Gunpowder known as black powder to distinguish it from modern smokeless powder, is the earliest known chemical explosive. It consists of a mixture of sulfur and potassium nitrate; the sulfur and charcoal act as fuels. Because of its incendiary properties and the amount of heat and gas volume that it generates, gunpowder has been used as a propellant in firearms, artillery and fireworks, as a blasting powder in quarrying and road building. Gunpowder was invented in 9th-century China and spread throughout most parts of Eurasia by the end of the 13th century. Developed by the Taoists for medicinal purposes, gunpowder was first used for warfare about 1000 AD. Gunpowder is classified as a low explosive because of its slow decomposition rate and low brisance. Low explosives deflagrate at subsonic speeds, whereas high explosives detonate, producing a supersonic wave. Ignition of gunpowder packed behind a projectile generates enough pressure to force the shot from the muzzle at high speed, but not enough force to rupture the gun barrel.
Gunpowder thus makes a good propellant, but is less suitable for shattering rock or fortifications with its low-yield explosive power. However, by transferring enough energy a bombardier may wear down an opponent's fortified defenses. Gunpowder was used to fill fused artillery shells until the second half of the 19th century, when the first high explosives were put into use. Gunpowder is no longer used in modern weapons, nor is it used for industrial purposes, due to its inefficient cost compared to newer alternatives such as dynamite and ammonium nitrate/fuel oil. Today gunpowder firearms are limited to hunting, target shooting, bulletless historical reenactments. Based on a 9th-century Taoist text, the invention of gunpowder by Chinese alchemists was an accidental byproduct from experiments seeking to create the elixir of life; this experimental medicine origin of gunpowder is reflected in its Chinese name huoyao, which means "fire medicine". The first military applications of gunpowder were developed around 1000 AD.
The earliest chemical formula for gunpowder appeared in the 11th century Song dynasty text, Wujing Zongyao, however gunpowder had been used for fire arrows since at least the 10th century. In the following centuries various gunpowder weapons such as bombs, fire lances, the gun appeared in China. Saltpeter was known to the Chinese by the mid-1st century AD and was produced in the provinces of Sichuan and Shandong. There is strong evidence of the use of sulfur in various medicinal combinations. A Chinese alchemical text dated 492 noted saltpeter burnt with a purple flame, providing a practical and reliable means of distinguishing it from other inorganic salts, thus enabling alchemists to evaluate and compare purification techniques; the first reference to the incendiary properties of such mixtures is the passage of the Zhenyuan miaodao yaolüe, a Taoist text tentatively dated to the mid-9th century: "Some have heated together sulfur and saltpeter with honey. The Chinese word for "gunpowder" is Chinese: 火药/火藥.
In the following centuries a variety of gunpowder weapons such as rockets and land mines appeared before the first metal barrel firearms were invented. Explosive weapons such as bombs have been discovered in a shipwreck off the shore of Japan dated from 1281, during the Mongol invasions of Japan; the Chinese Wujing Zongyao, written by Zeng Gongliang between 1040 and 1044, provides encyclopedia references to a variety of mixtures that included petrochemicals—as well as garlic and honey. A slow match for flame throwing mechanisms using the siphon principle and for fireworks and rockets is mentioned; the mixture formulas in this book do not contain enough saltpeter to create an explosive however. The Essentials was however written by a Song dynasty court bureaucrat, there is little evidence that it had any immediate impact on warfare. However, by 1083 the Song court was producing hundreds of thousands of fire arrows for their garrisons. Bombs and the first proto-guns, known as "fire lances", became prominent during the 12th century and were used by the Song during the Jin-Song Wars.
Fire lances were first recorded to have been used at the Siege of De'an in 1132 by Song forces against the Jin. In the early 13th century the Jin utilized iron-casing bombs. Projectiles were added to fire lances, re-usable fire lance barrels were developed, first out of hardened paper, metal. By 1257 some fire lances were firing wads of bullets. In the late 13th century metal fire lances became'eruptors', proto-cannons firing co-viative projectiles, by 1287 at the latest, had become true guns, the hand cannon; the earliest Western accounts of gunpowder appear in texts written by English philosopher Roger Bacon in the 13th century. Several sources men
Four bore or 4 bore is an obsolete black powder caliber of the 19th century, used for the hunting of large and dangerous game animals. The specifications place this caliber between the larger two bore and the lesser six bore; this caliber was the quintessential elephant gun caliber of the black powder safari rifles. The caliber was used for the Coffman cartridges used for starting large aero engines such as the Rolls-Royce Griffon as used in the Marks of Supermarine Spitfire; the name, derived from an old English practice of bore measurements in gun-making which refers to a nominally 4-gauge bore, that is, a bore diameter that would accommodate a pure lead round ball weighing 1⁄4 of a pound. This would imply a bore diameter of 1.052-inch, however in practice the bore diameter varied as, in muzzle loader days, shotgun gauges were custom made and differed from the actual bore measurements. 4 bores were closer to 0.935–0.955 inch calibre, closer to 5 gauge. As European settlers found early on, their regular muskets were inadequate against dangerous African game.
Early gun adaptations were to use smoothbore shotguns with round balls. By the mid-19th century, 12, 10, 8 and 4 bore muskets had been strengthened and bulked up for much larger charges. Shooting dangerous game was still at this stage as much about being able to gallop away on horseback to reload and fire again, repeating this process up to 30 times when after an African elephant; the first 4 bores were single barrel muzzleloaders converted from British fowling pieces that were, in essence, slug guns. Loads varied greatly; as the weight and strength increased, gunpowder loads went from 8 drams to a full ounce, or more, of powder. The advent of rifling after about 1860 allowed longer conical projectiles to be stabilised, aside from accuracy, these provided greater weight and penetration, with some hardened lead or steel bullets weighing as much as 2000 grains; the 4 bore was occasionally used for shooting exploding projectiles. Although 4-bore firearms were referred to as "rifles", smoothbore version of the weapon were more popular, continued to be so throughout the era of four bore usage.
Since dangerous game was shot at ranges under 40 yards, a smoothbore was sufficiently accurate, while at the same time providing higher velocities and lower recoil, needing less cleaning. The prominent British gunmaker W. W. Greener recommended against rifled firearms above the bore size of eight, with the four bores that he continued producing from on being smoothbores; the smoothbore at least until the advent of breechloading, could be reloaded faster. Many famous elephant hunters during the 19th century used such weapons, including George P. Sanderson in India and William Finaughty and Frederick Courteney Selous in Southern Africa. Sanderson, in particular, mentioned two four bore firearms that he used, one of, rifled while the other was not. Although both weapons were of similar weights, the rifle was built to accommodate only one barrel with a powder charge only five-sixths that of the smoothbore, a double-barrel. Sanderson, in fact, discarded the rifle after a misfire of the weapon's cartridge led to his death, the instance demonstrated the superiority of the smoothbore over the rifle in the case of an oversized firearm in his day in his mind.
With the advent of breechloading cases in the late 19th century the 4 bore came into its current guise, that being the well-known 4–4.5" brass case. The cartridge brass case was around 4 inches long, contained three types of loads: light at 12 drams, 14 drams at regular, 16 drams of powder at heavy load. John "Pondoro" Taylor mentioned in his book African Rifles and Cartridges that the 12 drams charge would propel the projectile at around 1,330 ft/s. A double barreled rifle that would fire such a calibre would weigh around 22–24 lb bare, while the single-barreled version would be around 17–18 lb. In common practice, the cartridge cases were not reloaded, as reliability was of the utmost importance, more important than a possible false cost savings from an attempt at reloading that might cost a hunter his life. Bullet lubrication was mostly beeswax based, such that in hot tropical climes there could be no possibility of a bullet lube melting from the base of the bullet, ruining the charge of powder within the cartridge.
Reliability was the utmost concern. This caliber was used by the European hunters, notably so the British and Dutch Boers, in tropical climates of Africa and India. A single barreled smoothbore percussion cap musket of between four and six gauge called a "roah" was the standard weapon among Boer hunters, until the common acceptance of breechloading rifles among their ranks in the 1850s. Many of the earliest British hunters adopted this practice from the Boers, with Selous being the best known among them. Meant to be used with black powder due to its size, it was unpopular due to the problem of thick smoke and a powerful recoil. Notable hunters that used the rifles included Sir Samuel White Baker and Frederick Selous, who used it in his career as an ivory hunter of African elephants between 1874 and 1876 until the advent of the lighter, more accurate and less cumbersome Nitro Express calibers and cordite propellant. In the mid-1870s, Selous favoured a four bore bla
The Hanseatic League was a commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and market towns in Northwestern and Central Europe. Growing from a few North German towns in the late 1100s, the league came to dominate Baltic maritime trade for three centuries along the coasts of Northern Europe. Hansa territories stretched from the Baltic to the North Sea and inland during the Late Middle Ages, diminished after 1450. Hanse spelled as Hansa, was the Old High German word for a convoy, this word was applied to bands of merchants traveling between the Hanseatic cities - whether by land or by sea. Merchant circles established the league to protect the guilds' economic interests and diplomatic privileges in their affiliated cities and countries, as well as along the trade routes which the merchants used; the Hanseatic cities had their own legal system and operated their own armies for mutual protection and aid. Despite this, the organization was not a state, nor could it be called a confederation of city-states.
Historians trace the origins of the Hanseatic League to the rebuilding of the north German town of Lübeck in 1159 by the powerful Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, after he had captured the area from Adolf II, Count of Schauenburg and Holstein. Exploratory trading adventures and piracy had occurred earlier throughout the Baltic region—the sailors of Gotland sailed up rivers as far away as Novgorod, for example—but the scale of international trade in the Baltic area remained insignificant before the growth of the Hanseatic League. German cities achieved domination of trade in the Baltic with striking speed during the 13th century, Lübeck became a central node in the seaborne trade that linked the areas around the North and Baltic seas; the hegemony of Lübeck peaked during the 15th century. Lübeck became a base for merchants from Westphalia trading eastward and northward. Well before the term Hanse appeared in a document in 1267, merchants in different cities began to form guilds, or Hansa, with the intention of trading with towns overseas in the economically less-developed eastern Baltic.
This area was a source of timber, amber and furs, along with rye and wheat brought down on barges from the hinterland to port markets. The towns raised their own armies, with each guild required to provide levies; the Hanseatic cities came to the aid of one another, commercial ships had to be used to carry soldiers and their arms. Visby functioned as the leading centre in the Baltic before the Hansa. Sailing east, Visby merchants established a trading post at Novgorod called Gutagard in 1080. Merchants from northern Germany stayed in the early period of the Gotlander settlement, they established their own trading station in Novgorod, known as Peterhof, further up river, in the first half of the 13th century. In 1229, German merchants at Novgorod were granted certain privileges that made their positions more secure. Hansa societies worked to remove restrictions to trade for their members. Before the official foundation of the league in 1356, the word Hanse did not occur in the Baltic language. Gotlanders used the word varjag.
The earliest remaining documentary mention, although without a name, of a specific German commercial federation is from London in 1157. That year, the merchants of the Hansa in Cologne convinced Henry II, King of England, to free them from all tolls in London and allow them to trade at fairs throughout England; the "Queen of the Hansa", Lübeck, where traders were required to trans-ship goods between the North Sea and the Baltic, gained imperial privileges to become a free imperial city in 1226, as its potential trading partner Hamburg had in 1189. In 1241, Lübeck, which had access to the Baltic and North seas' fishing grounds, formed an alliance—a precursor to the league—with Hamburg, another trading city, that controlled access to salt-trade routes from Lüneburg; the allied cities gained control over most of the salt-fish trade the Scania Market. In 1266, Henry III of England granted the Lübeck and Hamburg Hansa a charter for operations in England, the Cologne Hansa joined them in 1282 to form the most powerful Hanseatic colony in London.
Much of the drive for this co-operation came from the fragmented nature of existing territorial governments, which failed to provide security for trade. Over the next 50 years the Hansa itself emerged with formal agreements for confederation and co-operation covering the west and east trade routes; the principal city and linchpin remained Lübeck. Lübeck's location on the Baltic provided access for trade with Scandinavia and Kievan Rus' with its sea trade center Veliky Novgorod, putting it in direct competition with the Scandinavians who had controlled most of the Baltic trade routes. A treaty with the Visby Hansa put an end to this competition: through this treaty the Lübeck merchants gained access to the inland Russian port of Novgorod, where they built a trading post or Kontor. Although such alliances formed throughout the Holy Roman Empire, the league never became a managed formal organisation. Assemblies of the Hanseatic towns met irregularly in Lübeck for a Hansetag, from 1356 onwards, but many towns chose not to attend nor to send representatives and decisions were not binding on individual cities.
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Henry VII of England
Henry VII was the King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizure of the crown on 22 August 1485 to his death on 21 April 1509. He was the first monarch of the House of Tudor. Henry attained the throne when his forces defeated King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field, the culmination of the Wars of the Roses, he was the last king of England to win his throne on the field of battle. He cemented his claim by marrying Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV and niece of Richard III. Henry was successful in restoring the power and stability of the English monarchy after the civil war, his supportive stance of the British Isles' wool industry and his standoff with the Low Countries had long-lasting benefits to all of the British economy. However, the capriciousness and lack of due process that indebted many would tarnish his legacy and were soon ended upon Henry VII's death, after a commission revealed widespread abuses. According to the contemporary historian Polydore Vergil, simple "greed" underscored the means by which royal control was over-asserted in Henry's final years.
Henry can be credited with a number of administrative and diplomatic initiatives. He paid close attention to detail, instead of spending lavishly he concentrated on raising new revenues and after a reign of nearly 24 years, he was peacefully succeeded by his son, Henry VIII; the new taxes were unpopular and two days after his coronation, Henry VIII arrested his father's two most unpopular ministers, Sir Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley. They were charged with high treason and were executed in 1510. Henry VII was born at Pembroke Castle on 28 January 1457 to Countess of Richmond, his father, Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond, died three months before his birth. Henry's paternal grandfather, Owen Tudor from the Tudors of Penmynydd, Isle of Anglesey in Wales, had been a page in the court of Henry V, he rose to become one of the "Squires to the Body to the King" after military service at the Battle of Agincourt. Owen is said to have secretly married the widow of Catherine of Valois. One of their sons was Edmund Tudor, father of Henry VII.
Edmund was created Earl of Richmond in 1452, "formally declared legitimate by Parliament". Henry's main claim to the English throne derived from his mother through the House of Beaufort. Henry's mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, was a great-granddaughter of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, fourth son of Edward III, his third wife Katherine Swynford. Katherine was Gaunt's mistress for about 25 years, thus Henry's claim was somewhat tenuous: it was from a woman, by illegitimate descent. In theory, the Portuguese and Castilian royal families had a better claim as descendants of Catherine of Lancaster, the daughter of John of Gaunt and his second wife Constance of Castile. Gaunt's nephew Richard II legitimised Gaunt's children by Katherine Swynford by Letters Patent in 1397. In 1407, Henry IV, Gaunt's son by his first wife, issued new Letters Patent confirming the legitimacy of his half-siblings, but declaring them ineligible for the throne. Henry IV's action was of doubtful legality, as the Beauforts were legitimised by an Act of Parliament, but it further weakened Henry's claim.
Nonetheless, by 1483 Henry was the senior male Lancastrian claimant remaining, after the deaths in battle or by murder or execution of Henry VI, his son Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales, the other Beaufort line of descent through Lady Margaret's uncle, the 2nd Duke of Somerset. Henry made some political capital out of his Welsh ancestry, for example in attracting military support and safeguarding his army's passage through Wales on its way to the Battle of Bosworth, he came from an old, established Anglesey family that claimed descent from Cadwaladr, on occasion Henry displayed the red dragon of Cadwaladr. He took it, as well as the standard of St George, on his procession through London after the victory at Bosworth. A contemporary writer and Henry's biographer, Bernard André made much of Henry's Welsh descent. In reality, his hereditary connections to Welsh aristocracy were not strong, he was descended by the paternal line, through several generations, from Ednyfed Fychan, the seneschal of Gwynedd and through this seneschal's wife from Rhys ap Tewdwr, the King of Deheubarth in South Wales.
His more immediate ancestor, Tudur ap Goronwy, had aristocratic land rights, but his sons, who were first cousins to Owain Glyndŵr, sided with Owain in his revolt. One son was executed and the family land was forfeited. Another son, Henry's great-grandfather, became a butler to the Bishop of Bangor. Owen Tudor, the son of the butler, like the children of other rebels, was provided for by Henry V, a circumstance that precipitated his access to Queen Catherine of Valois. Notwithstanding this lineage, to the bards of Wales, Henry was a candidate for Y Mab Darogan – "The Son of Prophecy" who would free the Welsh from oppression. In 1456, Henry's father Edmund Tudor was captured while fighting for Henry VI in South Wales against the Yorkists, he died in three months before Henry was born. Henry's uncle Jasper Tudor, the Earl of Pembroke and Edmund's younger brother, undertook to protect the young widow, 13 years old when she gave birth to Henry; when Edward IV became King in 1461, Jasper Tudor went into exile abroad.
Pembroke Castle, the Earldom of Pembroke, were granted to the Yorkist William Herbert, who assumed the guardianship of Margaret Beaufort and the young Henry. Henry lived in the Herbert household
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry was the second Tudor monarch, succeeding his father, Henry VII. Henry is best known for his six marriages, in particular his efforts to have his first marriage, to Catherine of Aragon, annulled, his disagreement with the Pope on the question of such an annulment led Henry to initiate the English Reformation, separating the Church of England from papal authority. He appointed himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England and dissolved convents and monasteries, for which he was excommunicated. Henry is known as "the father of the Royal Navy". Domestically, Henry is known for his radical changes to the English Constitution, ushering into England the theory of the divine right of kings. Besides asserting the sovereign's supremacy over the Church of England, he expanded royal power during his reign. Charges of treason and heresy were used to quell dissent, those accused were executed without a formal trial, by means of bills of attainder.
He achieved many of his political aims through the work of his chief ministers, some of whom were banished or executed when they fell out of his favour. Thomas Wolsey, Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell, Richard Rich, Thomas Cranmer all figured prominently in Henry's administration, he was an extravagant spender and used the proceeds from the Dissolution of the Monasteries and acts of the Reformation Parliament to convert into royal revenue the money, paid to Rome. Despite the influx of money from these sources, Henry was continually on the verge of financial ruin due to his personal extravagance as well as his numerous costly and unsuccessful continental wars with King Francis I of France and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. At home, he oversaw the legal union of England and Wales with the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542 and following the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 he was the first English monarch to rule as King of Ireland, his contemporaries considered Henry in his prime to be an attractive and accomplished king.
He has been described as "one of the most charismatic rulers to sit on the English throne". He was an composer; as he aged, Henry became obese and his health suffered, contributing to his death in 1547. He is characterised in his life as a lustful, egotistical and insecure king, he was succeeded by the issue of his third marriage to Jane Seymour. Born 28 June 1491 at the Palace of Placentia in Greenwich, Henry Tudor was the third child and second son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. Of the young Henry's six siblings, only three – Arthur, Prince of Wales, he was baptised by Richard Fox, the Bishop of Exeter, at a church of the Observant Franciscans close to the palace. In 1493, at the age of two, Henry was appointed Constable of Dover Castle and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, he was subsequently appointed Earl Marshal of England and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland at age three, was inducted into the Order of the Bath soon after. The day after the ceremony he was created Duke of York and a month or so made Warden of the Scottish Marches.
In May 1495, he was appointed to the Order of the Garter. The reason for all the appointments to a small child was so his father could keep personal control of lucrative positions and not share them with established families. Henry was given a first-rate education from leading tutors, becoming fluent in Latin and French, learning at least some Italian. Not much is known about his early life – save for his appointments – because he was not expected to become king. In November 1501, Henry played a considerable part in the ceremonies surrounding his brother's marriage to Catherine of Aragon, the youngest surviving child of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile; as Duke of York, Henry used the arms of his father as king, differenced by a label of three points ermine. He was further honoured, on 9 February 1506, by Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I who made him a Knight of the Golden Fleece. In 1502, Arthur died at the age of 15 of sweating sickness, just 20 weeks after his marriage to Catherine.
Arthur's death thrust all his duties upon the 10-year-old Henry. After a little debate, Henry became the new Duke of Cornwall in October 1502, the new Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester in February 1503. Henry VII gave the boy few tasks. Young Henry was supervised and did not appear in public; as a result, he ascended the throne "untrained in the exacting art of kingship". Henry VII renewed his efforts to seal a marital alliance between England and Spain, by offering his second son in marriage to Arthur's widow Catherine. Both Isabella and Henry VII were keen on the idea, which had arisen shortly after Arthur's death. On 23 June 1503, a treaty was signed for their marriage, they were betrothed two days later. A papal dispensation was only needed for the "impediment of public honesty" if the marriage had not been consummated as Catherine and her duenna claimed, but Henry VII and the Spanish ambassador set out instead to obtain a dispensation for "affinity", which took account of the possibility of consummation.
Cohabitation was not possible. Isabella's death in 1504, the ensuing problems of succession in Castile, complicated matters, her father preferred her to stay in England, but Henry VII's relations with Ferdinand had deteriorated. Catherine was therefore left in limbo for some time, culminating in Prince Henry's rejection of the marriage as soon he was able, at the age of 14. Ferdinand's solution was to make his daugh
The stone or stone weight is an English and imperial unit of mass now equal to 14 pounds. England and other Germanic-speaking countries of northern Europe used various standardised "stones" for trade, with their values ranging from about 5 to 40 local pounds depending on the location and objects weighed; the United Kingdom's imperial system adopted the wool stone of 14 pounds in 1835. With the advent of metrication, Europe's various "stones" were superseded by or adapted to the kilogram from the mid-19th century on; the stone continues in customary use in Britain and Ireland used for measuring body weight, but was prohibited for commercial use in the UK by the Weights and Measures Act of 1985. The name "stone" derives from the use of stones for weights, a practice that dates back into antiquity; the Biblical law against the carrying of "diverse weights, a large and a small" is more translated as "you shall not carry a stone and a stone, a large and a small". There was no standardised "stone" in the ancient Jewish world, but in Roman times stone weights were crafted to multiples of the Roman pound.
Such weights varied in quality: the Yale Medical Library holds 10 and 50-pound examples of polished serpentine, while a 40-pound example at the Eschborn Museum is made of sandstone. The English stone under law varied in practice varied according to local standards; the Assize of Weights and Measures, a statute of uncertain date from c. 1300, describes stones of 5 merchants' pounds used for glass. In 1350, Edward III issued a new statute defining the stone weight, to be used for wool and "other Merchandizes", at 14 pounds, reaffirmed by Henry VII in 1495. In England, merchants traditionally sold potatoes in half-stone increments of 7 pounds. Live animals were weighed in stones of 14 lb. Smithfield market continued to use the 8 lb stone for meat until shortly before the Second World War; the Oxford English Dictionary lists: The Scottish stone was equal to 16 Scottish pounds. In 1661, the Royal Commission of Scotland recommended that the Troy stone be used as a standard of weight and that it be kept in the custody of the burgh of Lanark.
The tron stone of Edinburgh standardised in 1661, was 16 tron pounds. In 1789, an encyclopedic enumeration of measurements was printed for the use of "his Majesty's Sheriffs and Stewards Depute, Justices of Peace... and to the Magistrates of the Royal Boroughs of Scotland" and provided a county-by-county and commodity-by-commodity breakdown of values and conversions for the stone and other measures. The Scots stone ceased to be used for trade when the Act of 1824 established a uniform system of measure across the whole of the United Kingdom, which at that time included all of Ireland. Before the early 19th century, as in England, the stone varied both with locality and with commodity. For example, the Belfast stone for measuring flax equaled 16.75 avoirdupois pounds. The most usual value was 14 pounds. Among the oddities related to the use of the stone was the practice in County Clare of a stone of potatoes being 16 lb in the summer and 18 lb in the winter; the 1772 edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica defined the stone:STONE denotes a certain quantity or weight of some commodities.
A stone of beef, in London, is the quantity of eight pounds. The Weights and Measures Act of 1824, which applied to all of the United Kingdom, consolidated the weights and measures legislation of several centuries into a single document, it revoked the provision that bales of wool should be made up of 20 stones, each of 14 pounds, but made no provision for the continued use of the stone. Ten years a stone still varied from 5 pounds to 8 pounds to 14 pounds. However, the Act of 1835 permitted using a stone of 14 pounds for trade but other values remained in use. James Britten, in 1880 for example, catalogued a number of different values of the stone in various British towns and cities, ranging from 4 lb to 26 lb; the value of the stone and associated units of measure that were legalised for purposes of trade were clarified by the Weights and Measures Act 1835 as follows: In 1965, the Federation of British Industry informed the British Government that its members favoured adopting the metric system.
The Board of Trade, on behalf of the Government, agreed to support a ten-year metrication programme. There would be minimal legislation, as the programme was to be voluntary and costs were to be borne where they fell. Under the guidance of the Metrication Board, the agricultural product markets achieved a voluntary switchover by 1976; the stone was not included in the Directive 80/181/EEC as a unit of measure that could be used within the EEC for "economic, public health, public safety or administrative purposes", though its use as a "supplementary unit" was permitted. The scope of the directive was extended to include all aspects of the EU internal market as from 1 January 2010. With the adoption of metric units by the agricultural sector, the stone was, in practice, no longer used for trade.
North America is a continent within the Northern Hemisphere and all within the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea. North America covers an area of about 24,709,000 square kilometers, about 16.5% of the earth's land area and about 4.8% of its total surface. North America is the third largest continent by area, following Asia and Africa, the fourth by population after Asia and Europe. In 2013, its population was estimated at nearly 579 million people in 23 independent states, or about 7.5% of the world's population, if nearby islands are included. North America was reached by its first human populations during the last glacial period, via crossing the Bering land bridge 40,000 to 17,000 years ago; the so-called Paleo-Indian period is taken to have lasted until about 10,000 years ago. The Classic stage spans the 6th to 13th centuries.
The Pre-Columbian era ended in 1492, the transatlantic migrations—the arrival of European settlers during the Age of Discovery and the Early Modern period. Present-day cultural and ethnic patterns reflect interactions between European colonists, indigenous peoples, African slaves and their descendants. Owing to the European colonization of the Americas, most North Americans speak English, Spanish or French, their culture reflects Western traditions; the Americas are accepted as having been named after the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci by the German cartographers Martin Waldseemüller and Matthias Ringmann. Vespucci, who explored South America between 1497 and 1502, was the first European to suggest that the Americas were not the East Indies, but a different landmass unknown by Europeans. In 1507, Waldseemüller produced a world map, in which he placed the word "America" on the continent of South America, in the middle of what is today Brazil, he explained the rationale for the name in the accompanying book Cosmographiae Introductio:... ab Americo inventore... quasi Americi terram sive Americam.
For Waldseemüller, no one should object to the naming of the land after its discoverer. He used the Latinized version of Vespucci's name, but in its feminine form "America", following the examples of "Europa", "Asia" and "Africa". Other mapmakers extended the name America to the northern continent, In 1538, Gerard Mercator used America on his map of the world for all the Western Hemisphere; some argue that because the convention is to use the surname for naming discoveries, the derivation from "Amerigo Vespucci" could be put in question. In 1874, Thomas Belt proposed a derivation from the Amerrique mountains of Central America. Marcou corresponded with Augustus Le Plongeon, who wrote: "The name AMERICA or AMERRIQUE in the Mayan language means, a country of perpetually strong wind, or the Land of the Wind, and... the can mean... a spirit that breathes, life itself." The United Nations formally recognizes "North America" as comprising three areas: Northern America, Central America, The Caribbean.
This has been formally defined by the UN Statistics Division. The term North America maintains various definitions in accordance with context. In Canadian English, North America refers to the land mass as a whole consisting of Mexico, the United States, Canada, although it is ambiguous which other countries are included, is defined by context. In the United States of America, usage of the term may refer only to Canada and the US, sometimes includes Greenland and Mexico, as well as offshore islands. In France, Portugal, Romania and the countries of Latin America, the cognates of North America designate a subcontinent of the Americas comprising Canada, the United States, Mexico, Greenland, Saint Pierre et Miquelon, Bermuda. North America has been referred to by other names. Spanish North America was referred to as Northern America, this was the first official name given to Mexico. Geographically the North American continent has many subregions; these include cultural and geographic regions. Economic regions included those formed by trade blocs, such as the North American Trade Agreement bloc and Central American Trade Agreement.
Linguistically and culturally, the continent could be divided into Latin America. Anglo-America includes most of Northern America and Caribbean islands with English-speaking populations; the southern North American continent is composed of two regions. These are the Caribbean; the north of the continent maintains recognized regions as well. In contrast to the common definition of "North America", which encompasses the whole continent, the term "North America" is sometimes used to refer only to Mexico, the United States, Greenland; the term Northern America refers to the northern-most countries and territories of North America: the United States, Bermuda, St. Pierre and Miquelon and Greenland. Although the term does not refer to a unifie