England

Coordinates: 53°08′N 1°23′W / 53.13°N 1.38°W / 53.13; -1.38
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England
Flag of England
Ethnic groups )
List
Religion
(2021[1])
List
Demonym(s)English
GovernmentPart of a constitutional monarchy, direct government exercised by the UK Government
• Monarch
Charles III
Parliament of the United Kingdom
• House of Commons533 MPs (of 650)
Establishment
by 12 July 927
1 May 1707
Population
• Mid-2021 estimate
Neutral increase 56,536,419[3]
• 2021 census
Neutral increase 56,490,048[1]
• Density
434/km2 (1,124.1/sq mi)[3]
GVA2021 estimate
 • Total£1.760 trillion
 • Per capita£31,138[4]
GB-ENG

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom.[6] The country is located on the island of Great Britain, of which it covers roughly 62%, and over 100 smaller adjacent islands. It has land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west, and is otherwise surrounded by the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south, the Celtic Sea to the south-west, and the Irish sea to the west. Continental Europe lies to the south-east, and Ireland to the west. The population was 56,490,048 at the 2021 census. London is both the largest city and the capital.

The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Paleolithic, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century and has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century.[7] The Kingdom of England, which included Wales after 1535, ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707 when the Acts of Union put the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year into effect; this resulted in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland that created the Kingdom of Great Britain.[8]

England is the origin of many well-known worldwide exports, including the English language, the English legal system (which served as the basis for the common law systems of many other countries), association football, and the Church of England; its parliamentary system of government has been widely adopted by other nations.[9] The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation.[10] England is home to the two oldest universities in the English-speaking world: the University of Oxford, founded in 1096, and the University of Cambridge, founded in 1209. Both universities are ranked among the most prestigious in the world.[11][12]

England's terrain chiefly consists of low hills and plains, especially in the centre and south. Upland and mountainous terrain is mostly found in the north and west, including Dartmoor, the Lake District, the Pennines, and the Shropshire Hills. The country's capital is London, the greater metropolitan of which has a population of 14.2 million as of 2021, representing the United Kingdom's largest metropolitan area. England's population of 56.3 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom,[13] largely concentrated around London, the South East, and conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, and Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century.[14]

Toponymy

The name "England" is derived from the

Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense.[17]

The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by

Arthurian legend. Albion is also applied to England in a more poetic capacity,[22]
though its original meaning is the island of Britain as a whole.

History

Prehistory and antiquity

Sun shining through row of upright standing stones with other stones horizontally on the top.
Stonehenge, a Neolithic monument

The earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of

ice sheets began to recede, humans repopulated the area; genetic research suggests they came from the northern part of the Iberian Peninsula.[25] The sea level was lower than the present day and Britain was connected by land bridge to Ireland and Eurasia.[26]
As the seas rose, it was separated from Ireland 10,000 years ago and from Eurasia two millennia later.

The

Beaker culture arrived around 2,500 BC, introducing drinking and food vessels constructed from clay, as well as vessels used as reduction pots to smelt copper ores.[27] It was during this time that major Neolithic monuments such as Stonehenge (phase III) and Avebury were constructed. By heating together tin and copper, which were in abundance in the area, the Beaker culture people made bronze, and later iron from iron ores. The development of iron smelting allowed the construction of better ploughs, advancing agriculture (for instance, with Celtic fields), as well as the production of more effective weapons.[28]

The Battersea Shield is one of the most significant pieces of ancient Celtic art found in Britain.

During the

invade twice in 55 BC; although largely unsuccessful, he managed to set up a client king from the Trinovantes
.

The Romans invaded Britain in 43 AD during the reign of Emperor

Roman architecture, aqueducts, sewers, many agricultural items and silk.[32] In the 3rd century, Emperor Septimius Severus died at Eboracum (now York), where Constantine was subsequently proclaimed emperor a century later.[33]

There is debate about when Christianity was first introduced; it was no later than the 4th century, probably much earlier. According to

decline of the Roman Empire, Britain was left exposed by the end of Roman rule in Britain and the withdrawal of Roman army units, to defend the frontiers in continental Europe and partake in civil wars.[35] Celtic Christian monastic and missionary movements flourished. This period of Christianity was influenced by ancient Celtic culture in its sensibilities, polity, practices and theology. Local "congregations" were centred in the monastic community and monastic leaders were more like chieftains, as peers, rather than in the more hierarchical system of the Roman-dominated church.[36]

Middle Ages

Studded and decorated metallic mask of human face.
Replica of the 7th-century ceremonial Sutton Hoo helmet from the Kingdom of East Anglia

Dark Age. Details of the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain are consequently subject to considerable disagreement; the emerging consensus is that it occurred on a large scale in the south and east but was less substantial to the north and west, where Celtic languages continued to be spoken even in areas under Anglo-Saxon control.[37][38]

The early Anglo-Saxon period includes the creation of an English nation, with many of the aspects that survive today, including regional government and shires. Christianity was established with a great flowering of literature and language.[39] Charters and laws were also established with a sophisticated justice system.[40][41] Roman-dominated Christianity had, in general, been replaced in the conquered territories by Anglo-Saxon paganism, but was reintroduced by missionaries from Rome led by Augustine from 597.[42][36]

During the settlement period the lands ruled by the incomers seem to have been fragmented into numerous tribal territories, but by the 7th century, when substantial evidence of the situation again becomes available, these had coalesced into roughly a dozen kingdoms including

Denmark and Norway. However, the native royal dynasty was restored with the accession of Edward the Confessor
in 1042.

King Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt, fought on Saint Crispin's Day and concluded with an English victory against a larger French army in the Hundred Years' War

A dispute over the succession to Edward led to the Norman Conquest in 1066, accomplished by an army led by Duke William of Normandy.[45] The Normans themselves originated from Scandinavia and had settled in Normandy in the late 9th and early 10th centuries.[46] This conquest led to the almost total dispossession of the English elite and its replacement by a new French-speaking aristocracy, whose speech had a profound and permanent effect on the English language.[47]

Subsequently, the House of Plantagenet from Anjou inherited the English throne under Henry II, adding England to the budding Angevin Empire of fiefs the family had inherited in France including Aquitaine.[48] They reigned for three centuries, some noted monarchs being Richard I, Edward I, Edward III and Henry V.[48] The period saw changes in trade and legislation, including the signing of the Magna Carta, an English legal charter used to limit the sovereign's powers by law and protect the privileges of freemen. Catholic monasticism flourished, providing philosophers, and the universities of Oxford and Cambridge were founded with royal patronage. The Principality of Wales became a Plantagenet fief during the 13th century[49] and the Lordship of Ireland was given to the English monarchy by the Pope. During the 14th century, the Plantagenets and the House of Valois claimed to be legitimate claimants to the House of Capet and of France; the two powers clashed in the Hundred Years' War.[50] The Black Death epidemic hit England; starting in 1348, it eventually killed up to half of England's inhabitants.[51]

Between 1453 and 1487, a civil war known as the

War of the Roses waged between the two branches of the royal family, the Yorkists and Lancastrians.[52] Eventually it led to the Yorkists losing the throne entirely to a Welsh noble family the Tudors, a branch of the Lancastrians headed by Henry Tudor who invaded with Welsh and Breton mercenaries, gaining victory at the Battle of Bosworth Field where the Yorkist king Richard III was killed.[53]

Early modern period

The

Queen Elizabeth I
(1558–1603)