The history and society of England


Archaeological evidence found in Norfolk and Suffolk show that Homo erectus lived in what is now England over 700,000 years ago.  England was linked to mainland Europe by a large land bridge and the English Channel was a mere river fed by tributaries that would later become the Thames and Seine.

Early history of England
Hunter-gatherers were the first people to arrive in England and they came from Europe around 8,000 BC.  People from southern Europe arrived in 4,000 BC and were later followed by Belgae, Celts and Gauls, which started the trend for the multi-cultural Britain of today.  By the time the Romans invaded in 43 AD they found a highly developed tribal-based culture, but they had to abandon the land to protect their empire.  The Anglo-Saxons arrived next, followed by the Vikings, and in 1066 the Normans came along.

Middle Ages
The middle ages brought war with France, political and religious unrest and the deathly Plague.  The Tudor family gained control of the monarchy towards the end of the Middle Ages, beginning a dynasty that ended with the 45-year reign of Elizabeth I.  England expanded around the globe and reached the height of its power during the reign of Queen Victoria in the 19th century.

20th century
20th century English history brought two costly wars and the loss of the empire.  There is a closer integration with continental Europe but at the same time increased autonomy for Scotland and Wales inspiring further changes.

Culture and society of England

England has a rich cultural mix thanks to the invaders, settlers and migrants who have made the country their home over the centuries.  Similarly, English culture is shared throughout the world by countries that were once part of the British Empire.

Major contributions made by the English are in the realms of theater, literature and architecture.  Names like Shakespeare, Chaucer and Dickens will be remembered by many from their days in the English classroom.  Modern and innovative structures like the Tate Modern and Millenium Bridge are springing up, while castles and cathedrals of old awe travelers year after year.  Art and sculpture from every age and continent is scattered across the country-side or sits in museums.

The English language is one that has spread around the world, developing huge variations in regional accents from the Aussie twang to the famous Cockney accent found in London.

The cuisine is certainly not famous for its quality or health attributes but the English have borrowed the best bits from other cuisines in order to vary their palates and in turn the quality of food is looking up.  The English favorite still remain however – fish ‘n’ chips, bacon ‘n’ eggs and bangers ‘n’ mash.  Careful not to overdose!


The predominant religion is Christianity although all other religions are freely practised including Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and Sikhism.  Nearly a quarter of people practise no religion.

*The Small Print
We’ve tried to make this destination guide as accurate as possible but please double check the essentials like visas, health and safety, airport information etc with the relevant authorities before you travel.  STA Travel takes no responsibility for loss, injury or inconvenience caused as a result of this guide.  All prices listed are in the currency of the destination, unless otherwise stated.

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