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Sunday, 01 May 1707 22:35

Kingdom of Great Britain

The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called Great Britain, was a sovereign state in Western Europe from 1 May 1707 to 1 January 1801. The state came into being following the Treaty of Union in 1706, ratified by the Acts of Union 1707, which united the kingdoms of England (which included Wales) and Scotland to form a single kingdom encompassing the whole island of Great Britain and its outlying islands, with the exception of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The unitary state was governed by a single parliament and government that was based in Westminster. The former kingdoms had been in personal union since James VI of Scotland became King of England and King of Ireland in 1603 following the death of Elizabeth I, bringing about the "Union of the Crowns". Since its inception, the kingdom was in legislative and personal union with the Kingdom of Ireland. Following the accession of George I to the throne of Great Britain in 1714, the kingdom was in a personal union with the Electorate of Hanover.

The early years of the newly-united kingdom were marked by Jacobite risings, which ended in defeat for the Stuart cause at the Battle of Culloden in 1746. In 1763, victory in the Seven Years' War led to the dominance of the British Empire, which was to become the foremost global power for over a century, slowly growing to become the largest empire in history.

From the mid-1750s, Great Britain came to dominate the Indian subcontinent through the trading and military expansion of the East India Company. In wars against France, it gained control of both Upper and Lower Canada, and until suffering defeat in the American War of Independence, it also had dominion over the Thirteen Colonies.

On 1 January 1801, with the coming into effect of the Acts of Union 1800, enacted by the parliaments of Great Britain and Ireland, the Kingdom of Great Britain was merged into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

Tuesday, 07 July 1542 15:26

Kingdom of Ireland

The Kingdom of Ireland was a client state of England and then of Great Britain that existed from 1542 until 1800. It was ruled by the monarchs of England and then of Great Britain in personal union with their other realms. The kingdom was administered from Dublin Castle by a viceroy (the lord deputy, later lord lieutenant) appointed by the king or queen. Ireland had its own legislature, peerage, army, legal system, and its state church.

The territory of the kingdom had formerly been a lordship ruled by the kings of England, founded in 1177 by King Henry II after the Anglo-Norman Invasion of Ireland. By the 1500s the area of English rule had shrunk greatly, and most of Ireland was held by Gaelic Irish chiefdoms. In 1542, King Henry VIII of England was made King of Ireland. The English began establishing control over the island, which sparked the Desmond Rebellions and the Nine Years’ War. It was completed in the 1600s. The conquest involved confiscating land from the native Irish and colonizing it with settlers from Britain.

In its early years, the kingdom had limited recognition, as no Catholic countries in Europe recognized Henry VIII and his successor, Edward VI, as kings of Ireland. Catholic Mary I was recognized as Queen of Ireland by Pope Paul IV. Catholics, who made up most of the population, were officially discriminated against in the kingdom, which from the late 17th century was dominated by a Protestant Ascendancy. This discrimination was one of the main drivers behind several conflicts which broke out: the Irish Confederate Wars (1641–53), the Williamite-Jacobite War (1689–91), the Armagh disturbances (1780s–90s) and the Irish Rebellion of 1798.

The Parliament of Ireland passed the Acts of Union 1800 by which it abolished itself and the kingdom. The act was also passed by the Parliament of Great Britain. It established the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on the first day of 1801 by uniting the Crowns of Ireland and of Great Britain.

Thursday, 07 July 1160 12:53

Norman Invasion of Ireland

The Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland took place during the late 12th century, when Anglo-Normans gradually conquered and acquired large swaths of land from the Irish, which the Kingdom of England then claimed sovereignty over. At the time, Gaelic Ireland was made up of several kingdoms, with a High King claiming lordship over most of the other kings. The Norman invasion was a watershed in Ireland's history, marking the beginning of more than 800 years of direct English and, later, British involvement in Ireland.

In May 1169, Anglo-Norman mercenaries landed in Ireland at the request of Diarmait mac Murchada (Dermot MacMurragh), the deposed King of Leinster, who sought their help in regaining his kingship. They achieved this within weeks and raided neighboring kingdoms. This military intervention was sanctioned by King Henry II of England. In return, Diarmait had sworn loyalty to Henry and promised land to the Normans.

In 1170 there were further Norman landings, led by the Earl of PembrokeRichard "Strongbow" de Clare. They seized the important Norse-Irish towns of Dublin and Waterford, and Strongbow married Diarmait's daughter Aífe. Diarmait died in May 1171 and Strongbow claimed Leinster, which Diarmait had promised him. Led by High King Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair (Rory O'Connor), a coalition of most of the Irish kingdoms besieged Dublin, while Norman-held Waterford and Wexford were also attacked. However, the Normans managed to hold most of their territory.

In October 1171, King Henry landed with a large army to assert control over both the Anglo-Normans and the Irish. This intervention was supported by the Catholic Church, who saw it as a means of ensuring Irish religious reform. Henry granted Strongbow Leinster as a fiefdom, declared the Norse-Irish towns to be crown land, and arranged the synod of Cashel. Many Irish kings also submitted to him, likely in the hope that he would curb Norman expansion. Henry, however, granted the unconquered kingdom of Meath to Hugh de Lacy. After Henry's departure in 1172, fighting between the Normans and Irish continued.

The 1175 Treaty of Windsor acknowledged Henry as overlord of the conquered territory and Ruaidrí as overlord of the rest of Ireland, with Ruaidrí also swearing fealty to Henry. However, the Treaty soon fell apart; Norman lords continued to invade Irish kingdoms and they continued to attack the Normans. In 1177, Henry adopted a new policy. He declared his son John to be "Lord of Ireland" (i.e. of the whole country) and authorized the Norman lords to conquer more land. The territory they held became the Lordship of Ireland, part of the Angevin Empire. The Normans' success has been attributed to military superiority and castle-building; the lack of a unified opposition from the Irish; and the support of the church for Henry's intervention.

Saturday, 07 July 1100 11:56

Normans in Ireland

From the 12th century onwards, a group of Normans invaded and settled in Gaelic Ireland. These settlers later became known as Norman Irish or Hiberno-Normans. They originated mainly among Anglo-Norman families from England and Wales, were loyal to the Kingdom of England, and the English state supported their claims to territory in the various realms then comprising Ireland. During the High Middle Ages and Late Middle Ages the Hiberno-Normans constituted a feudal aristocracy and merchant oligarchy, known as the Lordship of Ireland. In Ireland, the Normans were also closely associated with the Gregorian Reform of the Catholic Church in Ireland. Over time the descendants of the 12th-century Norman settlers spread throughout Ireland and around the world, as part of the Irish diaspora; they ceased, in most cases, to identify as Norman or Anglo-Norman.

The dominance of the Norman Irish declined during the 17th century, after a new English Protestant elite settled in Ireland during the Tudor period. Some of the Norman Irish - often known as The Old English - had become Gaelicised by merging culturally and intermarrying with the Gaels, under the denominator of "Irish Catholic". Conversely, some Hiberno-Normans assimilated into the new English Protestant elite, as the Anglo-Irish.

Some of the most prominent Norman families were the FitzMaurices, FitzGeralds, Burkes and Butlers. One of the most common Irish surnames, Walsh, derives from the Normans based in Wales who arrived in Ireland as part of this group.

Sunday, 16 January 1707 09:41

Great Britain

Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of 209,331 km2 (80,823 sq. mi), it is the largest of the British Isles, the largest European island, and the ninth-largest island in the world. In 2011, Great Britain had a population of about 61 million people, making it the world's third-most populous island after Java in Indonesia and Honshu in Japan. The island of Ireland is situated to the west of Great Britain, and together these islands, along with over 1,000 smaller surrounding islands, form the British Isles archipelago.

The island is dominated by a maritime climate with narrow temperature differences between seasons. England, Scotland, and Wales are mostly on the island of Great Britain, and the term "Great Britain" is often used to include the whole of England, Scotland and Wales including their component adjoining islands. Politically, Great Britain and Northern Ireland together constitute the United Kingdom.

A single Kingdom of Great Britain resulted from the union of the Kingdom of England (which had already comprised the present-day countries of England and Wales) and the Kingdom of Scotland by the 1707 Acts of Union. In 1801, Great Britain united with the neighboring Kingdom of Ireland, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, which was renamed the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" after the Irish Free State seceded in 1922.

Saturday, 12 July 0927 07:00

Kingdom of England

The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 927, when it emerged from various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms until 1707, when it united with Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.

On 12 July 927, the various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms were united by Æthelstan (r. 927–939) to form the Kingdom of England. In 1016, the kingdom became part of the North Sea Empire of Cnut the Great, a personal union between England, Denmark and Norway. The Norman conquest of England in 1066 led to the transfer of the English capital city and chief royal residence from the Anglo-Saxon one at Winchester to Westminster, and the City of London quickly established itself as England's largest and principal commercial center.


Friday, 22 February 1495 20:01

February 22, 1495

French King Charles VIII enters Naples to claim the crown.

Saturday, 01 January 1431 19:33

Pope Alexander VI

Pope Alexander VI, born Rodrigo de Borja, was Pope from 11 August 1492 until his death in 1503.

Born into the prominent Borgia family in Xàtiva in the Crown of Aragon (now Spain), Rodrigo studied law at the University of Bologna. He was ordained deacon and made a cardinal in 1456 after the election of his uncle as Pope Callistus III, and a year later he became vice-chancellor of the Catholic Church. He proceeded to serve in the Curia under the next four popes, acquiring significant influence and wealth in the process. In 1492, Rodrigo was elected Pope, taking the name Alexander VI.

Alexander's bulls of 1493 confirmed or reconfirmed the rights of the Spanish crown in the New World following the finds of Christopher Columbus in 1492. During the second Italian war, Alexander VI supported his son Cesare Borgia as a condottiero for the French King. The scope of his foreign policy was to gain the most advantageous terms for his family.

Alexander is considered one of the most controversial of the Renaissance popes, partly because he acknowledged fathering several children by his mistresses. As a result, his Italianized Valencian surname, Borgia, became a byword for libertinism and nepotism, which are traditionally considered as characterizing his pontificate. On the other hand, two of Alexander's successors, Sixtus V and Urban VIII, described him as one of the most outstanding popes since Saint Peter.

Born: 1 January 1431
Xàtiva, Kingdom of Valencia, Crown of Aragon (Now Spain)

Died: 18 August 1503 (aged 72)
Rome, Papal States (Now Italy)

Monday, 13 September 1475 15:44

Cesare Borgia

Cesare Borgia was an Italian politician and condottiero (mercenary leader) whose fight for power was a major inspiration for The Prince by Machiavelli. He was an illegitimate son of Pope Alexander VI and member of the Spanish Aragonese House of Borgia.

After initially entering the church and becoming a cardinal on his father's election to the Papacy, he became, after the death of his brother in 1498, the first person to resign a cardinalate. He served as a condottiero for the King of France Louis XII around 1500 and occupied Milan and Naples during the Italian Wars. At the same time he carved out a state for himself in Central Italy, but after his father's death he was unable to retain power for long. According to Machiavelli, this was not due to a lack of foresight, but his error in creating a new pope.

Born: 13 September 1475

Subiaco, Papal States (now Italy)

Died: 12 March 1507 (aged 31)

Viana, Navarre (now Spain)

Monday, 28 January 1495 15:36

January 28, 1495

Pope Alexander VI (Roderic Llançol i de Borgia) gives his son Cesare Borgia as hostage to Charles VIII of France.

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