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Thursday, 07 September 1533 16:43

Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death on 24 March 1603. Sometimes called the Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the last of the five monarchs of the House of Tudor.

Elizabeth was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, his second wife, who was executed two-and-a-half years after Elizabeth's birth. Anne's marriage to Henry VIII was annulled, and Elizabeth was declared illegitimate. Her half-brother, Edward VI, ruled until his death in 1553, bequeathing the crown to Lady Jane Grey and ignoring the claims of his two half-sisters, the Roman Catholic Mary Tudor and the younger Elizabeth, in spite of statute law to the contrary. Edward's will was set aside and Mary became queen, deposing Lady Jane Grey. During Mary's reign, Elizabeth was imprisoned for nearly a year on suspicion of supporting Protestant rebels.

In 1558 upon Mary's death, Elizabeth succeeded her half-sister to the throne and set out to rule by good counsel. She depended heavily on a group of trusted advisers, led by William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley. One of her first actions as queen was the establishment of an English Protestant church, of which she became the supreme governor. This Elizabethan Religious Settlement was to evolve into the Church of England. It was expected that Elizabeth would marry and produce an heir; however, despite numerous courtships, she never did. She was eventually succeeded by her first cousin twice removed, James VI of Scotland, laying the foundation for the Kingdom of Great Britain. She had earlier been responsible for the imprisonment and execution of James's mother, Mary, Queen of Scots.

In government, Elizabeth was more moderate than her father and half-siblings had been. One of her mottoes was "video et taceo" ("I see but say nothing"). In religion, she was relatively tolerant and avoided systematic persecution. After the pope declared her illegitimate in 1570 and released her subjects from obedience to her, several conspiracies threatened her life, all of which were defeated with the help of her ministers' secret service. Elizabeth was cautious in foreign affairs, maneuvering between the major powers of France and Spain. She only half-heartedly supported a number of ineffective, poorly resourced military campaigns in the Netherlands, France, and Ireland. By the mid-1580s, England could no longer avoid war with Spain. England's victory against the Spanish Armada in 1588 associated Elizabeth with one of the greatest military victories in English history.

As she grew older, Elizabeth became celebrated for her virginity. A cult grew around her which was celebrated in the portraits, pageants, and literature of the day. Elizabeth's reign became known as the Elizabethan era. The period is famous for the flourishing of English drama, led by playwrights such as William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe, and for the seafaring prowess of English adventurers such as Francis Drake. Some historians depict Elizabeth as a short-tempered, sometimes indecisive ruler, who enjoyed more than her share of luck. Towards the end of her reign, a series of economic and military problems weakened her popularity. Elizabeth is acknowledged as a charismatic performer and a dogged survivor in an era when government was ramshackle and limited, and when monarchs in neighboring countries faced internal problems that jeopardized their thrones. After the short reigns of her half-siblings, her 44 years on the throne provided welcome stability for the kingdom and helped forge a sense of national identity.

Born: 7 September 1533
Palace of Placentia, Greenwich, England

Died: 24 March 1603 (aged 69)
Richmond Palace, Surrey, England

Wednesday, 09 July 1084 11:50

David I of Scotland

David I or Dauíd mac Maíl Choluim (Modern: Daibhidh I mac [Mhaoil] Chaluim;[1] c. 1084 – 24 May 1153) was a 12th-century ruler who was Prince of the Cumbrians from 1113 to 1124 and later King of Scotland from 1124 to 1153. The youngest son of Malcolm III and Margaret of Wessex, David spent most of his childhood in Scotland, but was exiled to England temporarily in 1093. Perhaps after 1100, he became a dependent at the court of King Henry I. There he was influenced by the Anglo-French culture of the court.

When David's brother Alexander I died in 1124, David chose, with the backing of Henry I, to take the Kingdom of Scotland (Alba) for himself. He was forced to engage in warfare against his rival and nephew, Máel Coluim mac Alaxandair. Subduing the latter seems to have taken David ten years, a struggle that involved the destruction of ÓengusMormaer of Moray. David's victory allowed expansion of control over more distant regions theoretically part of his Kingdom. After the death of his former patron Henry I, David supported the claims of Henry's daughter and his own niece, Empress Matilda, to the throne of England. In the process, he came into conflict with King Stephen and was able to expand his power in northern England, despite his defeat at the Battle of the Standard in 1138.

The term "Davidian Revolution" is used by many scholars to summarise the changes which took place in Scotland during his reign. These included his foundation of burghs and regional markets, implementation of the ideals of Gregorian Reform, foundation of monasteries, Normanisation of the Scottish government, and the introduction of feudalism through immigrant French and Anglo-French knights.

Born: c. 1084

Died: 24 May 1153 (aged 68–69)
Carlisle

Sunday, 01 May 1707 11:25

Acts of Union 1707

The Acts of Union were two Acts of Parliament: the Union with Scotland Act 1706 passed by the Parliament of England, and the Union with England Act passed in 1707 by the Parliament of Scotland. They put into effect the terms of the Treaty of Union that had been agreed on 22 July 1706, following negotiation between commissioners representing the parliaments of the two countries. By the two Acts, the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland - which at the time were separate states with separate legislatures, but with the same monarch - were, in the words of the Treaty, "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain".

The two countries had shared a monarch since the Union of the Crowns in 1603, when King James VI of Scotland inherited the English throne from his double first cousin twice removed, Queen Elizabeth I. Although described as a Union of Crowns, until 1707 there were in fact two separate Crowns resting on the same head (as opposed to the implied creation of a single Crown and a single Kingdom, exemplified by the later Kingdom of Great Britain). Prior to the Acts of Union there had been three previous attempts (in 1606, 1667, and 1689) to unite the two countries by Acts of Parliament, but it was not until the early 18th century that both political establishments came to support the idea, albeit for different reasons.

The Acts took effect on 1 May 1707. On this date, the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England united to form the Parliament of Great Britain, based in the Palace of Westminster in London, the home of the English Parliament. Hence, the Acts are referred to as the Union of the Parliaments. On the Union, the historian Simon Schama said "What began as a hostile merger, would end in a full partnership in the most powerful going concern in the world ... it was one of the most astonishing transformations in European history."

Sunday, 19 June 1566 20:48

James VI and I

James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the Scottish and English crowns on 24 March 1603 until his death in 1625. The kingdoms of Scotland and England were individual sovereign states, with their own parliaments, judiciaries, and laws, though both were ruled by James in personal union.

James was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and a great-great-grandson of Henry VII, King of England and Lord of Ireland, and thus a potential successor to all three thrones. James succeeded to the Scottish throne at the age of thirteen months, after his mother was compelled to abdicate in his favour. Four different regents governed during his minority, which ended officially in 1578, though he did not gain full control of his government until 1583. In 1603, he succeeded the last Tudor monarch of England and Ireland, Elizabeth I, who died childless. He continued to reign in all three kingdoms for 22 years, a period known after him as the Jacobean era, until his death. After the Union of the Crowns, he based himself in England (the largest of the three realms) from 1603, returning to Scotland only once, in 1617, and styled himself "King of Great Britain and Ireland". He was a major advocate of a single parliament for England and Scotland. In his reign, the Plantation of Ulster and British colonisation of the Americas began.

At 57 years and 246 days, James's reign in Scotland was the longest of any Scottish monarch. He achieved most of his aims in Scotland but faced great difficulties in England, including the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 and repeated conflicts with the English Parliament. Under James, the "Golden Age" of Elizabethan literature and drama continued, with writers such as William ShakespeareJohn DonneBen Jonson, and Sir Francis Bacon contributing to a flourishing literary culture.[1] James himself was a talented scholar, the author of works such as Daemonologie (1597), The True Law of Free Monarchies (1598), and Basilikon Doron (1599). He sponsored the translation of the Bible into English that would later be named after him: the Authorized King James Version.[2] Sir Anthony Weldon claimed that James had been termed "the wisest fool in Christendom", an epithet associated with his character ever since.[3] Since the latter half of the 20th century, historians have tended to revise James's reputation and treat him as a serious and thoughtful monarch.[4] He was strongly committed to a peace policy, and tried to avoid involvement in religious wars, especially the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) that devastated much of Central Europe. He tried but failed to prevent the rise of hawkish elements in the English Parliament who wanted war with Spain.[5]

Wednesday, 11 July 1274 12:23

Robert the Bruce

Robert I (11 July 1274 – 7 June 1329), popularly known as Robert the Bruce (Medieval Gaelic: Roibert a Briuis; modern Scottish Gaelic: Raibeart Brus; Norman French: Robert de Brus or Robert de Bruys; Early Scots: Robert Brus; Latin: Robertus Brussius), was King of Scots from 1306 until his death in 1329. Robert was one of the most famous warriors of his generation, and eventually led Scotland during the First War of Scottish Independence against England. He fought successfully during his reign to regain Scotland's place as an independent country and is today revered in Scotland as a national hero.

His paternal fourth great-grandfather was King David I. His maternal line is descended from Aoife MacMurrough of Leinster[2]. Robert's grandfather, Robert de Brus, 5th Lord of Annandale, was one of the claimants to the Scottish throne during the "Great Cause". As Earl of Carrick, Robert the Bruce supported his family's claim to the Scottish throne and took part in William Wallace's revolt against Edward I of England. Appointed in 1298 as a Guardian of Scotland alongside his chief rival for the throne, John III Comyn, Lord of Badenoch, and William LambertonBishop of St Andrews, Robert later resigned in 1300 due to his quarrels with Comyn and the apparently imminent restoration of John Balliol to the Scottish throne. After submitting to Edward I in 1302 and returning to "the king's peace", Robert inherited his family's claim to the Scottish throne upon his father's death.

In February 1306, Bruce, having wounded Comyn, rushed from the church where they had met and encountered his attendants outside. He told them what had happened and said, "I must be off, for I doubt I have slain the Red Comyn." "Doubt?", Roger de Kirkpatrick of Closeburn answered. "I mak sikker," ("I'll make sure," or "I make sure"). Kirkpatrick then rushed into the church and killed Comyn. For this, Bruce was then excommunicated by the Pope (although he received absolution from Robert WishartBishop of Glasgow). Bruce moved quickly to seize the throne, and was crowned king of Scots on 25 March 1306. Edward I's forces defeated Robert in the battle of Methven, forcing him to flee into hiding before re-emerging in 1307 to defeat an English army at Loudoun Hill and wage a highly successful guerrilla war against the English. Bruce defeated his other Scots enemies, destroying their strongholds and devastating their lands, and in 1309 held his first parliament. A series of military victories between 1310 and 1314 won him control of much of Scotland, and at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, Robert defeated a much larger English army under Edward II of England, confirming the re-establishment of an independent Scottish kingdom. The battle marked a significant turning point, with Robert's armies now free to launch devastating raids throughout northern England, while also extending his war against the English to Ireland by sending an army to invade there and by appealing to the Irish to rise against Edward II's rule.

Despite Bannockburn and the capture of the final English stronghold at Berwick in 1318, Edward II refused to renounce his claim to the overlordship of Scotland. In 1320, the Scottish nobility submitted the Declaration of Arbroath to Pope John XXII, declaring Robert as their rightful monarch and asserting Scotland's status as an independent kingdom. In 1324, the Pope recognised Robert I as king of an independent Scotland, and in 1326, the Franco-Scottish alliance was renewed in the Treaty of Corbeil. In 1327, the English deposed Edward II in favour of his son, Edward III, and peace was concluded between Scotland and England with the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton in 1328, by which Edward III renounced all claims to sovereignty over Scotland.

Robert died in June 1329. His body is buried in Dunfermline Abbey, while his heart was interred in Melrose Abbey and his internal organs embalmed and placed in St Serf's Chapel, Dumbarton, site of the medieval Cardross Parish church.

Wednesday, 08 July 0843 07:25

Kingdom of Scotland

The Kingdom of Scotland was a sovereign state in northwest Europe traditionally said to have been founded in 843. Its territories expanded and shrank, but it came to occupy the northern third of the island of Great Britain, sharing a land border to the south with the Kingdom of England. It suffered many invasions by the English, but under Robert I it fought a successful War of Independence and remained an independent state throughout the late Middle Ages. Following the annexation of the Northern Isles from the Kingdom of Norway in 1472 and the final capture of the Royal Burgh of Berwick by the Kingdom of England in 1482, the territory of the Kingdom of Scotland corresponded to that of modern-day Scotland, bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the southwest. In 1603, James VI of Scotland became King of England, joining Scotland with England in a personal union. In 1707, the two kingdoms were united to form the Kingdom of Great Britain under the terms of the Acts of Union.

The Crown was the most important element of government. The Scottish monarchy in the Middle Ages was a largely itinerant institution, before Edinburgh developed as a capital city in the second half of the 15th century. The Crown remained at the center of political life and in the 16th century emerged as a major center of display and artistic patronage, until it was effectively dissolved with the Union of Crowns in 1603. The Scottish Crown adopted the conventional offices of western European monarchical states of the time and developed a Privy Council and great offices of state. Parliament also emerged as a major legal institution, gaining an oversight of taxation and policy, but was never as central to the national life. In the early period, the kings of the Scots depended on the great lords - the mormaers and toísechs - but from the reign of David I, sheriffdoms were introduced, which allowed more direct control and gradually limited the power of the major lordships. In the 17th century, the creation of Justices of Peace and Commissioners of Supply helped to increase the effectiveness of local government. The continued existence of courts baron and the introduction of kirk sessions helped consolidate the power of local lairds.

Scots law developed in the Middle Ages and was reformed and codified in the 16th and 17th centuries. Under James IV the legal functions of the council were rationalized, with Court of Session meeting daily in Edinburgh. In 1532, the College of Justice was founded, leading to the training and professionalization of lawyers. David I is the first Scottish king known to have produced his own coinage. At the union of the Crowns in 1603 the Pound Scots was fixed at only one-twelfth the value of the English pound. The Bank of Scotland issued pound notes from 1704. Scottish currency was abolished by the Acts of Union, however to the present day, Scotland retains unique banknotes.

Geographically, Scotland is divided between the Highlands and Islands and the Scottish Lowlands. The Highlands had a relatively short growing season, which was further shortened during the Little Ice Age. From Scotland's foundation to the inception of the Black Death, the population had grown to a million; following the plague, it then fell to half a million. It expanded in the first half of the 16th century, reaching roughly 1.2 million by the 1690s. Significant languages in the medieval kingdom included Gaelic, Old English, Norse and French; but by the early modern era Middle Scots had begun to dominate. Christianity was introduced into Scotland from the 6th century. In the Norman period the Scottish church underwent a series of changes that led to new monastic orders and organization. During the 16th century, Scotland underwent a Protestant Reformation that created a predominately Calvinist national kirk. There were a series of religious controversies that resulted in divisions and persecutions. The Scottish Crown developed naval forces at various points in its history, but often relied on privateers and fought a guerre de course. Land forces centered around the large common army, but adopted European innovations from the 16th century; and many Scots took service as mercenaries and as soldiers for the English Crown.

Thursday, 22 July 1706 07:17

Treaty of Union

The Treaty of Union is the name usually now given to the agreement which led to the creation of the new state of Great Britain, stating that England (which already included Wales) and Scotland were to be "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain", At the time it was more often referred to as the Articles of Union.

The details of the Treaty were agreed on 22 July 1706, and separate Acts of Union were then passed by the parliaments of England and Scotland to put the agreed Articles into effect. The political union took effect on 1 May 1707.

Tuesday, 08 July 0600 07:06

History of Anglo-Saxon England

Anglo-Saxon England was early medieval England, existing from the 5th to the 11th centuries from the end of Roman Britain until the Norman conquest in 1066. It consisted of various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms until 927 when it was united as the Kingdom of England by King Æthelstan (r. 927–939). It became part of the short-lived North Sea Empire of Cnut the Great, a personal union between England, Denmark and Norway in the 11th century.

The Anglo-Saxons were the members of Germanic-speaking groups who migrated to the southern half of the island of Great Britain from nearby northwestern Europe. Anglo-Saxon history thus begins during the period of sub-Roman Britain following the end of Roman control, and traces the establishment of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in the 5th and 6th centuries (conventionally identified as seven main kingdomsNorthumbriaMerciaEast AngliaEssexKentSussex, and Wessex), their Christianisation during the 7th century, the threat of Viking invasions and Danish settlers, the gradual unification of England under the Wessex hegemony during the 9th and 10th centuries, and ending with the Norman conquest of England by William the Conqueror in 1066.

Anglo-Saxon identity survived beyond the Norman conquest,[1] came to be known as Englishry under Norman rule, and through social and cultural integration with Celts, Danes and Anglo-Normans became the modern English people.

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.

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