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This tag is associated with 14 posts

December 16 1775 Jane Austen born


On December 16th 1775, English novelist Jane Austen was born, the seventh of eight children of a clergyman in a country village in Hampshire, England. Jane was very close to her older sister, Cassandra, who remained her faithful editor and critic throughout her life. The girls had five years of formal schooling, then studied with … Continue reading

November 5 1605 King James learns of gunpowder plot (Guy Fawkes)


On November 6th 1605, early in the morning, King James I of England learned that a plot to explode the Parliament building had been foiled, hours before he was scheduled to sit with the rest of the British government in a general parliamentary session. At about midnight on the night of November 4-5, Sir Thomas … Continue reading

October 21 1805 Battle of Trafalgar


On October 21st 1825, in one of the most decisive naval battles in history, a British fleet under Admiral Lord Nelson defeated a combined French and Spanish fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar, fought off the coast of Spain. At sea, Lord Nelson and the Royal Navy consistently thwarted Napoleon Bonaparte, who led France to … Continue reading

September 28 1066 William the Conqueror invades England


On September 28th 1066, claiming his right to the English throne, William, duke of Normandy, invaded England at Pevensey on Britain’s southeast coast. His subsequent defeat of King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings marked the beginning of a new era in British history. William was the illegitimate son of Robert I, duke of … Continue reading

September 8 1664 New Amsterdam becomes New York


On September 8th 1664, Dutch Governor Peter Stuyvesant surrendered New Amsterdam, the capital of New Netherland, to an English naval squadron under Colonel Richard Nicolls. Stuyvesant had hoped to resist the English, but he was an unpopular ruler, and his Dutch subjects refused to rally around him. Following its capture, New Amsterdam’s name was changed … Continue reading

August 25 1875 Captain Webb swims the English Channel


Matthew Webb, a 27-year-old merchant navy captain, becomes the first known person to successfully swim the English Channel. Captain Webb accomplished the gruelling 21-mile crossing, which really entailed 39 miles of swimming because of tidal currents, in 21 hours and 45 minutes. During the overnight crossing from Dover, England, to Calais, France, Captain Webb drank … Continue reading

June 17 1579 Drake claims California for England


On June 17th 1579, during his circumnavigation of the world, English seaman Francis Drake anchored in a harbour just north of present-day San Francisco, California, and claimed the territory for Queen Elizabeth I. Calling the land “Nova Albion,” Drake remained on the California coast for a month to make repairs to his ship, the Golden … Continue reading

June 15 1215 Magna Carta sealed


On June 15th 1215, following a revolt by the English nobility against his rule, King John put his royal seal on the Magna Carta, or “Great Charter.” The document, essentially a peace treaty between John and his barons, guaranteed that the king would respect feudal rights and privileges, uphold the freedom of the church, and … Continue reading

June 13 1381 peasant army marches into London


On June 13th 1381, during the Peasants’ Revolt, a large mob of English peasants led by Wat Tyler marched into London and began burning and looting the city. Several government buildings were destroyed, prisoners were released, and a judge was beheaded along with several dozen other leading citizens. The Peasants’ Revolt had its origins in … Continue reading

May 19 1588 Spanish Armada sets sail


On May 19 1588, a massive Spanish fleet, known as the “Invincible Armada,” set sail from Lisbon on a mission to secure control of the English Channel and transport a Spanish invasion army to Britain from the Netherlands. In the late 1580s, Queen Elizabeth’s support of the Dutch rebels in the Spanish Netherlands led King … Continue reading

May 15 1756 The Seven Years War begins


On May 15th 1756, the Seven Years War, a global conflict known in America as the French and Indian War, officially began when England declared war on France. However, fighting and skirmishes between England and France had been going on in North America for years. In the early 1750s, French expansion into the Ohio River … Continue reading

May 13 1568 Mary Queen of Scots defeated at Battle of Langeside


On May 13th 1568, at the Battle of Langside, the forces of Mary Queen of Scots were defeated by a confederacy of Scottish Protestants under James Stewart, the regent of her son, King James VI of Scotland. During the battle, which was fought out in the southern suburbs of Glasgow, a cavalry charge routed Mary’s … Continue reading

April 29 1429 Joan of Arc relieves Orleans


On April 29th 1429, during the Hundred Years’ War, the 17-year-old French peasant Joan of Arc lead a French force in relieving the city of Orleans, besieged by the English since October. Joan was born around 1412 in the village of Domremy, on the border of France and the Holy Roman Empire, in the current … Continue reading

April 19 1824 Death of Lord Byron in Greece


On April 19th 1824, George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, died in what is now Greece, where he had travelled to support the Greek struggle for independence from Turkey. Even today, he is considered a Greek national hero. Byron’s scandalous history, exotic travels, and flamboyant life made such an impression on the world that the … Continue reading

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