Travel through our timeline of major events in England's history.
RON EMBLETON—THE BRIDGEMAN ART LIBRARY/GETTY IMAGES
55 B.C.–54 B.C.
Julius Caesar leads two Roman invasions of what is now Britain. The invasions fail, but open the door for Roman emperor Claudius’s successful conquest in 43 A.D. The Romans build about 10,000 miles of road during their 400-year occupation.
France’s William, Duke of Normandy, defeats Harold II, the Anglo-Saxon King, at the Battle of Hastings. William becomes King.
Teaching begins at the site of Oxford University, the world’s oldest English-speaking university.
King John is forced to sign the Magna Carta. The document gives English people basic rights.
The bubonic plague sweeps across England. It kills about one-third of the population.
During the reigns of King Henry VIII and his daughter Elizabeth I, the Church of England splits from the Roman Catholic Church.
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Queen Victoria becomes Britain’s longest-ruling monarch. The Prime Minister and Parliament become more powerful, and the country moves toward a democratic system of government.
Britain and its allies defeat Germany in World War I.
During World War II, Prime Minister Winston Churchill leads the British to victory against Germany, Japan and Italy.
Margaret Thatcher becomes Britain’s first woman Prime Minister.
After ruling Hong Kong for 155 years, Britain returns control of the former colony to China.
Diana, the Princess of Wales, dies from injuries suffered in a car crash in Paris, France.
While most European Union-member countries adopt the euro as their new currency, Great Britain chooses to stay with its own currency, the pound sterling.