Discover England’s fascinating early history on our exclusive non-stop one-week tour. 

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Discover England’s fascinating early history on our exclusive non-stop one-week tour.


Hastings, East Sussex

Our first stop is the beach at Hastings where William the Conqueror’s armies arrived from Normandy in 1066, then we visit Battle Abbey, built by William to celebrate his victory, and watch actors in period costume re-enact the battle and the death of the English King Harold.



Tilbury Fort, Essex

Elizabeth I’s reign was a golden age of sea exploration, discovery and military victory. On the second day of our tour we visit the exact spot where, in 1588, Elizabeth gave her famous speech to her troops on the day before they faced the much superior Spanish Armada – and defeated them!



The Tower of London

London’s most famous landmark was built by William the Conqueror in 1078, but its best-known historical connections are with the Tudor monarchs. Two of Henry VIII’s six wives, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, were beheaded here at his command. After his death, his daughter Elizabeth was imprisoned here by her older sister Mary. But when Mary died in 1558, she was obliged to make Elizabeth her successor.



morning – Stonehenge, Wiltshire

afternoon – Bath, Somerset

On Day 4 we visit the West Country, stopping at mysterious Stonehenge, built by the native Celtic Britons around 2000 BC, and then spending the afternoon at Bath – once the Roman spa town of Aquae Sulis (‘the waters of the goddess Sulis’). The tour includes a visit to the famous hot springs and Roman baths.





No tour of England is complete without a visit to Elizabethan Stratford-on-Avon, birthplace of the most famous writer of that age – William Shakespeare – and home to many historic buildings. In the evening we will see a play at the world-famous Royal Shakespeare Theatre.



Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire

On Day 6 we travel north and visit the majestic ruins of Fountains Abbey, perhaps the best example of the destruction caused by Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries (1536-40) when Henry sold all the buildings and land that belonged to the Catholic monasteries. The King had broken away from the Catholic church in 1534 and made himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England.



Hadrian’s Wall,


On our final day we visit the most famous symbol of the Roman occupation of Britain – Hadrian’s Wall. Although Julius Caesar led the first invasion of Britain in 55 BC, it was under the Emperor Hadrian that the Roman legions reached the most northern point of their Empire and built a wall from coast-to-coast as protection against the Scottish tribes.


Answer the questions.

1. Why did the Romans build Hadrian’s Wall?

2. What was the Roman name for the city of Bath?

3. What famous Roman site can you still visit there?

4. Who fought the Battle of Hastings, and who won?

5. Who built the Tower of London, and when?

6. Name three famous female prisoners at the Tower of London.

7. What happened to the Catholic monasteries during Henry VIII’s reign?

8. Who was the monarch during Shakespeare’s lifetime?

Complete the table with the missing dates and names from the text.

English history – key dates

Date Event

…… Stonehenge built by native Britons

…… Roman invasion of Britain under Julius Caesar

…… Norman invasion of Britain under ……

1509-1547 Reign of King …… VIII

…… England breaks with Rome and forms the Church of England

1553-1558 Reign of Queen …… I

1558-1603 Reign of Queen …… I

…… Defeat of the Spanish Armada

What was happening in your country during these periods of history? Who were the key people and which places are associated with them?

Write a table of key dates for your country.


Landmarks in American history

European Settlement and the French Wars

In the 17th century, settlers from England and from Holland started to make their home in America. Many of them were from small religious groups who suffered persecution in Europe. In the 18th century, France fought England for control of Canada and the northern border. Both sides used the help of Native Americans, but England won the war in 1763.


The War of Independence

After the French Wars, some US states began to rebel against control and taxation by England and its king George III. In 1776, thirteen states declared independence from England. A war between the English army and the Americans lasted until 1781, when the United States of America became an independent country.


The Civil War

In the 19th century, states were created in the west, where settlers took land from the Native Americans and farmed it. The southern states used many slaves from Africa and the Caribbean on their plantations, but the northern states wanted to ban slavery. In 1861, eleven southern states left the USA and set up their own Confederacy. A civil war lasted until 1865, when the southern states surrendered and their slaves were freed.


Answer the questions about these paragraphs. Who:

1. won the French Wars?

2. won the War of Independence?

3. won the American Civil War

4. was King of England in 1776?

5. helped the Europeans in the French Wars?

6. were forced to work on American plantations?


Britain’s colonial past

Food from the Colonies


In 1600 the East India Company was formed under Elizabeth I to compete with Dutch traders in the oriental spice trade. The company was given a monopoly on all goods imported to England from Asia. From the 1750s the company became more ambitious, starting to invade and conquer parts of India. It was now the biggest company in the world, and also an unofficial arm of the British government. When Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837, the whole of India was under British rule, and she was made Empress of India. When she died in 1901, the British Empire had expanded so much that it included one fifth of the total population of the world.



As tea and coffee grew in popularity in Britain in the 18th century, the demand for sugar to sweeten them also grew. Sugar plantations in the West Indies owned by European colonists needed more workers, so their owners imported slaves from West Africa. A circular trade developed and islands such as Jamaica and the Bahamas became British colonies. Ships from Britain carried cotton and metal goods to Africa, where they were traded for slaves, who were taken on a three-month voyage to the West Indies. They were traded with the plantation owners for sugar, and the sugar returned to Britain. Georgian Britain, especially the ports of Liverpool and Bristol, grew rich on the profits of the slave trade, turning a blind eye to the cruelty and the suffering involved.



The East India Company also held a monopoly on the import of Chinese tea, which became popular and fashionable in the 18th century. Trading posts around China such as Singapore and Hong Kong soon became colonies. At the same time, people in America, which the British had colonized in Elizabethan times, were protesting about high taxes on the import of common goods from England. A revolutionary group called the Sons of Liberty began turning back British tea ships from American ports, and in 1773 they threw tea worth thousands of pounds into Boston Harbour. The ‘Boston Tea Party’ was the first of many acts of rebellion that quickly led to war with England and, in 1776, to American independence.



Potatoes, originally from Colombia, were introduced to England by Elizabethan explorers. Sir Walter Raleigh grew them on his land in Ireland, which in those days was under British rule. The Irish, poor and constantly at war internally or with the English, began to rely on this crop, which was easy to grow and produced a good yield. The poorest families ate nothing else. But in the 1840s a fungus infected the crops and more than one million people died of hunger. Another two million emigrated, mostly to North America, and a de-populated Ireland remained under British rule until 1922.


Insert the names of the countries in the correct sentences.

America China Hong Kong India

Jamaica Ireland Singapore


1. ………. and ………. became British colonies as a result of the tea trade in the 18th century.

2. ……….. became a British colony as a result of the sugar trade in the 18th century.

3. ……….. became a British colony as a result of the spice trade in the 18th century.

4. ……….. was a British colony from medieval times until 1922.

5. ……….. was a British colony from the 16th century until 1776.

6. ……….. was never a British colony.



Why do you think that there are so many English-speaking countries

in the world?

How did the English language travel so far?

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