England, occupying the island of Great Britain as part of the United Kingdom, greets us from the North Atlantic. Separated from continental Europe by the North Sea and the English Channel, England is a country full of history and culture. The land that Shakespeare loved and thrived in is nowadays a political, economic and cultural hub.
First inhabited during the Upper Paleolithic period, England took its name by the Germanic tribe, called Angles, settled in the Anglia peninsula during the 5th and 6th centuries. Archaeologists claim that, during that time Britain was not yet an island, but it was connected by a land bridge to Ireland and Eurasia. Two millennia later, the separation from Eurasia came, forming the land we know.
During the Neolithic Period, Stonehenge, a monument standing still impressively until today, was built. The Celtics arrived in England during the Iron Age, influencing the tribes already inhabited in the area. The Romans invaded Britain in 43AD under Emperor Claudius, naming England the Britannia Province of the Roman Empire.
During the 10th century, the country became a unified state and started to gain power. During the Middle Ages, the Hundred Years’ War, the Black Death epidemic and the Wars of the Roses left a mark on the country, whilst the Renaissance reached and shed its light on England during the Tudor period. The Golden Age of England came during the Elizabethan Era, under the reign of Queen Elizabeth I or the Virgin Queen, when art, poetry, music and literature bloomed.
England was transformed in an industrialized nation during the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century. Manchester became the first industrial city of the world. During the Victorian era, London was transformed to the largest and most populous metropolitan area in the whole world, gaining the prestige it holds until today. By the Acts of Union in 1707, the Kingdom of England – including Wales as well after 1535 – united with the Kingdom of Scotland, creating the Kingdom of Great Britain.
Today, England is a global centre of finance, arts and culture. Being the most populous country of the United Kingdom, England is home to over 53 million people. It is governed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, while Elizabeth II, queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1952, is the longest-reigning monarch in British history.
The country’s economy is one of the most dynamic and significant worldwide. UK’s universities house important scientific research, producing 7 per cent of the world’s scientific research papers, after United States and China. The English language, spoken by hundreds of millions of people around the world today, is considered to be the lingua franca of the world as it is the standard language spoken in a wide variety of fields.
Travelling to England, there are 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to visit. Some of the most important include Stonehenge, Tower of London, Jurassic Coast, Palace of Westminster, Roman Baths, City of Bath, Ironbridge Gorge, the English Lake District and the largest Roman artefact in the world, Hadrian’s Wall. London, England’s capital, is one of the world’s most visited cities, offering unprecedented experiences to its visitors.