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Uniting the Kingdoms? 1066-1603




The Battle of Hastings in 1066 had a fundamental effect on the history of England. The Norman conquest meant the destruction of the Anglo-Saxon nobility: now England's elite looked to France, not Scandinavia, for their customs, traditions and ancestral lands.

Until 1204, England was a constituent part - if the wealthiest and most prestigious one - of an empire that stretched from Scotland to the Pyrenees. In the thirteenth century the Welsh spoke of fighting the French, not the English. By 1500, however, English was replacing Latin and French as the language of government and literature. Symbols such as the cross of St George were now being identified with the English nation.

English identity was not formed in a vacuum: the rest of Uniting the Kingdoms? focuses on England's (often hostile) relations with its nearest neighbours. This gallery, however, traces key aspects of England's history during this formative period.

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