Bruce campaign in Ireland
The Bruce campaign was a three-year military campaign in Ireland by Edward Bruce, brother of the Scottish king Robert the Bruce. It lasted from his landing at Larne in 1315 to his defeat and death in 1318 at the Battle of Faughart in County Louth, it was part of the First War of Scottish Independence and the conflict between the Irish and the Anglo-Normans. After his victory at the Battle of Bannockburn, Robert decided to expand his war against the English by sending an army under his younger brother Edward to invade Ireland. Robert was invited by some of the native Irish to send an army to drive out the Anglo-Norman settlers and in return they would crown his brother High King of Ireland. Another reason for the expedition was that supporters of the exiled House of Balliol had fled to Ireland after fighting at Bannockburn and remained a dangerous threat; these men were led by John MacDougall of Lorn, the cousin of John III Comyn, Lord of Badenoch, nephew of King John Balliol. The murder of Comyn in 1306 had set off a bloody civil war for the throne of Scotland which King Robert had all but won at Bannockburn and was now attempting to finish by capturing their last remaining stronghold.
The campaign ended with Edward's defeat and death in the Battle of Faughart in 1318. By the early 14th century, Ireland had not had a High King since Ruaidri mac Tairrdelbach Ua Conchobair, deposed by his son in 1186. Further, the Plantagenet dynasty had claimed a right to take control of Ireland by the papal document Laudabiliter in 1155 and indirectly ruled much of the eastern part of the island; the country was divided between the Gaelic dynasties that survived the Norman invasion and the Hiberno-Norman Lordship of Ireland. In 1258 some of the Gaelic aristocrats elected Brian Ua Néill High King. In 1315 Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, sent his younger brother. Bruce's main mission in invading Ireland was to create a second front in the ongoing war against Norman England, draining her of much needed men and finance by creating havoc on the island, as well as depriving her of the Irish tax revenues contributing to the war effort; this became critical when King Robert's control of the Isle of Man was lost to Norman-backed Scots in January 1315, thereby threatening the south and southwest of Scotland and reopening up a potential source of aid to England from the Hiberno-Normans and Gaelic Irish.
Added to this was a request for aid from the King of Tír Eógain, Domnall mac Brian Ó Néill. Ó Néill had been troubled by Norman incursions to the southeast, the east and west of Tír Eógain and to retain his lands, he and some twelve of his vassals and allies jointly asked for aid from Scotland. The Bruce brothers agreed, on condition that they would support Edward as King of Ireland, as the brothers envisaged themselves as separate rulers of Scotland and Ireland, while Robert would regain Man and Edward make an attack on Wales, with Welsh support, they envisioned "a grand Gaelic alliance against England" between Scotland and Ireland, since both countries had a common heritage and culture. Ó Néill approved of the conditions for himself and on behalf of his vassals, preparations began. At about this point, Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, received news from Irish sources that an invasion was about to take place, made his way to Ireland where he held land in and around the castle and town of Trim.
He had fought against the Bruces at Bannockburn where he was taken prisoner and freed to return King Edward II's royal seal, lost in the rout. The Scottish Parliament met at Ayr on 26 April 1315, just across the North Channel from Antrim; as King Robert did not yet have a legitimate son, Edward was proclaimed his legal heir and successor as King of Scots and all other titles in case of his death. Edward's invasion fleet mustered there, having received calls to assemble as far back as at least the previous month. On 26 May 1315 Edward and his fleet landed on the Irish coast at points at and between Olderfleet Castle at Larne, Glendrum, his brother had sailed from Tarbert for the Western Isles with his son-in-law Walter Stewart, to subjugate them till "all the isles and small, were brought to his will." Edward faced by an army led by vassals and confederates of the Earl of Ulster, the de Mandevilles, Bissets of the Glens and Savages, as well as their Irish allies, overall led by Sir Thomas de Mandeville.
However they were defeated in battle by the Scots under Earl of Moray. Subsequently, the Scots managed to take the town, of Carrickfergus. In early June, Donall Ó Néill of Tyrone and some twelve fellow northern Kings and lords met Edward Bruce at Carrickfergus and swore fealty to him as King of Ireland; the Irish annals state that Bruce "took the hostages and lordship of the whole province of Ulster without opposition and they consented to him being proclaimed King of Ireland and all the Gaels of Ireland agreed to grant him lordship and they called him King of Ireland." At this point Bruce indirectly ruled much of eastern and mid-Ulster. In late June, Edward proceeded with his army from Carrickfergus along Magh Line, burning Rathmore, near Antrim town, a holding of the Savages, he went south by way of the Moiry Pass – called "Innermallan"/"Enderwillane"/Imberdiolan" in contemporary accounts – between Newry and Dundalk. This ancient routeway had been for centuries the passage south out of Ulster into the Kingdom of Mide and Munster but because of its n
Battle of Stirling Bridge
The Battle of Stirling Bridge was a battle of the First War of Scottish Independence. On 11 September 1297, the forces of Andrew Moray and William Wallace defeated the combined English forces of John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey, Hugh de Cressingham near Stirling, on the River Forth; the Earl of Surrey had won a victory over the aristocracy of Scotland at the Battle of Dunbar. However, by August 1297 Moray and Wallace controlled all of Scotland north of the Forth, except for Dundee. Surrey marched north with an army from Wicker to relieve Dundee; the town of Stirling was the key entry point to the north of Scotland. The 6th Earl of Surrey arrived with his supporters at the narrow, wooden bridge over the River Forth near Stirling Castle and determined that he would be at a tactical disadvantage if he attempted to take his main force across there. So he delayed crossing for several days to allow for negotiations, to reconnoiter the area. On 10 September Warenne gave orders to cross the river the next day.
At dawn the English and Welsh infantry started to cross only to be recalled because Warenne had overslept. The Scots arrived first and camped on Abbey Craig, which dominated the soft flat ground north of the river; the English force of English and Scots knights and foot soldiers camped south of the river. Sir Richard Lundie, a Scots knight who joined the English after the Capitulation of Irvine, offered to outflank the enemy by leading a cavalry force over a ford two miles upstream, where sixty horsemen could cross at the same time. Hugh de Cressingham, King Edward's treasurer in Scotland, persuaded the Earl to reject this advice and order a direct attack across the bridge; the small bridge was broad enough to let only two horsemen cross abreast, but offered the safest river crossing, as the Forth widened to the east and the marshland of Flanders Moss lay to the west. The Scots waited as the English knights and infantry made their slow progress across the bridge on the morning of 11 September.
It would have taken several hours for the entire English army to cross. Wallace and Moray waited, according to the Chronicle of Hemingburgh, until "as many of the enemy had come over as they believed they could overcome"; when a substantial number of the troops had crossed the attack was ordered. The Scots spearmen came down from the high ground in rapid advance and fended off a charge by the English heavy cavalry and counterattacked the English infantry, they gained control of the east side of the bridge, cut off the chance of English reinforcements to cross. Caught on the low ground in the loop of the river with no chance of relief or of retreat, most of the outnumbered English on the east side were killed. A few hundred may have escaped by swimming across the river. Marmaduke Thweng managed to fight his way back across the bridge and he thus became the only knight of all those on the far side of the river to survive the battle. Surrey, left with a small contingent of archers, had stayed south of the river and was still in a strong position.
The bulk of his army remained intact and he could have held the line of the Forth, denying the Scots a passage to the south, but his confidence was gone. After the escape of Sir Marmaduke Thweng, Surrey ordered the bridge to be destroyed, retreated towards Berwick, leaving the garrison at Stirling Castle isolated and abandoning the Lowlands to the rebels. James Stewart, the High Steward of Scotland, Malcolm, Earl of Lennox, whose forces had been part of Surrey's army, observing the carnage to the north of the bridge, withdrew; the English supply train was attacked at The Pows, a wooded marshy area, by James Stewart and the other Scots lords, killing many of the fleeing soldiers. This Stirling Bridge is believed to have been about 180 yards upstream from the 15th century stone bridge that crosses the river today. Four stone piers have been found underwater just north and at an angle to the extant 15th-century bridge, along with man-made stonework on one bank in line with the piers; the site of the fighting was along either side of an earthen causeway leading from the Abbey Craig, atop which the Wallace Monument is now, to the north end of the bridge.
The battlefield has been inventoried and protected by Historic Scotland under the Scottish Historical Environment Policy of 2009. The Battle of Stirling Bridge was a shattering defeat for the English: it showed that under certain circumstances infantry could be superior to cavalry, it was some time, before this lesson was absorbed. Contemporary English chronicler Walter of Guisborough recorded the English losses in the battle as 100 cavalry and 5,000 infantry killed. Scottish casualties in the battle are unrecorded, with the exception of Andrew Moray, he died of his injuries around November. De Cressingham's body was subsequently flayed and the skin cut into small pieces for souvenirs of the victory; the Lanercost Chronicle records that Wallace had "a broad strip...taken from the head to the heel, to make therewith a baldrick for his sword". Wallace went on to lead a destructive raid into northern England which did little to advance the Scots objectives, however the raids frightened the English army and stalled their advance.
By March 1298 he had emerged as Guardian of Scotland. His glory was brief; the two men met on the field of Falkirk in the summer of 1298, where Wallace was defeated. The exploits of Wallace were passed on to posterity in the form of tales collected and recounted by the poet Blind Harry, the Minstrel whose original oral sources were never specified. Blind Harry was active some two hundred years after the ev
Edward II of England
Edward II called Edward of Carnarvon, was King of England from 1307 until he was deposed in January 1327. The fourth son of Edward I, Edward became the heir apparent to the throne following the death of his elder brother Alphonso. Beginning in 1300, Edward accompanied his father on campaigns to pacify Scotland, in 1306 was knighted in a grand ceremony at Westminster Abbey. Following his father's death, Edward succeeded to the throne in 1307, he married Isabella, the daughter of the powerful King Philip IV of France, in 1308, as part of a long-running effort to resolve tensions between the English and French crowns. Edward had a close and controversial relationship with Piers Gaveston, who had joined his household in 1300; the precise nature of his and Gaveston's relationship is uncertain. Gaveston's arrogance and power as Edward's favourite provoked discontent among both the barons and the French royal family, Edward was forced to exile him. On Gaveston's return, the barons pressured the king into agreeing to wide-ranging reforms, called the Ordinances of 1311.
The newly empowered barons banished Gaveston, to which Edward responded by revoking the reforms and recalling his favourite. Led by Edward's cousin, the Earl of Lancaster, a group of the barons seized and executed Gaveston in 1312, beginning several years of armed confrontation. English forces were pushed back in Scotland, where Edward was decisively defeated by Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Widespread famine followed, criticism of the king's reign mounted; the Despenser family, in particular Hugh Despenser the Younger, became close friends and advisers to Edward, but Lancaster and many of the barons seized the Despensers' lands in 1321, forced the King to exile them. In response, Edward led a short military campaign and executing Lancaster. Edward and the Despensers strengthened their grip on power, formally revoking the 1311 reforms, executing their enemies and confiscating estates. Unable to make progress in Scotland, Edward signed a truce with Robert. Opposition to the regime grew, when Isabella was sent to France to negotiate a peace treaty in 1325, she turned against Edward and refused to return.
Instead, she allied herself with the exiled Roger Mortimer, invaded England with a small army in 1326. Edward's regime collapsed and he fled to Wales, where he was captured in November; the king was forced to relinquish his crown in January 1327 in favour of his 14-year-old son, Edward III, he died in Berkeley Castle on 21 September murdered on the orders of the new regime. Edward's relationship with Gaveston inspired Christopher Marlowe's 1592 play Edward II, along with other plays, films and media. Many of these have focused on the possible sexual relationship between the two men. Edward's contemporaries criticised his performance as king, noting his failures in Scotland and the oppressive regime of his years, although 19th-century academics argued that the growth of parliamentary institutions during his reign was a positive development for England over the longer term. Debate has continued into the 21st century as to whether Edward was a lazy and incompetent king, or a reluctant and unsuccessful ruler.
Edward II was his first wife, Eleanor of Castile. His father was the king of England and had inherited Gascony in south-western France, which he held as the feudal vassal of the King of France, the Lordship of Ireland, his mother was from the Castilian royal family, held the County of Ponthieu in northern France. Edward I proved a successful military leader, leading the suppression of the baronial revolts in the 1260s and joining the Ninth Crusade. During the 1280s he conquered North Wales, removing the native Welsh princes from power and, in the 1290s, he intervened in Scotland's civil war, claiming suzerainty over the country, he was considered an successful ruler by his contemporaries able to control the powerful earls that formed the senior ranks of the English nobility. The historian Michael Prestwich describes Edward I as "a king to inspire fear and respect", while John Gillingham characterises him as an efficient bully. Despite Edward I's successes, when he died in 1307 he left a range of challenges for his son to resolve.
One of the most critical was the problem of English rule in Scotland, where Edward's long but inconclusive military campaign was ongoing when he died. Edward's control of Gascony created tension with the French kings, they insisted. Edward I faced increasing opposition from his barons over the taxation and requisitions required to resource his wars, left his son debts of around £200,000 on his death. Edward II was born in Caernarfon Castle in north Wales on 25 April 1284, less than a year after Edward I had conquered the region, as a result is sometimes called Edward of Caernarfon; the king chose the castle deliberately as the location for Edward's birth as it was an important symbolic location for the native Welsh, associated with Roman imperial history, it formed the centre of the new royal administration of North Wales. Edward's birth brought predictions of greatness from contemporary prophets, who believed that the Last Days of the world were imminent, declaring him a new King Arthur, who would lead England to glory.
David Powel, a 16th-century clergyman, suggested that the baby was offered to the Welsh as a prince "that was borne in Wales and could speake never a word of English", but there is no evidence to support this account. Edward's n
Scotland is a country, part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides; the Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the Early Middle Ages and continued to exist until 1707. By inheritance in 1603, James VI, King of Scots, became King of England and King of Ireland, thus forming a personal union of the three kingdoms. Scotland subsequently entered into a political union with the Kingdom of England on 1 May 1707 to create the new Kingdom of Great Britain; the union created a new Parliament of Great Britain, which succeeded both the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England. In 1801, the Kingdom of Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland enacted a political union to create a United Kingdom.
The majority of Ireland subsequently seceded from the UK in 1922. Within Scotland, the monarchy of the United Kingdom has continued to use a variety of styles and other royal symbols of statehood specific to the pre-union Kingdom of Scotland; the legal system within Scotland has remained separate from those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland. The continued existence of legal, educational and other institutions distinct from those in the remainder of the UK have all contributed to the continuation of Scottish culture and national identity since the 1707 union with England; the Scottish Parliament, a unicameral legislature comprising 129 members, was established in 1999 and has authority over those areas of domestic policy which have been devolved by the United Kingdom Parliament. The head of the Scottish Government, the executive of the devolved legislature, is the First Minister of Scotland. Scotland is represented in the UK House of Commons by 59 MPs and in the European Parliament by 6 MEPs.
Scotland is a member of the British–Irish Council, sends five members of the Scottish Parliament to the British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly. Scotland is divided into councils. Glasgow City is the largest subdivision in Scotland in terms of population, with Highland being the largest in terms of area. "Scotland" comes from the Latin name for the Gaels. From the ninth century, the meaning of Scotia shifted to designate Gaelic Scotland and by the eleventh century the name was being used to refer to the core territory of the Kingdom of Alba in what is now east-central Scotland; the use of the words Scots and Scotland to encompass most of what is now Scotland became common in the Late Middle Ages, as the Kingdom of Alba expanded and came to encompass various peoples of diverse origins. Repeated glaciations, which covered the entire land mass of modern Scotland, destroyed any traces of human habitation that may have existed before the Mesolithic period, it is believed the first post-glacial groups of hunter-gatherers arrived in Scotland around 12,800 years ago, as the ice sheet retreated after the last glaciation.
At the time, Scotland was covered in forests, had more bog-land, the main form of transport was by water. These settlers began building the first known permanent houses on Scottish soil around 9,500 years ago, the first villages around 6,000 years ago; the well-preserved village of Skara Brae on the mainland of Orkney dates from this period. Neolithic habitation and ritual sites are common and well preserved in the Northern Isles and Western Isles, where a lack of trees led to most structures being built of local stone. Evidence of sophisticated pre-Christian belief systems is demonstrated by sites such as the Callanish Stones on Lewis and the Maes Howe on Orkney, which were built in the third millennium BCE; the first written reference to Scotland was in 320 BC by Greek sailor Pytheas, who called the northern tip of Britain "Orcas", the source of the name of the Orkney islands. During the first millennium BCE, the society changed to a chiefdom model, as consolidation of settlement led to the concentration of wealth and underground stores of surplus food.
The first Roman incursion into Scotland occurred in 79 AD. After the Roman victory, Roman forts were set along the Gask Ridge close to the Highland line, but by three years after the battle, the Roman armies had withdrawn to the Southern Uplands; the Romans erected Hadrian's Wall in northern England and the Limes Britannicus became the northern border of the Roman Empire. The Roman influence on the southern part of the country was considerable, they introduced Christianity to Scotland. Beginning in the sixth century, the area, now Scotland was divided into three areas: Pictland, a patchwork of small lordships in central Scotland; these societies were based on the family unit and had sharp divisions in wealth, although the vast majority were poor and worked full-time in subsistence agriculture. The Picts kept slaves through the ninth century. Gaelic influence over Pictland and Northumbria was facilitated by the large number of Gaelic-speaking clerics working as missionaries. Operating in the sixth ce
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 927, when it emerged from various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms until 1707, when it united with Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 927, the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms were united by Æthelstan. In 1016, the kingdom became part of the North Sea Empire of Cnut the Great, a personal union between England and Norway; the Norman conquest of England in 1066 led to the transfer of the English capital city and chief royal residence from the Anglo-Saxon one at Winchester to Westminster, the City of London established itself as England's largest and principal commercial centre. Histories of the kingdom of England from the Norman conquest of 1066 conventionally distinguish periods named after successive ruling dynasties: Norman 1066–1154, Plantagenet 1154–1485, Tudor 1485–1603 and Stuart 1603–1714. Dynastically, all English monarchs after 1066 claim descent from the Normans; the completion of the conquest of Wales by Edward I in 1284 put Wales under the control of the English crown.
Edward III transformed the Kingdom of England into one of the most formidable military powers in Europe. From the 1340s the kings of England laid claim to the crown of France, but after the Hundred Years' War and the outbreak of the Wars of the Roses in 1455, the English were no longer in any position to pursue their French claims and lost all their land on the continent, except for Calais. After the turmoils of the Wars of the Roses, the Tudor dynasty ruled during the English Renaissance and again extended English monarchical power beyond England proper, achieving the full union of England and the Principality of Wales in 1542. Henry VIII oversaw the English Reformation, his daughter Elizabeth I the Elizabethan Religious Settlement, meanwhile establishing England as a great power and laying the foundations of the British Empire by claiming possessions in the New World. From the accession of James VI and I in 1603, the Stuart dynasty ruled England in personal union with Scotland and Ireland.
Under the Stuarts, the kingdom plunged into civil war, which culminated in the execution of Charles I in 1649. The monarchy returned in 1660, but the Civil War had established the precedent that an English monarch cannot govern without the consent of Parliament; this concept became established as part of the Glorious Revolution of 1688. From this time the kingdom of England, as well as its successor state the United Kingdom, functioned in effect as a constitutional monarchy. On 1 May 1707, under the terms of the Acts of Union 1707, the kingdoms of England and Scotland united to form the Kingdom of Great Britain; the Anglo-Saxons referred to themselves as the Engle or the Angelcynn names of the Angles. They called their land Engla land, meaning "land of the English", by Æthelweard Latinized Anglia, from an original Anglia vetus, the purported homeland of the Angles; the name Engla land became England by haplology during the Middle English period. The Latin name was Anglorum terra, the Old French and Anglo-Norman one Angleterre.
By the 14th century, England was used in reference to the entire island of Great Britain. The standard title for monarchs from Æthelstan until John was Rex Anglorum. Canute the Great, a Dane, was the first to call himself "King of England". In the Norman period Rex Anglorum remained standard, with occasional use of Rex Anglie. From John's reign onwards all other titles were eschewed in favour of Regina Anglie. In 1604 James I, who had inherited the English throne the previous year, adopted the title King of Great Britain; the English and Scottish parliaments, did not recognise this title until the Acts of Union of 1707. The kingdom of England emerged from the gradual unification of the early medieval Anglo-Saxon kingdoms known as the Heptarchy: East Anglia, Northumbria, Essex and Wessex; the Viking invasions of the 9th century upset the balance of power between the English kingdoms, native Anglo-Saxon life in general. The English lands were unified in the 10th century in a reconquest completed by King Æthelstan in 927 CE.
During the Heptarchy, the most powerful king among the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms might become acknowledged as Bretwalda, a high king over the other kings. The decline of Mercia allowed Wessex to become more powerful, it absorbed the kingdoms of Kent and Sussex in 825. The kings of Wessex became dominant over the other kingdoms of England during the 9th century. In 827, Northumbria submitted to Egbert of Wessex at Dore making Egbert the first king to reign over a united England. In 886, Alfred the Great retook London, which he regarded as a turning point in his reign; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle says that "all of the English people not subject to the Danes submitted themselves to King Alfred." Asser added that "Alfred, king of the Anglo-Saxons, restored the city of London splendidly... and made it habitable once more." Alfred's "restoration"
Monarchy of the United Kingdom
The monarchy of the United Kingdom referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom, its dependencies and its overseas territories. The current monarch and head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who ascended the throne in 1952; the monarch and their immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties. As the monarchy is constitutional, the monarch is limited to non-partisan functions such as bestowing honours and appointing the Prime Minister; the monarch is commander-in-chief of the British Armed Forces. Though the ultimate executive authority over the government is still formally by and through the monarch's royal prerogative, these powers may only be used according to laws enacted in Parliament and, in practice, within the constraints of convention and precedent; the British monarchy traces its origins from the petty kingdoms of early medieval Scotland and Anglo-Saxon England, which consolidated into the kingdoms of England and Scotland by the 10th century.
England was conquered by the Normans in 1066, after which Wales too came under control of Anglo-Normans. The process was completed in the 13th century when the Principality of Wales became a client state of the English kingdom. Meanwhile, Magna Carta began a process of reducing the English monarch's political powers. From 1603, the English and Scottish kingdoms were ruled by a single sovereign. From 1649 to 1660, the tradition of monarchy was broken by the republican Commonwealth of England, which followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms; the Act of Settlement 1701 excluded Roman Catholics, or those who married them, from succession to the English throne. In 1707, the kingdoms of England and Scotland were merged to create the Kingdom of Great Britain, in 1801, the Kingdom of Ireland joined to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland; the British monarch was the nominal head of the vast British Empire, which covered a quarter of the world's surface at its greatest extent in 1921. In the early 1920s the Balfour Declaration recognised the evolution of the Dominions of the Empire into separate, self-governing countries within a Commonwealth of Nations.
After the Second World War, the vast majority of British colonies and territories became independent bringing the Empire to an end. George VI and his successor, Elizabeth II, adopted the title Head of the Commonwealth as a symbol of the free association of its independent member states; the United Kingdom and fifteen other independent sovereign states that share the same person as their monarch are called Commonwealth realms. Although the monarch is shared, each country is sovereign and independent of the others, the monarch has a different and official national title and style for each realm. In the uncodified Constitution of the United Kingdom, the monarch is the head of state; the Queen's image is used to signify British sovereignty and government authority—her profile, for instance, appearing on currency, her portrait in government buildings. The sovereign is further both mentioned in and the subject of songs, loyal toasts, salutes. "God Save the Queen" is the British national anthem. Oaths of allegiance are made to her lawful successors.
The monarch takes little direct part in government. The decisions to exercise sovereign powers are delegated from the monarch, either by statute or by convention, to ministers or officers of the Crown, or other public bodies, exclusive of the monarch personally, thus the acts of state done in the name of the Crown, such as Crown Appointments if performed by the monarch, such as the Queen's Speech and the State Opening of Parliament, depend upon decisions made elsewhere: Legislative power is exercised by the Queen-in-Parliament, by and with the advice and consent of Parliament, the House of Lords and the House of Commons. Executive power is exercised by Her Majesty's Government, which comprises ministers the prime minister and the Cabinet, technically a committee of the Privy Council, they have the direction of the Armed Forces of the Crown, the Civil Service and other Crown Servants such as the Diplomatic and Secret Services. Judicial power is vested in the various judiciaries of the United Kingdom, who by constitution and statute have judicial independence of the Government.
The Church of England, of which the monarch is the head, has its own legislative and executive structures. Powers independent of government are granted to other public bodies by statute or Statutory Instrument such as an Order in Council, Royal Commission or otherwise; the sovereign's role as a constitutional monarch is limited to non-partisan functions, such as granting honours. This role has been recognised since the 19th century; the constitutional writer Walter Bagehot identified the monarchy in 1867 as the "dignified part" rather than the "efficient part" of government. Whenever necessary, the monarch is responsible for appointing a new prime minister. In accordance with unwritten constitutional conventions, the sovereign must appoint an individual who commands the support of the House of Commons the leader of the party or coalition that has a majority in that House; the prime minister takes office by attending the monarch in private audience, after "kissing hands" that appointment is effective without any other f
France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona