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An Overview of British History Timeline

banner of stonehenge for the british history timeline

While MythBank is primarily a place for ancient and modern mythologies, and not a history website, we do think that a basic understanding of history is important to the understanding of mythology and legends of that culture. This is the overview timeline of British history.

What’s important about the British history timeline?

British history is particularly important towards Arthurian and Celtic lore, as those legends were developed by the British throughout the ages. It is also related to Norse/Germanic mythology, as the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings were a huge part of the history of the British isles.

This timeline is a far cry from a comprehensive overview of British history, but it should give you the basic idea of the different eras and the most important events that took place. It covers time periods from pre-history all the way to the present.

#TimeDescriptionEra
1700,000 BCEFirst people migrate to Britain from Europe over land bridgePrehistoric Britain
225,000 BCEBritain is submerged in the Ice Age.Prehistoric Britain
312,000-8,500 BCEIce Age fades, forests grow in Britain, and humans recolonize the area.Prehistoric Britain
46,000 BCELand bridge connecting Britain to Europe dissappears.Prehistoric Britain
54,200 BCEFirst evidence of agriculture in Britain.Prehistoric Britain
63,000 BCEStone Age beginsPrehistoric Britain
72,800 BCEThe first phase of building Stonehenge begins.Prehistoric Britain
82,100 BCEBronze Age begins in BritainPrehistoric Britain
92,000 BCEStonehenge as it is currently known is completed.Prehistoric Britain
10750 BCEIron Age begins in Britain.Prehistoric Britain
11500 BCECeltic people and/or influence arrives in Britain from Central Europe around this time.Prehistoric Britain
1255 BCEJulius Caesar makes his first invasion of Britain but is forced to withdrawRoman Britain
1354 BCEJulius Caesar makes his second attempt to invade.Roman Britain
1443 CEThe Roman Invasion: parts of Britain officially join the Roman Empire after being conquered by Aulus Plautius.Roman Britain
1550 CELondinium or modern-day London is founded.Roman Britain
1661 CEBoudica leads a revolte with Iceni and is defeated.Roman Britain
1770 CEThe Romans conquer Wales and parts of the North.Roman Britain
18122-128 CEThe Roman Emperor Hadrian builds Hadrian's wall on the north border of the Empire in Britain.Roman Britain
19197 CEBritain is divided into Britannia Superior and Britannia Inferior.Roman Britain
20209 CESt. Alban is martyed, Britain's first Christian martyr.Roman Britain
21306 CEConstantine the Great is declared Emperor of the Roman Empire at YorkRoman Britain
22350 CEThe Picts and Scots attack.Roman Britain
23401-410 CEThe Romans withdraw from Britain and Anglo-Saxons begin to settle.Roman Britain
24450 CEFirst invasion of the Jutes, Angles, and Saxons from various Germanic countries. Britain divided into the Seven Kingdoms of Northumbria, Mercia, Anglia, Wessex Essex, Sussex, and Kent.Anglo-Saxon Britain
25450 CEQuasi-mythical Hengist and Horsa live in KentAnglo-Saxon Britain
26460 CESt. Patrick travels to Ireland to convert the populace.Anglo-Saxon Britain
27516 CEApproximate date of the Battle of Mount Badon, where an unknown leader (possibly the source of the Arthur legends) defeats and Angles and Saxons.Anglo-Saxon Britain
28597 CESt. Augustine brings Christianty to the Anglo-SaxonsAnglo-Saxon Britain
29600 CEÆthelberht becomes one of the most powerful kings in England.Anglo-Saxon Britain
30613 CEApproximate date when the Anglo-Saxons conquered most of Britain and divided it into 30 kingdoms.Anglo-Saxon Britain
31627 CEEdwin of Northumbria becomes the first Christian king in north England.Anglo-Saxon Britain
32779 CEKing Offa builds Offa's Dyke along the border between England and Wales.Anglo-Saxon Britain
33793 CEFirst recorded Viking attack in DorsetViking Age
34793 CEThe Vikings attack Lindisfarne, a monastery in Northumbria.Viking Age
35795 CEThe Vikings attack Iona, an island monastery in Scotland, the first of many attacks on the island.Viking Age
36829 CEEgbert subdues Mercia and Northumbria, gaining dominance among the Anglo-Saxon nations for Wessex.Viking Age
37843 CEScots and Picts unite into the first Kingdom of Scotland.Viking Age
38866-877 CEThe Invasion of the Great Danish ArmyViking Age
39867 CEThe Vikings capture York, which becomes Yorvik, the Viking capital in England.Viking Age
40878 CEKing Alfred goes into hiding in Somerset, he then defeats King Guthrum of the Vikings.Viking Age
41886 CEKing Alfred and the Vikings create a treaty that divided Briton between the Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings. Viking Age
42996 CEThe Anglo-Saxons reconquer the Danelaw, or the Viking territories.Viking Age
43927 CEYork is retaken for the Anglo-Saxons by Athelstan, king of Wessex. Athelstan becomes the first king of all England.Viking Age
44973 CEEdgar crowned king of England, two years before his death.Viking Age
45975 CEEdward, the oldest son of Edgar, crowned King of England, three years before his murder.Viking Age
461013 CEÆthelred the Unready is forced into exile by the Danish Swein Forkbeard. England comes under Danish control.Viking Age
471017 CECnut the Great is crowned king of England in London.Viking Age
481042 CEEdward the Confessor (Edward II) crowned king of England.Viking Age
491055 CEConstruction on Westminster Abbey is finished.Viking Age
501055 CEEdward the Confessor succeeded by Harold Godwinson, earl of Wessex.Viking Age
511066 CENorman Conquest: Anglo-Saxon king Harold II defeats the Vikings at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Is later defeated in the same year by William of Normandy at the Battle of Hastings.Norman Britain
521070 CEFirst Norman castle built in Wales, the first of many.Norman Britain
531070 CEConstruction on Canterbury Cathedral begins.Norman Britain
541077 CEThe Bayeux Tapestry (depicting the Battle of Hastings) is finished.Norman Britain
551078 CEConstruction on the Tower of London begins.Norman Britain
561085 CEThe Domesday Book, the most complete record of any country at the time, is completed.Norman Britain
571087 CEWilliam the Conqueror dies and is succeeded by his sone William II.Norman Britain
581096 CEOxford University is founded.Norman Britain
591100 CEWilliam II is killed, is succeeded by his brother Henry INorman Britain
601135 CEHenry's nephew, Stephen, succeeds the thrown after Henry's death, instead of Henry's pick for succession, his daughter Matilda.Norman Britain
611139 CEMatilda makes a claim to the throne but is unable to take it.Norman Britain
621154 CEMatilda's son, Henry II, accedes to the throne, ruling England and much of Wales and large sections of France.Norman Britain
631170 CEThomas Becket, the Archbishop fo Canterbury, is murdered by the knights of Henry II.Norman Britain
641189 CEHenry II dies and is succeeded by Richard I, his son.Norman Britain
651190 CERichard I joins the Third Crusade.Norman Britain
661199 CERichard I dies and is succeeded by his brother John.Norman Britain
671209 CEThe University of Cambridge is established by scholars who seperated themselves from Oxford.Norman Britain
681215 CEThe Magna Carta is signed by King John and his barons at Runnymede on the River Thames.Norman Britain
691216 CEHenry III is crowned king of EnglandNorman Britain
701272 CEHenry III is succeeded by his son Edward I, or Edward Longshanks, following his death.Norman Britain
711283 CEEdward I defeats the Welsh and kills the last Welsh Prince, Llywelyn ap Gruffyd.Norman Britain
721290 CEEdward I removes all Jews from the country.Norman Britain
731296 CEEdward I invades ScotlandNorman Britain
741297 CEThe Scots, under William Wallace, defeat the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.Norman Britain
751298 CEThe English beat the Scots at the Battle of Falkirk.Norman Britain
761305 CEWilliam Wallace is executed.Norman Britain
771306 CERobert the Bruce becomes King of the ScotsNorman Britain
781307 CEEdward I dies and is succeeded by his son, Edward II.Norman Britain
791314 CERobert the Bruce leads the Scots to defeat the English at the Battle of Bannockburn.Norman Britain
801315-1322 CEThe Great European FamineNorman Britain
811327 CEEdward III usurps the English throne.Norman Britain
821338 CEEdward III claims the throne of France. The beginning of the Hundred Years' War.Norman Britain
831338 - 1453 CEThe Hundred Years WarNorman Britain
841348 - 1349 CEThe Black Death wipes out nearly half of the population of Britain.Norman Britain
851377 CEEdward III is succeeded by Richard II upon his death. Richard II was only 10 years old.Norman Britain
861381 CEThe Peasants' RevoltNorman Britain
871387 CEGeoffrey Chaucer begins writing The Canterbury TalesNorman Britain
881399 CEHenry IV becomes King of England after usurping the throne from RIchard II.Norman Britain
891413 CEHenry IV is succeeded by Henry V upon his death.Norman Britain
901415 CEHenry V defeats the French in the Battle of AgincourtNorman Britain
911422 CEHenry VI becomes king after his father's sudden death. He was less than a year old and the country was temporarily governed by a Regency Council until 1437 CE.Norman Britain
921453 CEThe Hundred Years War ends.Norman Britain
931455 CEThe Battle of St. Albans marks the beginning of the War of the Roses.Norman Britain
941461 CEEdward IV becomes king and Henry VI and his wife Margaret flee to Scotland.Norman Britain
951470 CEHenry VI briefly recovers the throne.Norman Britain
961471 CEEdward IV becomes king again after Henry VI and his heir are murdered.Norman Britain
971477 CEThe first printed book is published by William Caxton.Norman Britain
981483 CEEdward V assumes the throne after the death of Edward IV. His reign is declared illegitimate by his uncle, Richard II, who then becomes King in the same year.Norman Britain
991485 CEHenry Tudor (Henry VII) defeats Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth, marking the end of the War of the Roses.Norman Britain
1001509 CEThe reign of Henry VIII begins following his father's death.Tudor Dynasty
1011533 CEHenry VIII marries Anne Bolyn after divorcing Catherin of AragonTudor Dynasty
1021534 CEHenry VIII forms the Church of England with himself as its head.Tudor Dynasty
1031547 CEHenry VIII dies and is succeeded by Edward VI at the age of nine.Tudor Dynasty
1041553 CEEdward VI dies at a young age and the throne goes to Lady Jane Grey for only a handful of days before popular support made Mary, Queen of Scots the new ruler of England.Tudor Dynasty
1051558 CEElizabeth I takes the throne after Mary dies.Tudor Dynasty
1061570 CESir Francis Drake takes off on his first voyage to the West Indies.Tudor Dynasty
1071588 CEThe English defeat the Spanish at the Battle of Gravelines.Tudor Dynasty
1081591 CEFirst performance of a play by Shakespeare.Tudor Dynasty
1091603 CEJames I is crowned as king of England and Scotland, finally uniting the two kingdoms.Stuart Dynasty
1101604 CEThe war with Spain ends, James brands himself as King of Great Britain.Stuart Dynasty
1111605 CEThe Gunpowder Plot: Guy Fawkes is found out before he can blow up Parliament.Stuart Dynasty
1121606 CEThe Union Jack adopted as the national flag.Stuart Dynasty
1131607 CEEngland establishes the first permanent colony in North America: Jamestown in Virginia.Stuart Dynasty
1141611 CEThe King James Bible is compiled and published.Stuart Dynasty
1151616 CEWilliam Shakespeare dies.Stuart Dynasty
1161624-1630 CEThere is another war with Spain.Stuart Dynasty
1171625 CECharles I acends to the throne after James I dies.Stuart Dynasty
1181626-1629 CEThere is a war with France.Stuart Dynasty
1191629 CECharles I dissolves parliament and begins 11 years of his own rule.Stuart Dynasty
1201641 CERebeliions break out in Ireland.Stuart Dynasty
1211642 CEDue to Charles I's repeated attempts to undermine parlianment, civil unrest leads to civil war.Stuart Dynasty
1221646 CECharles I surrenders to the Scots after they form an alliance with the Parliamentarians.Stuart Dynasty
1231649 CECharles I is executed. Britain temporarily becomes a republic for the next 11 years.Stuart Dynasty
1241649-1652 CEOliver Cromwell conquers Ireland and Scotland, defeating Charles II at the Battle of Worcester.Stuart Dynasty
1251653 CECromwell declares himself as "Lord Protector" essentially establishing himself as a new monarch.Stuart Dynasty
1261660 CECromwell dies and Charles II takes the throne, restoring the monarchy.Stuart Dynasty
1271664-1665 CEThe Great Plague kills a quarter of London's citizens.Stuart Dynasty
1281666 CEThe Great Fire of London destroyes two-thirds of the city.Stuart Dynasty
1291685 CECharles II dies and leaves the throne to James II.Stuart Dynasty
1301689 CEKing James II is overthrown in the Glorious Revolution, and William of Orange (William II) and his wife Mary II are declared king and queen.Stuart Dynasty
1311689 CEIntroduces the English bill of rights, establishing that the monarchs rule in parnership with Parliament.Stuart Dynasty
1321692 CEWilliam III massacres the Jacobites in Glencoe.Stuart Dynasty
1331694 CEThe Bank of England is formed.Stuart Dynasty
1341702 CEWilliam III dies and the throne goes to his sister-in-law Anne.Stuart Dynasty
1351707 CEEngland and Scotland are officially established as one country, Great Britain. The Scottish parliament is dissolved.Stuart Dynasty
1361710 CESt. Paul's Cathedral is completed by Sir Christopher WrenStuart Dynasty
1371714 CEGeorge I takes the thrown after Anne's death. She had no surviving children, so the crown went to the Hanover line.Stuart Dynasty
1381721 CESir RObert Walpole becomes the first British Prime Minister.Georgian Period
1391727 CEGeorge II takes the throne after his father's death.Georgian Period
1401739 CEBritain goes to war with Spain.Georgian Period
1411756-1763 CEThe Seven Year War with FranceGeorgian Period
1421759 CEJames Wolfe adds Canada to the British Empire after capturing Quebec.Georgian Period
1431760 CEGeorge III succeds his grandfather George II, upon his death.Georgian Period
1441769-1770James Cook discovers New Zealand and AustraliaGeorgian Period
1451773 CEThe Boston Tea Party: American revolutionaries throw British tea into the ocean as protest of taxes.Georgian Period
1461775 CEThe American War of Independence begins.Georgian Period
1471776 CEThe Declaration of Independence is written.Georgian Period
1481780s CEThe Industrial Revolution gets its start.Georgian Period
1491793 CEBritain declares war on France.Georgian Period
1501796 CEEdward Jenner invests the first vaccine against small pox.Georgian Period
1511800 CEAct of Union creates the United Kingdom.Georgian Period
1521805 CEThe Battle of Trafalgar: Lord Nelson defeats Napoleon.Georgian Period
1531815 CEDuke of Wellington defeats Napoleon at the Battle of WaterlooGeorgian Period
1541820 CEGeorge IV succeeds his father George III, after his death.Georgian Period
1551830 CEGeorge IV dies and is succeeded by his brother William IV.Georgian Period
1561837 CEWilliam IV dies and is succeeded by his niece, Queen Victoria.Victorian Period
1571838 CEBritain abolishes slavery.Victorian Period
1581838 CEThe first railway line into London opens.Victorian Period
1591845-1849 CEThe Great Potato Famine causes the death of 800,000 in Ireland, and the migration of many more.Victorian Period
1601854-1856 CEThe Crimean War: A fight between the Russians and an alliance of the British, French, and Turks.Victorian Period
1611858 CEIndia comes under direct British control.Victorian Period
1621859 CECharles Darwin publishes "On the Origin of Species."Victorian Period
1631861 CEQueen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, dies at 42. She would remain in mourning for the rest of her life.Victorian Period
1641863 CEThe London Underground opens.Victorian Period
1651869 CEThe first Sainsbury shop opens in Dury Lane, London.Victorian Period
1661876 CEAlexander Bell invents the telephone.Victorian Period
1671901 CEVictoria dies and is succeeded by her son Edward VII.Victorian Period
1681910 CEEdward VII dies and is succeeded by George V.The Modern Age
1691912 CEThe Titanic sinks.The Modern Age
1701914-1918 CEThe Great War (World War I)The Modern Age
1711918 CEThe Spanish Flu kills 200,000 people in Britain.The Modern Age
1721920 CEThe Republic of Ireland gains independence.The Modern Age
1731927 CEThe British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is created.The Modern Age
1741928 CEWomen older than 21 gain the right to vote.The Modern Age
1751928 CEThe discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming.The Modern Age
1761936 CEGeorge V dies and is succeeded by Edward VIII. He shortly therafter abdicates in order to marry the American Wallace Simpson. His brother George VI takes the throne.The Modern Age
1771939-1945 CEWorld War II.The Modern Age
1781940 CEWinston Churchill becomes prime minister.The Modern Age
1791947 CEIndia gains independence from Britain.The Modern Age
1801952 CEElizabeth II succeeds to the British throne after the death of her father, George VI.The Modern Age
1811957 CEGhana becomes the first British colony in Africa to gain independence.The Modern Age
1821965 CEThe death penalty is abolished.The Modern Age
1831967 CEAbortion and homosexuality are legalised.The Modern Age
1841979 CEMargaret Thatcher becomes Britain's first female prime minister.The Modern Age
1851982 CEThe Falklands War: Argentina invades the British territory of the Falkland Islands.The Modern Age
1861997 CEPrincess Diana dies in a car crash.The Modern Age
1872011 CEMarriage of Prince William to Catherine Middleton.The Modern Age