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Across the British History

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Министерство образования и науки российской федерации
Федеральное государственное бюджетное образовательное учреждение
высшего профессионального образования
Санкт-Петербургский государственный университет
аэрокосмического приборостроения
Students’ Manual
СоставительР. Б. Либина
кандидат филологических наук, доцент И. И. Громовая
Методические указания и учебные задания по истории стран изучаемого
языка для студентов 1 курса профиля «Перевод и переводоведение».
Методические указания подготовлены к публикации кафедрой «Иностранных языков» и рекомендованы к изданию редакционно-издательским
центром Санкт-Петербургского государственного университета аэрокосмического приборостроения.
Отпечатано в авторской редакции
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© Санкт-Петербургский государственный
университет аэрокосмического
приборостроения (ГУАП), 2011
Facts and Concepts for Your Synopsis ..................................................................... 4
Basic Lecture Vocabulary ...................................................................................... 18
Reading................................................................................................................... 32
The River‘s Tale (prehistoric) by Rudyard Kipling ........................................... 32
What is Cockney? .............................................................................................. 33
The Roman Centurion‘s Song by Rudyard Kipling ........................................... 33
King Arthur ....................................................................................................... 34
Robin Hood ....................................................................................................... 35
Richard III and the Mystery of the Princes ........................................................ 37
Sonnet 66 by William Shakespeare .................................................................... 39
Epigram Engraved on the Collar of a Dog by Alexander Pope ......................... 40
The Sun Rising by John Donne ......................................................................... 40
Nature and Nature‘s Laws Lay Hid in Night by Alexander Pope ...................... 40
In Continuation of Pope on Newton by Alexander Pope and John Squire ........ 40
Epitaph on Wm. Graham, Esq., of Mossknowe by Robert Burns 1759—1796 . 41
Christopher Wren .............................................................................................. 41
Science and Art in the XVIII Century ............................................................... 44
Michael Faraday ................................................................................................ 47
Ernest Rutherford .............................................................................................. 48
Alexander Fleming ............................................................................................ 49
British Political System: Нistory and Principles ................................................ 52
HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother .......................................................... 53
The United Kingdom Parliament ....................................................................... 54
The UK Government and Prime Ministers ........................................................ 56
Greatest Briton ................................................................................................... 58
The British Universities ..................................................................................... 61
Scotland ............................................................................................................. 62
Ireland ................................................................................................................ 63
Wales ................................................................................................................. 64
Canada ............................................................................................................... 65
Ottawa‘s Ghostly Past........................................................................................ 66
Australia ............................................................................................................ 67
Lecture and Seminar Programme ........................................................................... 70
Literature ........................................................................................................... 74
Internet Recourses ............................................................................................. 75
Facts and Concepts for Your Synopsis
Geographically the British isles appeared about 6000 years
ago, when Great Britain and the less islands separated from the
continent. The biggest islands of the British archipelago are Great
Britain, Ireland, White, Man and Anglesey.
The English Channel, the Strait of Dover and the Northern
Sea are called ―Shallow seas‖, they are good for fishing and
dangerous for navigation, especially the Goodwin Sands.
Britain is divided in lowland and highland and demonstrates a
great variety of nature.
The mountains are the Cambrians in Wales and the Scottish
Highlands, Snowdon and Ben Nevis are the highest tops. Moorland
is the typical highland landscape, making the Scots wear kilts.
The longest river of the country is the Severn.
The peninsula of Cornwall has subtropical plants mixed with
pines and birches.
Emblems and Capitals of the British Isles
Northern Belfast
red rose with
white petals
leek (or daffodil)
legend of origin
ascended the throne in
the XV, their emblem
The enemy stepped on
it and shrieked, the
Scots awake and won
Saint David ate only
leek and bread
The doctrine of the
Trinity was preached
with the help of it for
the pagan people
The prehistory of the country began 250 000 years ago with
the first people appearing on the British territory. 6000 years ago the
Neolithic Age started. The main features of it were crop-growing and
cattle-breeding. The new culture was brought by the so called
Iberians, probably from Spain.
The Neolithic people built huge stone monuments all over the
world. The oldest known giant stone structures are in Britain. They
are dolmens and henges.
Stonehenge is not far from the city of Salisbury in the
Southern England. It has a ditch and 3 circles of 4- to 50-tone stones.
They were transported from 400 km away with sledges, rollers and
ropes. By the legend he was Merlin who did it.
There were several stages of building with the intervals of
many centuries. The word ―Stonehenge‖ might have derived from
«hanging stones».
The Phoenicians gave the first known name to Britain. They
called it ―Tin Islands‖.
The Celtic period is the epoch from VII till I BC. The Celtic
tribes occupied the major part of modern Western Europe and were
among the founders of the European civilization.
Their craftsmen were highly skilled in using iron. They
produced necklaces of twisted metal called ―torques‖ The main
personal virtues with the Celts were hospitality and splendid
They waged, using chariots. Some tribes were led by women.
The priests were called Druids. They used to gather on the Isle of
Anglesey. They worshiped mistletoe.
The Celts believed souls to revive in newborns of the same
families. The holiday of Samhain (―end of summer‖) was celebrated
on the 31 of October. The 1-st of November was ―All Hallows‘
Day‖, so Samhain was ―All Hallows‘ Even‖ = Halloween. The Celts
believed that ghosts of people and spirits of eaten vegetables visit
living people on this day.
The Roman period lasted from I till IV AD. The first Roman
invasion of Britain took place in 55 BC. The Romans were led by
Caesar. The expedition wasn‘t successful, it was only a probing. The
name of Albion might have appeared then. But the Romans went on
in their attempts to subdue the country as they needed grain and
Britain could supply it. In the I AD the Southern Britain was
subdued. The Celtic queen Boadicea raised a revolt. She was
defeated and poisoned herself not to become a Roman captive.
During this period many roads were built. Some of them have
been used till nowadays. The Romans constructed two walls from
sea to sea to protect the South from the tribes of Picts and Scots. The
Hadrian wall has determined the border between England and
Scotland. The Romans founded many cities. Their names end with ―–
chaster‖ (―fortress‖ in Latin).
The Dark Ages and The Anglo-Saxon period have a very
scarce evidence. The Dark Ages (V-VI) began after the Romans had
left Britain. The Celtic life revived and the newcomers, Germanic
tribes, started their permeation to Britain. They have been known in
British history as the Anglo-Saxons. The Anglo-Saxon period (VII –
VIII) is the time when the newcomers created the states.
There are few written sources on the period. This is the
reason why many controversial questions arise, for example:
– Why did the newcomers invade Britain?
– Did they bring calamity or prosperity?
―The Loss of Britain‖ by Gildas and the work by Bede, known as
―the father of English history‖, tell that the newcomers killed a lot of
people in Britain. According to Gildas and Bede, the Celtic king
Vortigern invited the Germanic tribes from the continent to fight
against the Scots and the Picts. The first newcomes arrived by 3
ships, led by 3 brothers. They liked the country and called upon the
tribes of the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes to Britain. They killed
the Celts or drove them to the mountains. Then the Anglo – Saxons
organized 7 states in England. Modern historians give a little bit
another version. They say that the Germans came from the Jutland
(modern Denmark). That area had been flooded and people had to
leave it. Due to recent research the Saxons didn‘t really exist; it was
the Latin name of the Angles. The root ―ang-‖ means ―sharp item‖,
―The Angles‖ – ―the sharp items‖ or ―the fishing hooks‖, England –
―the country of fishmen‖. The Anglo-Saxons conquered the
Romanized regions of Britain. This land became England. The
archeological evidence shows the Celtic population to remain in their
lands but to change their traditions. The Anglo – Saxons divided
lands into shires and drained the part of marshy areas for agriculture.
The Anglo-Saxon (Old English) language appeared.
The Vikings’ period was from the IX to the middle of the XI
century. The Vikings came from Scandinavia. The word ―Viking‖
literally means ―turned‖ in Old Scandinavian. The Vikings were
people who tried to get wealth and glory beyond Scandinavia. In
Britain they were called the Danes. They seized the bigger part of
In the end of the IX century the Danes were stopped by the
king of Wessex Alfred the Great. He is the only English king
accorded the epithet ―the Great‖. He is known as father of the
English navy. He was the first king called the ―English king‖. He
made a treaty with the Danes. Their part of England was called the
Danelaw, it was three fourths of modern England. He is also known
for the enlightenment: he founded the first schools for commoners
and nobles.
The most powerful king of the Danes was Cnut. His name
meant ―a knight‖, the name of noble warriors. The Scandinavian
influence on the British culture reflected in the names of the days:
- Wednesday from Wodin (god of war and wisdom);
- Thursday from Thor (of thunder);
- Friday from Frej and Freja (of fertility).
After the Danes the throne was given to Edward the
Confessor. He spent 25 years in Normandy (France). He tried to
establish churches in all the villages, enlarged and gave the French
name to Westminster Abby and promised the English throne to his
nephew William of Normandy.
The Norman invasion gave some original features to the
development of Britain and set the feudal system. For the last time in
its history England was conquered in 1066 by the Vikings‘
descendants who were the French knights in their language and
culture. They were led by William, the Duke of Normandy, who
came to take what he had been promised. The last Anglo-Saxon king
Harold perished at the battle of Hastings. William didn‘t trust the
Londoners and built a fortress, called the Tower. Both Westminster
and Winchester were his capitals.
William took lands from Saxon nobles and gave them to
Norman barons in return for service (40 days a year). It was a feudal
system taken from the continent. The lands were scattered to make
the rebellions impossible.
William decided to count the people and their property. The
―Doomsday Book‖ was compiled – a unique historical source. There
were 2 million people in Britain, 95 percent lived in rural areas, ¾
were serves.
For 3 centuries two languages were spoken in the country.
The common Anglo-Saxon people spoke Anglo-Saxon. The Norman
rulers of the country spoke Norman (old French), the language of law
and administration. That‘s why English is rich with synonyms.
In the High Middle Ages (mid XI – XIII) there were 80 towns
in England with the population of 5%. The craftsmen were organized
in guilds. Their charters forbade any advertisement and determined
the common standard of quality.
England was ruled by the Plantagenet dynasty, the most
famous king of which was Richard the Lion Heart. He ruled the
country for 10 years and spent there only 10 months. He acted as an
ideal knight. His mother was Eleanor of Aquitaine, the wife of two
kings and a poetess. Richard knew Latin and Italian, but didn‘t know
Richard organized the Third Crusade to Holy Land. Each
knight had to have three horses. To gather money for it he took the
whole English treasury and raised the taxes. He told: ―I would have
sold London if there had been a purchaser‖.
His fiancée followed him to watch his feasts, but was
captured at Cyprus. Richard released her and chained the Emperor in
silver chains after he had asked Richard not to chain him with iron.
The III Crusade wasn‘t successful. Richard quarreled with
many kings, was shipwrecked on his back way and had to steal to
England through the lands of his enemies. He was disguised but still
captured. Nobody in England knew where he was. Richard‘s friend,
the poet, walked through Europe with a song, which they had
composed together. In Germany he was answered by Richard. The
emperor had to release him, but he appointed a tremendous ransom.
The Britons had to pay a large extra tax. Historians say that Richard
was a good poet but a bad king for England.
The next king, Richard‘s junior brother, John the Lack Land
was known for his greediness. He took the money of his nobles but
couldn‘t protect their lands. Normandy was lost. The barons raised a
rebellion and made the king sign the document further called ―The
Great Charter of Freedoms‖. It told that the freeman couldn‘t be
imprisoned without the trial of their peers.
England was the first country in Europe that limited the
power of the king. ―The Charter‖ is still the acting law in Britain.
In 1284 Edward I joined Wales. The Welsh chieftains had
decided to play a trick and declared their wish to be ruled by the
Prince of Wales. The prince had to be born in Wales, to be of royal
blood, not to speak English and French. Edward I assigned his baby
son to be the Prince of Wales. Since then all the heirs of the British
throne have worn the title.
During the Norman period it was prohibited for the
commoners to hunt in the forests. The Robin Hood romances go back
to that time. His prototype was Robert Hood of XIV century,
outlawed for taking part in the rebellion. The tomb of Little John,
excavated in the XVIII century, is considered to be the archeological
evidence of historical foundation for the Robin Hood romances.
The Late Middle Ages embarrass XIV and XV centuries. In
1348 the disease called the Black Death spread over Britain. The
epidemic killed half of Britain‘s population. It had been believed for
centuries to be a plague, but according to modern research it was a
kind of a virus. The situation caused the decline of serfdom. Lack of
working hands made the nobles pay a salary to their workers.
The ―Hundred Years‘ War‖ lasted 116 years (1337 - 1453). It
was the struggle of the 2 dynasties for the French throne. The
Plantagenets claimed to be Kings of France and England. The war
was started by Edward III of England. The king was known as a
―perfect knight‖. During the dancing party at Edward‘s court a lady
dropped her garter. The knights laughed at her. Edward picked up the
garter and tied it on his own leg saying: ―Let him be ashamed who
sees wrong in it‖ (in French). These words have become the motto of
the British royal family. Edward founded the Order of the Garter.
Nowadays the people who had done much for Britain are rewarded
with it. They may be 24 only.
At the beginning of the ―Hundred Years‘ War‖ Britain had a
success due to the new (paid) kind of army and better bowmen. At
the end of the war the English behaved as looters, arose hatred and
were defeated.
The former noble commanders of the ―Hundred years‘ war‖
started private wars in England. The strongest clans were the
Lancasters and the Yorks. Walter Scott called it ―The War of the Red
and White Roses‖.
By the end of the XIV century French had disappeared in
England as the language of high strata. The decline of French was
connected with the Black Death. The king needed servants. People
from lower levels substituted the dead ones. They spoke English, not
French. Besides, Edward III forbade French in his army.
The first English printer was William Caxton. He had lived
abroad for 35 years and was a rich merchant. Collecting books was
his hobby. He studied printing in Germany at the age of 50 and
printed his first books abroad. He returned to England and started
printing in English for common people, though it was accustomed to
print in Latin in this period. Caxton printed 99 books, much more
than any other of his contemporaries. He prepared the blossoming
forth of the English culture in the XVI century.
The Great Vowel Shift was a radical change in the English
phonetics in XIV – XVI centuries. The Shift occurred during the
time when printing had just appeared. Caxton fixed the obsolete
norms of spelling and evoked the gap between spelling and oral
At XVI century the modern history has started. The rural
society began to develop into urban one. Tea, coffee and sugar
appeared in usage. The wool clothes trade became the most
profitable branch of the British economy.
Landlords occupied the lands of the peasants for sheep
grasping. They fenced a farmland and burnt down peasant‘s houses.
This process was called Enclosures. It was told about driving
peasants out: ―Sheep devour people‖. The situation was described in
―Utopia‖ by Thomas More. The laws against the tramps were
adopted. In the reign of Henry VIII 7000 people were executed for
The Tudors dynasty (1485-1603) was started by Henry VII
(1485-1509). He was against any wars, he collected taxes but never
spent for wars. He built a fleet of merchant ships and gave an
impulse to the English foreign trade. His wife is told to be depicted
on cards.
Henry VIII started Reformation and proclaimed himself head
of the English church. One of the reasons was to divorce Catherine of
Spain and to marry once more (on the total – 6). He took the lands of
the Church to his treasury and turned out monks and nuns.
Reformation is a process of transition from Catholicism to
Protestantism. It took place in European countries in XVI and XVII
centuries. The protestant doctrine has strongly influenced the British
culture and society.
According to the Catholic doctrine the person is free for his
lifetime and could choose between virtue and sin. The church helps
to avoid sins and to get rescue.
According to protestant doctrine the god had predetermined
the fate of each man.
1 – The fate can be learnt but not changed. The signs of good fate are
the force of belief, diligence and business success.
2 – Person should communicate with god himself. To be available
Bible should be translated from Latin in English.
3 – The church should be cheap: the priest can help, but not rescue.
4 – The person should be able to self-help.
Henry‘s successors were Bloody Mary and Elizabeth, the
daughter of Anne Boleyn. Anne was executed and Henry renounced
his daughter. She tried to be silent and stayed in her rooms learning.
She knew 6 languages. She was hot-tempered and could throw her
slippers at the diplomats.
She could choose talented confidants; among them were
philosopher Francis Bacon, seafarer and poet Walter Raleigh, who
founded the first English colony in America and brought potatoes
and tobacco back to Britain. He made smoking popular at court.
Elizabeth was asked to marry by Russian, Spanish and French
monarchs. They were rejected.
Spanish king Phillip II supported the Scottish queen Mary
Stuart in her claims for the British throne. She became Elisabeth‘s
captive and was executed. Phillip prepared for invasion into England.
On the way from America Spanish ships were plundered by
English pirates supported by the queen. Drake robbed the Spanish
coast of America and was the first Englishman and the second world
seafarer who bypassed around the globe. The legend connects the
gesture of the salute with Drake‘s attempt to show his blinding with
the queen‘s light.
Phillip II sent ―The Invincible Armada‖ to seize England. The
lighter English fleet prevented it. Soon England was called ―Ruler of
the waves‖.
The Shakespeare authorship question is if the glover‘s son of
Stratford was the author of the plays attributed to Shakespeare. The
reasons for the discussion are:
1 - only few documents survived;
2 – Shakespeare‘s vocabulary includes about 20000 words in
comparison with 8000 of Bacon and Milton, and 9000 of Dickens;
3 – His works show an excellent knowledge of politics, law,
medicine, astronomy and court manners. There are quotations of
books in Latin, Greek, French and Italian. It seams strange for the
person who was never educated in University.
Since the XVII century the cultural role of the country has
radically changed. The British culture was mainly influenced before,
since XVII ctntury it has begun to influence the European one. Major
results have been achieved in science and social research. The
symbol of it is the fact that England has more than 100 Noble Prize
Winners, the biggest number in Europe.
In 1707 Jacob I of Scotland ascended the English throne. The
common name of Great Britain appeared. Jacob‘s idea of divine right
led to conflicts with Parliament and evidently Guy Fox‘s plot.
Puritans thought the reformed church should be still purred
more of Catholic traditions. Some of the puritans went to America to
build a new world, based on simplicity and indulgence.
Charles I also had a conflict with Parliament. It made
Parliament organize its own army, and in 1642 The Civil war began
and the king was executed. The republic was established for 20
years with Oliver Cromwell as lord-protector. ―The blue laws‖
forbade entertainment. It was flowered by the Restoration with ―the
glorious revolution‖ of William of Orange.
The religious ideas were the key topics during public
discussions. ―The Paradise lost‖ by Milton and ―The Pilgrim‘s
progress‖ by Bunyan were the best known books of the period.
Hobbes was the first to explain the origin of the state by
natural reasons. He presented the idea of ―public contract‖. It stated
that if people had created the state themselves they could improve it.
John Locke put forward another idea. People should control
the state, or the majority should control the minority. If the state does
not do its work, doesn‘t worry about the majority, people have the
right to revolt, to make another contract. The American constitution
is based on Locke‘s ideas.
Bacon put forward the idea of experimental science as the
way to change real life. To check up his idea a group of scientists
founded the Royal Society which has become the British Academy
of Science
Newton‘s book ―The Principles‖ is said to have no equals in
its influence on science. Newton was born in 1642 in the village of
Woolsthorpe in the farmers‘ family. After graduating from ―Trinity
College‖ he returned to the farm because of the coming Doomsday.
It was there that he outlined the basic principles of his discoveries.
Newton didn‘t like to publish his works or speak, but just he has
created the language of science.
The main merit of Newton was the mathematical proof of the
law of gravitation. Proving it, he created the methods of differential
and integral calculation, which have become the new language of
modern science. Halley could persuade Newton publishing the book.
There were discussions with Hooke and Leibniz for the authorship of
the discoveries. Voltaire was the first to tell the legend of the apple,
and probably he had invented it.
There existed a theory for almost 2000 years, according to
which blood appeared of food, mixed with air in heart and
disappeared in arms and legs. That theory caused the blood-letting as
the way of treatment.
Harvey proved:
1 – blood circulates in the closed cycle;
2 – there is no air in the heart, it is a pump for blood only.
In the XVII century London was changed radically. The
Great fire of 1666 destroyed the medieval city, Wren‘s architecture
organized the formation of new London.
In the XVIII century a new type of society, an industrial
civilization, was born in England. The country got the name of ―the
workshop of the world‖. Anne Stuart gave the throne to a German
dynasty. In the XVIII and XIX centuries there ruled 4 kings named
Georges. After the ―War of the Spanish Succession‖ England got a
monopoly for exporting slaves from Africa to Spanish colonies in
America, which gave capitals for industry.
The Enclosures made people leave villages or stay in
Workhouses cared by the Anglican parishes. In rural areas children
had to earn from 4, in cities – from 10.
The word ―humour‖ in the modern sense was born in
England. It has derived from Latin ―liquid‖ and had a medical sense
first. In London a circle of satirical writers included Jonathan Swift
and Alexander Pope. They called themselves The ―Scriblerus Club‖.
The ideas of ―Gulliver‘s Travel‖ and ―The Beggas‘ Opera» appeared
within it.
In 1765 a weaver James Hargreaves invented the mechanical
spinning ―Jenny‖, which was the first machine of the Industrial
Revolution. The first engine of the industrial era was a steam
machine, designed by Newcomen. James Watt developed it for the
first universal engine. Besides, he invented steam heating.
James Cook made two attempts to find an unknown southern
continent. He investigated Australia. The idea to navigate in the
opposite direction to Cook‘s way led to the discovery of the
Antarctic by the Russian expedition. Cook‘s innovations with
sauerkraut and washing hands saved sailors and made expeditions
¾ of slaves were brought to America by English ships. From
15% to 75% of slaves perished during the way. In 1807 the
abolitionists obtained ―Slave Trade Act‖ prohibiting slave trade.
The method of preventing smallpox was discovered by
Jenner. He named it vaccination from Latin ―cow‖. The idea of
Jenner was used to prevent some other dangerous diseases.
In the XIX century Britain became the first industrial power of
the world. In 1851 in London the first World Industrial Exhibition
showed its industrial domination. British Empire covered ¼ of the
world land. The standard of living was higher than anywhere, but the
social contrasts were felt stronger. By the end of the century England
was overtaken by Germany and the USA. After the victory over
Napoleon England did not participate in big wars till the Boer war in
Southern Africa. It was the war with Dutch farmers in the end of the
In historical memory of the Englishmen the XIX century has
remained an epoch of peace and well-being associated with queen
Victoria, who ruled for 64 years (1837 - 1901). Victoria could find a
new role for monarch: not to interfere with policy and to show a
moral example. For the dynastic positions of her descendants she was
named ―the grandmother of Europe‖.
Self-help and pluralism got typical for the English world
outlook and life-style. The example of self-help was the ever-first
working class movement of Chartism. The ―People‘s Charter‖ was
the document with the demands of the working people to Parliament,
rejected by it. During the movement the Labour party or ―the party
of self-help‖ was formed, which together with Tory (Conservative)
and Whigs (Liberal) has remained one of the main parties of the
Another example of self-help was the Bell – Lancastrian
system of mutual training, based on the Indian experience. It allowed
spreading of literacy in the period when teachers were few and there
were no state schools.
Many foreign authors noted tolerance, respect for other‘s
opinion and trying to avoid categorical statements as distinctive
English features. An example of careful utterance: «I think, the
weather is fine today, isn‘t it?‖
The Main Achievements of the XIX in Science and Technology
natural selection as
the reason (driving
power) of evolution
reasons of living
nature diversity, a
step to the synthetic
theory of evolution
the The first automatic
effective model of a means of transport
steam locomotive
tunnel Made
Discovering the law Elaborating electric
of electromagnetic power artificially
Through the XX century the economic and political role of
Britain changed. In the beginning of the century it was one of the
three leading countries due to its economical significance. The
British Empire still covered ¼ of the world territory. In the middle of
the century, after the II World War, Britain lost the majority of its
colonies, economically it wasn‘t as successful as in the previous
period, and up to the 1970s it was an ordinary country. By the end of
the century it was enforced by the reforms of Margaret Thatcher.
The biggest trouble for Britain in the XX century was World
War II. The British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain tried to
negotiate with Hitler but failed to stop the War. During the Battle of
France Chamberlain was replaced by Winston Churchill, who had
opposed the policy of ―appeasement‖. Helping France, the British
troops were cut off in the vicinity of the port of Dunkirk. The
Germans could have destroyed the British army. It meant that Britain
was going to lose its land army. But at that moment an event took
place, which got the name of ―the miracle of Dunkirk‖. The German
army stopped its attacks for 2 days. Churchill ordered any ship or
boat available, large or small, to pick up the soldiers. Thousands of
private boats crossed the English Channel and about 400 000 people
were evacuated. The German army started its preparation for the land
invasion into Britain, while the German Air Force bombed the cities
in the South of England. This period is known as the Battle of
Britain. The British Air Force won the Battle and the land invasion
didn‘t take place. It was the first victory over Germany in the World
War II. After that together with the Alliances the British army fought
in Northern Africa, Asia, and in continental Europe.
After the war Britain lost its empire, the economy of Britain
was destroyed. The American State Secretary George Marshall
offered the programme of recovering the European economy. It was
called Marshall Aid. Britain got the biggest part of the aid.
After the War socialist ideas were popular in Britain. The
Labour party won the elections and proclaimed the idea of ―Welfare
state‖ – the state, which cares for people‘s well-being. Free school
and free medical treatment were established.
In 1960s Britain was a rather prosperous country. Just at that
period young people began influence fashion, music and the whole
life-style. The 1960s were a time of ―youth revolution‖. The most
popular beat of the sixties was swing. That‘s why the Sixties got the
name of the Swinging Sixties.
In the 1970s the British economy declined. The important
branches of industry belonged to the state and weren‘t effective. The
situation was improved by the ―Thatcher revolution‖. The main
branches of industry were given to private control, the ineffective
enterprises closed and the taxes lowered. There were several difficult
years, but as a result Britain restored its leading positions in Europe.
Britain today is the sixth largest economy in the world, the country
with the utmost devotion to the concepts of self-help and privacy.
Basic Lecture Vocabulary
the Isles of White, Man, Anglesey
extinct species
the Severn
the Wars of the Roses
the Lancastrians
the Yorks
to preach
the doctrine of the Trinity
the North Sea
the English Channel
the Strait of Dover
the Irish Sea
the cliffs of Dover
the Goodwin Sands
the Lowland
the Highland
the Cambrians
the Scottish Highlands
Ben Nevis
the Gulf stream
Острова Уайт, Мэн, Англси
вымершие виды
войны Роз
лук - порей
жѐлтый нарцисс
учение о Троице
Северное море
Дуврский пролив
Ирландское море
утѐсы Дувра
Пески Гудвина
Кембрийские горы
Шотландские горы
вересковая пустошь
клетчатая юбка
период неолита
оседлая жизнь
равнина Солсбери
Оловянные острова
кельтский период
торк (кручѐное ожерелье)
the Neolithic Age
the Iberians
to invade
settled life
the Stonehenge
the Salisbury plain
to resemble
to derive
Tin islands
the Phoenicians
the Celtic period
to fine
torque (twisted necklace)
to wage war
to reconcile
The Roman Period, the Dark Ages and the Anglo-Saxon Period
королева Бодисия
быть побеждѐнным
стена Адриана
спорные вопросы
«Потеря Британии»
the Britons
to subdue
the revolt of
Queen Boadicea
to be defeated
the Picts
the Hadrian wall
controversial questions
―The Loss of Britain‖
Беда Достопочтенный
быть затопленным
The Venerable Bede
the Angles
the Saxons
the Jutes
to be flooded
to deny
to drain
The Vikings’ Period and the Norman Conquest
совершать набег
богатство и слава
Альфред Великий
военный флот
the Vikings
to raid
to devastate
wealth and glory
to starve
the Danes
to seize
Alfred the Great
Область датского права
датские деньги
Эдвард Исповедник
Вестминстерское аббатство
Вильгельм Завоеватель
сражение при Гастингсе
быть рассеянным
"Книга судного дня"
обзорное исследование
свободный крестьянин
the Danelaw
the Danish money
Edward the Confessor
Westminster Abby
William the Conqueror
the Battle of Hastings
to put down
to be scattered
to swear
"The Domesday Book"
Britain in the High Middle Ages
колючие кустарники
Ричард Львиное Сердце
Крестовые походы
Элеонора Аквитанская
to renounce
the Plantagenets
prickly bushes
Richard the Lion Heart
the Crusades
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Герцог Леопольд
Блондель де Нель
Иоанн Безземельный
судебный процесс
Великая хартия вольностей
выносить приговор
to release
Duke Leopold
Blondel de Nehl
to intercept
John the Lackland
the Great Charter of Freedoms
to sign
to sentence
Britain in the Late Middle Ages
крепостная зависимость
вирусная болезнь
нехватка рабочих
Эдвард I
сыграть шутку
Принц Уэльский
невыполнимый требование
Столетняя война
Эдвард III
virus disease
lack of workers
Edward I
to play a trick
the Prince of Wales
impracticable requirement
to claim
The Hundred Years' War
Edward III
Орден Подвязки
тянуть тетиву
битва при Креси
Уильям Кекстон
―Изречения и афоризмы ‖
великий сдвиг гласных
ввести термин
a motto
Order of the Garter
to pierce
to pull a string
the battle of Creci
William Caxton
―The Dicts and Sayings‖
blossoming forth
the Great Vowel Shift
to coin the term
Britain in the XVI Century
новая история
законы о бродягах
Генрих VII
Славная династия
торговый флот
Генрих VIII
modern history
to fence
the Enclosures
laws against the tramps
the Tudors
Henry VII
the Glorious Dynasty
merchant fleet
Henry VIII
the Reformation
Защитник веры
Екатерина Арагонская
Анна Болейн
праведная жизнь
вечное спасение
протестантское учение
Кровавая Мэри
Филипп II
посеять хаос
Мария Стюарт
the Defender of Faith
Catherine of Aragon
to divorce
Anne Boleyn
just life
eternal rescue
protestant doctrine
to predetermine
Bloody Mary
Philip II
to set disorder
Mary Stuart
to sentence
Britain in the XVI Century
дворцовое великолепие
Френсис Бэкон
Уолтер Рали
palace magnificence
Francis Bacon
Walter Raleigh
to ask to marry
лорд Дадли
Френсис Дрейк
обойти, обогнуть
годовой доход
вложенные деньги
военный салют
Непобедимая армада
плавучая крепость
владычица морей
свинцовый грим
шекспировский вопрос
to reject
Lord Dudley
to plunder
Francis Drake
to bypass
annual income
enclosed money
military salute
the Invincible Armada
floating fortresses
the Ruler of the Waves
to dismiss
lead makeup
small sword
the Renaissance
the Shakespeare
authorship question
grammar school
to doubt
классическая школа
Britain in the XVII Century
Яков I
взойти на трон
божественное право
заговор Гая Фокса
Карл I
гражданская война
Оливер Кромвель
«синие законы»
Карл II
Вильгельм Оранский
Славная революция
Джон Мильтон
«Потерянный рай»
Джон Беньян
«Путь паломника»
«Майский цветок»
Томас Гоббс
Джон Локк
общественный договор
Декларация независимости
Френсис Бэкон
«Новый органон»
Jacob I
to ascend
divine right
Guy Fox‘s plot
Charles I
сivil war
Oliver Cromwell
―Blue laws‖
Charles II
the Restoration
William of Orange
the Glorious Revolution
John Milton
―The Paradise lost‖
John Banyan
―The Pilgrim‘s progress‖
―May flower‖
Thomas Hobbes
John Lock
public contract
Independence Declaration
Thomas Jefferson
Francis Bacon
to exile
―The New Organon‖
Britain in the XVII Century
Королевское общество
Исаак Ньютон
Колледж Святой Троицы
студент, обязанный работать
дифференциальное исчисление
интегральное исчисление
закон всемирного тяготения
природа света
рефлекторный телескоп
натуральная философия
Монетный двор
физическое тело
единая сила
Эдмунд Галлей
Роберт Гук
Кристофер Рен
математическая кривая
Готфрид Лейбниц
Вильям Гарвей
углекислый газ
обращаться, циркулировать
the Royal society
Isaac Newton
Trinity college
differential calculation
integrated calculation
the law of universal gravitation
nature of light
reflector telescope
natural philosophy
the Mint
to forge
point mass
to rotate
single forcе
Edmond Halley
Robert Hooke
Christopher Wren
Gottfried Leibniz
William Harvey
carbonic gas
to circulate
to pump
Britain in the XVIII Century
the world workshop
Anne Stuart
Georges I - IV
Robert Walpole
War of the Spanish Succession
John Churchill
Duke of Marlborough
slave trade monopoly
industrial society
Anglican parish
Jonas Hanway
canopy umbrella
Jonathan Swift
Alexander Pope
the Scriblerus Club
to deride
Industrial Revolution
manual labour
James Hargreaves
spinning Jenny
to substitute
steam machine
Thomas Newcomen
low efficiency
James Watt
universal engine
мастерская мира
Анна Стюарт
Георги I – IV
Роберт Уолпол
Война за испанское наследство
Джон Черчилль
герцог Мальборо
монополия на торговлю рабами
индустриальное общество
англиканский приход
работный дом
Джонас Хэнвэй
складной зонтик
Джонатан Свифт
Александр Поуп
Клуб Скриблеруса
промышленный переворот
ручное производство
Джеймс Харгривс
прялка Дженни
паровая машина
Томас Ньюкомен
низкий КПД
Джеймс Ватт
универсальный двигатель
unit of power
James Cook
Terra Australis Incognita
to refute
to navigate on the contrary
the Golden Triangle
Slave Trade Act
лошадиная сила
единица силы
Джеймс Кук
Неизвестная Южная Земля
квашеная капуста
плыть наоборот
Золотой треугольник
Акт о запрете работорговли
Britain in the XIX century
Boer war
the Victorian era
Prince Albert
―People's charter‖
Bell – Lancastrian system
mutual training
Charles Darwin
―On the Origin of species‖
natural selection
Thomas Maltose
Alfred Wallace
synthetic theory of evolution
striking variety
Galapagos Islands
Англо-бурская война
Викторианская эпоха
Принц Альберт
«Народная хартия»
Белл-ланкастерская система
взаимное обучение
Чарльз Дарвин
«Происхождение видов»
естественный отбор
Томас Мальтус
Альфред Уоллес
синтетическая теория эволюции
потрясающее разнообразие
Галапагосские острова
steam locomotive
George Stevenson
self-made man
Isambard Brunel
tunnelling shield
to bore
firm shell
to elaborate
Джордж Стивенсон
человек, создавший сам себя
Изамбар Брюнель
проходческий щит
прочный панцирь
Britain in the XХ Century and in the Modern World
Навилль Чемберлен
Уинстон Черчилль
вести переговоры
чудо Дюнкерка
«Морской лев»
битва за Британию
план Маршалла
социальное государство
свингующие шестидесятые
отрасли экономики
Маргарет Тэтчер
продолжительность жизни
качество жизни
частная жизнь
выражать чувства
Neville Chamberlain
Winston Churchill
to negotiate
to retreat
the miracle of Dunkirk
―Sea Lion‖
Air Force
Battle of Britain
the Commonwealth
the Marshall plan
welfare state
Swinging Sixties
branches of economy
Margaret Thatcher
life expectancy
quality of life
fellow traveler
to express passions
The River’s Tale
by Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936), abridged
Twenty bridges from Tower to Kew –
Wanted to know what the River knew,
Twenty Bridges or twenty-two,
For they were young, and the Thames was old
And this is the tale that River told:―I walk my beat before London Town,
Five hours up and seven down.
But I‘d have you know that these waters of mine
Were once a branch of the River Rhine,
When hundreds of miles to the East I went
And England was joined to the Continent.
―I remember the bat-winged lizard-birds,
The Age of Ice and the mammoth herds,
And I remember like yesterday
The earliest Cockney who came my way,
When he pushed through the forest that lined the
With paint on his face and a club in his hand.
He was death to feather and fin and fur.
He trapped my beavers at Westminster.
While down at Greenwich, for slaves and tin,
The tall ___1___ ships stole in,
And life was gay, and the world was new,
And I was a mile across at Kew!
But the ___2___ came with a heavy hand,
And bridged and roaded and ruled the land,
And the ___2___ left and the ___3___ blew in –
And that‘s where your history-books begin!‖
What is Cockney?
In Kipling‘s poem Cockney means ―primitive man‖ or
―barber‖, the word is used in figurative sense, but what do you know
about Cockney in the main meaning?
The term often refers to working class Londoners, particularly
inhabitants of the East End. Also it means the form of English
spoken by this group. The traditional features of Cockney English
using d or t instead of th and double negative, for example ―He
did’t know nothing‖ instead of ―He knew nothing‖.
There is a traditional definition of a ―true‖ Cockney. He is
someone born within earshot of the Bow Bells, the bells of St Maryle-Bow church in the City of London, which is not itself in the East
The etymology of the word is connected with the period,
when the Normans, French-speaking people, conquered England.
They named London as the ―Land of Sugar Cake‖ - Old French
―pais de cocaigne‖. It meant an imaginary land of idleness and
luxury. Further the word ―Cocaigne‖ got a humorous sense referred
to common people. The most famous Cockney are Charlie Chaplin
and David Beckham.
The Roman Centurion’s Song
by Rudyard Kipling
Legate, I had the news last night – my cohort ordered home
By ships to Portus Itius and thence by road to Rome.
I‘ve marched the companies aboard, the arms are stowed below:
Now let another take my sword. Command me not to go!
I‘ve served in Britain forty years, from Vectis to the Wall,
I have none other home than this, nor any life at all.
Last night I did not understand, but, now the hour draws near
That calls me to my native land, I feel that land is here.
Here where men say my name was made, here where my work was done;
Here where my dearest dead are laid – my wife – my wife and son;
Let me work here for Britain‘s sake – at any task you will –
A marsh to drain, a road to make or native troops to drill.
Legate, I come to you in tears – My cohort ordered home!
I‘ve served in Britain forty years. What should I do in Rome?
Here is my heart, my soul, my mind – the only life I know.
I cannot leave it all behind. Command me not to go!
King Arthur
King Arthur is a legendary king in the mythology of Great
Britain. He lived in palace of Camelot and owned the mythical sword
Excalibur. Some think King Arthur lived some time from the end of
5th century to the early 6th century. He might have been a king or a
leader of Britons. Later his story grew with additional stories like the
magician Merlin or the knight Sir Lancelot. The scholars consider
mostly, he is a mythical person like Hercules. In legends he and his
men fight against the evil and protect the weak.
His dad was a king, who died. So Arthur was sent to live as
an orphan (сирота) when he was still a baby. When he grew up, he
found a sword stuck in a stone. He was told that whoever could pull
it out was the true king. So he pulled it out and became king. After
that sword broke, Arthur got another sword named Excalibur.
When he was older, he married Lady Genevieve. They lived
very happily together until one of King Arthur’s best knights, Sir
Lancelot, had an affair with Lady Genevieve. King Arthur was
furious, but in the end forgave both of them. Lancelot apologized for
his behaviour and decided to leave the kingdom, as he thought
himself not worthy of King Arthur’s favour. Genevieve, although she
was allowed to stay, decided to leave as well to another part of the
Later on, King Arthur‘s sword Excalibur was stolen and used
by a traitor named Mordered. They fought and killed each other. Оne
of his knights threw the mystical sword Excalibur into the lake where
it came from.
Arthor is said to be sleeping in one of numerous caves
waiting to return and lead his people. ‗Here lies Arthur, king that
was, king that shall be‘. This is an inscription on his tomb at
His name is beloved in the English-speaking world. Thus,
when the Houses of Parliament were rebuilt after the fire of 1834,
Arthurian themes were chosen for the decoration of the queen‘s room
in the House of Lords, the symbolic centre of the British empire.
After the death in 1963 of American President John Kennedy,
considered to be one of the most sincere and honest politicians,
Kennedy‘s time in the White House was called Camelot.
Winston Churchill wrote in ―A History of the English
Speaking Peoples‖: ―Wherever men are fighting against barbarism,
tyranny, and massacre, for freedom, law, and honour, let them
remember that the fame of their deeds, even though they themselves
be exterminated, may perhaps be celebrated as long as the world
rolls round. If King Arthur did not live, he should have.‖
Robin Hood
Robin Hood is the English folk hero, an outlaw of the
medieval era who is famous for his robbing the rich to feed the poor
and fighting against injustice and tyranny. He operates with his
―seven score (2 десятка)‖ (140 strong) group of fellow outlawed
yeomen – named the Merry Men for their famed jollity – who were
based in hideouts (в дебрях) in Sherwood Forest and Barnsdale
Forest. The chief enemy of the Merry Men is the villainous Sheriff of
Nottingham who is overtaxing the people into poverty, and in some
tales the villain is Prince John, based on John of England.
Riding through the royal forest of Sherwood on a glorious
May morning, you don‘t have a care in the world. Then you hear a
bird call, the faint rustling of trees, and suddenly a man armed with a
longbow appears in your path. He wears a feathered cap, or is that a
hood? You can‘t see the man‘s face clearly, but you don‘t have to.
He is dressed in green, the colour of Robin Hood – the most famous
English outlaw of all time.
Don‘t worry, he won‘t harm you. He‘ll invite you to join him
and his outlaw band for a feast (пир). The meal of choice? (Что
выбираете?) Venison (оленина) or freshly-killed deer? Only a king
is allowed to hunt it, but then Robin never did worry about the law.
After your feast, Robin, or his faithful lieutenant Little John,
will ask you a question. How much money are you carrying? If you
answer truthfully, you may keep all that you have. If you need
money, then Robin will give or lend you some. But if you lie to him
– if you hoard (припрячете) your money, well ... you won‘t have
that money for very long. It will go to help someone in need.
Robin Hood is an outlaw. Just as commoners are allowed to
hunt harmful wolves, anyone can hunt Robin Hood. The sheriff
would pay for Robin‘s capture just as surely as he would pay for a
wolf‘s head. Robin and his band are often called wolfsheads by their
In many stories, Robin is devoted to the Virgin Mary. But in
some versions, he is the ―son‖ of the pagan forest god Herne the
Hunter. And others say he‘s one of the ―Fair Folk‖ or the ―Little
People‖, the magical inhabitants of Britain. But surely Robin‘s
strongest allegiance (верность) is to his band of Merry Men – Little
John, Friar Tuck, Will Scarlet, Much the Miller‘s Son, Alan a Dale
and above all Maid Marian, his true love. Robin Hood is a champion
archer. Once, he snuck (затесался) into a Nottingham archery
tournament. The prize for winning the contest was an arrow with a
silver shaft (древко) and golden head and feathers. It was a tough
contest. Some people say Robin‘s leading opponent shot an arrow
into centre of the target. It seemed impossible to beat that shot. But
bold Robin Hood took aim and fired an arrow with such uncanny
precision (неимоверная точность) that it split his opponent‘s arrow
in two. Thus, Robin won the tournament and the gold and silver
There are many stories where Robin meets a stranger, often a
simple tradesman like a potter, tanner and so on. Robin picks a fight.
But the stranger overpowers him. Robin then asks the stranger to join
his band. This is how many of the most famous Merry Men met
Robin Hood. Robin Hood is a master of disguise. Dressed as an old
woman he tricked an evil bishop. Turned hangman (палач), Robin
rescued three of his men.
But who was Robin Hood before he became an outlaw? The
earliest stories say he is a yeoman. But a well-known later tale has
another explanation for Robin‘s outlawry. A tall lad of 15, Robin
went to Nottingham to attend a fair. He was stopped by 15 surly
foresters who mocked (насмехались) Robin‘s youth and said Robin
was too young to shoot a bow. Robin wagered (заработал) 20 marks
on his skill. Then, Robin shot and killed a deer that was over 550
yards away. The foresters refused to pay up and were going to beat
up young Robin. But Robin managed to shoot and kill all fifteen of
them. For this, he was outlawed. Other stories say that Robin is the
son of a forester. Or that he is Sir Robin of Locksley, a knight who
returned from the Third Crusade to find his land stolen by the sheriff.
Many movies end with King Richard pardoning Robin Hood.
But in the ballad version of this tale, Robin grows bored with service
to the king (called King Edward in an early ballad) and heads back to
the forest to live as an outlaw for another 22 years.
In 1247, Robin was ill and looked for help from his cousin,
the Prioress of Kirklees. A common medical treatment in the middle
ages was to bleed someone. But the Prioress betrayed Robin and
drained too much of his blood away. Robin had just enough strength
to blow his hunting horn and summon his men. Little John burst into
the room, and threatened to kill Robin‘s treacherous cousin. But
Robin stopped his faithful friend. Robin would never harm a woman.
Some stories say that Robin managed to fire one last arrow
and the dying outlaw told Little John to bury him where it landed.
And near Kirklees there is a grave that was said to belong to Robin
Hood. Perhaps Robin was killed that wintry day in 1247. But his
spirit remains alive – whenever good friends gather or the
underprivileged need a champion. For centuries people have taken
the name of Robin Hood.
Richard III and the Mystery of the Princes
Richard III (1483-1485), the eleventh child of Richard, Duke
of York, was born in 1452. He was created third Duke of Gloucester
at the coronation of his brother, Edward IV.
Richard‘s reign gained an importance out of proportion to its
length. He was the last of the Plantagenet dynasty, which had ruled
England since 1154; he was the last English king to die on the
battlefield; his death in 1485 is generally accepted between the
medieval and modern ages in England; and he is credited with the
responsibility for several murders: Henry VI , Henry‘s son Edward,
his brother Clarence, and his nephews Edward and Richard.
Richard‘s power was immense, and upon the death of Edward
IV, he positioned himself to seize the throne from the young Edward
V, the son of Edward IV. Richard feared a continuance of internal
feuding and declared the succession of Edward V as illegal, due to
weak evidence suggesting that Edward IV‘s marriage to Elizabeth
Woodville was bigamous, thereby rendering his sons, 12 and 9,
illegitimate as heirs to the crown. Edward V and his younger brother,
Richard of York, were imprisoned in the Tower of London, never to
again emerge alive. Richard of Gloucester was crowned Richard III
on July 6, 1483.
Nobody had seen young princes since; though Elisabeth was
sure they were dead. To revenge Richard she proposed the worst
enemy of her clan, the Yorks, Henry Tudor, a diluted Lancaster, to
marry her daughter Elisabeth and claim for the English throne.
Four months into his reign Richard III was fighting against a
rebellion of Henry Tudor. The rebellion was crushed first, but Tudor
gathered troops and attacked Richard‘s forces on August 22, 1485, at
the battle of Bosworth Field. The last major battle of the Wars of the
Roses, Bosworth Field became the death place of Richard III.
Shakespeare portrays him as a complete monster in his play,
Richard III. He even depicted him as a hunch back, nevertheless
none of Richard‘s contemporaries had told of his physical defect.
Shakespeare followed the laws of the Renaissance art: person should
be balanced. The villain should have been ugly not only in his deeds
but in his appearance as well.
Meanwhile Richard coined some new ideas while ruling. He
regulated trials, prohibited bribes in royal courts and was the first
monarch to protect merchants. But the rumour connected his name
with the awful fate of the young princes.
Two centuries later, in 1674, the skeletons of two children
were discovered under the staircase leading to the chapel, during the
renovations to the Tower. At that time, these were believed to have
been the remains of the two princes. On the orders of Charles II the
remains were reburied in Westminster Abbey. In 1933, the grave was
dug up and found to contain both human and animal bones. The
medical research concluded the age of two children to be about 12
and 15. That meant that more likely Henry VII the Tudor was
responsible for the murder. The other experts reject the data saying
the proper research couldn‘t have been done in 1930-s. Some
historians still consider Richard to be probably more guilty.
History is written by the victors, and sometimes by
Shakespeare. The victors were the Tudors and they wrote of the
defeated Кing‘s epitaph. Nobody will ever now know whether he did
murder the little princes in the tower. He probably was not a hunch
back, but his body was flung into an unmarked grave after the battle
so we will never know that either.
Sonnet 66
by William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Tired with all these, for restful death I cry, As, to behold Desert a beggar born,
And needy Nothing trimm‘d in jollity,
And purest Faith unhappily forsworn
And gilded Honour shamefully misplaced,
And maiden Virtue rudely strumpeted,
And right Perfection wrongfully disgraced,
And Strength by limping Sway disabled,
And Art made tongue-tied by Authority,
And Folly, doctor-like, controlling Skill,
And simple Truth miscall‘d Simplicity?
And captive Good attending captain Ill:
Tired with all these, from these would I be gone,
Save that, to die, I leave my love alone.
Epigram Engraved on the Collar of a Dog
Which I Gave to His Royal Highness
by Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
I am his Highness‘ dog at Kew;
Pray tell me, sir, whose dog are you?
The Sun Rising
by John Donne (1572-1631), abridged
Busy old fool, unruly Sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains, call on us?
Must to thy motions lovers‘ seasons run?
Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
Late school-boys and sour prentices,
Go tell court-huntsmen that the king will ride,
Call country ants to harvest offices;
Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.
Nature and Nature’s Laws Lay Hid in Night
by Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
Nature and Nature‘s laws lay hid in night;
God said, Let Newton be! And all was light
In Continuation of Pope on Newton
by Alexander Pope (1688-1744) and John Squire (1884-1958)
It did not last; the devil howling ‗Ho!
Let Einstein be!‘ restored the status quo.
Epitaph on Wm. Graham, Esq., of Mossknowe
by Robert Burns 1759—1796
―STOP thief!‖ dame Nature call‘d to Death,
As Willy drew his latest breath;
How shall I make a fool again?
My choicest model thou hast ta‘en. (taken)
Christopher Wren
In the XVII century London changed radically. The change
was caused by the Great fire and Christopher Wren‘s activity.
Modern London with its famous tourist attractions is the result of this
The Great fire of London destroyed the medieval city. The
new city with a new architecture appeared on its place. The Great
Fire took place in 1666. It began in a royal bakery in Pudding street.
There was a strong wind. To save a wooden city, it was necessary to
destroy homes near the fire, but the mayor of London did not give
such an order.
The flame was storming for 5 days. 60 % of houses were
burned down. The medieval centre of London – St Paul‘s Gothic
Cathedral was destroyed. The stones explode from heat. The majority
of people could leave the city. At last Charles II sent the firemen to
destroy the houses which were standing on the way of the fire. But in
some basements the flame was burning for half a year.
The event had made such an impression that the monument
devoted to was called simply ―The Monument‖. Everyone knows to
what. It is a column from a marble more than 60 meters in its height.
There is a description of the fire at its bottom. The author of ―The
Monument‖ was Christopher Wren.
After a fire the King proposed the inhabitants of London not
to return to London. But the Londoners did not wish to leave. The
King was afraid of revolts. The city needed to be restored
immediately. The King charged the most complicated problem to
Christopher Wren. Wren became the chief architect of the burned
London. Besides, the King entrusted him to build the new main
cathedral of England and of all Protestant world – St Paul‘s
To his contemporaries Christopher Wren was known as an
outstanding scientist, the mathematician. But he made history of
England as the greatest architect of the country.
There is an English tale about a wren. The birds gathered
once to choose a king. They decided that it would be a bird that
would fly above all. The eagle flied up to the sun above all, but the
cunning wren hid at the eagle‘s back, and when the eagle was near
the sun the wren jumped up and became the king of birds. As for
Christopher Wren he wasn‘t so ambitious. He didn‘t like arguments
and was an enormously industrious man. He used to say: ―Every
wasted hour belongs to devil‖. As other geniuses of the English
Enlightenment, Wren lived long, 90 years (1632-1723). He was the
only builder of the greatest world cathedrals who saw his building
Wren‘s father was the priest and he was responsible for the
school training of the prince, the future king Charles II. The children
of the courtiers should have formed the company for the prince, and
Wren was among them. The prince studied not so well, and
Christopher Wren – brilliantly. Later on some people told Charles to
have copied his control works with Wren and that was the reason of
the King‘s kind feeling to Wren many years later.
After graduating from Oxford Wren taught and was engaged
in science. He was interested in many things. He made the history of
English culture as British Leonardo for the variety of his
Newton named Wren the best mathematician of the time.
Most of all Wren was interested in geometry. Besides, he invented
the first-ever tractor which was moved by a horse, experimented
much with explosives, made one of the first-ever experiences on
blood transfusion.
At that time there was no architectural school in
England. And once Wren, as he was a geometer, received the order
to construct a small church in Oxford. The customer liked his work.
And Wren got another order – to build the theatre for solemn
ceremonies in Oxford, such as granting degrees. Wren had made
calculations and built a hall with a ceiling of 20 meters in diameter
without intermediate supports. The architects were not able to build
similar ceilings then. The architects, Wren‘s contemporaries,
predicted that this ceiling would fall. It has existed till now.
Since this moment Wren was carried away by
architecture. He visited France and studied the best buildings of
Paris. Soon the Great fire of London happened. It was necessary to
clean the centre of the city as quickly as possible. The burned parts
of the buildings didn‘t allow starting the reconstruction. The
authorities addressed to Wren as to the expert on explosives. And he
coped with the problem.
The king appointed him to build up the burned London.
Wren started with churches. They were city dominants, organizing
the system of streets. 52 churches designed by Wren have remained
in London till now. Every church was headed with a belltower and a
spike. None of the spikes were alike. But the greatest Wren‘s
masterpiece was St Paul‘s Cathedral. Wren had to build the biggest
cathedral of the Protestant world, which was to put in the shade the
main cathedral of the Catholic world, St Peter‘s in Rome. Wren was
building the cathedral for 35 years, and he lived a life long enough to
finish it.
The building has 170 meters in its length and 110 in its
height. It has become the second-largest Christian cathedral in the
world. It was difficult to make this huge construction graceful. But
Wren managed to. The most interesting idea was the contrast
between the basis and the dome. The dome of 80 meters in height
rises from the rectangular basis of 30 meters high.
The baroque style dominated in Europe when the cathedral
was under the construction. The cathedral is built in this style. But
Wren had given to it some Gothic features. The combination of
baroque and gothic styles became the typical feature of the English
When the cathedral was almost constructed, London
authorities paid their attention to the lack of columns in the central
space of the temple. The cathedral contained a great number of
people. It was spacious and convenient. But the ceiling of the huge
size was based on walls, and nothing more. There was no
intermediate support. Wren was convinced that columns were not
necessary and the ceiling would not fall. He showered his
calculations. But he was not believed and was told to prop the ceiling
up with columns. Wren did not argue more and fulfilled the
requirement. But he designed the columns so that they did not get the
ceiling. There was a little gap between the capitals and the ceiling.
The columns have stayed till nowadays and they still don‘t prop the
ceiling. During the World War II the bombs exploded round the
cathedral, but the dome has resisted.
The Whisper gallery passes throug the inner space of the
dome. Each word spoken in a whisper is heard at the diametrically
opposite point of the gallery as the sound reflects back from the walls
(the effect wasn‘t planned by Wren)
Wren was buried in St Paul‘s Cathedral, under a plate of a
black marble. His son, also Christopher and also an architect, wrote
on the stone: ―Underneath lies buried Christopher Wren, the builder
of this church and city; who lived beyond the age of ninety years, not
for himself, but for the public good. Reader, if you seek his
monument, look ________‖
St Paul‘s Cathedral is a tomb of almost two hundred famous
citizens of Great Britain, among them – Wellingtone, Nelson,
St Paul‘s Cathedral and Wren‘s architecture influenced
several well- known buildings. For example, Thomas Ulter created
the dome of the Capitol in Washington using Wren‘s projects. St
Isaac‘s Cathedral in Petersburg by Monferrant was also influenced
by Wren. The main architectural dominant of St Petersburg is the
spike of the Peter and Paul Fortress, designed by Tresini. Some
historians of art consider it to relate to Wren‘s spikes of London
Science and Art in the XVIII Century
The most important English scientific achievement of the XVIII
century was the creation of the means preventing smallpox. The
author of it was Edward Jenner. The natural smallpox was one of the
greatest troubles in the history of mankind. In the areas of epidemics
death rate came to 10 % – 15 %. One of three deceased died. The
survived had the scars on their faces for the rest of their lives. Many
people lost sight and became blind.
During the smallpox epidemics of 1776 the English doctor
Edward Jenner was sitting in a coach with the peasant girls and he
heard their conversation. One of the girls, who was a milkmaid,
proved that she couldn‘t catch a human smallpox, as she had been ill
with cow smallpox before. Jenner got interested in it and found out
that milkmaids often caught cow smallpox. It proceeded easily with
people and had no dangerous consequences. After milkmaids never
caught human smallpox. Jenner put forward the idea to inoculate cow
smallpox to people to prevent human smallpox. But before making
experiments it was necessary to check the idea up. For 20 years
Jenner inoculated cow smallpox to people and observed, whether
they caught a human smallpox or not. In 1796 the decisive
experiment was held out. Jenner inoculated a 8-year-old boy James
Phipps with cow smallpox. The boy fell ill and recovered easily.
Then Jenner infected him with human smallpox. It didn‘t develop.
The boy didn‘t fall ill. The experiment proved the safety of
inoculation. Later on grateful Jenner built the house for James Phipps
and planted roses himself in the garden of James.
The method of preventing dangerous diseases was
discovered. Jenner named the discovered method, having formed a
word from Latin ―cow‖.
First the reaction for his discovery was very aggressive. The
―anticow‖ committees were created. They let out pictures,
representing people with horns and hoofs. It meant that people
―humiliated‖ themselves, receiving a material from cows. But the
epidemic began in England. People, inoculated with Jenner‘s
method, survived. Jenner‘s enemies had to retreat. Jenner had lived
till his discovery was recognized.
The main idea of Jenner was using the weakened microbes.
Step by step the principles, put forward by him, began to be used in a
struggle against the other diseases. Sometimes Jenner is called the
father of immunology. As to smallpox, the last case of it in the world
was fixed in 1980. The microbe of smallpox doesn‘t exist anymore.
Inoculations against smallpox aren‘t done nowadays. It is the only
example, when the microbe was destroyed artificially.
Till the XVIII century England had splendid science and
literature. As for fine arts and music, they fell behind. Nothing
outstanding was done in painting. It was in the XVIII century that the
English school of painting appeared. William Hogarth is considered
to be father of English painting. He created a new direction of
painting, not only for England, but for Europe. It was satirical
Hogarth‘s father was a teacher, but at school William was in
the end of the progress list. He drew during the classes and didn‘t
care about his lessons. After school he studied engraving. It allowed
to get many copies. The painter engraved and then printed. After his
father‘s death Hogarth had to care about his mother and two sisters.
He painted portraits. But he didn‘t like it. Each portrait took much
time, but it was unique. And Hogarth ―thought out‖ a new genre –
satirical pictures. He expected this kind to become popular and make
it possible selling many engraved copies.
Traditionally painters admired life, they were delighted with
beauty. Hogarth started laughing at life. He created cycles of several
pictures, describing and laughing of nasty sides of everyday life. In
―Harlot‘s Progress‖ he shows a miserable fate of the country girl
from her coming to town till her funeral ceremony. In ―A Rake‘s
Progress‖ he shows the life of a merchant‘s son, who had wasted all
his money on luxurious living and finished his life in Bedlam. In
―Gin Lane‖ the awful effects of drinking are depicted. In
―Parliamentary Elections‖ he shows canvassing (buying the voices)
of ill people and madwomen.
His works of satire became extremely popular. Hogarth
defined the genre as ―useful art‖. He thought that the aim of it wasn‘t
to entertain the public, but to improve life. Usually the development
of painting goes after literature, but it was vice versa with Hogarth.
He overtook literature. By creating the genre of social satire, he
predeceased such English writers of the XIX century as Thackeray
and Dickens. Besides, he is believed to be the founder of Western
Sequential art, with its two main genres – comics and cartoon.
And it was Hogarth‘s picture ―The Shrimp Girl‖ which has
become the visiting card of the English painting. It wasn‘t in satiric
genre. It is an unfinished oil sketch, the portrait. The painting is
almost ―transparent‖. That‘s why Hogarth is often called the
forerunner of impressionism.
For modern onlooker it‘s thrilling to watch his engraving
―Satire on False Perspective‖ – an example of graphic absurdity.
Thomas Gainsborough was an outstanding master of portraits.
He had shown the talent for drawing since his very young years. But
he was of a rather poor family with many children, and his parents
weren‘t going to educate him. It was an occurrence which helped the
situation. Once Thomas was sketching in his father‘s orchard.
Suddenly a face appeared above the stone wall and for a single
moment studied the situation. The boy caught the features on his
palette, and transferred them to his picture. The likeness was so
perfect that it led to catching the thief who had been robbing peas in
the neighbours‘. The orchard episode pleased the family of
Gainsboroughs. A family council decided that Thomas must be sent
to London to study art.
Michael Faraday
One can‘t imagine our life without electricity. The era of
electricity began in the 1880s. The electricity has replaced the energy
of steam. It became possible due to the discovery made in 1831 by
Michael Faraday. He discovered the law of the electromagnetic
induction. This very law allows people elaborate electric power.
The electric power is the most convenient form of energy.
The use of electricity has changed civilization. But people have used
electricity for only a little more than a hundred of years. The reason
is that in nature we are hardly able to come across electricity. In
order to use electricity people had to learn how to get it artificially.
Nowadays people receive electricity using the law of
electromagnetic induction, which gives the way to get electricity
with the help of magnets. Elaboration of electric power by
generators is based on this law. Without it bulbs would not light,
phones would not call and we would live in the other kind of world.
The person who learnt to receive electricity artificially was Michael
Faraday (1791-1867).
He was born in the suburb of London in a family of a smith.
The family was so poor that children from used to receive a help
from the religious community. It was 1 roll a week. At the age of 13
Faraday was apprenticed to a bookbinder. He read a lot of books
being bound, especially in physics and chemistry. Thus he learnt
about electricity. Once, when Faraday was already 19 he heard four
public lectures of a famous chemist Davy. Faraday made a synopsis,
bound it as beautifully as he could and sent to Davy together with the
letter. He told that he wished to go in for science, but did not know
the way. Surprised by unusual message Davy invited Faraday to be
his assistant. Davy said later that of all his discoveries the most
significant one was Faraday. The work in Davy‘s laboratory became
for Faraday both school and university.
Faraday investigated electricity, magnets, light. He was
convinced that in nature everything is related. That‘s why he thought
out experiences, trying to find relations between phenomena. In 1831
he found out the dependence further called the law of
electromagnetic induction. It tells that closed wire moving in a field
of magnet gets electricity. This rule made
possible getting
electricity in an artificial way.
Faraday got many offers for commercial use of his ideas, for
building first electro generators. He rejected this kind of suggestions
because of his pure scientific interests. The mass production of
electricity started in about 50 years after his discovery.
Faraday is also considered to be the inventor of balloons. In
1824 he made first balloons for experiments with hydrogen. He
wrote about it in a scientific journal. The next year the rubberier
Hanock produced spheres in the form of a toy.
Ernest Rutherford
English researches caused three exegetical revolutions. In
XVIII century Watt started the age of steam, in XIX Faraday
presented electricity, in XX nuclear power became possible thanks to
Ernest Rutherford. It was he who created the planet model of atom.
Before Rutherford atom was thought to be single and indivisible.
Rutherford proved it to consist of smaller particles. He showed that
dividing atom released energy. Though he doubted that it was
possible to use it.
Nevertheless nuclear power stations are based on the ideas of
Rutherford. Besides, he was the first man who managed to transform
an atom and get the atom of another substance. In 1919 he converted
nitrogen into oxygen.
Alexander Fleming
The greatest achievement of the British science in the XX
century was the discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming. It
started the era of antibiotics. It was one of the main reasons which
increased the length of the human life.1
Fleming was born in Scotland in the place of swamps and
moorlands. He was the 8-th child in the family of a farmer. When he
was 5 he began attending school together with his senior brothers and
sisters. The way passed through the moorlands. If the weather was
cold their mother used to give each child two potatoes, so that they
could warm their hands during the way. On coming to school the
children ate the potatoes. Fleming wrote further that the long and
monotone way taught him observing.
At the age of 13 he moved to London to his cousin who was
going to become a doctor. Fleming tried many jobs including service
in the Scottish battlement guarding the Buckingham Palace of the
Queen. Then he became the medical student of London University.
He wasn‘t almost preparing for exams; he was going to enter the
University many years after school. Nevertheless he passed his
exams best of all thanks to the extremely original answers,
appreciated by the commission. For the main part of his life Fleming
By the end of the XIX century the highest length was in Sweden –
47 years, in Britain – 42, in Russia – 27. Contemporary modern
Western Europeans live for about 80.
worked in the laboratory of St Mary‘s hospital. And his discovery
happened just there in 1928.
The legend names two reasons of Fleming‘s discovery: his
untidiness (неаккуратность) and his luck. The biologists use the
cups with germ cultures. The other researchers in the laboratory
washed the cups after the work. But Fleming didn‘t. He hadn‘t been
washing the cups for 2 or 3 weeks till his table was covered with 40 –
50 dirty cups. Then he had nothing to do except washing. Once he
went for a two-weak leave. He hadn‘t washed anything before. His
table stayed untidy. When he came back he found an unusual mould
(плесень) in one of the cups. It destroyed the gems which had been
put into the cup before. The mould almost dissolved (растворила)
Fleming used the microscope and determined the kind of the
mould. It was called ―Penicillium notatum‖ in Latin, which means
―the brushes of nuts‖.
The kind of the mould was very rare. It was unclear where it
had appeared from. It is still being unclear. Somebody tells it to flow
through the window. Somebody tells it to appear from the neighbor
There was an extra condition which caused the discovery: the
whims (капризы) of London weather. Fleming was absent for a long
on his holidays. It grew colder in London, and the cold weather made
good conditions for the growth of the mould. Then it grew warmer,
and the warm weather made good conditions for the growth of
germs. The unique combination of the rare mould and the changeable
weather had caused the discovery.
But the biographers of Fleming don‘t agree with the version
that it was an occasional luck. They tell another reason for his untidy
table. It was his scientific philosophy. He believed that researcher
should be a very intent (пристальный), very attentive observer. He
shouldn‘t only follow his plans, but also be ready for all unexpected
phenomena. That‘s why he kept his table untidy. He thought that
something unexpected could grow once in his dirty cups. And before
washing them he used to look for something interesting. The
discovery of penicillin was not only occasional. It came to the
researcher who had deserved the result.
The observations showed that the mould of penicillin destroys
germs but doesn‘t do any harm for people. The next problem was to
select the pure acting substance (выделить действующее вещество)
from the mould in order to bring it into the blood of ill man. Fleming
couldn‘t do it himself, because he was not a biochemist. He had to
find biochemists ready to do it. But he had failed.
The reason was that the scientists had known the similar
substances for a long period. The substances of this kind destroyed
germs but damaged people at the same time. That‘s why nobody
believed Fleming and wanted to work with him.
Fleming was very unhappy then. He felt that he had made a
great discovery but nobody supported him. He went in for his hobby.
He took up germ painting (занялся микробной живописью). He
painted with the germ colonies of different colours. The pictures
didn‘t live long. In some time germs used to move and the outlines of
the objects lost their shape.
Many years passed. Fleming had become a Noble prize
winner and once the Queen visited his laboratory. Just for her visit
Fleming painted the British flag with germs. But the Queen didn‘t
like it. She considered germs not to be the best material for the
British flag.
Only in ten years after the discovery the chemists got
interested in it. They worked in Oxford. Their names were Chain and
Flory. The author of the discovery was forgotten. When Fleming
learnt about the work of the chemists he went to Oxford. Chain and
Flory were surprised very much. They thought Fleming had died
long ago.
The pure substance of penicillin was selected. Soon World
War II started. Britain was waiting for the German invasion. The
scientists decided to save penicillin at any circumstances. They
saturated (пропитали) their clothes with the penicillin mould. Even
if one of them survived, he could grow the mould.
The Germans didn‘t invade. But the new problem had
appeared. The businessmen, the pharmaceutical industry didn‘t want
to start the production of the new medicine. Chain and Flory
managed to persuade the American government. It made a unique
step. Nine plants were built by the government and presented to the
businessmen on the condition that they would produce
penicillin. Since 1943 penicillin was used at the fronts. It saved
millions of lives. Each 10th German wounded solder perished of
gangrene and in the alliance army almost none.
There was one more result of the Fleming‘s discovery.
Antibiotics brought a great profit to their produces. This money gave
possibilities for the other researches and a lot of synthetic medicines
were elaborated.
So it may be told that Alexander Fleming was not only father of
penicillin and antibiotics but also father of modern pharmaceutical
Fleming together with Chain and Flory became Noble prize
winners in 1945. Fleming was buried in Westminster Abby near
Newton. There are two flowers depicted on his tomb: thistle – the
emblem of Scotland and lily – the emblem of St. Mary hospital,
where he had worked through all his life.
British Political System: Нistory and Principles
The single most important fact in understanding the nature of
the British political system is that Britain has not been invaded or
occupied for almost 1,000 years. The last successful invasion was in
1066 by the Normans. Is this true of any other country in the world?
This explains why: it has had no revolution, it has no written
constitution, its political system is not neat or logical, change has
been very gradual and pragmatic and built on consensus.
To simplify political history very much, it has essentially been a
struggle to shift political power from the all-powerful king who
claimed that he obtained his right to rule from God to a national
parliament that was increasingly representative of ordinary people
and accountable (подотчѐтен) to ordinary people. A key date in this
evolution was 1215 when King John was forced to sign the Magna
Carta which involved him sharing power with the barons.
Another important feature of the British political history is that
three parts of the United Kingdom – Scotland, Wales and Northern
Ireland – have a special status and have local administrations with a
wide range of responsibilities. England represents over 80% of the
total UK population of around 60 million.
The final important part of political history is that, since
1973, Britain has been a member of what is now called the European
Union. This now has 27 member-states covering most of the
continent of Europe. The UK Government and Parliament are limited
in some respects by what they can do because certain areas of policy
or decision-making are a matter for the European Union. The British
political system is headed by a hereditary monarchy but essentially
the powers of the monarch – currently Queen Elizabeth II – are
HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother (1900-2002)
―Icon of the Century‖,
―The Nation‘s Favourite
Grandmother‖, ―The Richest Jewel in the Royal Family‘s Crown‖ –
these are just some of the many tributes that have been bestowed
upon the Queen Mother. She was the longest-living British Royal in
memory, and she witnessed some of the most significant
developments and historical moments of the last century. When she
was born aeroplanes had not yet flown, and gas lamps had not been
replaced by electric lighting.
The most genuinely loved woman in England secured her
place with a casual remark over six decades ago. Asked if she
would remove her two young daughters from London during the
Blitz, Queen Elizabeth replied: ―The girls will not leave unless I do. I
will not leave unless the King does. And the King will not leave
under any circumstances whatsoever.‖ Instead she learned to shoot a
revolver, practicing her aim in the Palace gardens.
Born a commoner on August 4, 1900, Lady Elizabeth BowesLyon had never expected to be Queen; she was forced into it when
―Bertie,‖ her shy and stuttering husband, became King upon the
abdication of his brother in December, 1936. She told her household,
―We must take what is coming and make the best of it‖.
Her finest hour was in 1940, when she, the King, and the Prime
Minister Churchill rallied one nation to keep liberty alive. Ensconced
at Buckingham Palace as the bombs rained, she remarked that this
allowed her to look East Londoners in the eye. Her defiance caused
Hitler to brand her ―the most dangerous woman in Europe‖.
For sixteen years she was the rock of support behind her
husband George VI and then for daughter, passing to Elizabeth II her
resonant devotion to duty, honour and country. ―Duty was important
to the Queen Mother,‖ wrote one observer, ―and despite illness and
various operations she was still one of the hardest working royals,
carrying out 130 engagements in her 80th year.‖
She was a keen and successful horse breeder and gave up
fishing, a favourite pastime, only at 80. Her somewhat extravagant
Edwardian lifestyle – she had five homes, a fleet of cars and an
unspecified number of staff – was always an accepted and essential
accessory for playing host to the nation. Her refusal to indulge in
regrets, carried her through the good and the bad. What Wendell
Willkie said in 1941 was still valid in her case: ―The Britons are
almost miraculously fortunate in their present leaders.‖
The United Kingdom Parliament
Parliament is an essential part of UK politics. Its main roles are:
- Examining and challenging the work of the government (scrutiny)
- Debating and passing all laws (legislation)
- Enabling the government to raise taxes.
The British Parliament is often called Westminster because it
is housed in a distinguished building in central London called the
Palace of Westminster. The British Parliament – like most in the
world – is bicameral, that is there are two houses or chambers. The
only exceptions to this practice around the world are some small
countries such as New Zealand.
The House of Commons is the lower chamber. It has 650
seats. Every citizen aged 18 or over can vote once in the constituency
in which they live. Voting is not compulsory (as it is in Australia).
The House of Lords is the upper chamber. It is an utterly
bizarre institution that has no parallel anywhere in the democratic
world. There is no fixed number of members in the House of Lords,
but currently there are 747 members. Historically most members of
the House of Lords have been what we called hereditary peers. This
means that years ago a king or queen nominated a member of the
aristocracy to be a member of the House and, since then, the right to
sit in the House has passed through the family from generation to
generation. Almost all the other members of today‘s House of Lords
are what we call life peers. This means that they have been chosen by
the Queen, on the advice of the Government, to sit in the House for
as long as they live, but afterwards no member of their family has the
right to sit in the House. Many are former senior politicians. Others
are very distinguished figures in fields such as education, health and
social policy.
The House of Lords has much more limited legislative
powers than the House of Commons. Money Bills can only be
initiated in the Commons and the Lords can only reject legislation
from the Commons for one year.
The origins of Parliament go back to the XII century, when
King‘s councils were held involving barons and archbishops. They
discussed politics and were involved in taxation and judgments. Over
time, these councils took a more formal role and saw knights
representing each county. This was the beginning of a Commons
element in Parliament. The word ‗Parliament‘ was used to describe
these meetings by the early XIII century. By the XIV century two
distinct Houses, the Commons and the Lords, had developed. The
Commons involved representatives from counties, towns and cities,
the Lords already consisted of members of the nobility and clergy.
The first known royal palace to occupy Parliament‘s site was
Edward the Confessor‘s. Parliament officially remains a royal palace
and is still named the ‗Palace of Westminster‘. The Medieval Palace
almost completely burnt down in the fire of 1834. The Houses of
Parliament, as we know them today, were rebuilt after the fire. The
young architect Charles Barry won an open competition for a new
design with his gothic vision. Barry‘s Clock Tower has become the
most recognizable image of England. Clock Tower‘s bell is called
the Great Bell though it is better known by the name ‗Big Ben‘. It
was named after Sir Benjamin Hall, First Commissioner for Works
during 1855-1858, whose name is inscribed on the bell.
Members of both Houses could be sent to the Clock Tower‘s
Prison Room for misbehaving during debates. Charles Bradlaugh
MP was the last person to have a stay: in 1880 he refused to swear
the oath of allegiance to Queen Victoria.
The UK Government and Prime Ministers
The UK has no President. Constitutionally the Head of State
is the Queen who has very few formal powers and stays above party
politics. In practice, the most important person in the British political
system is the Prime Minister. In theory, the Prime Minister simply
chooses the ministers who run Government departments and chairs
the Cabinet – the collection of the most senior of those Ministers. In
practice, however, the Prime Minister is a very powerful figure and
increasingly has been behaving much like a president in other
political systems, especially in the area of foreign policy. The most
important political department is called the Treasury – in most
countries, this would be called the Ministry of Finance. It is
responsible for the raising of all taxes and the control of all
government expenditure plus the general management of the
economy. The head of the Treasury is called the Chancellor of the
Exchequer (казна).
The official residence of the Prime Minister is at 10 Downing
Street. One of the most famous world political addresses, Downing
Street, was built as a result of one man‘s scheming
(мошенничество). Downing was one of the earliest graduates of
Harvard University. He came back to England during the Civil War,
and by 1650 he was Cromwell‘s intelligence chief. Then he served
the king, bought the lands near Westminster with the help of his
political influence and built houses for a quick turnover. They were
built cheaply, with poor foundations for the boggy ground. Different
people built their homes there including the daughter of Charles II.
In 1730 King George II presented one of the houses on
Downing Street to Robert Walepole, who served as the first prime
minister. Walpole refused the property in Downing Street as a
personal gift. Instead he asked the King to make it available to him,
and future First Lords of the Treasury, in their official capacity. To
this day prime ministers occupy Number 10 in the role of First Lord
of the Treasury. The brass letter box on the black front door is still
engraved with this title.
To the present day 51 men and one woman have passed
through the doors of Number 10 Downing Street as British Prime
Minister. During this time an extraordinary range of characters have
been handed the keys to one of the most famous front doors in the
Today regarded as the first British prime minister, Walpole
would not have described himself as such. The title was officially
recognized in 1905. Walpole did, however, have many of the duties
of the modern prime minister. Walpole was also the first to live and
work in 10 Downing Street.
Walpole prevented Britain of wares and it was one of the
reasons of the countries economical rise in the XVIII. Walpole was
an effective politician, but often reached his purposes with the help
of corruption. In 1728 ―The Beggars‘ Opera‖ by John Gay was
staged in London. It made a grandiose success. It was a satire of the
British political life and personally Walpole. Once he visited the
performance and heard a song hinting his bribery. Public began to
applaud and glanced with an interest at Walpole‘s box. On the
ending of the song, Walpole put out from the box and a loud voice
asked to repeat a song. The public was delighted, and there was a
storm of applause for Prime Minister.
With his 20 years Walpole was the longest-ruling primeminister. Walpole also left behind a famous collection of art which
he had assembled during his career. This collection was sold by his
grandson to the Russian Empress Catherine II in 1779. This
collection — which was regarded as one of the finest in Europe —
now lies in the Hermitage.
Taking up office at the age of 24 William Pitt was the
youngest ever prime minister. A popular ditty commented that it was
―a sight to make all nations stand and stare: a kingdom trusted to a
schoolboy‘s care.‖ But his care led the country through major events
including the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, allowed
to regain financial stability for Britain after the American War of
Independence, and brought Union with Ireland. He was unmarried on
his death and in debt to the tune of £40,000. Parliament agreed to pay
the sum on his behalf, and granted Pitt the honour of burial in
Westminster Abbey.
Robert Peel‘s period in government – as prime minister and
in other offices – was a milestone for social reform: cutting working
hours for women and children, creating cheap and regular rail
services and organising the police of London. Peel‘s father was
extremely ambitious for him, grooming him for politics and buying
him his Commons seat. It is claimed that he told his son ―Bob, if you
do not become prime minister some day I‘ll disinherit you‖. As
Home Secretary, Peel also created the Metropolitan Police in 1829,
leading to the nicknames of ―Bobby‖ for London‘s police officers.
Greatest Briton
Winston Churchill was the twentieth century‘s most famous
PM, who led Britain to victory in World War II. While he is best
remembered as a statesman, politician and world leader who saved
the world from Nazi domination in the dark days of 1940, throughout
his life he cared for his family and sustained his lifestyle through use
of the pen. His books and speeches were numerous and, generally,
memorable and have led to witticisms from which one might be able
to select just the right quotation for almost any occasion. In 1953 he
won the Nobel Prize for Literature for his ―History of Englishspeaking people‖. Recently he has been voted ‗Greatest Ever Briton‘
in a major BBC poll, beating the likes of Isambard Brunel, Princess
Diana and Charles Darwin.
Born at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, 1874, Winston was
the son of Randolph Churchill, British aristocrat and Conservative
politician and Jennie Jerome, daughter of a New York millionaire.
Young Winston loved his parents dearly, but for most of his early life
he saw little of his mother and even less of his father. Left to the care
of nannies and sent away to school at a very early age, Winston
lamented on his lack of parental love throughout his boyhood and
He was in the end of a progress bill at school. He was a
stubborn boy ready to study only what he wanted. He was keen only
on English and English literature. His father thought him to be a
bigoted young man and didn‘t see any sense of sending him to
He was educated at Harrow Royal Military College, after
which he saw service in India and Sudan. Churchill left the army in
1899 to take up politics, but first travelled to South Africa as a
journalist. He provided military reports for the Daily Telegraph and
started his literary career. Although taken prisoner by the Boers, he
made a daring escape and returned to safety despite the ransom on
his head. His consequent fame aided his success as the Conservative
parliamentary candidate in 1900, and his political career went on.
At this time that he met the woman who was to remain at his
side for the rest of his life, Clementine Hozier. Winston was 34 years
of age when they married in 1908 and Clementine was 23. He told
once: ―My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to
persuade my wife to marry me‖. She made him the perfect wife,
intelligent and quick witted. They lived at Chartwell near London
with their four daughters and a son. The Chartwell house was one of
the great passions of his life and perhaps the one that his wife found
the most difficult to understand. As much as he hated being out of
politics, Winston loved being at Chartwell. He built walls, rockeries
and even managed to revamp the family swimming pool. He painted
and concentrated on writing about his ancestor, Marlborough. And, it
was at Chartwell that Churchill got news of Hitler‘s rise to power in
With the fleetness of his brilliant mind Churchill foresaw the
implications of Hitler‘s leadership of the German people. Thus, he
began his long, lone campaign to warn the Government, the country
and the world of the dangers to come. Indeed, long afterwards, his
campaign during those years was said to be ‗without parallel in
English history‘. His warnings about the rise of Nazi Germany and
the need for British rearmament were ignored. Chamberlain, that
days‘ Prime Minister was intended to appease Hitler. It meant to
agree his seizing lands in the Eastern Europe to avert his invading of
Western Europe.
In April 1940 Hitler invaded and occupied Denmark and
Norway. Britain was the next. King George VI sent for Churchill and
appointed him Prime Minister. He was 65.
In November 1940 heavy German aircraft bombed heavily
British cities. Hitler‘s army was about to land. It was during the dark
days of war when his special gift of using splendid language served
to rally the British people as never before. The people listened and
responded, along with him – in the cause of freedom, they gave their
all. Women toiled long hours in munitions factories, young girls
worked the land in place of men, women and girls nursed in hospitals
at home and at the front, young boys lied about their age in an
attempt to serve their King and country. It was a true case of ‗cometh
the hour, cometh the man‘ the British people needed, as never before,
the wisdom and boldness of a strong leader and Winston Churchill
provided that leadership all through the war years. Here some parts
of his best-known speeches.
Asking the House of Commons for its confidence, he told: ―I
have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.‖
Attending to nation: ―We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on
to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and
oceans. We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We
shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight in the fields and in the
streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender!‖
About British pilots who had won in the Battle of Britain and
made Hitler give up his plans of invasion: ―Never in the field of
human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.‖
On leading Britain to victory in World War II Churchill was
the most respected leader in Europe and so it came as a sudden blow
when at the 1945 General Election, the country he had saved, voted
in the Labour Government. Once again he retreated to Chartwell and
found solace in family life and the house and lands he loved so
much. He spent time painting and began his history of World War II.
In 1951 the Conservatives won the General Election and at an
age when most men had settled down to enjoy their retirement,
Churchill, almost 77, continued to serve as Prime Minister until he
retired a few months after his eightieth birthday. Telling friends and
colleagues of his intent ‗to bury myself in the country‘ Winston
Churchill found inactivity difficult to cope with. He filled his days
with painting and writing; he sat in his garden with friends and
family, doubtless still discussing politics and the state of nations. His
life, during which he gave so much to so many, drew to a close in
1965. He was 89 years of age.
Winston Churchill was accorded the honour of a state funeral.
His body was drawn on a Gun Carriage used previously for the
funerals of Queen Victoria, Edward VII, George V and George VI,
this was the first time it had been used for the funeral of a commoner.
The greatest Englishman the world has ever known is buried in a
quiet corner of St.Martin‘s churchyard in the village of Bladon and
within sight of his birthplace, Blenheim Palace.
The British Universities
School training in England lasts 13 years. Young people who
are going to enter universities have to stay at school up to 18. They
choose only 3 or 4 disciplines. This program is called Foundation.
According to results the school leavers are admitted to universities.
University programs usually last 3 years for a degree of the
bachelor and from 1 till 4 years to get a degree of the master. The
English use to say ―to read at university‖, for example ―she reads in
civil law‖.
Students spend in auditoriums not more than 20-25% of their
training hours, they have 1 or 2 lessons a day, lectures or lessons
with tutor. Tutors are people who help students to choose subjects
and ways of training; also they analyze and criticize students‘ work.
Most of the students‘ time is occupied with writing essays
and preparing for their written exams. Written works (essays) are the
central part of preparation. Students get original tasks, write the
work, and then it is analyzed in a small group with the teacher. The
process is called ―reading under guiding‖. It is considered that
creating written texts develops logic and analytical abilities best of
all. Besides, such a way of training prepares for the independent
work. Exams in special subjects are passed in writing, so that the
results can be rechecked by independent experts.
The universities take care of the high standard of their
degrees, that‘s why the demands for the undergraduates are very
strict. Only 2 to 3 % of graduates get First (the maximum estimation)
at final examinations. The higher is the level of the university, the
lower are the marks. Students get a degree in the end of their
education. The lower degrees are called BS or BA that mean
―Bachelor of Science‖ and ―Bachelor of Arts‖, specialist in science
or humanities.
This part of the UK is called Alba in Gaelic, the language
spoken by 70 000 of 5 million population.
A complex series of wars resulted in Malcolm II becoming
King of Scotland basically in its modern form about 1000 АD.
Edward I of England in XIV century had succeeded conquering most
of Scotland, but Robert the Bruce had then won back most of the
English gains.
Even with James I of XVII century and his successors on both
the English and Scots thrones, the two countries were treated as
separate kingdoms. When William of Orange became king, he
insisted that every clan must swear an oath of loyalty to him, or
suffer reprisals. To head off a war between the two nations the
English pushed through a Union between the two nations, closing the
Scottish Parliament and giving Scots representation in Westminster.
After 1745, British authorities acted to destroy the Scottish clan
system in parliamentary acts of extreme vengeance. All aspects of
Highland culture including the language were forbidden on pain of
death. Highlanders were forced into the British Army to serve in the
wider British Empire.
Scotland became recognizable with the exploitation of the
Scottish coalfields. Glasgow and Edinburgh began to grow at a
tremendous rate at the end of the XVIII century. In recent times coal
has been replaced by oil from the North Sea, and then there is a
debate as to whether this oil is Scottish or British. In 1997 a
referendum in Scotland voted to institute a Scottish parliament with
―tax varying powers‖. The government hopes to hold a referendum
on Scottish Independence before 2011. If a referendum is held, an
opinion poll in late 2007 suggested the result could be close as
support for independence had reached 40% with just 44% supporting
retention of the Union.
The Scots contributed to culture with father of modern
Economics, Adam Smith, the creator of steam engine James Watt,
James Maxwell, the founder of the modern theory of
electromagnetism, the telephone pioneer Alexander Bell, the
biologists Charles Darwin and Alexander Fleming, poet Robert
Burns, and Sir Walter Scott, a writer of ballads, poems and historical
novels. His romantic portrayals of Scottish life in centuries past still
continue to have a disproportionate effect on the public perception of
―authentic Scottish culture,‖ and the pageantry, he organized for the
visit of King George IV to Scotland, made tartan and kilts into
national symbols.
Scottish literature includes texts written in English, Scottish
Gaelic, Scots, French, and Latin. Robert Burns wrote in the Scots
language, although much of his writing is also in English and in a
―light‖ Scots dialect which is more accessible to a wider audience.
Similarly, the writings of Sir Walter Scott and Sir Arthur Conan
Doyle were internationally successful during the late XIX and early
XX centuries. More recently, Joanne Rowling has become one of the
most popular authors in the world through her Harry Potter series,
which she began writing in a coffee-shop in Edinburgh.
The Normans invaded Britain in 1066, they landed in Ireland
a century later in 1169. To ensure continuing control over the
troublesome province of Ulster in the North of Ireland, the land was
confiscated and given to small Scottish farmers. The idea was to
ensue that they remained there and helped the English kings to
control the country. During the Reformation Ireland didn‘t accept the
protestant doctrine, except the Ulster Scottish farmers.
The next major event was the Cromwellian army‘s campaign
in Ireland immediately after the English Civil War. Cromwell was
short of cash to pay his troops at the end of the war, and confiscated
80% of the land for his troops instead of money. It increased the
hostility to England and Protestants.
The next British attempt to solve the ―Irish Problem‖ was the
creation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland in 1801.
But the new name didn‘t solve the problems of Ireland. The Irish
peasants owned little peaces of land, cultivating potatoes. In 18451848 potato blight caused famine: million people died. Since that
emigration had become the constant feature of the Irish history.
Between 1840 and 1900 the population of Ireland fell from 9 to 3
million. In the same period the population of England grew from 16
to 32 million.
The series of conflicts and guerrilla war with cruelties on both
sides ended in 1921 the formation of Independent Ireland and
Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom. Today 50% of
inhabitants are Protestants and would like to remain in the United
Kingdom. 40% are Catholics feeling they have the right to be part of
a united Ireland. It is clear today that the Northern Irish problem has
not been solved – whether it ever can be is the question.
Economically Northern Ireland is a prosperous part of Britain
Belfast is the major shipbuilding centre. Ireland is famous for its
green countryside, it is also known as the “Emerald Isle”. The Irish
language has the third oldest literature in Europe after Greek and
Latin. The well-known English writes Oscar Wild and Bernand Shaw
came from Ireland.
The Celts had fled westwards under sustained invasions from
Romans, Vikings and Anglo-Saxons. The Anglo Saxon English
kings had not ruled Wales, and at the Norman invasion there was a
collection of small kingdoms. It took the Normans some 200 years to
gain control of the whole of Wales. Finally the Act of Union in 1536
―incorporated, united and annexed‖ Wales to England. Since then
English law and government have ruled in Wales. Until the middle of
the XVIII century Wales remained a rural backwater. Then the
exploitation of coal and iron brought the Industrial revolution to
The need for labour in the south Wales coalfields brought an
influx of English into this area which brought about an erosion of the
Welsh language, though Welsh continued to be spoken extensively in
North Wales. Today the mining of Welsh coal has all but
disappeared, but the language continues to be spoken reasonably
widely as a second language.
Wales has been governed from London via the Welsh Office,
under a cabinet minister. Following the referendum on limited
devolution in 1997, the Welsh were seen to be virtually equally spilt
on the subject, with the more rural ―Welsh‖ areas being for
devolution, and the more industrial areas being against it.
Canada is the second largest country in the world. There are
more lakes and inland waters in Canada than in any other country, in
fact 7.6% is made up of fresh water. Most images of Canada refer to
the Mounties, bears, snow or the Rocky Mountains with the amazing
lakes. Tourism is a large part of the economy with the abundant
natural resources quickly turning Canada into a rich and vibrant
country that is permanently listed at the top of the best places to live.
There are two official languages – English and French – and
Montreal in Quebec is the world‘s largest French-speaking city
outside of France. All the services offered by the Federal
Government are in English and French. Almost every product you
buy has English and French on the labels and most public services
are available in both languages. Outside Quebec the majority of
people speak English; about 18 percent of Canadians are fluently
The First Nations or Indian people were the original
inhabitants of Canada and the name comes from their language and
means ―Village‖ or ―Community‖. The Vikings, who arrived in the
XI century and didn‘t stay for long, were the first Europeans to land
in Canada. Canada still belongs to the Commonwealth of Nations,
British Queen is its head. Canada is a Democratic Federation and has
both Federal and Provincial Governments. Public education is the
responsibility of each Provincial Government and is paid for through
taxes. Canada has a public healthcare system; essential medical
treatment is available to all Canadian citizens and permanent
Ottawa’s Ghostly Past
Appearances can be deceiving. Beneath Ottawa‘s placid
(спокойный) surface there lurks a dark side filled with the ghosts of
lost souls or so the Haunted Walks tour company gravely holds.
Most people react with laughter when they hear about Ottawa‘s
guided ghost walks. But the Haunted Walks tour guides shrug off
such cynicism, for they have an unshakeable belief in what they do.
Lantern in hand, standing outside buildings where chilling
murders occurred long ago and misbehaving ghosts allegedly dwell
to this day, the guides recount spellbinding (перечисляют
очаровательные) stories about Ottawa‘s darker past. Every story has
been checked and double-checked, verified through archives, old
newspaper clippings and, where possible, actual interviews with the
people involved. ―Each of our stories is thoroughly researched and
documented,‖ says company founder Glen Shackleton. ―Before
adding a new story to a tour, we always seek out the evidence to
prove it.‖ The Haunted Walks tours are of the most popular kind.
Of all the ghost stories told on the tours, the one about the
Ottawa Jail hostel, housed on the old Jail place makes your blood run
coldest. Hostel managers used to inform arriving guests that if they
wanted to spend the night in a cell and if they could make it all the
way through to dawn without escape, they‘d get the night‘s lodging
for free. But nobody ever managed to do it. One guest swore he‘d felt
the weight of a body across his legs. Another complained of so much
kicking from under the bed, that he had no choice but to bolt
But why does this orderly and rather sedate city have so many
ghost stories? Maybe because Ottawa was once the North American
capital of crime. It was godless, lawless and without a police force
for the first 40 years of its existence. Crime was commonplace.
―Everyone laughed when this city was chosen as the federal capital,‖
recalls Shackleton, ―because they wondered how MPs would survive
in such a hostile environment!‖ Brrr! Whether you‘re a sceptic or a
believer, whether the stories are true or not, a Haunted Walks tour is
a thrilling, chilling way into another world, a realm of terror, mystery
and the unexplained.
The name ―Australia‖ is derived from the Latin Australis,
meaning ―Southern‖. Legends of an ―unknown land of the south‖
(terra australis incognita) date back to Roman times and were
commonplace in medieval geography, but were not based on any
actual knowledge of the continent. The first records of European
mariners sailing into ‗Australian‘ waters occurs around 1606, and
includes their observations of the land known as Terra Australis
Incognita (unknown southern land). Australia is the smallest
continent, but the sixth largest country in the world. It‘s only slightly
smaller than the contiguous (близкий) 48 United States.
Modern Australian population is about 21 million people,
much less than the number of kangaroos. The kangaroo is Australia‘s
largest marsupial. Kangaroos travel by hopping on their long hind
legs, using their tail for balance. They can reach speeds of up to 60
kilometres per hour and can jump distances of eight metres and
heights of around three metres. They thrive (процветать, бурно
расти) wherever a regular water source is available. The introduction
of European farming methods has established regular water supplies
and allowed the kangaroo population to grow dramatically. It is
estimated that there are around 50 million kangaroos in Australia.
The history of Australia records that the first settlers were
Aboriginals from Southeast Asia who arrived about 40,000 years
ago. Boomerangs are primarily associated with Australian
Aboriginals, but other forms are found amongst peoples of North
East Africa, America and in India. The oldest boomerang found so
far was discovered in a cave in Poland and is believed to be about
20,000 years old. Nowadays boomerangs are made in an infinite
variety of shapes and sizes. They can range from the traditional vshape to ones shaped like the rest of the letters of the alphabet. At
least one boomerang maker has made a collection of boomerangs
shaped like every letter from A – Z. Some are in the shape of animals
or people or just weird looking.
Before Europeans there had been 500 to 600 distinct groups
of Aboriginals, which spoke about 200 different dialects. Many
groups were wiped out, and about 50 of the dialects are now extinct
as well. In more recent years, the Australian Government gave back
to the Aborigines a small degree of their autonomy and in 1992 it
was decreed that the Aborigines have the right to own property.
The first European ship and crew to chart the Australian coast
and meet with Aboriginal people was captained by Dutchman,
Willem Janszoon. For about a century the land was called ―New
Holland‖. The first territorial claim was made in 1770, by Captain
James Cook, who took possession in the name of the British Empire.
In 1901, the English colonies united and became federated as the
States of the Commonwealth of Australia. The government is
democratic, has an elected Prime Minister, and recognizes the British
Monarch as sovereign. The Monarch is represented by a Governor
General who is appointed upon recommendation of the Prime
Minister. Australia has a prosperous, Western-style mixed economy,
with a per capita general product slightly lower than that of the UK,
but higher than those of Germany, and France. The country was
ranked third in the United Nations‘ 2007 Human Development Index
and sixth in The Economist worldwide quality-of-life index.
Canberra is Australia‘s capital city. With a population of
approximately 320,000 and situated in the Australian Capital
Territory, Canberra is roughly half way between the two largest cities
Melbourne and Sydney. The site of Canberra was selected for the
location of the nation‘s capital in 1908 as a compromise between
age-old rivals Sydney and Melbourne, Australia‘s two largest cities.
It is unusual among Australian cities, being an entirely purpose-built,
planned city. Following an international contest for the city‘s design,
a design by the Chicago architects was selected and construction
commenced (начинать) in 1913. The city‘s design was heavily
influenced by the garden city movement and incorporates significant
areas of natural vegetation that have earned Canberra the title ―bush
Sydney Opera House must be one of the most recognizable
images of the modern world – together with the Eiffel Tower and the
Empire State Building – and one of the most photographed. Not only
is it ecognizable, it has come to represent ‗Australia‘. The Opera
House is situated on Bennelong Point, which reaches out into the
harbour. It consists of a lot of buildings shaped as sails. The skyline
of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the blue water of the harbour and the
Sydney Opera House, viewed from a ferry or from the air, is
dramatic and unforgettable. Ironic, perhaps, that this Australian icon
– the Opera House was designed by renowned Danish architect –
Jorn Utzon. In the late 1950s the New South Wales Government
established an appeal fund to finance the construction of the Sydney
Opera House, and conducted a competition for its design. Utzon‘s
design was chosen. The irony was that his design was beyond the
capabilities of engineering of the time. Utzon spent a couple of years
reworking the design and in 1961 he had solved the problem of how
to build the distinguishing feature – the ‗sails‘ of the roof. But in
1966 the arguments about cost and the interior design reached crisis
point and Jorn Utzon resigned (отказываться) from the project. The
building was eventually completed by others in 1973.
Lecture and Seminar Programme
Topic 1
Geography and Prehistory
Islands, rivers, historical parts of the country, origin of their
emblems, the English Channel, history of the Tunnel, ―Narrow
Seas‖, lowland and highland, plants, the most ancient inhabitants,
Homo Sapience Neanderthals,
Neolithic Age, Iberians, long
barrows, megaliths and dolmens, Stonehenge: parts, stages of
construction, theories of origin.
Topic 2
The Celtic Period
The Celts in Europe, classification of languages, the Celtic
group in the Indo-European family, etymology of ―Britain‖, the
Celtic economy, strata, bards and glorified virtues, ornaments
(torques), druids and druidism, the Isle of Anglesey as a Celtic
―capital‖, discussion on human sacrifices, doctrine of reincarnation,
the Celtic heritage in the modern British culture, the modern Celtic
languages, ―the ghost culture‖: the Phoenician or the Celtic origin?
Topic 3
The Roman Britain
First Roman invasions of the British Isles, etymology of
―Albion‖, Claudius in Britain, the revolt of Queen Boudicca, the
Boudicca‘s memorials in London, Romanization of Southern Britain
(appearance of England), attempts to subdue Caledonia, Hadrian and
Antonine walls, Winchester and Colchester as the Roman capitals,
Britain as a Roman ―breadbasket‖, villas and towns, abundance of
the Romans.
Topic 4
The Dark Ages and the Anglo-Saxon Period
Historical evidence (Bede, Gildas, Nannies), permeation of
the Western Germans (reasons, legend of ―the Angles, Saxons and
Jutes‖). Did the Saxons really exist? Who invited ―the AngloSaxons‖? (comparing with ―the appeal of the Varangians‖). Seven
kingdoms, changes in economy (draining marshy areas),
administrative system, etymology of ―England‖ and ―Wales‖. Was
permeation a conquest or a catastrophe? Why did Canterbury become
the center of the British Christianity?
Topic 5
The Vikings‘ Period
Definition and etymology of ―the Vikings‖ and ―the Danes‖.
Raid for Lindisfarne. Alfred the Great, his defense of Wessex,
beginning of the English navy, Danelaw and ―Danish money‖. The
Alfred‘s enlightenment, first schools, ―The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle‖.
England in Cnut‘s Empire. ―Scandinavian days‖ of English week.
Topic 6
Britain in the High Middle Ages
Edward the Confessor, foundation of Westminster, links with
France. Normandy: the Viking‘s origin of state and the French
character of culture. William the Conqueror, Harold and the Battle of
Hastings. Penetration of feudal system and its specific features in
England. ―Domesday Book‖ as an evidence for social history. The
bilingual period: interaction of Anglo-Saxon and Old French.
Henry II Plantagenet. Paradox of Richard the Lion heart: was he an
English king? Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard as an ideal knight,
leading the Third Crusade, captivity and ransom. John the Lack
Land, reasons for barons‘ rebellion, ―The Great Charter of Liberty‖
(conditions and social influence). The origin of the Robin Hood
romances: archaeological and written evidence.
Topic 7 /
Britain in the Late Middle Ages
The plague age and its influence on the British history.
Fading of serfdom, beginning of Parliament, joining Wales, the first
Prince of Wales. The Hundred Years' War: reasons, stages,
consequences. Edward III and the Order of the Garter. The
Lancasters and the Yorks, ―The War of the Red and White Roses‖,
the enigmas of Richard III. Decline of French, start of printing,
William Caxton and the Great Shift of Vowels.
Topic 8
Britain in the XVI Century
Start of the modern era, concept of modern history. Changes
in everyday life: using glass, new kinds of food and house ware.
Rise of wool clothes, ―wool churches‖. Enclosures, commissions
against enclosures, Tudor‘s laws against tramps, ―Utopia‖ by Moor
about enclosures. New features of Henry VII‘s political philosophy,
building of merchant fleet. Henry VIII and Ivan IV: typical rulers of
Renaissance? Concept and importance of Reformation, doctrine of
Protestantism comparing with Catholicism. Reasons and start of
Henry VIII‘s Reformation. Elizabeth I: childhood and political
growth, appearance and political style. Her courtiers: William Cecil,
Francis Bacon, Walter Raleigh. Plot of Mary Stuart. Rise of piracy,
Queen‘s patronizing, geographical discoveries, Francis Drake'
expeditions. War with Spain, dispelling ―The Invincible Armada‖:
facts and legends. Old years of ―kind Lizzy‖. The Shakespeare
authorship question.
Topic 9
Britain in the XVII Century
The new role in European culture. The Stuarts, James I,
prosecuting the Catholicons and the Protestants. Did ―Gunpowder
Plot‖ take place? ―Mayflower‖ and the first settlements in America.
The Puritans‘ world outlook. The Civil War, Restoration and
Glorious Revolution. The financial reform. The main features of the
English Enlightenment; Hobbes and Locke. Charles I, the Civil War,
Cromwell‘s Protectorate, Restoration. Francis Bacon and the new
principles of research ("active science"). The Royal society. British
prior achievements in world science. Newton: the legends of
Woolsthorpe and Cambridge, main discoveries, appreciated and
discussed by contemporaries and descendants. Harvey: discovery of
blood circulation. Wren – ―English Leonardo‖. The Great Fire and
the new design of London.
Topic 10
Britain in the XVIII Сentury
Britain as the launching pad of the Industrial Revolution: the
topics for debate. The ―Act of Union‖ and the formation of the
United Kingdom. Britain in the War of the Spanish Succession. The
monopoly for exporting slaves. Walpole and the formation of
modern political system. The Society and mental traditions
(attitude to children, the concept of humor). Slave trade and
abolitionism. The inventions of the Industrial Revolution (Jennyspinning, Newcomen, Watt and inventing steam-engine). Cook‘s
expeditions. Jenner: discovering vaccination. Satirical Enlightenment
in literature and theatre. The rise of painting (Van Dyck, Hogarth,
Reynolds, Gainsborough).
Topic 11
Britain in the XIX Century
The society and mental traditions: concept and examples of
self-help and pluralism, the Lancastrian school movement, the
Chartism. The participation in wars (the struggle with Napoleon, the
Boer war). The political development: principles of the
Parliamentary system, Tory and Whigs, the Victorian period, the
Development of Empire. Science and technology (Brunels,
Stevenson, Darwin, Faraday,). The Golden age of archeology and the
British museum. Urbanism and architecture.
Topic 12
Britain in the XХ Century and in the Modern World
The changing role in the XX-century world. Participating in
the World Wars. Churchill and ―the miracle of Dunkirk‖. The
disintegration of Empire. ―The Swinging 60-s‖. Troubles in
economy. The reforms of Thatcher. Britain‘s place in the world
economy. The trends of economic development. Modern political
system. The Process of lawmaking. Basic political parties. The
Commonwealth. The role of the monarchy. The educational system
and its recent trends. British contribution to science and technology:
Ernest Rutherford and the planet model of atom, Alexander Fleming
and discovery of penicillin, the development of cybernetics. The
world outlook and life-style through foreign evidence.
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