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The nation of England is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by Wales and Scotland to the west and to the north. The Celtic Sea is southwest while the Irish Sea is northwest. The national language is English and the official religion is the Church of England.

This history of England begins in 43 AD when Julius Caesar led his third expedition to Britain. This time, the Romans landed in Kent and beat two armies led by two tribe leaders. They built a bridge across the Thames River and founded London in 50 AD. Though we don't know the exact year, Christianity was introduced to Britain some time before the fourth century.

The Roman army left Britain in 407, and Britain, exposed and vulnerable without the army, was often invaded at various times by the Saxons, Jutes, Angles, and Frisians. Some of them ended up settling in the so-called Seven Kingdoms in the eastern portion of Britain. Together, these new settlers, particularly the Angles and the Saxons, were referred to as Anglo-Saxons.

In about 577, the Saxons bested the Romano-Celts, capturing British cities including Bath and Gloucester and many settled in the area.

In 597, St. Augustine was sent by Pope Gregory to convert the Saxons, and in 601, he was appointed the first Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Vikings first arrived in Britain and sacked the monastery at Lindisfarne in 793. The Danes invaded eastern Britain in 865, ending up in control of London. The Middle Ages were a long series of wars, battles, and new kings, including the victory of the Scottish in the 1314 Battle of Bannockburn in which they devastated England and secured their independence.

In 1509, when his father died, Henry VIII became the king of England. Soon after his ascension to the throne, he married his brother Prince Arthur's widow, Catherine of Aragon. In 1527, with no male heirs, Henry grew unhappy and developed a crush on Anne Boleyn. He was unable to get an annulment from the Pope, so the Catholic Church would not recognize any marriage if he did divorce her. The penalty for heresy, which a remarriage would be without the Pope's permission for an annulment, was death.

In 1533, Henry secretly married a pregnant Anne Boleyn. Legally, he was still married to Catherine, but he convinced himself that it was never a marriage, so that marriage was invalid. In May, the Archbishop declared the marriage to Catherine invalid.

In 1534, his appeals exhausted, Henry declared himself the supreme head of the Church of England. This event was one of the reasons for the English Reformation.

By April 1536, Henry's affections fell upon Jane Seymour. Anne had given birth to one child (a girl) and one miscarriage, and Henry was unhappy. On May 2, she and her brother were arrested on trumped up charges: adultery, incest, and plotting to murder the king. Her brother was executed on May 17, and she was beheaded on May 19.

Henry and Jane were married on May 30, 1536, and she gave birth to their son Edward on October 23, 1537. She died the next day.

It was more than two years after Jane's death that Henry married Anne of Cleves. He decided to marry her based only on a portrait painted of her, and he was already unhappy with this marriage before he walked down the aisle. They had different interests, and he found her quite unattractive. It was reported that he called her a "Flanders mare." And if all that weren't bad enough, Henry already had his eye on Kathryn Howard. Anne testified that their marriage was never consummated, allowing Henry to get an annulment. She was given a castle and the honorary title of "the King's sister."

Kathryn Howard was the first cousin of Anne Boleyn, and she married Henry sixteen days after he was rid of Anne of Cleves. It was 1540, and Henry was 49, and his new wife was no older than 19. Months later, there were rumors of her affairs. It was found that she had been promiscuous before her marriage and had many liaisons after the wedding. She was beheaded on February 13, 1542.

Katherine Parr, a young widow, twice, by the age of 31. She was noticed by the king as well as by Jane Seymour's brother Thomas Seymour. She expressed her intentions to marry Thomas, but Henry requested that she marry him, and Katherine agreed. They were married on July 12 with 20 people in attendance. Henry VIII died in January of 1547. Katherine survived.

The Kingdom of England was no longer a separate sovereign state as of 1707 when the Acts of Union went into effect the terms in the Treaty of Union which mandated a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to establish the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain joined with the Kingdom of Ireland via another Act of Union becoming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1922, the Irish Free State seceded from he United Kingdom, and the UK was renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.


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