England

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History of England The Ice Age ended about 8000 BC, during which the Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons lived in Great Britain. Because of the melting ice the water level rose and the English Channel was created, making Great Britain an island. The Middle Stone Age passed in this new forest and swamp, followed by the New Stone Age when the practice of farming began. During this period a lot of new people came to Britain. By 2500 BC the Beaker people had moved there. They were named after their pottery, and noted for their bronze tools and huge stone monuments, like Stonehenge. These Monuments prove they had an excellent economic organization as well as their technical skill and ability. Around 1000 BC the Celts took over the British Isles, they also took over most of western Europe. Because of their iron plows, iron weapons, and horse-drawn chariots, they were able to take over the inhabitants of the islands. Their priests dominated their society. King Alfred became king of Wessex in one of England's darkest hours. The Danes, viking forces that had raided the English coasts in the 8th century, planned to take over England. All that stood in their way were Wessex and Alfred. After Alfred's victory at Edington in 878 AD he made the Danish king Guthrum accept baptism and a division of England took place. The two parts were Wessex and Danelaw. By creating a navy, reorganizing the militia, allowing warriors to switch between farming and fighting, and building forts, Alfred was able to take over London and begin to take over tthe Danish. The battel to take over the Danish was completed by Alfred's son, Edward the Elder, and by his grandson Athelstan. Athelstan won a battle at Brunanburth in 937 AD and most of the rest of the century was peaceful. Saint Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury was able to restore the Church. The conquest of the Danelaw meant the creation of unified government for all of England. Despite this the Danish invasions came again during Ethelred II's reign. In 1154 Henry II took the throne. During his reign he strengthened the government, developed the common law, created the grand jury, and attempted to reduce the jurisdiction of church courts. He was opposed by Thomas Becket, his former chancellor, who King Henry had made archbishop. His anger at Becket led to his murder. His empire included half of France and lordship over Ireland and Scotland.

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