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10 Times Britain Was Successfully Invaded

10 Times Britain Was Successfully Invaded

There’s a widespread fantasy that Britain has solely been efficiently invaded 3 times: by the Romans, the Saxons, and the Normans. (Perhaps they have been invaded 4 occasions, if we rely the Nazi occupation of Guernsey throughout World Warfare II.) In fact, this isn’t true, and as we speak, we’re right here to inform you about ten occasions Britain was efficiently invaded.

First, for the sake of readability: We’re defining a “profitable invasion” as an occasion by which a army group or chief was capable of fulfill a set goal on British territory within the British Isles—ideally involving a naval touchdown, as a result of that’s extra thrilling.

10 The Roman Invasion


The Romans first landed on the shores of Kent in AD 43 (not counting Julius Caesar’s effort a century earlier). Their conquest led to AD 84, with the conclusion of Agricola’s marketing campaign. It took six emperors, 9 army campaigns, and 4 many years to completely subjugate England and Wales, and even then, two legions have been garrisoned there completely till the top of Roman rule. British resistance was fierce and long-lived: When Julius Frontinus completed his Welsh marketing campaign in AD 76, he thought he’d introduced peace to the area, however when Agricola arrived in AD 78, he needed to reconquer the north as a result of the tribes had turn into unbiased once more.[1]

The tribes lived alongside the Romans for many of their occupation, often included by diplomatic means. The Catuvellauni have been made Roman residents when their capital was granted municipium standing, and they’re recorded as serving to to rebuild Hadrian’s Wall within the early third century. The Corieltauvi appear to have been allies with Rome; their capital of Ratae was captured in AD 44, however their kings have been allowed to proceed minting cash within the years following, suggesting that they have been allowed to remain unbiased. These tribes posed a fantastic menace to Rome when relations turned bitter: When the Iceni and Trinovantes rose up collectively, they destroyed the three largest Roman cities within the nation, together with the capital.

Even so, the Roman conquest was profitable and led to over three centuries of Roman rule, throughout which era British tradition was basically and completely altered.

9 The Carausian Revolt


On the time of Constantius I’s invasion (the top of the third century) Rome’s authority was on the wane, and Britain was struggling assaults by Saxon pirates. A person referred to as Carausius, who was the commander of the Roman fleet in Britain, proved himself very succesful at defending the island and have become in style—so widespread, in truth, that when Rome ordered his execution (apparently as a result of he was seizing items from pirates for himself), he was capable of declare himself emperor of Britain.

Britain was unbiased from Rome for ten years, seven of which have been underneath Carausius’s rule. He was a basic populist, stamping his cash with phrases like “the golden age is again” and calling himself the “restorer of Britain.” He appears to have loved widespread help, as a result of his identify was discovered engraved on a milestone as distant from London as Cumbria. This help started to wane, nevertheless, and his longtime monetary advisor, Allectus, organized Carausius’s assassination and assumed management of his budding empire in 293.

The Roman reconquest started in 296, when the Roman military landed in two separate divisions—one led by the praetorian prefect Asclepiodotus and the opposite by the emperor himself—crusing from the Seine and from Boulogne. Whereas actual particulars are sketchy, we will assume that the 2 divisions landed elsewhere, maybe to outmaneuver Allectus and his military. It was Asclepiodotus’s division that finally engaged and defeated Allectus.[2] Insurgent help collapsed together with his demise, and Roman rule was restored—however not earlier than they burned down the basilica in London for good measure.

Rome was clearly decided to stop Britain from turning into a seat of potential insurgent energy once more, as a result of the province was cut up into 5 in Diocletian’s reforms simply 20 years later, and the governor of every province would not have management over the native army.

eight The Nice Heathen Military


The Nice Heathen Military wreaked havoc throughout Anglo-Saxon England for 13 years, subduing the kingdoms of East Anglia and Southern Northumbria and inflicting sufficient injury that, by 877, Wessex was the one Anglo-Saxon kingdom left that would nonetheless mount an organized resistance.

They have been lastly halted by Alfred the Nice and his Wessexian military on the Battle of Edington, which led to the Treaty of Wedmore, whereby one of many Viking kings, Guthrum, agreed to turn into Christian, take an Anglo-Saxon identify, and turn into Alfred’s godson. In return, an official border was agreed between Saxon and Viking England—which principally adopted the route of the previous Roman street of Watling Road.

This space of Viking management turned often known as the Danelaw, and the marks of Viking management and settlement could be seen at present within the prevalence of Norse place names in Northeastern England. The Danelaw lasted almost 100 years, coming to an finish when Eric Bloodaxe, final Viking king of York, died in 954.[3]

7 The Norman Conquest

The Vikings additionally performed an enormous position in William the Conqueror’s invasion a century later, although they definitely didn’t intend to. King Harold of England had simply defeated King Harald of Norway outdoors York when he heard that one other claimant to the English throne, Duke William of Normandy, had landed in Southern England. He left a few of his military behind and went to satisfy him, marching lengthy distances every day for a few weeks.

He met William’s military at Hastings and was narrowly defeated in an in depth battle that has since turn into very well-known. He died on the sector of battle, although the story of him being hit within the eye with an arrow is probably going unfaithful. Although William was now safe in his authorized proper to be king—the opposite two main claimants mendacity lifeless—he was on no account safe on the throne and confronted virtually fixed insurrection for the subsequent six years.

William introduced the feudal system to medieval England, and he and his supporters constructed castles throughout the nation to cement their management. He organized the creation of Domesday Guide, a register of all of the settlements of England, and restructured the tax system.[4] The feudal system got here to outline medieval England and wasn’t abolished till 1660—virtually 600 years after the invasion.

6 Matilda And Henry’s Invasion

Queen Matilda, typically generally known as Empress Maud, was the individual chosen to succeed her father, Henry I. When he died in 1135, nevertheless, her cousin Stephen had extra help among the many barons, so he was capable of seize the throne.

Matilda had the help of her half-brother Robert of Gloucester, some of the highly effective males within the kingdom, and he supported her when she tried to say her declare. A drawn-out civil conflict started, one which lasted 15 years and would turn out to be referred to as the Anarchy.

Matilda noticed some preliminary success however routinely failed to collect allies or help—she was elected “Woman of the English” in Winchester in 1141 however was pushed out of London by the locals when she arrived for her official coronation as a result of her conceited character and calls for of cash. The conflict dragged on for over a decade, with each side struggling to realize the higher hand, regardless that Matilda herself retired to Normandy in 1148.

The unusual conflict got here to an equally unusual conclusion when Matilda’s son Henry, who had vital holdings in France, set his sights on England. He sailed over in January 1153, assembly King Stephen’s military on the River Avon later that month. Nevertheless, the barons on each side needed peace and refused to struggle. Angered, Stephen agreed to a truce and retreated to London.

The marketing campaign continued for an additional six months, throughout which era Henry went across the nation making grants and concessions in an try and elicit help. King Stephen besieged Wallingford however was pressured to retreat when Henry and his military arrived, and each side as soon as once more refused to battle.[5]

A peace was signed shortly after, during which Stephen successfully conceded defeat by agreeing to undertake Henry as his inheritor and depart the dominion to him somewhat than his personal inheritor, Eustace, on his demise. This compromise was undoubtedly unsatisfactory to most individuals concerned, not least Eustace, and doubtless wasn’t meant to be a everlasting answer. Nevertheless, Stephen died simply over a yr later in October 1154, and Henry succeeded to the throne. The civil conflict was over, and Henry dominated for 35 years.

5 Isabella And Mortimer’s Invasion

Queen Consort Isabella loved a wholesome and regular relationship together with her husband, King Edward II, for many of her life. That modified, nevertheless, when he despatched her on a diplomatic mission to France in 1325. She refused to return house and remained unswayed by her husband’s pleas and threats. The king of France, who was her brother, refused to pressure her to return. This was an enormous drawback for the British king, particularly as a result of she had his son and inheritor, Edward of Windsor, together with her.

By this time, King Edward was managed by Hugh Despenser the Youthful and his father, who have been utilizing their affect to extort and bully individuals out of their lands. The king was wildly unpopular, and Isabella loathed Despenser. She appears to have entered right into a relationship with one other enemy of the king, Roger de Mortimer. They plotted collectively to grab the dominion from Edward, and in September 1326, they landed unopposed in Suffolk with a military they’d raised in Hainault.[6]

Edward initially meant to withstand her in London however fled the town some days later when many lords declared their help for Isabella. The marketing campaign was brutally brief. Edward fled to Wales with the youthful Despenser, apparently hoping to take refuge within the Despenser-held lands there, however he was chased down and captured between Caerphilly and Neath in November, lower than two months after the invasion started. He was murdered, and the Despensers have been executed.

four Edward IV’s Invasion

As was the case with most successions in the course of the Wars of the Roses, Edward needed to safe his throne by pressure. A member of the Home of York, he and his allies defeated the Lancastrians in 1461. He owed most of his success to Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, who was probably the most highly effective man in England on the time.

Determined to safe his throne, Edward set about making an attempt to scale back Neville’s affect, together with by marrying Elizabeth Woodville as an alternative of a spouse chosen by Neville and the opposite Yorkist nobles. He additionally negotiated an alliance with Burgundy whereas Neville was on a diplomatic mission in France, who have been Burgundy’s enemies.

Deciding he’d had sufficient, Neville switched to the Lancastrian aspect and, with the backing of the king of France, invaded England in 1470. Shortly supported by most of Southern England and a few key figures who switched sides, the Lancastrians took London and proclaimed Edward and his supporters traitors. Edward was pressured to flee the realm as Lancastrians returned to England and reclaimed their estates.

Nevertheless, Edward discovered help within the King of Burgundy, who gave him provides and troopers. He was additionally supported by Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who had fled with him. They returned to the north of England collectively and secured Yorkshire, initially claiming that they solely meant to get well the Duchy of York.

Supporters flocked to Edward’s banner, and he was capable of outmaneuver his enemies and retake London. He met Neville in battle at Barnet shortly after and killed him. Nevertheless, Queen Margaret landed in Dorset together with her Lancastrian troops on the identical day, supported by the French, planning to go to Wales, which was sympathetic to the Lancastrian trigger.

After a collection of grueling pressured marches, together with one which noticed his military cowl 64 kilometers (40 mi) in a single day, Edward caught up with Margaret’s military on the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471, the place he crushed the Lancastrians. Almost all of their leaders have been killed within the battle or executed after. The Lancastrians by no means absolutely recovered, and Edward was safe on his throne till his dying in 1483.[7]

three The Raid On Mount’s Bay

On July 23, 1595, a small Spanish military of 400 males landed in Cornwall. For a nation that prided itself on its naval power (particularly after efficiently defeating the Spanish Armada seven years earlier than), this was a catastrophe in itself for the English. However it was about to worsen.

The city of Mousehole was bombarded from the ocean by the Spanish fleet, whereas the troopers superior to the village of Paul and burned it down. Then they moved on to Mount’s Bay itself and sacked and burned the village of Newlyn.

They have been lastly confronted whereas on the best way to the city of Penzance by the 500-strong native militia, who blocked them on the seashore. Threatened by the Spanish ships and the troopers, who have been planning to flank them, the militia fled, and the city of Penzance was sacked. Some 400 homes have been destroyed, and the Spanish held Mass at an open-air website close by; the Spanish chief promised to construct a church on the location as soon as England was conquered, which tells us how assured they have been.

The native militia started to reform, this time in bigger numbers, however the Spanish already had what they got here for. They sailed away on August four, having not misplaced a person.[8]

Queen Elizabeth was rattled by the raid, and the federal government organized a nation-wide survey of the nation’s defenses, in addition to the widespread retraining of the militia of the West Nation and a barricading of the native ports. Whereas the nation finally survived the a lot greater armada that got here two years later, this was solely as a consequence of a storm within the Channel. This armada was made up of roughly 14,000 males and will have executed significantly extra injury.

2 The Raid On The Medway

In June 1667, the Dutch fleet sailed up the River Medway to England’s principal naval base at Chatham and destroyed 13 English ships earlier than seizing HMS Unity and the delight of the Royal Navy, HMS King Charles. It was probably the most humiliating naval defeat in English historical past and had large ramifications—Samuel Pepys, who was then secretary of the Navy Board, thought it might be the top of the monarchy. The English navy misplaced three of its 4 massive ships—the opposite, HMS Royal Sovereign, was solely spared as a result of it was in Portsmouth on the time.

The raid itself started with the seize of the fort at Sheerness, which was within the strategy of being rebuilt. An enormous iron chain blocked ships from advancing additional down the river, however the Dutch introduced it down and defeated the three warships that have been guarding it. Three vessels had been scuttled (sunk) throughout the river to stop additional entry, however one sank within the flawed place, leaving a niche for the Dutch fleet to take advantage of.

The Dutch then got here to 4 of England’s largest ships, together with the flagship, the Royal Charles. They seized the flagship, however the different vessels had been scuttled, in order that they burned the seen elements of those ships to stop them from being salvaged. With the remainder of the fleet safe behind Upnor Citadel, the Dutch then selected to retreat with their prizes. Even at the moment, the stern-piece of the Royal Charles is on show within the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.[9]

The catastrophe triggered widespread panic in England, particularly in London, the place most of the rich moved out altogether, taking their valuables with them. The federal government was determined for peace, and the Treaty of Breda was signed simply over a month later.

1 The Superb Revolution

Eleven years after the Medway raid, a Dutchman would take the throne of England after being invited by the nation’s personal parliament.

James II, the Catholic king of England, had had a son, which means that the throne wouldn’t move to his Protestant daughter Mary on his demise. The brand new inheritor would virtually definitely be raised a Catholic by James, risking cementing Catholic rule in England. This was sufficient to influence a number of members of Parliament to write down to William of Orange, the Protestant Dutch king of the Netherlands (and Mary’s husband), asking him to intercede.

James had ready for the invasion, and his military, 25,000 robust, was bigger than William’s, however the prospect of William’s invasion had triggered defections and anti-Catholic rioting throughout the nation. James moved his military out of London to satisfy William in a pitched battle, however he retreated again to the capital earlier than the 2 forces met.

Finally, James realized the futility of his opposition and determined to flee the nation.

Parliament initially meant to crown Mary as monarch with William as his consort, however William and his forces pressured Parliament into recognizing them each as joint monarch—for the primary and solely time in British historical past. In return, William and Mary signed the Invoice of Rights, which serves as the inspiration of recent British constitutional follow.[10]