Great Britain national rugby league team
The Great Britain and Ireland national rugby league team represents Great Britain and Ireland in rugby league. Administered by the Rugby Football League, the team is nicknamed The Lions. For most of the 20th century, the Great Britain and Ireland team toured overseas, played against foreign touring teams and competed in the Rugby League World Cup, which they won three times, in 1954, 1960 and 1972. Since 1995, the RFL has sent separate home nations teams to the World Cup. Great Britain and Ireland continued to compete as a Test playing nation both home and away, they competed against Australia for the Ashes, New Zealand for the Baskerville Shield, as well the Tri-Nations series with both Australia and New Zealand. Great Britain and Ireland played in series and tours against France, Papua New Guinea and Fiji. In 2006, the RFL announced that after the 2007 All Golds Tour Great Britain and Ireland team would no longer compete on a regular basis, its players would represent England and Scotland at Test level.
It is planned that the Great Britain team will come together in future only for occasional tours, similar to the British and Irish Lions in rugby union. On 9 May 2017, it was confirmed that the Great Britain and Ireland team would tour the southern hemisphere in 2019 as Great Britain and Irish Lions. Great Britain were represented by a team made up of players from the Northern Rugby Football Union, known as the "Northern Union" side. On 25 January 1908, the first Great Britain test match took place at Headingley Rugby Stadium, versus New Zealand. At the time, Great Britain were referred to as the "Northern Union" – they won the game 14–6 before a crowd of 8,000; the second test went to New Zealand by 18 -- 6, before 14,000 in London. The third test was played at Cheltenham, 4,000 watched New Zealand win 8–5; the first Kangaroos arrived in England on 27 September 1908, they toured Britain, losing more games than they won. They played their first test against the Northern Union in December in Loftus Road, London.
The second test in Newcastle in January 1909 attracted a crowd of 22,000, the Northern Union won 15–5. The third test was played at Villa Park, the Northern Union winning again 6–5 before a crowd of 9,000; the Australians suggested that the series should be named "the Ashes" after the cricket series of the same name. The first British tour of the Southern Hemisphere began on 4 June 1910 captained by James Lomas; the Northern Union played New South Wales in front of 33,000 spectators in Sydney, losing 28–14. But they won the first test in Sydney against Australia 27–20 in front of 42,000 at the old Sydney Showground, they won the second test in Brisbane 22–17. The tourists recorded a 13-all draw against a combined Australasian side in front of over 42,000 at the Agricultural Ground; these tests have been credited as making rugby league the predominate code of rugby football in Australia, a situation which continues to this day. Upon arriving in Auckland on 17 July, the team was accorded a mayoral reception.
On 30 July, they defeated New Zealand 52–20. The second Lions tour down under in 1914, led by Harold Wagstaff, became the stuff of legend, they played three Tests in eight days with the first two in three days. After sharing the first two tests, Great Britain finished with only 10 men due to injuries, but still managed to hang on for a 14–6 victory in Sydney in July 1914, it was dubbed "Rorke's Drift test", after a battle in the Anglo-Zulu War. Great Britain defeated a touring Australian side 2–1 in the 1921–22 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain to win back the Ashes, lost in 1920, they would not be lost again until 1950. The 1924 Lions added the blue chevron to the all-white jersey. On the 1928 tour of Australasia, Great Britain lost only five of 24 tour matches; the Lions won the first Test 15–12. On Saturday 14 July 1928, when Great Britain met Australia in the second Test on a sea of mud at the Sydney Cricket Ground; the Lions won 8–0, containing the Kangaroos who, for the only time in Test match history, failed to score on home soil.
After clinching the Test series, the Lions lost the final Test. They were presented with the Ashes Trophy by the Australians, which the two countries have competed for since. Great Britain set off for New Zealand, where they lost the first Test. On Saturday 18 August 1928 the Lions travelled to Tahuna Park, for the second Test; the Lions led 7–5 at the interval and went on to win 13–5. Seven days the Lions won the third Test 6–5 to clinch the series two Tests to one. Before coming home they played some missionary games in Canada, which led to the formation of a rugby league competition in that country. On 5 October 1929, Australia won the first Test at the Boulevard, Hull 31–8. Great Britain won the second 9–3 at Headingley, Leeds on 9 November 1929; the third test, held at Station Road, resulted in a 0–0 draw with Australia having a try disallowed in the last minute. With the series tied 1 -- 1, an unprecedented fourth test was played at Rochdale. Britain won the test 3 -- 0. Britain again won the Ashes in 1932.
In 1932 the police locked the SCG gates after 70,204 crammed into the SCG. This would remain the world record test match attendance until eclipsed by the 73,631 who attended the 1992 World Cup Final at Wembley Stadium. On New Year's Eve 1933 in Paris and Australia play the first game of rugby league in France; the match was one-sided, with Australia winning 63–13 in front of a crowd of 5,000, but the seed was sown. Jim Sullivan was asked to go again as captain of the 1936 tourists, but declined on the
A hymn is a type of song religious written for the purpose of adoration or prayer, addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification. The word hymn derives from Greek ὕμνος, which means "a song of praise". A writer of hymns is known as a hymnodist; the singing or composition of hymns is called hymnody. Collections of hymns are known as hymnals or hymn books. Hymns may not include instrumental accompaniment. Although most familiar to speakers of English in the context of Christianity, hymns are a fixture of other world religions on the Indian subcontinent. Hymns survive from antiquity from Egyptian and Greek cultures; some of the oldest surviving examples of notated music are hymns with Greek texts. Ancient hymns include the Egyptian Great Hymn to the Aten, composed by Pharaoh Akhenaten; the Western tradition of hymnody begins with the Homeric Hymns, a collection of ancient Greek hymns, the oldest of which were written in the 7th century BC, praising deities of the ancient Greek religions.
Surviving from the 3rd century BC is a collection of six literary hymns by the Alexandrian poet Callimachus. Patristic writers began applying the term ὕμνος, or hymnus in Latin, to Christian songs of praise, used the word as a synonym for "psalm". Modeled on the Book of Psalms and other poetic passages in the Scriptures, Christian hymns are directed as praise to the Christian God. Many refer to Jesus Christ either indirectly. Since the earliest times, Christians have sung "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs", both in private devotions and in corporate worship. Non-scriptural hymns from the Early Church still sung today include'Phos Hilaron','Sub tuum praesidium', and'Te Deum'. One definition of a hymn is "...a lyric poem and devotionally conceived, designed to be sung and which expresses the worshipper's attitude toward God or God's purposes in human life. It should be simple and metrical in form, genuinely emotional and literary in style, spiritual in quality, in its ideas so direct and so apparent as to unify a congregation while singing it."Christian hymns are written with special or seasonal themes and these are used on holy days such as Christmas and the Feast of All Saints, or during particular seasons such as Advent and Lent.
Others are used to encourage reverence for the Bible or to celebrate Christian practices such as the eucharist or baptism. Some hymns praise or address individual saints the Blessed Virgin Mary. A writer of hymns is known as a hymnodist, the practice of singing hymns is called hymnody. A collection of hymns is called a hymnary; these may not include music. A student of hymnody is called a hymnologist, the scholarly study of hymns and hymnody is hymnology; the music to which a hymn may be sung is a hymn tune. In many Evangelical churches, traditional songs are classified as hymns while more contemporary worship songs are not considered hymns; the reason for this distinction is unclear, but according to some it is due to the radical shift of style and devotional thinking that began with the Jesus movement and Jesus music. Of note, in recent years, Christian traditional hymns have seen a revival in some churches more Reformed or Calvinistic in nature, as modern hymn writers such as Keith and Kristyn Getty and Sovereign Grace Music have reset old lyrics to new melodies, revised old hymns and republished them, or written a song in accordance with Christian hymn standards such as the hymn, In Christ Alone.
In ancient and medieval times, string instruments such as the harp and lute were used with psalms and hymns. Since there is a lack of musical notation in early writings, the actual musical forms in the early church can only be surmised. During the Middle Ages a rich hymnody developed in the form of Gregorian plainsong; this type was sung in unison, in one of eight church modes, most by monastic choirs. While they were written in Latin, many have been translated. Hymnody in the Western church introduced four-part vocal harmony as the norm, adopting major and minor keys, came to be led by organ and choir, it shares many elements with classical music. Today, except for choirs, more musically inclined congregations and a cappella congregations, hymns are sung in unison. In some cases complementary full settings for organ are published, in others organists and other accompanists are expected to transcribe the four-part vocal score for their instrument of choice. To illustrate Protestant usage, in the traditional services and liturgies of the Methodist churches, which are based upon Anglican practice, hymns are sung during the processional to the altar, during the receiving of communion, during the recessional, sometimes at other points during the service.
These hymns c
A. C. Benson
Arthur Christopher Benson was an English essayist, poet and academic and the 28th Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge. He is noted for writing the words of the song "Land of Hope and Glory". Benson was born on 24 April 1862 at Berkshire, he was one of six children of Edward White Benson and his wife Mary Sidgwick Benson, sister of the philosopher Henry Sidgwick. Benson was born into a literary family, their sister, Margaret Benson, was an artist and amateur Egyptologist. The Benson family was exceptionally accomplished, but their history was somewhat tragic: a son and daughter died young. None of the children married. Despite his illness, Arthur was a prolific author. From the ages of 10 to 21, he lived in cathedral closes, first at Lincoln where his father was Chancellor of Lincoln Cathedral, at Truro where his father was the first Bishop of Truro, he retained a love of church ceremony. In 1874 he won a scholarship to Eton from a preparatory school in East Sheen. In 1881 he went up to King's College, where he was a scholar and achieved first class honours in the Classical tripos in 1884.
From 1885 to 1903 he taught at Eton, but returned to Cambridge in 1904 as a Fellow of Magdalene College to lecture in English Literature. He became president of the college in 1912, he was Master of Magdalene from December 1915 until his death in 1925. From 1906, he was a governor of Gresham's School; the modern development of Magdalene was shaped by Benson. He was a generous benefactor to the college, with a significant impact on the modern appearance of the college grounds. In 1930, Benson Court was named after him, he collaborated with Lord Esher in editing the correspondence of Queen Victoria. His poems and volumes of essays, such as From a College Window and The Upton Letters were famous in his time. Extracts from the diaries are printed in Edwardian Excursions. From the Diaries of A. C. Benson, 1898–1904, ed. David Newsome, London: John Murray, 1981, his literary criticisms of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward FitzGerald, Walter Pater and John Ruskin rank among his best work. Today, he is best remembered as the author of one of Britain's best-known patriotic songs, Land of Hope and Glory, written for the coronation of King Edward VII.
Like his brothers Edward Frederic and Robert Hugh, A. C. Benson was noted as an author of ghost stories; the bulk of his published ghost stories in the two volumes The Hill of Trouble and Other Stories and The Isles of Sunset were written for his pupils as moral allegories. After Arthur's death, Fred Benson found a collection of unpublished ghost stories, he included two of them in Basil Netherby. Paul the Minstrel and Other Stories collects the contents of The Hill of Trouble and Other Stories and The Isles of Sunset. Nine of Arthur's ghost stories are included in David Stuart Davies, The Temple of Death: The Ghost Stories of A. C. & R. H. Benson, together with seven by his brother R. H. Benson, while nine of Arthur's and ten of Robert's are included in Ghosts in the House. In The Schoolmaster, Benson summarised his views on education based on his 18-year experience at Eton, he criticised the tendency, which he wrote was prevalent in English public schools at the time, to "make the boys good and to make them healthy" to the detriment of their intellectual development.
A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he founded the Benson Medal in 1916, to be awarded "in respect of meritorious works in poetry, fiction and belles lettres". He was buried at St Giles's Cemetery in Cambridge. A cousin, James Bethune-Baker, is buried in the cemetery. Horror critic R. S. Hadji included Benson's Basil Netherby on his list of "unjustly neglected" horror books. Men of Might: Studies of Great Characters. Le Cahier Jaune: Poems. Poems. Genealogy of the Family of Benson of Banger House and Northwoods, in the Parish of Ripon and Chapelry of Pateley Bridge. Lyrics. Lord Vyet & Other Poems. Ode in Memory of the Rt. Honble. William Ewart Gladstone. Thomas Gray. Essays. Fasti Etonenses: A Biographical History of Eton The Professor: and Other Poems; the Schoolmaster. Monnow: An Ode; the Hill of Trouble and Other Stories. The Isles of Sunset. Peace: and Other Poems; the Gate of Death: A Diary. From a College Window. Rossetti. Walter Pater; the Thread of Gold Memoirs of Arthur Hamilton. The House of Quiet: An Autobiography.
The Altar Fire. The Letters of One, a Study
Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C.
Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club known as Wolves, is a professional football club in Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England. Formed as St Luke's F. C. in 1877, they have played at Molineux Stadium since 1889 and compete in the Premier League, the top tier of English football, after winning the 2017–18 EFL Championship. Wolves were one of the founding members of the Football League in 1888; the club spent 33 years in the top flight from 1932 to 1965, their longest continuous period at that level. In the 1950s, they were League champions three times, under the management of Stan Cullis. Wolves finished League runners-up on five occasions, most in 1959–60. Wolves have won the FA Cup four times, most in 1960, finished runners-up on a further four occasions; the club has won the Football League Cup twice, in 1974 and 1980. In 1953, Wolves was one of the first British clubs to install floodlights, taking part in televised "floodlit friendlies" against leading overseas club sides between 1953 and 1956 before the creation of the European Cup in 1955.
Wolves reached the quarter-finals of the 1959–60 European Cup and the semi-finals of the 1960–61 European Cup Winners' Cup, were runners-up to Tottenham Hotspur in the inaugural 1972 UEFA Cup Final. Wolves' traditional kit consists of gold shirts and black shorts and the club badge one or more wolves. Wolves have long-standing rivalries with other West Midlands clubs, the main one being with West Bromwich Albion, against whom they contest the Black Country derby, although the two clubs have not met in a League fixture since 2011–12, the last season they competed in the same division. In the 2000 edition of "The Rough Guide to English Football", the history section on the Wolves page begins: "The name Wolves thunders from the pages of English football history"; as with several other clubs, Everton for example, Wolves had humble beginnings shaped by the twin influences of cricket and the church. The club was founded in 1877 as St Luke's F. C. by John Baynton and John Brodie, two pupils of St Luke's Church School in Blakenhall, presented with a football by their headmaster Harry Barcroft.
The team played its first-ever game on 13 January 1877 against a reserve side from Stafford Road merging with the football section of a local cricket club called Blakenhall Wanderers to form Wolverhampton Wanderers in August 1879. Having played on two different strips of land in the town, they relocated to a more substantial venue on Dudley Road in 1881, before lifting their first trophy in 1884 when they won the Wrekin Cup, during a season in which they played their first-ever FA Cup tie. Having become professional, the club were nominated to become one of the twelve founder members of the Football League in 1888, in which they played the first Football League match staged, they ended the inaugural season in third place, as well as reaching their first FA Cup Final, losing 0–3 to the first "Double" winners, Preston North End. At the conclusion of the campaign the club relocated for a final time when they moved to Molineux a pleasure park known as the Molineux Grounds. Wolves lifted the FA Cup for the first time in 1893 when they beat Everton 1–0, made a third FA Cup Final appearance in 1896.
The club added a second FA Cup Final triumph to their 1893 success in 1908, two years after having dropped into the Second Division for the first time. After struggling during the years either side of the First World War to regain their place in the top division, the club suffered a further relegation in 1923, entering the Third Division, which they won at the first attempt. Eight years after returning to the Second Division, Wolves regained their top-flight status as Second Division Champions under Major Frank Buckley after twenty-six years away. With Buckley at the helm the team became established as one of the leading club sides in England in the years leading up to the Second World War, as they finished runners-up in the league twice in succession, as well as reaching the last pre-war FA Cup Final, in which they suffered a shock defeat to Portsmouth. In 1937–38 Wolves came within a whisker of winning the club's first English league title: a win in the side's last game away to Sunderland would have clinched things, but in the event Wolves lost 0–1 and thus ended the campaign one point behind the eventual champions, Arsenal.
One of the things Major Buckley and his Wolves side attracted a lot of attention for in the last two full seasons prior to the outbreak of the Second World War was Buckley's insistence that his players be injected with monkey gland extract to enhance their stamina and performance, a practice that the Football League elected not to sanction. When league football resumed after the Second World War, Wolves suffered yet another final day failure in the First Division. Just as in 1938, victory in their last match would have won the title but a 2–1 loss to title rivals Liverpool gave the championship to the Merseysiders instead; this game had been the last in a Wolves shirt for Stan Cullis, a year he became manager of the club. In Cullis's first season in charge, he led Wolves to a first major honour in 41 years as they beat Leicester City to lift the FA Cup, a year only goal average prevented Wolves winning the league title; the 1950s were by far the most successful period in the club's history.
Captained by Billy Wright, Wolves claimed the league championship for the first time in 1953–54, overhauling local rivals West Bromwich Albion late in the season. Two further titles were soon won in successive years, as Wolves
Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet was an English composer, many of whose works have entered the British and international classical concert repertoire. Among his best-known compositions are orchestral works including the Enigma Variations, the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, concertos for violin and cello, two symphonies, he composed choral works, including The Dream of Gerontius, chamber music and songs. He was appointed Master of the King's Musick in 1924. Although Elgar is regarded as a English composer, most of his musical influences were not from England but from continental Europe, he socially. In musical circles dominated by academics, he was a self-taught composer, he married the daughter of a senior British army officer. She inspired him both musically and but he struggled to achieve success until his forties, when after a series of moderately successful works his Enigma Variations became popular in Britain and overseas, he followed the Variations with a choral work, The Dream of Gerontius, based on a Roman Catholic text that caused some disquiet in the Anglican establishment in Britain, but it became, has remained, a core repertory work in Britain and elsewhere.
His full-length religious choral works were well received but have not entered the regular repertory. In his fifties, Elgar composed a violin concerto that were immensely successful, his second symphony and his cello concerto did not gain immediate public popularity and took many years to achieve a regular place in the concert repertory of British orchestras. Elgar's music came, in his years, to be seen as appealing chiefly to British audiences, his stock remained low for a generation after his death. It began to revive in the 1960s, helped by new recordings of his works; some of his works have, in recent years, been taken up again internationally, but the music continues to be played more in Britain than elsewhere. Elgar has been described as the first composer to take the gramophone seriously. Between 1914 and 1925, he conducted a series of acoustic recordings of his works; the introduction of the moving-coil microphone in 1923 made far more accurate sound reproduction possible, Elgar made new recordings of most of his major orchestral works and excerpts from The Dream of Gerontius.
Edward Elgar was born outside Worcester, England. His father, William Henry Elgar, was raised in Dover and had been apprenticed to a London music publisher. In 1841 William moved to Worcester, where he worked as a piano tuner and set up a shop selling sheet music and musical instruments. In 1848 he married daughter of a farm worker. Edward was the fourth of their seven children. Ann Elgar had converted to Roman Catholicism shortly before Edward's birth, he was baptised and brought up as a Roman Catholic, to the disapproval of his father. William Elgar was a violinist of professional standard and held the post of organist of St. George's Roman Catholic Church, from 1846 to 1885. At his instigation, masses by Cherubini and Hummel were first heard at the Three Choirs Festival by the orchestra in which he played the violin. All the Elgar children received a musical upbringing. By the age of eight, Elgar was taking piano and violin lessons, his father, who tuned the pianos at many grand houses in Worcestershire, would sometimes take him along, giving him the chance to display his skill to important local figures.
Elgar's mother encouraged his musical development. He inherited from a passionate love of the countryside, his friend and biographer W. H. "Billy" Reed wrote that Elgar's early surroundings had an influence that "permeated all his work and gave to his whole life that subtle but none the less true and sturdy English quality". He began composing at an early age; until he was fifteen, Elgar received a general education near Worcester. However, his only formal musical training beyond piano and violin lessons from local teachers consisted of more advanced violin studies with Adolf Pollitzer, during brief visits to London in 1877–78. Elgar said, "my first music was learnt in the Cathedral... from books borrowed from the music library, when I was eight, nine or ten." He worked through manuals of instruction on organ playing and read every book he could find on the theory of music. He said that he had been most helped by Hubert Parry's articles in the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Elgar began to learn German, in the hope of going to the Leipzig Conservatory for further musical studies, but his father could not afford to send him.
Years a profile in The Musical Times considered that his failure to get to Leipzig was fortunate for Elgar's musical development: "Thus the budding composer escaped the dogmatism of the schools." However, it was a disappointment to Elgar that on leaving school in 1872 he went not to Leipzig but to the office of a local solicitor as a clerk. He did not find an office career congenial, for fulfilment he turned not only to music but to literature, becoming a voracious reader. Around this time, he made his first public appe
Graduation is getting a diploma or academic degree or the ceremony, sometimes associated with it, in which students become graduates. Before the graduation, candidates are referred to as graduands; the date of graduation is called graduation day. The graduation ceremony itself is called commencement, convocation or invocation; the ceremony and name apply to university level and above, however, in the USA, completling mandatory schooling is referred to as'graduating' though it is below degree level. Graduations for elementary school and Kindergarten, for passing from one school year to the next, have been a development of recent years; this has recived criticism, described as "It's just a way of celebrating mediocrity". The term graduate only applies to those who have a batchelor's or higher degree if they have atteneded a school'graduation'. "Graduation" at the college and university level occurs when the presiding officer confers degrees upon candidates, either individually or en masse if graduates physically receive their diploma at a smaller college or departmental ceremony.
When ceremonies are associated, they include a procession of the academic staff and candidates and a valediction. The faculty will wear academic dress at the formal ceremonies, as will the trustees and degree candidates. After degree completion, graduates can be referred to by their graduating year. In some places, graduation parties to celebrate graduation from school, college or university are popular. In a recent 2014 nationwide survey in the United States, $985 was the average amount spent on graduation parties; when a student graduates without attending the ceremony it is called graduation in absentia. The procedures and traditions surrounding academic graduation ceremonies differ around the world. Whereas in the United Kingdom a graduation only occurs at university level, in the United States of America and many other countries graduations occur at high schools where no higher education qualifications are conferred upon the graduates. In a graduation ceremony the students dress up in special graduation caps and clothing that are made just for this purpose.
Graduation traditions are varied across universities observing different cultures. Most universities across Sweden are research-oriented and may present its students with bachelor's, master's, doctor's degrees covering all academic streams. Universities across the country are based through the Higher Education Ordinance. A large number of candidates continue their education onto upper secondary education. Most of the national programs provide Swedish, English and Science among majors. In Zimbabwe, graduation ceremonies are associated with the guest of honor who most of is the ceremonial head of the institution. At state universities the President of Zimbabwe officiates as guest of honor; every graduate of a state university in Zimbabwe can claim to have shaken the President's hand. The person most associated with graduation at those institutions is Zimbabwe's ex-President Robert Gabriel Mugabe. At other State Institutions of higher learning the vice Presidents or any other Senior Government officials may preside.
Ceremonies for graduating students date from the first universities in Europe in the twelfth century. At that time Latin was the language of scholarship. A "universitas" was a guild of masters with licence to teach. "Degree" and "graduate" come from gradus, meaning "step". The first step was admission to a bachelor's degree; the second step was the masters step, giving the graduate admission to the universitas and license to teach. Typical dress for graduation is gown and hood, or hats adapted from the daily dress of university staff in the Middle Ages, in turn based on the attire worn by medieval clergy; the tradition of wearing graduation hats in Sweden has been in place since the mid-eighteenth century. The cap is a white sailor hat with a black or dark blue band around it, a crown motif, a black peak at the front; the graduation hat tradition was brought into practice by students at Uppsala University. The headgear became popular across several other European nations as well. Academic dress Commencement speech Encaenia High school graduation examination Matriculation The Stories Behind Graduation Traditions by Ethan Trex, Mental Floss
The British Empire comprised the dominions, protectorates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913, the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23% of the world population at the time, by 1920, it covered 35,500,000 km2, 24% of the Earth's total land area; as a result, its political, legal and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories. During the Age of Discovery in the 15th and 16th centuries and Spain pioneered European exploration of the globe, in the process established large overseas empires.
Envious of the great wealth these empires generated, England and the Netherlands began to establish colonies and trade networks of their own in the Americas and Asia. A series of wars in the 17th and 18th centuries with the Netherlands and France left England and following union between England and Scotland in 1707, Great Britain, the dominant colonial power in North America, it became the dominant power in the Indian subcontinent after the East India Company's conquest of Mughal Bengal at the Battle of Plassey in 1757. The independence of the Thirteen Colonies in North America in 1783 after the American War of Independence caused Britain to lose some of its oldest and most populous colonies. British attention soon turned towards Asia and the Pacific. After the defeat of France in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, Britain emerged as the principal naval and imperial power of the 19th century. Unchallenged at sea, British dominance was described as Pax Britannica, a period of relative peace in Europe and the world during which the British Empire became the global hegemon and adopted the role of global policeman.
In the early 19th century, the Industrial Revolution began to transform Britain. The British Empire expanded to include most of India, large parts of Africa and many other territories throughout the world. Alongside the formal control that Britain exerted over its own colonies, its dominance of much of world trade meant that it controlled the economies of many regions, such as Asia and Latin America. During the 19th century, Britain's population increased at a dramatic rate, accompanied by rapid urbanisation, which caused significant social and economic stresses. To seek new markets and sources of raw materials, the British government under Benjamin Disraeli initiated a period of imperial expansion in Egypt, South Africa, elsewhere. Canada and New Zealand became self-governing dominions. By the start of the 20th century and the United States had begun to challenge Britain's economic lead. Subsequent military and economic tensions between Britain and Germany were major causes of the First World War, during which Britain relied upon its empire.
The conflict placed enormous strain on the military and manpower resources of Britain. Although the British Empire achieved its largest territorial extent after World War I, Britain was no longer the world's pre-eminent industrial or military power. In the Second World War, Britain's colonies in East and Southeast Asia were occupied by Japan. Despite the final victory of Britain and its allies, the damage to British prestige helped to accelerate the decline of the empire. India, Britain's most valuable and populous possession, achieved independence as part of a larger decolonisation movement in which Britain granted independence to most territories of the empire; the Suez Crisis confirmed Britain's decline as a global power. The transfer of Hong Kong to China in 1997 marked for many the end of the British Empire. Fourteen overseas territories remain under British sovereignty. After independence, many former British colonies joined the Commonwealth of Nations, a free association of independent states.
The United Kingdom is now one of 16 Commonwealth nations, a grouping known informally as the Commonwealth realms, that share a monarch Queen Elizabeth II. The foundations of the British Empire were laid when Scotland were separate kingdoms. In 1496, King Henry VII of England, following the successes of Spain and Portugal in overseas exploration, commissioned John Cabot to lead a voyage to discover a route to Asia via the North Atlantic. Cabot sailed in 1497, five years after the European discovery of America, but he made landfall on the coast of Newfoundland, mistakenly believing that he had reached Asia, there was no attempt to found a colony. Cabot led another voyage to the Americas the following year but nothing was heard of his ships again. No further attempts to establish English colonies in the Americas were made until well into the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, during the last decades of the 16th century. In the meantime, the 1533 Statute in Restraint of Appeals had declared "that this realm of England is an Empire".
The subsequent Protestant Reformation turned Catholic Spain into implacable enemies. In 1562, the English Crown encouraged the privateers John Hawkins and Francis Drake to engage in slave-raiding attacks against Spanish and Portuguese ships off the coast of West Africa with the aim of breaking into the Atlantic slave tr