Timeline of English history

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 · 2nd · 3rd

1st century BC

55 BCRoman General Julius Caesar invades Great Britain for the first time, gaining a beachhead on the coast of Kent.
54 BCCaesar invades for the second time, gaining a third of the country. These two invasions are known as Caesar's invasions of Britain.

Centuries in 1st millennium: 1st · 2nd · 3rd · 4th · 5th · 6th · 7th · 8th · 9th · 10th

1st century

43Aulus Plautius leads an army of forty thousand to invade Great Britain. Emperor Claudius makes Britain a part of the Roman Empire. This is known as the Roman conquest of Britain.

| c 40 || || Cunobelinus is probably the most famous British King before the Roman occupation. He was a son of Tasciovanus and succeeded his father in the early first century, reigning until c. 40 CE. His first capital was Verulamium (St Albans) but he subsequently moved it to Colchester. Though his power base ws the Catuvellauni and the Trinovantes, his influence extended over a wide area, and his coins, of high quality, are found in north-east Kent, north Berkshire, Bedfordshire and in Cambridgeshire. Most of them carry on the obverse an ear of corn. Geoffrey de Monmouth, not the most reliable of sources, claimed that he was brought up by Augustus Caesar and Suetonius called him ‘Rex Brittonorum’.called him ‘Rex Brittonoru’. He seems to have been assertive in Britain but took care not to antagonise the Romans. A quarrel with his son Adminus, however, may have given the emperor Claudius the pretext for an expedition, which arrived in 43 AD, afrer Cunobelinus’s death.In Shakespeare’s Cymbeline the historical background, borrowed mainlyfrom Holinshed, is sketched in lightly. It has been suggested that the great tumulus at Lexden, near Colchester, might be his burial-place.

2nd century

3rd century

4th century

5th century

The Angles begin their invasion of England and establish tribal kingdoms on the east coast.[1]

6th century

7th century

8th century

Cuthred of Wessex fights the Cornish.

9th century

10th century

Centuries in 2nd millennium: 11th · 12th · 13th · 14th · 15th · 16th · 17th · 18th · 19th · 20th

11th century

1016Cnut the Great of Denmark becomes king of all England.
1043Edward the Confessor becomes king of all England.
1055The 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.
1086Work commenced on the Domesday Book.

12th century

1135The Anarchy began, a civil war resulting from a dispute over succession to the throne that lasted until 1153.
1138The Battle of the Standard, an engagement in which the English defeated an invading Scottish army led by King David I.[2]
1164The Constitutions of Clarendon, a set of laws which governed the trial of members of the Catholic Church in England, were issued.
1170Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket was assassinated.
1192Crusades: King Richard I was captured by Austrian Duke Leopold V, Duke of Austria while returning from the Holy Land.
1194Richard was ransomed and returned to England.

13th century

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

14th century

130523 AugustWilliam Wallace was executed by the English on a charge of treason.
131423 – 24 JuneBattle of Bannockburn: Scotland won a decisive victory over England.
13281 MayThe Treaty of Edinburgh–Northampton, under which England recognised Scottish independence, was signed.
1348The Black Death arrived in England.
135619 SeptemberBattle of Poitiers: Second of the three major battles of the Hundred Years' War took place near Poitiers, France.
137316 JuneThe Anglo-Portuguese Treaty of 1373 is signed, forming an alliance between England and Portugal, which is still an active treaty to this day.
1381May – JunePeasants' Revolt: Also called Wat Tyler's Rebellion or the Great Rising, was a major uprising across large parts of England led by Wat Tyler.
1395The Statute of Praemunire was issued.

15th century

140321 JulyBattle 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.[3]
141525 OctoberBattle 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.
145522 MayThe 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.
148522 AugustBattle 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.
148716 JuneBattle 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

1513Battle 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.
1521Lutheran writings begin to circulate in England.
1526Lord Chancellor Cardinal Thomas Wolsey ordered the burning of Lutheran books.
1533King 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.
1534Henry VIII issued the Act of Supremacy.
Henry VIII issued the Treasons Act 1534.
1535Thomas More and Cardinal John Fisher were executed.
1536William Tyndale was executed in Antwerp.
Henry VIII issued the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
1549Prayer Book Rebellion: A rebellion occurred in the southwest.
1553The Act Against Sectaries 1553 was issued.
1558Elizabeth I claims the throne of England and rules until 1603.
1559The Act of Supremacy 1559 was issued.
1571The Treasons Act 1571 was issued.
The Act Prohibiting Papal Bulls from Rome 1571 was issued.
1585The Roanoke Colony was founded in the Americas.
15888 AugustThe Spanish Armada was destroyed.
1589The English Armada (or Counter Armada) was defeated by Spain.
1593The Act Against Papists 1593 was issued.

17th century

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
16055 NovemberGunpowder 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.
1611Henry Hudson died.
161829 OctoberWalter Raleigh was executed.
1639Bishops' Wars: A war with Scotland began which would last until 1640.
1640Long Parliament: The Parliament was convened.
1642The English Civil War began (see timeline of the English Civil War).
1649JanuaryTrial and execution of Charles I
1649Interregnum began with the First Commonwealth
1653 - 1659the Protectorate under the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell and later (1658) his son Richard Cromwell
1659The Second Commonwealth brings with it a period of great political instability.
1660Restoration 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.
16662–5 SeptemberGreat Fire of London : A major conflagration that swept through the central parts of London.
1688Glorious Revolution:[4] 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).
1692-1693Salem 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 is founded.

18th century

1701The Act of Settlement 1701, which required the English monarch to be Protestant, was passed.
17028 MarchWilliam III died and was succeeded by Anne.
17044 AugustGibraltar was captured by a combined Dutch and English fleet under the command of Admiral of the Fleet George Rooke.
13 AugustBattle of Blenheim: A combined English and Dutch army under the command of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough defeated the French army in Bavaria.
170622 JulyThe Treaty of Union was agreed between representatives of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland.
1707The Acts of Union 1707 were passed in the Parliament of England and Parliament of Scotland, ratifying the Treaty of Union.
1 May
171311 April
17141 August
1744An attempted French invasion of southern England was stopped by storms.
175515 April
1765William Blackstone published his first volume of Commentaries on the Laws of England.
177519 April
17834 September

19th century

181916 August Peterloo Massacre: A massacre takes place.
185924 November On the Origin of Species is published
186310 January The first underground train goes into operation in London.
1870 30th February Religious dissenters and women are first allowed to enter the Universities of University of Oxford and Cambridge.

20th century

1912 AugustHarry Brearley invents Stainless Steel in Sheffield, Yorkshire.
196630 JulyEngland wins the FIFA World Cup, defeating West Germany in extra time at the original Wembley Stadium.
1979 4 May Margaret Thatcher becomes British prime minister. She was the longest-serving of the 20th century and the first woman to hold that office.
1982 11 OctoberThe Mary Rose was raised from the seabed.
198511 MayBradford 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.
1989 15 AprilHillsborough disaster in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, a fatal human crush during an FA Cup semi-final kills 96 and injures 766 people.
19968–30 JuneEngland hosts the UEFA Euro 1996 and reaches the Semi-Final.
1997 1 May Anthony Charles Lynton Blair "Tony Blair" becomes British prime minister. The Labour Party ended its eighteen-year spell in opposition.
1997 31 August In the early hours of 31 August 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales died in hospital after being injured in a car crash in a road tunnel in Paris, France.

21st century

Year Event
2003 England wins the Rugby World Cup defeating Australia on their home soil in extra time 20:17.
2004 The population of England reaches fifty million.
2005 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.
2012 The 2012 Summer Olympics are held in London, hosted at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.[5]
2014 The 2014 Tour de France starts in Yorkshire as part of a special edition.
2015 The Tour de Yorkshire is founded from the success of the 2014 Tour de France which started in Yorkshire for a special one time event.
2017 Westminster Attack: A 52-year-old Muslim convert drove a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, injuring 50 people, five of them fatally.
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 Attack: A van ran into pedestrians on London Bridge, eight people were killed and 48 were injured.
Grenfell Tower fire: 72 people die in an apartment tower in Kensington, London. the deadliest structural fire in the United Kingdom since the 1988. Public inquiry is ongoing.
2018 England reaches the semi-final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. The game is watched by 23 million people, and becomes the most watched event of the 21st century.
2019 The 2019 Tour de Yorkshire starts in Doncaster and ends in Leeds.
England wins the first ever one day international cricket cup in the captaincy of Eoin Morgan.
2020 England will host the finals stage of the UEFA Euro 2020.

See also

City and town timelines
County timelines


    1. "Angle". Encyclopedia Britannica.
    2. "The Anarchy: Battle of the Standard". About.
    3. English Heritage (1995). "English Heritage Battlefield Report: Shrewsbury 1403" (PDF). Retrieved 22 August 2011.
    4. Name of the Glorious Revolution in the languages of Britain and Ireland:
    5. "London 2012 Summer Olympics - results & video highlights". International Olympic Committee. 20 November 2018. Retrieved 17 May 2019.

    Further reading


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