Tudor Visual Culture

The accession of Henry VII as the first Tudor king is generally considered the end of the Middle Ages in England. By Dr. Libby Karlinger EscobedoArt Historian Introduction The Tudor age spans 118 years and the reigns of five monarchs. The first Tudor king, Henry VII, ascended the throne following a period of dispute between[…]

Shakespeare in Plague-Ridden London

Despite the plague’s high contagiousness and terrifying symptoms, life in Elizabethan England went on. By Lindsey Rachel Hunt William Shakespeare died 400 years ago, in April of 2016. But, thanks to the plague’s many sweeps through London, he could have actually died much, much sooner. While the plague hit London particularly hard in 1665, it[…]

Consequences and Effects of the Wars of the Roses

The Wars of the Roses displayed an ever-increasing tendency to use violence to achieve political aims. Introduction The Wars of the Roses (1455-1487 CE) was a dynastic conflict where the nobility and monarchs of England intermittently battled for supremacy over a period of four decades. Besides the obvious consequences of Lancastrian and Yorkist kings swapping[…]

The Name of the Rose: ‘Wars of the Roses’ in Late Medieval England

Regicide had become a shocking but not unsuccessful political strategy. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction The Wars of the Roses (1455-1487 CE) was a dynastic conflict between the English nobility and monarchy which led to four decades of intermittent battles, executions, and murder plots. The elite of England was split into two camps with each centred around a branch of[…]

Mad King George and the Fall of Monarchy in America

While tremendously popular in Britain, George was hated by rebellious American colonists. Introduction George III (George William Frederick; June 4, 1738 – January 29, 1820) was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from October 25, 1760 until January 1, 1801, and thereafter King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until[…]

‘Free-and-Easy,’ ‘Japaneasy’: British Perceptions and the 1885 Japanese Village

Examining press reviews and accounts of the Japanese Village in London from newspapers and periodicals in 1885. Although writers in 1885 were fairly confident that they “knew” the Japanese culture, they had only a superficial understanding of it, and they often depicted Japanese people as simple, coarse, and inferior. These writings largely reflect British feelings[…]

Mobile Cinema: The British Empire’s Propaganda Tool for ‘Primitive Peoples’

In the dying days of empire, the British financed a global cinema service. Introduction It’s 1945. A mobile cinema van drives into a village in Ghana. Word spreads, music plays and a crowd gathers. The travelling commentator gives local chiefs a tour of the equipment, showing off this latest British technology, and explains the aims[…]

Imperialists Like Us: British Pamphlet Propaganda in the Great War

Empire was a consistent theme in these hundreds of pamphlets. In the Great War, the British government modernised and systematised propaganda for the first time. From the beginning in 1914, it aimed not only at domestic and enemy audiences, but also at the most powerful neutral country: the United States. The Propaganda Bureau, operating secretly[…]

Hadrian’s Wall: Protecting Southern Britannia from Northern Pictish Tribes

A significant portion of the wall still exists, particularly the mid-section, and for much of its length the wall can be followed on foot. Introduction Hadrian’s Wall (Latin: Rigore Valli Aeli, “the line along Hadrian’s frontier”) is a stone and turf fortification built by the Roman Empire across the width of what is now modern-day[…]

“Theire Soe Admirable Herbe”: How the English Found Cannabis

First encountered in the 17th century in the form of bhang, an intoxicating edible which had been getting Indians high for millennia. This article, “Theire Soe Admirable Herbe”: How the English Found Cannabis, was originally published in The Public Domain Review under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0. If you wish to reuse it please see: https://publicdomainreview.org/legal/ In[…]

Infighting in Medieval England: Causes of the Wars of the Roses

The Wars of the Roses (1455-1487 CE) was a series of dynastic conflicts between the monarchy and the nobility of England. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction The ‘wars’ were a series of intermittent, often small-scale battles, executions, murders, and failed plots as the political class of England fractured into two groups which formed around two branches[…]

Edward Bancroft, Double Agent: Spying for Both Sides during the Revolutionary War

Bancroft’s activity as a double agent was not revealed until 1891, when British diplomatic papers were released to the public. Introduction Edward Bartholomew Bancroft (January 20, 1745 [O.S. January 9, 1744][1] – September 7, 1821) was a Massachusetts-born physician and chemist who became a double agent, spying for both the United States and Great Britain[…]

Celtic Christianity in the Early Medieval British Isles

The term is misleading since it implies a notion of a self-identifying unity that did not exist. Introduction Celtic Christianity (also called Insular Christianity) refers to a distinct form of Christianity that developed in the British Isles during the fifth and sixth centuries among the Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Cornish, and Manx (Isle of Man) peoples.[…]

The Elizabethan Age and the English Renaissance

The Elizabethan Age is viewed so highly because of the contrasts with the periods before and after. Introduction The Elizabethan Age is the time period associated with the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558–1603) and is often considered to be a golden age in English history. It was an age considered to be the height[…]

A History of the British Crown Jewels

The regalia includes several medieval articles and gemstones. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction The Crown Jewels of the monarchy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are today kept in the Tower of London and date mostly to the 17th century CE, with a few later sparkling additions such as the Koh-i-Noor and[…]

On Young England: A Parliamentary Movement in the 1840s Taking on Class

They were appalled at the state of party politics, class conflict, and the economic and moral condition of Victorian England’s poor. Young England was the name of a short-lived social and political movement that developed from the altruistic ideas of a small parliamentary ginger group within the Conservative Party in the 1840s. The name, coined by[…]

The Nichols Family and Their Press: The Antiquarian Community in Victorian England

Looking at of the Gentleman’s Magazine, printers of county histories, collectors of manuscripts, and founder members of historical societies. John Nichols: Printer and Antiquary For three generations the Nichols family was central to topographical research and publication. Julian Pooley explores how as editors of the Gentleman’s Magazine, printers of county histories, collectors of manuscripts and[…]

Women on the River and the Railway in Victorian England

The impact of the early railway was registered as both exciting and horrifyingly destructive by Victorian writers. The opening of the first direct railway line from London to the Kent coast in 1862 challenged traditional dichotomies between town and country, and contributed to a growing nostalgia associated with the river. Fin-de-siècle writers used the apparent[…]

The New London Docks, 1800-1830

William Daniell’s prints of the new docks represented London’s modernization in particularly exultant terms. Introduction From 1800, London’s dock system was revolutionised, and many commemorative prints were published to celebrate the transformation. William Daniell’s prints of the new docks represented London’s modernisation in particularly exultant terms. Alice Rylance-Watson explores. In the 1790s a formidable and[…]

Underground Comics and Britain’s Obscenity Trials in the 1970s

Like its American counterpart, the burgeoning British underground scene held comics in high esteem. By John Harris DunningComics Writer Oz was a seminal 1960s counterculture publication that originated in Sydney, Australia in 1963. It quickly raised a storm of controversy around its coverage of abortion and homosexuality, and its editorial team was promptly charged with[…]

Crime and Punishment in Elizabethan England

Looking at crime in Elizabethan England and the brutal punishments offenders received. Thieves and Pickpockets The crowded nave of St Paul’s Cathedral was a favourite with pickpockets and thieves, where innocent sightseers mixed with prostitutes, and servants looking for work rubbed shoulders with prosperous merchants. A visitor up from the country might be accosted by[…]

Precedent and Motives for the Anti-Catholic Gordon Riots of 1780

The Gordon Riots began when England was involved in the American Revolutionary War with England virtually isolated by France and Spain. By Patryk Zalewski Introduction The Gordon Riots were caused by anti-Catholic views and the resentment towards Catholics that was long held and never truly reversed. Led by Lord George Gordon, the rioters found reason[…]

The Impact of the Norman Conquest of England

The conquest saw the Norman elite replace that of the Anglo-Saxons. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction The Norman conquest of England, led by William the Conqueror (r. 1066-1087 CE) was achieved over a five-year period from 1066 CE to 1071 CE. Hard-fought battles, castle building, land redistribution, and scorched earth tactics ensured that the Normans were[…]

A Brief Biography of William the Conqueror

An accomplished diplomat, gifted military commander, and ruthless overlord. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction William the Conqueror (c. 1027-1087 CE), also known as William, Duke of Normandy and William the Bastard, led the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 CE when he defeated and killed his rival Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings. Crowned King[…]

The Roman Baths in Bath: A Deep Dive into Britain’s Ancient History

There is little evidence remaining from the pre-Roman worship, as they left little footprints of their spiritual practice for us to study. By Wanda MarcussenHistorian Introduction Bath, the famous spa town in Somerset England, has attracted people from near and far for centuries to its healing springs and baths. Today the city is known for its beautiful Georgian architecture and[…]

Rights, Resistance, and Racism: The Story of the Mangrove Nine

Examining what prompted the backlash of black British people against the police. By Rowena Hillel and Vicky Iglikowski The trial of the nine arguably represents a high point of the Black Panther movement in the UK, showing the power of black activism and the institutionalised police prejudice. But what prompted the backlash of black British[…]

How a British Royal’s Monumental Errors Made India’s Partition More Painful

The partition of India led to more than a million deaths. A scholar argues how British royal, Lord Louis Mountbatten, who hurriedly drew the new borders in secret, was largely responsible. Introduction The midnight between August 14 and 15, 1947, was one of history’s truly momentous moments: It marked the birth of Pakistan, an independent India and[…]

Entertainment in Georgian Britain, from Pleasure Gardens to Blood Sports

During the Georgian period a host of entertainments were available to those seeking relief from their everyday routines. Theatre The 18th century was the great age of theatre. In London and the provinces, large purpose-built auditoriums were constructed to house the huge crowds that flocked nightly to see plays and musical performances. A variety of[…]

The English Reformation: Tradition and Change

Introduction The English Reformation was part of a European-wide phenomenon to reform the church which began in 1517 when legend has it that the German monk and theologian Martin Luther nailed 95 theses (propositions for discussion) to the door of the castle church at Wittenberg to be debated publicly. Chief among these was the church[…]