The Great Fire of London

The summer of 1666 was very hot and dry in London. On a Sunday in September a great fire broke out in the city. It began late at night in a street not far from London Bridge. The Monument now stands on the spot to remind people of the terrible flames.
A hot east wind was blowing and the fire spread quickly. Most of the houses in London were made of wood. The better houses had brick or stone foundations only. The fire burnt for five days and nothing could stop it. There were no fire brigades at that time. The flames made night as light as day for ten miles around London. The people left their burning houses and went to the fields across the Thames. They put up tents and lived there.
Thirteen thousand houses were destroyed and many people were left homeless. But the fire did great good, it burnt dirty narrow streets where the plague ruled a year ago, wide streets and brick houses appeared in London after the Great Fire. Sir Christopher Wren, the famous architect, took part in rebuilding the city. St. Paul's Cathedral, where the architect is buried, was built by him.

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The Plague

In June 1665 the greatest epidemic of the plague broke out in London. Few people recovered from it. The narrow airless streets of London, bad sanitation helped the disease to spread. To show that someone in a house had the plague and that no one may go near it, a red cross was painted on the door. Many people died of the disease that year. The streets of London were empty, shops were closed and no boats were seen on the Thames. Most of the population left the city.
Nothing could stop the plague from spreading. The Lord Mayor ordered the fires to be burnt in the streets to purify the air. By the end of November the plague began to die down. The cold weather in December stopped it at last.

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Oliver Cromwell Oliver Cromwell was born in Huntingdon (Britain) on the 25th of April 1599 in the family of rich landowners.
His grandfather was sheriff and a representative in Parliament. His father Robert Cromwell had a small estate and represented Huntingdon in Parliament. Both his father and grandfather worked in the Court as well.
In September 1658 Oliver Cromwell died at the age of fifty-nine and was buried in Westminster Abbey. There are many legends about Cromwell's body. They say, that when the Stuarts were restored after Cromwell's death, his body was taken from Westminster Abbey and his head was set up over the gates of Westminster Hall, Some legends say that his body was buried on the field of his victorious battle. Others say that his body was put into the Thames and later taken out of the river by his family and buried in the walls of a castle. Today the English people do not know where the ruler of the Commonwealth is buried.

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The English Bourgeois Revolution and the Commonwealth (1629 – 1660)

The struggle of Parliament against the king began in England in the 12th century, Each king wanted to rule over the country without any parliament.
King Charles I was at war with Spain and France and wanted money for it. The Parliament refused to give the money. King Charles I dismissed the Parliament (1629) and for eleven years ruled over the country without the council of the people.
The Parliament opened again only in 1640 and opposed the king. The parties began to prepare for war. The king and his soldiers were in Oxford. The soldiers of the Parliament with Oliver Cromwell at the head were in London. In the Civil War which lasted for twelve years the Parliament won the victory.
King Charles I was executed as enemy of the country. The Commonwealth was proclaimed and Oliver Cromwell became the Protector of the new republic. The end of the Commonwealth came after Cromwell died (1658). England was at war with Spain at that time. The government was too weak and the new Parliament decided to have a king.

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The Peasants' Revolt in The 14th Century


The war with France lasted for more than a hundred years (1337-1453). The people of England paid for the war. A tax of one shilling a head was taken by the gov­ernment from every man or woman above fifteen years of age. The peasants did not want to pay the tax. They gathered in large groups and marched to London with Wat Tyler at the head.

Speaking to the peasant a man John Ball said, "...things will never go well in England so long as goods are not in common, and so long as there are villeins and gentlemen." The peasants stood at the walls of the Tower of London where the king lived at that time. Wat Tyler was sent to speak to the king, but the king's soldiers killed him.

Many peasants died in the battle, some were killed on their way home. In this way the king put an end to the revolt.

13 марта 2008  |  Просмотров:  2728  |   Пока без комментариев   Подробнее...


The Great Charter (1215) and The Beginning of The English Parliament


For about two centuries after the Norman Conquest England was ruled by foreign kings.

The kings took large sums of money from the barons for the wars in Europe. Those who refused to give the money were arrested.

In 1215 the barons revolted and soon had a large army against the king. They wrote a paper where the rights of the Englishmen were written down...

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England Under Foreign Kings


The Danes returned again and again to attack England. The English people had to tribute. But the Danes wanted to rule over the country and after many battles took the crown from the English. They held it for twenty-four years. Three Danish kings, one after the other, ruled over England. One of these kings—Canute was at the same time king of England, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The rule of Danish kings over England came to an end soon after Canute's death in ...

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The English Kingdoms


The Britons could not keep their land free for a long time. The Germanic tribes from Western Europe—the Angles, Saxons and Jutes — attacked the coasts of Britain and after long wars with the Britons settled on the British Isles.

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The Roman Times in British History
In the early days of history (50-450)

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