History of British Islands

Topics: United Kingdom, British Isles, England Pages: 20 (6518 words) Published: March 24, 2013
History of the British Islands

The study of the British Islands helps us to understand the foundations on which our society is built on. The present life of the British Islands is the result of the accumulated past; and if we understand the past, we can understand ourselves and also determinate our future.

The History and Culture of England helps us to answer questions that ask for the remains of the past, such us: Who built a dolmen? Who built a hill-fort? What was a castle? Etc.

Therefore, we mean to explain the daily life of the islands. There are conditions of work and attitude of environment. It’s impossible to cover the whole subject, so we will explain the mean features of the earlier times.

The first historian, Bede, born in the 1st century, wrote in the 8th century the Ecclesiastical history of the English people, and he said that Bretons came from Brittany, that the Picts, in the North, came from Scandinavia. He goes on to describe the movements of people since the departure of the Romans from the coast of Brittany. Scots had colonized western Scotland, from Northern Ireland; and the Angle-Saxons and Jutes had crossed into southern and eastern England from the continent with all these new comers.

There were in the islands 5 languages: British, Pictish, Scottish, Anglican and Latin, which was the lingua franca.

Nowadays, there is an ongoing heated debate: are the Bretons more closely related to the Palaeolithic hunters or to the later migrants, the first farmers who came from the near east and south western Europe with the Neolithic culture?

To understand early humans in Brittany we need to understand climate changes and its impact. The British Islands and Ireland were the extreme west of European territory and subjected to climatic fluctuations. As a result, people repeatedly inhabited and abandoned Britain alone with animals like mammoths, bears and hyenas.

Now, we are living in the longest interglacial period, which started 15000 years ago, when the last Ice-Age came to end. The glaciers were separated by warm periods called interglacial, which had climates comparable to that of the present day. There had been at least five interglacial periods spaced out between Ice-Ages over the last 1000000 years. The last Ice-Age in Europe was the most stream in 80000 years ago. The Britain was an inhabited desert and the human lived south of the river Loire. Exactly when the humans returned to Britain is not certain, but they returned certainly.

At present, the oldest known human remain in Britain is the Boxgrove, in Suxex, dating about half a million years ago. He belongs to the specie of the Homo Heidelbergensis; his descendant of 300000 years is the Neanderthalensis. During the past 30000 years, only one man, the Homo Sapiens Sapiens, has lived on the planet since the disappearance of the Neanderthalensis.

We all belong to a single specie that spread out of Africa from about 100000 years ago and dispersed around the world. A number of scientists, called as Nottingham, shows human activity about 15000 years ago, for example in Devon and Somerset. In these two counties there are prehistoric clues and shelters (refugios rocosos), which were occupied in upper Palaeolithic times.

It’s assumed that there was no occupation of Ireland earlier than “70000 years ago” (no es seguro). Now, we are living a period known as Flandrian Era, also called Post-Glacial. This is an optimistic name that seems another Ice-Age will be inevitable in the future.

The History of Great Britain is clasificated in many periods: prehistory, Palaeolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Anglo-Saxon period, the Middle Ages, and so on. The British Isles are a mixture of Neolithic, Celtic, Roman, Germany and Norman cultures. From the 5th century and until recently, Christianity form a culture link through all the religions of Great Britain and Ireland. This is why it would be an error to assume that Great Britain has...
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