons began, which forced the Roman abandonment of Hadrian's Wall and caused the death of their military commander Fullofaudes.
383 Romans began to withdraw from Great Britain.

5th century

Year Date Event
410 Picts from the north, Gaels from the west and the Saxons, who had been a nuisance to the Romans for 50 years, attacked the unprotected British Celts.
449 The Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and Frisians began to occupy Great Britain. Led by Hengist. (Marks the beginning of Old English)

6th century

Year Date Event
500 Beginning of Heptarchy (Seven kingdoms Kent, Essex, Sussex, Wessex, East Anglia, Mercia, and Northumbria.)
597 Saint Augustine of Canterbury arrived in England to begin the conversion of the English, by baptizing King Ethelbert of Kent, thus introducing the influence of Latin.

7th century

Year Date Event
664 The Synod of Whitby aligned the English with Roman rather than Celtic Christianity. (How to celebrate holidays such as Easter and perform practices within the Church.)

8th century

Year Date Event
716 Æthelbald becomes King of Mercia, marking the beginning of that kingdom's ascendancy over the other Saxon realms.
730 The venerable Bede produced the ecclesiastical history of the English people.
757 Offa becomes King of Mercia, to rule until 796.
787 The Scandinavian invasion began with raids along the northeast sea coast.
793 Vikings raided Lindisfarne.

9th century

Year Date Event
825 Battle of Ellendun: King Egbert of Wessex defeats the Mercians, ending the Mercian Supremacy.
842 Vikings raid London, Rochester, and Southampton.
878 Battle of Ethandun: A Viking defeat took place which would result in the Treaty of Wedmore and the establishment of the Danelaw.
895 A Danish fleet was captured by Alfred the Great.

10th century

Year Date Event
910 5 August Battle of Tettenhall
927 Æthelstan unites the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy into the Kingdom of England.
937 Battle of Brunanburh
980 Vikings begin a new wave of raids on England.
991 10 August Battle of Maldon: Danes defeat the English army. Payment of Danegold.

11th century

Year Date Event
1016 Cnut the Great of Denmark becomes king of all England.
1043 Edward the Confessor becomes king of all England.
1054 The Great Schism/Split of the Roman Catholic Church
1066 Battle of Fulford: English forces were defeated by Norse invaders in northeastern England.
Battle of Stamford Bridge: The remaining Norse under Harald Hardrada were defeated by the bulk of England's army under the command of its king.
Battle of Hastings: England's remaining forces were defeated by invaders from Normandy. This was known as the Norman Conquest, which caused William the Conqueror to be crowned king of England and permanently changed the English language and culture.
1086 Work commenced on the Domesday Book.

12th century

Year Date Event
1135 The Anarchy began, a civil war resulting from a dispute over succession to the throne that lasted until 1153.
1138 The Battle of the Standard, an engagement in which the English defeated an invading Scottish army led by King David I.[5]
1164 The Constitutions of Clarendon, a set of laws which governed the trial of members of the Catholic Church in England, were issued.
1170 Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket was assassinated.
1192 Crusades: King Richard I was captured by Austrian Duke Leopold V, Duke of Austria while returning from the Holy Land.
1194 Richard was ransomed and returned to England.

13th century

Year Date Event
1209 King John was excommunicated from the Catholic Church by Pope Innocent III.
1215 The Magna Carta was signed.
1237 The Treaty of York was signed, fixing the border between Scotland and England.
1264 Battle of Lewes: Rebel English barons led by Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester defeated King Henry III.
1267 Henry recognised the authority of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd in Gwynedd.
1277 England annexed Gwynedd.
1279 The Statute of Mortmain was issued.
1287 Rhys ap Maredudd led a revolt against English rule in Wales.
1294 Madog ap Llywelyn led a revolt against English rule in Wales.
1297 Battle of Stirling Bridge: The Scots, led by William Wallace, defeated the English.

14th century

Year Date Event
1305 William Wallace was executed by the English on a charge of treason.
1314 Battle of Bannockburn: Scotland won a decisive victory over England.
1328 The Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton, under which England recognised Scottish independence, was signed.
1348 The Black Death arrived in England.
1356 Battle of Poitiers: First of the three major battles of the Hundred Years' War took place near Poitiers, France.
1381 Peasants' Revolt: Also called Wat Tyler's Rebellion or the Great Rising, was a major uprising across large parts of England led by Wat Tyler.
1392 The Statute of Praemunire 1392 was issued.

15th century

Year Date Event
1403 21 July Battle of Shrewsbury was a battle waged between an army led by the Lancastrian King, Henry IV, and a rebel army led by Henry "Harry Hotspur" Percy from Northumberland.[6]
1415 25 October Battle of Agincourt was a major English victory in the Hundred Years' War[a]that occurred on Saint Crispin's Day, near modern-day Azincourt, in northern France.
1485 Battle of Bosworth Field (Battle of Bosworth): the last significant battle of the Wars of the Roses, the civil war between the Houses of Lancaster and York. Richard III, the last Plantagenet king was killed, succeeded by Henry VII.
1487 Battle of Stoke was the decisive engagement in an attempt by leading Yorkists to unseat Henry VII of England in favour of the pretender Lambert Simnel.

16th century

Year Date Event
1513 Battle of Flodden Field: Invading England, King James IV of Scotland and thousands of other Scots were killed in a defeat at the hands of the English.
1521 Lutheran writings begin to circulate in England.
1526 Lord Chancellor Cardinal Thomas Wolsey ordered the burning of Lutheran books.
1529 King Henry VIII severed ties with the Catholic Church and declared himself head of the church in England.
1534 Henry VIII issued the Act of Supremacy.
Henry VIII issued the Treasons Act 1534.
1535 Thomas More and Cardinal John Fisher were executed.
1536 William Tyndale was executed in Antwerp.
Henry VIII issued the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
1549 Prayer Book Rebellion: A rebellion occurred in the southwest.
1553 The Act Against Sectaries 1553 was issued.
1559 The Act of Supremacy 1559 was issued.
1571 The Treasons Act 1571 was issued.
The Act Prohibiting Papal Bulls from Rome 1571 was issued.
1588 8 August The Spanish Armada was destroyed.
1589 The English Armada (or Counter Armada) was defeated by Spain.
1593 The Act Against Papists 1593 was issued.

17th century

Year Date Event
1601 Catholic plot against the Earl of Essex Includes some of the plotters from the gunpowder plot
1603 King James VI of Scotland ascends to the English throne, becoming James I of England and uniting the crowns - but not the parliaments - of the two kingdoms
1605 5 November Gunpowder Plot: A plot in which Guy Fawkes and other Catholic associates conspired to blow up King James VI and I and the Parliament of England was uncovered.
1618 Walter Raleigh was executed.
1639 Bishops' Wars: A war with Scotland began which would last until 1640.
1640 Long Parliament: The Parliament was convened.
1642 The English Civil War began (see timeline of the English Civil War).
1649 January Trial and execution of Charles I
1649 Interregnum began with the First Commonwealth
1653 - 1659 the Protectorate under the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell and later (1658) his son Richard Cromwell
1659 Second Commonwealth a period of great political instability
1660 Restoration of the monarchy: After a chaotic short revival of the Commonwealth of England, the monarchy was restored in May 1660, after agreeing to the Declaration of Breda, largely through the initiative of General George Monck.
1666 2–5 September Great Fire of London : A major conflagration that swept through the central parts of London.
1688 Glorious Revolution:[7] Also called the Revolution of 1688, was the overthrow of James II by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange-Nassau (William of Orange).

18th century

Year Date Event
1701 The Act of Settlement 1701, which required the English monarch to be Protestant, was passed.
1702 8 March William III died and was succeeded by Anne.
1704 4 August Gibraltar was captured by a combined Dutch and English fleet under the command of Admiral of the Fleet George Rooke.
13 August Battle of Blenheim: A combined English and Dutch army under the command of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough defeated the French army in Bavaria.
1706 22 July The Treaty of Union was agreed between representatives of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland.
1707 The Acts of Union 1707 were passed in the Parliament of England and Parliament of Scotland, ratifying the Treaty of Union.
1 May The Kingdom of Great Britain came into being.[8][9][10][11]
1713 11 April Signing of the Treaty of Utrecht ends the War of the Spanish Succession.
1714 1 August Queen Anne dies. Accession of George I, Elector of Hanover.
1719 Battle of Glen Shiel: A Spanish invasion force and their Jacobite allies were defeated.
1744 An attempted French invasion of southern England was stopped by storms.
1755 Samuel Johnson published his A Dictionary of the English Language.
1764 The Castle of Otranto was written, which was the first ever story classed as a gothic horror story.
1775 19 April American War of Independence begins.
1779 The world's first iron bridge was built in Shropshire.
1783 4 September American War of Independence ends with Treaty of Paris.

19th century

date event 1805 Naval Battle of Trafalgar 21st October.
1807 The Slave Trade Act 1807 was passed.
1815 Napoleonic Wars: The Napoleonic Wars ended.
1819 Peterloo Massacre: A massacre took place.
1825 The Stockton and Darlington railway, the world's first public passenger railway, opened.
1829 The Catholic Relief Act 1829 was passed.
1832 The Great Reform Act was passed, doubling the franchise.
1834 The New Poor Law was passed.
1838 The Slavery Abolition Act 1833 entered into force.
The Chartism movement began.
1842 The first peacetime income tax was introduced.
1846 The Corn Laws were repealed.
1848 The Communist Manifesto was published.
The Chartism movement ended.
1859 On the Origin of Species was published
1863 The first underground train went into operation in London.
1867 The 1867 Reform Act doubled the franchise.
1868 The last public execution was carried out.
1870 The Education Act 1870 was passed, introducing universal education.
Religious dissenters and women were first allowed to enter the Universities of University of Oxford and Cambridge.
1880 The Elementary Education Act 1880 was passed, making primary schooling compulsory and extending it to girls.
1884 The Reform Act 1885 was passed.
1896 The Daily Mail was first published.

20th century

Year Date Event
1914 4 August World War I: Great Britain declares war on Germany.
1918 11 November World War I ended.
1936 5–31 October The Jarrow March protest.
1939 3 September British entry into World War II.
1945 8 May World War II ended in Europe.
1948 5 July The National Health Service came into being.
1952 6 February Death of King George VI. Accession of Queen Elizabeth II (beginning of second Elizabethan era).
1965 24 January Death of Winston Churchill.
1966 30 July England wins the FIFA World Cup.
1973 1 January Joined European Union.
1982 11 October The Mary Rose was raised from the seabed.
1994 6 May The Channel Tunnel opened.

21st century

Year Date Event
2004 The population of England reaches fifty one million.
2005 7 July A series of co-ordinated terrorist bombings strikes London's public transport system during the morning rush hour, killing more than fifty people and injuring hundreds.
2012 25 Jul - 12 Aug London hosts the Olympic Games for the third time.
2015 9 September Queen Elizabeth II becomes longest-reigning UK monarch.
2016 23 June The United Kingdom votes to leave the EU. 2016 13 July. Theresa May becomes second female Prime Minister.

See also

City timelines
County timelines


    1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 Palmer, Alan & Veronica (1992). The Chronology of British History. London: Century Ltd. pp. 20–22. ISBN 0-7126-5616-2.
    2. "Journey Beyond the Edge of the Known World: Making The Eagle". Focus Features.
    3. 1 2 3 British History Timeline, BBC
    4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Palmer, Alan & Veronica (1992). The Chronology of British History. London: Century Ltd. pp. 22–24. ISBN 0-7126-5616-2.
    5. "The Anarchy: Battle of the Standard". About.
    6. English Heritage (1995). "English Heritage Battlefield Report: Shrewsbury 1403" (PDF). Retrieved 22 Aug 2011.
    7. Name of the Glorious Revolution in the languages of Britain and Ireland:
    8. Acts of Union 1707 parliament.uk, accessed 13 September 2011
    9. Making the Act of Union 1707 scottish.parliament.uk, accessed 13 September 2011
    10. England – Profile BBC, 13 September 2011
    11. The Creation of the United Kingdom of great britain in 1707 Historical Association, accessed 13 September 2011

    Further reading

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