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A civilization in Civilization Revolution 2
|Leaders|| Winston Churchill|
|Begin the game with||Monarchy|
Britain first enters Western history when the British isles were invaded and conquered by the Romans in the first century AD. The Romans would hold England for some four centuries, and following the collapse of the Empire the islands would see an onslaught of invasions from various Germanic tribes that would last for centuries.
The first political entity that could rightly be called "England" formed out of the efforts of the kingdom of Wessex to unite the island against the invasion of Danes and Vikings in the 9th century AD. But the English domination was fleeting; the subsequent Norman Conquest (1066 AD) resulted in the subordination of England to a Frankish aristocracy, and the introduction of feudalism to the Isles.
The Norman invasion reintroduced many elements of Latin culture that had been lost in the Germanic invasions. There would be a number of battles for the throne in the subsequent centuries, but the country would remain united.
The sixteenth century saw England's rise to prominence as a world power. Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) would prove to be one of the world's great leaders. Her reign ushered in two centuries of British exploration, colonization, and artistic and intellectual advances.
The years following Elizabeth's death were extremely turbulent for the nation. A huge power struggle ensued between the nobility and the monarchy, culminating in the bloody English Civil War. But by 1700 England had emerged from chaos and merged with Scotland to become "Britain," and thus was born one of the greatest empires the world had ever seen.
The British Empire was to be one based on trade and control of the seas. Behind its unmatchable navy, over the next two centuries Britain spread its power across the world, acquiring vast territories in India, Australia, Africa, Asia, North America and the Caribbean.
In the late eighteenth century the Empire faced a number of critical challenges. Britain suffered a huge reverse in the disastrous American Revolution of 1776 (largely brought about by governmental incompetence), and shortly thereafter the Napoleonic wars saw the Empire locked in a battle to the death with the great French warlord Napoleon Bonaparte. The Empire continued to expand, however, and by 1820 the Queen ruled over 200 million people, 26% of the world's total population.
Although it was not clear at the time, World War I dealt a death blow to the Empire. During the long, bitter struggle Britain lost a shockingly large portion of its adult male population, weakening its ability to project its power abroad. The war also caused a massive buildup of the American military, challenging Britain's primacy at sea.
During the cataclysm that followed thereafter - World War II - the weakened Empire found itself virtually alone against the might of Nazi Germany. Under the leadership of Winston Churchill and defended by its incomparable navy and air force Britain was able to survive and ultimately see the destruction of its enemy, but again at a terrible cost in manpower and national well-being. The exhausted nation needed to concentrate its efforts on rebuilding the island, and over time almost all of its overseas possessions gained their freedom.
By the end of the twentieth century Britain has largely recovered from the catastrophic effects of the two great world wars. Although no longer atop a globe-spanning empire, the country is once again a vital and powerful force on the world stage.
The phrase "the sun never sets on the British Empire" was true. At its height, the British Empire controlled territories across so much of the globe that it was always day somewhere in the empire.
London, the capital and most famous city in England, was originally founded in 43 AD as a Roman settlement known as Londinium. This original settlement was obliterated less than twenty years later by the Celtic Queen Boudica.
The term "England" refers only to the southern two-thirds of the largest of the British Isles. The United Kingdom includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
England has had more influence on modern law and politics than any nation since Rome. The Magna Carta, England's first constitution, was ratified in 1215 AD and is one of the world's most influential legal documents. The English common law system has similarly influenced legal systems across the globe, from the United States to India.