history of british isles

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Arbor Low, Derbyshire, England

Arbor Low is a Neolithic henge monument in the Peak District of Derbyshire. It consists of about 50 large limestone blocks, quarried from a local site, which form an egg-shaped circle, with monoliths at the entrances, and possibly a portal stone at the south entrance. The stones are surrounded by an oval earthen bank and ditch. There is also a large pit at the north entrance, which possibly contained a stone. Some of the stones are broken; some of these fragments may originally have been joined together, such that there were originally between 41 and 43 stones.

The bank and ditch of the henge, as well as its two entrances, were probably established in the Late Neolithic period, with the stones added later, some time before 2000 BC. The site seems to have been in use until into the Bronze Age, which was when the outer bank was reconstructed so that the round barrow could be erected. Few henge monuments in the British Isles are as well preserved.

lightdragon837  asked:

What is the history of England ?

In the beginning, there were the British Isles. These were the home of the Celtic people, who liked to draw fancy knots and build large stone circles. They were immediately killed off by the Romans for these dangerous and blasphemous acts. The Romans then built a giant wall to keep the most brutal survivors from invading their settlements. These dangerous and bizarre northerners would in time become known as the Scottish.

In 1066, a man named Norman invaded and killed off all the remaining Romans and Celts because they did not speak French. The survivors were taught French, and began to fight each other over who was more French. These wars included the Hundred Years War, which lasted 116 years; the War of the Roses, in which no actual roses fought; and the English Civil War, in which the people literally fought about whether their government should be run by people calling themselves “The Rump.”

England during this time also had well over 30 different Kings and Queens, who all together had well under 5 different names. There was also Oliver Cromwell, who banned Christmas because it wasn’t Christian enough for him. These centuries also saw the creation of the Magna Carta, which was by far the biggest Carta.

Shakespeare happened.

England then began to colonize the world. For 300 years, the English invaded literally every single other country they could find. They only missed like five. They invaded so many that their empire sprawled across the globe and they could claim that “The Sun Never Set On The British Empire,” which was inaccurate because the sun set every night on each portion, meaning the sun was in fact always setting on the British Empire.

In time, the empire grew obsolete and England joined together with its feisty brother Ireland (or at least his shoulder), its peaceful sister Wales, and its crazy uncle Scotland that nobody liked to visit or talk about. Together they became known as the UK, which in turn joined the EU, ushering in a new era of two letter abbreviations that reigned over Europe, past England’s brutal defeat of Germany, England’s other brutal defeat of Germany, and the withdrawal of England from the EU, which was for some reason lamented by Germany.

Also Harry Potter happened.

On this day, February 28th, in 1637, in the kirkyard of Greyfriars in Edinburgh, the National Covenant, one of the most important documents in Scottish history, received its first signatures. It marked the start of the Scottish Revolution, and one of the most tumultuous times in the history of the British Isles. 

Upon the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603 King James of Scotland also became king of England, thus creating the United Kingdom. Whilst James was always careful to balance his two realms, his son and inheritor, Charles I, payed far less attention to his Scottish subjects. In an attempt to increase the unity between the two kingdoms, Charles embarked on a campaign to force the Scots, who were overwhelmingly Presbyterian Protestants, to adopt the Episcopalian Protestant Church of England. 

Charles believed he had a divine right to change the Scottish religion and this sparked outrage, since the country had been fiercely Presbyterian since the Reformation in 1560. The situation culminated in the signing of the National Covenant in Edinburgh in 1637. It asserted the independence of Scottish religion and laws. Those who signed it became known as “Covenanters” and copies were distributed across the kingdom. Importantly, and unlike the famed Declaration of Arbroath, it was not only signed by the nobility but received the support of ten of thousands of the common people of Scotland too.

The final spark for revolution came that summer, when a peasant girl named Jenny Geddes flung her stool at one of Charles’s bishops in the cathedral in Edinburgh. A riot began, and soon the whole country was up in arms against Charles. A single blow by a low-born woman had started the most tumultuous century in British history.

Two brief wars, named the Bishop’s Wars, followed, as Charles tired to tame his northern subjects. Both ended miserably for the king, partly because the Scots were so determined, partly because the English, plenty of whom were also Presbyterians, didn’t want to fight their northern coreligionists. 

The loss of the Bishop’s Wars showed the rest of Britain that Charles could be overcome. There was a Catholic rising in Ireland in 1641 (which the Scots and English united to suppress), and a year later the English Parliament finally went to war with the king, beginning the first of three English Civil Wars. The Scots were natural allies of the English Parliament, and Scottish Covenanter armies were soon marching south to join the war against the Charles in England. 

After the Restoration in 1660 Charles’s son, Charles II, began a program of revenge against the Covenanters. Whilst the rest of Britain basked in the splendour of the “Merry Monarch” thousands of Covenanters were executed or deported in what became known north of the border as the “Killing Times.” One Covenanter martyr was a seventeen year old named Margaret Wilson. She refused to renounce her beliefs, and was tied to a stake in the Solway Firth, where she was left to die, singing the Psalms as she drowned. 

Two Covenanter risings were crushed by Charles II. It wasn’t until after his death that the tide would once again, finally, turn in the Covenanters favour. 

In 1688 Charles’s brother, James II, had a son. This incensed the rest of Britain became James was a Catholic, and his son’s godfather was the Pope himself. United by their determination to avid another Catholic succession, Presbyterians and Episcopalians put aside their differences and invited the husband of James’s daughter, the Protestant William Prince of Orange, to take the throne from James. This he duly did in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. William III ended the persecution of the Covenanters, and finally accepted Presbyterianism as the state religion of Scotland. To this day the official church of the nation, the Church of Scotland, is Presbyterian whilst the Church of England remains Episcopalian. 

The influence of the Scottish Covenanters runs like a blue thread through the events in Britain between 1637 and the final defeat of the Stuarts at Culloden in 1746, binding together events like the English Civil Wars, the Restoration, the Glorious Revolution and the Acts of Union. Given that, it’s surprising how few Scots are aware of the massive importance of this period, not only in Scottish history but in British and, indeed, glorbal terms.

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April 17th 1986: 335 Year War ends

On this day in 1986, the alleged three hundred and thirty five year war between the Netherlands and the British Scilly Isles officially ended. During the English Civil War, the Dutch sided with Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarians over the Royalist supporters of King Charles. The Royalists felt betrayed by their former allies, and responded by raiding Dutch shipping lanes. The tide of war gradually turned against the Royalists, and by 1651 their army had been pushed back to Cornwall on Britain’s south-western coast. The Royalist navy was forced to the tiny Isles of Scilly off the Cornish coast, the largest of which is only four square miles. The Dutch sent warships to Scilly to demand compensation for their mercantile losses, and when the Royalists refused, Dutch admiral Maarten Tromp declared war on the islands and set up a naval blockade. Tromp’s authority to make such a declaration is unclear, but what is known is that no blood was shed, as the Parliamentarians took the Isles of Scilly in June 1651 and the Dutch promptly sailed home. The incident was forgotten until a Scillonian historian enquired at the Dutch Embassy for evidence of a war which by then had been raging for three centuries. The embassy subsequently found evidence to suggest that the war between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly had indeed never formally ended. Despite questions about Tromp’s authority and the technical impossiblity of declaring war on a specific region of a nation, thus throwing the legitimacy of the alleged war into confusion, the Dutch ambassador was invited to the isles to negotiate peace. On April 17th 1986, an official peace treaty was signed between the two unlikely adversaries, ending a bloodless 335 year conflict.

“It must have been awful to know we could have attacked at any moment.”
- The Dutch ambassador in 1986

Crystal Herbalism- Lavender

Lavender has been used for more than 2,500 years, as part of the mint family.

In Medieval and Renaissance Europe, lavender was sprinkled around the castles and homes to ward off disease and bring protection. It was sown into clothing and wrapped around wrists during the plague to provide good health and purity.

Physical: heals headaches, sedative, antidepressant, calms the mind, strengthen immune system, and eases motion sickness.

Metaphysical: lucid dreams, psychic awareness, strengthen intuition, brings clarity to visions, connects to the spirit realm.

Western Europe and the British isles used lavender during the midsummer to connect with the Fae folk and nature spirits.

When casting a circle sprinkle lavender around you to bring only good energy in and protecting you from negativity. It will balance your inner magic.

Calming Tea

½ tsp Spearmint

½ tsp Peppermint

½ tsp Lavender

Pinch of Vanilla

Drink this tea and mediate with a lavender amethyst (fairy amethyst) to connect with the ancient energies of lavender and the nature spirits.

High Down Rocket Test Site on the Needles Headland, the Isle of Wight, during the late 1950s. The facility was built and run by Saunders Roe, at the time developing the Black Knight rocket - a technology tester for Blue Streak. Britain was, for a brief period in the late 1950s, a very real contestant in the Cold War’s space race. Black Knight flew 22 times from the Woomera Test Facility in South Australia, every rocket first test run here, on the Isle of Wight, and every launch a success.

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The History of the British Isles.