Formally known as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland these questions relate to the history of events that have happened in the countries that make up the United Kingdom; such as England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and various territories; or the United Kingdom's ...

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What were the animals on the Coat of Arms of Edward IV of England?

(Asked after reading this answer in SciFi&Fantasy SE): I think that whole Stark (York) and Lanister (Lancaster) feud is reference to War of Roses. Both houses descended from house Plantagenet ...
25
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7answers
8k views

Why did Great Britain switch its alliance to France?

England (and its succeeding states) were at war with France for close to 1000 years. First it was over land, then they competed over religion, then they competed over colonies. For much of that time, ...
18
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3answers
3k views

Why did East India Company accept Government of India Act 1858?

In 1858, British parliament passed Government of India Act which contained provisions of liquidation of the company and transference of assets, governance to British crown. The act was going to kill ...
46
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10answers
14k views

Why was Britain willing to return Hong Kong but not Gibraltar?

Why was Britain willing to return Hong Kong to China, but not Gibraltar to Spain? Was it because Gibraltar has more strategic value than Hong Kong?
124
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29answers
72k views

Why did Hitler attack the Soviet Union when he was still busy fighting the United Kingdom?

During world war 2 Hitler was fighting a war with Great Britain but while fighting that war attacked Russia. Everyone knows that having to fight on two opposite fronts at once is bad... and it's also ...
10
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3answers
5k views

Why is China a member of the UN Security Council?

The United Nations was formed at the end of world war II, to maintain peace throughout the world. Within the structure of UN, Security Council is ranked above all. There were only five permanent ...
0
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0answers
60 views

When was corporal punishment last lawfully practised in state schools?

Apparently (wiki) corporal punishment was legal in schools until rather shockingly late. 1986 for English and Welsh state schools, 1998 for private schools, 2000 in all Scottish schools and 2003 in ...
2
votes
1answer
83 views

“Black Bull” pubs in Northumberland

What's the connection between the pub name "The Black Bull" and Northumberland? It seems like every other town here has one with the name!
7
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4answers
543 views

Was the Battle of Trafalgar strategically pointless?

On a tactical level, the Battle of Trafalgar is one of the most analysed naval battles in history and there are many books and papers covering the battle itself. Most of the strategic analysis covers ...
5
votes
1answer
214 views

What are the top 5 bloodiest battles in terms of British casualties?

I have done a bit of research and it seems the Somme, Towton and maybe Bannockburn are up there? Any more to throw into the mix? Great site by the way!
2
votes
0answers
120 views

Was Baker Island ever claimed by the United Kingdom?

The Wikipedia article and Encyclopedia Britannica article for Baker Island agree that the United States claimed Baker Island in 1857, under the Guano Islands Act. The Wikipedia article also makes an ...
2
votes
1answer
102 views

Why was the British University Grants Committee abolished in 1988?

Wikipedia says that: The UGC was wound up on 1 April 1989, with its powers transferred to a new body, the Universities Funding Council, which was directly responsible to Parliament. But it's ...
5
votes
1answer
149 views

Why did not UK assist Greece for 1919 war?

Why did not UK assist Greece against Turks for 1919 war? Greece had family bonds with UK hierarchy. But there is no significant assist by UK during the war for Greece. As far as I know UK armies were ...
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0answers
80 views

What happened at Bloody Corner?

Up until today, I was under the impression that there was a battle between the Danes and the locals on Bloody Corner in Northam, Devon UK. This was possibly the death site of Hubba the Dane. It was ...
1
vote
0answers
93 views

Classic CD magazine

This question concerns very recent history, I apologize if it is too recent. I recently saw an episode of the British comedy series "Keeping Appearances" from the early 1990's. In it, one of the ...
2
votes
2answers
193 views

Were life imprisonment and mental insanity the only reasons a divorce couldn't be granted in early 20th century England?

I was watching a Poirot TV movie which was set to England somewhere around 1930s, and one plot point was that the only reasons a divorce couldn't be granted were that either the husband or the wife ...
17
votes
2answers
932 views

What was used instead of toilet paper in the US and the UK prior to 1900?

I read in this Wikipedia article that toilet paper came to be available only around 1920. On the other hand, this article says bidets were never popular in the UK and the US. Moreover, colonies of ...
12
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the equivalent in France of the “Victorian era”?

By Victorian era I mean the moral rigidity and the dominance of the bourgeoisie. We had the same culture in France but I can't find the proper term to phrase it. For example how would you translate ...
6
votes
3answers
607 views

Why did Churchill accept the Order of the Garter in 1953?

Churchill had refused the Order of the Garter in 1945, quipping that he couldn't accept the garter from the king after the people gave him the boot. But in 1953 he relented and accepted the honour? Is ...
3
votes
3answers
185 views

Why and how did George V give titles to his generals over lands that he did not possess?

Edward Allenby was given the title Viscount Allenby, of Megiddo and of Felixstowe in the County of Suffolk. Megiddo lies in Israel, it was outside British possessions, although it was controlled by ...
7
votes
3answers
269 views

How would a 16-17th Century European Rapier have been made?

I've done a little reading on sand and permanent casting but a rapier seems like it may be thin for that kind of manufacture. What methods and tools would have been used to make it? (Please provide ...
33
votes
8answers
25k views

When and how did the USA and the UK become allies?

You may remember that the United States and Great Britain had a minor spat in 1776, which shall we say, did not put them on the friendliest of terms. In 1812, while Britain was focused on its war with ...
13
votes
7answers
2k views

Even though Spain and Portugal had many colonies (15th/16th C), what factors permitted UK/France to become world powers later (18th/19th C)?

Some of the first European countries to acquire colonies in the "New World" (and elsewhere) were Spain and Portugal. They "discovered America" (as the euro-centric interpretation goes), and had ...
1
vote
1answer
64 views

Where can you find online the voting records for the both Houses of the UK Parliament?

I wish to see online, for any past Bill of Parliament, in the House of Commons: which MPs (in the House of Commons) and which peers (in the House of Lords) voted in favour and in opposition. For ...
22
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4answers
8k views

Is there a reason for a Queen's husband not to be referred to as King?

While watching the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II events going on recently, I noticed that the Queen's husband is referred to as 'Prince'-- not 'King'. Upon researching further, I found that ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Which forts did the British keep in the Northwest Territory after the American Revolution?

At the end of the American Revolution, Britain ceded the Northwest Territory to the US as one of the terms of the Treaty of Paris. I stumbled across a very interesting statement on Wikipedia that ...
6
votes
1answer
175 views

Why was the FSSF (Devil's Brigade) multinational?

During WWII, the US and Canada formed a unit together called the First Special Service Force. But why? Especially considering that Canada fought under British leadership for nearly all other aspects ...
7
votes
2answers
151 views

Did John Wesley pray because he had not been persecuted in three days?

I have read the following story many times: John Wesley was riding along a road one day when it dawned on him that three whole days had passed in which he had suffered no persecution. Not a ...
3
votes
1answer
142 views

Did an English company famous for its hidden purpose in the 1720s ever reveal its undertaking?

The Wikipedia article for the South Sea Company says that: "Among the many companies to go public in 1720 is - famously - one that advertised itself as 'a company for carrying out an undertaking of ...
25
votes
7answers
8k views

Why didn't Britain's nuclear weapons deter Argentina from invading the Falklands?

The United Kingdom has nuclear weapons. All the [major] political parties support this policy. A common justification heard is that they are a deterrent against foreign aggression. For example: UK ...
4
votes
4answers
998 views

How did British queens get power over kings despite a male-dominant society?

I am not a history guy. But, from what I have collected from movies, TV shows and people, I see that old British society was male-dominant and there were female rights issues too. But, I also see some ...
7
votes
1answer
157 views

When were the “War Relief Toy Works” set up and by whom?

There are a number of toys in existence - particularly Noah's Arks - which originate from the 'War Relief Toy Works', which was based in Stoke Newington, a suburb of London, UK. A representative ...
8
votes
2answers
421 views

Where did the demand for textiles during the industrial revolution come from?

A lot of the technological developments in the early-ish industrial revolution in Britain were about increasing the rate and efficiency of textile manufacture. It's easy to find material about what ...
5
votes
0answers
193 views

How much tax revenue did the British Empire receive from its colonies in a given year?

I have heard that India at least was quite profitable for the United Kingdom. However, I do not know of any exact numbers for the annual tax revenue of the colonies in any given year. This book on the ...
28
votes
2answers
2k views

Did the end of the British Raj in India create an economic loss for Britain?

I know the economic downturn of the World War and the victory of the Labour Party played some role in Britain deciding to quit India. Did GB have any serious economic implications because of this? ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Why does the UK buy some of its major military hardware from the USA while France is self-reliant?

UK: Trident missile. M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System. AgustaWestland Apache Boeing E-3 Sentry. Raytheon Sentinel some other examples In contrast, France isn't nearly as reliant on USA. Why did ...
4
votes
2answers
444 views

Why did Argentina invade the Falkland when they did, rather than waiting for the pending sale of the UK aircraft carriers to complete first?

At the time of the Argentina invasion, the UK was the process of selling its aircraft carrier and reducing its naval capacity. If Argentina had waited a short time, it would have been much harder ...
18
votes
4answers
5k views

Why was there lack of food during WW2 in the UK?

Why was there lack of food during the WW2 in the UK? I understand the lack of food in the countries occupied by Germans, as they recruited a lot of agricultural products for their war machinery. But ...
11
votes
5answers
744 views

When did the English and Americans realize that vegetables were healthy?

I've recently come across two quotes in very unrelated sources implying that for centuries, the English and their colonial offspring did not appreciate the role of vegetables in a healthy diet. From ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Why does Northern Ireland not include the counties Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan?

Did not the entire province of Ulster vote to stay in the Union? If so, why was it partitioned? Esepecially Donegal which relied heavily on Belfast for its economy, I don't see a good reason why ...
1
vote
1answer
12k views

Why were Sri Lanka and Myanmar separated from India under the British Empire? [closed]

Historically, the British integrated their holdings in India into the British Raj. Sri Lanka and Myanmar were also part of the British Empire in India. Sri Lanka is moreover culturally similar to ...
18
votes
4answers
2k views

Did Churchill and Roosevelt know about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, or the following secret pacts between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union?

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was the non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany prior to, and during WWII. It seems that the actions of the two countries after the invasion of Poland ...
14
votes
1answer
751 views

Why is the charter of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations signed “HOWARD”?

Why is the charter of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations signed "HOWARD"? Note also that the Charter of Connecticut is likewise signed "By Writ of Privy Seal, HOWARD". But, the keeper of the ...
15
votes
8answers
19k views

Why did Canada, Australia and New Zealand separate from the UK?

I asked this question in various places on the Web. I haven't received a clear answer. The USA separated from the UK because the people felt that they were not British, and they weren't. Weren't ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Did Britain send convicts to Canada during the colonial era?

During the colonial era before the American War of Independence, Britain sent convicts to its North American colonies which eventually became the USA, but did Britain also send convicts to those ...
5
votes
1answer
100 views

Looking for quote about workhouses

I recall someone (may MP at the time) said something like. No one that is in real need should be discouraged from using a workhouse due to its standard of housing and food, but on one that is ...
8
votes
2answers
464 views

Why did Britain decide to issue perpetual bonds during Napoleonic era?

Background A few years ago I was a student of an economic course about loans, debts, interests, NPV etc. The trainer mentioned "The UK took a loan to fund wars against Napoleon. This has no term, and ...
9
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1answer
206 views

How big was the IMF loan Britain received in the 1970's?

During the turbulent times of the 1970's, the United Kingdom had to ask the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a loan to meet its obligations. The National Archives state that in September 1976, a ...
6
votes
2answers
145 views

What type of ferry boats were used in England in the early 19th century?

In 1800-1820, what sort of ferry boats were used by the general public in England and how were they powered? In particular I am interested in ferries used to access the Isle of Wight, and also ...
3
votes
1answer
609 views

How were snipers used on the western front during WW2?

When the topic of snipers in WWII comes up, it's almost always about Soviet snipers and the eastern front. What about the western front? I'm specifically interested in how or if the British, American, ...