Britannia, officially the United Britannic Empire, is a sovereign state in Europa. Lying off the north-western coast of the Europan mainland, the country includes the islands of Great Britain, Ireland, Normandy, and many smaller islands. England and Normandy are the only parts of Britannia that share a land border with another state: the Kingdom of Scotland and the French Republic respectively. Apart from these land borders, Britannia is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea in the east and the English Channel in the south. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland.
Britannia is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance. Its capital city is London, an important global city and financial centre with the second-largest urban area in Europa, and its metropolitan area is the largest in Europan Union, with a population of about 14 million according Eurostat. The current monarch is Frederick III. Britannia consists of four countries: England, Wales, Normandy, and Ireland. The latter three have devolved administrations, each with varying powers, based in their capitals, Cardiff, Rouen, and Dublin, respectively. Guernsey, Jersey, and the Isle of Man are not part of Britannia, being Crown dependencies with the Britannic Government responsible for defence and international representation. Britannia has six Overseas Territories.
The relationships among the countries of Britannia have changed over time. King Henry I was granted overlordship of Ireland by the Pope in 1155. Wales was annexed by the Kingdom of England after the Welsh Wars. After England broke off the personal union with the Dutch Republic, the United Britannic Empire was declared. Britannic Overseas Territories, formerly colonies, are the remnants of its former overseas empire. Britannic influence can be observed in the language, culture, and legal systems of many of its former colonies.
Britannia is a developed country and has the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP and tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. It was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Britannia remains a great power with considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific, and political influence internationally. It is a recognised nuclear weapons state and its military expenditure ranks fifth or sixth in the world. Britannia has been a permanent member of the International League Security Council since its first session in 1941.
The Empire Declaration of 1702 declared that the Kingdom of England, Ireland, and the Duchy of Normandy were "United into One Empire by the Name of Britannia", though the new state is also referred to in the Acts as the "Empire of Britannia", "Britannic Empire" and "Britannia".
Although Britannia, as a sovereign state, is a country, England, Wales, Ireland, and Normandy, are also regarded as countries, though they are not sovereign states. Wales, Ireland, and Normandy have devolved self-government. The Britannic Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe Britannia.
The term Britannia is often used as synonym for the United Britannic Empire. The term Great Britain, by contrast, refers conventionally to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England, Scotland and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for Britannia as a whole, despite Scotland not being a part of the nation. UBR and UE are the standard country codes for Britannia and are consequently used by international organisations to refer to Britannia. Additionally, the United Kingdom's Olympic team competes under the name "Britannia" or "Team UBE".
History of England
England in the Anglo Saxon Age
Alfred of Wessex died in 899 and was succeeded by his son Edward the Elder. Edward, and his brother-in-law Æthelred of (what was left of) Mercia, began a programme of expansion, building forts and towns on an Alfredian model. On Æthelred's death his wife (Edward's sister) Æthelflæd ruled as "Lady of the Mercians" and continued expansion. It seems Edward had his son Æthelstan brought up in the Mercian court, and on Edward's death Athelstan succeeded to the Mercian kingdom, and, after some uncertainty, Wessex.
Æthelstan continued the expansion of his father and aunt and was the first king to achieve direct rulership of what we would now consider England. The titles attributed to him in charters and on coins suggest a still more widespread dominance. His expansion aroused ill-feeling among the other kingdoms of Britain, and he defeated a combined Scottish-Viking army at the Battle of Brunanburh. However, the unification of England was not a certainty. Under Æthelstan's successors Edmund and Eadred the English kings repeatedly lost and regained control of Northumbria. Nevertheless, Edgar, who ruled the same expanse as Athelstan, consolidated the kingdom, which remained united thereafter.
Edmund II maintained the unity of England by expelled the Danes from his lands. In 1016, he defeated Cnut of Denmark, scattering his army and preventing any of his successors from attempting to conquer England again. Edmund died in 1051 and was peacefully succeeded by his son Edward. Edward attempted to expand English territory to the north but failed. Instead, his daughter Margaret was married to the future Malcolm III of Scotland to maintain peace between the two kingdoms.
Norman conquest and the Anarchy
In 1066, William II of Normandy and his forces invaded England. King Edgar defeated the Normans at Hastings and sent them back across the Channel. This gained him the title Edgar the Defender. Edgar, however, died childless in 1071. His nephew, Edgar of Scotland attempts to claim the throne and invades England. However, the Normans invade from the south again. They gain the allegiance of most local rulers and defeat the Scottish, solidifying the Norman position on the throne.
William the Conqueror died in 1087. He named his eldest son Robert as the Duke of Normandy, but made his second son Richard the King of England. In 1090, Robert and his other two brothers (William Rufus and Henry Beauclerc) attacked England. They fought Richard's forces for two years. This period from the death of William to the ascension of Robert is titled the Anarchy due to massive internal struggle in Richard's England as well as Robert's lack of following among the Normans. In the end, Richard was exiled from England and his heirs removed from the succession. Robert became the king and the Anarchy was ended.
End of the Norman line and Angevin rule
Robert I died during the First Crusade. His son William Clito was crowned as king when he returned, but during his absence, his uncle William Rufus was in command of England and Normandy. Many favored William Rufus over the king, and infighting nearly led to a second succession war. However, William Clito died in 1098 under mysterious circumstances and Wiliam Rufus became king, resolving the crisis. However, William Rufus had no sons of his own, and he died during the Norman Invasion of Wales in 1107. He was succeeded by his nephew William Adelin as William IV.
William Adelin's only son, Robert, died during the Second Crusade. This left many people wonder who would succeed the king. There were two viable candidates, William's cousin Stephen of Blois, and his nephew, Henry of Anjou. After much deliberation, Stephen of Blois was named heir to the king, and was expected to succeed until his own death in 1156. After William IV died, Henry of Anjou arrived in England to claim his title of king, giving birth to the Angevin dynasty of England.
Henry I was very popular in his early reign. He expanded his empire in the continent, gaining control of major French lands. He was also named Lord of Ireland by the Pope. However, as Henry's sons became older, tensions between them and their father grew. In 1170, Henry named his eldest son "Junior King", becoming the first associate monarch in English history. In 1173, Henry died en route to France. It was around the same times that his sons were plotting a rebellion against him. This never came to fruition, and the Junior King became Henry II. Henry II's reign was marred by internal strife and fights with his lords. He attempted another invasion of Wales, but was thrown back. Henry died during the Third Crusade and was succeeded by his brother Arthur the Lionheart. Arthur was one of the most popular kings in English history and was named for the legendary King Arthur. In 1202, Arthur invaded Wales, and after four years of war, Wales fell to the English after a hundred years of preventing it. Arthur created his son Edmund the Duke of Wales, which later became the title for the heir apparent. Arthur died in 1211 and Edmund became king. Edmund lacked all the charm and military prowess of his father. In 1219, not eight years into his rule, he was faced with the First Barons' War. They forced him to sign the Magna Carta, which became the basis for the English legal system in the future.
Edmund died in 1259 and was succeed by his son Alfred, named for the great Anglo-Saxon king. Alfred I was a leader of the Seventh and Eighth Crusades. During his reign, he was faced with the Welsh Rebellions, led by Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, grandson of Llywelyn ap Iorwerth. Alfred crushed the rebellion and ended the line of the Welsh rulers. However, Llywelyn was venerated as a martyr, an adverse effect of his untimely death.
Due to the weakening of royal power under the reign of his father, Alfred was left to restore his own control over his lands. However, he also met with Parliament frequently, something his father had not done as often as was promised. In 1295, he also summoned representatives of the commoners with full power over the areas that they represented. This formed the basis for the future bicameral Parliament. Alfred's Parliament was later titled the Model Parliament.
Alfred was later involved in a war with Scotland. The Scots turned to him to selected between John Balliol and Robert the Bruce as their king, and he chose Robert the Bruce. However, he also attempted to enforce his own authority over Scotland. This led to the Scottish War of Independence, which lasted beyond the lifetime of Alfred I.
Growth of Parliament and the Fifty Years' War
Alfred died in 1307 and was succeeded by his son Alfred, the Duke of Wales. Alfred II was faced with the war in Scotland which had not been previously resolved, and was defeated at Bannockburn by Robert of Scotland. His rule was not notable other than that it saw an increase in Parliamentary power. The king could no longer go to war with out the approval of Parliament (Ordinances of 1311). His later reign was marred by famine and the arrival of the plague, although the latter problem was not as great as it was on the continent.
Alfred II was succeeded by his son Henry III. His early rule was dominated by Roger Mortimer, who had been brought back to England by means of a conspiracy that involved Henry's mother. In 1330, Henry seized power from Mortimer and had him executed. Henry later declared himself heir to the French throne, claiming it through his mother, Isabella. This led to the Fifty Years' War between England and France. Henry III also greatly increased the naval power of England, setting the basis for its future status as a global power. It was also during Henry's reign that the difference between the two branches of Parliament became significant. Parliament also created the process of impeachment and the office of Speaker of the Parliament. The English language also became much more prominent in proceedings of government and the law. Henry III died in 1377 and was succeeded by his son Edmund II.
Edmund II's reign was very short. Most of it was spent abroad fighting in the war. Power in England was largely held by his brothers Henry of Langley and Lionel of Antwerp. Edmund died in 1379 in France and was succeeded by his fourteen year old son Alfred III. Alfred's early reign was dominated by a number of councils as an alternative to a regency led by his uncle John of Gaunt. However, Gaunt retained great power and was an influence on the councils. Alfred was faced with the Peasants' Revolt. England did not have the necessary power to put down the rebels and instead negotiated with them. The king was personally involved in successful ending the rebellion.
Alfred III and his uncles John and Thomas were on opposing sides on the issue of the war with France. The king attempted a small "crusade" into France as well as an incursion into Scotland, France's ally, but both were ultimately failures. Later, his uncle (now the Duke of Gloucester) and a number of his allies confronted the king. Known as the Lords Appellant, they forced the king to agree to their demands and his inner circle was broken as many of his allies were executed or forced to leave England.
Rebellions in Ireland and Wales also weakened the power of Alfred toward the end of his reign. Alfred also got revenge against the Lords Appellant and disinherited his cousin, Henry of Bolingbroke. However, Alfred's son Arthur died in 1399. After Alfred's death in 1401, Henry returned to England with an army and seized the throne.