Timeline of English history

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This is a timeline of English history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in England and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of England.

Millennia: 1st BC · 1st–2nd · 3rd

1st century BC

Year Date Event
55 BC Roman General Julius Caesar invaded Great Britain for the first time, gaining a beachhead on the coast of Kent.
54 BC Caesar invaded for the second time, gaining a third of the country. These two invasions are known as Caesar's invasions of Britain.

Centuries: 1st · 2nd · 3rd · 4th · 5th · 6th · 7th · 8th · 9th · 10th · 11th · 12th · 13th · 14th · 15th · 16th · 17th · 18th · 19th · 20th

1st century

Year Date Event
43 Aulus Plautius led an army of forty thousand invading Great Britain. Emperor Claudius makes Britain a part of the Roman Empire. This is known as the Roman conquest of Britain. It was the Romans who invaded Britain before the Saxons.

2nd century

3rd century

4th century

Year Date Event
368 Great Conspiracy: A year-long series of raids by the Picts and Saxons began, which forced the Roman abandonment of Hadrian's Wall and caused the death of their military commander Fullofaudes.
383 Romans began to withdraw from Great Britain.

5th century

Year Date Event
410 Picts from the north, Gaels from the west and the Saxons, who had been a nuisance to the Romans for 50 years, attacked the unprotected British Celts.
450 The Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and Frisians began to occupy Great Britain. Led by Hengist. (Marks the beginning of Old English)

6th century

Year Date Event
500 Beginning of Heptarchy (Seven kingdoms Kent, Essex, Sussex, Wessex, East Anglia, Mercia, and Northumbria.)
597 Saint Augustine of Canterbury arrived in England to begin the conversion of the English, by baptising King Ethelbert of Kent, thus introducing the influence of Latin.

7th century

Year Date Event
664 The Synod of Whitby aligned the English with Roman rather than Celtic Christianity. (How to celebrate holidays such as Easter and perform practices within the Church.)

8th century

Year Date Event
716 Æthelbald becomes King of Mercia, marking the beginning of that kingdom's ascendancy over the other Saxon realms.
730 The venerable Bede produced the ecclesiastical history of the English people.
757 Offa becomes King of Mercia, to rule until 796.
787 The Scandinavian invasion began with raids along the northeast sea coast.
793 Vikings raided Lindisfarne.

9th century

Year Date Event
825 Battle of Ellendun: King Egbert of Wessex defeats the Mercians, ending the Mercian Supremacy.
842 Vikings raid London, Rochester, and Southampton.
878 Battle of Ethandun: A Viking defeat took place which would result in the Treaty of Wedmore and the establishment of the Danelaw.
895 A Danish fleet was captured by Alfred the Great.

10th century

Year Date Event
910 5 August Battle of Tettenhall
927 Æthelstan unites the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy into the Kingdom of England.
937 Battle of Brunanburh
980 Vikings begin a new wave of raids on England.
991 10 August Battle of Maldon: Danes defeat the English army. Payment of Danegold.

11th century

Year Date Event
1016 Cnut the Great of Denmark becomes king of all England.
1043 Edward the Confessor becomes king of all England.
1055 The Great Schism/Split of the Roman Catholic Church
1066 Battle of Fulford: English forces were defeated by Norse invaders in northeastern England.
Battle of Stamford Bridge: The remaining Norse under Harald Hardrada were defeated by the bulk of England's army under the command of its king.
Battle of Hastings: England's remaining forces were defeated by invaders from Normandy. This was known as the Norman Conquest, which caused William the Conqueror to be crowned king of England and permanently changed the English language and culture.
1086 Work commenced on the Domesday Book.

12th century

Year Date Event
1135 The Anarchy began, a civil war resulting from a dispute over succession to the throne that lasted until 1153.
1138 The Battle of the Standard, an engagement in which the English defeated an invading Scottish army led by King David I.[5]
1164 The Constitutions of Clarendon, a set of laws which governed the trial of members of the Catholic Church in England, were issued.
1170 Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket was assassinated.
1192 Crusades: King Richard I was captured by Austrian Duke Leopold V, Duke of Austria while returning from the Holy Land.
1194 Richard was ransomed and returned to England.

13th century

Year Date Event
1209 King John was excommunicated from the Catholic Church by Pope Innocent III.
1215 The Magna Carta was signed.
1237 The Treaty of York was signed, fixing the border between Scotland and England.
1264 Battle of Lewes: Rebel English barons led by Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester defeated King Henry III.
1267 Henry recognised the authority of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd in Gwynedd.
1277 England annexed Gwynedd.
1279 The Statute of Mortmain was issued.
1287 Rhys ap Maredudd led a revolt against English rule in Wales.
1294 Madog ap Llywelyn led a revolt against English rule in Wales.
1297 Battle of Stirling Bridge: The Scots, led by William Wallace, defeated the English.

14th century

Year Date Event
1305 23 August William Wallace was executed by the English on a charge of treason.
1314 23 – 24 June Battle of Bannockburn: Scotland won a decisive victory over England.
1328 1 May The Treaty of Edinburgh–Northampton, under which England recognised Scottish independence, was signed.
1348 The Black Death arrived in England.
1356 19 September Battle of Poitiers: Second of the three major battles of the Hundred Years' War took place near Poitiers, France.
1373 16 June The Anglo-Portuguese Treaty of 1373 is signed, forming an alliance between England and Portugal, which is still an active treaty to this day.
1381 May – June Peasants' Revolt: Also called Wat Tyler's Rebellion or the Great Rising, was a major uprising across large parts of England led by Wat Tyler.
1395 The Statute of Praemunire was issued.

15th century

Year Date Event
1403 21 July Battle of Shrewsbury was a battle waged between an army led by the Lancastrian King, Henry IV, and a rebel army led by Henry "Harry Hotspur" Percy from Northumberland.[6]
1415 25 October Battle of Agincourt was a major English victory in the Hundred Years' War[a]that occurred on Saint Crispin's Day, near modern-day Azincourt, in northern France.
1455 22 May The start of the Wars of the Roses a civil war for control of the throne of England between the House of York in Yorkshire and House of Lancaster in Lancashire.
1485 22 August Battle of Bosworth Field (Battle of Bosworth): the last significant battle of the Wars of the Roses, the civil war between the Houses of Lancaster and York. Richard III, the last Plantagenet king was killed, succeeded by Henry VII.
1487 16 June Battle of Stoke was the decisive engagement in an attempt by leading Yorkists to unseat Henry VII of England in favour of the pretender Lambert Simnel.
1491 28 June King Henry VIII is born in the Palace of Placentia

16th century

Year Date Event
1513 Battle of Flodden Field: Invading England, King James IV of Scotland and thousands of other Scots were killed in a defeat at the hands of the English.
1521 Lutheran writings begin to circulate in England.
1526 Lord Chancellor Cardinal Thomas Wolsey ordered the burning of Lutheran books.
1533 King Henry VIII severed ties with the Catholic Church and declared himself head of the church in England.
Henry's wife Anne Boleyn gives birth on September 7th to a daughter, Elizabeth, who will become Queen Elizabeth I in 1558.
1534 Henry VIII issued the Act of Supremacy.
Henry VIII issued the Treasons Act 1534.
1535 Thomas More and Cardinal John Fisher were executed.
1536 William Tyndale was executed in Antwerp.
Henry VIII issued the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
1549 Prayer Book Rebellion: A rebellion occurred in the southwest.
1553 The Act Against Sectaries 1553 was issued.
1558 Elizabeth I claims the throne of England and rules until 1603.
1559 The Act of Supremacy 1559 was issued.
1571 The Treasons Act 1571 was issued.
The Act Prohibiting Papal Bulls from Rome 1571 was issued.
1585 The Roanoke Colony was founded in the Americas.
1588 8 August The Spanish Armada was destroyed.
1589 The English Armada (or Counter Armada) was defeated by Spain.
1593 The Act Against Papists 1593 was issued.

17th century

Year Date Event
1601 Catholic plot against the Earl of Essex Includes some of the plotters from the gunpowder plot
1603 King James VI of Scotland ascends to the English throne, becoming James I of England and uniting the crowns - but not the parliaments - of the two kingdoms
1605 5 November Gunpowder Plot: A plot in which Guy Fawkes and other Catholic associates conspired to blow up King James VI and I and the Parliament of England was uncovered.
1607 14 May Jamestown was founded in the Virginia Colony and was the first permanent English colony in the Americas.
1611 Henry Hudson died.
1618 29 October Walter Raleigh was executed.
1639 Bishops' Wars: A war with Scotland began which would last until 1640.
1640 Long Parliament: The Parliament was convened.
1642 The English Civil War began (see timeline of the English Civil War).
1649 January Trial and execution of Charles I
1649 Interregnum began with the First Commonwealth
1653 - 1659 the Protectorate under the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell and later (1658) his son Richard Cromwell
1659 Second Commonwealth a period of great political instability
1660 Restoration of the monarchy: After a chaotic short revival of the Commonwealth of England, the monarchy was restored in May 1660, after agreeing to the Declaration of Breda, largely through the initiative of General George Monck.
1666 2–5 September Great Fire of London : A major conflagration that swept through the central parts of London.
1688 Glorious Revolution:[7] Also called the Revolution of 1688, was the overthrow of James II by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange-Nassau (William of Orange).
1692-1693 Salem Witch Trials, More than 200 people accused; 20 of which were executed (19 by hanging, 1 being pressed to death). Many accused died in jail awaiting trial.
1694 27 July The Bank of England was founded.

18th century

Year Date Event
1701 The Act of Settlement 1701, which required the English monarch to be Protestant, was passed.
1702 8 March William III died and was succeeded by Anne.
1704 4 August Gibraltar was captured by a combined Dutch and English fleet under the command of Admiral of the Fleet George Rooke.
13 August Battle of Blenheim: A combined English and Dutch army under the command of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough defeated the French army in Bavaria.
1706 22 July The Treaty of Union was agreed between representatives of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland.
1707 The Acts of Union 1707 were passed in the Parliament of England and Parliament of Scotland, ratifying the Treaty of Union.
1 May The Kingdom of Great Britain came into being.[8][9][10][11]
1713 11 April Signing of the Treaty of Utrecht ends the War of the Spanish Succession.
1714 1 August Queen Anne dies. Accession of George I, Elector of Hanover.
1719 Battle of Glen Shiel: A Spanish invasion force and their Jacobite allies were defeated.
1744 An attempted French invasion of southern England was stopped by storms.
1755 15 April Samuel Johnson published his A Dictionary of the English Language.
1764 The Castle of Otranto was written, which was the first ever story classed as a gothic horror story.
1765 William Blackstone published his first volume of Commentaries on the Laws of England.
1775 19 April American War of Independence begins.
1779 The world's first iron bridge was built in Shropshire.
1783 4 September American War of Independence ends with Treaty of Paris.

19th century

Year Date Event
1805 Naval Battle of Trafalgar 21 October.
1807 The Slave Trade Act 1807 was passed.
1815 Napoleonic Wars: The Napoleonic Wars ended. Battle of Waterloo on 18 June.
1819 Peterloo Massacre: A massacre took place.
1825 The Stockton and Darlington railway, the world's first public passenger railway, opened.
1829 The Catholic Relief Act 1829 was passed.
1832 The Great Reform Act was passed, doubling the franchise.
1834 The New Poor Law was passed.
1837 Reign of Queen Victoria began
1838 The Slavery Abolition Act 1833 entered into force.
The Chartism movement began.
1842 The first peacetime income tax was introduced.
1846 The Corn Laws were repealed.
1848 The Communist Manifesto was published.
The Chartism movement ended.
1859 On the Origin of Species was published
1863 The first underground train went into operation in London.
1867 The 1867 Reform Act doubled the franchise.
1868 The last public execution was carried out.
1870 The Education Act 1870 was passed, introducing universal education.
Religious dissenters and women were first allowed to enter the Universities of University of Oxford and Cambridge.
1880 The Elementary Education Act 1880 was passed, making primary schooling compulsory and extending it to girls.
1884 The Reform Act 1885 was passed.
1896 The Daily Mail was first published.

20th century

Year Date Event
1901 22 January Queen Victoria by Bassano.jpg Queen Victoria dies, Accession of Edward VII.
1902 12 July Gws balfour 02.jpg Arthur Balfour becomes Prime Minister.
1902 9 August Edward VII and Alexandra coronation portraits.jpg Coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra
1905 5 December Picture of Henry Campbell-Bannerman.jpg Henry Campbell-Bannerman becomes Prime Minister.
1908 5 April Herbert Henry Asquith.jpg H. H. Asquith becomes Prime Minister.
1910 6 May Edward VII in coronation robes.jpg King Edward VII dies, Accession of George V.
1911 22 June King George V 1911.jpg Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary
1912 14-15 April Whitestarline.svg English ship RMS Titanic sinks after hitting an iceberg, 1500+ people die.
1912 August FagerstaRAÄ2.jpg Harry Brearley invents Stainless Steel in Sheffield, Yorkshire.
1914 4 August MinistryofDefence.svg World War I: Great Britain declares war on Germany.
1916 6 December David Lloyd George.jpg David Lloyd George becomes Prime Minister.
1918 6 February Crowned Portcullis.svg Women get the vote for the first time, women over the age of 30 who met a property qualification could vote as a result of the Representation of the People Act 1918.
1918 1 April RAF-Badge.svg the Royal Air Force is founded, becoming the first independent air force in the world.
1918 11 November MinistryofDefence.svg World War I ended.
1922 22 October BBC.svg The BBC (British Broadcasting Service) is founded.
1922 23 October Andrew Bonar Law 02.jpg Bonar Law becomes Prime Minister.
1923 22 May Stanley Baldwin ggbain.35233.jpg Stanley Baldwin becomes Prime Minister for 1st time.
1924 22 January Ramsay MacDonald ggbain 35734.jpg Ramsay MacDonald becomes Prime Minister for 1st time.
1924 4 November Stanley Baldwin ggbain.35233.jpg Stanley Baldwin becomes Prime Minister for 2nd time.
1928 2 July Crowned Portcullis.svg Women receive the right to vote on the same terms as men (over the age of 21) as a result of the Representation of the People Act 1928.
1929 5 June Ramsay MacDonald ggbain 35734.jpg Ramsay MacDonald becomes Prime Minister for 2nd time.
1934 30 November A3 60103 Flying Scotsman at Locomotion on 30 July 2018.jpg The LNER Class A3 4472 Flying Scotsman built in Doncaster becomes the first steam locomotive to reach 100 mph (160 km/h).
1935 7 June Stanley Baldwin ggbain.35233.jpg Stanley Baldwin becomes Prime Minister for 3rd time.
1936 20 January Arms of the United Kingdom.svg King George V dies, Accession of Edward VIII.
1936 5–31 October Flag of England.svg The Jarrow March protest.
1936 10 December Arms of the United Kingdom.svg King Edward VIII abdicates the throne to over his proposal to marry a divorced American woman, Accession of George VI.
1937 12 May King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.jpg Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
1937 28 May Neville chamberlain1921.jpg Neville Chamberlain becomes Prime Minister.
1938 3 July Number 4468 Mallard in York.jpg The LNER Class A4 4468 Mallard built in Doncaster breaks the land speed record for the fastest steam locomotive, reaching 203 km/h (126 mph), the record still stands.
1939 3 September MinistryofDefence.svg British entry into World War II.
1940 10 May Sir Winston Churchill - 19086236948.jpg Sir Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister.
1945 8 May MinistryofDefence.svg World War II ended in Europe.
1945 26 July Clement Attlee.jpg Clement Attlee becomes Prime Minister.
1948 5 July NHS-Logo.svg The National Health Service was founded bringing state funded healthcare to all.
1948 29 Jul – 14 Aug Olympic rings without rims.svg London, England hosts the 1948 Summer Olympics
1951 26 October Sir Winston Churchill - 19086236948.jpg Sir Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister again.
1952 6 February Arms of the United Kingdom.svg Death of King George VI. Accession of Queen Elizabeth II.
1954 6 May The Grandstand at the Sir Roger Bannister running track.jpg Roger Bannister breaks the Four-minute mile with a time of 3:59.4
1953 2 June Elizabeth II & Philip after Coronation.JPG Coronation of Elizabeth II
1955 6 April Anthony Eden.jpg Anthony Eden becomes Prime Minister
1957 10 January Harold Macmillan in 1942.jpg Harold Macmillan becomes Prime Minister.
1963 19 October Alec Douglas-Home (c1963).jpg Alex Douglas-Home becomes Prime Minister and lasts only 363 days.
1964 16 October Harold Wilson 1 Allan Warren.jpg Harold Wilson becomes Prime Minister.
1965 24 January Crowned Portcullis.svg Death of Winston Churchill.
1966 30 July Flag of England.svg England wins the FIFA World Cup, defeating West Germany in extra time at the original Wembley Stadium.
1970 19 June Edward Heath 4 Allan Warren.jpg Edward Heath becomes Prime Minister.
1971 15 February Decimal Day, the United Kingdom introduces a decimalised currency.
1973 1 January Flag of Europe.svg Joined European Union.
1974 4 March Harold Wilson 1 Allan Warren.jpg Harold Wilson becomes Prime Minister again.
1976 5 April James Callaghan.JPG James Callaghan becomes Prime Minister.
1978 25 July Flag of England.svg Louise Brown becomes the first Human in history to be born via In vitro fertilisation.
1979 4 May Margaret Thatcher.png Margaret Thatcher becomes first female Prime Minister.
1981 29 July Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer
1982 21 June Arms of the United Kingdom.svg Birth of Prince William of Wales.
1982 2 April – 14 June MinistryofDefence.svg The Falklands War is fought against Argentina. British victory, United Kingdom reclaim the Falkland Islands
1982 11 October AnthonyRoll-2 Mary Rose.jpg The Mary Rose was raised from the seabed.
1984 6 March The UK miners' strike (1984–85), major strike and protest action to prevent Margaret Thatcher's government from closing down the British coal mining industry, it lasted until March 3, 1985.
1985 11 May Bradford City stadium fire, the main stand of Valley Parade in Bradford, West Yorkshire catches fire and destroys the whole stadium during a match with 18,000 spectators, 56 die with hundreds suffering serious injury.
1986 25 December The Christmas 1986 episode of Soap Opera EastEnders becomes the most watched programme in the United Kingdom with a viewing of 30.1 Million viewers.
1989 March NeXTcube first webserver.JPG Tim Berners-Lee invents the World Wide Web.
1989 15 April Hillsborough disaster in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, a fatal human crush during an FA Cup semi-final kills 96 and injures 766 people.
1990 28 November John Major 1996.jpg John Major becomes Prime Minister.
1991 18 May Dr. Helen Sharman.jpg Helen Sharman becomes the first British person and first European woman in space.
1994 6 May Flag of England.svg The Channel Tunnel opened.
1996 8-30 June England hosts the UEFA Euro 1996 and reaches the Semi-Final.
1997 2 May Tony Blair crop.jpg Tony Blair becomes Prime Minister.
1997 31 August Diana, Princess of Wales 1997 (2).jpg Princess Diana dies due to a traffic collision in Paris.

21st century

Year Date Event
2002 9 February Princess Margaret.jpg Princess Margaret dies.
2002 30 March Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother portrait.jpg Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother dies aged 101.
2003 MinistryofDefence.svg The United Kingdom, alongside the US, invades Iraq.
2003 22 November England won the Rugby World Cup defeating Australia on their home soil in extra time 20:17
2004 Flag of England.svg The population of England reaches fifty million.
2005 7 July Russell square ambulances.jpg A series of co-ordinated terrorist bombings strikes London's public transport system during the morning rush hour, killing more than fifty people and injuring hundreds.
2007 27 June Gordon Brown official.jpg Gordon Brown becomes Prime Minister.
2010 11 May David Cameron official.jpg David Cameron becomes Prime Minister.
2011 29 April All smiles Wedding of Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton.jpg Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton
2012 25 July – 12 August Olympic rings without rims.svg London hosts the Olympic Games for the third time.
2014 13 March Gay flag.svg Same-sex marriage is legalized in the United Kingdom.
2014 5 July FlagOfYorkshire.svg The 2014 Tour de France starts in Yorkshire as part of a special edition.
2014 18 September Flag of Scotland.svg The 2014 Scottish independence referendum takes place, Scotland decides to remain part of the United Kingdom.
2015 9 September Queen Elizabeth II in March 2015.jpg Queen Elizabeth II becomes longest-reigning UK monarch.
2016 23 June Flag of Europe.svg The United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union.
2016 13 July Theresa May portrait.jpg Theresa May becomes the second female Prime Minister of the UK.
2016 21 August Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Great Britain ranks 2nd on the 2016 Summer Olympics medal table with 27 Gold Medals, the best result since 1908.
2017 22 March – 3 June Parliament at Sunset.JPG Westminster Attack: A 52-year-old Muslim convert drove a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, injuring 50 people, five of them fatally.
Manchester Evening News Arena - geograph.org.uk - 1931437.jpg Manchester Arena Bombing: A suicide bombing was carried out at Manchester Arena after a concert by American singer Ariana Grande, killing 22 civilians.
London Bridge (9691084663).jpg London Bridge Attack: A van ran into pedestrians on London Bridge, eight people were killed and 48 were injured.
2018 19 May Combined Coat of Arms of Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.svg Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
2018 11 July England reach the Semi-Final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, it is watched by 23 million people, the most watched event of the 21st century.
2019 29 March Flag of Europe.svg The United Kingdom is scheduled to officially leave the European Union.
2019 30 May – 14 July England will host the 2019 Cricket World Cup
2020 12 July England will host the finals stage of the UEFA Euro 2020.

See also

City timelines
County timelines


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Palmer, Alan & Veronica (1992). The Chronology of British History. London: Century Ltd. pp. 20–22. ISBN 0-7126-5616-2.
  2. ^ "Journey Beyond the Edge of the Known World: Making The Eagle". Focus Features.
  3. ^ a b c British History Timeline, BBC
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Palmer, Alan & Veronica (1992). The Chronology of British History. London: Century Ltd. pp. 22–24. ISBN 0-7126-5616-2.
  5. ^ "The Anarchy: Battle of the Standard". About.
  6. ^ English Heritage (1995). "English Heritage Battlefield Report: Shrewsbury 1403" (PDF). Retrieved 22 Aug 2011.
  7. ^ Name of the Glorious Revolution in the languages of Britain and Ireland:
  8. ^ Acts of Union 1707 parliament.uk, accessed 13 September 2011
  9. ^ Making the Act of Union 1707 scottish.parliament.uk, accessed 13 September 2011
  10. ^ England – Profile BBC, 13 September 2011
  11. ^ The Creation of the United Kingdom of great britain in 1707 Archived 15 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine Historical Association, accessed 13 September 2011

Further reading