Questions tagged [britain]

An island in North-Western Europe. Questions with this tag should refer to the history of the island of Great Britain, such as the relationship between the historical states of Britain. A separate tag exists for questions on history of the modern polity known as the United Kingdom.

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51
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4answers
18k views

Why was it “acceptable” for Prince Charles to marry a divorced woman, when Edward VIII had to abdicate for marrying divorcee Wallis Simpson?

Heir to the British throne Prince Charles has married divorcee Camilla Parker Bowles without a constitutional crisis. When Edward VIII wanted to marry Wallis Simpson he had to abdicate. Of course ...
44
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6answers
9k views

Has Britain's 1940 invasion of Iceland been downplayed by historians?

On the face of it Operation Fork (Britain's invasion of Iceland in 1940) wasn't so terribly different from Germany's territorial landgrabs in 1939 and 1940. Britain and her allies will have ...
38
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1answer
11k views

Why does this London Underground poster from 1924 have a Star of David atop a Christmas tree?

There is currently an exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago displaying posters promoting London Underground transit from the 1920's and 30's. This interesting piece comes from 1924. A full ...
36
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12answers
12k views

Were Medieval Britons aware of the existence of the Roman Empire?

I would like to know if the medieval people in Britain, by around 800 AD, knew that there was an empire that ruled Britain several hundreds of years before. Otherwise, were there any myths, legends, ...
32
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2answers
7k views

When did Britain learn about the American Declaration of Independence?

When did Britain learn about the American Declaration of Independence? We all know the declaration was made on July 4th, 1776. But when did news reach Buckingham Palace and do we have records of ...
30
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6answers
10k views

Why did Chamberlain remain Prime Minister of Britain until 10 May, 1940?

WW2 officially began on 1 September 1939, but Churchill did not become Prime Minister until 10 May 1940. Neville Chamberlain, the same leader of appeasement with Hitler, remained Prime Minister all ...
30
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2answers
6k views

Why were British ships not of the same quality as French and Spanish ships until the latter part of the 18th century?

In Patrick O'Brian's 'Men-of-War', it says (apparently referring to around the time the Victory was built [1759-65]), ...most of the British ships were not nearly so well built as the French or the ...
27
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10answers
15k views

What's the advantage of the infantry column formation in the Napoleonic Wars?

In movies/books set in the Napoleonic Wars, the British are normally deployed into lines and the French into columns. The columns are usually the advancing ones, charging into the line as the line ...
26
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4answers
660 views

How would you accurately use older British currencies when writing a story?

For writing a story set in the Napoleonic Wars era, how should one use the currencies accurately? I read in novels they use currencies like shilling, pound, guinea, sovereign, four (or six-, etc) ...
25
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1answer
4k views

What date does a 1738 British author intend by “soon after the revolution”?

In the February 1738 The Gentleman's Magazine, Volume XIII at page 80: It is stated: A manuscript writen by a great Uncle of mine, who dy'd soon after the Revolution came lately into my hands. ...
25
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1answer
606 views

When did the round house fall out of vernacular use throughout Britain and Ireland?

TL;DR When did roundhouses fall out of vernacular use? The time frame we have is full of gaps: They fell out of use in South-West Britain in the 8th Century. Wales may have had them potentially for ...
20
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2answers
4k views

How much materiel was shipped to Continental Europe per month, after D-Day?

Once D-Day landed (1944 Jun 06), how much materiel was shipped into Continental Europe by the Western Allies per month? Did this monthly figure change much by 1945 May? Materiel includes basically ...
20
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1answer
888 views

What was the Victorian opinion of the American Revolution?

BACKGROUND It's pretty remarkable to me, though perhaps it shouldn't be, how much British popular debate there was about the American Revolution. It was often condemned, but sometimes openly ...
19
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6answers
6k views

Was there significant interbreeding between Romans and Native Britons?

During the days of Roman occupation in Britain (43AD to 450AD), did the Roman occupants of Britain interbreed and intermarry with the native British population substantially (is not only a couple of ...
19
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5answers
2k views

In what language did Caractacus deliver his speech to the emperor Claudius?

In The Annals, the Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus wrote about the British chieftain Caractacus and how he was captured by the Romans. According to him, Caractacus was taken to Rome along with his ...
18
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3answers
3k views

Did early northern Europeans drink alcohol?

Before the Roman empire brought alcohol to areas of Northern Europe around two thousand years ago, do we know if the native people of Britain and Scandinavia drank alcohol? My preliminary search is ...
18
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1answer
1k views

What is the name and meaning of a World War 2 CCC Medal with both the Polish Eagle and British Statant Gardant Lion?

While looking through a collection of World War 2 medals, I came across this one (picture attached) and have been unable to identify it. It is in the form of a shield, appears to have a Polish eagle ...
17
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1answer
960 views

What was the political consciousness of a 15th century English peasant?

How did they feel about the monarchy and living under lords? Were they are aware of alternative political structures? Did they believe their lives were fair?
16
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4answers
1k views

What is known about the possibility of a “real King Arthur”?

I once saw a documentary that discussed a discovered possible "round table" but wondered how "pie in the sky" this possibility was as well as just how much/how little evidence is there for any ...
16
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1answer
2k views

Were bookshops 'common' in the late 19th century, and how did they differ from modern ones?

I've been reading a little bit about Victorian publishing bit I'm struggling to get a feel for how common and how similar Victorian bookstores in London would be. This is all I've read. It sounds ...
16
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1answer
870 views

How common was banditry in 16th & 17th century Great Britain and Ireland?

I want to know about highwaymen and thieves and brigands who preyed on travellers. so, I am not interested in other organised criminal gangs such as smugglers or urban thieves.
15
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2answers
25k views

What was the life expectancy in Medieval Britain?

I'm working on doing background research for one of my novels and I'm looking for roughly how old a male in the peasant class would've lived around 5th or 6th century Britain.
15
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1answer
944 views

When did Aurochs (large wild cattle) become extinct in Britain?

Estimated to average around 150cm (cows) and 170cm (bulls) at the shoulder, the aurochs was an important animal to humans, during prehistory when it was widely hunted, and in some areas also ...
14
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2answers
3k views

Wiliam Wallace vs. Robert Bruce: Why Did One Win and One Lose?

At the battle of Falkirk in 1298, William Wallace (aka "Brave Heart") abandoned the guerrilla tactics that served him so well at Stirling Bridge, and adopted a strong, but "conventional" defensive ...
14
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3answers
6k views

What percentage of British and American troops were involved in direct combat with enemy in World War II

How large a proportion of British and American troops were involved in direct combat with the enemy in World War II? What was the casualty rate among those men?
13
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9answers
2k views

Why did Latin disappear so completely in Britain after the Romans left?

My impression, wholly prone to error, is that after the Anglo-Saxon invasions, Latin was virtually a dead language in Britain despite centuries of Roman occupation. Other countries such as France, ...
13
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4answers
2k views

How and why did trade unions in America become influenced by organised crime, but unions in Britain didn't?

There is plenty of organised crime in Britain, and there always has been. People have slandered the unions in Britain with almost every foul name under the sun, but one thing I have never heard is ...
12
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3answers
734 views

In World War II, why was the ratio of killed to wounded of the Royal Navy twice that of the US Navy?

Casualty numbers for Navy personnel killed and wounded in WWII cited by Wikipedia (for the Royal Navy) and the National World War II Museum in New Orleans (for the US Navy) show a big difference in ...
12
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1answer
423 views

Did Roman Britannia leave any impacts on English?

I was discussing French influence on English language with some other users and while on the topic of if the Latin influence on English language came exclusively from the Normans, it occurred to me ...
12
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3answers
736 views

WWII boat-looking bus

What was the purpose of this WWII boat-looking bus? Description says: Royal Navy officers 'aboard' 'HMS SPURIOUS MARK II' - a bus converted to resemble the island of an aircraft carrier. The bus ...
11
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2answers
4k views

What is this flag?

The flag is worn by Princess Isabella when she meets William Wallace actress Sophie Marceau as Princess Isabella in Braveheart
11
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3answers
37k views

What impact did the Seven Years War have on the American Revolution?

What impact did the Seven Years War have on the American Revolution?
11
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3answers
4k views

How fortified was Cyprus during WW2?

How fortified was Cyprus during WW2? By that I mean how many Allied naval ships were defending it, how many aircraft and airbases, and how many troops with what equipment? The period I'm most ...
11
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2answers
503 views

Did iron age Britons still use the “ritual” sites built by their neolithic predecessors?

Pre-Roman sites in Britain get lumped together as "ancient", but in reality they span a good couple of thousand years between the neolithic and the iron age. That made me wonder whether there was any ...
11
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3answers
1k views

How strong a land force did Germany need for a conquest of the British Isles in the summer of 1940?

In 1942, America's General Eisenhower summed up his gloomy assessment of an invasion of Nazi-held Europe in the "reverse" direction as 50-50 to get one division ashore, and one chance in five (20 per ...
11
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1answer
356 views

Are there any ideas as to what the English landscape was like before the arrival of the Angles?

I am not sure if this question is within the guidelines (it may be), but I am curious as to this: In North America, for instance, it is often said it was heavily forested and that a squirrel could get ...
10
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3answers
3k views

Are there any British peers whose surname matches their title? [closed]

Is it possible for a British peer to have the same surname and title? As in William Podunk, Duke of Podunk? I had been quite sure of the thing's impossibility till I thought of a counterexample: ...
10
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1answer
309 views

Did the Welsh ever call Britain Albion?

I understand that the word exists in Welsh, but that it's a modern loanword from Gaelic referring to Scotland. Albion first appears in ancient Greek accounts along with Ierne as being part of the ...
10
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1answer
480 views

What age were these Britons in A.D. 43?

I have been doing a lot of research on the Roman invasion of Britain and have come across a number of problems with information. My question is how old specific people were in 43 AD. I have ...
10
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2answers
549 views

How widespread was the consumption of rabbit meat by the poor in Medieval and Early-Modern Britain?

The Romans raised rabbits as livestock in Spain in the 2nd century BC and later brought them to Britain. French monks are believed to have domesticated them in the 5th century AD for their meat and ...
10
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1answer
197 views

How was the transfer of personnel from British women's military services managed?

In the 1990's,the former women's services - WRNS, WRAC, and WRAF - were disbanded and women absorbed into the regular services. Whilst women still cannot serve in combat roles, they are armed and ...
10
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2answers
982 views

How did the British Army unit size and structure in WWI change from 1915 to 1918?

Preface: For obvious reasons, we will assume ideal conditions for the purposes of this question. For convenience's sake, we will also ignore the original British Expeditionary Force that was almost ...
9
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5answers
898 views

What was the official attitude to Cromwell after the Glorious Revolution?

Under the restored Stuarts, obviously, Cromwell was vilified. Actually, his exhumed head was publicly displayed on a pike for more than 20 years during their rule (wikipedia devotes a separate article ...
9
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1answer
3k views

How many British prisoners of war were taken by the Wehrmacht and how many died?

I've read here that 3.5% of British POW's held in Germany died. But haven't been able to find an estimate with sources of how many were taken and how many died. Here it says 170,000 were captured and ...
9
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3answers
4k views

What was the reason for inflation in Britain after the Black Death?

According to the Wikipedia article Ordinance of Labourers 1349 During this outbreak [of Black Death], an estimated 30-40% of the population died. The decline in population left surviving workers in ...
9
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1answer
327 views

Were British parliamentary seats really advertised in newspapers?

I have this vague recollection of reading about actual ads in newspapers selling seats in the British parliament (18th or 19th century pocket/rotten boroughs) Did they actually have ads in newspapers?...
9
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2answers
845 views

Could Great Britain have built the British Empire if it was not the pioneer of the Industrial Revolution?

Could Great Britain have built the British Empire if it was not the pioneer of the Industrial Revolution? Put another way: Was the Industrial Revolution the single key over-riding factor to its ...
9
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1answer
226 views

Which town or village in Britain lost the greatest percentage of men in WWI due to “Pals Battalions”?

The British decision to create "Pals Battalions" of men from a single town or village led to unanticipated disasters when Pals battalions ran into heavy resistance, with large numbers of men from a ...
9
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1answer
321 views

In Studying the peoples of pre-Roman Britain, what are our primary reference sources?

Where do we get our information on the people's of pre-Roman Britain?
8
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3answers
2k views

Were sailing ships of the line understaffed with gunnery crews so that there were not enough for 2 broadsides?

Is there any data to support or refute the hypothesis that sailing ships of the line were only complemented with enough gunnery crews to simultaneously fire 1 broadside but not 2? If it matters for ...