How Well Do You Remember the Most Important Dates in British History?

Gavin Thagard

Image: wikimedia Philip James de Loutherbourg

About This Quiz

War, movements, and politics - these are the most important dates in British history!

British history has been shaped by invasions, internal conflict, and global expansion, traits that can be traced back to the beginning of the country. The first inhabitants of the island nation, the Britons, were quickly overrun by Anglo-Saxon and Roman invaders in the first few centuries of anno Domino. As these different cultures fought for power, various kingdoms emerged across Britain. Eventually, the Vikings found their way to Britain, causing chaos before merging into the English world, both politically and culturally. Around this time, the Kingdom of England began to take shape. 

As conflicts between the Kingdom of England and countries from the European mainland, particularly France, continued, England developed politically and economically with power switching between the King and Parliament. The Church also became a powerful force, which both the Pope and the King of England tried to control. These conflicts would influence centuries of British history, and when the New World was discovered, many of these conflicts only escalated further, causing rifts and changes that would shape the future of Western democracy and the world as a whole. 

If you think you are a British history buff, take this quiz and prove it! 

In what year did the Roman conquest of Britain occur?

The Roman Empire invaded Britain under Emperor Claudius. This was not the first time Roman forces invaded, but it was the first time Britain was officially added to the Roman Empire.

When was the first Viking raid on England?

Vikings were made up of warriors from Scandinavian tribes. These warriors were known for their use of longboats to travel by sea for raiding expeditions.

What year was the Treaty of Wedmore agreed to by Alfred the Great and the Vikings?

When Alfred came to power in Britain, Viking invaders threatened the island nation. After years of fighting, Alfred carved out a place in England for the Anglo-Saxon kingdom to survive.

What year did Æthelstan become King of England?

Æthelstan was the first Anglo-Saxon ruler to unite all of England. Through his efforts, the Kingdom of England was created, and he ruled as the first King of England.

What year was the Battle of Hastings?

The Battle of Hastings pitted William the Conqueror against the Anglo-Saxon King Harold Godwinson. William and his Norman forces won the battle, making William the first Norman King of England.

When did Cnut the Great become king of England?

Cnut the Great was a Danish ruler who won the English throne in 1016. His empire, known as the North Sea Empire, extended from England to Denmark and Norway.

When was Thomas Becket assassinated?

According to English custom, the Archbishop of Canterbury was responsible for crowning the heir apparent to the throne. When this custom was broke, Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, tried to oppose those who went against tradition but was killed for it.

When was Richard I released from captivity by the Holy Roman Emperor?

Richard I was a commander during the Third Crusade. His capture while returning from the Crusade caused controversy across much of Europe, including a conflict between the Holy Roman Emperor and the Pope.

What date was the Magna Carta signed?

The Magna Carta was the result of several barons opposing King Richard I of England. The document would lay the foundation for further English rights in the future.

When was the Battle of Stirling Bridge?

The Battle of Sterling Bridge was a major victory for the Scots in the First War of Scottish Independence. The battle helped shape the legacy of William Wallace.

When was William Wallace executed?

William Wallace was hanged, drawn, and quartered. This process involved several forms of torture before the victim was eventually beheaded.

What date was the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton signed?

The Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton was an agreement between England and Scotland. It resulted in Scottish independence with Robert the Bruce becoming the first Scottish king.

What year did Wat Tyler lead the Peasants' Revolt?

Wat Tyler led a peasant uprising from Canterbury to London. After marching on London, Tyler was killed during negotiations with King Richard II.

When did the Battle of Agincourt take place?

The Battle of Agincourt pitted an English army against a much larger French army. However, thanks to strategic planning, the English army achieved a significant victory.

When was the initial Act of Supremacy passed?

The Act of Supremacy was the result of King Henry VIII trying to divorce his first wife. The Act made Henry VIII the Head of the Church of England.

What date did the Battle of Flodden take place?

This battle took place between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland. It resulted in a major defeat for the Scottish army and the death of their king, James IV.

What year was the Roanoke Colony founded?

The Roanoke Colony was the first English colony in the New World. Strangely, all of the inhabitants disappeared when another ship from England returned a few years later.

When did King James VI of Scotland become King James I of England?

King James VI of Scotland had rights to the English throne through his great-great grandfather, King Henry VII of England. He ascended to the English throne after the death of Queen Elizabeth I of England.

What date was Jamestown founded?

Jamestown was the first lasting English colony in the New World. It served as the capital for the Colony of Virginia until 1699.

When was Walter Raleigh executed?

Walter Raleigh was a writer, politician, and explorer. He helped create the legend of "El Dorado."

When did King Charles I of England raise his standard at Nottingham?

Charles I of England is most famous for his conflict with the English Parliament. This conflict escalated into a war between the two sides, forcing most of the country to pick a side.

What date was King Charles I executed?

After the war, Parliament wanted to negotiate with Charles I. However, the army, led by Oliver Cromwell, opposed negotiating, wanting to end monarchal rule in England.

When was the First Commonwealth of England established?

The First Commonwealth was England's early attempt at a republic after the monarch under Charles I was destroyed. The Commonwealth officially ended when the monarch was restored under Charles II.

When did the Great Fire of London start?

The Great Fire of London started at a bakery. It lasted four days, destroying a large portion of the old part of the city.

When was the Treaty of Union agreed to?

The Treaty of Union united parliaments from the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England into the United Kingdom. The treaty occurred under Queen Anne, who reigned until 1714.

What date was the Treaty of Paris signed?

The Treaty of Paris officially ended the American Revolution. The eight-year war finally came to an end, and the colonies gained their independence.

When was the Daily Mail founded?

When the Daily Mail started, it was considered a newspaper for the common man. It cost less, and the writing was intended for a more general audience.

When did Britain declare war on Germany leading into WWI?

World War I was supposed to be the war to end all wars. Little did the world know, the global conflict was just getting started.

When was the last public execution in Britain?

Michael Barrett was the last person to be publicly hanged in Britain. He was part of a bombing that killed twelve people.

When did England win its first FIFA World Cup?

Britain also hosted the World Cup in 1966. It was only the third time that the host of the tournament won it.

When did World War II start for Britain?

The British Air Force was a major reason the Allies won World War II. When Germany launched an offensive against Britain, the Royal Air Force fought back the German Air Force, which would be the first defeat of the German military.

On what date did Princess Diana die?

Princess Diana was a national figure at the time of her death for both her charitable acts and her controversial marriage. When she died, the event was widely televised.

When was the ship Mary Rose recovered from the ocean?

The Mary Rose was a warship from the 16th century. It sank in 1545.

When did the United Kingdom join the European Union?

The European Union was created to promote a peaceful and prosperous environment for all European countries. Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, and Netherland were the first countries to join.

When did the United Kingdom leave the European Union?

The citizens who voted for leaving the European Union believed Britain had significantly lost its influential power around the world. The move to leave is known as "Brexit."

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