Timeline of British history

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This is a timeline of British history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of England, History of Wales, History of Scotland, History of Ireland, History of the formation of the United Kingdom and History of the United Kingdom.

Centuries: 1st BC · 1st · 2nd · 3rd · 4th · 5th · 6th · 7th · 8th · 9th · 10th · 11th · 12th · 13th · 14th · 15th · 16th · 17th · 18th · 19th · 20th · 21st · Refs

1st century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
55 BC 26 August[1] Roman General Julius Caesar invades Great Britain for the first time, gaining a beachhead on the coast of Kent.
54 BC ? Caesar invades for the second time, gaining a third of the country. These two invasions are known as Caesar's invasions of Britain.

1st century[edit]

Year Date Event
43 ? Aulus Plautius leads an army of forty thousand to invade Great Britain. Emperor Claudius makes Britain a part of the Roman Empire. This is known as the Roman conquest of Britain.
50 ? London is founded.[2][3]
61 ? Boudica's organised rebellion against the Romans is defeated.

2nd century[edit]

Year Date Event
122 ? Emperor Hadrian orders a wall to be built to mark Roman territory of Britain in the north.
197 ? Britain is divided into two parts - Britannia Superior and Britannia Inferior.

3rd century[edit]

4th century[edit]

5th century[edit]

6th century[edit]

7th century[edit]

8th century[edit]

9th century[edit]

10th century[edit]

11th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1017 ? Cnut the Great is crowned king of England in London.
1034 25 November Malcolm II of Scotland dies at Glamis. He is succeeded as king of Scotland by his grandson Duncan I the Diseased of Scotland.
1035 12 November Cnut dies. He is succeeded as king of England, Denmark and Norway by his son Harthacnut.
1040 17 March Harold Harefoot dies at Oxford. Harthacnut, his brother, succeeds him as king of England.
14 August Duncan the Diseased is killed in action at Elgin, Moray attempting to suppress a rebellion by Macbeth, King of Scotland, Mormaer of Moray, who replaces him as king of Scotland.
1042 8 June Harthacnut dies, probably due to a stroke after excessive drinking at a wedding in Lambeth. He is succeeded as king of England by his brother Edward the Confessor.
1057 15 August Battle of Lumphanan: Macbeth is killed in battle at Lumphanan by Duncan the Diseased's son Malcolm III of Scotland. He is succeeded as king of Scotland by his stepson Lulach.
1058 17 March Lulach is assassinated by Malcolm III, who succeeds him as king of Kingdom of Scotland.
1066 5 January Edward the Confessor dies, probably after a series of strokes. He is succeeded as king of England by his brother-in-law Harold Godwinson.
28 September Norman conquest of England: William the Conqueror, duke of Normandy, lands with an army at Pevensey.
14 October Battle of Hastings: Harold Godwinson is killed in battle against the forces of William the Conqueror at Battle, East Sussex, causing the collapse of his army.
25 December William the Conqueror is crowned king of England at Westminster Abbey.
1078 ? The construction of Tintern Abbey begins.
1086 ? A census begins whose results would be collected in the Domesday Book.
1087 9 September William the Conqueror dies at Rouen. He is succeeded by one son, Robert Curthose, as duke of Normandy and by another, William II of England, as king of England.
1093 13 November Battle of Alnwick (1093): Malcolm III and his eldest son are ambushed and killed at Alnwick by an army of knights led by Robert de Mowbray, earl of Northumbria.
1100 2 August William II is killed by an arrow through the lung while hunting in the New Forest. He is succeeded by his brother Henry I of England.
? The White Tower of London is completed.

12th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1135 1 December Henry I dies of illness.
22 December Stephen, King of England is crowned king of England at Westminster Abbey.
1137 ? The Anarchy: Stephen enters Normandy in an attempt to conquer it from Empress Matilda, his rival for the succession in Normandy and England.
? Gruffudd ap Cynan, king of Gynedd, dies. He is succeeded by his son Owain Gwynedd.
1154 24 October Stephen dies of a stomach disease. He is succeeded as king of England by Henry II of England, grandson of Henry I.
1164 ? Henry II issues the Constitutions of Clarendon, which provided that members of the Catholic Church accused of serious crimes would be tried and sentenced in secular courts.
1170 28 November Owain dies.
29 December Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, is murdered in Canterbury Cathedral by followers of Henry II.
1189 6 July Henry II dies of illness at Château de Chinon. He is succeeded as king of England by his son Richard I of England.
1192 December Richard is captured near Vienna on the orders of Leopold V, Duke of Austria, duke of Austria, while returning from the Crusades.
1194 4 February Richard is released following the payment of fifty tons of silver to Austria.
? Battle of Aberconwy: Llywelyn the Great defeats his uncle Dafydd ab Owain Gwynedd, one of two princes of Kingdom of Gwynedd, in battle.
1199 6 April Richard dies of a crossbow wound sustained two weeks earlier during a siege of Château de Châlus-Chabrol. He was succeeded as king of England by his brother John, King of England.

13th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1209 November The pope Pope Innocent III excommunicates John.
1215 15 June John agrees to Magna Carta, granting political rights including the right to a fair trial to his barons.
1216 19 October John dies of illness. He is succeeded as king of England by his son Henry III of England.
1237 25 September Henry III and Alexander II of Scotland sign the Treaty of York, under which the latter renounced his claims on English territory in Northumberland, Cumberland and Westmorland.
1240 11 April Death of Llywelyn ab Iorwerth, prince of Wales; Dafydd ap Llywelyn succeeds to the throne of Gwynedd.
1246 25 February Death of Dafydd ap Llywelyn; Llywelyn ap Gruffudd succeeds to the throne of Gwynedd (he does not claim the title of prince of Wales until 1258).
1249 6 July Death of Alexander II, king of Scots; Alexander III succeeds to the throne of Scotland.
1263 2 October Battle of Largs, an inconclusive battle, is fought between Haakon IV of Norway and the Scots.
1264 14 May Simon de Montfort leads rebel English barons to defeat Henry III at the Battle of Lewes.
1266 2 July Scotland and Norway sign the Treaty of Perth under which Scottish control of the Western Isles is acknowledged.
1267 September Henry III of England recognises the authority of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd in Wales.
1272 16 November Death of Henry III, Edward I succeeds to the English throne.
1277 July England annexes Wales, a state of affairs which lasted until 1283.
1279 ? Statute of Mortmain.
1282 11 December Death of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, prince of Wales; Dafydd ap Gruffudd succeeds to the throne of Gwynedd.
1283 3 October Death of Dafydd ap Gruffudd; English conquest of Wales.
1287 ? Revolt of Rhys ap Maredudd in Wales.
1294 29 September Revolt of Madog ap Llywelyn in Wales.
1297 11 September William Wallace and the Scots defeat the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.

14th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1305 23 August Capture and execution of Scottish resistance fighter William Wallace by the English on a charge of treason.
1307 7 July Death of Edward I, Edward II accedes to the English throne.
1314 24 June Decisive victory for Scotland over England at the Battle of Bannockburn.
1316 28 January Revolt of Llywelyn Bren in South Wales.
1322 16 March Edward II defeats a rebellious baronial faction at Battle of Boroughbridge.
1327 25 January Edward III usurps the English throne.
21 September Edward II is killed.
1328 ? England recognises Scotland's independence in the Treaty of Edinburgh–Northampton
1338 ? Edward III claims the throne of France, initiating the Hundred Years' War.
1348 June The Black Death first arrives in England and ultimately kills c. one third of the population.
1356 19 September Battle of Poitiers.
1377 21 June Death of Edward III, his grandson Richard II accedes to the English throne.
1381 30 May - November Peasants' Revolt of 1381.
1392 ? Statute of Praemunire.
1399 30 September Henry Bolingbroke usurps the English throne becoming Henry IV.

15th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1413 20 March Henry IV dies and is succeeded by his son, Henry V.
1415 25 October Henry V is welcomed back to England after a major victory at the Battle of Agincourt, France.
1422 31 August Henry V dies and is succeeded by his son, Henry VI.
1471 21 May Henry VI is murdered and Edward IV is restored to the English throne.
1483 9 April Death of Edward IV, Edward V accedes to the throne.
1485 22 August The Battle of Bosworth Field ends the Yorkist reign of Richard III and ushers in Tudor reign, with the reign of Henry VII.
1487 16 June The Battle of Stoke is fought between Henry VII and Lambert Simnel a Yorkist claimant to the throne. It is the last battle of the Wars of the Roses.

16th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1509 22 April England – Henry VIII crowned and married to Catherine of Aragon.
1513 9 September England and Scotland – James IV and thousands of Scots killed in defeat at Flodden.
1516 ? England – Royal Mail is originally established.
1521 ? England – Lutheran writings begin to circulate.
1525 ? England – Henry VIII seeks an annulment of his marriage, which is refused.
1526 ? England – Cardinal Wolsey orders the burning of Lutheran books.
1532 ? Scotland – Creation of the College of Justice and the Court of Session.
1534 3 November Act of Supremacy passed by Henry VIII
? England – Treasons Act 1534.
1535 22 June England – Execution of Cardinal John Fisher.
6 July England – Execution of Thomas More.
1536 6 October England – Execution of William Tindale in Antwerp.
1542 14 December Scotland – Mary, Queen of Scots, accedes to the Scottish throne.
1547 28 January England – Edward VI crowned King.
1549 6 June - 17 August England – Prayer Book rebellion in south-west.
1553 July England – Mary I accedes to the throne.
1558 17 November England – Elizabeth I accedes to the throne.
1559 ? England – Act of Supremacy 1559.
2 May Scotland – John Knox returns from Geneva to promote Calvinism.
1560 1 August Scotland – Parliament legislates protestant reformation of the Church of Scotland.
1567 24 July Scotland – The Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots, abdicates and flees Scotland after an uprising by Protestant lords
1571 ? England – Treasons Act 1571.
1582 ? Scotland – Establishment of the University of Edinburgh by Royal Charter.
1587 8 February England and Scotland – Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, at Fotheringay Castle in Northamptonshire on 8 February
1588 8 August England – Spanish Armada destroyed.
1592 ? Scotland – James VI enacts the "Golden Act" recognising the power of Presbyterianism within the Scottish church.

17th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1603 24 March England – Death of Queen Elizabeth I. James VI of Scotland crowned King of England (as James I of England).
1605 5 November England and Scotland – The Gunpowder plot is uncovered, in which Guy Fawkes and others attempted to blow up the king, James VI and I and the Parliament of England.
1606 10 April England - King James I issues the First Virginia Charter, establishing the Colony of Virginia in North America.[4]
1618 29 October England – Execution of Sir Walter Raleigh
1625 27 March England and Scotland – Death of James VI and I.
1639-1644 ? England and Scotland – At war in what became known as the Bishops' Wars.
1640 November England – The Long Parliament summoned.
1642 22 August England – English Civil War begins (see Timeline of the English Civil War).
1652 ? England – Tea arrives in Britain.
1666 2 - 6 September England – The Great Fire of London ravages the city.
1688 11 December England – The Glorious Revolution replaces James II with William III.
1689 April Scotland – The Claim of Right Act 1689 is enacted by the Parliament of Scotland.
16 December England – The Bill of Rights 1689 is enacted by the Parliament of England.
1694 27 July England – The Bank of England is established.

18th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1707 1 May The Kingdom of Great Britain comes into being,[5][6][7][8] and Queen Anne becomes its first monarch.
1713 11 April Signing of the Treaty of Utrecht ends the War of the Spanish Succession.
1714 1 August Queen Anne dies. Accession of George I, Elector of Hanover.
1721 3 April Robert Walpole becomes the first Prime Minister of Great Britain.
1727 11 June King George I dies and George II ascends the throne.
1742 16 February Spencer Compton, 1st Earl of Wilmington becomes Prime Minister.
1743 27 August Henry Pelham becomes Prime Minister.
1754 16 March Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle becomes Prime Minister.
1755 15 April Samuel Johnson published his A Dictionary of the English Language.
1756 16 November William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire becomes Prime Minister.
1757 29 June Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle becomes Prime Minister for the second time.
1760 25 October King George II dies and George III ascends the throne.
1762 26 May John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute becomes Prime Minister.
1763 16 April George Grenville becomes Prime Minister.
1764 ? The Castle of Otranto is written and published, which was the first-ever story classed as a gothic horror story.
1765 13 July Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham becomes Prime Minister.
1766 30 July William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham becomes Prime Minister.
1768 14 October Augustus FitzRoy, 3rd Duke of Grafton becomes Prime Minister.
1770 28 January Frederick North, Lord North becomes Prime Minister.
1775 19 April The American War of Independence begins.
1776 4 July The Declaration of Independence is created and the new country is recognized as the USA.
1777-1779 November 1777 - July 1779 The world's first iron bridge called The Iron Bridge, is built-in Shropshire.
1782 27 March Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham becomes Prime Minister for the second time.
4 July William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne becomes Prime Minister.
1783 2 April William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland becomes Prime Minister.
4 September The American War of Independence ends with the Treaty of Paris.
19 December William Pitt the Younger becomes Prime Minister.
1785 1 January The Times is first published and becomes the first newspaper to have borne that name, lending it to numerous other papers around the world, such as The New York Times.

19th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1801 17 March Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth becomes Prime Minister.
1804 10 May William Pitt the Younger becomes Prime Minister for the second time.
1805 21 October The naval Battle of Trafalgar takes place.
1806 11 February William Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville becomes Prime Minister.
1807 25 March The Slave Trade Act 1807 is passed.
31 March William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland becomes Prime Minister for the second time.
1809 4 October Spencer Perceval becomes Prime Minister.
1812 8 June Robert Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool becomes Prime Minister.
1815 18 June The Battle of Waterloo takes place.
20 November The Napoleonic Wars ends.
1819 SS Savannah undergoes the first steamship transatlantic crossing.
1820 29 January King George III dies and George IV ascends the throne.
1821 5 May The Guardian is first published, as The Manchester Guardian.
1825 27 September The Stockton and Darlington railway, the world's first public passenger railway, opens.
1827 12 April George Canning becomes Prime Minister.
31 August F. J. Robinson, 1st Viscount Goderich becomes Prime Minister.
1828 22 January Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington becomes Prime Minister.
1829 13 April The Catholic Relief Act 1829 is passed.
1830 26 June King George IV dies and William IV ascends the throne.
22 November Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey becomes Prime Minister.
1832 7 June The Great Reform Act is passed, doubling the franchise.
1833 28 August The Slavery Abolition Act 1833 gains royal assent, banning slavery throughout the British Empire.
1834 ? The Conservative Party is founded.
16 July William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne becomes Prime Minister.
14 August The New Poor Law is passed.
17 November Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington becomes Prime Minister for the second time.
10 December Robert Peel becomes Prime Minister.
1835 18 April William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne becomes Prime Minister for the second time.
1837 20 June The reign of Queen Victoria begins.
1838 1 August The Slavery Abolition Act 1833 enters into force, abolishing slavery in the British Empire.
1840 10 January The first postage stamps (Penny Post) come into use.
June Vaccination for the poor is introduced.
1841 30 August Robert Peel becomes Prime Minister for the second time.
1842 Summer The first peacetime income tax is introduced.
1846 27 January The Corn Laws are repealed.
30 June John Russell, 1st Earl Russell becomes Prime Minister.
1848 Late February The Communist Manifesto is published by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.
1850 The East Coast Main Line opens.
1851 1 May The Great Exhibition opens.
1852 23 February Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby becomes Prime Minister.
19 December George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen becomes Prime Minister.
1853-1856 16 October 1853 - 30 March 1856 The Crimean War is fought between Russia and a British alliance who feared Russian expansion in the Balkans, resulting in allied victory.
1855 6 February Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston becomes Prime Minister.
29 June The Daily Telegraph is first published.
1858 20 February Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby becomes Prime Minister for the second time.
1859 12 June Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston becomes Prime Minister for the second time.
1861 14 December Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, dies at the age of 42.
1863 10 January The London Underground opens, the oldest underground railway network in the world.
1865 29 October John Russell, 1st Earl Russell becomes Prime Minister for the second time.
1866 28 June Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby becomes Prime Minister for the third time.
1867 15 August The 1867 Reform Act doubles the franchise and the Dominion of Canada was created.
1868 27 February Benjamin Disraeli becomes Prime Minister.
29 May The last public execution is carried out.
3 December William Ewart Gladstone becomes Prime Minister.
1869 The West Coast Main Line opens.
1870 17 February The Education Act 1870 is passed, introducing universal education.
1874 20 February Benjamin Disraeli becomes Prime Minister for the second time.
1880 23 April William Ewart Gladstone becomes Prime Minister for the second time.
26 August The Elementary Education Act 1880 is passed, making primary schooling compulsory and extending it to girls.
1885 23 June Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury becomes Prime Minister.
25 June The Reform Act 1885 is passed.
1886 1 February William Ewart Gladstone becomes Prime Minister for the third time.
21 June Construction begins on Tower Bridge in London.
25 July Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury becomes Prime Minister for the second time.
1887 November The fictional detective Sherlock Holmes first appears in print.
1892 15 August William Ewart Gladstone becomes Prime Minister for the fourth time.
1894 5 March Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery becomes Prime Minister.
1895 25 June Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury becomes Prime Minister for the third time.
1896 4 May The Daily Mail is first published.

20th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1900 27 February The Labour Party is founded.
1901 22 January Queen Victoria dies and Edward VII ascends the throne.
1902 12 July Arthur Balfour becomes Prime Minister.
9 August Coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.
31 May Treaty of Vereeniging ends the Second Boer War.
1903 September The Lib-Lab pact enables Labour to break into national politics.
1904 8 April Entente Cordiale signed between Britain and France.
1905 5 December Henry Campbell-Bannerman becomes Prime Minister.
1908 5 April H. H. Asquith becomes Prime Minister.
27 April The Summer Olympics open at White City in London.
27 October Parliament approves old age pensions.
1910 6 May King Edward VII dies and George V ascends the throne.
1911 22 June Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary.
1912 13 April Royal Flying Corps established.
14 - 15 April The RMS Titanic sinks after hitting an iceberg. Over 1500 crew and passengers die.
1914 4 August World War I: Great Britain declares war on Germany in response to the invasion of Belgium.
5 November Britain declares war on the Ottoman Empire.
1916 6 December David Lloyd George becomes Prime Minister.
1918 6 February Women get the vote for the first time - women over the age of 30 who met a property qualification could vote as a result of the Representation of the People Act 1918.
1 April The Royal Air Force is founded, becoming the first independent air force in the world.
11 November World War I ends.
1919 1 December Nancy Astor becomes the first woman to take her seat in parliament.
1921 The Great Britain road numbering scheme.
1922 18 October The BBC is founded as the British Broadcasting Company.
23 October Bonar Law becomes Prime Minister.
1923 22 May Stanley Baldwin becomes Prime Minister.
1924 22 January Ramsay MacDonald becomes Prime Minister.
4 November Stanley Baldwin becomes Prime Minister for the second time.
1926 4 May - 12 May The 1926 United Kingdom general strike takes place.
1928 2 July Women receive the right to vote on the same terms as men (over the age of 21) as a result of the Representation of the People Act 1928.
September The first film with dialogue is shown in Britain, The Jazz Singer.
30 September Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin.
1929 5 June Ramsay MacDonald becomes Prime Minister for the second time.
1931 ? The Dominion of Canada later has more recognition as Canada.
1934 30 November The LNER Class A3 4472 Flying Scotsman built in Doncaster becomes the first steam locomotive to reach 100 mph (160 km/h).
1935 7 June Stanley Baldwin becomes Prime Minister for the third time.
1936 20 January King George V dies and Edward VIII ascends the throne.
5 - 31 October The Jarrow March protest occurs.
10 December King Edward VIII abdicates the throne over his proposal to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. Automatic accession of George VI.
1937 12 May Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
28 May Neville Chamberlain becomes Prime Minister.
30 June First available in the London area, the 999 telephone number is introduced as the world's first emergency telephone service.
1938 3 July The LNER Class A4 4468 Mallard built in Doncaster breaks the land speed record for the fastest steam locomotive, reaching 203 km/h (126 mph); the record still stands.
1939 3 September British entry into World War II.
1940 10 May Sir Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister.
1945 8 May World War II ends in Europe.
26 July Clement Attlee becomes Prime Minister.
24 October Britain becomes a founding member of the United Nations.
1947 15 August India gains independence from Britain.
1948 1 January British Rail is established.
5 July The National Health Service is founded, bringing state-funded healthcare to all.
29 July - 14 August London hosts the 1948 Summer Olympics.
14 November Birth of Charles, Prince of Wales.
1950 15 August Birth of Anne, Princess Royal.
29 August British troops arrive to support US forces in the Korean War.
1951 26 October Sir Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister for the second time.
1952 ? Autocode, regarded as the first compiled programming language, is developed by Alick Glennie.
6 February Death of King George VI. Automatic accession of Queen Elizabeth II.
1953 25 April James Watson and Francis Crick publish their discovery of the structure of DNA.
2 June Coronation of Elizabeth II.
1954 6 May Roger Bannister breaks the four-minute mile with a time of 3:59.4.
1955 6 April Anthony Eden becomes Prime Minister.
22 September Commercial television starts with the first ITV broadcast.
1956 17 October Britain opens its first nuclear power station, Calder Hall.
1957 10 January Harold Macmillan becomes Prime Minister.
1958 5 December The British motorway system opens with the M6 Preston bypass.
1960 19 February Birth of Prince Andrew, Duke of York.
1961 1 July Birth of Diana, Princess of Wales.
1963 27 March The first report of the Beeching cuts - a railway restructuring plan - was published, The Reshaping of British Railways.
19 October Alec Douglas-Home becomes Prime Minister but lasts only 363 days.
1964 10 March Birth of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.
16 October Harold Wilson becomes Prime Minister.
1965 24 January Death of Sir Winston Churchill.
8 November The death penalty is abolished officially.
1967 27 July The Sexual Offences Act 1967 legalises homosexuality between men over 21.
27 October The Abortion Act 1967 is passed, legalising abortion on certain grounds.
1969 2 March Concorde, the world's first supersonic airliner, makes its maiden flight.
1970 19 June Edward Heath becomes Prime Minister.
1971 15 February Decimal Day; the United Kingdom introduces a decimalized currency.
1972 22 January The United Kingdom signs the Treaty of Accession in a ceremony in Brussels which was attended by Prime Minister Edward Heath in preparedness for membership of the European Communities from 1 January 1973.
1973 1 January The United Kingdom joins and becomes a member state of the European Communities.
1974 4 March Harold Wilson becomes Prime Minister for the second time.
1975 5 June The United Kingdom chooses to remain a member state of the European Communities in a non-binding referendum.
1976 5 April James Callaghan becomes Prime Minister.
September Britain becomes the first major Western state to be forced to ask to borrow money from the International Monetary Fund.
1978 25 July Louise Brown becomes the first human in history to be born via in vitro fertilisation.
1979 4 May Margaret Thatcher becomes the first female Prime Minister.
27 August The IRA kill the Queen's cousin Lord Mountbatten.
1981 24 June The Humber Bridge opens, the longest single-span bridge in the world.
29 July Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer.
1982 21 June Birth of Prince William of Wales.
2 April - 14 June The Falklands War is fought against Argentina, resulting in a British victory and the United Kingdom reclaiming the Falkland Islands.
2 November Channel 4 launches across most of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
1984-1985 6 March 1984 - 3 March 1985 The UK miners' strike takes place, a major strike and protest to prevent Margaret Thatcher's government from closing down the British coal mining industry.
1984 15 September Birth of Prince Harry of Wales.
1986 25 December The Christmas episode of the soap opera EastEnders becomes the most-watched programme in the United Kingdom with a viewing of 30.1 million.
1988 3 March The Liberal Democrats are founded.
1989 12 March Tim Berners-Lee invents the World Wide Web.
1990 28 November John Major becomes Prime Minister.
1991 18 - 26 May Helen Sharman becomes the first British person and the first European woman in space.
1994 6 May The Channel Tunnel opens, the first physical connection between the United Kingdom and France.
1996 ? A sheep named Dolly becomes the first mammal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell.
1997 2 May Tony Blair becomes Prime Minister.
1 July The United Kingdom hands Hong Kong back to China, marking the end of the British Empire.
31 August Diana, Princess of Wales, dies due to a traffic collision in Paris.
1999 31 December The Millennium Dome and London Eye are opened to mark the new millennium.

21st century[edit]

Year Date Event
2002 9 February Princess Margaret dies.
30 March Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother dies aged 101.
2003 20 March - 1 May The United Kingdom, alongside the US, invades Iraq.
2007 27 June Gordon Brown becomes Prime Minister.
2010 11 May David Cameron becomes Prime Minister.
2011 29 April Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.
2012 30 March The Shard tops out in construction, becoming the tallest building in Western Europe.
27 July - 12 August London hosts the Olympic Games for the third time.
2013 17 July Same-sex marriage is legalized in the United Kingdom.
22 July Birth of Prince George of Cambridge.
2014 18 September The Scottish independence referendum takes place; Scotland decides to remain part of the United Kingdom.
2015 2 May Birth of Princess Charlotte of Cambridge.
9 September Elizabeth II becomes the longest-reigning monarch in British history.
15 December Tim Peake becomes the first British ESA astronaut to board the International Space Station.
2016 23 June The United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union.
13 July Theresa May becomes the second female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
5 - 21 August Great Britain ranks second on the 2016 Summer Olympics medal table with 27 Gold Medals, the best result since 1908.
2018 23 April Birth of Prince Louis of Cambridge.
19 May Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
2019 15 January The motion to approve the Brexit withdrawal agreement - otherwise known as the "meaningful vote" - was rejected 202–432. This was the largest defeat on a government motion in history.[9][10]
6 May Birth of Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.
24 July Theresa May formally tenders her resignation as Prime Minister to Queen Elizabeth II, and is succeeded by Boris Johnson.
2020 31 January The United Kingdom leaves the European Union.
23 March - present A national lockdown takes place due to the coronavirus pandemic. Freedom of movement is restricted and this becomes enforceable in law. Non-essential shops and services close.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Julius Caesar's First Landing in Britain | History Today". www.historytoday.com. Retrieved 2019-05-14.
  2. ^ CA (2007-05-24). "BC 1486- The story of Roman London". Current Archaeology. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
  3. ^ "A History of London". www.localhistories.org. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
  4. ^ King James I (April 10, 1606), The First Charter of Virginia
  5. ^ Acts of Union 1707 parliament.uk, accessed 13 September 2011
  6. ^ Making the Act of Union 1707 scottish.parliament.uk, accessed 13 September 2011
  7. ^ England – Profile BBC, 13 September 2011
  8. ^ The Creation of the United Kingdom of great britain in 1707 Archived 15 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine Historical Association, accessed 13 September 2011
  9. ^ Stewart, Heather; Boffey, Daniel (2019-01-16). "Theresa May suffers historic defeat in vote as Tories turn against her". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-01-16.
  10. ^ Sparrow, Andrew (2019-01-16). "Biggest government defeats in House of Commons". The Guardian.

Further reading[edit]

  • Langer, William. An Encyclopedia of World History (5th ed. 1973); highly detailed outline of events online free
  • Morris, Richard B. and Graham W. Irwin, eds. Harper Encyclopedia of the Modern World: A Concise Reference History from 1760 to the Present (1970) online