Civilization V Customisation Wiki
Advertisement
Englandwithvictoria

England[]

United Kingdom[]

History[]

England is located on Great Britain, a "green and pleasant" island off of the western coast of Europe. It is the largest member of the sovereign state known as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Historically a seafaring people, for much of the past 500 years the English have used their incomparable navy to project their power into Europe and across the globe.

Geography and Climate[]

England occupies the greater part of the island of Great Britain (along with the Welsh to the west and the Scots to the north). At some 80,000 square miles in size, Great Britain is slightly larger than the state of Kansas in the USA. In pre-historic times to until approximately 6000 BC a land bridge connected Great Britain to Europe; since that time the two have been separated by the English Channel, which is some 20 miles wide at its narrowest point.

England is endowed with rolling hills and plentiful natural resources, including coal and (at one time) extensive forests. Benefiting from warm water brought to its shores by Atlantic Ocean currents, England enjoys plentiful rainfall and relatively mild winters.

Early History: Enter the Romans[]

The first detailed written description of England comes from the Romans, who under Julius Caesar invaded Great Britain in 55 BC. Caesar found an island of perhaps one million Celtic people divided into various warring tribes and possessing an Iron Age level of technology. Caesar led two expeditions to the island in total, and though he fought several successful battles, unrest in Gaul drew him off the island before he could solidify his conquests.

The Romans returned to Great Britain 90 years later - and this time they came in force. In 43 AD four legions (some 20,000 soldiers) under Aulus Plautius landed somewhere on the southern or south-eastern coast (the exact location is unknown) and made their way inland. After a number of stiff battles they crushed the local opposition, establishing a provincial capital at Camulodunum (Colchester). Over the next fifty years the Romans extended their borders west, conquering Wales despite fierce resistance, and north as far as the river Tyne. In 122 AD construction was begun on Hadrian's Wall, a fortification designed to protect Roman Britain from the fierce Picts (proto-Scots) in the northern highlands.

The Romans remained in power in Great Britain for another three centuries, until approximately 410 AD. They had a profound effect upon the natives during their occupation, introducing important advances in agriculture, technology, architecture, and letters.

The Rise and Fall (and Rise) of the Saxons[]

As the Roman military presence retreated from Britain and Western Europe - under pressure from invading Germanic tribes such as the Vandals - local warlords appeared to fill the power vacuum. But none were strong enough to hold off the ever-increasing attacks on the island by the Picts, the Irish, and other barbarian invaders. According to legend, King Vortigern invited the Germanic Saxons into Britain to fight the Picts, but in 442 AD the Saxons turned on their hosts and conquered much of the lowlands. The Saxons remained in power for roughly fifty years until they were driven out largely thanks to the skillful use of cavalry by the surviving British.

In the mid-sixth century a fresh wave of Germanic invaders, the Anglo-Saxons, reappeared, and they all but annihilated the original inhabitants, driving the remnants of the population west into Cornwall and Wales. The Anglo-Saxons would remain in power for several centuries, a period which saw the conversion of the population to Christianity, and a great increase in scholarship on the island, largely centered on the new Christian monasteries. It is during this period that the inhabitants of south-east Great Britain began to consider themselves "English."

The Vikings[]

By the ninth century England (and Scotland and Ireland, not to mention much of Europe) was under continuous assault from Scandinavian raiders known as the Vikings. The Vikings captured cities and towns along the North Sea, and by the middle of the century they controlled almost half of Great Britain, including London. In 877 Alfred the Great, King of Wessex, was able to stop their advance into Southern England, and over the next 50 years he and his heirs fought relentlessly to retake all of the Danish conquests. Athelstan, Alfred's grandson, was the first man to rule all of England in 927.

However, the Danes were not finished with England, and another wave of raids began in 980. Worn down by 20 years of continuous fighting, in 1013 the English surrendered and accepted Sweyn of Denmark as their king. Sweyn was succeeded by Canute, who ruled until 1035. The Danes and the English coexisted fairly peacefully for the next 30 years until 1066, when England was once again subject to invasion.

The Norman Conquest[]

On September 27, 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, launched a major invasion against England, leading 6000 knights and foot soldiers across the English Channel. After defeating the English army and killing the English King Harold at the Battle of Hastings, William marched on London. By December of 1066 most of the English nobility had sworn allegiance to William, and he was crowned at Westminster Abbey on Christmas. Under Norman rule the country's historical ties with Scandinavia were largely severed and England came into much closer contact with Europe.

The Middle Ages[]

Lots of history occurred in England over the next 400 years. There were bitter power struggles, revolts, civil wars, as well as wars in Europe, Scotland and elsewhere. There were several Crusades, a number of plagues and famines, and there were many kings named Richard and Henry, some of whom appeared to be quite mad. Unfortunately, space and time constraints require us to move rapidly to the 16th century, and the rise of Elizabeth.

Queen Elizabeth I[]

Queen Elizabeth I was one of the most remarkable rulers in English history. The daughter of King Henry VIII, Elizabeth took the throne in a period of great social and religious upheaval in England (and across Europe). Intelligent, beautiful, and with a great deal of courage, Elizabeth inherited a country that was virtually bankrupt, on the brink of religious civil war, and under threat of conquest by its much stronger neighbor, Spain. During her reign Elizabeth I united the country, confounded Spain's attempts at conquest, and ushered in one of the great golden ages of arts and literature in human history. She also oversaw a major expansion of the English navy, which would dominate the world's seas for centuries.

For a more detailed discussion of Queen Elizabeth I, see her Civilopedia entry.

The Stuarts[]

Elizabeth I died childless, and the English throne passed to James, the Stuart King of Scotland, who became James I of England. Charles I, James's successor, was overthrown by Parliament after the English Civil War (1641-1645). The crown was reinstated in 1660, but much weaker, serving "at the will of Parliament."

The United Kingdom[]

In 1707, the "Acts of Union" united the kingdoms of Scotland with that of England and Wales. The English and Scottish Parliaments were merged, and England ceased to exist as a political entity. However, England was the largest, wealthiest and most powerful part of the United Kingdom, so much so that many still use the terms England and the United Kingdom interchangeably, much to the annoyance of the Welsh and Scots (and later, the Northern Irish).

In 1800 the United Kingdom attempted to unite with Ireland, becoming the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland." Many of the largely Roman Catholic Irish were bitterly opposed to the union, leading to a terrible insurgency that lasted for over a century. In 1922 the southern portion of Ireland was granted its independence, and the UK was once again renamed, this time becoming "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland."

Rule Britannia[]

Queen Elizabeth's reign saw the first British colony established in the New World, while the powerful British navy protected the growing British interests across the world. England's earliest colonial interests lay in the Caribbean and North America, but over time they expanded into Asia and the South Pacific as well. As British power grew in India, all European competition was driven out, and the English East India Company came to rule the subcontinent in everything but name.

In the late 18th century Britain lost control of much of North America to the Thirteen Colonies (later, the United States of America) in a long and difficult revolution. While this was a great blow to British prestige, the Empire continued to expand unabated, and by the early 20th century the British Empire was the largest and most powerful in history, encompassing one quarter of the Earth's landmass and human population.

The UK at War[]

For much of its history, the UK has sought to keep anyone from becoming a dominant power in Europe, and to keep anyone from developing a navy to rival that of the UK's. During Elizabeth's reign Spain was the biggest threat, and the UK sought to bankrupt Spain by intercepting the Spanish treasure fleets from the New World and to support insurgencies taking place in Spanish possessions. In the 17th century the UK fought a series of wars against the Netherlands when Dutch ships threatened British naval primacy.

In the 19th century the UK faced off against the mighty French Empire under Napoleon Bonaparte. The French had an incomparable army and perhaps the greatest general in human history, while the UK had its navy and the wealth from its worldwide empire. The titanic struggle lasted some 12 years, but eventually Napoleon was defeated and the UK emerged victorious.

The 20th century of course saw the UK pitted against Germany (and allies) in two terrible conflagrations, World Wars I and II. These wars would test the British to the limits of human endurance, and though the UK would be on the victorious side, the cost in wealth and human lives would leave the nation exhausted and virtually bankrupt, bereft of much of its once-great empire.

The Present and Future[]

It has taken some years, but the UK has recovered from the devastation of the wars of the 20th century. Although it is no longer a super power – the United States and increasingly China are the world's "superpowers" – it retains a powerful navy, a thriving culture and a strong economy. While an integral part of the increasingly united and powerful Europe it is also the strongest ally of the United States of America. There is no doubt that the "green and pleasant land" will continue to affect the course of world events for now and the foreseeable future.

English Trivia[]

The world's first public zoo opened in London in 1829.

The Bank of England is one of the few with its own nickname: The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street.

Before the invention of the mechanical clock in the 14th century, the most complex machine in Europe (and perhaps the world) was a pipe organ in the cathedral in Winchester, England, completed in around 950 AD. It had 400 pipes, and 70 men were needed to operate its 26 bellows.

Queen Berengaria, the wife of Richard the Lion-Heart, never set foot on English soil – she instead ruled from Italy and France.

The delicious Colchester oysters were one of the main reasons for the Roman invasion of Britain in 43 AD.


Elizabeth[]

History[]

Elizabeth I was a remarkable woman living in a remarkable age. Beautiful, brilliant, and as tough as nails, she survived and indeed thrived, ruling in an era when most women were little more than chattel.

Early Life[]

Born to King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, who her father had executed for failing to give him a male heir, Elizabeth's early life was filled with danger. Growing up an unwanted daughter of an insane father who was destroying England's ties to the Catholic Church and engaging in civil war so that he could legally marry another woman (several other women, as it turned out), Elizabeth had to use all of her wits to survive. Elizabeth received an excellent education at the hands of various tutors, including the great scholars of the day. She was an outstanding student, and could speak five languages fluently.

When King Henry VIII died, the throne passed to his young son, Edward. At fifteen Elizabeth was implicated in a plot to overthrow him. She came close to being executed, surviving only because she was able to convince her skeptical interrogators that she knew nothing of the plot.

When King Edward died in 1553, Elizabeth's older sister Mary assumed the throne. An ardent Catholic, Mary was quite unpopular with a number of Protestant noblemen, who attempted unsuccessfully to overthrow her in 1554. Once again Elizabeth was implicated, but once again she talked her way out of execution. Queen Mary died in 1558, and at last Elizabeth became Queen.

Queen Elizabeth I[]

Elizabeth was an extraordinary ruler. She established the Protestant Church as the official Church of England. However, she attempted to stem the persecution of Catholics in the country - at least as much as was possible when the Catholic nobility were actively plotting her demise. She also restored the debased currency of England, a step crucially necessary to restore the nation's flagging finances.

Elizabeth used all of the tools available to her to achieve her goals. She carefully crafted an image for herself as the "Virgin Queen," greatly increasing her popular support. She received countless offers of marriage from nobility and indeed from kings across Europe. But she accepted none of them, instead using her unmarried state to control her friends and foes alike; if one faction got too strong, she could drive them back into line by suggesting that she was considering marrying someone from an opposing faction.

Patron of the Arts[]

Elizabeth was a great patron of the arts, particularly music and literature. She made England a center of culture, where great artists like William Shakespeare flourished. During her reign the first English playhouse was built, followed shortly by others including Shakespeare's Globe. And in 1574 weekday performances were made legal. An admirer of poetry, Elizabeth wrote a number of noteworthy poems herself.

Foreign Relations[]

Militarily, Catholic Spain was England's greatest threat. Spain was the great continental power of the day, and its leader, King Philip, had upon more than one occasion expressed the intent of invading England. In 1588 he tried, building a huge armada to conquer the upstart nation. Elizabeth quickly organized the country's navy to fend off the fleet, and by a combination of superior tactics, ship design, and some foul weather at just the right moment, they defeated the Spanish foe. England was not to be seriously threatened with invasion for about 400 years.

During Elizabeth's reign England, France, Spain and the Dutch all set up colonies in the New World. Elizabeth employed a large number of privateers to attack foreign ships and colonies, as did most other nations. Spain and its New World wealth remained the privateers' favorite targets.

Overall, with the exception of her lucky triumph over the Spanish Armada, Elizabeth was not a successful war leader. She oversaw various half-baked military incursions into Ireland, France and the Netherlands, none of which redounded to her credit.

Judgment of History[]

Elizabeth died in 1603, having ruled 45 years. Although in her later years military and economic reversals had dimmed her luster to the point that many in England were relieved that she finally passed on, history acknowledges that she left her country in a much better state than when she came to power. Her great skills were an unerring survival instinct and flair for self-promotion, personal charisma, and toughness matching that of the strongest rulers in history. No better words can serve to describe her than her own: "I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king."

Trivia[]

A quote by Pope Sixtus V

"She is only a woman, only mistress of half an island, and yet she makes herself feared by Spain, by France, by the Empire, By all."

Poem by Queen Elizabeth

THE DOUBT OF FUTURE FOES
The doubt of future foes exiles my present joy,
And wit me warns to shun such snares as threaten mine annoy;
For falsehood now doth flow, and subjects' faith doth ebb,
Which should not be if reason ruled or wisdom weaved the web.
But clouds of joys untried do cloak aspiring minds,
Which turn to rain of late repent by changèd course of winds.
The top of hope supposed, the root of rue shall be,
And fruitless all their grafted guile, as shortly ye shall see.
The dazzled eyes with pride, which great ambition blinds,
Shall be unsealed by worthy wights whose foresight falsehood finds.
The daughter of debate that discord aye doth sow
Shall reap no gain where former rule still peace hath taught to know.
No foreign banished wight shall anchor in this port;
Our realm brooks not seditious sects, let them elsewhere resort.
My rusty sword through rest shall first his edge employ
To poll their tops that seek such change or gape for future joy.

Unique Components[]

Longbowman[]

The English longbow developed during the 12th century, as the English were fighting to conquer Wales. The longbow was made from yew or elm, and was five to seven feet in height (depending upon the height and strength of the user). The longbow was extremely difficult to master, but well-trained English longbowmen could shoot farther, faster and more accurately than the crossbowmen of the day. But this did require years of training. As the country's population grew the English wilderness was transformed into farmland. Opportunities for hunting disappeared and the English yeomen became less proficient with bow and arrow. This, more so even than the advent of gunpowder, led to the decline of the English longbow.

Ship of the Line[]

Ships of the line are the largest and most powerful sailing vessels ever built. They formed the backbone of Europe's great navies from the 17th to the mid 19th centuries. Ships of the line were named for the classic formation that these ships fought in. In battle, each side's ships would approach the enemy in a line, and as the opposing ships passed, each would let off a thundering broadside of cannon fire, doing horrific damage to the vessels and to those aboard her. Victory usually went to the side with the most cannon and the best-trained sailors. The English were masters at this form of warfare, and their ships of the line dominated the world's oceans for more than a century.


Advertisement