The Kingdom of England was a state on the island of Great Britain, covering roughly the southern two-thirds. In addition to what is now known as England, it also covered Wales from 1536 to 1707. The Kingdom was abolished in 1707 by the Union with Scotland Act and became part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain.
A Quick History of the Kingdom
The Kingdom of England has no specific founding date. During the 8th and 9th Centuries, the Kings of Wessex became increasingly dominant over the other kingdoms of England (there were seven minor kingdoms, now known as the Heptarchy, such as Mercia and Kent). The first King of Wessex to style himself "King of England" was Alfred the Great (871-899). In 927 the last "dark age" kingdom of England, Northumbria, fell to the King of Wessex. Since then there has been a united Kingdom of England. However, during the late 10th Century and early 11th Century (ie. around the year 1000), England was over-run by Vikings again and the Kingdom of England was claimed by both the Danish and Saxon kings.
In 1066, William of Normandy invaded England and conquered it. However, he was crowned as King of England (as William I) and the Kingdom remained in existence. The Dukedom of Normandy was eventually lost to France by the time of the Tudor Kings of England (with the exception of the Channel Islands). Wales was annexed to the Kingdom in 1536 and this was the first stage in the creation of the modern British state. In 1603 the crowns of England and Scotland merged (the two kingdoms had now the same king), under the Stuart Kings, and in 1707 the two kingdoms peacefully unified to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain, with one Parliament at Westminster, London. At this point, England no longer existed as a separate political entity and has since had no national government.
England has been a monarchy for its entirety (since its creation about 927 to the present day), except for the eleven years (1649 to 1660) that followed the English Civil War, when it was a republic under Oliver Cromwell and then his son Richard Cromwell. However, anarchy eventually developed, as Richard was too weak to rule as Lord Protector (a hereditary position created by his father), and the monarchy was restored. The present monarch, though now technically the British monarch and not the "English monarch", Queen Elizabeth II, is related to the Wessex Kings of over a millennium ago.
Since William I (1066-1087) London has been the capital city of England (and later of the United Kingdom too), but it was the city of Winchester which was the capital beforehand.
Last updated: 10-11-2005 20:05:57