The British people, or the Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the British Overseas Territories, the Crown dependencies. British nationality law governs modern British citizenship and nationality, which can be acquired, for instance, by descent from British nationals; when used in a historical context, "British" or "Britons" can refer to the Celtic Britons, the indigenous inhabitants of Great Britain and Brittany, whose surviving members are the modern Welsh people, Cornish people, Bretons. It may refer to citizens of the former British Empire. Though early assertions of being British date from the Late Middle Ages, the creation of the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707 triggered a sense of British national identity; the notion of Britishness was forged during the Napoleonic Wars between Britain and the First French Empire, developed further during the Victorian era. The complex history of the formation of the United Kingdom created a "particular sense of nationhood and belonging" in Great Britain and Ireland.
Because of longstanding ethno-sectarian divisions, British identity in Northern Ireland is controversial, but it is held with strong conviction by Unionists. Modern Britons are descended from the varied ethnic groups that settled in the British Isles in and before the 11th century: Prehistoric, Roman, Anglo-Saxon and Normans; the progressive political unification of the British Isles facilitated migration and linguistic exchange, intermarriage between the peoples of England and Wales during the late Middle Ages, early modern period and beyond. Since 1922 and earlier, there has been immigration to the United Kingdom by people from what is now the Republic of Ireland, the Commonwealth, mainland Europe and elsewhere; the British are a diverse, multinational and multilingual society, with "strong regional accents and identities". The social structure of the United Kingdom has changed radically since the 19th century, with a decline in religious observance, enlargement of the middle class, increased ethnic diversity since the 1950s.
The population of the UK stands at around 66 million, with a British diaspora of around 140 million concentrated in Australia and New Zealand, with smaller concentrations in the United States, Republic of Ireland, South Africa and parts of the Caribbean. The earliest known reference to the inhabitants of Great Britain may have come from 4th century BC records of the voyage of Pytheas, a Greek geographer who made a voyage of exploration around the British Isles. Although none of his own writings remain, writers during the time of the Roman Empire made much reference to them. Pytheas called the islands collectively αἱ Βρεττανίαι, translated as the Brittanic Isles, the peoples of what are today England, Wales and the Isle of Man of Prettanike were called the Πρεττανοί, Pritani or Pretani; the group included Ireland, referred to as Ierne "inhabited by the different race of Hiberni", Britain as insula Albionum, "island of the Albions". The term Pritani may have reached Pytheas from the Gauls, who used it as their term for the inhabitants of the islands.
Greek and Roman writers, in the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD, name the inhabitants of Great Britain and Ireland as the Priteni, the origin of the Latin word Britanni. It has been suggested that this name derives from a Gaulish description translated as "people of the forms", referring to the custom of tattooing or painting their bodies with blue woad made from Isatis tinctoria. Parthenius, a 1st-century Ancient Greek grammarian, the Etymologicum Genuinum, a 9th-century lexical encyclopaedia, mention a mythical character Bretannus as the father of Celtine, mother of Celtus, the eponymous ancestor of the Celts. By 50 BC Greek geographers were using equivalents of Prettanikē as a collective name for the British Isles. However, with the Roman conquest of Britain the Latin term Britannia was used for the island of Great Britain, Roman-occupied Britain south of Caledonia, although the people of Caledonia and the north were the self same Britons during the Roman period, the Gaels arriving four centuries later.
Following the end of Roman rule in Britain, the island of Great Britain was left open to invasion by pagan, seafaring warriors such as Germanic-speaking Anglo-Saxons and Jutes from Continental Europe, who gained control in areas around the south east, to Middle Irish-speaking people migrating from what is today Northern Ireland to the north of Great Britain, founding Gaelic kingdoms such as Dál Riata and Alba, which would subsume the native Brittonic and Pictish kingdoms and become Scotland. In this sub-Roman Britain, as Anglo-Saxon culture spread across southern and eastern Britain and Gaelic through much of the north, the demonym "Briton" became restricted to the Brittonic-speaking inhabitants of what would be called Wales, North West England, parts of Scotland such as Strathearn, Morayshire and Strathclyde. In addition the term was applied to Brittany in what is today France and Britonia in north west Spain, both regions having been colonised by Britons in the 5th century fleeing the Anglo-Saxon invasions.
History of the Genoese in Gibraltar
A Genoese community has existed in Gibraltar since the 16th century and became an important part of the population. There is much evidence of a community of emigrants from Genoa, who moved to Gibraltar in the 16th century and that were more than a third of the Gibraltar population in the first half of the 18th century. Although labeled as "Genoese", they were not only from the city of Genoa but from all of Liguria, a northern Italian region, the center of the maritime Republic of Genoa. After the conquest of Gibraltar from Spain in 1704, nearly all the original Spanish population moved away. Among those who stayed there were 30 Genoese families, most of them forming a group resident in Catalan Bay which worked as fishermen, their main activities in the years following the conquest of Gibraltar and its formal transfer to Great Britain were not only related to fishing, but to craftsmanship and commerce. According to the 1725 census, on a total civilian population of 1113 there were 414 Genoese, 400 Spaniards, 137 Jews, 113 Britons and 49 others.
In the 1753 census the Genoese were the biggest group of civilian residents in the Gibraltar and up until 1830 Italian was spoken together with English and Spanish and used in official announcements. Many Genoese in the late 18th century arrived to work for the garrison and went on to form the basis of Gibraltar's civilian police force - the Genoese Guard. "In 1740, English Law was introduced in Gibraltar and in 1753 the first Justices of the Peace were appointed.... During this period the Military Authorities were experiencing great difficulties with Army deserters going into the Kingdom of Spain and thus a group of inhabitants were recruited to act as Frontier Guards; this group became known as the Genoese Guard and in time came to serve as a rudimentary Police Force when they were called upon to support the Military Authorities when dealing with civilians. Sergeants were appointed within the Genoese Guard and their titles "Jews Sergeant" and "Spanish Sergeant" reflected their role within the sectors of the community.
The Genoese Guard were subsequently disbanded sometime after the Seven Year War." After Napoleonic times many Sicilians and some Tuscans migrated to Gibraltar, but the Genoese and Ligurians remained the majority of the Italian group. Indeed, the Genoese dialect was spoken in Catalan Bay well into the 20th century, dying out in the 1970s. Today, the descendants of the Genoese community of Gibraltar consider themselves Gibraltarians and most of them promote the autonomy of Gibraltar, their most renowned representatives are: Joe Bossano, Adolfo Canepa and Kaiane Aldorino. Catalan Bay had been populated by Genoese fishermen who were part of a much larger settlement pattern along the eastern coast of The Rock during the 17th and 18th centuries. In the 18th century the Genoese dialect was so spoken in Gibraltar that Government notices were published in Italian. Genoese was spoken by most people in La Caleta well into the 19th century, dying out in the late decades of the 20th century. There has been some discussion that the British may have mixed up Catalans with Genoese but it is by no means clear why they would suffer such a confusion since there is other evidence which demonstrates that the British were aware that the residents of La Caleta were Genoese: the orders for the siege of 1727 refer to this bay as the Genoese Cove and the numerous 18th and 19th century census record large numbers of people born in Genoa, not in Catalonia.
It is possible a confusion between the letters of "Calata" and "Catala" in the early English pronunciation of the Bay. During the 19th century only fishermen were permitted to live in Catalan Bay; the families who live in the village today are descendants of these Genoese fishermen and are colloquially known as caleteños. Genoese heritage is evident throughout Gibraltar but in the architecture of the town's older buildings which are influenced by traditional Genoese housing styles featuring internal courtyards; until the 1980s, most Gibraltarians lived densely packed around these communal patios. A prominent feature of Gibraltar's architecture is the traditional Genoese wooden window shutters. Many of the Gibraltarian cuisine's roots lie in Genoa; the most notable dish of Genoese origin is calentita. It is a chickpea flour-based flatbread similar to the Italian farinata; the Gibraltarian panissa, a bread-like dish similar to the calentita, shares its Italian origins: it is a descendant of the Genoese dish with the same name "panissa".
Other important Gibraltarian dishes such as rosto and meat in a tomato sauce, is of Genoese origin. Genoese heritage is present in the upper strata of Gibraltarian society: this class consists of a few families of Genoese origin. While the upper middle class consists of Catholic and Hindu merchants and lawyers, the working class is made up of families of Spanish and Italian origin; the present-day descendants of the Genoese settlers in Gibraltar are integrated as Gibraltarians. Today, Gibraltarians with Genoese surnames make up 20% of the total population; this group is integrated in the Gibraltarian society and there it is no association related to them. The Genoese in Gibraltar have left their presence in the Llanito, the local Gibraltarian dialect used by most of the descendants of these Ligurians
Fulham is an affluent area of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in South West London, England, 3.7 miles south-west of Charing Cross. It lies on the north bank of the River Thames, between Hammersmith and Kensington and Chelsea, facing Wandsworth and the Barn Elms part of Barnes. Fulham has a history of industry and enterprise dating back to the 15th century, with pottery, tapestry-weaving, paper-making and brewing in the 17th and 18th centuries in present-day Fulham High Street, involvement in the automotive industry, early aviation, food production, laundries. In the 19th-century there was glass-blowing and this resurged in the 21st-century with the Aronson-Noon studio and Zest gallery in Rickett Street that fell victim to the so-called'Earl's Court Regeneration' scheme in 2012. Lillie Bridge Depot, a railway engineering depot opened in 1872, is associated with the building and extension of the London Underground, the electrification of Tube lines from the nearby Lots Road Power Station, for well over a century has been the maintenance hub for rolling stock and track.
Two football clubs and Chelsea, play in Fulham. There are two exclusive sporting clubs, the Hurlingham Club, known for polo, the Queen's tennis club, known for its annual pre-Wimbledon tennis tournament. In the 1800s, Lillie Bridge Grounds hosted the first meetings of the Amateur Athletic Association of England, the second FA Cup Final, the first amateur boxing matches; the Lillie Bridge area was the home ground of the Middlesex County Cricket Club, before it moved to Marylebone. Since the late 20th-century Fulham has a reputation as one of the most sought-after locations in London and has the highest capital values per square foot of prime South West London. Fulham is considered a prime London area by estate agents. Fulham, or in its earliest form "Fulanhamme", is thought to have signified land in river bend "of fowls" or "mud", or "belonging to an Anglo Saxon chief named Fulla"; the manor of Fulham is in medieval documents stated to have been given to Bishop Erkenwald about the year 691 for himself and his successors in the See of London.
In effect, as is geographically clear, Fulham Palace, for nine centuries the summer residence of the Bishops of London, is the manor and parish of Fulham. In 879 Danish invaders, sailed up the Thames and wintered at Fulham and Hammersmith. Raphael Holinshed wrote that the Bishop of London was lodging in his manor place in 1141 when Geoffrey de Mandeville, riding out from the Tower of London, took him prisoner. During the Commonwealth the manor was temporarily out of the bishops' hands, having been sold to Colonel Edmund Harvey. In recent years there has been a great revival of interest in Fulham's earliest history, due entirely to the efforts of the Fulham Archaeological Rescue Group; this has carried out a number of interesting digs in the vicinity of Fulham Palace, which show that 5,000 years ago Neolithic people were living by the riverside and in other parts of the area. Excavations have revealed Roman settlements during the third and fourth centuries AD. There is no record of the original erection of a parish church in Fulham, but the first written record of a church dates from 1154 as a result of a tithe dispute.
The first known parish priest of All Saints Church, Fulham was appointed in 1242. The medieval extant part of All Saints Church was demolished in 1881, during reconstruction by Sir Arthur Blomfield, in order to enlarge it, however, it did not date farther back than the 15th century. There is a comparably old church on the opposite bank of the Thames, St Mary's Church, across what was a ferried crossing. In 1642 the Earl of Essex withdrawing from the Battle of Brentford ordered to be put a bridge of boats on the Thames to unite with his detachment in Kingston in pursuit of Charles I, who ordered Prince Rupert to retreat from Brentford back west; the King and Prince moved their troops from Reading to Oxford for the winter. This is thought to have been near the first bridge, it was named Fulham Bridge, built in 1729 and was replaced in 1886 with Putney Bridge. Margravine Road recalls the existence of Brandenburg House, a riverside mansion built by Sir Nicholas Crispe in the time of Charles I, used as the headquarters of General Fairfax in 1647 during the civil wars.
In 1792 it was occupied by Charles Alexander, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach and his wife, in 1820 by Caroline, consort of George IV. His non-political ` wife' was Maria Fitzherbert, they are reputed to have had several children. During the 18th century Fulham had a reputation for debauchery, becoming a playground for the wealthy of London, where there was much gambling and prostitution and breweries; until an Act of 1834, the neighbouring village-turned-town of Hammersmith had been a perpetual curacy under the parish of Fulham. By 1834 it had so many residents, a separate parish with a vicar and vestry for works was created; the two areas did not come together again until the commencement of the London Government Act in 1965. The 19th century roused Walham Green village, the surrounding hamlets that made up the parish of Fulham, from their rural slumber and market gardens with the advent first of power production and more hesitant transport development; this was accompanied by accelerating urbanisation, as in other centres in the county of Middlesex, which encouraged trade skills among the growing population.
In 1824 the Imperial Gas Light and Coke Company, the first public utility company in the world, bought the Sandford estate in Sands End to produce gas for lighting - and in the case of the
Bay of Gibraltar
The Bay of Gibraltar is a bay at the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula. It is around 10 km long by 8 km wide, covering an area of some 75 km2, with a depth of up to 400 m in the centre of the bay, it opens to the south into the Strait of the Mediterranean Sea. The shoreline is densely settled. From west to east, the shore is divided between the Spanish municipalities of Algeciras, Los Barrios, San Roque, La Línea de la Concepción and the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar; the larger part of the shoreline is Spanish territory, with part of the eastern half of the bay belonging to Gibraltar. The east and west entrances to the bay are marked by the Europa Point Lighthouse at Europa Point and the Punta Carnero lighthouse to the west of Algeciras; the area around the Bay of Gibraltar has been inhabited for millennia and the bay itself has been used by merchant shipping for at least 3,000 years. The Phoenicians are believed to have had a settlement near Gibraltar and the Romans established the town of Portus Alba on the site of modern Algeciras.
Peoples, notably the Moors and the Spanish established settlements on the shoreline during the Middle Ages and early modern period, including the fortified and strategic port at Gibraltar, which fell to England in 1704. The bay's strategic position at the mouth of the Mediterranean has made it a much-contested body of water over the centuries, it has been the site of several major sea battles, notably the Battle of Gibraltar and the Battle of Algeciras bay. During the Second World War, Italy launched human torpedoes from Algeciras on several occasions in attempts to sink British ships moored in the Gibraltar harbour, with mixed success due to the work of Commander Crabbe. More there has been a persistent dispute between Spain and Gibraltar over British sovereignty in the Bay of Gibraltar. Spain claims not to recognise British sovereignty in the area save for a small portion around the Port of Gibraltar, but the UK has asserts a normal 3 nmi limit around Gibraltar, with a demarcation in the middle of the bay.
This claim contradicts, according to the Spanish government, the treaty of Utrecht of 1713, by which Spain ceded to Great Britain the city and port of Gibraltar and the internal waters of that port, without granting any territoriality over the surrounding waters in the Bay of Algeciras. This has caused tensions between the two sides over the issue of Spanish fishermen operating in British Gibraltar territorial waters. Both have signed, are bound, by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea which specifies territorial waters. After the arrest of a Spanish fishing vessel by the Royal Gibraltar Police in 1998, the problem subsided. An incident in the area in 2007 concerning the Odyssey Marine Exploration was resolved in court cases by 2012 with Spain being awarded the ownership of the treasure-trove; the bay is a breeding area for several dolphin species, notably the Common Dolphin, Striped Dolphin and Bottlenose Dolphin, is visited by migratory whales. It is a popular destination for tourist whale-watching trips from Gibraltar.
The other major draw for tourists is scuba diving: the area is rich with wrecks and historical artifacts such as crashed Avro Shackleton aircraft and Sherman tanks from the Second World War, ancient anchors from Phoenician and Roman ships. To encourage marine diversity an artificial reef was constructed in the bay at the end of the runway; the area around the bay in Spain is industrialised with extensive petrochemical installations near San Roque and working ports in both Algeciras and Gibraltar. The bay's waters are used by a considerable number of large and medium-sized ships, notably oil tankers and freighters. Oil bunkering activities are heavily carried out; the CEPSA Gibraltar-San Roque Refinery, located in Spain, occupies 1.5m m² and employs 1,000. In 2015 the refinery produced 13.8m tons of fuel, 260,000 tons of purified Terephthalic acid, 170,700 tons of purified Isophthalic acid and 157,300 tons of Polyethylene terephthalate. In 2007 a serious sulphur incident happened as well as intermittent flaring episodes.
The impacts of such upsets on surrounding neighbourhoods had provoked outrage and public protest which led to the Consejería de Medio Ambiente of the Junta de Andalucía to order an independent audit aimed at investigating such incidents. The refinery continues to cause concern with close co-operation between various groups monitoring its activities. Fuel tanks on ships are known as bunkers, the process of fueling termed bunkering. Due to its geographical position on a major shipping route, Gibraltar is one of the largest bunkering ports in the Mediterranean, followed by neighbour Algeciras in Spain; the ports in the Straits — Algeciras and Gibraltar — are the second bunker market in Europe, behind the so-called Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp area. In Gibraltar 4,300,000 t of bunker fuel were delivered in 2007 compared with just 840,000 t in 1990 and bunkering is now the main activity within the Port of Gibraltar. Of a total of 8,351 deep-sea vessels which called at Gibraltar in 2007, 5,640 were supplied with fuel.
Algeciras recorded bunker sales of about 2,400,000 t in 2008. From the 24,535 vessels called at the Port of Algeciras Bay, 2,173 took on fuel. Gibraltar in 2009 supplied over 4,200,000 t of fuel; the local CEPSA refinery produces supplies much of the fuel for bunkering in the bay which it delivers on seven dedicated barge to either
Timeline of the history of Gibraltar
The history of Gibraltar portrays how The Rock gained an importance and a reputation far exceeding its size and shaping the people who came to reside here over the centuries. Evidence of hominid inhabitation of the Rock dates back to the Neanderthals. A Neanderthal skull was discovered in Forbes' Quarry in 1848, prior to the "original" discovery in the Neander Valley. In 1926, the skull of a Neanderthal child was found in Devil's Tower. Mousterian deposits found at Gorham's Cave, which are associated with Neanderthals in Europe, have been dated to as as 28,000 to 24,000 BP, leading to suggestions that Gibraltar was one of the last places of Neanderthal habitation. Modern humans visited the Gibraltar area in prehistoric times after the Neanderthal occupancy. While the rest of Europe was cooling, the area around Gibraltar back resembled a European Serengeti. Leopards, lynxes and bears lived among wild cattle, deer, ibexes and rhinos – all surrounded by olive trees and stone pines, with partridges and ducks overhead, tortoises in the underbrush and mussels and other shellfish in the waters.
Clive Finlayson, evolutionary biologist at the Gibraltar Museum said "this natural richness of wildlife and plants in the nearby sandy plains, shrublands, wetlands and coastline helped the Neanderthals to persist." Evidence at the cave shows the Neanderthals of Gibraltar used it as a shelter "for 100,000 years." Cro-Magnon man took over Gibraltar around 24,000 BCE. The Phoenicians are known to have visited the Rock circa 950 BC and named the Rock "Calpe"; the Carthaginians visited. However, neither group appears to have settled permanently. Plato refers to Gibraltar as one of the Pillars of Hercules along with Jebel Musa or Monte Hacho on the other side of the Strait; the Romans visited Gibraltar. Following the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Gibraltar was occupied by the Vandals and the Goths kingdoms; the Vandals did not remain for long although the Visigoths remained on the Iberian peninsula from 414 to 711. The Gibraltar area and the rest of the South Iberian Peninsula was part of the Byzantine Empire during the second part of the 6th century reverting to the Visigoth Kingdom.
711 30 April – The Umayyad general Tariq ibn Ziyad, leading a Berber-dominated army, sailed across the Strait from Ceuta. He first failed. Upon his failure, he landed undetected at the southern point of the Rock from present-day Morocco in his quest for Spain, it was here. Coming from the Arabian words Gabal-Al-Tariq. Little was built during the first four centuries of Moorish control. 1160 – The Almohad Sultan Abd al-Mu'min ordered that a permanent settlement, including a castle, be built. It received the name of Medinat al-Fath. On completion of the works in the town, the Sultan crossed the Strait to inspect the works and stayed in Gibraltar for two months; the Tower of Homage of the castle remains standing today. 1231 – After the collapse of the Almohad Empire, Gibraltar was taken by Ibn Hud, Taifa emir of Murcia. 1237 – Following the death of Ibn Hud, his domains were handed over to Muhammad ibn al-Ahmar, the founder of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada. Therefore, Gibraltar changed hands again. 1274 – The second Nasrid king, Muhammed II al-Faqih, gave Gibraltar over to the Marinids, as payment for their help against the Christian kingdoms.
1309 – While the King Ferdinand IV of Castile laid siege on Algeciras, Alonso Pérez de Guzmán was sent to capture the town. This was the First Siege of Gibraltar; the Castilians took the Upper Rock from. The garrison surrendered after one month. Gibraltar had about 1,500 inhabitants. 1310 31 January – Gibraltar was granted its first Charter by the king Ferdinand IV of Castile. Being considered a high risk town, the charter included incentives to settle there such as the offering of freedom from justice to anyone who lived in Gibraltar for one year and one day; this fact marked the establishment of the Gibraltar council.1316 – Gibraltar was unsuccessfully besieged by the Nasrid caid Yahya. 1333 June – A Marinid army, led by Abd al-Malik, the son of Abul Hassan, the Marinid sultan, recovered Gibraltar, after a five-month siege. King Alfonso XI of Castile attempted to retake Gibraltar aided by the fleet of the Castilian Admiral Alonso Jofre Tenorio. A ditch was dug across the isthmus. While laying the siege, the king was attacked by a Nasrid army from Granada.
Therefore, the siege ended in a truce, allowing the Marinids to keep Gibraltar.1344 March – After the two-year Siege of Algeciras, Algeciras was taken over by the Castilian forces. Therefore, Gibraltar became the main Marinid port in the Iberian Peninsula. During the siege, Gibraltar played a key role as the supply base of the besieged. 1349 – Gibraltar was unsuccessfully besieged by the Castilian forces led by the king Alfonso XI. 1350 – The siege was resumed by Alfonso XI. It was again unsuccessful due to the arrival of the Black Death, which decimated the besiegers, causing the death of the king. 1369 – As the Civil War in Castile came to an end, with the murder of king Peter I by the pretender Henry, the Nasrid king of Granada, Muhammad V, former ally of Peter, took over Algeciras after the 3-day Siege of Algeciras. Ten years the city was razed out to the ground, its harbour made unusable; this fact increased again the importance of Gibraltar, yet in Marinid hands, i
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo