England is a European country in the North Sea. It is the largest member of the United Kingdom, both in size (just over fifty thousand square miles) and by population (fifty-one million people). England was unified by Athelstan in the 10th Century CE, and slowly developed its own political and legal systems it is the home of the English language.
- 410 - 1066 - The Roman empire withdraws from Britain; Anglo-saxon colonists and invaders take over the southern and eastern lowlands. The kingdoms of Wessex, Northumbria, East Anglia and, especially, Mercia become prominent. Christianity becomes the dominant religion. trial by jury becomes a central part of the legal system. Vikings raid the coast, and Danes conquer the North and East. These invaders are eventually repelled, but the last crowned Anglo-saxon king, Harold Godwinson, falls to the Norman Conquest.
- 1066 - 1707 - England is ruled by a variety of Norman dynasties, who provide all of its rulers and its main landowners for several hundred years. The Anglo-Saxon language changes to accomodate the Norman-French colonists, and the English language comes into being. Wales is conquered and absorbed into the country. Ireland is also held, but never decisively; relations with the island remain a problem to the present day. There are also several wars with France, almost ending in an English conquest. England slowly becomes rich through the wool trade, and begins to colonise North America. The English Civil War of the 1640s ends with a victory for parliamentary rule, ending absolute monarchy and divine right of kings in England.
- 1707 onwards - the Act of Union 1707 unites England with Scotland as the Kingdom of Great Britain. English people colonise many parts of the world, spreading their language and political system wherever they go, and assimilating many words and foodstuffs (especially tea) into their culture; English becomes the world's mostly-spoken language.
England's geography is characterised by moderation in all things. Its highest peak, Scafell Pike, is lower than the highest peaks of France, Wales and Scotland, and throughout the land its uplands are characterised by a gently rolling nature, with harsh ruggedness limited to a few areas of Cornwall, Devon, Derbyshire and Cumbria. the East and much of the South are much flatter; the soil is highly fertile and supports a strong agriculture sector. England's main rivers are mostly navigable, and are connected by a series of canals. It rains a lot in England, especially in the west of the country, and this rain is responsible for the aptly-named Lake District.
England is the only part of the UK without its own administrative body; instead, it is ruled directly by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Its local administration has been reformed several times, leaving a patchwork of counties, districts, boroughs and Unitary authorities.
England, while slow to develop a strong classical music culture, has nevertheles excelled in popular music, with many world-famous music acts coming from the country, including The Beatles, the most famous, best-selling and influential pop group of all.
English literature could be said to predate the language itself. The Anglo-Saxon epic poems Beowulf, Widsith and The Battle of Maldon setting the tone for later English language works; chief among them The Canterbury Tales and Paradise Lost. The English novel, beginning with Le Morte d'Arthur and flourishing most strongly in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, is another strong theme. Shakespeare's plays are renowned as the finest examples of the genre.
England is most well-known internationally in a sporting sense, with its football, cricket and rugby teams represented by an England national side rather than a UK team. These three sports (invented in England) are its most popular team sports. Athletics, horse racing, motor racing, sailing, cycling and boxing are also widespread.