Great Britain

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See also: Rulers of England and Great Britain (table)Rulers of England and Great Britain
(including dates of reign)

Saxons and Danes
Egbert, 802–39
Æthelwulf, son of Egbert, 839–58
Æthelbald, son of Æthelwulf, 858–60
Æthelbert, 2d son of Æthelwulf, 860–65
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, Prime Ministers of Great Britain (table)Prime Ministers of Great Britain
Prime Minister Party1 Dates in Office
Sir Robert Walpole   1721–42
Earl of Wilmington   1742–43
Henry Pelham   1743–54
Duke of Newcastle   1754–56
..... Click the link for more information.

Great Britain,

officially United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, constitutional monarchy (2011 pop. 63,181,775), 94,226 sq mi (244,044 sq km), on the British Isles, off W Europe. The country is often referred to simply as Britain. Technically, Great Britain comprises England (1991 pop. 46,382,050), 50,334 sq mi (130,365 sq km); Wales (1991 pop. 2,798,200), 8,016 sq mi (20,761 sq km); and Scotland (1991 pop. 4,957,000), 30,414 sq mi (78,772 sq km) on the island of Great Britain, while the United Kingdom includes Great Britain as well as Northern Ireland (1991 pop. 1,577,836), 5,462 sq mi (14,146 sq km) on the island of Ireland. The Isle of Man (1991 pop. 69,788), 227 sq mi (588 sq km), in the Irish Sea and the Channel Islands (1991 pop. 145,821), 75 sq mi (195 sq km), in the English Channel, are dependencies of the crown, with their own systems of government. For physical geography and local administrative divisions, see EnglandEngland,
the largest and most populous portion of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (2011 pop. 53,012,456), 50,334 sq mi (130,365 sq km). It is bounded by Wales and the Irish Sea on the west and Scotland on the north.
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, WalesWales,
Welsh Cymru, western peninsula and political division (principality) of Great Britain (2011 pop. 3,063,456), 8,016 sq mi (20,761 sq km), west of England; politically united with England since 1536. The capital is Cardiff.
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, ScotlandScotland,
political division of Great Britain (2011 pop. 5,295,000), 30,414 sq mi (78,772 sq km), comprising the northern portion of the island of Great Britain and many surrounding islands.
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, and Ireland, NorthernIreland, Northern,
division of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (2011 pop. 1,810,863), 5,462 sq mi (14,147 sq km), NE Ireland. Made up of six of the nine counties of the historic province of Ulster in NE Ireland, it is frequently called Ulster.
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. The capital of Great Britain and its largest city is LondonLondon,
capital of Great Britain, SE England, on both sides of the Thames River.

Greater London (1991 pop. 6,378,600), c.620 sq mi (1,610 sq km), consists of the Corporation of the City of London (1991 pop. 4,000), usually called the City, plus 32 boroughs.
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Great Britain is the fourth most populous country in Europe. Those of English descent constitute about 77% of the nation's inhabitants. The Scottish make up 8%, and there are smaller groups of Welsh (about 4.5%) and Irish (2.7%) descent. Great Britain's population has shown increasing ethnic diversity since the 1970s, when people from the West Indies, India, Pakistan, Africa, and China began immigrating; in the early 21st cent. these groups accounted for more than 5% of the population. There is also a significant minority of Poles, who arrived after Poland joined the European Union. English is the universal language of Great Britain. In addition, about a quarter of the inhabitants of Wales speak Welsh and there are about 60,000 speakers of the Scottish form of Gaelic in Scotland.

The Church of England, also called the Anglican Church (see England, Church ofEngland, Church of,
the established church of England and the mother church of the Anglican Communion. Organization and Doctrine

The clergy of the church are of three ancient orders: deacons, priests, and bishops.
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), is the officially established church in England (it was disestablished in Wales in 1914); the monarch is its supreme governor. The Presbyterian Church of Scotland is legally established in Scotland. There is complete religious freedom throughout Great Britain. By far the greatest number of Britons (some 27 million) are Anglicans, followed by Roman Catholics and other Christians. There are smaller minorities of Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, and Buddhists.


About 25% of Britain's land is arable, and almost half is suitable for meadows and pastures. Its agriculture is highly mechanized and extremely productive; about 2% of the labor force produces 60% percent of the country's food needs. Barley, wheat, rapeseed, potatoes, sugar beets, fruits, and vegetables are the main crops. The widespread dairy industry produces milk, eggs, and cheese. Beef cattle and large numbers of sheep, as well as poultry and pigs, are raised throughout much of the country. There is also a sizable fishing industry, with cod, haddock, mackerel, whiting, trout, salmon, and shellfish making up the bulk of the catch.

Great Britain is one of the world's leading industrialized nations. It has achieved this position despite the lack of most raw materials needed for industry. It must also import 40% of its food suplies. Thus, its prosperity has been dependent upon the export of manufactured goods in exchange for raw materials and foodstuffs. Within the manufacturing sector, the largest industries include machine tools; electric power, automation, and railroad equipment; ships; aircraft; motor vehicles and parts; electronic and communications equipment; metals; chemicals; coal; petroleum; paper and printing; food processing; textiles; and clothing.

During the 1970s and 80s, nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs were lost, but in the 1990s over 3.5 million jobs were created in service-related industries. By the early 21st cent., banking, insurance, business services, and other service industries accounted for almost three fourths of the gross domestic product and employed 80% of the workforce. This trend was also reflected in a shift in Great Britain's economic base, which has benefited the southeast, southwest, and Midlands regions of the country, while the north of England and Northern Ireland have been hard hit by the changing economy.

The main industrial and commercial areas are the great conurbations, where about one third of the country's population lives. The administrative and financial center and most important port is Greater London, which also has various manufacturing industries. London is Europe's foremost financial city. Metal goods, vehicles, aircraft, synthetic fibers, and electronic equipment are made in the West Midlands conurbation, which with the addition of CoventryCoventry
, city and metropolitan borough (1991 pop. 318,718), central England. Coventry is an industrial center noted for its automobile production. Tractors, airplanes, machine tools, synthetic textiles, electrical equipment, and engineering products are also made.
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 roughly corresponds to the former metropolitan county of West Midlands. The industrial Black CountryBlack Country,
highly industrialized region, historically mostly in Staffordshire but partly in Worcestershire and Warwickshire, W central England. It includes Dudley, Rowley Regis (see Warley), Tipton, Walsall, Wednesbury, West Bromwich, and Wolverhampton.
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 and the city of BirminghamBirmingham
, city and metropolitan borough (1991 pop. 934,900), central England. The city is equidistant from Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester, and London, England's main ports, and near the Black Country iron and coal deposits; it was connected to the Staffordshire mines by the
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 are in the West Midlands. Greater Manchester has cotton and synthetic textiles, coal, and chemical industries and is a transportation and warehousing center. LiverpoolLiverpool,
city and metropolitan borough (1991 pop. 448,300), NW England, on the Mersey River near its mouth. It is one of Britain's largest cities. A large center for food processing (especially flour and sugar), Liverpool has a variety of industries, including the manufacture
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, Britain's second port, along with SouthportSouthport,
city (1991 pop. 88,596), Sefton metropolitan district, NW England, in the Greater Liverpool metropolitan area. A seaside resort with light industries, it is home to the Atkinson Art Gallery, several art and technical schools, and Lord Street, a well-known boulevard.
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 and Saint HelensSaint Helens,
metropolitan borough (1991 pop. 114,397), NW England, in the Greater Liverpool metropolitan area. It is a major center of glass manufacture in England. The city also has iron and brass foundries, chemical and soap factories, and potteries.
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 are part of the Merseyside conurbation. LeedsLeeds,
city and metropolitan borough (1991 pop. 445,242), N central England, on the Aire River. It lies between one of England's leading manufacturing regions on the west and south and an agricultural region on the north and east.
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, BradfordBradford,
city and metropolitan borough (1991 pop. 293,336), N central England, on a small tributary of the Aire River. It is a center of the worsted industry, which dates from the Middle Ages.
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, and the neighboring metropolitan districts are Britain's main center of woolen, worsted, and other textile production. The Tyneside-Wearside region, with Newcastle upon TyneNewcastle upon Tyne,
city and metropolitan borough (1991 pop. 199,064), NE England, on the Tyne River. The city is an important shipping and trade center. The famous coal-shipping industry began in the 13th cent.; coal, however, was exceeded by wool exports until the 16th cent.
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 as its center and SunderlandSunderland,
city and metropolitan borough (1991 pop. 195,064), NE England, at the mouth of the Wear River. The city was established as a shipbuilding center and a coal-shipping port in the 14th cent; shipbuilding ended in the 1980s, and coal mining in the 1990s.
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 as a main city, has coal mines and steel, electrical engineering, chemical, and shipbuilding and repair industries.

The South Wales conurbation, with the ports of SwanseaSwansea
, Welsh Abertawe, city (1981 pop. 172,433) and county, 146 sq mi (378 sq km), S Wales. Located on Swansea Bay at the mouth of the Tawe River, the city of Swansea is a metallurgical center with sheet-metal mills, foundries, and smelting works.
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, CardiffCardiff
, Welsh Caerdydd, city and county (1998 est. pop. 320,900), S Wales, on the Taff River near its mouth on the Bristol Channel. Cardiff is the capital of Wales and an important port. Until the early 20th cent.
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, and NewportNewport,
Welsh Casnewydd, city and unitary authority (1991 pop. 129,900), 74 sq mi (191 sq km), SE Wales, on the Usk River. Lumber, tea, automobiles, electronics, semiconductors, and aircraft are made; steel and various other metals, paper, and chemicals are manufactured.
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, was historically a center of coal mining and steel manufacturing; coal mining has declined sharply, however, in many parts of the region. Current important industries also include oil refining, metals production (lead, zinc, nickel, aluminum), synthetic fibers, and electronics. In Scotland, the region around the River Clyde, including GlasgowGlasgow
, city (1991 pop. 688,500) and council area, S central Scotland, on the river Clyde. Glasgow is Scotland's leading seaport and largest city and is the center of the great Clydeside industrial belt.
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, is noted for shipbuilding, marine engineering, and printing as well as textile, food, and chemicals production. The BelfastBelfast
, Gaelic Béal Feirste, city (1991 pop. 297,000), capital of Northern Ireland, Belfast dist. It is on Belfast Lough, an inlet of the North Channel of the Irish Sea, and at the mouth of the Lagan River. The harbor, 8.5 mi (13.
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 area in Northern Ireland is a shipbuilding, textile, and food products center.

Great Britain has abundant supplies of coal, oil, and natural gas. Production of oil from offshore wells in the North Sea began in 1975, and the country is self-sufficient in petroleum. Other mineral resources include iron ore, tin, limestone, salt, china clay, oil shale, gypsum, and lead.

The country's chief exports are manufactured goods, fuels, chemicals, food and beverages, and tobacco. The chief imports are manufactured goods, machinery, fuels, and foodstuffs. Since the early 1970s, Great Britain's trade focus has shifted from the United States to the European Union, which now accounts for over 50% of its trade. The United States, Germany, France, and the Netherlands are the main trading partners, and the Commonwealth countries are also important.


Great Britain is a constitutional monarchy. The constitution exists in no one document but is a centuries-old accumulation of statutes, judicial decisions, usage, and tradition. The hereditary monarch, who must belong to the Church of England according to the Act of Settlement of 1701, is almost entirely limited to exercising ceremonial functions as the head of state.

Sovereignty rests in ParliamentParliament,
legislative assembly of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Over the centuries it has become more than a legislative body; it is the sovereign power of Great Britain, whereas the monarch remains sovereign in name only.
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, which consists of the House of Commons, the House of Lords, and the crown. Effective power resides in the Commons, whose 650 members are elected from single-member constituencies. The executive—the cabinet of ministers headed by the prime minister, who is the head of government—is usually drawn from the party holding the most seats in the Commons; the monarch usually asks the leader of the majority party to be prime minister. Historically, the hereditary and life peers of the realm, high officials of the Church of England, and the lords of appeal (who exercised judicial functions until a Supreme Court was established in 2009) had the right to sit in the House of Lords, but in 1999 both houses voted to strip most hereditary peers of their right to sit and vote in the chamber. Most legislation originates in the Commons. The House of Lords may take a part in shaping legislation, but it cannot permanently block a bill passed by the Commons, and it has no authority over money bills. The crown need not assent to all legislation, but assent has not been withheld since 1707.

Since 1999 both Scotland and Wales have assumed some regional governmental powers through the institution of a parliament and an assembly, respectively. In addition, Northern Ireland has had home rule through a parliament or assembly at various times since the early 20th cent. The introduction of Scottish and Welsh representative assemblies has raised the question of whether England should have its own parliament, separate from that of the United Kingdom, with powers similar to those of the Scottish body, or of whether Scottish and Welsh members of the British parliament should be barred from voting on matters that affect England only. The issue is controversial, with some fearing that the establishment of a parliament for England would ultimately lead to the dissolution of the United Kingdom. In 2015 the Conservative government enacted legislation that allows members of Parliament from England (or England and Wales) to veto by majority vote any legislation deemed to apply only to their region (or regions).

The two main parties are the Conservative partyConservative party,
British political party, formally the Conservative and Unionist party and a continuation of the historic Tory party. The Rise of the Conservative Party
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, descended from the old Tory party, and the Labour partyLabour party,
British political party, one of the two dominant parties in Great Britain since World War I. Origins

The Labour party was founded in 1900 after several generations of preparatory trade union politics made possible by the Reform Bills of 1867 and 1884,
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, which was organized in 1906 and is moderately socialist. The Liberal DemocratsLiberal Democrats,
British political party created in 1988 by the merger of the Liberal party with the Social Democratic party; the party was initially called the Social and Liberal Democratic party.
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, formed by the merger of the Liberal partyLiberal party,
former British political party, the dominant political party in Great Britain for much of the period from the mid-1800s to World War I. Origins
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 and the Social Democratic partySocial Democratic party
(SDP), former British political party founded in 1981 to offer a centrist alternative to the more extreme positions of the then ruling Conservative party on the right and the opposition Labour party on the left.
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, is a weaker third party. Both Scotland and Wales have nationalist parties whose goal is the independence of those respective regions.


Until 1707, this section deals primarily with English history. England and Wales were formally united in 1536. In 1707, when Great Britain was created by the Act of Union between Scotland and England, English history became part of British history. For the early history of ScotlandScotland,
political division of Great Britain (2011 pop. 5,295,000), 30,414 sq mi (78,772 sq km), comprising the northern portion of the island of Great Britain and many surrounding islands.
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 and WalesWales,
Welsh Cymru, western peninsula and political division (principality) of Great Britain (2011 pop. 3,063,456), 8,016 sq mi (20,761 sq km), west of England; politically united with England since 1536. The capital is Cardiff.
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, see separate articles. See also IrelandIreland,
Irish Eire [to it are related the poetic Erin and perhaps the Latin Hibernia], island, 32,598 sq mi (84,429 sq km), second largest of the British Isles.
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; Ireland, NorthernIreland, Northern,
division of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (2011 pop. 1,810,863), 5,462 sq mi (14,147 sq km), NE Ireland. Made up of six of the nine counties of the historic province of Ulster in NE Ireland, it is frequently called Ulster.
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; and the tables entitled Rulers of England and Great BritainRulers of England and Great Britain
(including dates of reign)

Saxons and Danes
Egbert, 802–39
Æthelwulf, son of Egbert, 839–58
Æthelbald, son of Æthelwulf, 858–60
Æthelbert, 2d son of Æthelwulf, 860–65
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 and Prime Ministers of Great BritainPrime Ministers of Great Britain
Prime Minister Party1 Dates in Office
Sir Robert Walpole   1721–42
Earl of Wilmington   1742–43
Henry Pelham   1743–54
Duke of Newcastle   1754–56
..... Click the link for more information.

Early Period to the Norman Conquest

Although evidence of human habitation in Great Britain dates to more than 800,000 years ago, ice sheets forced the inhabitants from the island several times, and modern settlement dates only from about 12,000 years ago. Little is known about the earliest modern prehistoric inhabitants of Britain, but the remains of their tor and causewayed enclosures, dolmens, and barrows and the great stone circles at StonehengeStonehenge
, group of standing stones on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, S England. Preeminent among megalithic monuments in the British Isles, it is similar to an older and larger monument at Avebury.
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 and Avebury are evidence of the developed culture of the prehistoric Britons. They had developed a Bronze Age culture by the time the first Celtic invaders (early 5th cent. B.C.) brought their energetic Iron Age culture to Britain. It is believed that Julius Caesar's successful military campaign in Britain in 54 B.C. was aimed at preventing incursions into Gaul from the island.

In A.D. 43 the emperor Claudius began the Roman conquest of Britain, establishing bases at present-day London and Colchester. By A.D. 85, Rome controlled Britain south of the Clyde River. There were a number of revolts in the early years of the conquest, the most famous being that of BoadiceaBoadicea
, d. A.D. 61, British queen of the Iceni (of Norfolk), properly called Boudicca. Her husband, King Prasutagus, died in A.D. 59 or 60, leaving half his property to the Roman emperor and half to his daughters.
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. In the 2d cent. A.D., Hadrian's WallHadrian's Wall,
ancient Roman wall, 73.5 mi (118.3 km) long, across the narrow part of the island of Great Britain from Wallsend on the Tyne River to Bowness at the head of Solway Firth. It was mainly built from c.A.D.
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 was constructed as a northern defense line. Under the Roman occupation towns developed, and roads were built to ensure the success of the military occupation. These roads were the most lasting Roman achievement in Britain (see Watling StreetWatling Street
, important ancient road in England, built by the Romans in the course of their military occupation. It ran from London generally north to the intersection with the Fosse Way, c.
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), long serving as the basic arteries of overland transportation in England. Colchester, Lincoln, and Gloucester were founded by the Romans as colonia, settlements of ex-legionaries.

Trade contributed to town prosperity; wine, olive oil, plate, and furnishings were imported, and lead, tin, iron, wheat, and wool were exported. This trade declined with the economic dislocation of the late Roman Empire and the withdrawal of Roman troops to meet barbarian threats elsewhere. The garrisons had been consumers of the products of local artisans as well as of imports; as they were disbanded, the towns decayed. Barbarian incursions became frequent. In 410 an appeal to Rome for military aid was refused, and Roman officials subsequently were withdrawn.

As Rome withdrew its legions from Britain, Germanic peoples—the Anglo-SaxonsAnglo-Saxons,
name given to the Germanic-speaking peoples who settled in England after the decline of Roman rule there. They were first invited by the Celtic King Vortigern, who needed help fighting the Picts and Scots. The Angles (Lat.
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 and the Jutes—began raids that turned into great waves of invasion and settlement in the later 5th cent. The Celts fell back into Wales and Cornwall and across the English Channel to Brittany, and the loosely knit tribes of the newcomers gradually coalesced into a heptarchy of kingdoms (see KentKent,
county (1991 pop. 1,485,600), 1,525 sq mi (3,950 sq km), SE England. It lies between the Thames estuary and the Strait of Dover. The county town is Maidstone, and the county is divided into 12 administrative district: Sevenoaks, Dartford, Gravesham, Tonbridge and Malling,
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, SussexSussex, kingdom of,
one of the Anglo-Saxon heptarchy (seven kingdoms) in England, located S of the Weald. It was settled in the late 5th cent. (according to tradition in 477) by Saxons under Ælle, who defeated the Celts in several battles and established a brief military
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, EssexEssex,
one of the early kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England. It was settled probably in the early 6th cent. by Saxons who traced their royal line back to a continental Saxon god instead of to Woden, as did the rulers of other early kingdoms.
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, WessexWessex
, one of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in England. It may have been settled as early as 495 by Saxons under Cerdic, who is reputed to have landed in Hampshire. Cerdic's grandson, Ceawlin (560–93), annexed scattered Saxon settlements in the Chiltern Hills and drove the
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, East AngliaEast Anglia
, kingdom of Anglo-Saxon England, comprising the modern counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. It was settled in the late 5th cent. by so-called Angles from northern Germany and Scandinavia.
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, MerciaMercia
, one of the kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England, consisting generally of the region of the Midlands. It was settled by Angles c.500, probably first along the Trent valley.
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, and NorthumbriaNorthumbria, kingdom of
, one of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in England. It was originally composed of two independent kingdoms divided by the Tees River, Bernicia (including modern E Scotland, Berwick, Roxburgh, E Northumberland, and Durham) and Deira (including the North and East
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Late in the 8th cent., and with increasing severity until the middle of the 9th cent., raiding VikingsVikings,
Scandinavian warriors who raided the coasts of Europe and the British Isles from the 9th cent. to the 11th cent. During the Neolithic period the Scandinavians had lived in small autonomous communities as farmers, fishermen, and hunters.
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 (known in English history as Danes) harassed coastal England and finally, in 865, launched a full-scale invasion. They were first effectively checked by King AlfredAlfred,
849–99, king of Wessex (871–99), sometimes called Alfred the Great, b. Wantage, Berkshire. Early Life

The youngest son of King Æthelwulf, he was sent in 853 to Rome, where the pope gave him the title of Roman consul.
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 of Wessex and were with great difficulty confined to the DanelawDanelaw
, originally the body of law that prevailed in the part of England occupied by the Danes after the treaty of King Alfred with Guthrum in 886. It soon came to mean also the area in which Danish law obtained; according to the treaty, the boundary between England and
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, where their leaders divided land among the soldiers for settlement. Alfred's successors conquered the Danelaw to form a united England, but new Danish invasions late in the 10th cent. overcame ineffective resistance (see ÆthelredÆthelred,
965?–1016, king of England (978–1016), called Æthelred the Unready [Old Eng. unrœd=without counsel]. He was the son of Edgar and the half-brother of Edward the Martyr, whom he succeeded.
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, 965?–1016). The Dane CanuteCanute
, 995?–1035, king of England, Norway, and Denmark. The younger son of Sweyn of Denmark, Canute accompanied his father on the expedition of 1013 that invaded England and forced Æthelred to flee to Normandy.
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 ruled all England by 1016. At the expiration of the Scandinavian line in 1042, the Wessex dynasty (see Edward the ConfessorEdward the Confessor,
d. 1066, king of the English (1042–66), son of Æthelred the Unready and his Norman wife, Emma. After the Danish conquest (1013–16) of England, Edward grew up at the Norman court, although his mother returned to England and married the
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) regained the throne. The conquest of England in 1066 by William, duke of Normandy (William IWilliam I
or William the Conqueror,
1027?–1087, king of England (1066–87). Earnest and resourceful, William was not only one of the greatest of English monarchs but a pivotal figure in European history as well.
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 of England), ended the Anglo-Saxon period.

The freeman (ceorl) of the early Germanic invaders had been responsible to the king and superior to the serf. Subsequent centuries of war and subsistence farming, however, had forced the majority of freemen into serfdom, or dependence on the aristocracy of lords and thanes, who came to enjoy a large measure of autonomous control over manors granted them by the king (see manorial systemmanorial system
or seignorial system
, economic and social system of medieval Europe under which peasants' land tenure and production were regulated, and local justice and taxation were administered.
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). The central government evolved from tribal chieftainships to become a monarchy in which executive and judicial powers were usually vested in the king. The aristocracy made up his witan, or council of advisers (see witenagemotwitenagemot
[Old Eng.,=meeting of counselors], a session of the counselors (the witan) of a king in Anglo-Saxon England. Such a body existed in each of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.
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). The king set up shires as units of local government ruled by earldormen. In some instances these earldormen became powerful hereditary earls, ruling several shires. Subdivisions of shires were called hundreds. There were shire and hundred courts, the former headed by sheriffs, the latter by reeves. Agriculture was the principal industry, but the Danes were aggressive traders, and towns increased in importance starting in the 9th cent.

The Anglo-Saxons had been Christianized by missionaries from Rome and from Ireland, and the influence of Christianity became strongly manifest in all phases of culture (see Anglo-Saxon literatureAnglo-Saxon literature,
the literary writings in Old English (see English language), composed between c.650 and c.1100.

See also English literature. Poetry
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). Differences between Irish and continental religious customs were decided in favor of the Roman forms at the Synod of Whitby (663). Monastic communities, outstanding in the later 7th and in the 8th cent. and strongly revived in the 10th, developed great proficiency in manuscript illumination. Church scholars, such as Bede, Alcuin, and Aelfric—as well as King Alfred himself—preserved and advanced learning.

Medieval England

A new era in English history began with the Norman ConquestNorman Conquest,
period in English history following the defeat (1066) of King Harold of England by William, duke of Normandy, who became William I of England. The conquest was formerly thought to have brought about broad changes in all phases of English life.
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. William I introduced Norman-style political and military feudalismfeudalism
, form of political and social organization typical of Western Europe from the dissolution of Charlemagne's empire to the rise of the absolute monarchies. The term feudalism is derived from the Latin feodum,
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. He used the feudal system to collect taxes, employed the bureaucracy of the church to strengthen the central government, and made the administration of royal justice more efficient.

After the death of William's second son, Henry IHenry I,
1068–1135, king of England (1100–1135), youngest son of William I. He was called Henry Beauclerc because he could write. He quarreled with his elder brothers, William II of England and Robert II, duke of Normandy, and attempted with little success to
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, the country was subjected to a period of civil war that ended one year before the accession of Henry IIHenry II,
1133–89, king of England (1154–89), son of Matilda, queen of England, and Geoffrey IV, count of Anjou. He was the founder of the Angevin, or Plantagenet, line in England and one of the ablest and most remarkable of the English kings.
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 in 1154. Henry II's reign was marked by the sharp conflict between king and church that led to the murder of Thomas à BecketThomas à Becket, Saint,
or Saint Thomas Becket,
1118–70, English martyr, archbishop of Canterbury, b. London. He is called St. Thomas of Canterbury and occasionally St. Thomas of London.
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. Henry carried out great judicial reforms that increased the power and scope of the royal courts. During his reign, in 1171, began the English conquest of Ireland. As part of his inheritance he brought to the throne Anjou, Normandy, and Aquitaine. The defense and enlargement of these French territories engaged the energies of successive English kings. In their need for money the kings stimulated the growth of English towns by selling them charters of liberties.

Conflict between kings and nobles, which had begun under Richard IRichard I,
 Richard Cœur de Lion
, or Richard Lion-Heart,
1157–99, king of England (1189–99); third son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.
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, came to a head under JohnJohn,
1167–1216, king of England (1199–1216), son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Early Life

The king's youngest son, John was left out of Henry's original division of territory among his sons and was nicknamed John Lackland.
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, who made unprecedented financial demands and whose foreign and church policies were unsuccessful. A temporary victory of the nobles bore fruit in the most noted of all English constitutional documents, the Magna CartaMagna Carta
or Magna Charta
[Lat., = great charter], the most famous document of British constitutional history, issued by King John at Runnymede under compulsion from the barons and the church in June, 1215.
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 (1215). The recurring baronial wars of the 13th cent. (see Barons' WarBarons' War,
in English history, war of 1263–67 between King Henry III and his barons. In 1261, Henry III renounced the Provisions of Oxford (1258) and the Provisions of Westminster (1259), which had vested considerable power in a council of barons, and reasserted his
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; Montfort, Simon de, earl of LeicesterMontfort, Simon de, earl of Leicester,
1208?–1265, leader of the baronial revolt against Henry III of England. Early Life

He was born in France, the son of Simon de Montfort, leader of the Albigensian Crusade.
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) were roughly contemporaneous with the first steps in the development of Parliament.

Edward IEdward I,
1239–1307, king of England (1272–1307), son of and successor to Henry III. Early Life

By his marriage (1254) to Eleanor of Castile Edward gained new claims in France and strengthened the English rights to Gascony.
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 began the conquest of Wales and Scotland. He also carried out an elaborate reform and expansion of the central courts and of other aspects of the legal system. The Hundred Years WarHundred Years War,
1337–1453, conflict between England and France. Causes

Its basic cause was a dynastic quarrel that originated when the conquest of England by William of Normandy created a state lying on both sides of the English Channel. In the 14th cent.
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 with France began (1337) in the reign of Edward III. The Black Death (see plagueplague,
any contagious, malignant, epidemic disease, in particular the bubonic plague and the black plague (or Black Death), both forms of the same infection. These acute febrile diseases are caused by Yersinia pestis (Pasteurella pestis
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) first arrived in 1348 and had a tremendous effect on economic life, hastening the breakdown (long since under way) of the manorial and feudal systems, including the institution of serfdom. At the same time the fast-growing towns and trades gave new prominence to the burgess and artisan classes.

In the 14th cent. the English began exporting their wool, rather than depending on foreign traders of English wool. Later in the century, trade in woolen cloth began to gain on the raw wool trade. The confusion resulting from such rapid social and economic change fostered radical thought, typified in the teachings of John WyclifWyclif, Wycliffe, Wickliffe, or Wiclif, John
, c.1328–1384, English religious reformer. A Yorkshireman by birth, Wyclif studied and taught theology and philosophy at Oxford.
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 (or Wycliffe; see also LollardryLollardry
or Lollardy,
medieval English movement for ecclesiastical reform, led by John Wyclif, whose "poor priests" spread his ideas about the countryside in the late 14th cent.
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, and the revolt led by Wat TylerTyler, Wat,
d. 1381, English rebel. His given name appears in full as Walter; his surname signifies the trade of a roof tiler. He came into prominence as the leader of the rebellion of 1381, known as the Peasants' Revolt.
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. Dynastic wars (see Roses, Wars of theRoses, Wars of the,
traditional name given to the intermittent struggle (1455–85) for the throne of England between the noble houses of York (whose badge was a white rose) and Lancaster (later associated with the red rose).

About the middle of the 15th cent.
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), which weakened both the nobility and the monarchy in the 15th cent., ended with the accession of the Tudor family in 1485.

Tudor England

The reign of the Tudors (1485–1603) is one of the most fascinating periods in English history. Henry VIIHenry VII,
1457–1509, king of England (1485–1509) and founder of the Tudor dynasty. Claim to the Throne

Henry was the son of Edmund Tudor, earl of Richmond, who died before Henry was born, and Margaret Beaufort, a descendant of Edward III through John
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 restored political order and the financial solvency of the crown, bequeathing his son, Henry VIIIHenry VIII,
1491–1547, king of England (1509–47), second son and successor of Henry VII. Early Life

In his youth he was educated in the new learning of the Renaissance and developed great skill in music and sports.
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, a full exchequer. In 1536, Henry VIII brought about the political union of England and Wales. Henry and his minister Thomas CromwellCromwell, Thomas, earl of Essex,
1485?–1540, English statesman. While a young man he lived abroad as a soldier, accountant, and merchant, and on his return (c.1512) to England he engaged in the wool trade and eventually became a lawyer.
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 greatly expanded the central administration. During Henry's reign commerce flourished and the New Learning of the RenaissanceRenaissance
[Fr.,=rebirth], term used to describe the development of Western civilization that marked the transition from medieval to modern times. This article is concerned mainly with general developments and their impact in the fields of science, rhetoric, literature, and
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 came to England. Several factors—the revival of Lollardry, anticlericalism, the influence of humanism, and burgeoning nationalism—climaxed by the pope's refusal to grant Henry a divorce from Katharine of Aragón so that he could remarry and have a male heir—led the king to break with Roman Catholicism and establish the Church of England.

As part of the English Reformation (1529–39), Henry suppressed the orders of monks and friars and secularized their property. Although these actions aroused some popular opposition (see Pilgrimage of GracePilgrimage of Grace,
1536, rising of Roman Catholics in N England. It was a protest against the government's abolition of papal supremacy (1534) and confiscation (1536) of the smaller monastic properties, intensified by grievances against inclosures and high rents and taxes.
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), Henry's judicious use of Parliament helped secure support for his policies and set important precedents for the future of Parliament. England moved farther toward Protestantism under Edward VIEdward VI,
1537–53, king of England (1547–53), son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour. Edward succeeded his father to the throne at the age of nine. Henry had made arrangements for a council of regents, but the council immediately appointed Edward's uncle, Edward
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; after a generally hated Roman Catholic revival under Mary IMary I
(Mary Tudor), 1516–58, queen of England (1553–58), daughter of Henry VIII and Katharine of Aragón. Early Life

While Mary was a child, various husbands were proposed for her—the eldest son of Francis I of France (1518), Holy Roman
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, the Roman tie was again cut under Elizabeth IElizabeth I,
1533–1603, queen of England (1558–1603). Early Life

The daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, she was declared illegitimate just before the execution of her mother in 1536, but in 1544 Parliament reestablished her in the succession after
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, who attempted without complete success to moderate the religious differences among her people.

The Elizabethan age was one of great artistic and intellectual achievement, its most notable figure being William ShakespeareShakespeare, William,
1564–1616, English dramatist and poet, b. Stratford-upon-Avon. He is widely considered the greatest playwright who ever lived. Life
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. National pride basked in the exploits of Sir Francis DrakeDrake, Sir Francis,
1540?–1596, English navigator and admiral, first Englishman to circumnavigate the world (1577–80). Early Career

He was born in Devonshire, the son of a yeoman, and was at an early age apprenticed to a ship captain.
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, Sir John HawkinsHawkins or Hawkyns, Sir John,
1532–95, English admiral. In 1562–63 and in 1564–65 he led extremely profitable expeditions that captured slaves on the W African coast, shipped them across the Atlantic,
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, and the other "sea dogs." Overseas trading companies were formed and colonization attempts in the New World were made by Sir Humphrey GilbertGilbert, Sir Humphrey,
1537?–1583, English soldier, navigator, and explorer; half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh. Knighted (1570) for his service in the campaigns in Ireland, he later (1572) served in the Netherlands.
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 and Sir Walter RaleighRaleigh or Ralegh, Sir Walter
, 1554?–1618, English soldier, explorer, courtier, and man of letters. Early Life

As a youth Raleigh served (1569) as a volunteer in the Huguenot army in France.
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. A long conflict with Spain, growing partly out of commercial and maritime rivalry and partly out of religious differences, culminated in the defeat of the Spanish ArmadaArmada, Spanish
, 1588, fleet launched by Philip II of Spain for the invasion of England, to overthrow the Protestant Elizabeth I and establish Philip on the English throne; also called the Invincible Armada.
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 (1588), although the war continued another 15 years.

Inflated prices (caused, in part, by an influx of precious metals from the New World) and the reservation of land by the process of inclosureinclosure
or enclosure,
in British history, the process of inclosing (with fences, ditches, hedges, or other barriers) land formerly subject to common rights. Such land included fields cultivated by the open-field or strip system, wasteland, and the common pasture land.
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 for sheep pasture (stimulated by the expansion of the wool trade) caused great changes in the social and economic structure of England. The enclosures displaced many tenant farmers from their lands and produced a class of wandering, unemployed "sturdy beggars." The Elizabethan poor lawspoor law,
in English history, legislation relating to public assistance for the poor. Early measures to relieve pauperism were usually designed to suppress vagrancy and begging.
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 were an attempt to deal with this problem. Rising prices affected the monarchy as well, by reducing the value of its fixed customary and hereditary revenues. The country gentry were enriched by the inclosures and by their purchase of former monastic lands, which were also used for grazing. The gentry became leaders in what, toward the end of Elizabeth's reign, was an increasingly assertive Parliament.

The Stuarts

The accession in 1603 of the Stuart James IJames I,
1566–1625, king of England (1603–25) and, as James VI, of Scotland (1567–1625). James's reign witnessed the beginnings of English colonization in North America (Jamestown was founded in 1607) and the plantation of Scottish settlers in Ulster.
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, who was also James VI of Scotland, united the thrones of England and Scotland. The chronic need for money of both James and his son, Charles ICharles I,
1600–1649, king of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1625–49), second son of James I and Anne of Denmark. Early Life

He became heir to the throne on the death of his older brother Henry in 1612 and was made prince of Wales in 1616.
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, which they attempted to meet by unusual and extralegal means; their espousal of the divine right of kings; their determination to enforce their high Anglican preferences in religion; and their use of royal courts such as Star ChamberStar Chamber,
ancient meeting place of the king of England's councilors in the palace of Westminster in London, so called because of stars painted on the ceiling. The court of the Star Chamber developed from the judicial proceedings traditionally carried out by the king and his
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, which were not bound by the common law, to persecute opponents, together produced a bitter conflict with Parliament that culminated (1642) in the English civil warEnglish civil war,
1642–48, the conflict between King Charles I of England and a large body of his subjects, generally called the "parliamentarians," that culminated in the defeat and execution of the king and the establishment of a republican commonwealth.
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In the war the parliamentarians, effectively led at the end by Oliver CromwellCromwell, Oliver
, 1599–1658, lord protector of England. Parliamentary General

The son of a gentry family, he entered Cambridge in 1616 but probably left the next year.
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, defeated the royalists. The king was tried for treason and beheaded (1649). The monarchy was abolished, and the country was governed by the Rump Parliament, the remainder of the last Parliament (the Long Parliament) Charles had called (1640), until 1653, when Cromwell dissolved it and established the ProtectorateProtectorate,
in English history, name given to the English government from 1653 to 1659. Following the English civil war and the execution of Charles I, England was declared (1649) a commonwealth under the rule of the Rump Parliament.
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. Cromwell brutally subjugated Ireland, made a single commonwealth of Scotland and England, and strengthened England's naval power and position in international trade. When he died (1658), his son, Richard, succeeded as Lord Protector but governed ineffectively.

The threat of anarchy led to an invitation by a newly elected Parliament (the Convention Parliament) to Charles, son of Charles I, to become king, ushering in the RestorationRestoration,
in English history, the reestablishment of the monarchy on the accession (1660) of Charles II after the collapse of the Commonwealth (see under commonwealth) and the Protectorate.
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 (1660). It was significant that Parliament had summoned the king, rather than the reverse; it was now clear that to be successful the king had to cooperate with Parliament. The WhigWhig,
English political party. The name, originally a term of abuse first used for Scottish Presbyterians in the 17th cent., seems to have been a shortened form of whiggamor [cattle driver]. It was applied (c.
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 and ToryTory
, English political party. The term was originally applied to outlaws in Ireland and was adopted as a derogatory name for supporters of the duke of York (later James II) at the time (c.
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 parties developed in the Restoration period. Although Charles IICharles II,
1630–85, king of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1660–85), eldest surviving son of Charles I and Henrietta Maria. Early Life

Prince of Wales at the time of the English civil war, Charles was sent (1645) to the W of England with his council,
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 was personally popular, the old issues of religion, money, and the royal prerogative came to the fore again. Parliament revived official Anglicanism (see Clarendon CodeClarendon Code,
1661–65, group of English statutes passed after the Restoration of Charles II to strengthen the position of the Church of England. The Corporation Act (1661) required all officers of incorporated municipalities to take communion according to the rites of
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), but Charles's private sympathies lay with Catholicism. He attempted to bypass Parliament in the matter of revenue by receiving subsidies from Louis XIV of France.

Charles's brother and successor, James IIJames II,
1633–1701, king of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1685–88); second son of Charles I, brother and successor of Charles II. Early Life
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, was an avowed Catholic. James tried to strengthen his position in Parliament by tampering with the methods of selecting members; he put Catholics in high university positions, maintained a standing army (which later deserted him), and claimed the right to suspend laws. The birth (1688) of a male heir, who, it was assumed, would be raised as a Catholic, precipitated a crisis.

In the Glorious RevolutionGlorious Revolution,
in English history, the events of 1688–89 that resulted in the deposition of James II and the accession of William III and Mary II to the English throne. It is also called the Bloodless Revolution.
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, Whig and Tory leaders offered the throne to William of Orange (William IIIWilliam III,
1650–1702, king of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1689–1702); son of William II, prince of Orange, stadtholder of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, and of Mary, oldest daughter of King Charles I of England.
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), whose Protestant wife, Mary, was James's daughter. William and Mary were proclaimed king and queen by Parliament in 1689. The Bill of RightsBill of Rights,
1689, in British history, one of the fundamental instruments of constitutional law. It registered in statutory form the outcome of the long 17th-century struggle between the Stuart kings and the English Parliament.
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 confirmed that sovereignty resided in Parliament. The Act of Toleration (1689) extended religious liberty to all Protestant sects; in subsequent years, religious passions slowly subsided.

By the Act of SettlementSettlement, Act of,
1701, passed by the English Parliament, to provide that if William III and Princess Anne (later Queen Anne) should die without heirs, the succession to the throne should pass to Sophia, electress of Hanover, granddaughter of James I, and to her heirs, if they
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 (1701) the succession to the English throne was determined. Since 1603, with the exception of the 1654–60 portion of the interregnum, Scotland and England had remained two kingdoms united only in the person of the monarch. When it appeared that William's successor, Queen AnneAnne,
1665–1714, queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1702–7), later queen of Great Britain and Ireland (1707–14), daughter of James II and Anne Hyde; successor to William III.
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, Mary's Protestant sister, would not have an heir, the Scottish succession became of concern, since the Scottish Parliament had not passed legislation corresponding to the Act of Settlement. England feared that under a separate monarch Scotland might ally itself with France, or worse still, permit a restoration of the Catholic heirs of James II—although a non-Protestant succession had been barred by the Scottish Parliament. On its part, Scotland wished to achieve economic equality with England. The result was the Act of Union (1707), by which the two kingdoms became one. Scotland obtained representation in (what then became) the British Parliament at Westminster, and the Scottish Parliament was abolished.

The Growth of Empire and Eighteenth-Century Political Developments

The beginnings of Britain's national debt (1692) and the founding of the Bank of EnglandBank of England,
central bank and note-issuing institution of Great Britain. Popularly known as the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street, its main office stands on the street of that name in London. The bank has eight branches, all of which are located in the British Isles.
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 (1694) were closely tied with the nation's more active role in world affairs. Britain's overseas possessions (see British EmpireBritish Empire,
overseas territories linked to Great Britain in a variety of constitutional relationships, established over a period of three centuries. The establishment of the empire resulted primarily from commercial and political motives and emigration movements (see
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) were augmented by the victorious outcome of the War of the Spanish Succession, ratified in the Peace of UtrechtUtrecht, Peace of,
series of treaties that concluded the War of the Spanish Succession. It put an end to French expansion and signaled the rise of the British Empire. By the treaty between England and France (Apr.
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 (1713). Britain emerged from the War of the Austrian Succession and from the Seven Years War as the possessor of the world's greatest empire. The peace of 1763 (see Paris, Treaty ofParis, Treaty of,
any of several important treaties, signed at or near Paris, France. The Treaty of 1763

The Treaty of Paris of Feb. 10, 1763, was signed by Great Britain, France, and Spain.
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) confirmed British predominance in India and North America. Settlements were made in Australia toward the end of the 18th cent.; however, a serious loss was sustained when 13 North American colonies broke away in the American Revolution. Additional colonies were won in the wars against Napoleon INapoleon I
, 1769–1821, emperor of the French, b. Ajaccio, Corsica, known as "the Little Corporal." Early Life

The son of Carlo and Letizia Bonaparte (or Buonaparte; see under Bonaparte, family), young Napoleon was sent (1779) to French military schools at
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, notable for the victories of Horatio NelsonNelson, Horatio Nelson, Viscount,
1758–1805, British admiral. The most famous of Britain's naval heroes, he is commemorated by the celebrated Nelson Column in Trafalgar Square, London.
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 and Arthur Wellesley, duke of WellingtonWellington, Arthur Wellesley, 1st duke of,
1769–1852, British soldier and statesman. Military Achievements
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In Ireland, the Irish Parliament was granted independence in 1782, but in 1798 there was an Irish rebellion. A vain attempt to solve the centuries-old Irish problem was the abrogation of the Irish Parliament and the union (1801) of Great Britain and Ireland, with Ireland represented in the British Parliament.

Domestically the long ministry of Sir Robert WalpoleWalpole, Robert, 1st earl of Orford,
1676–1745, English statesman. Early Life and Career

He was the younger son of a prominent Whig family of Norfolk.
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 (1721–42), during the reigns of George IGeorge I
(George Louis), 1660–1727, king of Great Britain and Ireland (1714–27); son of Sophia, electress of Hanover, and great-grandson of James I. He became (1698) elector of Hanover, fought in the War of the Spanish Succession, and in 1714 succeeded Queen Anne
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 and George IIGeorge II
(George Augustus), 1683–1760, king of Great Britain and Ireland (1727–60), son and successor of George I. Though devoted to Hanover, of which he was elector, George was more active in the English government than his father had been.
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, was a period of relative stability that saw the beginnings of the development of the cabinet as the chief executive organ of government.

The 18th cent. was a time of transition in the growth of the British parliamentary system. The monarch still played a very active role in government, choosing and dismissing ministers as he wished. Occasionally, sentiment in Parliament might force an unwanted minister on him, as when George IIIGeorge III,
1738–1820, king of Great Britain and Ireland (1760–1820); son of Frederick Louis, prince of Wales, and grandson of George II, whom he succeeded. He was also elector (and later king) of Hanover, but he never visited it.
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 was forced to choose Rockingham in 1782, but the king could dissolve Parliament and use his considerable patronage power to secure a new one more amenable to his views.

Great political leaders of the late 18th cent., such as the earl of Chatham (see Chatham, William Pitt, 1st earl ofChatham, William Pitt, 1st earl of
, 1708–78, British statesman, known as the Great Commoner. Proud, dramatic, and patriotic, Chatham excelled as a war minister and orator. He was the father of William Pitt.
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) and his son William PittPitt, William,
1759–1806, British statesman; 2d son of William Pitt, 1st earl of Chatham. Trained as a lawyer, he entered Parliament in 1781 and in 1782 at the age of 23 became chancellor of the exchequer under Lord Shelburne.
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, could not govern in disregard of the crown. Important movements for political and social reform arose in the second half of the 18th cent. George III's arrogant and somewhat anachronistic conception of the crown's role produced a movement among Whigs in Parliament that called for a reform and reduction of the king's power. Edmund BurkeBurke, Edmund,
1729–97, British political writer and statesman, b. Dublin, Ireland. Early Writings

After graduating (1748) from Trinity College, Dublin, he began the study of law in London but abandoned it to devote himself to writing.
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 was a leader of this group, as was the eccentric John WilkesWilkes, John,
1727–97, English politician and journalist. He studied at the Univ. of Leiden, returned to England in 1746, and purchased (1757) a seat in Parliament.
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. The Tory Pitt was also a reformer. These men also opposed Britain's colonial policy in North America.

Outside Parliament, religious dissenters (who were excluded from political office), intellectuals, and others advocated sweeping reforms of established practices and institutions. Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, advocating laissez-fairelaissez-faire
[Fr.,=leave alone], in economics and politics, doctrine that an economic system functions best when there is no interference by government. It is based on the belief that the natural economic order tends, when undisturbed by artificial stimulus or regulation, to
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, appeared in 1776, the same year as the first publication by Jeremy BenthamBentham, Jeremy,
1748–1832, English philosopher, jurist, political theorist, and founder of utilitarianism. Educated at Oxford, he was trained as a lawyer and was admitted to the bar, but he never practiced; he devoted himself to the scientific analysis of morals and
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, the founder of utilitarianism. The cause of reform, however, was greatly set back by the French Revolution and the ensuing wars with France, which greatly alarmed British society. Burke became Britain's leading intellectual opponent of the Revolution, while many British reformers who supported (to varying degrees) the changes in France were branded by British public opinion as extreme Jacobins.

Economic, Social, and Political Change

George III was succeeded by George IVGeorge IV,
1762–1830, king of Great Britain and Ireland (1820–30), eldest son and successor of George III. In 1785 he married Maria Anne Fitzherbert, a Roman Catholic.
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 and William IVWilliam IV,
1765–1837, king of Great Britain and Ireland (1830–37), third son of George III. He went to sea in 1779, served under Admiral George Rodney in action off Cape St. Vincent (1780), and by 1786 was a captain.
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. During the last ten years of his reign, George III was insane, and sovereignty was exercised by the future George IV. This was the "Regency" period. In the mid-18th cent., wealth and power in Great Britain still resided in the aristocracy, the landed gentry, and the commercial oligarchy of the towns. The mass of the population consisted of agricultural laborers, semiliterate and landless, governed locally (in England) by justices of the peace. The countryside was fragmented into semi-isolated agricultural villages and provincial capitals.

However, the period of the late 18th and early 19th cent. was a time of dynamic economic change. The factory system, the discovery and use of steam power, improved inland transportation (canals and turnpikes), the ready supply of coal and iron, a remarkable series of inventions, and men with capital who were eager to invest—all these elements came together to produce the epochal change known as the Industrial RevolutionIndustrial Revolution,
term usually applied to the social and economic changes that mark the transition from a stable agricultural and commercial society to a modern industrial society relying on complex machinery rather than tools.
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The impact of these developments on social conditions was enormous, but the most significant socioeconomic fact of all from 1750 to 1850 was the growth of population. The population of Great Britain (excluding Northern Ireland) grew from an estimated 7,500,000 in 1750 to about 10,800,000 in 1801 (the year of the first national census) and to about 23,130,000 in 1861. The growing population provided needed labor for industrial expansion and was accompanied by rapid urbanization. Urban problems multiplied. At the same time a new period of inclosures (1750–1810; this time to increase the arable farmland) deprived small farmers of their common land. The Speenhamland System (begun in 1795), which supplemented wages according to the size of a man's family and the price of bread, and the Poor Law of 1834 were harsh revisions of the relief laws.

The social unrest following these developments provided a fertile field for MethodismMethodism,
the doctrines, polity, and worship of those Protestant Christian denominations that have developed from the movement started in England by the teaching of John Wesley.
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, which had been begun by John Wesley in the mid-18th cent. Methodism was especially popular in the new industrial areas, in some of which the Church of England provided no services. It has been theorized that by pacifying social unrest Methodism contributed to the prevention of political and social revolution in Britain.

In the 1820s the reform impulse that had been largely stifled during the French Revolution revived. Catholic EmancipationCatholic Emancipation,
term applied to the process by which Roman Catholics in the British Isles were relieved in the late 18th and early 19th cent. of civil disabilities.
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 (1829) restored to Catholics political and civil rights. In 1833 slavery in the British Empire was abolished. (The slave trade had been ended in 1807.) Parliamentary reform was made imperative by the new patterns of population distribution and by the great growth during the industrial expansion in the size and wealth of the middle class, which lacked commensurate political power. The general elections that followed the death of George IV brought to power a Whig ministry committed to parliamentary reform. The Reform Bill of 1832 (see under Reform ActsReform Acts
or Reform Bills,
in British history, name given to three major measures that liberalized representation in Parliament in the 19th cent. Representation of the counties and boroughs in the House of Commons had not, except for the effects of parliamentary
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) enfranchised the middle class and redistributed seats to give greater representation to London and the urban boroughs of N England. Other parliamentary legislation established the institutional basis for efficient city government and municipal services and for government inspection of factories, schools, and poorhouses.

The competitive advantage British exports had gained from the Industrial Revolution lent new force to the arguments for free trade. The efforts of the Anti-Corn-Law League, organized by Richard CobdenCobden, Richard
, 1804–65, British politician, a leading spokesman for the Manchester school. He made a fortune as a calico printer in Manchester. A firm believer in free trade, after 1838 he devoted himself to the formation and work of the Anti-Corn-Law League.
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 and John BrightBright, John,
1811–89, British statesman and orator. He was the son of a Quaker cotton manufacturer in Lancashire. A founder (1839) of the Anti-Corn Law League, he rose to prominence on the strength of his formidable oratory against the corn laws.
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, succeeded in 1846 when Robert PeelPeel, Sir Robert,
1788–1850, British statesman. The son of a rich cotton manufacturer, whose baronetcy he inherited in 1830, Peel entered Parliament as a Tory in 1809.
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 was converted to the cause of free trade, and the corn lawscorn laws,
regulations restricting the export and import of grain, particularly in England. As early as 1361 export was forbidden in order to keep English grain cheap. Subsequent laws, numerous and complex, forbade export unless the domestic price was low and forbade import
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 were repealed. But ChartismChartism,
workingmen's political reform movement in Great Britain, 1838–48. It derived its name from the People's Charter, a document published in May, 1838, that called for voting by ballot, universal male suffrage, annual Parliaments, equal electoral districts, no
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, a mass movement for more thorough political reform, was unsuccessful (1848). Further important reforms were delayed nearly 20 years.

The Reform Bill of 1867, sponsored by Disraeli and the Conservatives for political reasons, enfranchised the urban working classes and was followed shortly (under Gladstone and the Liberals) by enactment of the secret ballot and the first steps toward a national education system. In 1884 a third Reform Bill extended the vote to agricultural laborers. (Women could not vote until 1918.) In the 1880s trade unions, which had first appeared earlier in the century, grew larger and more militant as increasing numbers of unskilled workers were unionized. A coalition of labor and socialist groups, organized in 1900, became the Labour partyLabour party,
British political party, one of the two dominant parties in Great Britain since World War I. Origins

The Labour party was founded in 1900 after several generations of preparatory trade union politics made possible by the Reform Bills of 1867 and 1884,
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 in 1906. In the 19th cent. Britain's economy took on its characteristic patterns. Trade deficits, incurred as the value of food imports exceeded the value of exports such as textiles, iron, steel, and coal, were overcome by income from shipping, insurance services, and foreign investments.

Victorian Foreign Policy

The reign of VictoriaVictoria
(Alexandrina Victoria) , 1819–1901, queen of Great Britain and Ireland (1837–1901) and empress of India (1876–1901). She was the daughter of Edward, duke of Kent (fourth son of George III), and Princess Mary Louise Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld.
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 (1837–1901) covered the period of Britain's commercial and industrial leadership of the world and of its greatest political influence. Initial steps toward granting self-government for Canada were taken at the start of Victoria's reign, while in India conquest and expansion continued. Great Britain's commercial interests, advanced by the British navy, brought on in 1839 the first Opium WarOpium Wars,
1839–42 and 1856–60, two wars between China and Western countries. The first was between Great Britain and China. Early in the 19th cent., British merchants began smuggling opium into China in order to balance their purchases of tea for export to Britain.
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 with China, which opened five Chinese ports to British trade and made Hong Kong a British colony. The aggressive diplomacy of Lord Palmerston in the 1850s and 60s, including involvement in the Crimean WarCrimean War
, 1853–56, war between Russia on the one hand and the Ottoman Empire, Great Britain, France, and Sardinia on the other. The causes of the conflict were inherent in the unsolved Eastern Question.
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, was popular at home.

From 1868 to 1880 political life in Great Britain was dominated by Benjamin DisraeliDisraeli, Benjamin, 1st earl of Beaconsfield
, 1804–81, British statesman and author. He is regarded as the founder of the modern Conservative party.
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 and William E. GladstoneGladstone, William Ewart,
1809–98, British statesman, the dominant personality of the Liberal party from 1868 until 1894. A great orator and a master of finance, he was deeply religious and brought a highly moralistic tone to politics.
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, who differed dramatically over domestic and foreign policy. Disraeli, who had attacked Gladstone for failing to defend Britain's imperial interests, pursued an active foreign policy, determined by considerations of British prestige and the desire to protect the route to India. Under Disraeli (1874–80) the British acquired the Transvaal, the Fiji Islands, and Cyprus, fought frontier wars in Africa and Afghanistan, and became the largest shareholder in the Suez Canal Company. Gladstone strongly condemned Disraeli's expansionist policies, but his later ministries involved Britain in Egypt, Afghanistan, and Uganda.

Gladstone's first ministry (1868–74) had disestablished the Church of England in Ireland, and in 1886, Gladstone unsuccessfully advocated Home RuleHome Rule,
in Irish and English history, political slogan adopted by Irish nationalists in the 19th cent. to describe their objective of self-government for Ireland. Origins of the Home Rule Movement
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 for Ireland. The proposal split the Liberal party and overturned his ministry. In the last decades of the 19th cent. competition with other European powers and enchantment with the glories of empire led Britain to acquire vast territories in Asia and Africa. By the end of the century the country was entangled in the South African WarSouth African War
or Boer War,
1899–1902, war of the South African Republic (Transvaal) and the Orange Free State against Great Britain. Background
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 (1899–1902). Great Britain's period of hegemony was ending, as both Germany and the United States were surpassing it in industrial production.

World War I and Its Aftermath

Victoria was succeeded by her son Edward VIIEdward VII
(Albert Edward), 1841–1910, king of Great Britain and Ireland (1901–10). The eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, he was created prince of Wales almost immediately after his birth.
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, then by his son, George VGeorge V
(George Frederick Ernest Albert), 1865–1936, king of Great Britain and Ireland (1910–36), second son and successor of Edward VII. At the age of 12 he commenced a naval career, but this ended with the death (1892) of his elder brother, the duke of Clarence,
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. The Liberals, in power 1905–15, enacted much social legislation, including old-age pensions, health and unemployment insurance, child health laws, and more progressive taxation. The budget sponsored by David Lloyd GeorgeLloyd George, David, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor
, 1863–1945, British statesman, of Welsh extraction.
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 to finance the Liberals' program brought on a parliamentary struggle that ended in a drastic reduction of the power of the House of Lords (1911). Growing military and economic rivalry with Germany led Great Britain to form ententes with its former colonial rivals, France and Russia (see Triple Alliance and Triple EntenteTriple Alliance and Triple Entente
, two international combinations of states that dominated the diplomatic history of Western Europe from 1882 until they came into armed conflict in World War I.
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In 1914, Germany's violation of Belgium's neutrality, which since 1839 Britain had been pledged to uphold, caused Britain to go to war against Germany (see World War IWorld War I,
1914–18, also known as the Great War, conflict, chiefly in Europe, among most of the great Western powers. It was the largest war the world had yet seen.
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). Although the British emerged as victors, the war took a terrible toll on the nation. About 750,000 men had died and seven million tons of shipping had been lost. In the peace settlement (see Versailles, Treaty ofVersailles, Treaty of,
any of several treaties signed in the palace of Versailles, France. For the Treaty of Versailles of 1783, which ended the American Revolution, see Paris, Treaty of, 1783.
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) Britain acquired, as League of Nations mandates, additional territories in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. But the four years of fighting had drained the nation of wealth and manpower.

The postwar years were a time of great moral disillusionment and material difficulties. To the international problems stemming directly from the war, such as disarmament, reparationsreparations,
payments or other compensation offered as an indemnity for loss or damage. Although the term is used to cover payments made to Holocaust survivors and to Japanese Americans interned during World War II in so-called relocation camps (and used as well to describe
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, and war debtswar debts.
This article discusses the obligations incurred by foreign governments for loans made to them by the United States during and shortly after World War I. For international obligations arising out of World War II, see lend-lease.
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, were added complex domestic economic problems, the task of reorganizing the British EmpireBritish Empire,
overseas territories linked to Great Britain in a variety of constitutional relationships, established over a period of three centuries. The establishment of the empire resulted primarily from commercial and political motives and emigration movements (see
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, and the tangled Irish problem. Northern Ireland was created in 1920, and the Irish Free State (see Ireland, Republic ofIreland, Republic of,
Gaelic, Eire, republic (2005 est. pop. 4,016,000), 27,136 sq mi (70,282 sq km). It occupies all but the northeastern corner of the island of Ireland in the British Isles. (For physical geography and history to 1922, see Ireland.
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) in 1921–22.

The basic domestic economic problem of the post–World War I years was the decline of Britain's traditional export industries, which made it more difficult for the country to pay for its imports of foods and raw materials. A Labour government, under Ramsay MacDonaldMacDonald, Ramsay
(James Ramsay McDonald), 1866–1937, British statesman, b. Scotland. The illegitimate son of a servant, he went as a young man to London, where he joined the Social Democratic Federation (1885) and the Fabian Society (1886).
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, was in power for the first time briefly in 1924. In 1926 the country suffered a general strike. Severe economic stress increased during the worldwide economic depression of the late 1920s and early 30s. During the financial crisis of 1931, George V asked MacDonald to head a coalition government, which took the country off the gold standard, ceased the repayment of war debts, and supplanted free trade with protective tariffs modified by preferential treatment within the empire (see Commonwealth of NationsCommonwealth of Nations,
voluntary association of Great Britain and its dependencies, certain former British dependencies that are now sovereign states and their dependencies, and the associated states (states with full internal government but whose external relations are
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) and with treaty nations.

Recovery from the depression began to be evident in 1933. Although old export industries such as coal mining and cotton manufacturing remained depressed, other industries, such as electrical engineering, automobile manufacture, and industrial chemistry, were developed or strengthened. George V was succeeded by Edward VIIIEdward VIII,
1894–1972, king of Great Britain and Ireland (1936), known in later years as the duke of Windsor; eldest son of George V. He attended the naval colleges at Osborne and Dartmouth and Magdalen College, Oxford. In 1911 he was made prince of Wales.
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, after whose abdication (1936) George VIGeorge VI
(Albert Frederick Arthur George), 1895–1952, king of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (1936–52), second son of George V; successor of his elder brother, Edward VIII. He attended the royal naval colleges at Osborne and Dartmouth and served in World War I.
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 came to the throne. In 1937, Neville ChamberlainChamberlain, Neville
(Arthur Neville Chamberlain), 1869–1940, British statesman; son of Joseph Chamberlain and half-brother of Sir Austen Chamberlain. The first half of his career was spent in business and, after 1911, in the city government of Birmingham, of which he
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 became prime minister.

The years prior to the outbreak of World War II were characterized by the ineffective attempts to stem the rising tide of German and Italian aggression. The League of Nations, in which Britain was a leader, declined rapidly by failing to take decisive action, and British prestige fell further because of a policy of nonintervention in the Spanish civil warSpanish civil war,
1936–39, conflict in which the conservative and traditionalist forces in Spain rose against and finally overthrew the second Spanish republic. The Second Republic
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. Appeasement of the Axis powers, which was the policy of the Chamberlain government, reached its climactic failure (as became evident later) in the Munich PactMunich Pact,
1938. In the summer of 1938, Chancellor Hitler of Germany began openly to support the demands of Germans living in the Sudetenland (see Sudetes) of Czechoslovakia for an improved status. In September, Hitler demanded self-determination for the Sudetenland.
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 of Sept., 1938. Great Britain had begun to rearm in 1936 and, after Munich, instituted conscription. With the signing of the Soviet-German pact of Aug., 1939, war was recognized as inevitable.

World War II and the Welfare State

On Sept. 1, 1939, Germany attacked Poland. Great Britain and France declared war on Germany on Sept. 3, and all the dominions of the Commonwealth except Ireland followed suit (see World War IIWorld War II,
1939–45, worldwide conflict involving every major power in the world. The two sides were generally known as the Allies and the Axis. Causes and Outbreak
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). Chamberlain broadened his cabinet to include Labour representatives, but after German victories in Scandinavia he resigned (May, 1940) and was replaced by Winston S. ChurchillChurchill, Sir Winston Leonard Spencer,
1874–1965, British statesman, soldier, and author; son of Lord Randolph Churchill. Early Career

Educated at Harrow and Sandhurst, he became (1894) an officer in the 4th hussars.
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. France fell in June, 1940, but the heroic rescue of a substantial part of the British army from DunkirkDunkirk
, Fr. Dunkerque, town (1990 pop. 71,071), Nord dept., N France, on the North Sea. It is a leading French port with daily ferry service to Ramsgate and Dover, England.
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 (May–June) enabled Britain, now virtually alone, to remain in the war.

The nation withstood intensive bombardment (see Battle of BritainBattle of Britain,
in World War II, series of air battles between Great Britain and Germany, fought over Britain from Aug. to Oct., 1940. As a prelude to a planned invasion of England, the German Luftwaffe attacked British coastal defenses, radar stations, and shipping. On Aug.
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), but ultimately the Royal Air Force was able to drive off the Luftwaffe. Extensive damage was sustained, and great urban areas, including large sections of London, were devastated. The British people rose to a supreme war effort; American aid (see lend-leaselend-lease,
arrangement for the transfer of war supplies, including food, machinery, and services, to nations whose defense was considered vital to the defense of the United States in World War II. The Lend-Lease Act, passed (1941) by the U.S.
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) provided vital help. In 1941, Great Britain gained two allies when Germany invaded the USSR (June) and the United States entered the war following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (Dec. 7). Britain declared war on Japan on Dec. 8.

The wartime alliance of Great Britain, the USSR, and the United States led to the formation of the United NationsUnited Nations
(UN), international organization established immediately after World War II. It replaced the League of Nations. In 1945, when the UN was founded, there were 51 members; 193 nations are now members of the organization (see table entitled United Nations Members).
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 and brought about the defeat of Germany (May, 1945) and Japan (Sept., 1945). The British economy suffered severely from the war. Manpower losses had been severe, including about 420,000 dead; large urban areas had to be rebuilt, and the industrial plant needed reconstruction and modernization. Leadership in world trade, shipping, and banking had passed to the United States, and overseas investments had been largely liquidated to pay the cost of the world wars. This was a serious blow to the British economy because the income from these activities had previously served to offset the import-export deficit.

In 1945, the first general elections in ten years were held (they had been postponed because of the war) and Clement AttleeAttlee, Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl
, 1883–1967, British statesman. Educated at Oxford, he was called to the bar in 1905.
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 and the Labour party were swept into power. Austere wartime economic controls were continued, and in 1946 the United States extended a large loan. The United States made further assistance available in 1948 through the Marshall PlanMarshall Plan
or European Recovery Program,
project instituted at the Paris Economic Conference (July, 1947) to foster economic recovery in certain European countries after World War II. The Marshall Plan took form when U.S. Secretary of State George C.
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. In 1949 the pound was devalued (in terms of U.S. dollars, from $4.03 to $2.80) to make British exports more competitive.

The Labour government pursued from the start a vigorous program of nationalization of industry and extension of social services. The Bank of England, the coal industry, communications facilities, civil aviation, electricity, and internal transport were nationalized, and in 1948 a vast program of socialized medicine was instituted (many of these programs followed the recommendations of wartime commissions). Also in 1948, Labour began the nationalization of the steel industry, but the law did not become effective until 1951, after Churchill and the Conservatives had returned to office. The Conservatives denationalized the trucking industry and all but one of the steel companies and ended direct economic controls, but they retained Labour's social reforms. Elizabeth IIElizabeth II,
1926–, queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (1952–), elder daughter and successor of George VI, and Britain's longest reigning monarch. At age 18 she was made a State Counsellor, a confidante of the king.
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 succeeded George VI in 1952.

In postwar foreign affairs Great Britain's loss of power was also evident. Britain had undertaken to help Greece and Turkey resist Communist subversion, but the financial burden proved too great, and the task was assumed (1947) by the United States. The British Empire underwent rapid transformation. British India was partitioned (1947) into two self-governing states, India and Pakistan. In Palestine, unable to maintain peace between Arabs and Jews, Britain turned its mandate over to the United Nations. Groundwork was laid for the independence of many other colonies; like India and Pakistan, most of them remained in the Commonwealth after independence. Great Britain joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (1949) and fought on the United Nations' side in the Korean War (1950–53).

The Conservative governments of Churchill and his successor, Anthony EdenEden, Anthony, 1st earl of Avon
, 1897–1977, British statesman. After service in World War I he attended Oxford and entered (1923) Parliament as a Conservative.
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 (1955), were beset by numerous difficulties in foreign affairs, including the nationalization (1951) of British petroleum fields and refineries in Iran, the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya (1952–56), turmoil in Cyprus (1954–59), and the problem of apartheidapartheid
[Afrik.,=apartness], system of racial segregation peculiar to the Republic of South Africa, the legal basis of which was largely repealed in 1991–92. History
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 in South Africa. The nationalization (1956) of the Suez Canal by Egypt touched off a crisis in which Britain, France, and Israel invaded Egypt. Opposition by the United States brought about a halt of the invasion and withdrawal of the troops.

The 1960s and 70s

Great Britain helped to form (1959) the European Free Trade AssociationEuropean Free Trade Association
(EFTA), customs union and trading bloc; its current members are Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. EFTA was established in 1960 by Austria, Denmark, Great Britain, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, and Switzerland.
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 (EFTA), but in 1961 the government of Harold MacmillanMacmillan, (Maurice) Harold, 1st earl of Stockton,
1894–1986, British statesman. A descendant of the founder of the publishing house of Macmillan and Company, he was educated at Eton and at Oxford and served in
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 announced its decision to seek membership in the European Economic CommunityEuropean Economic Community
(EEC), organization established (1958) by a treaty signed in 1957 by Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany (now Germany); it was known informally as the Common Market.
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. Because of French opposition as well as Britain's request for special considerations for the countries of the Commonwealth and of EFTA, agreement on British entry was not reached until 1971. Britain finally entered what had become the European Community (now the European Union [EU]) in Jan., 1973.

Labour returned to power in 1964 under Harold WilsonWilson, Harold
(James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx), 1916–95, British statesman. A graduate of Oxford, he became an economics lecturer there (1937) and a fellow of University College (1938).
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, and the steel industry was renationalized. The country faced the compound economic problems of a very unfavorable balance of trade, the instability of the pound sterling, a lagging rate of economic growth, and inflationary wages and prices. A number of sterling crises were followed by government controls and cutbacks.

Britain supported U.S. policy in Vietnam. The policy of granting independence to colonial possessions continued; however, Rhodesia (see ZimbabweZimbabwe
, formerly Rhodesia,
officially Republic of Zimbabwe, republic (2005 est. pop. 12,747,000), 150,803 sq mi (390,580 sq km), S central Africa. It is bordered on the north by Zambia, on the northeast and east by Mozambique, on the south by South Africa, and on
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) became a problem when its government, representing only the white minority, unilaterally declared its independence in 1965. Another problem was Spain's demand for the return of Gibraltar. A major crisis erupted in Northern Ireland in late 1968 when Catholic civil-rights demonstrations turned into violent confrontations between Catholics and Protestants. British army units were dispatched in an unsuccessful attempt to restore calm. In 1972 the British government suspended the Northern Ireland Parliament and government and assumed direct control of the province. The sectarian terrorist violence that resulted from the unrest continued to be a significant problem in Northern Ireland into the 1990s.

The Conservatives under Edward HeathHeath, Sir Edward Richard George,
1916–2005, British statesman. Educated at Oxford, he served in the Royal Artillery during World War II, rising to the rank of colonel.
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 returned to power in Britain in 1970. At the end of 1973 the country underwent its worst economic crisis since World War II. The balance of payments deficit, after improving in the late 1960s, had worsened. Serious inflation had led to widespread labor unrest in the critical coal-mining, railroad, and electrical industries, leading to a shortage of coal, Britain's main energy source. A further blow, following the 1973 war in the Middle East, was the reduction in oil shipments by several Arab states and a steep increase in the price of oil.

When coal miners voted to strike in early 1974, Heath called an election in an attempt to bolster his position in resisting the miners' demands. Neither Labour nor the Conservatives emerged from that election with a plurality in the Commons. After an unsuccessful attempt to form a minority government, Heath resigned (Mar., 1974) and was succeeded as prime minister by Harold Wilson, who moved immediately to settle the miners' dispute.

In the elections of Oct., 1974, the Labour party won a slim majority; Wilson continued as prime minister. The early 1970s brought the development of oil and natural gas fields in the North Sea, which helped to decrease Britain's reliance on coal and foreign fuel. Wilson resigned and was succeeded by James CallaghanCallaghan of Cardiff, Leonard James Callaghan, Baron,
1912–2005, British statesman. He was first elected to Parliament as a Labour member in 1945. As chancellor of the exchequer (1964–67), he introduced extremely controversial taxation policies, including employment
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 in Apr., 1976. Neither Wilson nor Callaghan was able to resolve growing disagreements with the unions, and unrest among industrial workers became the dominant note of the late 1970s. In Mar., 1979, Callaghan left office after losing a no-confidence vote.

The Thatcher Era to the Present

In May, 1979, the Conservatives returned to power under the leadership of Margaret ThatcherThatcher, Margaret Hilda Roberts Thatcher, Baroness,
1925–2013, British political leader. Great Britain's first woman prime minister, nicknamed the "Iron Lady" for her uncompromising political stance, Thatcher served longer than any other British prime minister in the 20th
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, who set out to reverse the postwar trend toward socialism by reducing government borrowing, freezing expenditures, and privatizing state-owned industries. Thatcher also managed to break union resistance through a series of laws that included the illegalization of secondary strikes and boycotts. A violent, unsuccessful yearlong miners' strike (1984–85) was Thatcher's most serious union confrontation.

Thatcher gained increased popularity by her actions in the Falkland IslandsFalkland Islands
, Span. Islas Malvinas, group of islands (2012 pop. 2,563), 4,618 sq mi (11,961 sq km), S Atlantic, c.300 mi (480 km) E of the Strait of Magellan. The islands are a British overseas territory; the capital is Stanley.
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 conflict with Argentina; she led the Conservatives to victory again in 1983 and 1987, the latter an unprecedented third consecutive general election win. In 1985, Great Britain agreed that Hong Kong would revert to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. In 1986, the Channel TunnelChannel Tunnel,
popularly called the "Chunnel," a three-tunnel railroad connection running under the English Channel, connecting Folkestone, England, and Calais, France. The tunnels are 31 mi (50 km) long. There are two rail tunnels, each 25 ft (7.
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 project was begun with France; the rail link with the European mainland opened in 1994.

A decade of Thatcher's economic policies resulted in a marked disparity between the developed southern economy and the decaying industrial centers of the north. Her unpopular stands on some issues, such as her opposition to greater British integration in Europe, caused a Conservative party revolt that led her to resign in Nov., 1990, whereupon John MajorMajor, John,
1943–, British statesman, b. John Major Ball. Raised in a working-class area of London, he was elected to Lambeth borough council (1968–71) and entered Parliament as a Conservative in 1979.
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 became party leader and prime minister. Despite a lingering recession, the Conservatives retained power in the 1992 general election.

A peace initiative opened by Prime Minister Major in 1993 led to cease-fires in 1994 by the Irish Republican Army and Loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland. Peace efforts foundered early in 1996, as the IRA again resorted to terrorist bombings. In July, 1997, the IRA declared a new cease-fire, and talks begun in September of that year included Sinn FéinSinn Féin
[Irish,=we, ourselves], Irish nationalist movement. It had its roots in the Irish cultural revival at the end of the 19th cent. and the growing nationalist disenchantment with the constitutional Home Rule movement.
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. An accord reached in 1998 provided for a new regional assembly to be established in Belfast, but formation of the government was hindered by disagreement over guerrilla disarmament. With resolution of those issues late in 1999, direct rule was ended in Northern Ireland, but tensions over disarmament have led to several lengthy suspensions of home rule since then.

The Major government was beset by internal scandals and by an intraparty rift over the degree of British participation in the European UnionEuropean Union
(EU), name given since the ratification (Nov., 1993) of the Treaty of European Union, or Maastricht Treaty, to the

European Community (EC), an economic and political confederation of European nations, and other organizations (with the same member
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 (EU), but Major called a Conservative party leadership election for July, 1995, and easily triumphed. In Nov., 1995, three divisions of British Rail were sold off in Britain's largest-ever privatization by direct sale. Britain's sometimes stormy relationship with the EU was heightened in 1996 when an outbreak of "mad cow disease" (see prionprion
, abnormal form of a protein found in mammals, believed to cause a group of diseases known as

prion diseases or transmissible spongiform encephalopathies.
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) in England led the EU to ban the sale of British beef; the crisis eased when British plans for controlling the disease were approved by the EU. Although the EU ban was ended in 1999, France continued its own ban on British beef, causing a strain in British-French relations and within the EU. In 2001, British livestock farmers were again hurt by an outbreak of disease, this time foot-and-mouth diseasefoot-and-mouth disease
or hoof-and-mouth disease,
highly contagious disease almost exclusive to cattle, sheep, swine, goats, and other cloven-hoofed animals. It is caused by a virus, specifically an aphthovirus, that was identified in 1897.
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In the elections of May, 1997, Labour won 418 seats in the House of Commons by following a centrist political strategy. Tony BlairBlair, Tony
(Anthony Charles Lynton Blair), 1953–, British politician, b. Edinburgh. An Oxford-educated lawyer, he was first elected to Parliament in 1983 as the Labour party candidate from a district in N England.
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, head of what he called the "New Labour" party, became prime minister. In August, Britain mourned Princess DianaDiana,
princess of Wales, 1961–97, wife of Charles, prince of Wales, heir to the British throne. The daughter of the 8th Earl Spencer, Lady Diana Frances Spencer was a kindergarten teacher in London before her 1981 marriage to Charles.
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, the former wife of Prince Charles, who was killed in a car accident in Paris. Blair's pledge to decentralize government was endorsed in September, when Scotland and Wales both voted to establish legislative bodies, giving them a stronger voice in their domestic affairs. A bill passed by both houses of Parliament in 1999 stripped most hereditary peers of their right to sit and vote in the House of Lords; the shape of the reconstituted upper chamber is to be studied by a commission. Blair and Labour again trounced the Conservatives in June, 2001, though the victory was not so much a vote of confidence in Labour as a rejection of the opposition.

Following the devastating Sept., 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, the British government became the most visible international supporter of the Bush administration in its war on terrorism. Government officials visited Muslim nations to seek their participation in the campaign, and British forces joined the Americans in launching attacks against Afghanistan after the Taliban government refused to hand over Osama bin Ladenbin Laden, Osama or Usama
, 1957?–2011, Saudi-born leader of Al Qaeda, a terrorist organization devoted to uniting all Muslims and establishing a transnational, strict-fundamentalist Islamic state.
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. The Blair government was also a strong supporter of the United States' position that military action should be taken against Iraq if UN weapons inspections were not resumed under new, stricter conditions, and committed British forces to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq that began in Mar., 2003.

Blair's strong support for the invasion, and the failure to find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, were factors in Labour's third-place finish in the June, 2004, local elections; the results reflected the British public's dissatisfaction with the country's involvement in Iraq. Labour, and the Conservative party as well, suffered losses in the subsequent European parliament elections, which saw the anti-EU United Kingdom Independence party double its vote to 16%. In the 2005 parliamentary elections the issue of Iraq again hurt Blair and Labour, whose large parliamentary majority was significantly reduced. Nonetheless, the election marked the first time a Labour government had secured a third consecutive term at the polls.

On July, 7, 2005, London experienced four coordinated bombing on its underground and bus system that killed more 50 people and injured some 700. The attacks, which broadly resembled the Mar., 2004, bombings in Madrid, appeared to be the work of Islamic suicide bombers; three of the suspected bombers were born in Britain. Evidence uncovered by the British police indicated that the attacks may have been directed by a member of Al QaedaAl Qaeda
or Al Qaida
[Arab.,=the base], Sunni Islamic terrorist organization with the stated goals of uniting all Muslims and establishing a transnational, strict-fundamentalist Islamic state.
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. A second set of suicide bombings was attempted later in the month, but the bombs failed to detonate.

Prime Minister Blair suffered the first legislative defeat of his tenure in Nov., 2005, when the House of Commons refused to extend, to the degree that he had sought, the time that a terror suspect could be held in custody without being charged. He subsequently had difficulties in early 2006 securing passage of education reforms, and he and the Labour party also were embarrassed by revelations that wealthy individuals who had made campaign loans to the party that had been kept secret (a legal practice) had been nominated for peerages. In the May, 2006, local elections in England, Labour placed third in terms of the overall vote, leading Blair to reshuffle his cabinet.

Under pressure from many in his party step aside for a successor, Blair announced in September that he would resign as prime minister sometime in 2007. When he stepped down in June, 2007, Gordon BrownBrown, Gordon
(James Gordon Brown), 1951–, British politician. From 1975 to 1980 he taught at Edinburgh Univ. and Glasgow College of Technology; he then joined Scottish Television (1980–83) as a journalist.
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, who had served a decade as chancellor of the exchequer under Blair, succeeded him as prime minister. In July, England experienced its worst flooding in 60 years, primarily on the Severn, Thames, and Ock. Local electons in May, 2008, were seen as a rejection of Brown and Labour, as Labour again placed third in the popular vote. Great Britain was among the nations strongly affected by the global financial crisis in 2008 and subsequent recession, and in Oct., 2008, as the severity of the crisis became evident, Prime Minister Brown took the lead internationally in attempting to stabilize the financial system by recapitalizing a number of major banks with government funds. However, his government also used Britain's antiterrorist laws to freeze British assets of Icelandic banks in an attempt to protect their British depositors, a move that accelerated and aggravated the collapse of those banks.

In May, 2009, Britain's political parties became enveloped in a scandal over inappropriate expenses claimed by members of Parliament. Revelations concerning those expenses led a number of legislators to announce they would not run again. Several government ministers resigned—some as a result of the scandal, some in protest against it and the prime minister—and the speaker of the House of Commons, accused of failing to prevent the abuses and of trying to prevent release of the information, was forced to step down. Some £500,000 in expenses were returned. The scandal affected all the parties, but especially Labour, which suffered significant losses in the local English and European parliament elections held in June.

In the May, 2010, parliamentary elections, the lingering effects of the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession, the parliamentary expenses scandal, and other issues led to a Labour defeat, but the Conservatives failed to win a majority and formed a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, Britain's first coalition government since the 1940s. Conservative leader David CameronCameron, David William Duncan
, 1966–, British politician, b. London. Educated at Eton and Oxford, he worked for the Conservative party's research department beginning in 1988, became an adviser to two high-ranking government ministers, and headed corporate communications
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 became prime minister. The new government adopted plans for sizable government budget cuts and tax increases as well as other measures to reduce the government deficit and debt, the most significant such changes since Margaret Thatcher's prime ministership.

The deficit and debt reduction measures, however, created tensions among the Liberal Democrats, and the Conservative party's strident campaign against an alternative voting method for British elections, a referendum on which had been secured by the Liberal Democrats when they joined the coalition, also led to tensions. Voters subsequently rejected (May, 2011) the voting proposal and also handed Liberal Democrat candidates a sweeping defeat in the concurrent local elections. Tensions within the coalition were visible again in Dec., 2011, when Cameron vetoed European Union treaty changes, proposed as part of a EU response to the financial crisis affecting a number of eurozone nations, after he failed to win protection guarantees from other EU nations for British financial companies. Liberal Democrats were publicly critical of the veto.

The country experienced several days of riots in Aug., 2011, after a man was killed by police in Tottenham, London; rioting and looting spread first to other parts of London and then to other English cities. The riots ultimately were suppressed by the use of police in force. In October, Britain and those Commonwealth nations having the British monarch as head of state agreed to alter the terms of succession so that in the future the children of an heir to the throne would inherit the throne on the basis of birth order; previously, male children had precedence over female ones. (The Succession to the Crown Act 2013 enacted the Commonwealth decision of Oct., 2011, in Great Britain.)

The country slipped back into recession in late 2011 and early 2012. In mid-2012, attempts by the governing coalition to reform the House of Lords as a largely elected body, a goal of the Liberal Democrats, failed when a large number of Conservative members of Parliament opposed the plan. In Jan., 2013, Cameron promised a referendum on Britain's EU membership if his party remained in power after the 2015 elections. The winter of 2013–14 saw a series of strong storms in Britain, leading to damage and flooding in a number of coastal areas. In early 2014, heavy rains in S Britain also led to flooding, especially in the Somerset Levels and areas along the Thames. Following EU elections in May in which anti-EU parties made significant gains in Britain and some other European nations, Cameron publicly objected to the nomination of Jean-Claude JunckerJuncker, Jean-Claude,
1954–, Luxembourg political leader. A member of the Christian Social People's party, he was first elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1984.
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 as European Commission president; Cameron unsuccessfully argued that the EU should choose someone less identified with EU integration. In a 2014 referendum, Scottish voters rejected independence; in the campaign leading up to the voting, Cameron promised increased powers for the parliament of Scotland (and for all the constituent divisions of the United Kingdom). In 2015 Parliament approved a measure that allowed English (or English and Welsh) members of Parliament a collective veto on any laws deemed by the Speaker of the Commons to affect England (or England and Wales) only.


Useful analytical guides to the vast body of literature on Great Britain are G. R. Elton, Modern Historians on British History, 1485–1945: A Critical Bibliography, 1945–1969 (1971) and P. Catterall, British History, 1945–1987: An Annotated Bibliography (1991). For the different periods, see G. Davies, Bibliography of British History: Stuart Period, 1603–1714 (1928; 2d ed., ed. by M. F. Keeler, 1970); C. L. Mowat, Great Britain since 1914 (1971); E. B. Graves, ed., Bibliography of English History to Fourteen Eighty-five (1975); H. J. Hanham, ed., Bibliography of British History Eighteen Fifty-one to Nineteen Fourteen (1976); C. Read, Bibliography of British History: Tudor Period, 1485–1603 (2d ed. 1959, repr. 1978).

For a standard general history, see Sir George Clark, ed., The Oxford History of England (2d ed., 16 vol., 1937–91). Other useful sources of information include: UK: The Official Yearbook of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, published annually by the British government since 1948 (before 2002 entitled Britain: An Official Handbook); D. Keir, The Constitutional History of Modern Britain since 1485 (9th ed. 1969); P. Mathias, The First Industrial Nation: An Economic History of Britain, 1700–1914 (1969); G. S. Graham, A Concise History of the British Empire (1971); F. E. Halliday, A Concise History of England (1980); E. B. Fryde et al., Handbook of British Chronology (3d ed. 1986, repr. 1996); F. M. L. Thompson, ed., The Cambridge Social History of Britain, 1750–1950 (1990); N. Davies, The Isles: A History (2000); S. Schama, A History of Britain (3 vol., 2000–2003); P. Ackroyd, Foundation (2012), Tudors (2013), and Rebellion (2014); B. Cunliffe, Britain Begins (2013).

See also C. B. Cox and A. E. Dyson, ed., The Twentieth-Century Mind: History, Ideas and Literature in Britain (3 vol., 1972); C. Barnett, The Collapse of British Power (1972, repr. 1986); R. J. Johnston and J. C. Doornkamp, ed., The Changing Geography of the United Kingdom (1982); T. O. Lloyd, Empire to Welfare State: English History, 1906–1985 (1986); H. Joshi, ed., The Changing Population of Britain (1989); J. Mohan, ed., The Political Geography of Contemporary Britain (1989); A. Selkirk, The Riches of British Archaeology (1989); A. G. Champion and A. R. Townsend, Contemporary Britain: A Geographical Perspective (1990); A. Cairncross, The British Economy since 1945 (1992); M. Kishlansky, A Monarchy Transformed: Britain 1603–1714 (1997); H. Young, This Blessed Plot: Britain and Europe from Churchill to Blair (1999); P. J. Cain and A. G. Hopkins, British Imperialism, 1688–2000 (2003); T. Claydon, Europe and the Making of England, 1660–1760 (2007).

Great Britain


(official title, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland).

Great Britain is an island state northwest of Europe; it occupies the island of Great Britain, the northeastern part of the island of Ireland, and islands of Anglesey, Wight, Channel, Orkney, Hebrides, Shetland, and a number of smaller ones. The western coasts of Britain are open to the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, and the eastern and southern shores, which face Western Europe, are washed by the North Sea as well as by the narrow English Channel and Strait of Dover. Area, 244,100 sq km. Population, 55.5 million (as of 1969). Capital, London.

Britain consists of four historical and geographical regions (see Table 1). Administratively, it is divided into counties and cities with the rights of counties. Greater London is set aside as a special administrative unit (with 32 districts).

Table 1. Composition of the territory of Great Britain
 Area (sq km)Population (1968)Capital
England ...............130,30045,900,000London
Wales ...............20,8002,700,000Cardiff
Scotland ...............78,8005,200,000Edinburgh
Northern Ireland (Ulster) ...............14,1001,500,000Belfast

Britain stands at the head of the Commonwealth, which includes former and remaining dominions and the majority of former colonies that achieved independence after World War II (1939-45). Over the period from 1938 to 1969 colonial possessions were reduced in area from 14.5 million sq km to 1 million sq km and in population from 454 million to 10 million.

Britain is a parliamentary monarchy. It does not have a single constitutional document; instead, the unwritten constitution of Britain has evolved over several centuries, and it consists of parliamentary laws (the so-called statutory law), judicial precedents, and constitutional agreements or customs. The statutory foundation of the British constitution is composed of several important documents such as the Magna Carta (1215), the Petition of Right (1628), the Habeas Corpus Act (1679), the Bill of Rights (1689), the Statute of Westminster (1931), the Representation of the People Act (1948), the Reform of the House of Lords Act (1968), and the Representation of the People Act (1969).

Higher organs of state power. The chief of state is the king (or queen). Royal power is for life and is inherited by the monarch’s direct descendants in the male line, and in case there are none, in the female line, according to seniority. The monarch is considered to be the supreme bearer of executive power, the head of the judicial system, the supreme commander in chief of the armed forces, the temporal head of the Anglican Church, and the head of the Commonwealth. Juridically the monarch has the right to appoint the prime minister, the other ministers, judges, diplomats, officers of the army, navy, and air force, bishops and archbishops, and governors, as well as concluding international treaties, declaring war, and concluding peace. The monarch is considered to be an integral part of Parliament, the so-called Crown-in-Parliament, and in this capacity summons Parliament into session, which is opened by his speech from the throne. The monarch also has the power to dissolve the House of Commons and to sanction bills that have been adopted by Parliament and possesses the right to confer the titles of peer, baron, knight, and other honorific titles. The monarch publishes so-called edict acts in council, bestows charters, and so on. But in fact the monarch of England is only the nominal chief of state (who reigns but does not rule); the royal powers and prerogatives are almost entirely in the hands of the executive authority—the cabinet of ministers.

In a formal sense the supreme organ of royal rule is the Privy Council, which includes especially honored people for life (over 300 persons). But in practice this body has not functioned for 150 years.

The highest organ of legislative power is Parliament, which consists of the king (or queen), the House of Lords, and the House of Commons. These component parts of Parliament are considered independent of each other, since they are constructed on different principles, have separate residences, and different powers; however, in order that laws may be adopted, it is usually necessary that they come to an agreement.

The general national representative institution of Britain is the lower house—the House of Commons—which has 630 members (511 from England, 36 from Wales, 71 from Scotland, and 12 from Northern Ireland). In the House of Commons elected in 1970, 330 seats were held by the Conservatives, 287 by the Labour Party, six by the Liberals, and seven by Independents and representatives of minor political groups. The term of office in the House of Commons is five years. By law a person elected to the House of Commons may be any British subject who has reached the age of 21, but there are certain rather broad exceptions to this declared regulation. The following categories of persons cannot be elected to the House of Commons: peers, clergy, certain categories of pensioners, bankrupt persons, people who have been convicted of certain types of crimes, judges, civil servants, persons serving in the armed forces and police, and the mentally ill. A member of Parliament receives a salary of £ 3,250 per annum. The election of members to the House of Commons is conducted according to the uninominal (one member from each district), plurality system relative to the majority; that candidate is considered as elected who has won more votes than each of his opponents individually. In order to put up a candidate, it is necessary that several voters make a declaration to this effect and make a deposit of £ 150 (this deposit is not returned if the candidate wins less than one-eighth of the total number of votes cast in the given electoral district). Active suffrage is granted to all legally entitled British subjects of both sexes who have reached the age of 18 and have lived within the electoral district for at least three months, with the exception of peers, election officials, the mentally ill, and those persons deprived of the right to vote by a court. The lists of voters are published on March 15 of each year. Voting is in secret; voting by mail and by proxy is allowed.

The upper house of the British Parliament, the House of Lords, is an archaic institution that consists of temporal and spiritual peers (more than 1,000 persons). The temporal peers are divided into three groups: the hereditary peers and peeresses of England, Scotland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom who have not renounced their titles in accordance with the Peerage Act of 1963; life peers and peeresses, appointed by the Crown in accordance with the Life Peerage Act of 1958; and lords by appellation, appointed in accordance with the Juridical Appellation Act of 1876 in order to conduct the juridical powers and functions of the House of Lords. Included in the category of spiritual peers are the archbishops of Canterbury and York, the bishops of London, Durham, and Winchester, as well as 21 bishops of the Anglican Church, who occupy seats in the House of Lords by seniority.

In a formal sense Parliament is the absolute summit of power, since there exist no juridical limitations whatsoever upon its powers, but in fact the adoption of laws and the budget is carried out by the government. The legal rights enjoyed by the two houses of Parliament are different. Financial bills may only be introduced in the House of Commons, and their adoption does not require the concurrence of the House of Lords. However, the House of Lords retains the right to postpone final approval of other bills. Thus, although the House of Lords occupies a subordinate position in the legislative process, under specific circumstances it can slow bills that have been adopted by the House of Commons. The procedure for passing bills in both houses is approximately the same; however, the chairman of the House of Commons, the speaker, has broad powers and can decisively affect the entire course of its work, whereas the lord chancellor, who presides in the House of Lords, is deprived of these powers. The monarch has the right to finally reject a law (the so-called absolute veto), but this right has not been utilized since the beginning of the 18th century. The legislative initiative lies almost completely with the government.

The government of Britain comprises 80 to 100 persons. It includes departmental ministers (some of these are called state secretaries), who head certain departments; non-departmental ministers, who are engaged in so-called traditional duties (the lord chairman of the Council, the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the lord keeper of the seal, the lord of the General Exchequer), and ministers without portfolio; the lord chancellor and the chiefs of the juridical departments; ministers of state, appointed to assist the departmental ministers; and the so-called junior ministers (deputy state secretaries and parliamentary secretaries, who act as substitutes for the senior ministers in Parliament). The overwhelming majority of ministers are members of the House of Commons, while a small part of them represent the government in the House of Lords. The government is headed by a prime minister. As a rule, this post is attained by the leader of the party that has a majority in the House of Commons. In fact, since the beginning of the 18th century the highest organ of executive power in Britain has been the cabinet of ministers, which concentrates in its hands all the important powers for carrying out domestic and foreign policy. Although the cabinet cannot issue normative acts, in fact it does carry out all norm-creating activity. The members of the cabinet are selected personally by the prime minister, and it is composed only of those ministers who occupy the most important posts in the government (about 20). The formation of the cabinet of ministers is not provided for by the legislature of Britain.

In a juridical sense the government bears a collective responsibility for its political activity to the House of Commons, and in case of a loss of confidence it is obliged to resign. However, under the two-party system that has evolved in Britain, such a situation has not arisen during the past 60 years. In practice the cabinet, if it senses the weakness of its parliamentary position, dissolves the House of Commons and calls for new elections.

Local government. Britain is a unitary state composed of four historically formed regions: England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. England, Wales, and Scotland have their own legal and court systems, national churches, and organic systems of local government. The British cabinet of ministers includes state secretaries for Welsh and Scottish affairs. Based on the Government of Ireland Act (1920), Northern Ireland enjoys limited rights of autonomous administrative authority. Executive powers in Northern Ireland are exercised by a governor who is appointed by the king (or queen); the legislative organ is a bicameral parliament, consisting of a House of Commons (52 members, elected by the population of Northern Ireland) and a Senate (26 senators, elected by the House of Commons). There is a cabinet headed by a prime minister. The powers of all these organs are limited to purely local problems, and in fact the administration of Northern Ireland is conducted by the British government.

The elective organ of self-government in all administrative territorial units (with the exception of sparsely populated parishes, which are governed by public assemblies of inhabitants) is a council, either elected for three years or one-third of which is newly elected each year. Included in the councils of counties, county-cities, and municipal cities (with populations of up to 75,000) are elders, the so-called aldermen, who are elected by the respective councils for a term of six years in an amount equal to one-third of the number on the council, from people who are not members of the council. The chairman of the council is the mayor (in certain large cities the lord mayor), who is elected by the members of the council from among its own members for a term of one year. The competence of the organs of local self-government of all units is determined by parliamentary and other acts. They administer subdepartmental problems of local public welfare, transport, water-supply, domestic service, public health, education, support of public order, civil defense, fire safety, and so on. Municipalities are in strict financial dependence upon the central government. Approximately half of the financial needs of the municipalities are covered at the expense of governmental subsidies, and the remaining half, at the expense of local taxes.

Court system. There is no single court system in Britain. The highest central juridical organ is the High Court of Justice, which includes the superior court and the appellate court for civil cases. The highest judicial instance is the House of Lords. In fact three court systems exist. In England and Wales the first instance for criminal cases is the Magistrates’ Court, through which pass more than 90 percent of all criminal cases. Included in such a court are from two to seven justices of the peace, who are not jurists by education and do not receive any salary; therefore, these judges are, as a rule, wealthy people who are representatives of the propertied classes. In large cities professional jurists may be appointed as justices of the peace; they try cases without jury and receive a stipend. In counties and cities, sessions of the justices of the peace are convoked no less than four times a year (the so-called quarterly sessions), to try the most important criminal cases with the participation of jurors. The Courts of the Assizes—circuit courts that are divisions of the High Court—try cases in which indictments have been brought by justices of the peace. The Central Criminal Court in London tries cases involving crimes that have been committed within Greater London. Appeals of sentences passed by justices of the peace may be submitted to the High Court. The criminal division of the Appellate Court tries appeals of sentences handed down by the quarterly sessions, by the Court of Assizes, and others. In those instances, when, in the trying of a case, a “juridical question of general importance to the state” is touched upon, an appeal may be made to the House of Lords.

The court of first instance in civil cases in England and Wales is the County Court, in which cases are tried by the judges personally (upon the request of one of the parties the case may be tried with the participation of jurors). As a rule, these county courts try cases involving a sum that is not in excess of £ 500. The High Court is the first and appellate instance for almost all civil cases. It consists of a chancery division; a division for cases of inheritances, divorces, and maritime cases; and a division of the King’s (Queen’s) Bench. Appeals of the most important cases are tried by the civil division of the Appellate Court, and in specific instances, by the House of Lords.

In Scotland the courts of first instance in criminal cases are the police courts in the cities and the justices of the peace courts in the countries, as well as the sheriffs’ courts. The most important criminal cases are tried in the first instance by the Superior Court of Justice, which also has appellate jurisdiction. The highest instance is the Court of Sessions, which consists of two divisions: a superior chamber (which tries in the first instance all civil and divorce cases) and an inner chamber (the appellate instance), the decision of which may be appealed to the House of Lords.

In Northern Ireland the courts of first instance in criminal and civil cases are the county courts and the courts of summary jurisdiction (small sessions). The highest juridical instances are the Supreme Court, which consists of the High Court and the Appellate Court, and the Criminal Appellate Court.

Throughout Great Britain the judges of all courts are appointed by the king (or queen). A special position is occupied in the juridical system by various kinds of special courts—for example, the coroners’ courts, which are convoked in order to establish the causes of violent death. Administrative tribunals have been created to examine and try disputes between private and juridical persons and state organs that arise during the process of state administration. Britain also has military courts, the president and members of which are appointed by the military command from the body of officers. The jurisdiction of these military courts extends to persons who are actively serving in the army, navy, and air force, as well as to members of their families if they are outside the borders of Britain.


Konstitutsii burzhuaznykh gosudarstv Evropy. Moscow, 1957. Pages 163-333.
Harvey, D., and K. Hood. Britanskoe gosudarstvo. Moscow, 1961. (Translated from English.)


Great Britain is situated in the Atlantic sector of Europe’s moderate zone. The sea has a great effect upon Britain’s natural features. The most remote points are only 40-60 km distant from it, and in the southern section 100-120 km. The coastline is heavily indented. In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland an eroded and cumulatively eroded, inlet-type of coastline alternates with places characterized by rias and tidal marshes. Several bays belong to the estuary type (the estuaries of the Thames and the Severn). The largest bays in the west are the Firth of Lome, the Firth of Clyde, Solway Firth, Cardigan Bay, and the Bristol Channel; in the south, Lyme Bay; and in the east, the Wash, the Firth of Forth, and Moray Firth. A large part of the coastline in the Hebrides, Orkney, and Shetland islands is of the fjord type.

Terrain. In Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, and Northern England there is a predominance of medium-height mountains and uplands with flat surfaces and with deeply cut river valleys. In the formation of their terrain an important part was played by vertical tectonic forces, as well as by erosion and Pleistocene glaciation.

The greatest differentiation of terrain is in Scotland, where the Scottish Highlands and the Southern Uplands of Scotland are separated by the Lowlands of central Scotland. Above the plateau-shaped surface of the Highlands rise mountain ranges with alpine-type peaks with altitudes to 1,343 m (Ben Nevis in the Grampian Mountains, the highest in Britain). In regions where basalts are widespread, as well as on the Antrim Plateau in Northern Ireland, columnar surface forms have developed (the Giants Causeway, for example). The Southern Uplands of Scotland (including the 842-m Mount Merrick) represent a series of plateaus. Similar to the terrain of southern Scotland is that of Northern Ireland. To the south of Scotland are located the Pennine Mountains (Cross Fell; altitude, 893 m) as well as the dome-shaped Cumberland Mountains (including Scafell Pikes, 978 m) with their glacial forms of terrain. On the peninsula of Wales are the Cambrian Mountains (Snowdon Mountain, 1,085 m) with their unique boggy-type of ridges. Located on the peninsula of Cornwall are a number of residual outcrop uplands, ranging in height from 500 to 600 m and separated by hilly lowlands. In southeastern England flat lowlands, formed by porous loose rocks, alternate with cuesta-type plateaus and strata of limestone and chalk (the ridges of Cots wold, Chiltern, North Downs, and South Downs), the lowlands of the Midlands, the London Basin, the Fens, and others.


Geological structure and minerals. The British Isles are located almost entirely within the zone of the Caledonian Fold; only the region to the south of the Bristol-London line was developed by the folding of the Hercynian System. From the beginning of the Paleozoic the territory of Britain belonged to the Caledonian geosyncline, broken up into a number of deep-sea troughs and upland ridges. Within these troughs there accumulated deposits of great capacity. At the end of the Silurian period these deposits were crumpled into folds, and from the geosyncline there arose the mountain ranges of Scotland and Wales. Within the depressions between the mountain ranges there occurred an accumulation of continental Devonian carboniferous and Permian deposits. Since the Devonian period all of Britain (with the exception of Cornwall) has been transformed into a platform; in Cornwall the geosyncline movement of the earth’s core was maintained right on through the carboniferous period. During the Mesozoic-Cenozoic period the London Basin underwent a downwarp. In the Cenozoic period the entire island rose, and many cracks were formed, especially in Scotland, where they were connected with volcanic activity.

Minerals in Britain are related to the carboniferous system (coal), the Jurassic system (iron ore), the Cornwall fold massif (ores of tin and other nonferrous metals). During the postwar years along the British coasts of the North Sea major deposits of natural gas have been discovered. Reliable and probable reserves have been estimated as follows: coal, 170 billion tons; iron ore, 2.9 billion tons (with an iron content of 25-30 percent).


Climate. Britain has an oceanic climate with moderate temperatures, an abundance of atmospheric precipitation, with unstable weather of a cyclical type with frequent and strong winds. The average January temperatures range from 7°C in the Cornwall Peninsula to 3.5° C in eastern England; Britain has occasional frosts down to -18° C. London usually has as many as 100 days a year with a temperature below 0° C. During July the temperature ranges from 16°-17° C in the London region down to 11-13° C in Scotland. Precipitation is distributed evenly throughout the year, with a slight maximum in autumn and winter; in the southeast this occurs in the summer and autumn. The heaviest precipitation is in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the mountain regions of England and Wales (1,000-1,500 mm, and in places up to 3,000 mm annually). The least amount occurs in southeastern England (600-750 mm). Cloudiness and fogs are characteristic.

Rivers and lakes. Britain possesses a dense network of short rivers, which are deep during the entire year, including the Severn, Thames, Ouse, Tees, Tyne, Eden, and Tweed. The rivers are fed primarily by rainfall, and their high-water period occurs during autumn and winter. They do not freeze over. Many rivers are connected by navigable canals. Also suitable for navigation are the high tidal inlets which penetrate into the lower reaches of these rivers. In the mountains there are many lakes, for the most part of glacial and tectonic-glacial origin. The largest lakes are Lough Neagh, Loch Lomond, and Loch Ness.

Soils. In northern Scotland there is a predominance of mountain podzol soils, which are combined on the extremely moist plateaus with peat-bog soils, and on the highest points, with mountain-tundra soils; in the eastern coastal regions on morainic deposits there are humus-podzol soils. In southern Scotland and in Northern Ireland there are forest-type, acidic, neopodzol soils, changing to mountain podzol soils in the higher sections of the mountains. Characteristic of northern England and Wales are peat-pale yellow-podzol-gley and pseudopodzol soils, and for central and southern England, forest-type, brown gley, and nonsaturated soils. These last, in regions where carbonate rocks are widespread (primarily on cuesta-type ridges), are replaced by peat-type, carbonate soils (belonging to the rendzina group); around the Bay of the Wash and in certain other lowland areas along the seacoast there are alluvial, marsh soils.

Flora. The zonal types of plant growth in the north are taiga and mixed forests, with a predominance of pine, oak, and birch. In the south there are broad-leaved oak, hornbeam-oak, and oak-ash forests, changing at a higher altitude to oaks and birches; in regions of limestone and chalk strata they change to oak-beech forests. Approximately 6 percent of the area of Britain is occupied by forests. Their greatest density is in the eastern and southern regions. Forestation and artificial park plantings have become widespread. Characteristic everywhere are meadows and moors. The high-mountain zone has mountain meadows, moors, and peat bogs.

Fauna. Forest animal life has been reduced extremely; animals of the open spaces are better represented. Most common are the fox, hare, squirrel, hedgehog, and various types of earth-burrowing mammals. The most common bird is the wild pigeon, and in Scotland, the tundra and Scottish partidge and the wood grouse. Rivers and lakes are rich in roach, barbel, and chub.

Preserves. The protection of nature in Britain is carried on by a system of national parks, national natural (complex) forest preserves, and preserves for the protection of waterfowl. The largest national parks with total protection are the Lake District in Cumberland (picturesque mountain glacier lakes, waterfalls, heather thickets, oak and birch forests) and the Snowdon Region in northern Wales (a mountainous area with numerous lakes; in a lower zone of mountains there are oak and chestnut forests).

Natural regions. Britain’s natural regions are Scotland and Northern Ireland with medium-height and low-mountain terrain, peat bogs, moors, and taiga forests; Wales and the mountainous section of England with markedly separate types of surfaces, heather and meadow-type of vegetation, and areas of broad-leaved forests in the lower zone of mountains and in hilly lowlands; and southeastern England with flat terrain, fertile, brown forest soils, broad-leaved forests, and lands that are extensively plowed.


Stamp, D., and S. Beaver. Britanskie ostrova. Moscow, 1948. (Translated from English.)
Dobrynin, B. F. Fizicheskaia geografiia Zapadnoi Evropy. Moscow, 1948.
Demangeon, A. Les Îles Britanniques. Paris, 1927.


Britain is populated by the English (44.7 million, or 81 percent of the population, according to a 1967 estimate), who live in England, in most of Wales, and in the southern part of Scotland; the Scots (approximately 5,150,000), primarily in Scotland; the Irish (1,350,000), in Northern Ireland and in the industrial regions of England. Also living in Northern Ireland (and numbering about 1 million) are the descendants of 16th-century English and Scottish settlers who have become mixed in with the basic Irish population. They call themselves Anglo-Irish and Scotch-Irish (in the literature they are sometimes termed Ulstermen). On the peninsula of Wales the Welsh have settled (900,000); in Northern Scotland and on the Hebrides Islands are the Gaels (90,000). There are significant groups of Jews (approximately 500,000), for the most part in the major cities, as well as groups of migrants from other countries, as follows: the West Indies (more than 500,000), India (more than 200,000), Pakistan (more than 120,000), and African countries (about 150,000). Among European immigrants there are Poles (more than 100,000), Germans (approximately 100,000), French, and Italians. The official state language and the conversational language of the majority of the population is English; some of the Irish, Welsh, and Gaelic peoples employ their own languages, which are related to Celtic. The majority of the predominant population belongs to Protestant churches and sects (English believers fundamentally to the Anglican Church, and Scots to the Presbyterian Church); part of the population is Catholic (almost all of them being Irish). The Julian calendar was used until Sept. 2, 1752; on Sept. 14, 1752, the Gregorian calendar came into use.

Despite emigration the population grew rapidly from the middle of the 18th century to the end of the 19th century, that is, during the flowering of English capitalism. Since the end of the 19th century the rate of population increase began to decline; only during the first few years after World War II did the birthrate rise temporarily. The natural rate of population growth is not great (4.2 per 1,000 inhabitants, as opposed to 14 during the 1870’s). The reduction of the birthrate has had an effect on the age composition of the population: people under the age of 15 in 1861 amounted to 37.7 percent of the population; the figure was 27 percent in 1921, and 23.9 percent in 1969, while at the same time the portion of the age group over 64 years of age in 1969 had reached 12.6 percent, as contrasted with 7.4 percent in 1931. Characteristic of internal migrations as early as the 1920’s was the movement of the population from the northern parts of the country, where its depressed areas were located, to the southeast, and later to the south (the “drift to the south”), and since the 1930’s also to the Midlands. Especially important in foreign migrations were, on the one hand, the influx from the Commonwealth countries of “colored” immigrants, of whom there are more than 1 million (in 1962 and 1968 laws were adopted to limit their entry); and on the other hand, the emigration of part of the intelligentsia and engineering and technical personnel (primarily to the USA, as well as to Australia and Canada).

In 1969, 23.5 million people were gainfully employed, of whom some 60 percent were engaged in the sphere of material production. Characteristic of British employment patterns is the high proportion of persons employed as hired labor; in comparison with other countries there is a small proportion of people in the intermediate strata. The distribution of the gainfully employed population (90 percent of which consists of manual and office workers) by branches of the economy is as follows: industry and construction, 47.9 percent; agriculture, 3.6 percent; transport and communications, 6.7 percent; trade, 11.7 percent; the financial, banking, and insurance field, 3.8 percent; education, health maintenance, and other professional services, 12.1 percent; civil service and army, 6.0 percent; and remaining services, 8.2 percent.

Britain has the highest level of urbanization of the developed countries: approximately 80 percent of its population lives in cities, of these about half are in large cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants; as of 1967 there were 91 such cities, including three whose population is more than 1 million: Greater London (7.7 million in 1969), Birmingham, and Glasgow (1.1 million each). Two-thirds of the urban population is concentrated in large urban regions, or conurbations: London (7.7 million), Manchester (2.4 million), the West Midlands (with Birmingham as its center; 2.3 million), Clydeside (with Glasgow as its center; 1.8 million), West Yorkshire (centered in Leeds; 1.7 million), Merseyside (centered in Liverpool; 1.4 million), and Tyneside (centered in Newcastle; approximately 1 million). There is a high density of population in Britain, 226 persons per sq km.

The oldest traces of man on the territory of Britain date back to the Early and Middle Paleolithic periods. The majority of the remnants of ancient man that have been discovered belong to the so-called Cro-Magnon type and date from the Late Paleolithic period, when Britain still constituted a single unit with the Continent; at some time during the fifth millennium B.C. the ocean separated Britain from the mainland. Great changes, possibly connected with the migration of tribes with a higher degree of culture (either Iberians from the Pyrenean Peninsula or people of a “Mediterranean” race from France), occurred during the Late Mesolithic period and especially during the Neolithic (from the third to the beginning of the second millennium B.C.), when, along with hunting and fishing, animal husbandry and agriculture appeared and gradually became the principal occupation of the population. Stone implements were perfected, subsequently being replaced by those of bronze, and still later, by those of iron; weaving developed.

Celtic Britain. During the Late Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age (800-700 B.C.). there began a migration of Celts from the Continent to the territory of Britain (the last of these invasions was that of the Belgii around 75 B.C.). The Celts brought with them elements of Iron Age culture, which at first coexisted with elements of the Bronze Age culture. The provisional term “Britons” was adopted for the Celts and Celticized population of Britain. On the eve of the Roman conquest the Britons were already at the stage of the disintegration of their primitive communal structure and the emergence of elements of a class society. The separation of the clan and military aristocracy as well as the existence of patriarchal slavery testify to the growth of social inequality. The Britons had a well-developed animal husbandry and agriculture; they used heavy, wheel-type plows, hand mills, and potter’s wheels. They processed animal hides, engaged in weaving, worked in mines, and carried on trade with merchants who came to them from the Continent. Tribes of Britons were at times united in tribal leagues, headed by military leaders (“kings”). From certain of the tribal centers there later developed such Roman and medieval cities as Camulodunum (now Colchester), Eburacum (now York), and Londinium (now London).

Roman Britain. After the conquest of Gaul by the Romans in the middle of the first century B.C., Julius Caesar undertook two campaigns into Britain (55 and 54 B.C.). The systematic conquest of Britain by Rome began in A.D. 43 and was basically completed in the decade before A.D. 70. Britain became one of the outlying provinces of the Roman Empire. It was primarily the southern, eastern, and part of the central areas that were subjected to Romanization; the west and the north were scarcely touched by it. Uprisings by the native population often occurred (for example, the uprising of Boadicea in A.D. 61). The conquest was consolidated by a system of fortified points (Roman camps) and military roads. Roman walls were constructed along the northern border. Although it speeded up the process of social differentiation, the conquest did not lead to radical changes in the Celtic society. The crisis experienced by the Roman Empire also had its effect on the destiny of Britain. From the end of the third century there began a series of invasions by North German tribes. At the beginning of the fifth century Roman domination in Britain came to an end. Britain again disintegrated into a number of independent Celtic regions.

Anglo-Saxon period; establishment of feudal relations. In the middle of the fifth century the conquest of Britain began by the North German tribes (Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and Frisians) usually given the common name of Anglo-Saxons. After breaking the resistance of the Britons, they had captured most of Britain and formed a number of early feudal kingdoms (Kent, Wessex, Mercia, and others) by the end of the sixth century. During the course of the Anglo-Saxon conquest the majority of Britons were exterminated, part were forced to the north (Caledonia) and the west (Wales, Cornwall), and part emigrated to the Armorica Peninsula (present-day Brittany); the remaining Celts were, for the most part, reduced to the status of slaves and dependent people. Thus the Celtic element entered into the ethnic composition of the English people, the basis of which was made up of the conquering Germanic tribes (the English nationality was later infused with emigrants from Scandinavia and France). The chief trait of the establishment of feudalism among the Anglo-Saxons was the preservation during the course of a lengthy period of a free rural commune, as a result of the weak influence of Roman systems of order and the destructive character of the Anglo-Saxon conquest, which to a considerable extent nullified the remnants of that influence. Along with the feudal retinues a general military levy of free peasants long existed. During the first century after the conquest the basis of society was composed of free communal farmers (coerls) and aristocrats (earls). With the development of social inequality and the disintegration of communal property the earls became large landowners. In the eighth and ninth centuries, with the support of the royal power, which distributed land grants to the aristocracy, and of the church, which encouraged the development of the feudal ownership of land and sanctioned the enslavement of the peasants, feudalization attained considerable success. The Christianization of the Anglo-Saxons, begun at the end of the sixth century, was basically completed in the second half of the seventh century.

The incursions of the Norsemen, which began at the end of the eighth century, had great influence on the sociopolitical structure of England. (The Norsemen were Scandinavians who mounted their raids, for the most part, from Denmark and are known in English history by the name Danes.) They seized the entire northeast of the country, and there they introduced their customs and rules (the so-called Danelaw). Ruined by these Danish raids, the Anglo-Saxon peasants were compelled to seek “protection” from the large landowners, thus becoming their dependents. The acquisition by these large landowners of the right to collect taxes and duties and the right of jurisdiction within a specific territory strengthened their power over the free communal farmers. The needs of defense in the struggle against the Danes on the one hand and the necessity to consolidate all the forces of the ruling class for the purpose of overcoming the resistance of the peasants to enserfment on the other hand created the prerequisites for the political unification of the country. In the ninth century, during the reign of Egbert, the king of Wessex, most of the country was united into a single state, which began to be called Anglia. During the reign of Alfred the Great (871-circa 900) the first general English collection of laws was compiled; it included many statutes of earlier Anglo-Saxon law codes. In 1066, following the Battle of Hastings (October 14), England was conquered by the Norman duke William, who became the founder of a new, Norman dynasty (William I the Conqueror; ruled, 1066-87). By the time of the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 the process of feudalization of the country had not yet been completed. A considerable portion of the peasants, especially those in the Danelaw, remained free. The feudal estate (manor) had still not become universally accepted and had not assumed its complete form.

Developed feudalism. The establishment of a feudal structure was accomplished by the Norman Conquest, which reinforced the characteristic trait of English feudalism—the political unification of the country and the centralization of state power. All the lands of England, insofar as territories were seized and lands confiscated from the Anglo-Saxon aristocracy, were divided up among the conquerors, who formed the summit of the feudal class. Therefore, the holdings of the great feudal lords were dispersed in various places throughout the country and did not constitute contiguous territorial principalities. The support by great feudal lords of a strong royal power, determined by the need to maintain their domination over a hostile populace and a peasantry that was being enserfed, had a relative and provisional character, since it was in contradiction to the striving of the feudal lords for political independence.

The kings of the Norman dynasty found firm support in the class of middle and small feudal landowners, whose self-interest lay in enserfing the peasants and in defending themselves against encroachments by the great feudal lords. The formation of a feudal hierarchy was facilitated by the establishment of a direct vassal dependency of all feudal vassals on the king; this was uniquely English. In order to impose monetary taxes on the population and to indicate the dimensions of the holdings and incomes of the king’s vassals, a general land registration was carried out in 1086. It reinforced for each feudal lord his land holdings and his place in the system of the feudal hierarchy; many free peasants were registered as serfs (villeins). The conquest speeded up the enserfment of the English peasantry, made its status worse, and brought about the final formation of the feudal orders. Although the free peasantry (freeholders) did not disappear (which was another characteristic peculiarity of English feudalism), its number was considerably reduced and its legal status worsened. During the 12th and 13th centuries the system of central financial and juridical institutions evolved (for example, the juridical reform of Henry II, who ruled 1154-89); a single “common law” was developed for the entire country. Thus, by the late 11th century and especially during the 12th and 13th centuries, a relatively strong, centralized feudal monarchy had developed in England; it was strengthened by the appearance (beginning in the 10th and 11th centuries) and growth of cities as centers of trade and commerce. In addition to London, which was the economic and political center of the country, the following cities were also important: Winchester, Canterbury, York, Gloucester, Worcester, Dover, Norwich, Lincoln, Nottingham, Chester, Bristol, Cambridge, Oxford, Newcastle, and others. A stubborn struggle between the cities and the landowning magnates such as took place on the Continent did not occur in England. The cities, most of which were located on royal land, usually received the right of self-government, and each year they would pay the king a fixed sum of money. City privileges, profitable primarily to the urban upper class, were safeguarded by special charters. They facilitated the growth of trade and commerce and, consequently, strengthened the position of the entire burgher class. Already in the first half of the 12th century the following custom had become widespread: a serf or any other unfree person who spent a year and a day in a city was considered to be free. The burghers and freeholders needed the royal power to defend them, and they supported it; this strengthened the centralized, feudal state. The Norman Conquest, which united England and a considerable part of France (the possessions of the English kings of the Norman dynasty and the Plantagenet dynasty) expanded England’s trading ties with the continent of Europe. Fairs became widespread (in Winchester, Boston, Stamford, Stowe, and other towns). The development of commercial, monetary relationships and the growth of market ties facilitated the country’s political consolidation. Taxes and obligations assumed an increasingly monetary character. By the 12th century military service by knights was frequently replaced by a monetary payment. The obligations of peasants also began to be replaced often by payments of money (commutation).

The process of state centralization occurred under conditions of a sharpening class struggle and an increase in the contradictions among the feudal lords themselves. From the end of the 12th century, and especially in the 13th century, royal power frequently acted to the detriment of the interests of a significant part of the dominant class, by carrying out arbitrary confiscation of lands and by persecuting unfit magnates. New monetary exactions and duties on the population were introduced. The policy of royal power (especially foreign policy) did not correspond to the interests of the country as a whole. This caused a number of rebellious actions, the uprising of the barons against John Lackland (ruled, 1199-1216), supported by the knights and the burghers, in particular. John was compelled to sign the Magna Carta of liberties (1215), which contained important concessions to the barons.

A new political conflict broke, out in 1258. In response to actions by the barons King Henry III (ruled, 1216-72) affirmed the so-called Provisions of Oxford, which established a system of baronial oligarchy. Dissatisfied with this, the knights presented the king with the so-called Provisions of Westminster (1259), which defended the knightly class and the free peasants from the arbitrary actions of the great feudal lords and the royal administration. The knights were supported by the burghers and part of the barons, led by Simon de Montfort. Henry Ill’s refusal to observe the Provisions of Oxford led to an open civil war during 1263-1267. It evoked a broad movement among the masses of England (spontaneous outbreaks of the peasants against the feudal lords and the urban populace against the burgher upper class). During the war years the English Parliament came into being (1265) and became firmly established during the reign of Edward I (ruled, 1272-1307). Thus, the transition to a new, more centralized form of feudal state, to a feudal monarchy with class representation (Parliament), was accomplished. During the 14th century Parliament became bicameral. In the upper house (the House of Lords) the barons and prelates held session; the knights and the urban upper classes, united by their common economic and political interests, sat in the lower house (the House of Commons). The economy of the knights became more and more closely linked with the marketplace; it passed through a transition to a system of monetary renting and the exploitation of hired labor, whereas the great feudal lords were increasing corvée duties. In the House of Commons the knights and the rich burghers demanded that wages for urban and rural workers, which had been increased after the plague of 1348-49 (the Black Death), be lowered. Upon their insistence so-called workers’ legislation was passed, which set the wages for hired labor at the rates that existed before the plague.

In the 14th century the class struggle intensified both in the countryside and in the cities. Disturbances among the peasantry merged into an uprising (Wat Tyler’s revolt, 1381), which encompassed all England and took on a sharply expressed antifeudal character. The demands of J. Wycliffe for reforms in the Catholic Church and especially the preaching of the Lollards, who openly came out against all types of feudal oppression and for social equality and communal property (John Ball), played an important role in the ideological preparation of the revolt. Despite its defeat, the revolt had a great effect on the subsequent development of feudal England. The following processes unfolded more rapidly from the end of the 14th century: the elimination of payment in kind, a decrease in feudal rents, the transfer of seignorial land to be leased by peasants at comparatively moderate rates, the elimination of serfdom, and the conversion of serfs into copyholders. During the course of the 15th century large-scale feudal economy fell into a decline, and its incomes were curtailed. The involvement of the peasantry in trade and monetary relationships led to a property class differentiation among the peasants and the emergence, on the one hand, of the well-off, higher strata who exploited hired labor and some of whom became large-scale rentiers and, on the other hand, of peasants who owned little or no land; the latter were compelled to sell their own labor.

In 1337 there began a prolonged war between England and France (Hundred Years’ War, 1337-1453), which was caused by the striving of the French kings to finally force the English out of France, by the struggle for the rich area of Flanders, by the efforts of the great English feudal lords to increase their incomes by means of plunder and pillage in France, and so forth. For a long time the war went successfully for the English, but by the middle of the 15th century their defeat was inevitable. As a result England retained only Calais and its environs on the Continent. Amid a situation of oppression by the great feudal lords and military failures in the middle of the 15th century popular uprisings flared up (Jack Cade’s Rebellion and others). In 1455 the War of the Red and White Roses began between the two rival dynasties of Lancaster and York. This was a struggle of feudal cliques for power, a time of the greatest lawless debauchery by the feudal aristocracy. The middle-level and small-scale landowners, as well as the burghers and well-off peasants, whose property interests suffered from the baronial wars, wanted a strong royal power, capable of putting an end to internecine conflicts and of restoring order to the country. During the war, which lasted until 1485, both dynasties perished along with almost all of the hereditary, feudal aristocracy. The path to absolutism opened for a new dynasty, the Tudors (1485-1603).

Disintegration and decline of feudalism and origin of capitalist relationships. One of the most important stages in the history of England was the period of the primary accumulation of capital, the basis of which was brought about by depriving the peasants of their land. By the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th the characteristic profile of the English gentry had changed; the new aristocracy no longer depended so much on their feudal rents as they did from the exploitation of hired labor. This class’s ranks were reinforced with people from the newly rich peasantry and with rich burghers (merchants and usurers) who bought up the land. This so-called new gentry was closely linked with the marketplace, and in its interests it stood close to the emerging bourgeoisie. As early as the 11th and 12th centuries wool had been exported to the cities of Flanders, Rhineland Germany, and Italy. Beginning in the 14th century, in connection with the development of cloth manufacture in England itself, the export of wool more and more gave way to the export of woolen cloth. During the 16th century the organization of the woolen cloth industry began to take on the form of capitalist manufacturing (for the most part, dispersed), which also developed in the cotton, silk, metal-processing, and mining industries. The social division of labor arose, and a national market was formed. The rapid growth of woolen manufacture, which became the principal branch of English industry, brought about an increase in the demand for wool, which, in turn, made it desirable to expand the land available for pasturing sheep.

An agrarian revolution began in England. Not satisfied with seizing communal lands, the large-scale landowners forcefully evicted peasants from their lands, destroyed their houses and entire villages. Enclosures received strong new impetus at the time of the Reformation during the reign of Henry VIII (ruled 1509-47). His government’s laws cruelly persecuted those unfortunate people who were left without land and were thus deprived of the means of existence; these people wandered about the country looking for work as hired hands or for alms. The peasants responded to expulsion from the lands with resistance, which, at times, grew into uprisings (Robert Ket’s Revolt of 1549 and others).

Capitalist relations began to develop more rapidly in England than in other European countries. They grew most intensively in the southeastern, central, and southwestern counties and considerably less in the north and northwest. Nevertheless, capitalistic manufacturing in industry and in agriculture had not yet become predominant. Throughout the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th small-scale production of the peasant and craftsman type prevailed. Proceeding most rapidly of all was the accumulation of capital in foreign trade, the development of which was facilitated by the shift (after the discovery of America) of the main trade routes to the Atlantic Ocean. The Muscovy, Oriental, East India, and other companies were formed in the 16th century. The expansion of maritime trade, accompanied by piracy, plunder, and seizure of foreign possessions, led the English to an encounter with the most powerful colonial power of that time, Spain. The defeat in 1588 of the Spanish “Invincible Armada” placed England among the principal naval powers. In 1607 the first English colony in North America (Virginia) was founded, and in 1609, the first trading office in India.

Centralized power grew stronger under the Tudor dynasty. The new gentry, which had grown rich on its enclosed estates, and the still-weak bourgeoisie needed a strong royal power in order to suppress revolts by the great feudal lords and popular movements, as well as to protect the interests of trade and industry and to conduct an energetic foreign policy. The feudal monarchy, in its turn, needed support, especially financial, from the growing bourgeoisie and the new gentry, in whose hands the country’s economic strength was concentrating. England’s entrance upon the path of capitalist development was accompanied by the formation of the English nation, although certain prerequisites of this had already originated in the preceding period. The elimination of feudal dissensions, the political unification of the state, and the strengthening of economic ties between separate parts of the country (thus forming a national market) were the most important conditions for the formation of a national community among the English people.

The period that included the reigns of the Tudors and the first Stuarts (James I and Charles I, who ruled, respectively, 1603-25 and 1625-49) was the epoch of English absolutism. Its characteristics were the maintenance of Parliament, which expanded its sphere of deliberation (including questions of church organization and faith) but which became a submissive weapon of royal power; the lack of a powerful and well-developed bureaucratic apparatus, characteristic of absolute monarchy on the Continent; the maintenance of organs of local self-government; and the lack of a standing army. In consideration of its strength as an island, Britain concentrated its military might on the sea. A strong navy assured the country’s defense from the sea as well as the potential for carrying on an active trade and colonial policy. The Reformation, which liquidated the pope’s power over the church in England, facilitated the strengthening of absolutism: the state Anglican Church, with its half-Catholic, half-Protestant doctrines of faith, headed by the king, was, so to speak, a part of the absolutist state. The secularization of church properties increased the economic power of the bourgeoisie and the new gentry.

Harmonious agreement between the royal power and Parliament continued only until the economically and socially strengthened bourgeoisie and new gentry wanted to independently direct the government’s policies in their own interests. In the lower house of Parliament they found a ready-made weapon for implementing their own goals. In its turn, the royal power became the rallying point for reactionary feudal forces—a bulwark of the obsolete, feudal, absolutist orders. The ideological weapon of the opposition to absolutism, as well as its ideological banner, was the broad social, religious, and political movement known as Puritanism.

The struggle between the Crown and Parliament had already begun during the reign of Elizabeth I Tudor (ruled, 1558-1603), and it continued, becoming more and more intense, under the new dynasty of the Stuarts. In 1629, Charles I dissolved Parliament; revolution began in 1640.

English Civil War (1640-60); Restoration and the Revolution of 1688-89. A characteristic trait of the English Civil War (in Russian, the English Bourgeois Revolution) of the 17th century was the specific arrangement of the class forces: the bourgeoisie joined the revolution in league with the new gentry against the feudal monarchy, the feudal gentry, and the dominant church. In the two civil wars (1642--46 and 1648) unleashed by Charles I, the revolutionary army, the main force of which was composed of the masses, defeated the king’s forces and brought about his execution (Jan. 30, 1649). A republic was established in England (1649). Power passed into the hands of the Independents (the radical wing of the bourgeoisie and the new gentry), who, even though they had liquidated feudal property ownership, were firmly opposed to the masses, who were attempting to broaden the revolution and were especially seeking a democratic solution to the agrarian question. The movements of the Levellers (J. Lilburne and others) and the Diggers (G. WinStanley and others) were smashed. The bourgeois republic, which soon (1653) adopted the form of a protectorate (O. Cromwell’s military dictatorship), began to seize and plunder the colonies; Ireland was subdued in 1649-51, and Scotland was forcibly annexed in 1652.

The results of the revolution, which had been won by the people, were used by the bourgeoisie and the new gentry, who received a large amount of the land that had formerly belonged to the feudal lords who had supported the king. The large-scale landowners (landlords) were freed from feudal payments to the king; their feudal ownership of the land was converted to bourgeois private property. At the same time the peasants were not accorded any rights to the land. Continuous outbreaks among the masses frightened the bourgeoisie and new gentry and caused them in 1660 to restore the monarchy in the person of Charles II Stuart.

The period of the reign of the renewed dynasty, which received the name Restoration, was marked by feudal reaction. The striving of the Stuarts to restore absolutism and Catholicism in England, along with their neglect of the country’s national interests, evoked sharp opposition from the strengthened classes of the bourgeoisie and the new gentry (the opponents of the king acquired the name Whigs, whereas his supporters were called Tories). In order to protect itself against the royal use of arbitrary power, the Whig opposition succeeded in 1679 in passing a special law, well-known under the name of the Habeas Corpus Act, in accordance with which every arrested person was granted the right to demand a check of the legality of his arrest. In 1688 the successor of Charles II, James II Stuart, was deposed; the English throne was granted by Parliament to the Dutch stadtholder William of Orange (the husband of James II’s daughter Mary), and he became the king of England in 1689 as William III. This Bloodless, or Glorious, Revolution, as this change at the state summit was termed by the ruling classes of England, limited the king’s power and put into power, according to Marx’s expression, “profiteers from the landowners and capitalists” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 23, p. 735).

Growth of capitalism (late 17th-first half of the 19th centuries). MASS EXPROPRIATION OF THE PEASANTRY; BEGINNING OF THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION. As a result of the English Civil War the hindrances to the development of capitalist relations were removed, and a path was opened for the rapid growth of productive forces. The revolution liquidated the feudal structure and confirmed bourgeois property ownership of the land. It gave a powerful impetus to the agrarian revolution and speeded up the formation of a common English market. There was a transition from a medieval, feudal monarchy to a bourgeois monarchy. The political alliance between the landed and the financial aristocracies, which was formed after the revolution of 1688-89 was long-lasting and comparatively stable. This alliance, which subsequently became an alliance of the landowners with the entire bourgeoisie, assured the relative stability of the English monarchy. Moreover, the aristocracy, while keeping a monopoly on political power, took the interests of the bourgeoisie into consideration.

The uprisings in Ireland (1688-91) and Scotland were cruelly suppressed. The Union of Scotland and England of 1707 finally confirmed the annexation of Scotland by England. The name Great Britain was officially adopted for the unified kingdom. The Whigs, who had alternated in power with the Tories during the reign of Queen Anne (1702-14), formed the government (with a brief hiatus from May 1762 to April 1763) from 1714 to 1770. During the period of Whig rule the role of Parliament increased. The cabinet of ministers, responsible to Parliament, became more and more independent of the king. This was facilitated by the circumstance that the first two kings of the Hanover dynasty, George I and George II (ruled, respectively, 1714-27 and 1727-60), being foreigners, were not influential in the country. The rivalry between the parliamentary groupings of Whigs and Tories laid the foundation for the two-party system. As a rule, the leader of the party having a majority in the House of Commons was appointed prime minister. Almost half the members of Parliament, representing the so-called rotten boroughs, were not actually elected but were appointed by landed magnates. The Whig governments carried on a foreign policy of colonial expansion, in the course of which France became Britain’s chief rival. Britain took an active part in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14). The most important form of Britain’s participation in these wars, even in such major ones as the War for the Austrian Succession (1741-48) and the Seven Years’ War of 1756-63, was financial support of its allies and supplying their armies. As a result of the Seven Years’ War, Britain considerably expanded its colonial possessions. Canada and lands to the east of the Mississippi were seized from France and included in the British Empire. Spain gave up Florida to the English. The systematic conquest of India began from the middle of the 18th century.

During the course of the continuing agricultural revolution, enclosures were carried out in accordance with special acts of Parliament during the 18th century. In the second half of the 18th century the peasantry as a class disappeared. The old landlordism was maintained in the country under a new, free, purely capitalistic system of leasing. By the middle of the 18th century the following prerequisites had appeared for the transition from the manufacture stage in the development of capitalism to the factory system of capitalist production: large amounts of capital, a large number of workers compelled to sell their labor, a high level of manufacture production development, and a large domestic market. The Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain during the 1760’s earlier than in other countries and in its most characteristic, classical form. During the course of the Industrial Revolution an industrial proletariat was formed out of a motley mass of landless peasants, ruined artisans, and handicraft workers. These new factory workers were presented with the task of combining their forces for the struggle against the entrepreneurs.

The first illegal trade unions came into being in the first half of the 18th century. A specific form of workers’ struggle during the second half of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th was the movement of the machine wreckers, known as the Luddites. The bourgeois radicals, led by J. Wilkes, advanced a demand for the reform of Parliament. The intensified democratic movement against the ruling oligarchy caused the crisis of the parties of the Whigs and Tories. George III (ruled, 1760-1820) attempted to use this crisis to increase the importance of the royal power. In 1762 the Whig ministry (the policies of the Whigs during the years 1756-61, with a brief interruption in 1757, were in fact determined by W. Pitt the Elder) was replaced by the cabinet of the royal favorite J. S. Bute. Up to the beginning of the 1780’s the governments were headed by the king’s protégés. During the 1760’s and especially at the beginning of the 1770’s there was an intensification of the liberation movement in the English colonies in North America. Military failures and a domestic political crisis compelled the English government to conclude the Peace of Versailles in 1783 and to acknowledge the independence of the USA.

STRUGGLE AGAINST THE FRENCH REVOLUTION; WARS AGAINST NAPOLEONIC FRANCE (END OF THE 18TH CENTURY TO 1815). The Great French Revolution evoked the growth of a revolutionary mood in Britain and led to the intensification of the liberation movement in Ireland. During the 1790’s a massive democratic movement developed in Britain. Organizations arose advocating the democratization of the entire English state structure (primarily the Corresponding Societies). In 1794 the government suspended the Habeas Corpus Act and began the mass arrests of participants in the democratic movement. In April 1797 an uprising flared up in the English fleet that was guarding the English Channel, and in May, in the fleet of the North Sea (led by the “red admiral” R. Parker). These uprisings, as well as the uprising that began in 1798 in Ireland, were suppressed with extreme cruelty. In 1779 the government put an act through Parliament that prohibited workers’ associations. This act (abolished only in 1824) could not, however, halt the growth of workers’ unions. In 1801 the Anglo-Irish Union went into effect, and the Irish Parliament was liquidated.

Britain, the most developed capitalist country in the world, entered into a close alliance with the feudal and semi-feudal states of Europe that were attempting to stifle the bourgeois revolution in France. For more than 20 years, from February 1793 to April 1814 (except for a brief interval in 1802-03, during the period of the Peace of Amiens) and from March to June 1815, during the period of the Hundred Days, Britain waged war, at first against revolutionary France, and later against Napoleonic France. Even during the period of the Napoleonic Wars, however, the ruling circles of Britain attempted to limit themselves to furnishing loans and subsidies to their allies as well as to operations at sea, where, after the victorious battle against the Franco-Spanish fleet off Cape Trafalgar (Oct. 21, 1805), English supremacy was indisputable. On land Britain took part in battles, for the most part, in Portugal and Spain; English troops on the Iberian Peninsula, and also in the Battle of Waterloo (1815), were commanded by A. Wellington. In its struggle for world domination Britain strove for the maximum utilization of its allies’ military efforts, primarily of the defeat of Napoleon’s army in Russia in 1812.

Britain’s colonial expansion was intensified during the period of these wars against France. The East India Company considerably extended its inroads in India. A de facto British monopoly was established over maritime trade between Europe and Asia (particularly with India and China) as well as with Latin America. British penetration into Iran (for example, the Anglo-Iranian Treaty of 1809) and the Ottoman Empire led to an increase in conflicts of interest between Britain and Russia. From episodic raids on the African continent in search of slaves, the English colonizers began to shift at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th to the conquest of African territories. As a result of the defeat of Napoleonic France, Britain’s position in Europe and throughout the world was considerably strengthened. The Congress of Vienna (1814-15) secured for Britain a larger part of the territories that it had seized during the wars against France. Britain far surpassed other powers in the scope of its colonial possessions, and it maintained its complete domination of the seas.

AFTER THE NAPOLEONIC WARS; THE STRUGGLE FOR THE DEMOCRATIC REFORM OF PARLIAMENT. Victory in the war with France, as well as the successes achieved during the course of the Industrial Revolution, laid the foundation for Britain’s industrial, colonial, and trade monopoly. The output of British industrial production during the war years increased 15- to 20-fold because of the introduction of machinery. At the same time economic difficulties in connection with the blockade of the Continent and the war against the USA led to a decrease in the living standards of the masses. The first few postwar years also became a time of severe shocks (the economic crises of 1815-16 and 1819). After the economic boom of 1820-25, Britain experienced in 1825 the world’s first cyclical crisis, which encompassed almost all branches of the economy.

The years 1816-20 were marked by an upswing of the democratic movement. For the first time it had the broad participation of factory workers. Agitation developed to transform Parliament, to introduce universal suffrage, and to put through other democratic reforms. The radical journalist W. Cobbett wrathfully exposed the domination of the oligarchy. The Utopian socialist R. Owen sharply criticized the capitalist structure. On Aug. 16, 1819, at Peterloo in Manchester a meeting attended by 80,000 people was held in support of the demand for electoral reform. Troops were sent against the participants in the meeting, resulting in a bloody slaughter. An extraordinary session of Parliament adopted a number of laws against meetings and the press (the so-called Six Acts); many radical leaders were brought to trial. In 1820 a mass strike broke out in Glasgow, Scotland, involving about 60,000 people; it was primarily political in character.

After the Congress of Vienna, Britain became one of the principal bulwarks of European reaction. The foreign policy course set by Castlereagh, foreign secretary during 1812-22 in the Tory government of R. B. Liverpool (prime minister, 1812-27), was directed at supporting the reactionary policy of the Holy Alliance. At the beginning of the 1820’s the “liberal Tories” came to power—the followers of G. Canning (foreign secretary, 1822-27, and prime minister in 1827)—which testified to the strength of the bourgeoisie’s position. Pursuing the goal of securing the Latin American market for British industry and of strengthening British influence there, Canning opposed the Holy Alliance, which was striving to put down the liberation movement in the Spanish colonies in America. Hypocritically declaring its sympathy with the Greeks, who had risen up against the Turkish yoke, the English government for a long time supported Turkey and in fact hindered the development of the Greek people’s struggle for liberation. Only the fear of Russia’s increased influence in Greece and the desire to ensure Britain’s trade interests in the Eastern Mediterranean area impelled Canning to advocate autonomy for Greece.

The end of the 1820’s and the beginning of the 1830’s were marked by a new sharpening of the class struggle, caused in part by the economic crisis of 1830. The first major trade unions on a country-wide, national scale came into being —the Great National Union of Spinners (1829) and the National Association for the Protection of Labor (1830). In 1830 mass outbreaks began in many counties among farm laborers and small-scale farmers (the Swing movement) and were put down by armed force. Influenced by the French Revolution of 1830 and the broad popular movement that was developing in Britain itself, there were increased efforts by the bourgeoisie to bring about an electoral reform. Numerous meetings and demonstrations took place, organized by the Birmingham Political Union (founded in 1830) and other bourgeois organizations. Under direct pressure from the masses (in Glasgow and a number of other cities the homes of those opposed to the reform were destroyed; in Derby and Bristol prisons were sacked) the dominant aristocracy in Parliament was compelled to yield. In 1832, Parliament passed the Reform Bill introduced by the Whig government of C. Grey (prime minister, 1830-34). As a result of the reform 56 “rotten boroughs” were deprived of the right to send members to Parliament; a total of 143 seats were vacated (approximately one-fifth of all the seats in Parliament), which were distributed, for the most part, among the cities and rural districts. Voting rights, however, were granted only to the propertied classes. This reform, which gave shape to a new political compromise between the bourgeoisie and the landowners, was a victory for the industrial bourgeoisie, which (especially its upper strata) was acknowledged as the dominant class also with regard to politics. Nevertheless, the landed aristocracy retained considerable influence in governing the country.

SHARPENING OF CLASS CONFLICTS; THE CHARTIST MOVEMENT (MID-1830’s TO EARLY 1850’s). During the 1830’s and 1840’s the Industrial Revolution in Britain entered its culminating stage. The factory system of production won complete victory in the most important branches of industry. There was a rapid growth of heavy industry, especially metallurgy. In 1825 the world’s first general-use railroad was opened in Britain (between Stockton and Darlington), and by 1850 the rail network exceeded 10,000 km. Britain was becoming more and more the “workshop of the world.” A British monopoly of world industry and trade was established. The growth of Britain’s foreign trade was facilitated by the implementation on the part of the Tory government of R. Peel (prime minister, 1841-46) of a program of free trade. In June 1846 the industrial bourgeoisie, despite the opposition of the landed aristocracy, succeeded in repealing the Corn Laws; subsequently, the import tariffs on many types of foodstuffs and raw materials were considerably reduced. The Whig government of J. Russell (prime minister, 1846-52), which continued the free trade policy, put through the repeal of the Navigation Acts in 1849; the acts had played a large role in protecting maritime trade from foreign competition in the 17th and 18th centuries but had lost their significance with the growth of Britain’s trade and industrial might.

As a result of the Industrial Revolution the number of workers sharply increased to 4.8 million in 1851, out of a total population of approximately 21 million in Britain (not counting Ireland). In order to force the ruined hand weavers and small-scale artisans into the factories, a new Poor Law was issued in 1834, which eliminated monetary assistance and established so-called workhouses with a prisonlike regime, where poor people who applied for assistance were placed. The 1830’s and 1840’s were marked by the entrance of the English proletariat onto the path of independent struggle. The movement of English workers, which proceeded under the slogan of struggling for the passage of a “People’s Charter” (one of the basic requirements of which was the introduction of universal suffrage), acquired the name Chartism.

The principal centers of the Chartist movement were the industrial regions of northern and western England, Scotland, and Wales. There was no unity among the Chartists. The representatives of the right wing (W. Lovett and others) advocated peaceful tactics and union with the bourgeois radicals. F. O’Connor and J. B. O’Brien considered it possible to utilize revolutionary methods of struggle for purposes of self-defense. Only the left-wing Chartists G. Harney and E. Jones, who were influenced by the ideas of K. Marx and F. Engels, considered revolutionary struggle as the principal condition for the victory of the working class. The lack of a precise tactical line helped to bring about the defeat of the Chartist movement. But despite this, the historical importance of Chartism was very great. As V. I. Lenin remarked, Chartism was the “first broad, genuinely mass, politically formed, proletarian revolutionary movement” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 38, p. 305). The Chartists were the first in history to create a mass proletarian party (1840)—the National Chartist Association—and to utilize the method of mass political campaigns. The Chartist Convention of 1851 adopted a socialistic program, which proclaimed it necessary for the proletariat to win power in order to transform completely the economic structure of society. The Chartist movement compelled the ruling classes of Britain to make further reforms of Parliament, to expand factory legislation, and to introduce a ten-hour working day for women and minors (June 1847).

Britain’s foreign policy, for a long time connected with the name of H. J. T. Palmerston (foreign secretary, 1830-34, 1835-41, and 1846-51; prime minister, 1855-58 and 1859-65), was characterized by a subsequent increase in expansion. In 1840, New Zealand was declared an English colony. From 1838 to 1842, Britain waged war against Afghanistan. Britain seized the island of Hsiang-chiang (Hong Kong) from China. A number of Chinese ports were opened for foreign, for the most part English, trade. By the middle of the 19th century Britain had completed the conquest of India (Sind was annexed in 1843, and Punjab in 1849). In 1858, India was declared to be a possession of the British Crown. British colonial seizures were accompanied by wide-scale emigration to the colonies (for the most part, to the so-called resettlement colonies—Australia, New Zealand, and others). During the 1830’s, 500,000 people emigrated to the colonies, and during the 1840’s, over 1.2 million people. The British colonial yoke brought on the resistance of the oppressed peoples—for example, the almost ceaseless national liberation struggle in Ireland and uprisings in Jamaica (1832 and so on) and Canada (1837-38). The increase of British expansion led to the sharpening of conflicts between Britain and other powers, primarily France (trade, industrial, and colonial rivalry, as well as the struggle for Egypt) and Russia. In complete contradiction to the liberal phraseology of British state leaders the ruling classes of Britain during the period of the 1848-49 revolutions in European countries supported reactionary regimes and conducted a policy directed against the revolutionary struggle of the European peoples.

Flourishing of industrial capitalism and appearance of the first distinguishing traits of imperialism (1850’s-1860’s). The Industrial Revolution and the colonial monopoly facilitated the further growth of industry in Britain earlier than in other countries. The 1850’s and 1860’s—the period of the greatest boom for British premonopolistic capitalism—were characterized by the unconditional domination of Britain in the world economy. The process of concentration and centralization of capital was inextricably tied to the creation of large-scale enterprises, which at times employed more than 10,000 workers. Britain occupied first place in the world in industrial level and growth rates. Especially important was the growth of heavy industry. The amount of coal mined in the 1860’s represented more than half of the world’s production, and the smelting of cast iron in 1870 was half of the world’s production. Britain’s colonial empire in 1860 encompassed a territory equal to 6.5 million sq km, with a population of 145 million. As V. I. Lenin remarked, “two major characteristic traits of imperialism were present in England from the middle of the 19th century: enormous colonial possessions and a monopolistic position in the world market” (ibid., vol. 27, pp. 404-05).

Domination by the industrial bourgeoisie was reinforced during this period; its interests came to be expressed by the Liberal Party, which was formed in the middle of the 19th century on the basis of the Whig Party. The successor to the Tory Party, the Conservative Party (founded in the middle of the 19th century), represented the large-scale landowners and was closely linked with the financial magnates; it underwent a crisis, and its influence declined. During this period Britain, as distinguished from most other countries, had many bourgeois democratic liberties, established as a result of the prolonged struggle by the masses; workers’ and democratic organizations had the right to legal existence. Britain served as a refuge for political emigrants from various countries. K. Marx and F. Engels lived and worked in London for many years. During this period in Britain there did not exist (right up to World War I) obligatory military duty, and there was neither a large bureaucratic apparatus nor a significant police force. Britain’s island position and domination of the seas protected it from military attacks. Its armed forces were used for the most part in fighting against the peoples in its colonies. During the 1850’s and 1860’s the trade-union movement grew considerably stronger. In 1868 the British Congress of Trade Unions was founded. But the trade unions brought together only skilled workers, and they were constructed according to the shop principle. A workers’ aristocracy began forming in Britain earlier than in other countries; the bourgeoisie, striving to create for itself a bulwark within the working class and utilizing the enormous superprofits received as the result of trade, industrial, and colonial monopolies, placed it in a privileged position.

The economic crisis that affected Britain in 1857 provided the impetus for a new upswing in the workers’ movement. During the summer of 1859 a large-scale strike of the construction workers of London, encompassing more than 16,000 people, took place. The mass outbreaks of the English proletariat forced the government of Palmerston to refrain from an attempt to interfere in the Civil War of 1861-65 in the USA on the side of the slaveholding South. English workers sympathized with the Polish Uprising of 1863-64. The growth of internationalism among the workers of Britain was facilitated by the activity of the First International (founded in London on Sept. 28, 1864); at the end of 1871 the British Federal Council of the International was created. The First International actively assisted the fighting organizations of the English workers in support of the national liberation movement of Ireland, in particular the 1867 uprising, and it played a guiding role in the movement of solidarity with the Paris Commune of 1871.

Under pressure from the broad democratic movement the Conservative government of E. G. S. Derby (1866-68), in which the principal role was played by B. Disraeli, put through the second reform of Parliament in 1867; it almost doubled the number of voters, primarily at the expense of the petite bourgeoisie and the most well-off part of the workers; in 1884 the franchise was granted to small-scale tenants (however, even by the end of the 19th century voting rights were possessed by a minority of Britain’s adult population). These and other reforms testified to the flexibility of the English ruling classes, who were able to make certain concessions and compromises in order to retain their dominance.

At the beginning of the 1850’s there was a sharp increase in Anglo-Russian conflicts of interest, which became one of the main causes of the Crimean War of 1853-56.

The liberation movement in the resettlement colonies intensified, compelling the British government to grant them domestic self-government and to grant Canada dominion rights in 1867. In its remaining colonies, however, Britain continued to employ its previous methods of force and plunder. In 1852, Britain added to its possessions a considerable part of Burma; it then began new wars of plunder against China, Iran, and Ethiopia. The British Army suppressed the Indian popular uprising of 1857-59 with exceptional cruelty and took an active part in suppressing the Taiping Rebellion in China. Following the lead of the USA, Britain succeeded in the 1850’s in forcibly “opening up” the Japanese market for its own trade. The participants in the Irish liberation movement were subjected to constant persecution; from the 1860’s there was an increase in the mass emigration of Irishmen abroad, primarily to the USA and Canada.

Period of transition to imperialism (1870’s-1890’s). During the period from the 1870’s through the 1890’s Britain completed the transition from premonopolistic capitalism to imperialism. British imperialism was shaping itself in the form of colonial imperialism. Although it gradually lost its industrial hegemony, Britain continued to retain its seapower and its colonial and trade monopoly. In 1899, Britain’s colonial possessions amounted to 30 million sq km with a population of 345 million. This gigantic colonial empire was a vast market for British goods as well as a monopolistic source for the most important types of raw material. In the export of capital, in which Britain occupied first place (by 1900 the sum total of British capital investments abroad amounted to approximately £ 2 billion, and it provided an annual income of £100 million), the colonies played an important role. The intensified export of capital drew it away from the industry of the metropolitan areas and hindered the renovation of the basic means of production. Britain began to be transformed into a “rentier state.”

As a result of the merger of banking and industrial capital, financial capital and a financial oligarchy were formed. The concentration and centralization of capital were speeded up by the so-called Great Depression—a protracted economic crisis and depression that lasted from the beginning of the 1870’s to the beginning of the 1890’s. Monopolies began to appear in Britain in the mid-1880’s and especially in the 1890’s. The most rapid creation of monopolies occurred in the banking business. A small group of banks began to control the entire economic life of the country. However, in general, monopolies formed later in Britain, the country of free trade, than they did in the USA and Germany. Despite the continuing considerable growth of British industry, Britain’s portion of world industrial production began to decline steadily. In 1870, Britain produced 32 percent of the world’s industrial output, the USA 23 percent, and Germany 13 percent; by 1900 Britain’s share amounted to 22 percent, the USA’s to 31 percent, and Germany’s to 16 percent. The USA and Germany began to crowd Britain in the world’s markets. Part of the British bourgeoisie began to retreat from the principles of free trade, leaning more and more toward protectionism. In 1886 the Liberal Party split; breaking away from it were the advocates of maintaining union with Ireland (the so-called Liberal-Unionists, a considerable part of which subsequently merged with the Conservatives). From the 1870’s through the 1890’s there was an increased centralization of state power, as well as an increase in the government’s power to the detriment of Parliament’s powers, and the bureaucratic apparatus grew considerably.

In the last third of the 19th century the headlong growth of the working class continued (in the middle of the 19th century the urban population was 50.2 percent; in 1871, 61.8 percent; and in 1901, 77 percent). During the 1870’s the workers’ movement on the whole was characterized by comparative political passivity. There was an increase in the influence of the workers’ aristocracy, which had grown in numbers, along with that of the reformist trade-union leaders. Politically, the English working class became “an appendage to the ’great liberal party,’ that is, the party of its own enslavers, the capitalists” (K. Marx in K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 34, p. 249). During the 1880’s, when the consequences of the loss of Britain’s industrial monopoly began to be felt, under conditions of the prolonged economic crisis, the workers’ movement began to assume a militant character. Numerous demonstrations and meetings were held. The government’s attempt to prohibit meetings in Trafalgar Square in London led to a clash between the workers and the police (“Bloody Sunday,” Nov. 13, 1887). Broad strata of unskilled workers began to join the struggle. A turning point was reached with the mass strikes by the workers of the gas companies of London (May 1889) and the London dockworkers (August-September 1889). These strikes, which ended with the victory of the workers (the establishment of an eight-hour workday in the gas industry and fixed wages for the dockworkers), led to the creation of the so-called new trade unions. By 1900 the membership in trade unions had grown to 1,972,000 (in 1880 there had been 604,000), which inflicted considerable damage on the monopolistic position of the workers’ aristocracy in the trade unions. The growth of the workers’ movement led to the intensification of socialist propaganda. In 1884 as a result of the transformation of the Democratic Federation, which had existed since 1881, the Social Democratic Federation was created; it advanced the propagation of socialist ideas to the foreground. However, the leadership of the federation (H. M. Hyndman and others), while declaring that they acknowledged Marxism, actually carried out an opportunistic, sectarian policy. In December 1884 the revolutionary elements left the Social Democratic Federation; they created the Socialist League (E. Marx, E. Aveling, and W. Morris were among the group’s members).

The Fabian Society, founded in 1884 by a group of bourgeois intellectuals (S. Webb and others), strove to turn the workers away from the ideas of Marxism by criticizing individual aspects of the capitalist system and by propaganda for “municipal socialism.” By unmasking the bourgeois “socialists"—the Fabians—F. Engels carried on a struggle for the creation of a genuinely proletarian mass party in Britain. In 1893, during conditions of an upswing in the workers’ movement, the Independent Labour Party was founded, connected with the new trade unions and declaring socialism as its ultimate goal; however, the leaders of this party (J. Keir Hardie and others), who were under the strong influence of bourgeois ideology, opposed the class struggle.

In the sphere of foreign policy Britain maintained a so-called splendid isolation, which provided it with a great number of possibilities for utilizing the conflicts among other powers and for implementing its own expansionist plans. During the 1870’s and 1880’s Britain’s foreign policy, as previously, was determined for the most part by Anglo-Russian as well as by Anglo-French conflicts. In the Balkans, Britain strove to turn Turkey and Austro-Hungary against Russia by supporting the oppression of Slavic peoples by these powers. Britain supported Turkey at the time of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 and at the Berlin Congress of 1878. The sharpening of relations with Russia was utilized by the government of Disraeli (prime minister, 1874-80) to kindle extremely chauvinistic moods in Britain and to justify a number of actions in accord with its own predatory policy—for example, the annexation of the island of Cyprus in 1878 and the war against Afghanistan during the years 1878-80. A sharp Anglo-Russian rivalry developed in Middle Asia and in the Far East. Having seized the dominant positions in China (the Yangtze River valley and Shanghai were within Britain’s sphere of influence), Britain, in order to oppose Russia, also encouraged Japanese expansion in the Far East.

In 1875, Britain acquired 44 percent of the shares of the Suez Canal Company, which allowed it to establish financial control over Egypt and prepared the way for its seizure (1882), which was carried out during Gladstone’s Liberal government. In 1876, Queen Victoria was accorded the title of Empress of India. Britain penetrated more and more into Iran, striving to convert it into a colony. By 1886 the seizure of Burma had been completed. British expansion in Africa developed on an enormous scale. Nevertheless, British domination was not secure, and the national liberation struggle was intensified within Britain’s colonies. Mass peasant disturbances occurred in Ireland. In eastern Sudan the followers of the Mahdi defeated a British army in 1885. (It was only in 1898 that Britain again took possession of this territory.) A stubborn struggle against the British colonizers was waged by the Zulus and the Ashanti state. A number of defeats were inflicted on the British Army (in 1881 and 1895) by the Boers. The struggle for new colonies led to the sharpening of Anglo-French conflicts in Southeast Asia (for example, Siam) and especially in Africa, where France was forced to abandon its attempts to annex eastern Sudan to its possessions. In connection with German penetration into Africa, which began in the 1880’s, conflicts between Britain and Germany began to grow sharper.

Epoch of imperialism (to the end of World War I). Britain entered the 20th century as one of the most economically developed powers. Its colonies occupied 57 percent of the area of all colonial possessions on the globe. Nevertheless, the process that began at the end of the 19th century intensified in the early 20th: Britain still lagged behind Germany and the USA in growth rates of industrial production. Britain’s average annual growth in industrial output from 1891 to 1913 was only 2.1 percent (in Germany it was 4.12 percent and in the USA, 4.2 percent). Britain was gradually losing its dominant position in the world economy. In the sharpened competitive struggle with other imperialist powers Britain strove to make maximum use of resources from its colonies, and it further expanded the British Empire. The Conservative government of R. Salisbury waged war against the South African Boer Republics from 1899 to 1902, and the war ended with their inclusion in the British Empire. Britain’s loss of a monopoly of industry caused a faction of the Conservatives, led by J. Chamberlain, to oppose the principles of free trade and to advocate the introduction of protectionism, which would be in the interests of the magnates of heavy industry and the colonial companies. Financial and trade circles, as well as the entrepreneurs of light industry, were opposed to these plans, for they saw in protectionism an obstacle to their own plans for a further expansion of foreign trade. The working classes were also against protectionism, for it threatened to lower their standard of living. The struggle between the advocates of protectionism and the Liberals, who defended the policy of free trade, ended with a victory for the latter at the parliamentary elections of 1906; Britain was ruled until 1922 by Liberal or Liberal-coalition governments.

The economic difficulties caused a worsening of the position of the workers and a growth in unemployment. In connection with a railroad strike against the Taff Vale Company (1901), the House of Lords (the highest juridical instance) required that the trade unions make compensation for the losses caused by the strike. This essentially deprived trade unions of the right to participate in strikes. Only in 1906 was this law abolished. Under the influence of the economic crisis that began in 1907, and also affected by the Revolution of 1905-07 in Russia, a mass strike movement developed in Britain, and trade unions grew rapidly; in 1914 the railroad, transport, and mine unions formed a “triple alliance,” which agreed to mutual support in strikes. The British proletariat came to an ever-increasing awareness of the importance of political struggle and the need for workers’ representation in Parliament. In 1900 representatives from the trade unions, professional councils, socialist organizations, and the Independent Labour Party created the Labour Party (which up until 1906 bore the name Labour Electoral Committee). From the very beginning, however, the right-wing leaders of the new party conducted a policy of class peace and essentially subordinated its activity to the interests of the bourgeoisie. During the first decade of the 20th century, influenced by the strike movement, the Liberal government put through a number of laws that contained certain concessions to the workers and that laid the foundations for a system of social security. Miners obtained an eight-hour workday, pensions were introduced for workers who reached the age of 70 (1908), and insurance was provided in case of illness or unemployment (1911). The initiator of the policy of liberal reforms, directed at diverting the working class from revolutionary struggle, was D. Lloyd George. For its struggle against the reforms the Conservative opposition utilized the House of Lords, which attempted to block bills passed by the Liberals. This led to a reform of the House of Lords itself that limited its powers.

The attempt by the Liberal government, which depended on the votes of the Irish faction in Parliament, to introduce Home Rule (self-government) in Ireland encountered fierce resistance from the Conservatives. The most reactionary circles of the British bourgeoisie opposed the extension of Home Rule to Ulster (the northern, industrially developed part of Ireland), and they began to create armed detachments to fight against the inplementation of Home Rule as adopted by Parliament. A considerable portion of the officer corps refused to carry out the government’s order to lead regular troops into Ulster. The beginning of World War I interrupted a general political crisis that was developing in Britain; the implementation of Home Rule was postponed.

At the beginning of the 20th century there was a sharp increase in Anglo-German conflicts of interest, which took on the character of major imperialistic contradictions. The weakening of Britain’s economic and military-strategic positions impelled its government to abandon the doctrine of “splendid isolation” in foreign policy and to proceed to conclude a series of alliances. In 1902 an Anglo-Japanese alliance was concluded. The signing of the Anglo-French agreement of 1904 (which regulated the disputed colonial problems between the two countries) and the Anglo-Russian agreement of 1907 in fact created the Entente—a military bloc of Britain, France, and tsarist Russia—as a counterweight to the German-Austrian-Italian Triple Alliance.

World War I, 1914-18 (which Britain entered on Aug. 4, 1914, after declaring war on Germany), was for Britain, as well as for the other participants, an imperialistic war. Britain strove to smash its principal competitor, Germany, to seize its colonies, and to take from Turkey a number of its possessions in the Near East. Following its tradition, Britain attempted to shift the weight of the war onto its allies, Russia and France. However the German bloc turned out to be so powerful that Britain was forced to mobilize its own resources and the resources of the entire British Empire in order to wage the war. The leaders of the Labour Party and the trade unions, despite their previous declarations, took the social chauvinistic position of supporting their “own” bourgeoisie in the imperialistic war. The “truce in industry,” concluded by the trade-union leaders with the entrepreneurs (Aug. 27, 1914), signified the abandonment of strikes by the trade-union leadership. The British ruling circles used wartime conditions in order to attack the bourgeois-democratic liberties. Laws were passed that strengthened the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie (for example, the Law of the Defense of the Kingdom). There was an increase in the concentration and centralization of capital. The war facilitated a more rapid growth of state monopolistic capitalism. The bourgeoisie consolidated its forces in order to wage the war as well as the struggle against the workers’ movement; in May 1915 a coalition government was formed with the participation of Liberals, Conservatives, and Labourites (at the end of 1916, Lloyd George became the head of the cabinet). With the tacit consent of the right-wing Labour leadership the government cruelly suppressed the Irish Uprising of 1916. During the spring of 1915 an upswing began in the workers’ movement, which grew until the end of the war and was intensified under the influence of the February and especially the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917 in Russia. Militant revolutionary elements became increasingly more active in the workers’ movement; they were concentrated primarily in the committees of the shop stewards. The bourgeoisie was forced to make concessions: at the end of the war a new electoral law was adopted, granting the franchise to all men at least 21 years old and to women who had reached the age of 30, and the social insurance and school systems were improved.

General crisis of capitalism. PRE-WORLD WAR II. Britain emerged from World War I as one of the victorious powers, having received a considerable portion of the former German colonies in Asia and Africa and most of the territories taken from Turkey. Along with France it occupied key positions in the League of Nations. Nevertheless, the world war and the general crisis of capitalism that had begun during the course of the war considerably weakened Britain. Britain’s losses were 743,000 killed and 1,693,000 wounded. During the war years industrial production was reduced by 20 percent, exports fell sharply (while imports increased), and the financial position worsened: military expenditures swallowed up £8.5, and capital investments abroad decreased by one-fourth. Britain, once a creditor of the USA, became its chief debtor. There was an increase in the centrifugal tendencies within the British Empire. The parliamentary elections of 1918 brought victory to a coalition headed by Lloyd George of Conservatives and a part of the Liberals.

After the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia the ruling circles of Britain considered the struggle against the Soviet state to be the most important task of their policy. Britain was among the chief organizers of the anti-Soviet intervention and among those whose efforts converted the Paris Peace Conference of 1919-20 into an international anti-Soviet armed camp. Under the influence of the October Revolution a revolutionary surge began in Britain, marked by a stormy strike movement, the creation in 1920 of the Communist Party of Great Britain, and the struggle against anti-Soviet intervention under the slogan “Hands Off Russia.” In the middle of 1920 an acute economic crisis began; in 1921 industrial production was reduced by a third. In 1922 the coalition cabinet of Lloyd George was replaced by a government of Conservatives (who remained in power almost continuously until 1940). The bourgeoisie, in league with right-wing trade-union and Labour leaders, developed counterattacks against the workers’ movement. The policy of opportunism and accommodation was opposed by the left-wing tendencies in the workers’ movement. During the mid-1920’s the “movement of the minority” arose in the trade unions. The culminating point of the class struggle was the General Strike of 1926. Its defeat was utilized by the right-wing leadership of the trade unions and the Labour Party to proclaim a policy of cooperation with the bourgeoisie. The sharpening of the class struggle gave rise to a profound crisis in the Liberal Party, which during the 1920’s finally yielded its place in the English two-party system to the Labourites. In 1924, J. R. MacDonald, the leader of the Labour Party, formed the first Labour government in the history of Britain.

The policy of the first (1924) and the second (1929-31) Labour governments differed little from the policy of the Conservatives, although under pressure from the masses the Labour leaders were forced to grant certain social reforms. Compelled to consider the strengthened position of the Soviet socialist state and responding to the movement of the broad masses in Britain for recognition of the USSR, the Labour government in 1924 recognized the Soviet Union de jure (the Soviet state had been accorded de facto recognition in 1921); in 1929 the second Labour government restored diplomatic relations with the USSR, which had been broken off in 1927 by the Conservative government of S. Baldwin (1924-29). At the same time, by continuing the policy of the Conservatives, the Labour governments were suppressing the national liberation movements in the colonies, which testified to the crisis of the colonial system of imperialism. The growth of capitalism in the dominions and the intensification of centrifugal forces in the British Empire compelled Britain to accord the dominions rights juridically equal with the metropolitan areas; this was confirmed by the Statute of Westminster in 1931.

After the depression of 1922-23, Britain’s economy had scarcely revived and attained the level of 1913 when it entered into the realm of the worldwide economic crisis in 1929. In 1932, Britain’s index of industrial production declined to 82 percent of its 1929 level. The decline of production was less than in a number of other countries, because the crisis had not been preceded by a period of economic boom. During the crisis years the number of unemployed in Britain exceeded 3 million. A mass movement of the unemployed arose. In 1931 an uprising of sailors broke out in Invergordon. Britain was compelled to adopt extraordinary measures in order to strengthen its position in the fierce competitive struggle in world markets and in the spheres of capital accumulation: for example, the cancellation of the pound-sterling gold standard introduced in 1925 (1931), the abandonment of the free-trade policy and the transition to a policy of protectionism (1932), and the creation of a sterling bloc (a group of states connected with Britain by a single financial and currency system). The depressed state of the British economy continued until 1937, when it underwent a new crisis. State capitalist tendencies and the concentration of capital were intensified in Britain’s economy; industry was supported more and more by military procurement orders. During the 1930’s there was widespread acceptance of the idea of state regulation of the economy in order to rescue it from crises.

Britain’s foreign policy after World War I in its relation to the other imperialist powers was characterized by a sharpening of Anglo-American, Anglo-Japanese, and Anglo-French contradictions. The struggle with France for the leading role in Europe, along with considerations of an anti-Soviet policy, determined the actions of the British government in European affairs during the 1920’s (Anglo-German contradictions were weakened for some time by Germany’s military defeat). Together with the USA, Britain facilitated the recovery of German military-industrial potential, taking an active part in working out the Dawes Plan (1924) and in financing the German economy. However, insofar as the strengthening of Germany’s military might increased the threat to Britain’s international position, it led to the growth of Anglo-German contradictions. The reactionary ruling circles of Britain conceived the idea of “channeling” Hitler’s aggression to the East; this was linked not only with plans to annihilate the USSR but also to weaken Germany. The policy with regard to Nazi Germany that was conducted during the 1930’s by British Conservative cabinets (S. Baldwin’s, 1935-37, and N. Chamberlain’s, 1937-40) and that was termed the policy of “non-interference” and “appeasement,” did in fact constitute a policy of encouraging fascist aggression. By signing the Anglo-German Maritime Agreement of 1935, Britain was actually assisting the rebirth of the German naval fleet. The policy of “non-interference” also facilitated aggression by other imperialist states (Japan in the Far East and Italy in Africa). At the same time, with the acquiescence of British ruling circles fascist and profascist elements became active within the country (led by O. Mosley), advocating collaboration with Nazi Germany. The government of N. Chamberlain proceeded to conclude the Munich Agreement of 1938, which dismembered Czechoslovakia in Germany’s favor; also signed in 1938 was an Anglo-German declaration that was equivalent to a nonaggression pact between Britain and Germany. In March 1939 an agreement was signed in Düsseldorf between the Federation of British Industry and the German Imperial Industrial Group, providing for cooperation between the industrial systems of Britain and Germany. During the summer of 1939 the British government and, following its lead, the French government broke off negotiations begun in Moscow upon the USSR’s initiative concerning an alliance of these three powers in the struggle against aggression. Behind the back of the USSR, Chamberlain’s government was considering an all-encompassing agreement with Germany concerning an alliance (secret Anglo-German negotiations on this question began in June in London). Serious conflicts, however, concerning the problem of dividing up world markets and spheres of influence made an agreement impossible. By breaking up the organization of a unified front against fascist aggression, the governments of Britain and the other imperialist powers aided Hitler’s Germany in the unleashing of World War II.

WORLD WAR II, 1939-45. After Nazi Germany’s attack on Poland (Sept. 1, 1939), Britain and France, allied with Poland by treaties of mutual assistance, declared war on Germany on September 3. Neither Britain nor France, however, rendered any genuinely effective aid to their Polish ally, counting instead on provoking war between Germany and the USSR. From September 1939 through April 1940, Britain and France waged a so-called phony war against Germany—that is, a war without military action (only skirmishes over sea lanes). Germany’s offensive in the West—its occupation during the spring of 1940 of a number of countries in Western Europe (including the invasion of France)—signified the utter failure of the “appeasement” policy. On May 10, N. Chamberlain’s government was forced to resign. After the events in the region of Dunkirk (May 1940) and the surrender of France (June 1940) the threat of German invasion hung over Britain. Under these conditions a new coalition government (composed of Conservatives, Liberals, and Labourites—with the predominance of the first) was formed by W. Churchill. It put into effect a number of extraordinary measures to convert the country’s economy to a wartime basis and to strengthen the armed forces (primarily the army); the formation of detachments of civilian self-defense was also initiated. The British people gave unanimous support to the government’s defense measures and showed a stubborn endurance at the time of the German air offensive against Britain.

The liberating elements in the nature of the war that Britain was waging began to predominate over imperialistic goals. From an imperialistic struggle the war began to be transformed for Britain into a just, antifascist war. At the same time the bourgeoisie did utilize the wartime conditions and the readiness of the people to make great sacrifices for the sake of victory over fascism to enrich itself at the expense of the masses. On June 22, 1941, after Germany’s treacherous attack against the USSR, Churchill declared Britain’s readiness to render all manner of aid to the Soviet Union. On July 12, 1941, an Anglo-Soviet agreement was signed concerning joint actions in the war against Germany, and Aug. 14, 1941, saw the signing of the Atlantic Charter by Britain and the USA. The concentration of Germany’s main forces on the Soviet-German front removed the threat of a German invasion of the British Isles and allowed Britain to undertake more active military operations in the areas of the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and North Africa. In December 1941, after Japan’s attack on the Pacific possessions of Britain and the USA, Britain together with the USA declared war on Japan. At the beginning of 1942 a joint committee of the chiefs of staff of Britain and the USA was established.

During the course of the war an anti-Hitler coalition was formed, headed by the USSR, the USA, and Britain, which was of great significance for victory over the aggressors. On May 26, 1942, a treaty was signed in Moscow by the USSR and Britain concerning alliance in the war against Germany and its satellite accomplices in Europe and also concerning cooperation and mutual aid after the war. The British government, however, did not live up to its agreement with regard to the terms and volume of military supply deliveries to the USSR, and together with the government of the USA it delayed the opening of a second front in Europe. In 1942 the Anglo-American command carried out a landing in North Africa, where since June 1940 military operations had been waged between the British and the Italians, and later (from February 1941) between the British and the Italo-German armies. After the completion of its operations in North Africa the Anglo-American army began military actions in Sicily in July 1943. In 1943 the strategic initiative in the Pacific theater of operations passed into the hands of Britain and the USA. The headlong offensive by the Soviet Army during the period 1943-44 convincingly demonstrated that the Soviet Union was capable by itself, without aid from its allies, of liberating all the peoples of Europe from fascism. Under these conditions Britain and the USA proceeded to open up a second front in Europe. Anglo-American troops landed in France on June 6, 1944, and, supported by members of the resistance movement, occupied France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Central Italy by the end of 1944.

At the same time the most reactionary circles in Britain were making continuous efforts to establish contacts with representatives of Nazi Germany in order to conclude a separate peace, which would have allowed Germany to be maintained as an anti-Soviet bastion in Central Europe. However, the growing might and increased international influence of the USSR, which had shouldered the principal weight of the struggle against fascism, ruined such plans. The same reason compelled the government leaders of Britain and the USA to accept many of the Soviet proposals directed at the peaceful, democratic, postwar regulation and solution of the German question at the three-power conferences between the USSR, Britain, and the USA in Tehran (November-December 1943), Yalta (February 1945), and Potsdam (July-August 1945). As a result of the elections held in July 1945, an absolute majority of seats in the British Parliament were won by the Labourites, who had advocated a widely publicized program of social reforms and made promises to maintain allied relations with the USSR. On July 26 their leader C. Attlee formed the third Labour government.

POST WORLD WAR II. The war caused a further significant weakening in Britain’s economic and political position, although its losses (245,000 killed and 278,000 wounded) were less than in World War I. War expenditures amounted to more than £25 billion; the state debt rose from £7.2 billion in 1939 to £23.7 billion in 1946. Britain lost approximately 25 percent of the country’s national wealth. Industrial output and foreign trade were reduced, and a long-term economic and political dependence of Britain on the USA was established. Under the conditions of the scientific and technical revolution that had developed, Britain fell further behind the leading capitalist countries in growth rates of industrial output (from 1950 to 1968 the industrial growth in Britain was 68 percent; in Japan, 1,068 percent; in Italy, 319 percent; in the Federal Republic of Germany, 256 percent; and in France, 156 percent). At the end of the 1950’s the FRG, and at the end of the 1960’s, Japan surpassed Britain in industrial output, thus pushing it down to fourth place in the capitalist world.

After World War II there was a disintegration in the colonial system, with the collapse of the British colonial empire, the largest in the world. As a consequence of the powerful upsurge of the national liberation movement, the British imperialists were forced to grant independence to India (1947), but they divided the country according to religious criteria into India and Pakistan. Burma and Ceylon achieved their independence in 1948. The struggle of the oppressed peoples compelled Britain to grant independence to almost all of its colonial territories. In 1945 the population of the British colonies and dependent territories was approximately 432 million, whereas in 1969 the figure was about 10 million. Most of the liberated countries retained official ties with Britain and remained within the so-called Commonwealth. The decline of its colonial empire greatly weakened British imperialism; but the country still maintained important economic and political positions within its former possessions (British capital investments in the countries belonging to the sterling zone in 1969 were estimated at £14 billion).

Attempting to strengthen Britain’s position among its rivals, Attlee’s Labour government during the first few postwar years increased capital investments in industry; a number of branches of the economy were nationalized and redesigned at state expense—that is, actually at the taxpayers’ expense (by the mid-1950’s more than 20 percent of the total work force was employed in the nationalized sector). Under increased pressure from the workers’ movement measures were adopted that were directed at improving the system of social security, education, and health service. However, the leaders of the Labour Party leaned more and more to the right, which increased the rift between their policy and the interests of the broad masses. There occurred a further rapprochement between the position of the Labour leadership and the position of the Conservatives. In the field of foreign policy the Attlee government (foreign secretary, E. Bevin) with the USA tore apart the coalition with the USSR that had been formed during the war and laid the foundations for the arms race and the cold war against the USSR and other socialist states. It accepted the Marshall Plan (1948), signed the Brussels Pact (1948), and in 1949 helped the USA to build the aggressive NATO bloc, in which British imperialism was counted upon to play the role of the USA’s principal military and political partner and on this basis to assert itself as the leader of postwar Western Europe. Britain took part in the armed intervention by the USA in Korea (1950-53).

In the 1951 elections the Labourites lost their parliamentary majority. The Conservatives came to power, and they ruled the country until 1964. The government was led in turn by W. Churchill (1951-55), A. Eden (1955-57), H. Macmillan (1957-63), and A. Douglas-Home (1963-64).

During the period of Conservative rule Britain’s economy experienced slowdowns and mild crises several times. There was an increase in the penetration of American capital into British industry. In 1964 the balance of payments deficit amounted to 2.5 percent of the gross national product. The Conservatives increased the offensive against the essential rights of the workers; they liquidated a number of concessions that had been wrenched from the monopolies under the Labour governments. From 1953 through 1961 alone the cost of living increased by more than 25 percent. The Conservative governments continued the arms race, placing their reliance on nuclear weapons. Direct military appropriations constituted an average of one-third of the expenditures of the state budget. In order to combat national liberation movements, Britain took an active part in creating the aggressive blocs of SEATO (1954) and CENTO (1955; until 1959 known as the Baghdad Pact). In 1956, together with France and Israel, it undertook an armed attack against Egypt, striving to reinforce the positions of colonialism in the Near East and in Africa. Because of the support rendered by the Soviet Union and other socialist countries to Egypt, and the protests of world public opinion, Britain and its partners were forced to yield. The British intervention in Jordan in 1958 also ended in failure. Having forgotten the lessons of the 1930’s, the British government facilitated the remilitarization of West Germany in many ways. The Paris Agreements of 1954, concluded with the strong participation of Britain, legalized the rearmament of the FRG and included it in NATO. Having entered into an anti-Soviet military alliance with West Germany, the British government in essence tore up the Anglo-Soviet alliance treaty of 1942 and compelled the Soviet government to declare it null and void (May 7, 1955).

The striving of British imperialism toward the closest possible unification of the political, economic, and military forces of the capitalist world for the struggle against socialism and the national liberation movement led to Britain’s increased dependence on the USA. American military bases appeared on its territory. Struggling for the leading role in Western Europe, Britain in 1960 created the so-called European Free Trade Association, composed of seven countries as a counterweight to the European Economic Community (Common Market), which in 1957 united six countries headed by France and the FRG. However, EFTA proved to be incapable of competing with the Common Market. In August 1963 the Soviet-American-British negotiations, which had begun back in 1958 on the initiative of the USSR, culminated in the signing of a treaty banning the testing of nuclear weapons in the three spheres.

In October 1964 the Labour government of H. Wilson came to power. It implemented several improvements in the system of social security. In the extraordinary parliamentary elections of March 1966 the Labourites received a dominant majority of seats in the House of Commons. However, the policy of the Labour government did not match the hopes of the voters. Its efforts were directed primarily at strengthening and increasing the efficiency of the capitalist economic system in Britain, especially its state monopolistic sector. The government encouraged greater and greater increases in the concentration of banking and industrial capital. At the end of the 1960’s monopolies with capital exceeding £1 billion appeared for the first time in Britain. In 1969 eight of the 20 largest private companies in Western Europe were British. In 1967 the Labourites carried out the renationalization of the steel industry on a capitalist basis (with compensatory payment to the former owners), and they actively cooperated in speeding up the development of the most modern branches of industry (electronics, aviation, chemistry, and atomic power), whose importance in Britain’s economy had markedly increased. However, the efforts of the government to plan the economy in order to achieve a sharp increase in the production growth rates were not successful (during the years 1964-69 the average annual production growth rate amounted to only 2 percent). American capital was extensively introduced into Britain’s economy, and the country’s foreign indebtedness sharply increased: the sum total of short-term foreign loans and credits alone amounted to more than £5 billion at the end of 1969. Despite this, the Wilson government continued to spend enormous sums of money on the arms race, which further aggravated Britain’s financial difficulties caused by a chronic deficit in the balance of payments. In 1967 it was compelled to put through the second postwar devaluation of the pound sterling (the first devaluation had been carried out in 1947). The crisis of the British pound, the gold content of which fell by 50 percent over the 20-year period 1947-67, was a component part of the acute financial and currency crisis that encompassed the capitalist system during the second half of the 1960’s.

The Wilson government attempted to resolve the serious economic difficulties facing the country primarily at the expense of the workers’ interests. By conducting a policy of limiting domestic consumption, it adopted in 1966 and then renewed annually a law that froze and subsequently strictly limited any wage increase for the workers; it essentially increased the level of taxation and reduced expenditures on social needs. At the same time the government did nothing to hold down the rapid increase in prices (during the years 1966-69 prices increased at an average rate of 7-8 percent annually). There was a constantly high level of unemployment in the country. The socioeconomic policy of the Labour government and its efforts to limit the rights of the trade unions were subjected to sharp condemnation at an extraordinary congress of British trade unions in June 1969.

In their foreign policy the Labourites, continuing, as they had, the course set by the Conservatives, staked their hopes on maintaining a military and political alliance and the so-called special relations with the USA. They supported all of the latter’s aggressive actions, including the war in Vietnam that began in 1964. From the very beginning of the Near East crisis of 1967 the Wilson government essentially supported Israel’s aggression against the Arab states. It played the role of one of the principal advocates of strengthening and activating NATO. It strengthened cooperation, including cooperation of a military character, with the FRG (in the field of joint production of certain types of weaponry, of developing nuclear strategy for NATO, and so on). While concentrating Britain’s military and political interests in Western Europe, with some reduction of its military presence in the countries of the Near East and Southeast Asia (the so-called regions East of Suez), the Labour government strove to defend (including the use of military means) its position in the countries that had formerly been a part of the British Empire, as well as in Britain’s remaining colonies and dependent territories. In 1964, British troops were sent into Uganda, Kenya, and Tanganyika; in 1968, to the island of Mauritius; and in 1969, to the island of Anguilla. The British government tolerated the racist regime of I. Smith in Southern Rhodesia. While following a course hostile to the USSR and the socialist countries, the Labour government nevertheless was forced to consider the shift of power relations in the world arena favoring the socialist forces. In 1968 the British government signed the treaty concerning the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons.

The Wilson government’s policy of attacking the workers’ rights, as well as the imperialistic tendency of its foreign policy, brought about a growing disenchantment and dissatisfaction among the population of Britain. In the preterm parliamentary elections held in June 1970 the Labourites suffered defeat. The Conservative government of E. Heath came to power. The Conservatives stepped up the offensive against the trade unions and in 1971 passed through Parliament an anti-trade-union bill, the Industrial Relations Act, that limited the right of workers to strike. The first major foreign policy acts of the Heath government were the decision to stop pulling British troops out of the “regions East of Suez” and the renewal of the supply of weapons to the racist regime of the Republic of South Africa, which had been halted by the Wilson government at the end of 1964. The Heath government continued the policy of bringing Britain into the processes of Western European integration that had been initiated by the Labourites and in 1973 gained the country’s acceptance into the Common Market.

In February 1971 the British government signed the treaty that prohibits the placement of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction on or beneath the bottom of the seas and oceans.

The progressive forces in Britain are waging an active struggle for peace and against the imperialistic foreign policy course of the ruling circles. Not only the working class and the intellectuals but also liberal bourgeois circles, who have come to realize the scope of the danger that nuclear war represents for Britain, are participating in the peace movement. In the mid-1960’s a mass movement began against US aggression in Vietnam (continued until the signing in January 1973 of the agreement on the termination of war and restoration of peace in Vietnam) and Israeli aggression in the Near East. The movement for peace has merged with the struggle of the masses against the yoke of monopolistic capital. The Communists have played an active role in this struggle. The end of the 1960’s and the beginning of the 1970’s were characterized by a growth of the strike movement. During the period 1965-70 the average annual number of strikes was approximately 2,500; the biggest in 1970 were the strikes by the dock workers (about 50,000 participants) and the miners (120,000). In 1972 alone, strikes resulted in the loss of 24 million man workdays. In Northern Ireland there were mass outbreaks by the workers, who demanded the elimination of social and economic inequalities as well as equal civil rights and liberties. On the eve of the 1970’s these outbreaks grew into armed clashes with the police and the army.


Works by the founders of Marxism-Leninism

Marx, K., and F. Engels. Ob Anglii. Moscow, 1952.
Marx, K., and F. Engels. Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 1, pp. 598-642; vol. 3, pp. 59-60; vol. 4, pp. 179-85, 256, 404-18, 419-59, 515-20; vol. 8, pp. 218-30, 359-68, 385-91; vol. 9, pp. 137-144; vol. 10, pp. 124-28, 594-600; vol. 11, pp. 43-45, 99-102, 234-37, 249-51, 397-400; vol. 12, pp. 167-70, 189--92, 270-73, 559-63; vol. 14, pp. 504-506; vol. 15, pp. 6-11, 450-55; vol. 16, pp. 345-47, 435-38; vol. 17, pp. 627, 644-45, 651; vol. 18, pp. 69-71, 183-87; vol. 21, pp. 198-205, 372-89; vols. 23-25.
Arkhiv Marksa i Engel’sa, vol. 10. Moscow, 1948. Pages 43-58, 264-76.
Lenin, V. I. Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 12, p. 26; vol. 20, pp. 228-33; vol. 22, pp. 39-40, 122-28, 271-72, 357-58; vol. 23, pp. 63-64, 155-57, 343-45, 438-40; vol. 24, pp. 69-72; vol. 25, pp. 73-76, 299-307; vol. 26, pp. 266-72; vol. 27, pp. 99-114, 359, 361, 374-77, 397-400, 403-06, 422-24; vol. 33, p. 38; vol. 39, pp. 160-66; vol. 40, pp. 289-91; vol. 41, pp. 124-28, 157; vol. 44, pp. 85-87, 339-40.

General works

Green, D. R. Istoriia angliiskogo naroda, vols. 1-4. Moscow, 1891-92. (Translated from English.)
Morton, A. L. Istoriia Anglii. Moscow, 1950. (Translated from English.)
Trevelyan, G. Sotsial’naia istoriia Anglii. Moscow, 1959. (Translated from English.)
The Oxford History of England, 2nd ed., vols. 1-15. Edited by G. N. Clark. Oxford, 1937-65.
Briggs, M., and P. Jordan. Economic History of England, [9th ed.] London, 1960.

Until the mid-17th century

Kosminskii, E. A. Issledovaniia po agrarnoi istorii Anglii XIII v. Moscow-Leningrad, 1947.
Vinogradov, P. G. Issledovaniia po sotsial’noi istorii Anglii v sred-nie veka. St. Petersburg, 1887.
Vinogradov, P. G. Srednevekovoe pomest’e v Anglii. St. Petersburg, 1911.
Petrushevskii, D. M. Ocherki iz istorii angliiskogo gosudarstva i obshchestva v srednie veka, 4th ed. Moscow, 1937.
Barg, M. A. Issledovaniia po istorii angliiskogo feodalizma v XI-XIII vv. Moscow, 1962.
Levitskii, Ia. A. Goroda i gorodskoe remeslo v Anglii v X-XII vv. Moscow-Leningrad, 1960.
Gutnova, E. V. Vozniknovenie angliiskogo parlamenta. Moscow, 1960.
Semenov, V. F. Ogorazhivaniia i krest’ianskie dvizheniia v Anglii XVI v. Moscow-Leningrad, 1949.

Modern history

Tatarinova, K. N. Ocherki po istorii Anglii (1640-1815). Moscow, 1958.
Erofeev, N. A. Ocherki po istorii Anglii (1815-1917). Moscow, 1959.
Angliiskaia burzhuaznaia revoliutsiia XVII v., vols. 1-2. Edited by E. A. Kosminskii and Ia. A. Levitskii. Moscow, 1954.
Lavrovskii, V. M. Issledovanie po agrarnoi istorii Anglii XVII-XIX vv. Moscow, 1966.
Cherniak, E. B. Massovoe dvizhenie v Anglii i Irlandii v kontse XVIlI-nachale XIX v. Moscow, 1962.
Erofeev, N. A. Narodnaia emigratsiia i klassovaia bor’ba v Anglii v 1825-1850 gg. Moscow, 1962.
Kertman, L. E. Rabochee dvizhenie v Anglii i bor’ba dvukh ten-dentsii v leiboristskoi partii (1900-1914). [Perm’], 1957.
Karliner, M. M. Rabochee dvizhenie v Anglii v gody pervoi mirovoivoiny (1914-1918). Moscow, 1961.
Rotshtein, F. A. Ocherki po istorii rabochego dvizheniia v Anglii, 2nd ed. Moscow-Leningrad, 1925.
Morton, A. L., and G. Tate. Istoriia angliiskogo rabochego dvizheniia (1770-1920). (Translated from English.) Moscow, 1959.
Cole, D. Istoriia rabochego dvizheniia v Anglii, 1787-1925, vols. 1-2. London, 1927. (Translated from English.)
Kuchinskii, Iu. Polozhenie rabochego klassa v Anglii (1832-1956). Moscow, 1958. (Translated from German.)
Barker, W. A., G. R. St. Aubyn, and R. L. Ollard. A General History of England, 1832-1960, 2nd ed. London, 1960.
MacDonald, D. F. The Age of Transition: Britain in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. London-New York, 1967.
The Cambridge History of British Foreign Policy, 1783-1919, vols. 1-3. Edited by A. W. Ward and G. P. Gooch. Cambridge, 1922-23.

Contemporary history

Pollitt, Harry. Izbrannye stat’i i rechi, vol. 1. Moscow, 1955. (Translated from English.)
Pollitt, Harry. Marksizm i rabochee dvizhenie v Velikobritanii. Moscow, 1960. [Translated from English.]
Gollan, J. Kommunisty Velikobritanii v bor’be za sotsializm. Moscow, 1968. (Translated from English.)
Dutt, R. P. Krizis Britanii i Britanskoi imperii. Moscow, 1959. (Translated from English.)
Trukhanovskii, V. G. Noveishaia istoriia Anglii. Moscow, 1958.
Trukhanovskii, V. G. Vneshniaia politika Anglii na pervom etape obshchego krizisa kapitalizma (1918-1939 gg.). Moscow, 1962.
Trukhanovskii, V. G. Vneshniaia politika Anglii v period vtoroi mirovoi voiny (1939-1945). Moscow, 1965.
Trukhanovskii, V. G. Vneshniaia politika Anglii posle vtoroi mirovoi voiny. Moscow, 1957.
Ovinnikov, R. S. Khoziaeva angliiskoi politiki: Finansovaia oligarkhiia i vneshniaiia politika Anglii posle Suetsa, 1957-1966. Moscow, 1966.
Zhigalov, I. I. Velikobritaniia: narod i vneshniaia politika. Moscow, 1967.
Politika Anglii na Blizhnem i Srednem Vostoke (1945-1965). Moscow, 1966.
Politika Anglii v stranakh Iuzhnoi i Iugo-Vostochnoi Azii. Moscow, 1966.
Politika Anglii v Afrike. Moscow, 1967.
Mowat, C. L. Britain Between the Wars, 1918-1940. London [1955].
Carr, E. H. The Foreign Policy of Britain From 1918 to September 1939. London, 1939.


Istoriia Anglii i Irlandii: Bibliografcheskii ukazatel’ literatury, izdannoi v SSSR za 1918-1962 gg. Compiled by A. N. Baikova. Moscow, 1963.

IA. A. LEVITSKII (to the end of the 1680’s), L. A. ZAK (1690’S to the end of the 19th century), and V. G. TRUKHANOVSKII (20th century)

Political parties. The Conservative Party was organized in the middle of the 19th century, based on the Tory Party. It expresses the interests of the monopolistic bourgeoisie. Party membership (as of 1972) stood at approximately 3 million. It won 330 seats (an absolute majority) in the 1970 parliamentary elections and became the ruling party.

The Labour Party was founded in 1900 and was one of the leading parties in the Socialist International. Enjoying the rights of collective members in this party are about 70 trade unions and a number of other organizations (including the Fabian Society). As of 1972, party membership was 6.3 million, but of these only 670,000 individual members. It won 287 seats in Parliament in the 1970 elections. The policy of the right-wing Labourite leaders confirms Lenin’s characterization of the Labour Party as “a thoroughly bourgeois party” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 41, p. 261).

The Liberal Party was formed in the middle of the 19th century on the basis of the Whig Party. As of 1972, party membership stood at approximately 200,000. It won six seats in Parliament in the 1970 elections.

The Communist Party was founded in 1920. As of 1972, Party membership exceeded 30,000.

TRADE UNIONS AND OTHER PUBLIC ORGANIZATIONS. Trade unions came into being during the first half of the 18th century. The largest trade-union group, the British Trades Union Congress (TUC), was founded in 1868. It unites 132 trade unions with a total membership of 9.9 million (1972). The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) was founded in 1897. It unites more than 850,000 members (1972). The Cooperative Union was founded in 1869. The Movement for Nuclear Disarmament, the largest mass organization of the advocates of peace, was founded in 1958. The British Soviet Friendship Society was founded in 1946. The Society for Cultural Relations With the USSR was founded in 1924. The Scotland-USSR Friendship Society was founded in 1945. The Northern Ireland-USSR Society also exists. The Great Britain-USSR Association is an official, semigovernmental organization, founded in 1959. The British Peace Council was founded in 1949. The National Women Citizens’ Association and a National Union of Students are active. The Communist Youth League was founded in 1922. The Young Socialists, the youth organization of the Labour Party, was founded in 1959; there is also the Young Conservative and Unionist Organization.


General characteristics. Britain is among the most important industrial powers of the capitalist world, although its position in the world economy has been surpassed by the USA and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), and, since 1968, by Japan. Britain’s share in the capitalist world’s industrial production from 1938 to 1969 was reduced by more than half; it was 15.7 percent in 1938, 11.9 percent in 1948, 9.3 percent in 1960, 8.1 percent in 1965, and 7.1 percent in 1969. This put Britain in fourth place among capitalist countries. Britain lags behind the leading capitalist countries not only in growth rates of industrial production but also in the growth of labor productivity: from 1951 through 1967 labor productivity in British industry increased by 35 percent (at the same time in the USA it increased by 51.2 percent, in the FRG by 70.4 percent and in France by 72 percent). Britain’s economy was molded under conditions of its prolonged monopolistic position in world industrial production and trade while possessing a huge colonial empire. After World War I (1914-18), Britain’s position in the world economy changed. Relatively outmoded in its structure, British industry could not adapt to the competitive conditions in the world market. Whereas in other countries new branches of industry were growing rapidly, in Britain they had only begun to develop. The worldwide economic crisis of the 1930’s severely affected the country’s economy, especially its old branches. World War II (1939-45) weakened Britain still further. After World War II the general crisis of capitalism and the stormy growth of the national liberation movement among various peoples led to the decline of the British colonial empire. However, by employing a policy of neocolonialism and by attracting into the Commonwealth most of the countries that had been liberated froni colonial dependence, Britain managed to hold them in the sphere of its influence within varying degrees. During the first few postwar years, despite the fact that capital investments were at a lower level than they were in the crisis year of 1938, Britain began to develop the most up-to-date branches of machine-building and chemistry, the output of which, in the absence of competition in the world market, was in great demand. This had a positive effect on the structure of British industry. Nevertheless, the maintenance, even after the war, of a high level of military expenditures (ranging from 7 to 11 percent of the GNP), increased export of capital, and growth of imports, were among the factors that caused an imbalance in the economy, financial difficulties, a deficit in the balance of payments that became chronic, limitations on capital investments in public spheres (including exports), a slowdown in the economic growth rate, and a greater financial and economic dependence, primarily on the USA.

Increased monopolization in the new branches of industry was characteristic of the postwar period. By the 1960’s the process of centralizing capital by means of the numerous absorptions and mergers of companies had also begun in a number of old branches. The government encouraged the concentration of industrial capital, and with this goal in mind it created the Corporation for the Reorganization of Industry in 1966. A number of mergers also occurred in an old branch, shipbuilding: in 1967-68 several companies merged in Tyneside to form the consortium Swan Hunter Shiprepairers Tyne Limited and in the region of Clydeside, to establish two consortiums, Upper Clyde Shipbuilders and the Scott Lithgow Group.

Still more powerful groups were formed in the automobile industry; at the beginning of 1968 there was a merger of the two major companies, British Motor Holdings and Leyland Motor, forming the gigantic monopoly British Leyland Motor Corporation. (The other major automotive companies—Ford Motor, Vauxhall Motors, and Rootes Motors—belong to American capitalists.) Also merged were two major electrical engineering firms, English Electric and General Electric, which in turn merged in 1967 with Associated Electrical Industries Limited. In number of workers, capital, and volume of industrial production the new company holds fourth place among the largest electrical engineering monopolies of the capitalist world.

After numerous mergers in the aircraft industry British Hovercraft Corporation, the Hawker Siddeley Group, and Westland Aircraft are some of the dominant monopolies. Other important monopolies in the production of electronic equipment and computers are International Computers, General Electric, English Electric, and Thorne; in arms production, Vickers Limited; in the chemical industry, the Imperial Chemical Industries trust; in petroleum refining, Royal Dutch/Shell, British Petroleum Company, and the American Exxon, all of worldwide significance; and in the food industry, Unilever Limited. In sum, the ten largest monopolies control approximately one-third of the capital of the 500 leading companies.

The process of concentration has also affected banking capital. In 1968 as a result of the merger of two banks (of the “Big Five”)—the National Provincial and the Westminster—a new bank was created, the National Westminster; agreement was also reached on the merger of two other major banks, Barclays and Martins.

State-owned, monopolistic groupings have played a growing role since the 1950’s; they encompass, in addition to certain areas of military production, the nationalized branches of industry. After World War II the following branches were nationalized to serve the entire economy of the country: coal, gas, electric power, railroad transport, ferrous metallurgy, inland waterways, part of municipal transport, airlines, and the Bank of England. The atomic industry and atomic power production, as well as radio and television networks, have been under state ownership since their very inception. By the middle of the 1960’s state capital investments had reached 50 percent of all domestic, postwar capital investments; of these half were absorbed by the nationalized branches. In 1968 the nationalized enterprises provided 20 percent of the total industrial production. The concentration of capital and production, on the one hand, facilitated the mobilization of funds and the introduction of the most recent achievements of science and technology; on the other hand, it was accompanied by a reduction in the number of employees and an increase in structured unemployment. One of the new traits in Britain’s postwar development has been the increased penetration of American capital into its economy (particularly in the petroleum-refining, electrical engineering, chemical, and automotive industries). American capital controls more than 10 percent of Britain’s industrial production.

The sharply marked predominance of employees in industrial production over the portion of employees in agriculture and the markedly large role of the service sphere is characteristic of Britain. The service industries form one of those branches of the economy that are absorbing an ever-increasing number of employees, even though many processes of mass servicing are being automated. A very high percentage of workers is employed in this sphere in the southeast—the capital region with its enormous and socially varied population and administrative-financial apparatus (49.2 percent)—as well as the southwest, a resort area (46.9 percent); the lowest portion is located in the industrial regions: the West Midlands (31.2 percent), the East Midlands (33.2 percent), and Yorkshire (35.9 percent).

Industry. Industry occupies the most important place in Britain’s economy, providing about 50 percent of the GNP and almost nine-tenths of all exports. Of all those employed in industry approximately 60 percent are concentrated in heavy industry. Despite a certain amount of modernization, there is a difference in the technical level between the “old” branches, which came into being at the time of the Industrial Revolution, and the “new” branches, whose enterprises have the latest technological equipment. The old branches are behind in the concentration of production and the centralization of capital, although at the end of the 1960’s there was a shift in this area. (See Table 2.)

After World War II there were essential, structural changes in Britain’s industry. While the absolute growth in the number of employees during the period 1935-69 increased by 1.5 times, employment capacity in machine building and metal processing tripled; capacity in the chemical

Table 2. Branches of industry
Mining ...............842,000445,000134.6
Processing ...............5,365,0008,923,0009691.2
Metallurgy ...............706,000585,000116.0
Machine-building and metal-processing ...............1,306,0003,933,0002040.3
Automotive ...............449,000836,00078.5
Ship building (and repair) ...............162,000198,0002.02.0
Chemical ...............207,000532,00035.4
Garment and shoe ...............587,000528,00095.4
Textile ...............1,043,000744,000177.6
Food ...............524,000878,00088.9
Paper and printing ...............403,000649,00066.6
Miscellaneous ...............589,0001,073,000911.0
Electric power, gas, and water supply ...............258,000405,00044.2
Total ...............6,465,0009,772,000100100

industry increased by 2.5 times, food-processing and printing by 1.5 times, and in the electric power industry somewhat more than 1.5 times. But there has been a decline of employment capacity in the traditional, old British branches of the coal and textile industries. Such very recent branches as the atomic, electrical-engineering (including electronics), petroleum-refining and petrochemical, and aviation and rocket industries have acquired great importance. On the whole, there has been a vigorous growth in heavy industry. Britain’s economy has undergone cyclical crises even during the postwar period. Thus, in 1966-67 and in 1969 there were declines in production in certain branches of industry.

MINING. The coal industry, one of Britain’s oldest export branches, has experienced a very great decline since the 1930’s. After nationalization it received considerable capital investments, and its technical level was raised. Because of coal’s low competitive capacity compared with liquid fuels, its extraction has been curtailed. The Yorkshire Basin provides half of the amount mined, the Northumberland-Durham region, which has the best coking coal, yields one-sixth, and South Wales, one-tenth. Britain occupies fourth place in the world in coal mining. A network of new gas pipelines has been created since the start of the exploitation of natural gas (in 1967) in the offshore waters of the North Sea. Britain holds first place in Europe in production of bottled gas.

ELECTRIC POWER. Basic to the production of electric power is coal, although its share of the energy consumption balance has been continually declining at the expense of the increase in the share of petroleum (entirely imported) and new sources of energy: in 1969 the country’s energy requirements relied 50.8 percent on coal, 42.6 percent on petroleum, 4 percent on atomic energy and waterpower, and 2.5 percent on natural gas. Most of the electric power is produced by thermoelectric power plants (86 percent); the largest of these (producing over 1 million kW and approximately one-third of all rated capacities) are located on the Trent River (operating on Yorkshire coal) and around London. Since the 1930’s the country has had a unified, grid power system; furthermore, a supergrid (for higher voltage) is now being created. In per capita consumption of electric power (4,000 kW-hr in 1969) Britain outstrips most of the large countries of Western Europe but lags far behind the USA; in 1967 the consumption of electric power per worker was 7.6 kW-hr (as compared to 3.6 in 1951). During the period 1956-70, 11 atomic power plants were put into operation including Berkeley, Oldbury-A, Sizewell-A, Dungeness-A, Hinkley Point-A, and Trawsfynydd. The total capacity of the atomic power plants is 4 million kW. As of 1969, atomic power plants were producing 12 percent of the electric power. The atomic industry is being developed (production of fissionable materials and so on). Hydroelectric power plants produce less than 2 percent of the country’s electric power.

PROCESSING. Ferrous metallurgy, assured of its own coke and half of the necessary low-quality iron ore (high-quality ore is imported), was modernized during the postwar period, and its production capacity was extended. However, in the introduction of the latest technology (especially in converter smelting) Britain lags behind other countries. After nationalization, 90 percent of the production capacity of ferrous metallurgy, belonging to 14 major companies, was combined in a state corporation called British Steel. South Wales smelts more steel than other regions (25 percent), followed by northeast England.

Nonferrous metallurgy operates almost entirely on imported raw materials, and therefore the smelting of nonferrous metals has gravitated to the port cities; only the smelting of aluminum is associated with the hydroelectric power plants of Scotland. The processing of these nonferrous metals is concentrated in the major centers of machine building—Birmingham, Greater London, and South Lancashire.

MACHINE BUILDING. Machine building, the leading branch of British industry both in the number of workers that it employs and in its production costs, is diverse and complex in its structure; it has been extensively developed in all regions of the country. Distinctions are made in machine building among “newest,” “new,” and “old” branches of production. Approximately one-third of the employees work in transport machine building, within which the most important of the “new” branches are the automobile and the aircraft industries. As much as two-thirds of the motor vehicles are exported. The principal auto-assembly plants are located in Greater London, the West Midlands (Birmingham, Coventry), Luton, and Oxford; the production of parts and units is also located in many other cities. More than half of the motor vehicle output is produced by American firms (Ford and others). Tractor manufacturing is on a large scale; in the production and export of tractors Britain holds first or second place in the capitalist world.

In output of airplanes the aircraft industry is second in the capitalist world after the USA. The plants of the largest aircraft companies turn out various types of airplanes, including turboprop and turbojet, as well as engines, helicopters, guided missiles, and rockets. Many of the smaller firms, moreover, have become specialized in the production of airplane parts, equipment, and instruments. Approximately two-thirds of the production of the British aircraft industry is exported. Most of the plants are located in the south—around Greater London, in Bristol, and also in the West Midlands and Lancashire. Britain is broadening its cooperation in the field of aircraft manufacture with other Western European countries, primarily with France and the FRG.

The old, traditional branches of transport machine building—the production of ships, locomotives, and other railroad equipment—are of essential importance even now, but they need to be redesigned and modernized; this is especially true with regard to ship building. For a long time Britain was the leading country in the output of ships; in the 1960’s, however, it dropped off sharply, yielding first place to Japan.

The electrical engineering industry, a new and growing branch that has an ever-increasing importance for export, is second in the number of workers employed. Within this industry the most important is the production of electric generators, equipment for atomic power plants, and especially electronics, the vigorous growth of which is linked with branches of military importance. Enterprises are situated in many cities, but the majority are in Greater London, the West Midlands, and Lancashire.

The machine-tool industry produces a high-quality output, but it has not availed itself completely of the newest specialized machine tools. Britain is outstanding in its large-scale production of power equipment (boilers for thermoelectric power plants, diesels, and so on) and industrial equipment for various branches, including complete sets of units for entire plants, a considerable portion of which is also exported.

The chemical industry relies primarily on petroleum refining for the growth of branches of petrochemical synthesis; the role played by the by-products of the coke industry has been sharply curtailed. After the war a vigorous petroleum-refining industry was formed, and it developed high rates of production. There are 22 petroleum refineries in operation with a total capacity of 115 million tons (1969); they are located at the estuaries of the Thames and Fal rivers (the latter near Southampton), in South Wales, Merseyside, Teesport, Grangemouth, and elsewhere. The chemical industry, which is characterized by a high degree of monopolization, is outstanding for its production of synthetic fibers, plastics, herbicides, new types of dyes, and so on. There has been a growth in the production of sulfuric acid and mineral fertilizers in basic chemistry. The principal regions of the chemical industry are the counties of Lancashire and Cheshire, Southeast England with its huge chemical production complex at Billingham-Wilton, South Wales and Severnside, the Fal River region, the Thames estuary, and Grangemouth (in Scotland).

The textile industry is the oldest export branch and has lost its former importance; especially curtailed has been cotton production (approximately by half). Nevertheless, the reorganization of this industry that began in 1959 is still continuing, and equipment is being modernized. The woolen industry, more oriented toward the domestic market, has experienced less of a decline; in its output of woolen cloth Britain lags behind the USA and Japan. The principal region of the cotton industry is Lancashire, and of the woolen industry, Yorkshire; but in these same regions, as well as in a number of others, there is a growth in the production of cloth made out of chemical fibers.

Since Britain has for a long time been importing foodstuffs, a characteristic distribution of the food industry has taken form: on the one hand, food enterprises are scattered throughout the areas where agricultural products are produced or consumed, and on the other hand, they have gravitated toward the ports, especially to the major ones—for example London, Liverpool, Bristol, and Belfast (see Table 3).

Characteristic of the distribution of industrial production is its concentration (two-fifths of the industrial workers) in seven super-large industrial agglomerations and in a number of industrial complexes with their centers in the cities of Sheffield, Coventry, Stoke-on-Trent, Leicester, Nottingham, Bristol, and Derby, as well as in an important industrial agglomeration that is being formed in South Wales around Cardiff, Swansea, and Newport.

Agriculture. In order to ensure the country of agricultural raw material and foodstuffs during the postwar period, the government introduced subsidies and guaranteed prices for agricultural products. A basic part of the land belongs to large-scale landowners, who lease it to farmers. Half the farmers are small-scale and medium-scale property owners. More than two-thirds of the agricultural land (and in Scotland more than 90 percent) belongs to large-scale farmers; the size of their farms exceeds 60 hectares (ha) each. In England such estates cover 27 percent of the land, 23 percent in Wales, 30 percent in Scotland, and 18 percent in Northern Ireland; they basically provide a commercial output. There is, however, a predominance of farmers on whose farms less than 16 ha are under cultivation (including one-third that have less than 2 ha). Approximately two-thirds of all farm workers form an agricultural proletariat.

Table 3. Output of basic types of industrial production
Types of production1938195019651969
1 Not including Northern Ireland 21937 31953 41936 51955 61935
Coal (million tons) ...............231220191153
Electric power’ (billion kW-hr)...............33.863.3194237
Cast iron (million tons) ...............6.99.817.816.6
Steel (million tons) ...............10.616.627.426.8
Copper, refined (thousand tons) ...............13021 88.13236.4198
Zinc (thousand tons) ...............55.973.93107151
Aluminum, primary (thousand tons) ...............23.431.433633
Aluminum, secondary (thousand tons) ...............178210
Tin, primary (thousand tons) ...............32.829.3316.826
Lead, refined (thousand tons) ...............1178.63171247
Metal-processing tools, shipped (million pounds sterling) ...............141
Motor vehicles
Passenger cars (thousand) ...............
Trucks, including trolleybuses (thousand) ...............104261455466
Tractors (thousand) ...............184120199183
Airplanes (excluding military for export) ...............415797
Merchant ships, launched (thousand gross reg. tons) ...............1,0301,3251,0731,040
Television sets (thousand units) ...............1,5911,898
Nitrogen fertilizers, by N content (thousand tons) ...............129255608910
Phosphate fertilizers, by P2O5 content (thousand tons) ...............4321,065441444
Sulfuric acid (thousand tons) ...............9601,8323,3533,285
Plastics and synthetic resins (thousand tons)29529559581,330
Synthetic fibers (thousand tons) ...............61169391554
Cement (million tons) ...............7.89.917.217.4
Cotton fabrics (million linear m) ...............3,3281,941927650
Woolen fabrics (million sq m) ...............3966252357

During the 1960’s and 1970’s there was a marked increase in the process of concentration of agricultural production; small-scale farms were ruined on a mass scale—from 1958 through 1968 the number of such farms (with areas ranging from 0.4 to 8 ha) diminished by almost half, whereas the number of very large farms (those with an area of more than 400 ha) doubled.

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY. The principal branch of agriculture is animal husbandry, whose share of the total agricultural production amounts to approximately 70 percent. It is guaranteed a good feed base of natural lands (out of 19.2 million ha of all agricultural lands 5 million ha are under highly productive meadow crops and 7 million ha are pasture lands with coarse herbage) and feed crops (half of the sown area); a considerable part of the concentrated feeds are imported. Dairy and dairy-meat cattle are raised (12.4 million head in 1969), as are sheep (26.6 million), pigs (7.8 million), and poultry (127 million). Statistics for animal husbandry are given in Table 4. Specialization in animal husbandry is characteristic for most regions and especially for the West and Central regions of the country.

Table 4. Basic output in animal husbandry (in thousand tons)
 Prewar average1948-52119651968
1 Annual average 2 In millions
Meat ...............1,2141,0012,0342,023
Milk ...............8,3459,92012,86212,478
Eggs2 ...............6,5457,28514,23214,796
Wool ...............455954

FIELD-CROP CULTIVATION. In the east and primarily in the southeast field-crop cultivation is of great importance: there are 6 million ha of land under plow, including 3.8 million ha sown with grain. Vegetable gardening, orchard-growing, and horticulture are found by the edge of the Wash, along the valleys of the Severn, Evesham, Ouse rivers, as well as around the resort areas. Potatoes are widespread everywhere but most of all in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Oats are sown in the moister areas. (See Table 5 for cultivation statistics.)

Table 5. Sown areas and harvest of basic crops
Basic cropsArea (thousand hectares)Crops (thousand tons)
1 Annual average 2 1968
Barley ...............8182,1832,4132,0618,1918,980
Wheat ...............8811,0268332,3974,1713,428
Oats ...............1,2494083822,8521,2321,332
Potatoes ...............4963002489,4437,5786,8482
Sugar beets ...1681831854,5256,8137,1182

Agricultural production is highly intensive and has a high level of mechanization. The harvest of the principal agricultural crops (in 1969) in hundredweight per hectare was (average figures for the period 1948-52 all given in parentheses) wheat, 40.8 (27.2); barley, 37.1 (25.2); and oats 33.4, (22.8). There are 5,00,000 tractors and 70,000 combines in use. The fields and meadows are treated with a considerable amount of nitrogen fertilizers (909,000 tons by content of N), phosphate fertilizers (466,000 tons by contents of P2O5), potassium fertilizers (500,000 tons by content of K2O), as well as mixed fertilizers.

As a result of the growth in agricultural production during the postwar period the country’s ability to satisfy its own foodstuffs requirements improved, and its imports were curtailed. Britain completely satisfies its own needs for milk, almost completely for eggs, 95 percent for potatoes, 70 percent for meat, 45 percent for grain, and 30 percent for sugar. Poultry raising has increased significantly (including the raising of broilers), which increased the share of poultry in the meat diet. Most foodstuffs acquired domestically are consumed fresh and are sold at a higher price than imported foodstuffs.

FISHING. Fishing and fish processing employed 23,000 people in 1968. The fish catch is maintained at a level of approximately 1 million tons (1,026,000 tons in 1967). Pre-dominant in the catch are cod, halibut, and herring. The large fishing fleets are based in the ports of the North Sea—Hull, Grimsby, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft, and Aberdeen—and on the West Coast—in Fleetwood. There are many small fishing ports. Fishing is carried on in the North Sea and in the distant waters of the Atlantic.

Transport. In domestic freight hauling (by ton-km) the portion of railroad transport (as of 1968) was 22 percent, of truck transport more than 60 percent, of internal waterway transport 0.2 percent, cabotage approximately 16 percent, and pipeline transport 1.4 percent. Maritime transport is extremely important: it serves foreign trade and is used for freight. It handles 93.1 percent of the total freight turnover (in ton-km). According to the tonnage carried by the merchant marine fleet (23.8 million gross registered tons in 1969) Britain is one of the foremost countries in the world. Foreign trade is carried on through the ports of London, a port of international significance (its freight turnover is 59 million tons), it is behind only New York and Rotterdam; Liverpool (29 million tons); Manchester; Glasgow; Hull; Bristol; and Newcastle (ranging from 7 to 20 million tons each). The largest passenger ports are Southampton and Dover; the former, moreover, is an important tanker port (with a cargo turnover of from 24 to 28 million tons; it supplies petroleum for the refineries located along the Fal River). Milford Haven receives 28 million tons of petroleum.

There are 21,200 km of railroad track, of which two-thirds are double-track and multiple track; 10.5 percent have been electrified. The principal railroad terminal is London (with 11 radiating tracks); the greatest freight density is to be found along the routes from Greater London to the West Midlands and Lancashire. Mass freight moves along the railroads for long distances. The network of highways (325,200 km) has many branches, although there are not many broad main superhighways. As of 1968, there were 14.5 million motor vehicles, including 12.8 million passenger automobiles. Motor vehicle transport handles not only about two-thirds of the volume of freight hauls but also the overwhelming majority of passenger transportation. Navigable inland waterways, because of their limited through capacity, possess little significance; the most important of these is the Manchester Canal. Air transport has been developed. London Airport is the main terminal for such air transportation. In 1968, 491.5 million ton-km of freight and 15 billion passenger-km were handled by air transport.

External economic relations. The dependence of Britain’s economy on foreign trade is very great; the ratio of imports to the GNP is 28 percent, while that of exports is 24 percent. As much as one-third of output produced is exported, while the overwhelming majority of raw material is imported, as is an average of about half of the foodstuffs consumed within the country. Britain’s share in world capitalist trade in 1969 was 7.4 percent; in exports, 7 percent; and in imports, 7.7 percent.

British exports are characterized by a high proportion of finished products (88.3 percent in 1969, which was roughly one-tenth of the world’s exports of finished products). Included among these were equipment and machinery (41.3 percent of the total amount exported in 1969, as contrasted with the 20 percent yearly average during the period 1935-38), cotton and woolen cloth (4.9 percent, as contrasted with 24 percent during 1935-38), chemical products (9.5 percent versus 6.3 percent), and petroleum products (2.0 percent versus 1 percent).

Britain imports half of the iron ore that it needs, almost all nonferrous and rare metals, all the petroleum, phosphorites, cotton, and other types of raw material, foodstuffs, and also many types of finished industrial products (see Table 6).

There is a characteristic deficit in the trade balance and an acute problem in the balance of payments; this negative balance has become almost chronic. The former constant markets of the Commonwealth countries (with which Britain trades on the basis of imperial preferences and which were also included in the sterling area) have gradually lost their

Table 6. Structure of imports and exports by groups of goods (in percent)
1 Annual average
Foodstuffs (including beverages and tobacco) ...............4523.576.0
Raw materials ...............2815.373.3
Mineral fuel and libricating materials ...............511.0102.4
Manufactured and semifinished products ...............2249.97688.3

previous reliability for Britain. Furthermore, there has been a decrease in the portion of raw materials and foodstuffs that used to flow from these countries into Britain. By 1969 (as contrasted to the 1950’s) the export share from the Commonwealth countries had been reduced from 44 percent to 19.2 percent, and imports had dropped from 38 percent to 26.4 percent. With the growth of technical progress the markets of the industrial Western European countries became increasingly important for Britain; in 1969, they handled 41.5 percent of Britain’s imports and 34.5 percent of its exports. Among these countries the European Free Trade Association members handled 17.1 percent of its imports and 13 percent of its exports; the European Economic Community (the Common Market) members took 22 percent of the imports and 18.3 percent of the exports. Among individual countries Britain’s most important trading partners are the USA, the FRG, and Canada. Foreign trade with the socialist countries amounts to only 3.7 percent. The East European Trade Council, for promoting trade with East European countries, including the USSR, was founded in 1967 in Britain.

Britain is a major exporter of capital; British investments are estimated at approximately £18 billion (as of 1967), two-thirds of which are in sterling area countries (the Republic of South Africa, Australia, India, Ireland, and others). The monetary unit is the pound sterling; as of Jan. 1, 1971, on the currency exchange of Gosbank (State Bank of the USSR), 1 British pound sterling was worth 2.1537 rubles.

Economic-geographic regions. In the absence of sharp regional contrasts in the level of development of capitalism, 11 economic regions can be distinguished according to the degree of the development of productive forces and production specialization, characteristics of economic formation, and the predominance of territorial-production relations that have come into being.

The southeast (capital) region (which contains one-sixth of the territory, one-third of the country’s population, and about one-third of the value of Britain’s processing industry production) is the fastest growing area, with a high level of development in both industrial and agricultural production. It possesses a favorable transportation and geographic location. The nucleus of the region is the conurbation of Greater London, around which a ring of suburbs has been established, each with its varied function (here also eight “new” towns have been created). The industrial specialization of the region is determined by the branches that serve the city and those connected with its port (garment, furniture, jewelry, foodstuffs, chemical, petroleum-refining, and others), and principally the new branches of machine building (electrical engineering, automotive, and aircraft), which have been established in the suburban zone. Around this conurbation are concentrated numerous scientific research centers (including the atomic centers Harwell, Amersham, and Aldermaston); the two oldest university centers, Oxford and Cambridge, are also in the southeast.

The southeast has the largest sowing areas for wheat, barley, and sugar beets; dairy and meat animal husbandry is well developed; most of the region’s agricultural output is absorbed by the London market. The shoreline is a resort area.

The West Midlands region with the Birmingham conurbation at its center is known as the Black Country, and is the major growing industrial region in the central part of Britain. Here, together with its historically developed specialization of steel-smelting production, as well as nonferrous metallurgy and metal processing, there is the newest machine-building (especially the automotive industry, as well as the electrical engineering, aircraft, and machine-tool industries). Its principal centers are Birmingham, Coventry, and Wolverhampton. These industries produce one-third of British motor vehicles and machine tools, an even greater percentage of bicycles, airplane parts, and metal products, one-fourth of the electrical-engineering products, more than half of the steel and cast-iron pipe as well as copper wire. The pottery district, with its center at Stoke-on-Trent (producing four-fifths of British porcelain and glazed goods) is in the northwest. Dairying is predominant in the region’s agriculture.

The East Midlands region is a “growing” industrial area with several important centers: Nottingham, Leicester, Derby, and Northampton. Along with the industrial branches traditional to this region, knitted goods and footwear (it produces one-half of British shoes), there is also the machine building that services these branches and, moreover, the production of mining equipment and electrical equipment (including power equipment). Derby is the site of the large motor-building, aircraft, and other plants of the Rolls-Royce firm. In the new city of Corby (situated near iron-ore deposits) there is ferrous metallurgy. Agriculture is represented by dairying and a specialized type of fattening cattle.

The Lancashire region (with one-sixth of Britain’s population and one-seventh of its industrial workers) by level of the growth of its productive forces stands in third place; by the degree of its urbanization it can be compared only with the London conurbation. The industrial centers are grouped in the two major conurbations of Manchester and Liverpool, as well as along the Manchester Canal. There is also industry along the northern edge of the Rossendale valley and in the southern part of a coal basin, to which the center of gravity of coal mining has been drawn. This region produces two-thirds of the cotton cloth, one-fourth of the electrical-engineering products and locomotives, one-sixth of the airplanes, and roughly one-fourth of Britain’s chemical output. Liverpool has the second largest port complex in the country with the following individual industries: ship building, nonferrous metallurgy, chemical and food enterprises, and, in the new suburbs, motor-vehicle construction. The Manchester Canal zone has nonferrous and ferrous metallurgy, petroleum refining, chemical (including petrochemical) production (Stanlow, Carrington, Runcorn, and Widnes), and paper-making. Salt is processed to the south of the canal, in Cheshire. There is atomic industry (fissionable materials) in Springfield, Capenhurst, and Riseley. Agriculture is represented by dairying (in Cheshire), poultry raising, and high-quality suburban gardening.

The Yorkshire region includes the largest coal basin in the country; a conurbation of the textile-manufacturing cities of Leeds and Bradford (producing 70 percent of British woolen cloth); the industrial complex of Sheffield; the port complex of Humberside; and a center of ferrous metallurgy, Scunthorpe, which arose near the Frodingham iron-ore deposits. In the large textile-producing cities machine building has also been developed, including the machine-tool industry (Halifax), electrical equipment manufacturing (Leeds), the production of high-quality steel, famous knives and cutting instruments (Sheffield), tractors, locomotives, and synthetic fibers (Doncaster). In Humberside, where the principal port of Hull serves the entire region, a new complex of petroleum-refining and petrochemical production has been developed (Immingham Dock). There is fishing (from the ports of Great Grimsby and Hull). Agriculture is represented by dairying near the cities, plant-growing in the Yorkshire Lowland, and sheep raising in the foothills of the Pennines.

The Northeast region includes the large Northumberland-Durham coal basin. It occupies second place in the country (after Clydeside) in ship building. The chief branches of industry are coal, ship building, metallurgy, heavy machine building, and the chemical industry. The newest types of petrochemical production (Billingham-Wilton) are extremely important. There are three industrial complexes in this region: Tyneside, along the River Tyne, with its center at Newcastle; Wearside, along the Wear River, with its center at Sunderland; and Teesside, along the River Tees, with its center at Middlesbrough. Since the 1930’s this region has been among the “depressed” areas.

The Northwest region (Cumberland) has an industrial specialization similar to that of the northeast, but its scope of production is much less; its industrial density is not great. The most important industrial center is Barrow, with its ferrous metallurgy and ship building, including atomic submarines. The central mountainous part of the region, the “lake district,” is a tourist area.

The Southwest region is a combined industrial and agricultural area with a well-developed resort business. An industrial complex has formed around Bristol, where a port economy has been combined with an aircraft industry, as well as with chemical production in Severnside. Dairying is well developed here (with a feed base comprised of meadows that are green all year round), supplying the London market with dairy products, and in winter, also with milk.

Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland are national regions. Here there is a greater proportion of workers in agriculture (in Northern Ireland 17.5 percent, in Wales 8.2 percent, and in Scotland 7.3 percent) and a constant outflow of people to other parts of the country or abroad.

Wales has a large coal basin near the southern coast, as well as ferrous metallurgical plants (as much as 6 million tons of steel and more than 4 million tons of cast iron are smelted annually, which gives it first place in the country), nonferrous metallurgy, and chemical and petroleum-refining industries. The most important centers are Cardiff, Swansea, and Newport. The sparcely populated central section is a sheep-raising area.

Much of Scotland’s population has gravitated to the Central Scottish Lowland, with its industrial complex of Clydeside along the banks of the River Clyde (and its center, Glasgow) and the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh. The basic branches of industry are coal, ferrous metallurgy, ship building (first place in the country in output of ships), and heavy machine building; electronics has also attained considerable growth. The new branches of petroleum refining and the petrochemical industry (in Grangemouth) are located in the eastern part of the region. In the area of the Northern Plateau there are hydroelectric power plants and small aluminum plants. In the Lowlands there is dairying and meat animal husbandry, as well as the cultivation of grains and potatoes; the Highlands have sheep raising.

Northern Ireland is an industrial and agrarian region. Its industries are machine building, including ship building (Belfast), textiles (Belfast and Londonderry), and chemicals (Londonderry and others); in a number of small cities there is a new branch: the production of synthetic fibers. Northern Ireland’s agriculture has long supplied the English market with livestock.


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Britain’s armed forces are composed of ground forces (army), air force, and navy; at the end of 1970 their total number amounted to approximately 370,000. In addition there are territorial and reserve troops (numbering more than 56,000). The supreme commander in chief is the king (or queen), but his functions in directing the armed forces are purely formal. The responsibility for preparing the country for war and for the condition of the armed forces is borne by the prime minister and the cabinet of ministers, who have under their authority the Committee for Defense and Foreign Policy and the Ministry of Defense. The upper-echelon direction of the armed forces is carried out by the Committee of Defense, which includes the prime minister and the ministers of defense, domestic affairs, foreign and Commonwealth affairs, finance, and technology. The minister of defense exercises direct command of the armed forces through the deputy ministers of the army, air force, and navy, as well as through the Defense Staff. The principal organs of the Ministry of Defense are the Defense Council, the Committee of the Chiefs of Staff, the Defense Staff, and the departments of each of the armed services. The Defense Council plans the structure of the armed forces, as well as exercising direction and control over their activity. Its members are the minister of defense, the state minister for defense affairs, the deputy ministers of the army, air force, and navy, the chairman of the Committee of the Chiefs of Staff, and the chiefs of staff of the services. Operational direction of the armed forces is carried out by the minister of defense through the Committee of the Chiefs of Staff and the Defense Staff, which include the central boards (operations, long-range planning, planning for operational needs, intelligence, and communications) and which command the staffs of the services on operational problems. The committees of the defense councils of the army, air force, and navy direct (through staffs and boards) the activity of the respective armed services. Britain is a member of the aggressive, imperialistic military bloc of NATO, as well as the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO), SEATO, and other military blocs.

During peacetime the traditional method of providing manpower for the armed forces is through recruitment of volunteers. During World War I and II compulsory military service was introduced. After World War II the government kept the law concerning compulsory military service in effect, and in 1948, for the first time in Britain’s history, it adopted a law providing for such service in peacetime. In January 1961 this military obligation was abolished, and the armed forces began to fill their manpower requirements exclusively by means of recruiting volunteers. An ordinary enlistment is for 22 years, but there are shorter terms of service, ranging from six months to 12 years.

The army is subdivided into the regular and the territorial (first-line reserve troops) armies and the reserves. The regular army (which numbered about 174,000 in 1970) consists of the strategic command (stationed in the mother country), the British Army of the Rhine, and individual regiments and battalions. Included in the strategic command are two divisions; a parachute brigade; separate armored, artillery, and engineering units; and communications units and infantry battalions. The British Army of the Rhine consists of the First Corps, an artillery brigade, an antiaircraft brigade, and a mechanized reconnaissance group. The units of the regular army are stationed in Great Britain, the FRG, West Berlin, the Near East and the Middle East, in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Gibraltar, and other regions. Specially designated reserve troops have been assigned to strengthen the regular army in the European theater. Their military makeup includes a parachute brigade; armored, artillery, and engineering units; and communications and infantry battalions. The highest operational-strategic grouping of ground forces in a theater of military operations during wartime is the group of armies. The army’s weaponry includes technical military equipment of both British and American production.

The air force (numbering approximately 112,000 in 1970) is divided into the regular air force and the reserves. The regular air force (which has about 900 military airplanes and several groups of Bloodhound antiaircraft guided missiles) consists of air commands in the mother country (a strike force and air support) as well as overseas commands (in the FRG, the Persian Gulf, the Near East, and the Far East). The main strength of the air force lies in the strike command (approximately 60 medium bombers, 25 reconnaissance planes, 90 patrol planes, more than 150 fighter-interceptors, and more than 90 helicopters). These forces include the B-2 Vulcan strategic bombers; the Victor, Canberra, and Hunter reconnaissance planes; the Lightning defensive fighters; the Phantom, Harrier, and Hunter tactical fighters; the Brittania, Comet, Belfast, and Hercules transport planes; and others.

The navy (which as of 1970 had an enrollment of approximately 84,000) consists of the military fleet, the naval air arm, and the marines. Until World War II the British Navy occupied first place among the fleets of the capitalist nations. During the course of the war Britain’s fleet increased in size (by basic classes of ships). By the end of the war, however, and especially during the postwar period, it had become much weaker than the fleet of the USA. The British Navy has two fleets (the Western and the Far Eastern) and three separate squadrons. In peacetime a considerable portion of the navy’s military fleet is stationed outside the area of the mother country, and together with the U. S. Navy it forms NATO’s strike fleet in the Atlantic. Included within Britain’s active and reserve fleets in 1969 were four atomic, missile-carrying submarines; five atomic, torpedo-carrying submarines; four attack aircraft carriers (the largest ships of this class are the attack aircraft carriers Eagle ma Ark Royal); three cruisers of the Tiger type; ten squadron destroyers; more than 20 submarines; 70 patrol boats; two helicopter carriers; and two ship-docks for helicopters. In all, there are more than 220 warships and a large number of auxiliary vessels. As of 1970, three atomic, torpedo-carrying submarines and two squadron destroyers were under construction. The basic nuclear strike force of the British Navy and its armed forces in general are composed of missile-carrying atomic submarines, each of which is armed with 16 Polaris A3 ballistic rockets of American manufacture with an effective range of 4,600 km. The naval air arm consists of airplanes on aircraft carriers and those that are stationed at naval bases. It has heavy attack planes of the Buccaneer type, which carry nuclear weapons; fighter-bombers of the Scimitar type; Nimrod reconnaissance planes; and others. The marines have been organized into a single brigade and two battalions. The fleet’s principal bases are as follows: in the mother country—Rosyth, Londonderry, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Portland, and Chatham; in the Mediterranean Sea—Gibraltar and Malta; in the Indian Ocean—the Bahrain and Maldive islands; and in the Pacific Ocean—Hong Kong and Singapore.

Medicine and public health. In 1968 the birthrate in Britain was 17.0 per 1,000 inhabitants, the total death rate was 11.7 per 1,000, and infant mortality was 18.5 per 1,000 live births. In 1968 the average life span for men was 69 years, and for women, 75 years. Noninfectious diseases predominate. The most frequent causes of death (per 100,000 inhabitants in 1965) were arteriosclerosis 317.6, disturbances of cerebral blood circulation 163.6, and malignant growths 152.0. Diseases of the respiratory organs constitute an important problem (there is an extremely high death rate from bronchitis and pneumonia; in England and Wales approximately 25,000 people die each year from chronic bronchitis). Almost the entire territory of Britain has a climate favorable to human health. As a rule, the highest death rate indexes are noted in the densely populated industrial regions with their lower living standards. The growth of cities had a fundamental effect upon the characteristics of pathology: an increase in the number of chronic diseases of the respiratory tracts as the result of air pollution; occupational diseases, including pneumoconioses; injuries and accidents; psychosomatic disorders; and an increase in the proportion of cardiovascular disease. Malignant growths of the stomach and intestinal tract are most common. In Wales the death rate from stomach cancer is higher than it is for all of Great Britain, which is partially explained by the extremely low natural radioactivity present in the soil and water. Endemic goiter is widespread in the Glamorgan River Valley of South Wales. In the north and in the east cases of generalized sclerosis have been registered (the incidence of the disease is 60 per 1,000 population). During the 1960’s there was a notable increase in venereal disease; the principal centers were the large cities (London, Liverpool, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester).

The National Health Service was created in 1948 in response to demands by the working masses. The overall direction of the health services in England and Wales is carried out by the Ministry of Health and Social Security; in Scotland, by the Department of Health; and in Northern Ireland, by the Ministry of Health and Social Services. All the basic types of medical assistance are provided free. Beginning in 1951 a tax was introduced for each prescription as well as a partial payment for dental treatment and dental prosthesis. The health service is financed by the state budget (approximately 75 percent), by insurance contributions (paid by the insured person, the employer, and the state), by local taxes, and other sources.

Hospital and specialized outpatient assistance is rendered by hospitals under the direction of hospital councils, which are under the jurisdiction of the National Health Service. In 1968 there were 545,200 hospital beds in Britain (9.9 beds per 1,000 inhabitants). In British hospitals there are also wards and beds that are paid for by patients. There were 63,100 physicians in Britain in 1968 (1 physician for 848 inhabitants), of which 48,000 were working in the National Health Service system; also at the disposal of the National Health Service are 12,000 dentists, 6,700 pharmacists, and 259,000 midwives and nurses. Physicians in Britain are educated in 27 medical schools. In 1968 Britain had 24,100 so-called general practitioners, working in their own offices in an agreement with the National Health Service. The Ministry of Health, in paying for the services of these doctors (depending on the number of their patients), exercises only indirect control over their work. Patients select the doctor of their own choosing. On the average, a general practitioner sees about 2,500 registered patients; besides this, a doctor has the right to provide services to patients who themselves pay for such medical services.

Preventive medical work and care for the ill and those incapable of working is a function of the local health service organs, which are under the jurisdiction of the local organs of self-government (county and city councils). The work of the local health service organs is coordinated by the Ministry of Health. The local organs are responsible for vaccinating the population, medical service to mothers and children (including aiding in home births), and hygiene education. They organize first-aid service, homes for the elderly, care for patients at home, assistance to persons with psychological disorders, and help in housework in cases of illness, births, and an incapacity to work. Moreover, their functions include the establishment of centers for health service (polyclinics). Measures for the inspection and control of the water supply and garbage removal, work in the field of school and industrial hygiene, sanitary control of food products, and so on are carried out by the ministries of housing construction, local self-government, education and science, agriculture, fishing, food, and so on. Such a dispersion of medical and sanitary-hygienic affairs among several departments makes it difficult to carry out unified state measures aimed at preventing diseases.

Britain has several health resorts including Brighton, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Torquay, Bath, and Buxton, and a number of localities favorable to human health.


VETERINARY MEDICINE. In Britain two veterinary-geographic regions are differentiated: the mountainous region (Scotland) and the gently rolling plains (England and Wales). The first is marked by certain parasitic diseases of the blood, which are transmitted by lice; the second is characterized primarily by infections that are transmitted by means of droplets through the atmosphere (for example, disease of the mucous membranes). Agricultural livestock in Britain is, on the whole, in a favorable situation with regard to the most dangerous diseases—for example, cattle plague has not been recorded in the country since 1877, equine cryptococcus since 1906, glanders since 1908, cattle pleuropneumonia since 1898, rabies since 1922, and sheep pox since 1850. Malignant anthrax (210 locations), fowl pest (101 locations), and foot-and-mouth disease (187 outbreaks) were recorded in 1968. Dermatitis in pigs (in which the death rate is 90 percent), Teschen disease, enzootic miscarriage in sheep, sheep mange, leukosis, and certain other diseases are a problem. In the western part of the British Isles, where climatic conditions facilitate the spread of fascioliasis, 24 percent of sheep are carriers of necrotic hepatitis. The leaching of the soil cover has led to a deficiency in calcium in feeds and in the organism of animals; in specific regions a deficiency in copper and other microelements has been noted.

As of 1968 there were approximately 5,500 veterinarians in Britain. Highly qualified specialists are trained at seven veterinary colleges. There are almost 20 research centers that are engaged in work on the scientific problems of veterinary medicine. The most important of these are the Institute of Animal Diseases at Perbright, the Morden Scientific and Technical Institute, and the Houghton Poultry Research Station. The veterinary service is under the administration of the Ministry of Agriculture, as are fishing and foodstuffs. Its principal task is to protect the country from penetration by infectious animal diseases, and this is based on well-established information concerning epizootic conditions in various countries of the world, as well as by a thorough system of inspection and control over the importing of animals and the products of animal husbandry.


In 1870 the first law concerning public education in Britain was passed, and it laid the foundation for a state school system. In accordance with this law, primary instruction for children ranging in age from five to 12 years was made compulsory. In 1902 a law was passed obliging local organs of public education to establish state grammar schools. In 1918 compulsory public instruction was extended to 14 years of age. In accordance with a 1944 law compulsory instruction was extended to 15 years of age, and incomplete secondary school was declared compulsory. This law forms the basis of the present system of public education in Britain (with slight differences between England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland).

The present-day system of public education consists of three stages: primary, secondary, and so-called further education. Preschool training is carried out in nursery schools and in preschool classes. In 1968 there were approximately 600 state preschool institutions (with an enrollment of 26,000 children). Primary education includes children from the ages of five to 11 (to 12 in Scotland and to 13 in Northern Ireland). Beginning at the age of five, they attend two-year schools for toddlers; from the age of seven they attend primary schools. Upon completion of primary school the pupils are distributed among three differentiated types of secondary schools, on the basis of test scores: approximately 20 percent of the pupils are enrolled in grammar school with a term of instruction of from five to seven years; approximately 70 percent of the pupils go to modern school with a term of four and sometimes five years; and approximately 5 percent of the pupils are enrolled in technical school with a term of instruction of five, and rarely seven, years. Since the beginning of the 1950’s a new type of secondary school has been created—the so-called comprehensive school, which combines the programs of all three types of secondary schools (the number of pupils in these schools does not exceed 10 percent; the term of instruction is four, five, and seven years). The existing types of schools are distinguished from each other not only by their curricula and programs but also by the rights that are accorded to graduates. The basic task of the grammar school is to prepare the students for entrance into higher educational institutions. In the senior classes there is a differentiation in the curriculum; the basic division is between the humanities and the natural sciences and mathematics. At the secondary technical schools a general education is combined with general technical training, and often with prevocational training. The modern school is basically a terminal one; only a small portion of the students, those who have completed the five-year course of instruction and have passed special examinations, have the chance to transfer to the senior classes of a grammar school. In the modern school great attention is paid to practical training. Approximately half of the secondary schools have separate instruction for girls and for boys. In addition to the state schools (which enroll more than 90 percent of the pupils) there is a large network of private (so-called independent) secondary schools, the most privileged of which are the public schools (Eton, Harrow, Winchester, and others). In Britain during the academic year 1968-69, there were 38,100 state schools operating with 9,435,000 pupils (8,158,000 in England and Wales, 947,000 in Scotland, and 330,000 in Northern Ireland) and 394,000 teachers.

The training of teachers for primary and modern schools is carried on at three-year pedagogical colleges. During the academic year 1968-69 the colleges had an enrollment of 125,900. Teachers for the grammar schools are trained at universities, in special one-year pedagogical divisions that accept those who have finished the basic three-year course of one of the university faculties. During the academic year 1968-69 some 6,100 students received training in 32 such pedagogical divisions.

The stage of so-called further education includes general educational as well as professional educational institutions with full- and part-time schedules, as well as various courses that are designed primarily for young working people. A lower level of vocational education is carried out in a system of factory-plant training (with a term of five years) and individual instruction. A secondary level of occupational education is provided by junior divisions of specialized colleges (with a two-year course of instruction), which cover engineering, art, business, home economics, and agriculture. The students are usually over 16. Many of the colleges have four- and five-year courses of instruction that provide an education approaching that of the higher stage. During the academic year 1967-68 the system of further education encompassed 3,410,000 persons; many young people were engaged in study without taking a break from their production work. Also included in the system of further education are institutions that provide service to young people during their spare time.

Higher education is conducted at universities, colleges, and technical institutes. During the academic year 1968-69 there were 44 universities in Britain (with an enrollment of more than 212,000 undergraduate and graduate students), eight polytechnical institutes, and 48 colleges of higher education (with 15,600 students). The largest universities are London (founded in 1836), Cambridge (1209), Oxford (1167), Edinburgh (1583), the University of Wales in Cardiff (1893), and Queen’s University in Belfast (1908). During the postwar years a number of new universities were established, including Nottingham, Essex, and Strathclyde.

The largest libraries are the Library of the British Museum in London (founded in 1753), the Library of Oxford University (the Bodleian Library, founded in 1602, contains more than 2.8 million volumes), the Library of Cambridge University (approximately 3 million volumes and more than 12,000 manuscripts), the National Library of Wales in Cardiff (founded in 1907; more than 2 million volumes), the Lancashire Public Library (founded in 1924; 3.3 million volumes), the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh (founded in 1682; more than 3 million volumes), the Library of Edinburgh University (more than 1 million volumes), and the Library of London University (founded in 1838; more than 850,000 volumes).

The principal museums are the British Museum (founded in 1753), the British Museum of Natural History, the National Museum (1857; contains a unique collection of machines), the London Museum (1912), the National Gallery (1824), the Victoria and Albert Museum (1852), the Tate Gallery (1897), and the National Portrait Gallery (1857)—all in London; the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff (1907); the Shakespeare Memorial Museum in Stratford-on-Avon; and the Scottish Royal Museum (1854), the National Museum of Scottish Rarities (1780), and the National Gallery of Scotland (1859)—all in Edinburgh.


Natural sciences and technology. During the early Middle Ages in Britain, as well as in other European countries, the primary accumulation of information took place in various fields of knowledge, conditioned by the growth of crafts, mining industries, and so on. General concepts about the world were formed within the framework of the church’s views and were systematized by such learned monks as Petrus Peregrinus and the Venerable Bede.

During the 12th and 13th centuries the universities of Oxford and Cambridge came into being, initially as ecclesiastical educational institutions where scholasticism predominated. The 13th century saw a move away from scholasticism. A special role in this movement was played by the works of the philosopher and alchemist Roger Bacon, a proponent of European experimental science. He studied the properties of saltpeter, discovered a method for preparing gunpowder, and described a number of chemical compounds.

An important stimulus to scientific progress during the 15th and 16th centuries was Britain’s participation in the great geographical discoveries. In 1497-98, J. and S. Cabot discovered the northeast coast of North America; H. Willoughby and R. Chancellor reached the estuary of the Severnaia Dvina (1553); F. Drake investigated the western coast of North America and completed a journey around the world (after Magellan). Another stimulus to scientific progress during this period was the growth of mining (especially coal mining), metallurgy, and manufacturing.

The needs of navigation and production had a favorable effect upon the development of science in Britain, particularly on astronomy and mathematics. In 1556 the Castle of Knowledge appeared, a guidebook to astronomy by R. Recorde, a physician and mathematician. J. Napier’s invention of the system of logarithms was of great importance for the development of mathematics. The first man to defend the Copernican theory in Britain was J. Dee, a consultant on navigation. In 1600, W. Gilbert demonstrated that the earth is a huge magnet.

ESTABLISHMENT OF NATURAL STUDIES (17TH—EARLY 19TH CENTURIES). During the 17th century the center of scientific investigation gradually shifted from Italy to France and Holland and then to Britain, which was entering upon the path of capitalist development and which, by the end of the century, had become the strongest maritime power. The Royal Society of London (1662) became the organizational center of science. It developed a program of investigations that encompassed problems posed by practical experience—for example, navigation (orientation in space and time, especially the determination of longitude and the making of maps), military science (the study of a shell’s movement through the air), metallurgy, and medicine—and by the need to develop a scientific view of nature, which had been placed in a new light as a result of the Copernican revolution and the great geographical discoveries. The Royal Observatory at Greenwich was established in 1675.

A philosophical program for the development of natural science—a methodology for the sciences dealing with nature—was formulated by F. Bacon, who considered the experiment and inductive generalization of the results of experiments to be the principal method for the cognition of nature. Bacon’s ideas had a great influence on the development of British science.

The scientists of the second half of the 17th century contributed to the development of the bases of mechanics, optics, chemistry, and physiology. Important scientific discoveries are associated with the names of R. Boyle, R. Hooke, W. Harvey, and I. Newton. Discoveries in the field of experimental physics were primarily due to the work of Hooke and, in particular, to Newton’s fundamental works on optics. Newton created the corpuscular theory of light, on the basis of which he proposed an explanation of the dispersion of light, which he had discovered. Boyle’s experiments with a pneumatic pump, which he had constructed with Hooke’s help, led to the establishment of the simplest ratio between the volume of a gas and the pressures contracting it. In mechanics J. Wallis and C. Wren established laws concerning the impact of solid bodies (spheres). The discovery by Hooke of the ratio between the deformation of a solid body (a rod) and the force acting upon it subsequently laid the basis for the theory of elasticity.

An essential step in the development of concepts concerning the structure of matter was Boyle’s atom theory, which rejected the natural philosophical doctrine of the ancients concerning the four primary elements of matter. The principal achievement of Boyle, the founder of modern chemistry, was his introduction of the concept of the chemical element as the component part of a body which could not be broken down further chemically and his creation of qualitative analysis. Boyle worked out an experimental approach to the study of physical and chemical phenomena. A development of Boyle’s works were the investigations into the processes of combustion and into the kilning of metals. His follower J. Mayow noted that air contains a substance necessary for combustion; this foreshadowed the discovery of oxygen.

W. Harvey, the physician, anatomist, and physiologist who was educated in Italy, became one of the founders of animal physiology. He discovered the circulation of the blood. The anatomist T. Willis was a contemporary of Harvey. Hooke improved the microscope, and, in his Micrographia (1665), was the first to describe plant cells. J. Ray’s works were of great importance in the systematic classification of animals; he introduced the concept of species.

British naturalists made a great contribution to the establishment of science concerning the earth. Hooke sought an explanation for earthquakes, volcanic activity, and the origin of organic petrification. E. Halley drew up a chart of magnetic declinations and organized scientific expeditions to the shores of America and Africa. He also made an astronomical discovery—the first periodic comet.

The triumph of 17th-century British science was the establishment of the fundamentals of theoretical mechanics in general and of celestial mechanics, the theoretical basis of the astronomy of that time, in particular. The formulation of the fundamental laws of dynamics and the discovery of the law of universal gravity have immortalized the name of Newton. The establishment of dynamics facilitated one of the greatest discoveries in history—the discovery by Newton (independently of Leibniz) of differential and integral calculus.

Following a sharp upswing, British mechanics, physics and mathematics entered a period of decline. One of the reasons was the influence of the conservative aspects of Newtonism. Thus, 18th-century British mathematics, the majority of whose representatives unyieldingly clung to the methods and even the notation of Newton, fell sharply behind continental mathematics; only the works of B. Taylor and especially those of C. Maclaurin were outstanding in analysis of the infinitesimal. Chemistry, biology, geography, and also observational astronomy moved to the forefront. This was caused by the characteristics of technological progress during the period of the Industrial Revolution and by the conditions that were created during the formation of the British colonial empire.

During this period Britain became “the homeland of machinery.” In 1733, J. Wyatt proposed a spinning machine capable of spinning “without the aid of fingers,” and in that same year J. Kay invented a mechanical (“flying”) shuttle for weaving. This spinning machine was perfected by J. Hargreaves and R. Arkwright. In 1785, E. Cartwright took out a patent for a loom that he had designed. An important stage in the Industrial Revolution was the use of steam power in machinery. The basis for this had already been laid by T. Savery, who in 1698 had patented a steam pump for removing water from mine shafts. However, an all-purpose steam engine came into being only with the appearance of two-cycle steam machines with continuous rotary action (patented by J. Watt in 1784). In 1802, W. Symington constructed a steamship with a stern screw propellor.

In 1803-04, R. Trevithick constructed a steam locomotive, and in 1825, G. Stephenson built the first railroad using steam traction. The progressive replacement of wood by metal in the structural components of machinery caused the development of metallurgy and machine building. H. Cort developed the rolling mill, and H. Maudslay a support structure. The steam engine attracted the attention of researchers to the study of the combustion process.

British 18th-century chemistry was represented by some of the most important scientists in Europe, including J. Black, H. Cavendish, and J. Priestley. They made very important contributions to the study of the composition of the air and the processes that occur during combustion. Black discovered carbon dioxide and his student D. Rutherford discovered nitrogen. Priestley and Cavendish isolated oxygen.

Important services were rendered by British scientists in the development of chemistry. In his New System of Chemical Philosophy (1808), J. Dalton laid the foundations of atomic theory, on which he based the law of multiple proportions during the period 1802-08. An important contribution was made by the study of electrochemical phenomena and the discovery of the laws of electrolysis (H. Davy, J. F. Daniell, T. Graham, and M. Faraday).

In the 18th century the process of accumulating geographical, biological, and geological knowledge continued. Expeditions were carefully outfitted; important results were provided by the three voyages around the world made by J. Cook.

The establishment of geology in Britain began with the works of J. Needham and J. Mitchell, who described the country’s sedimentary formations. The founder of the Edinburgh school of geology, J. Hutton, provided the first theoretical synthesis of geological knowledge (Theory of the Earth, 1788-95) and laid the foundation for the plutonic school in geology.

Biostratigraphy came into being (W. Smith). In the course of the first few decades of the 19th century the Cambrian, Silurian, Devonian, and Carboniferous systems were isolated (A. Sedgwick, R. Murchison, J. Phillips, W. Conybeare, and others).

In biology, along with research studies on the systematic classification of plants and animals, other specializations also developed—anatomy and physiology. Closely connected with biology was the work of the Hunter brothers. J. Hunter was one of the founders of surgical pathology. In medical science an important role was played by methods of combatting infections (E. Jenner, J. Pringle, and others). The problem of the mutability of species became paramount. Defending epigenesis and the mutability of species was J. Needham, who had conducted experiments on the spontaneous generation of life (1743). Despite the erroneous nature of the idea of spontaneous generation, Needham’s views on the unity of the laws of nature and concerning the transformation of the forms of matter played a positive role in the struggle against metaphysical concepts concerning the immutability of species.

During the last third of the 18th century certain successes were also achieved in physics, primarily in the study of electricity and heat. J. Black, one of the founders of calorimetry, introduced the concept of latent heat of fusion and evaporation. He was an advocate of the view that regards heat as a manifestation of a special, weightless substance—that is, caloric. Arguing against these views was B. Thompson (Count Rumford), the founder of the Royal Institute, 1799).

The achievements of British astronomy were among the most important of the 18th century. J. Bradley discovered the aberration of light. The most important contribution to the astronomy of his time was made by W. Herschel, who was the first to construct high-power telescopes; he discovered Uranus, its satellites, and the satellites of Saturn. Herschel’s work on the study of the structure of the Milky Way established the foundation of stellar astronomy.

The increase in the differentiation of natural sciences brought about the appearance of the Mathematical (1707), Botanical (1721), and Linnaean (1788) scientific societies; the greatest British scientists (E. Darwin, A. Smith, D. Hume, and others) were members of the Lunar Society of Birmingham (1775).

1830’s-1890’s. Beginning in the 1830’s British science advanced to the frontiers of most fields of knowledge, the result, to a considerable extent, of the external stimuli affecting the growth of Britain’s natural sciences and technology. The stimuli were the rapid progress of industrial and agricultural production and the study of natural resources in many countries of the world. Only in the last third of the century did German science attain and, in some technical fields, surpass the level of British science.

The growth of machine building in Britain required the restructuring of metallurgy and metal processing. In 1839, J. Nasmyth designed a steam hammer for forging. Somewhat later J. Whitworth established a system for the precise measurement of machined parts. In the middle of the century Britain occupied the foremost position in world machine building, and was rightfully called the workshop of the world.

The appearance of new industrial regions within the country as well as markets made it necessary to improve transportation and communication. In 1837, W. Cooke and C. Wheatstone received a patent for an electromagnetic telegraph. During the years 1847-52 a telegraph cable line was laid between Dover and Calais. In 1866 transatlantic underwater telegraph lines were put into operation between Britain and the USA. Work on designing electric power generators was being conducted as early as the 1830’s. In 1881 the first electric power plant was built, and soon the first electrified railroad line was put into operation (in Ireland).

British physicists of the 19th century played an important role in the radical restructuring of all branches of this science. The experiments of J. Joule on determining the mechanical equivalent of heat provided an experimental basis for the law of conservation of energy. W. Rankine and J. Thomson (together with R. Clausius in Germany) developed the principles of the theory of thermal processes—thermodynamics. Joule and J. C. Maxwell laid the foundations of the molecular-kinetic theory of thermal phenomena. The work of Joule and Thomson concerning the cooling of gases during their expansion laid the groundwork for low-temperature physics and technology.

At the beginning of the 19th century, T. Young revived the wave theory of light. J. Herschel discovered infrared radiation. Progress in the study of luminescence owes a great debt to D. Brewster, G. Stokes, and J. Tyndall. At the end of the century J. Rayleigh created the bases of molecular optics. His work on the theory of oscillations and waves was very important. Rayleigh’s work Theory of Sound is a summation of classical acoustics. In the development of theoretical hydrodynamics a contribution was made by Thomson and Stokes (the hydrodynamics of viscous liquid), and subsequently by O. Reynolds. W. Hamilton’s studies were very significant in the field of theoretical mechanics.

An extremely great achievement was the discovery by M. Faraday and Maxwell of the electromagnetic field and fundamental field laws. From Maxwell’s equations a conclusion was derived concerning the existence of electromagnetic waves traveling at the speed of light; they were soon discovered by H. Hertz in Germany. Maxwell’s theory led to the discovery of the electromagnetic nature of light.

The characteristic feature of the development of British mathematics during the 19th century was its close connection with the problems of theoretical physics and in the creation of an algebra of “generalized functions.” The foundation of modern studies in the field of mathematical physics was established by the works of G. Green, who, simultaneously with C. Gauss (Germany), developed the theory of the potential. Further achievements in this field are linked with such names as Stokes, Thomson, Maxwell, and Rayleigh. Hamilton’s studies provided a rigorous groundwork for the algebra of complex numbers and their generalization, the quaternions. The construction of an algebra of logic by G. Boole and the further studies in this specialization by A. De Morgan, W. Jevons, and others laid the foundation of modern mathematical logic. During the 1830’s C. Babbage worked out the idea for a mathematical calculating machine, which was implemented only in the 20th century. The studies by British scientists in the field of algebra may be ranked with non-Euclidean geometry in their importance in the history of mathematics.

British scientists of the 19th century made a great contribution to the development of astronomy. J. Adams precalculated the position of the planet Neptune; W. Parsons (Lord Rosse) established the foundation of extragalactic astronomy; J. N. Lockyer discovered the spectrum of helium; G. Darwin developed the theory of the tidal evolution of the earth-moon system.

The work of British chemists during the middle of the 19th century facilitated the establishment of concepts concerning the structure of chemical compounds. E. Frankland introduced the concept of valency. Later, W. Odling and J. Gladstone, among other precursors of D. I. Mendeleev, attempted to work out a “rational” system of the chemical elements. At the end of the 19th century W. Ramsay (with M. Travers) discovered the inert gases. In theoretical organic chemistry an important discovery was made by H. Armstrong, who proposed the cyclic formula of benzene. The development of this field was closely connected with the achievements of chemical synthesis. Thus, W. Perkin discovered a way to synthesize cinnamic acid, which had great significance for industrial organic synthesis. However, during the second half of the 19th century British analytical and organic chemistry fell behind that of Germany and France.

The effectiveness of British science—primarily in physics and chemistry—in the development of technology during the 19th century increased more and more as the nature of physical and chemical processes was revealed more profoundly. Already during the 1840’s and 1850’s thermodynamic studies influenced the improvement of heat engines. But there was a special increase in the “practical yield” of science during the second half of the century, when new branches of technology based on science appeared—for example, generators of electric current and the chemistry of synthetic dyes. Nevertheless, at the end of the 19th century there was a noticeable lag in Britain compared to Germany in a number of important applied and technical problems including chemical technology, applied optics, and a number of other fields.

British expeditions continued to play a great role in the development of sciences concerning the earth during the course of the 19th century. Systematic exploration of the polar regions was carried out by W. Perry, J. Ross, and J. C. Ross, who discovered the north magnetic pole. The origin of oceanography is connected with the expedition of the Challenger around the world (1872-76). Research studies by British geographers were connected to a considerable degree with Britain’s colonial expansion, and they encompassed almost all the continents. D. Livingstone’s journeys through Africa were famous.

An important role in the development of geology during the 19th century was played by C. Lyell; his studies, according to Engels, following the cosmogonie hypothesis of Kant and Laplace, made a second breach in the conservative view of nature (see The Dialectics of Nature, 1969, p. 166). The ideas of evolutionism in geology and biology reinforced each other. They prevailed over the catastrophe and creation views that had been widespread throughout continental Europe. One of the founders of biogeography was A. Wallace, who established in particular the biogeographical boundary between Asia and Australia. A revolution in the study of the basic constituents of geologic formations was brought about by the invention in 1828 by W. Nicol of the polarizing prism that bears his name. During the 1850’s H. C. Sorby introduced microscopic analysis in petrography. During the second half of the 19th century geophysics began to be intensively developed (G. Airy, J. Pratt, W. Thomson, W. Hopkins, G. Darwin, and others). Under the influence of British science national schools of geologists and geographers have been formed in Canada, South Africa, and Australia. These schools (and geological science in the USA) have maintained very close ties with British science down to the present time.

In biology during the first half of the 19th century there was an intensive accumulation of facts that served as proof of the ideas of evolution. The intensification of agriculture and the growth of animal husbandry in Britain at the beginning of the 19th century had great significance for the development of biological science. The achievements of the selective breeders R. Bakewell and the Colling brothers enjoyed wide fame as did the work on plant hybridization of W. Herbert. R. Brown played an important role in the establishment of plant geography; he discovered many new species and was the first to describe the cell nucleus. Brown’s works on plant embryology were also important.

The summit of British and world biology of the 19th century was C. Darwin’s doctrine, set forth in his major work, The Origin of Species by Natural Selection . . . (1859). In 1868 he published a fundamental work on mutability and heredity in domesticated forms, and in 1871, his The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, which was the first to establish the descent of man from apelike ancestors. Independently of Darwin an evolutionary theory was established by A. Wallace. The outstanding defender of Darwin’s theory in Britain was T. Huxley.

During the second half of the 19th century major research studies were also carried out in other fields of biology and its applications. Improvement in the technique of biological research facilitated the establishment of histology, embryology, and other disciplines. An important role was played by the activity of British doctors in establishing the new fields of industrial accident study and sanitary hygiene (L. Horner, E. Perkins, and others).

Of great importance was a cycle of works on the physiology of the central nervous system, which was completed at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th by C. Sherrington (Nobel Prize, 1932). His works on the laws of the reflex activity of the spinal cord were of exceptional importance for medicine.

REVOLUTION IN NATURAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (20TH CENTURY). Up until the 1940’s British science (until the 1930’s, with German science) maintained its leading role in a number of branches of knowledge, primarily in physics. But even at midcentury the contribution of British scientists to the development of natural science was extremely significant.

By the end of the 19th century the leading role among the physics laboratories in Britain was taken by the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge, which was successively headed by Maxwell, Rayleigh, and J. Thomson. Under Thomson’s leadership (1884-1919) it became a school for mastery in experimentation, through which physicists from many countries passed during the first two decades of the 20th century. Physics research was also being conducted on a broad front at other universities, primarily at Manchester. The works of Thomson and his colleagues (J. Townsend, C. Wilson, H. Wilson, E. Rutherford, and others) during the 1890’s and the beginning of the 20th century on studying the passage of an electric current through gases served as the experimental basis for the electron theory. Even before World War I, C. Barkla had discovered the characteristic X rays (Nobel Prize, 1917); H. Moseley established the most important laws of atomic X-ray spectra; Rutherford and his students developed a planetary model of the atom; F. Soddy introduced the concept of isotopes (1906); and the mass spectrometer, developed by Thomson and F. Aston, made it possible to detect the presence and to separate the isotopes of chemical elements (Nobel Prize, 1921). Wilson’s ionization chamber became a powerful tool for the study of elementary particles in physics. Rutherford’s work on radioactivity led to the creation (jointly with Soddy) of the theory of radioactive decay, the discovery of the atomic nucleus, and to the first experiments on artificial splitting of the nucleus. In 1919, Rutherford became head of the Cavendish Laboratory, which became the most important center for research in nuclear physics. In this laboratory in 1932, J. D. Cockcroft and E. Walton built an elementary particle accelerator and succeeded in splitting the nucleus by means of protons; in the same year J. Chadwick discovered the neutron.

A new specialization of 20th-century science was the physics of cosmic rays. P. Blackett developed methods for studying cosmic radiation and discovered (together with G. Occhialini) showers of electrons and positrons (Nobel Prize, 1948). After World War II, C. Powell and Occhialini discovered pi-mesons (Nobel Prize, 1950) with the aid of the method of thick-layered emulsions, and G. Rochester and H. Butler discovered “strange” particles (hyperons and K-mesons) in cosmic radiation.

During the 1920’s W. H. Bragg and W. L. Bragg developed and applied the methods of X-ray diffraction analysis of crystals; beginning in the 1930’s J. Bernal and his colleagues conducted work on X-ray diffraction analysis of complex substances.

British astrophysicists (for example, Hay, Southworth, Parsons, and Rail Lowell) contributed to the field of radio astronomy. Large radio telescopes were built at the Mallard and Jodrell Bank observatories.

The achievements of British scientists were also great in the field of theoretical physics. In the forefront are the studies of P. Dirac, one of the founders of quantum mechanics; he formulated the principles of quantum statistics (simultaneously with E. Fermi in Italy), and he devised a relativistic theory of the electron; he also laid the foundations of quantum electrodynamics. The physicists R. Peierls, N. Mott, A. Wilson, and others contributed to solid-state theory, in particular, of metals. Research is being conducted in the field of astrophysics and physical cosmology (J. Jeans, A. Eddington, E. Milne).

British mathematics has developed in several directions: mathematical logic and the principles of mathematics (B. Russell, and A. Whitehead), number theory and the theory of functions (G. Hardy, J. Littlewood), mathematical statistics (R. Fisher), and computational mathematics.

Important research has been carried out in the fields of physical chemistry and chemical physics. In 1956 the Nobel Prize was awarded to C. Hinshelwood (with N. N. Semenov, USSR) for devising the theory of chemical chain reactions.

Together with the basic specializations of physics of matter and radiation, physics research more closely connected with technical problems began to develop in the 20th century, including work in electronics and radio physics (O. Heaviside, J. Fleming, S. Chapman, and others), gas dynamics, and acoustics (G. Taylor and M. Lighthill).

The achievements in electronics, radio physics, and new branches of physics and chemistry have helped speed progress in many branches of technology. During the years 1925-26, J. Baird conducted experiments on television transmission, using tube amplifiers, and in 1928 made the first experiments with color television. During the years 1934-35, R. Watson-Watt began work on detecting moving targets by the method of “radio echo,” which led to the development of radar. In 1941 the first flight in an experimental airplane equipped with a turbojet engine designed by F. Whittle was made in Britain.

During the postwar years the scientific revolution grew into a scientific and technological one. In Britain there was a rapid shift of emphasis to research studies connected with the war industry.

Atomic research for military purposes was begun by Britain during World War II (until 1945 such research was conducted jointly with the USA and Canada). Basic research studies were conducted in nuclear physics and power production at Harwell; in high-energy physics, in the high-energy laboratories at Chilton and at Daresbury; and on controlled thermonuclear reactions, at the Culham Laboratory. The largest British accelerator is the Nimrod proton-synchrotron, which accelerates protons up to 7 GeV (at Chilton). The first atomic electric power plant in Britain began operation in 1956 at Calder Hall with a capacity of 92,000 kW.

Progress has been made in creating polymer materials (polyethylene was obtained in Britain as far back as the late 1930’s). During the 1950’s boats and automobiles were designed to ride on air cushions. Numerous types of electronic computers have been developed.

The bases for the rapid growth of biochemistry were established during the prewar years at the Lister Institute (Cambridge). Here Nobel Prizes were won by F. Hopkins (1929) for his research on vitamins and A. Garden (1929) for research on fermentation processes. Among the work that has rendered a great service to medicine was the discovery of penicillin by the British bacteriologist A. Fleming (Nobel Prize, 1945). The most important center for biochemical research is the department of biochemistry at Cambridge University, headed by H. Krebs, who emigrated from Germany (Nobel Prize, 1953, for his research on the tricarboxylic acid ring). Progress in biological and analytical chemistry has been stimulated to a great degree by the introduction of the paper chromatography method proposed by A. Martin and R. Synge (Nobel Prize, 1952). At Cambridge, A. Todd established the structure of vitamin B12 (Nobel Prize, 1957). It was also there that F. Sanger conducted research on the overall molecular structure of the protein insulin (Nobel Prize, 1958). At Oxford, D. Crowfoot (Hodgkin) using X-ray diffraction analysis determined the spatial configuration of the vitamin B12 molecule (Nobel Prize, 1964). The greatest achievement of British biochemistry was made in the study of protein structures in nucleic acids. In 1962 the Nobel Prize was awarded to J. Kendrew and M. Perutz for establishing the overall molecular structure of hemoglobin and myoglobin. The Nobel Prize for physiology and medicine for that same year was awarded to F. Crick and M. Wilkins (jointly with J. Watson of the USA) for their work in creating a structural model of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). Research on the structure of proteins and nucleic acids has led to the rapid growth of molecular biology. British achievements in the study of hormones were also great (E. Starling and E. Kendall).

The development of genetics at the beginning of the 20th century was connected with the name of W. Bate son. In 1931 the research of T. Painter laid the foundation for the study of the structure of chromosomes. Successful attempts to cause mutations by means of chemical substances were made by J. Robson and C. Auerbach. A fusion of biochemistry and embryology was reflected in the works of J. Needham, who was also a historian of embryology. The works of J. Haldane and J. Bernal concerning the origin of life are of outstanding significance.

Present-day research in the field of neurophysiology is connected with the name of E. Adrian. He developed concepts of the physiological characteristics of nerve impulses, their speed, rhythm, and principles of behavior, and he revealed their reception mechanisms—pain, auditory, sensory, and so on.

Adrian’s students A. Hodgkin and A. Huxley, as well as C. Sherrington’s student J. Eccles, have been awarded Nobel Prizes.

The problem of evolution has been treated by J. Huxley, Haldane, and others. C. Waddington proposed the concept of the “channelization of development.”

The achievements of molecular biology, biochemistry, and microbiology have been reflected particularly in the field of medicine. Thus, a new synthetic penicillin and the important preparation called interferon have been obtained. Research is being conducted on the creation of a universal vaccine against tuberculosis. A special heart and lung apparatus that automatically regulates blood pressure has been created.

British botanists are also working on problems that have a practical significance. In 1949 the Commission for the Preservation of Nature was created; its tasks include research. The commission leases many national preserves. The Forestry Commission (established in 1919) has more than 1 million ha of forests under its jurisdiction; it carries out forest plantings and research projects on the acclimatization of plants. The work of botanists and foresters has led to a considerable increase in the amount of raw material that is available for the cellulose-paper industry.

Progress in British animal husbandry is based on study of the methods that have been developed, particularly by génetics. The militarization of science in Britain has also affected biology; relations have been set up between the microbiological research center in Porton Down and the research center belonging to the US Army at Fort Detrick.

The growth of the earth sciences is closely linked to the achievements of physics and chemistry. In 1906, Oldham demonstrated the geophysical core of the earth. The outstanding geophysicist of the 20th century was H. Jeffreys. Geochemistry and nuclear geology have undergone development. Essentially important investigations have been conducted in the field of general scientific questions concerning the earth. As early as the 1930’s A. Holmes was correlating data on radioactivity, mountain formation, and the thermal history of the earth. In 1920 he and the American C. Schuchert proposed a scale of absolute geological time. Present-day British research studies in earth science do not bear a clearly expressed national character; many scientists often change their place of employment, both within and outside the Commonwealth countries.

The following authors participated in the preparation of this section: S. S. DEMIDOV (mathematics), I. D. ROZ-HANSKII (physics), L. V. SAMSONENKO (astronomy), A. N. SHAMIN (chemistry), I. V. KRUT’ (geology), N. G. RUBAILOVA (biology), and V. I. OSTOL’SKII (technology).

Social sciences. PHILOSOPHY. During its more than thousand-year history, British philosophy, while expressing the national character, nevertheless developed in close interdependence with the philosophical thought of other European countries, and it actively participated in the world historical process of the evolution of philosophical ideas. A characteristic trait of British philosophy is its orientation toward empirical knowledge (nominalism, empiricism), as well as to sensory external experience (sensationalism).

A large role was already being played by British philosophers in the establishment and development of medieval European philosophy. The first medieval philosopher was the Anglo-Saxon Alcuin (c. 735-804), who was drawn to the court of Charlemagne and who maintained the theological and philosophical tradition of the theologian Augustine. The first philosophical system developed during the early Middle Ages was created in the ninth century by Johannes Scotus Erigena, a native of Ireland who spent some time at the court of Charles the Bald in Paris. The views of this philosopher, expressing a pantheistic Neoplatonism, were influential in the development of anti-scholastic tendencies in medieval philosophy. Anselm of Canterbury (11th—12th centuries), who differed with him, maintained the Augustinian tradition and accepted faith as a prerequisite of rational knowledge. It was he who originated the so-called ontological proof of the existence of God, which played a large role in subsequent Christian theology. Among the British scholastic philosophers of the early Middle Ages mention should also be made of John of Salisbury, the author of the first outline history of philosophy during this period; his thoughts reveal the beginnings of an understanding of cognitive experience and experimentation.

A unique place in medieval British philosophy is occupied by Roger Bacon, an Oxford scholar who was absorbed by the study of natural science and mathematics. Knowledge gained from experience, experimentation, and mathematics was sharply advanced to the forefront by him. As early as the 13th century his teachings heralded the coming rejection of the scholastic method of interpreting books in favor of the observation of nature; however, his own research in the fields of optics, astronomy, and mathematics were combined with astrological and alchemic superstitions.

The principal figures in British philosophy during the florescence of scholasticism were John Duns Scotus (a Scot by origin) and his disciple William of Ockham. The influence of both men extended far beyond the borders of Britain. Duns Scotus was a determined opponent of the doctrines of Thomas Aquinas, the systematizer of scholasticism. The question that he posed concerning the problem of whether matter is capable of thought stimulated subsequent philosophical thought in the direction of materialism, although he had resolved the problem theologically. A characteristic trait of his scholastic doctrine was his acknowledgment of the supremacy of the will as compared to reason; this later facilitated the development of voluntarism.

Ockham, as its founder and leader, took the position of scholastic nominalism. “Nominalism was one of the principal elements among British materialists and, in general, is the first expression of materialism” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 2, p. 142). Knowledge, according to this doctrine, must proceed from concrete, single objects and should be based upon sensory experience. Ockham himself stated natural science hypotheses in the area of mechanics and astronomy that were precursors of the discovery of the laws of gravity, inertia, and celestial mechanics. On the whole, his teachings heralded the decline of scholastic philosophy.

Thomas More occupies a special place in the history of social thought during the period of the disintegration of feudalism and the primary accumulation of capital. More’s social Utopia depicted an ideal future socialist society, which was unrealizable for that historical epoch.

The transition from feudalism to capitalism was accompanied by a sharp turning-point in the history of British philosophy. During the 17th century F. Bacon laid the foundation for a precise materialistic tradition: “The true founder of British materialism was Bacon” (ibid.). In opposition to theological dogmatism and scholastic, casuistic deductions, Bacon proposed a program for the renewal of the sciences; he created a classification for them and worked out an inductive methodology for scientific cognition. In the works of his follower, T. Hobbes, materialism took on a mechanistic form, which was in accordance with the character of natural science of that period. In continuing the materialistic line, J. Locke developed a generally sensationalist theory of cognition; however, the materialistic tendencies that were dominant in his doctrine were combined with idealistic, subjectivistic positions—a doctrine concerning “secondary qualities” and truth as the relationship between ideas, for instance.

The antireligious tendency of British materialism during the 17th century was continued by deism in the 18th century. E. Cherbury had already proposed, in diametric opposition to scholastic philosophy, to make reason the criterion of faith. H. St. John Bolingbroke, A. Collins, M. Tindal, and especially the outright materialists J. Toland, D. Hartley, and J. Priestley, deepened this tendency, utilizing deism as the most “convenient and easy method,” in the words of K. Marx and F. Engels, “of breaking away from religion” (ibid., p. 144).

Idealistic tendencies, in opposition to materialism, were reflected in the subjective-idealistic school of G. Berkeley and in the skepticism of D. Hume. The antimaterialistic trend in the philosophy of that period was also represented by two schools that were permeated with mysticism: the Cambridge Platonists and the Scottish school, which appealed to “common sense” as a guarantee of religious faith. By 1820 the ideas of R. Owen had taken shape; he was one of the most important representatives of Utopian socialism and tried to put his ideals into practice.

Characteristic of the epoch of affirmation and complete development of the capitalist structure was the formation of positivism, which made use of empiricism, sensationalism, and inductivism against materialism by means of an idealistic and agnostic interpretation of “experience.” Nevertheless, positivism in the person of some of its representatives made a definite contribution to the methodology of science—for example, J. S. Mill’s development of inductive logic and H. Spencer’s formulation of the evolutionary principle, worked out in conformity to biology by C. Darwin. The positivistic interpretation of the evolutionary principle was opposed by T. Huxley’s materialistic interpretation.

A unique departure from the national traditions in philosophy was the influential school of neo-Hegelianism, widespread during the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th (T. H. Green. E. Caird, F. Bradley, B. Bosanquet, and J. McTaggart), in which an abstract-speculative thought structure predominated in various forms of objective idealism. The last representative of neo-Hegelianism, primarily in the philosophy of history, was J. Collingwood. The pragmatic form of subjective idealism, proclaimed by F. C. S. Schiller (a so-called humanism), stood alone.

Opposed to neo-Hegelianism and constituting a unique kind of return to the British traditions of philosophical idealism and their further development was the school of neorealism (B. Russell, G. E. Moore, C. D. Broad, S. Alexander, G. Price), which became extremely influential at the beginning of the 20th century. A. N. Whitehead worked out his own particular system of neorealism (the “philosophy of the organism”), which resembled Leibniz’s monadology in certain respects.

By the middle of the 20th century a decisive influence had been acquired by neopositivism, especially the school of logical positivism (the late Russell, L. Wittgenstein, J. Wisdom, A. J. Ayer, and K. Popper). British logical positivism made an important contribution to the development of mathematical logic (Russell, Whitehead). Cambridge became the organizational center of this movement.

Beginning in the 1950’s, to a considerable degree under the influence of the late Wittgenstein, the philosophy of logical analysis was replaced by the philosophy of linguistic analysis, which had its center at Oxford University (G. Ryle, J. Austin, G. J. Warnock, and J. Urmson). Rejecting the traditionally fundamental problems of philosophy, the advocates of this trend limited themselves to a scrupulous analysis of everyday language, seeing in this a basic “therapeutic” purpose of philosophy—a means of improving knowledge, all the mistakes and errors of which were rooted, so to speak, in linguistic imperfections and misusages. During the 1960’s this linguistic philosophy was subjected to sharp criticism not only from Marxist philosophers and representatives of other trends that were also opposed to it (including Russell) but also from linguistic analysts themselves (P. F. Strawson and S. N. Hampshire), who condemned the philosophical degeneracy of this trend and who called for a rehabilitation of the traditional problems to be studied by philosophy and its synthetic constructs.

The basic creative work of K. Marx and F. Engels took place in Britain; in a number of works they analyzed the development of philosophy in Britain—for example, English Utopian socialism (R. Owen and his disciples)—and they demonstrated the connection between socialistic strivings and materialistic philosophy. F. Engels’ book The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845) was one of the first serious sociological studies. Among the first propagandists for Marxism in England were Marx’s daughter Eleonora and her husband, E. Aveling. Much along these lines was also accomplished by H. Quelch. Best-known among present-day British Marxist philosophers are M. Cornforth, who has criticized the idealistic trend that is predominant in Britain, and J. Lewis, who has defended the principles of dialectical materialism. In the penetration of Marxist ideas into the sphere of scientific research a great role was played by the physicist J. Bernal and the biologist J. Haldane. Nevertheless, Marxian dialectical materialism, being opposed to all idealistic philosophy and as the result of the specific characteristics of the growth of the workers’ movement in Britain, has still not attained any great influence in British philosophy.

The principal centers for philosophical research and for education in philosophy in Britain are the Royal Philosophical Institute, and Oxford, Cambridge, and London universities. The main philosophical societies are the Aristotelian Society, Mind, the Philosophical Society of Cambridge University, and the Oxford Philosophical Society. The leading philosophical journals are Mind (since 1876) and Philosophy (since 1926).


HISTORY. The origin of British historiography dates back to the early Middle Ages. As was the case throughout Europe, historical learning in Britain during this period developed within the framework of the feudal-ecclesiastical world view. The first important work on British history, one which was influential on all subsequent medieval historiography in Britain, was written (around 731) by the Anglo-Saxon monk known as the Venerable Bede. At the end of the ninth century, during the reign of Alfred the Great, there began, as is customarily supposed, the compilation of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle—the first work in Western Europe to be written in a native language (in this case English). Influenced by the Norman Conquest and the subsequent social shake-up, a definite political tendentiousness was manifested among the 12th-century chroniclers (Eadmer, William of Malmesbury, and others). While remaining within the bounds of the feudal world view, certain authors (John of Salisbury) attempted to make sense out of the historical process by considering the sociopolitical experience of their own times. The historical-geographical genre was allowed to exist (for example, the work of Giraldus Cambrensis) and there arose an elementary sort of criticism of sources (William of Newburgh).

The centers of historical writing throughout the Middle Ages were, as a rule, the monasteries (during the period from the 13th to the 15th centuries fame was attained by the Abbey of St. Albans, where the chroniclers Roger of Wendover, Matthew of Paris, and T. Walsingham did their work). The growth of the cities in the 15th century brought about the appearance of the so-called urban chronicles (the best-known of which was the Chronicle of Fabian). During the 16th century British historiography was affected, to a certain degree, by the ideas of humanism. The growth of national self-awareness brought about a profound interest in history. At the end of the 16th century the Society of Antiquaries came into being in London (its members were the well-known chroniclers J. Stow, J. Speed, W. Raleigh, and others). The chronicles of E. Hall and R. Holinshed acquired wide fame. The emergence of capitalist relations, accompanied by sharp social conflicts, gave British historiography a topical, political character. Along with the influence of Italian humanistic historiography, British historiography experienced the effect of domestic political theories. The rise of humanistic historiography in England, connected with the names of T. More, Polydorus, and others, marked a break with the feudal-ecclesiastical world view and the beginning of the gradual transformation of history into a science. The works of Polydorus and W. Camden reveal elements of a scientific criticism of sources. In his specific study of history F. Bacon strove to achieve a rational treatment of events, and he was one of the first in Britain to attempt to establish a place for history among the other branches of knowledge.

The 17th-century English Civil War had an enormous influence on the development of historiography. The historical works dating from the second half of the 17th century reflect the opinions of the principal opposing forces in the revolution. The reactionary concept of the Earl of Clarendon, which regarded the revolution as a “mutiny” against the legally constituted authority, was opposed by the ideas of the bourgeoisie and the new gentry concerning the right of the subjects to rise up against the despotism of a monarch (J. Sprigge, J. Milton, and others). The historic views of the masses were reflected in the works of G. Winstanley, the ideologist of the Diggers; in embryonic form he expressed the idea of class struggle. J. Harrington was the first to attempt to link the change in the forms of power with the evolution of the forms of property.

During the 18th century British historiography on the whole developed on the basis of the ideas of the Enlightenment, with its conception of the progressive development of mankind, understood as the progress of knowledge and reason. Rationalism became a characteristic trait of Enlightenment historiography. The Enlightenment historians (in particular, D. Hume) regarded the period of the Middle Ages as an epoch of ignorance and political chaos. One of the most important British historians of the Age of Enlightenment was E. Gibbon, the author of a work on the causes of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, which he considered as arising from the religious fanaticism of early Christianity. A notable contribution not only to British but also to European historiography as a whole was made at the end of the 18th century by Scottish historians (W. Robertson, J. Millar, and others). In opposition to the Enlightenment theories E. Burke, together with other journalists and historians of the so-called romantic trend in history, attempted to rehabilitate the Middle Ages; in essence, they were reviving the theological conception of history.

More and more extensive use was made of archival materials in historical works, and historical documents began to be published. This was not carried out, however, on a high scientific level. The Antiquarian Society, outlawed in 1607 by James I, was revived in 1707.

During the first half of the 19th century historiography developed under the influence of the social conflicts that were connected with the completion of the Industrial Revolution and the struggle of the industrial bourgeoisie for political power. A strong effect on historians was also rendered by the Great French Revolution and by Chartism, the first mass movement of the British proletariat. In historiography two schools took shape, the conservative (Tory) and the liberal (Whig). The Tory historians (A. Alison, W. Mitford) strove to demonstrate the ruinous nature of political reforms, as if the latter would lead straight to revolution and anarchy. The fear of popular revolutions was also characteristic of the Whig historians. Nevertheless, concentrating their attention on constitutional history, they attempted to find in the remote past arguments in favor of implementing moderate reforms. H. Hallam, J. Russell, J. Kemble, and others sought to find sources for bourgeois parliamentarianism in the Middle Ages. T. B. Macaulay contrasted the revolution of the 1640’s, a violent and destructive civil war, with the revolution of 1688-89 (the so-called Glorious Revolution), seeing in the latter’s superficial and compromising nature the basis for the constitutional orders established during the 18th and 19th centuries. G. Grote proclaimed the ancient Greek democracy to be the ideal state structure. W. Cobbett and T. Carlyle, historians of the petit bourgeois radical-democratic school, were critical of the existing structure during the 1820’s, 1830’s, and 1840’s. The historical views of the proletariat made their first appearance in the works of the outstanding British Utopian socialist R. Owen and the historical works of the Chartists. J. B. O’Brien, the prominent ideologist of Chartism, published a book on Robespierre, in which he strove to establish a basis for the historic role played by the masses and in which he provided a high estimate of the Great French Revolution and its leaders.

During the second half of the 19th century, with the growth of industrial capitalism and its gradual transformation into imperialism, the basis of British bourgeois historiography became the doctrine of positivism, the most prominent representative of which in Britain was H. Spencer. The positivistic idea of the principled, evolutionary development of society had a certain affirmative importance. There was a widening of the problematical subjects handled by historical research; multivolume, collective works were written; there was an improvement in the quality of publication of historical documents; and various types of historical groups and societies were formed. There was definite progress in the preservation and publication of archival documents; as early as 1838 the London Public Archives, Britain’s central archival institution, was founded. In 1886 publication began of the first specialized historical journal, the English Historical Review. Cambridge and Oxford universities became the centers of historical scholarship. The most prominent historians of this period were W. Stubbs, E. Freeman, F. Maitland, J. E. Acton, J. R. Green, H. T. Buckle, W. Lecky, and S. Gardiner. The name of T. Rogers, the author of the first major work on the economic history of Britain from the 13th through 18th centuries, is connected with the rise of a new, historical-economic trend (F. Seebohm, W. Cunningham, W. Ashley, and A. Toynbee), based on the so-called theory of factors (economic, political, psychological, and so on), which have an aggregate influence on social development. Numerous works appeared on the history of foreign and colonial policy (the works of J. Seeley, J. Froude, A. L. Rowse, and others), which justified and praised the policy of Britain’s ruling circles, as well as works on the history of Oriental countries.

During the 1870’s research studies began to be made of the history of the British working movement. The investigations carried out by the social reformists of the Fabian group (the husband-and-wife team of S. and B. Webb) were directed against the ideas of class struggle and the revolutionary traditions of the working class. Nevertheless, they contained valuable factual material. At the end of the 19th century and in the first few decades of the 20th important steps were made in research studies on the history of primitive society (E. Tyler and G. Childe). The achievements of archaeology facilitated a more profound study of the history of the ancient cultures of Central Asia, the Near and Middle East (A. Stein), and the history of Greece (A. Evans) and Egypt (W. Flinders Petrie).

At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th a Marxist trend began to form in British historiography (E. B. Bax, J. Connolly, and others), which in a polemic with bourgeois historiography defended and developed a scientific conception of the historical process. At the same time there was a deepening ideological and methodological crisis of bourgeois historical science. Pessimism, the rejection of the idea of principled and progressive development, and the belittling of the role and importance of the historical discipline severely affected the status of specific historical research studies. This process was especially intensified during the general crisis of capitalism. The liberal trend grew dim and lost its leading role. The so-called revisionists (L. Namier, T. Butterfield, and others) argued from conservative positions and subjected the basic liberal concepts to sharp criticism, particularly the defense of the nation’s past during the rule by liberal cabinets. Social history in essence made way for the history of everyday life and culture (G. M. Trevelyan). Obtaining widespread acceptance was the concept of the cyclical development of history, as elaborated in the works of A. J. Toynbee.

After World War II the various currents of British bourgeois historiography became more and more standardized, merging into a single trend (not without certain shades of difference), which was opposed to Marxism in the principal sectors of historical research—that is, the history of the British peasantry and the mass people’s movements of the feudal epoch, the bourgeois revolution of the 17th century, the Industrial Revolution and its social consequences, the workers’ movement during the 19th and 20th centuries, foreign and colonial policy, and the history of the USSR. Bourgeois historiography was joined by historians of a Labourite tendency (G. D. H. Cole, R. Tawney, and others), who were engaged primarily in studying the British workers’ movement. At the same time the influence of Marxist-Leninist historiography is growing; the subject matter of Marxist studies encompasses the most important problems of national and partly universal history (A. Morton, A. Rothstein, V. G. Childe, M. Dobb, E. Hobsbawn, L. Munby, R. Arnot, W. H. Hutt, and R. P. Dutt).

The most important centers for the study of history in Britain are Oxford, Cambridge, and London universities. A large number of historical societies are active. A considerable number of British historians are members of the Historical Association (founded in 1906). The center of progressive historical thought is the Group of Marxist Historians attached to the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB), formed on the eve of World War II.

The principal periodical publications are the English Historical Review (since 1886), Historical Journal (since 1958), and Past and Present (since 1952).

A. D. KOLPAKOV (from mid-17th century)

ECONOMICS. Britain’s economic philosophy formed as an independent branch of knowledge with the growth of capitalism. The first theoreticians of the capitalistic method of production, which was developing in the midst of a feudalistic society, were the mercantilists (T. Mun, D. North; at the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th), who examined the field of goods turnover. The penetration of capitalistic relations into the sphere of production facilitated the rise (during the 17th century) of classical bourgeois political economy, which was characterized by V. I. Lenin as one of the sources of Marxism. Its founder was W. Petty, who laid the foundation for the labor theory of value. Further development of classical bourgeois political economy was attained during the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th in the works of A. Smith and D. Ricardo.

It was during the epoch of the primary accumulation of capital that the first critics of capitalism emerged; these were the representatives of Utopian socialism, T. More and others. The further development of Utopian socialism was made during the period of the Industrial Revolution in the works and activity of R. Owen and his followers, W. Thompson and J. Bray. At the end of the 18th century, amid conditions of the crisis of classical bourgeois political economy, vulgar political economy came into being (T. Malthus, J. S. Mill, J. R. McCulloch, and N. W. Senior), characterized by the replacement of the analysis of the essence of economic categories by their description and superficial classification for the purpose of defending capitalism and combatting socialistic theories (at first Utopian and then the scientific ones as well).

Beginning in the middle of the 19th century, K. Marx and F. Engels, the founders of scientific communism, lived and worked in Britain; and it was here that they accomplished a revolution in economics. The bourgeois economists concentrated their efforts on striving to refute Marxism. The struggle against Marxism in Britain was led by the advocates of the theory of limited utility; its founder in Britain was W. Jevons.

At the beginning of the 20th century there was widespread acceptance of the conception of the Cambridge school of political economy (the founder of which was A. Marshall), which attempted to explain economic categories from subjective psychological points of view with the aid of mathematical methods.

In connection with the intensified development of state monopolistic capitalism in Britain, which followed the world economic crisis of 1929-33, Keynesianism had its origins; it is one of the principal trends of bourgeois economic thought, directed at “rescuing capitalism” by means of state regulation of a capitalist economy. J. M. Keynes, the founder of this school, worked out a theory and program of an economic policy of state monopolistic capitalism that has been adopted in Britain and other capitalist countries. Further development of Keynes’ ideas, adapting them to the new conditions of present-day state monopolistic capitalism in Britain, was reached in the concepts of neo-Keynesianism (W. Beveridge, R. Harrod, J. Robinson, and others). In opposition to neo-Keynesianism, the present-day adherents (L. Robinson, G. Mead, and others) of the “neoclassical” school, which arose at the end of the 19th century, proclaim free enterprise, which, to their way of thinking, should ensure the ideal functioning of a private ownership, capitalistic economy.

During the 1950’s and 1960’s, under conditions of the struggle between the two social systems, Labourite theoreticians (including J. Strachey) put forth the defensive doctrines of the transformation of capitalism, democratic socialism, the general welfare state, diffusion of property, equalization of incomes, and so on. This was done in an attempt to mask the imperialistic essence of present-day capitalism, to conceal the domination by the monopolies in the country’s economic life, and to distort the class character of the modern capitalist state and the antipopular essence of state monopolistic capitalism in its entirety.

Criticizing bourgeois political economy and the Labourite economic theories have been such progressive economists who represent Marxist political economy as M. Dobb, R. P. Dutt, and D. Eaton. Their works have provided a scientific analysis of the new phenomena of capitalism—for example, the intensification of its state monopolistic characteristics, a deepening of the contradictions in the process of economic growth, and the position of the working class in a “society of abundance.”

Characteristic of present-day economics in Britain is the growth of its specialized branches—the economics of scientific and technical progress—as well as specific branches of the economy; the utilization of mathematical and cybernetic methods as well as computer technology; the incorporation of related disciplines—sociology, psychology, demography, the behavioral sciences, and personnel relations—into economic studies; and the development of economic forecasting and programming. The work of state institutions engaged in research studies in the field of economics and allied disciplines is coordinated by the Council of Scientific Research in the Social Sciences under the administration of the Ministry of Education and Science, which provides subsidies to universities so that they can carry out such research studies; it also directs the training of economists and other scientific personnel. The traditional centers of basic economic research are the universities, which employ approximately 1,000 economists. A considerable amount of economic research is conducted by noncommercial institutes that have the legal status of stock companies and that work to fulfill assignments from monopolies and the state. By 1970 there were approximately 20 such institutes, including the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, the Institute for Political and Economic Planning, and the Institute of Economics.

The largest professional organization of economists is the Royal Economic Society. It has 6,000 individual and group members from Britain and the Commonwealth countries, and it carries out work in the areas of scientific information, consultation, and coordination.

The most important economic journals are The Economist (published since 1843), and Economic Journal (since 1891). A large number of specialized journals are also published. Economic problems are elucidated in the theoretical organ of the CPGB, Marxism Today (since 1957).


LAW. The origin of English legal science dates back to the first few decades after the Norman Conquest and almost coincides with the period when the common law was being established (11th-12th centuries). From its very inception English juridical thought developed independently without undergoing the influence of Roman law. This is explained by the original character of common law, the commentaries and interpretation of which has become a field of learning in itself. As distinct from the countries of Continental Europe, English law was created not in the universities but by practicing lawyers. They did not study well-developed theoretical concepts and general principles but rather the explanations and commentaries of court decisions. With the appearance of the law of equity, jurisprudence began to develop in a corresponding direction, and was, unlike the common law, subjected to the considerable influence of canon and Roman law. The unique character of the English legal system, which does not recognize the divisions between public and private law, or the minute subdivisions into the branches of the law that are traditional in Continental Europe, or the precise distinction between material and procedural law, also found its own reflection in English jurisprudence. For example, it is difficult to separate such legal disciplines as civil, criminal, and administrative law into independent branches of learning.

The first major legal treatises of the feudal period were written by R. Glanville and H. Bracton, who developed rules for the procedure of appeal to the Courts of Westminster. During the 15th century there were important works in the field of law by T. Littleton and J. Fortescue, and in the 16th century, by Saint-Germain. They provided a doctrinal interpretation of the most important institutions of English law as well as juridical precedents on corresponding problems. E. Coke’s fundamental work Institutes of the Laws of England was written in the 17th century. The bourgeois legal ideology of England attained its fullest expression in the works of W. Blackstone (Commentaries on the Laws of England and others), which are considered to be the basis of modern English jurisprudence. During the 18th and 19th centuries extremely important works were published by J. Bentham, who laid the foundations of liberal-bourgeois constitutional law. During the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th there appeared in English jurisprudence a number of important scholars of constitutional government (W. Bagehot, J. S. Mill, A. Dicey, W. Anson, S. Low, T. E. May, and others), who foreshadowed the main trends of English bourgeois scholarship concerning the state as well as political science.

In recent times English jurisprudence has had several famous major scholars who have worked on problems of common law and the law of equity, civil and criminal law, the history of English law, and so on (F. Maitland, D. Yale, C. Kenny, P. Duff, D. Turner, G. Street, A. Cross, D. Daube, and others). The study of constitutional law, political science, administrative law, and local government has been treated in the works of such scholars as A. Jennings, H. Morrison, H. Laski, R. Moore, A. Keith, D. May, B. Carter, D. Moody, L. Amery, W. Morris-Jones, D. McIntosh, and others. They have worked on the problems of English state law as well as other branches of law in a spirit of defending the capitalist state principle in England, developing the ideas of a pluralistic democracy and preaching the “above-class” nature of the English state. They have proclaimed it to be a “general welfare state,” speaking about the “transformation of property” in Britain and so forth.

A special place in contemporary English jurisprudence is occupied by the Marxist scholars J. Gollan, J. Harvey, K. Hood, and others, whose works contain a genuinely scientific analysis of the English state and law.

The most important scholarly centers in the field of law are London, Cambridge, and Oxford universities. In England a great number of legal journals are published, including Cambridge Law Journal (published since 1921), Criminal Law Review (since 1954), International and Comparative Law Quarterly (since 1952), Journal of Business Law (since 1957), Journal of the Society of Public Teachers of Law (since 1961), Juridical Review (since 1889), Law Quarterly Review (since 1885), Law Society’s Gazette (since 1903), Lawyer (since 1958), Modern Law Review (since 1937), Public Law (since 1956), Solicitor Quarterly (since 1962), and Solicitor’s Journal (since 1928).


LINGUISTICS. During the Renaissance and the Reformation, glossaries and normative grammars of medieval Latin were compiled. Beginning in the 16th century old manuscripts of Greco-Roman, Oriental, Old German, and other peoples were collected, studied, and prepared for publication. Rich collections were assembled at the Bodleian Library at Oxford University and at the British Museum. The study and teaching of ancient languages began at the end of the 15th century with classical Latin and Greek, and from the 17th century with Oriental languages; in 1639 a course in Old English was introduced at Cambridge. Latin dictionaries and grammars were compiled (W. Lily’s grammar, 1540) as well as the first bilingual dictionaries of European languages. In 1689 the first grammar of Old English was published in Britain (written by G. Hickes), and at the end of the 18th century there appeared the first Sanskrit texts to be published in Europe (edited by W. Jones). From the 16th through the 18th centuries practical and normative English grammars were written, as well as interpretive, etymological, orthoepic, and orthographic dictionaries. This lexicographical and grammatical work culminated in S. Johnson’s dictionary of English (1775) and in L. Murray’s grammar (1795). During the 17th and 18th centuries scholarly grammars of English were published that examined problems of the general theory and philosophy of language (J. Wallis, 1653; J. Harris, 1751; J. Priestley, 1761; J. Monboddo, vols. 1-6, 1773-92). During the second half of the 18th century the works of J. Wallis and W. Jones laid the foundations of comparative-historical linguistics. In 1888, J. Murray began to publish the multivolume Oxford English Dictionary. The London Philological Society was founded in 1842. The Old English Text Society (since 1864) and the Viking Society for the Study of Scandinavia (since 1892) began publishing. During the second half of the 19th century the so-called English school of phonetics was formed (historical phonetics and grammar of English, H. Swete; dialectology, A. Ellis and J. Wright; phonetics, D. Jones).

In the 20th century A. Gardiner, A. Ross, and S. Ullmann worked on problems of general linguistics. And although the linguistic life of Britain continues to be characterized by its traditional interest in the study of living languages and dialects, especially those of India and Africa, accompanied by the compilation of numerous and varied dictionaries and descriptive grammars, a certain narrowness of approach to problems and a pragmatic research trend are being replaced by a growing interest in theoretical problems, to the creation of a general theory of language, together with a comparative and typological study of languages. This tendency was manifested most clearly beginning in the 1930’s within the framework of the London linguistic school (J. Firth, V. Allen, R. Robins, W. Haas, M. Halliday, and others). Representing itself as an original trend in modern structuralism, oriented primarily toward the semantic aspect of language, this school set itself the task of creating a general theory of language, within the framework of which it could accomplish a flexible and practically suitable description of languages with various structures. There is also a growing interest in the problems of psycholinguistics and applied linguistics. British linguists have made important contributions to the development of Oriental studies (G. Grierson), African studies (W. Bleek, M. Guthrie), and Egyptology (F. Griffith); and in deciphering inscriptions on ancient monuments (G. Rawlinson, M. Ventris, and J. Chadwick). In 1959 the Linguistic Association of Great Britain was established. The leading centers of linguistics are London University (Department of General Linguistics, the Center for the Study of Communication Theory, and the School of Oriental and African Studies), Oxford (Oriental Studies, Slavic Studies), Edinburgh University (general linguistics, semantics, applied linguistics, psycholinguistics), and Cambridge (applied linguistics). The best-known periodical publications are Archivum Linguisticum (since 1949), Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (since 1917), Journal of Linguistics (since 1965), Language and Speech (since 1959), Oxford Slavonic Papers (since 1950), and Transactions of the Philological Society (since 1854).


Scientific institutions. Many characteristic traits of the development of British science and technology have been conditioned by the organization of its research studies. At the beginning of the 20th century the most important universities in Britain had their own research laboratories. Their equipment, however, had been acquired at the expense of the scholars themselves, and the circle of researchers consisted of the teachers and their students. Industrial research laboratories made their appearance comparatively late. There was insufficient connection between basic research and technical studies. This was explained by the fact that before World War I there was no great demand for scientific works by industry, which had at its disposal raw material resources and profitable markets throughout the Empire. As a result, British industry was retarded during the first half of the 20th century.

From 1915 to 1940 the government attempted to establish a system of technical research studies in industry. Private laboratories appeared, especially in the chemical and electric machine-building industries, which were engaged in developing modern technology. But they were not large. In 1939, Britain possessed only ten major laboratories, with 100-300 scientists and engineers. In addition to the National Physics Laboratory, organized by the state back in 1900 and engaged in fundamental research, in 1918 cooperative research associations, subsidized by private firms as well as by the state, were established. However, the scope of their research activities was affected by a shortage of scientific personnel. In 1940, Britain was training only half as many natural scientists and engineers as Germany. During this period there was a decline in the role of the scientific societies.

After 1945 there was a sharp increase in the number of research centers. In 1969 scientific research was being carried out at 34 universities and 11 colleges of “modern technology.” The difficulties in training scientific personnel have become more acute because of the “brain drain“—the increasing emigration of scholars to the USA. From 1961 to 1966 alone 2,600 scientists and highly qualified engineers emigrated to the USA. Up to 70 percent of all operations are carried out at private industrial laboratories. Research studies are conducted by almost every firm which employs 500 or more people and which has a sales volume of more than £3 million. The level of research is high in the aircraft, petroleum, electronic, and chemical industries. ICI [Imperial Chemical Industries], the largest chemical monopoly in Britain, has created a network of laboratories (with an annual budget of £30 million—more than 5 percent of the sales volume). As of 1967, these laboratories were employing approximately 11,000 persons (more than 10 percent of all those who work for ICI), including about 3,000 scientific workers.

The network of cooperative research associations has more than doubled during the postwar years. There continues to be an increase in the number of state research institutes and centers, including those which work in cooperation with groups of scientists in the universities. In 1954 a network of state institutes was formed, which studies problems in nuclear physics and power engineering. Scientific centers for the study of microbiology, quantum electronics, radio astronomy, and so on have also been created. As of 1969, the total number of scientific employees in Britain amounted to about 400,000; of these 168,000 were in the natural sciences.

This growth in science and the diversity in the forms of its organization have necessitated the establishment of an administrative apparatus. During the years 1915-31 committees of the Privy Council were formed on scientific and industrial research, medical science, and agriculture; their task was to render aid to the scientific institutions and to partially finance them. However, the committees had little influence on the trend of research.

In 1949 the National Research Development Corporation was created; it was called upon to cooperate with the research institutions in working out and implementing patents for inventions. In 1959 the Privy Council’s committees for scientific and industrial research were replaced by the Ministry of Science, which was reorganized in 1964 as the Ministry of Education and Science. It has research councils on the natural sciences, medicine, agricultural sciences, and social sciences; the last council is primarily concerned with problems of economics, government, and psychology. In 1964 the Ministry of Technology was created; in 1967 it was merged with the Ministry of Aviation. It coordinates technical research.

The financing of science has been sharply increased (approximately £1 billion in 1969, as contrasted with £3.6 million in 1939). More than half of the funds are expended on the working out of problems that have military importance. Because of the limited nature of its resources, Britain has refrained from conducting a number of expensive research studies—for example, launching satellites and certain programs in nuclear physics and oceanography.

The national information service consists of a network of libraries, headed by the National Library of Science and Technology, and of specialized informational institutions. In 1965, in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and Science, the Board of Scientific and Technical Information was organized. British informational institutions employ a total of approximately 3,500 persons, including 1,500 scientists and engineers.



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Seligman, B. Osnovnye techeniia sovremennoi ekonomicheskoi mysli. Moscow, 1968. (Translated from English.)

In 1970 more than 140 daily and Sunday newspapers, more than 1,200 local weeklies, and over 4,000 journals and other periodical publications were published in Britain. The circulation of the ten largest daily newspapers is 15.5 million copies. In per capita output of newspapers Britain leads the other capitalist countries. The British press is dominated by a small group of monopolies, the largest of which are the International Publishing Corporation Ltd., Associated Newspapers Ltd., The Thomson Organization Ltd., and the Beaverbrook newspaper concern. Most newspapers in Britain support the Conservative Party. The fullest expression of the position of the leadership of this party is usually to be found in The Daily Telegraph and Morning Post (founded in 1855), which has a circulation of 1.4 million (here and below data are given for 1970), and The Sunday Telegraph (founded in 1961), which has a circulation of 750,000. Also pro-Conservative are the Daily Express (founded in 1900), with a circulation of 3.6 million; Sunday Express (founded in 1918), with a circulation of 4.3 million; Daily Mail (founded in 1896), with a circulation of 1.9 million; Sunday Times (founded in 1822), with a circulation of approximately 1.5 million; the journals The Economist (founded in 1843) and The Spectator (founded in 1828); and a number of other publications. The Times (founded in 1785), with a circulation of over 400,000, enjoys the reputation of being the best-informed newspaper and is considered to be a mouthpiece for the country’s official circles, independently of whichever party is in control of the government. In fact, however, The Times stands closer to the Conservative Party.

The policy of the Labour Party leadership is supported by the Daily Mirror (founded in 1903), with a circulation of 4.7 million; Sunday Mirror (founded in 1915), with a circulation of 4.9 million; and The People (founded in 1881), with a circulation of 5.2 million. The position of the party’s left wing is reflected in the weekly Tribune (founded in 1937). Expressing the views of the liberal intelligentsia are The Guardian (founded in 1821), with a circulation of more than 300,000, and The Observer (founded in 1791), with a circulation of approximately 850,000.

Publications of the Communist Party are the newspaper Morning Star (founded in 1930), the weekly Comment (founded in 1921), and the journals Marxism Today (founded in 1957) and The Labour Monthly (founded in 1921).

The leading wire-service news agencies in Britain are Reuters, the Press Association, and the Exchange Telegraph.

Regular radio broadcasting was begun in 1922. Since 1927 the government-controlled British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has monopolized this field. Domestic broadcasts are conducted on three stations; a large part of the BBC’s activity is concerned with broadcasts to foreign countries. In 1936 the BBC began regular television transmission. Since 1955 television broadcasting has also been carried out by a group of private companies. The BBC conducts television broadcasts on two channels (some transmissions are in color), whereas the broadcasts by all the commercial television studios form still another channel. British publishing, radio, and television concerns have extensive ties with the Commonwealth countries and own newspapers and radio and television studios in some of them.


The ancestors of the English—the Anglo-Saxons who came over from the Continent—brought with them Germanic myths and legends that had been transmitted orally from generation to generation; it was only after the introduction of Christianity that learned monks began to write down the ancient heroic poems. The epic poem Beowulf, created at the end of the seventh century, has come down to us in a tenth-century manuscript. During the eighth through tenth centuries religious lyrics of the Anglo-Saxons, theological works, and chronicles were created on British soil. After the Norman conquest of England, during the 11th through the 13th centuries a trilingual feudal literature developed: church writings in Latin, chivalric verse and narrative poems in French, and English legends in Anglo-Saxon. By the middle of the 14th century a common English language was formed. Poetry reflecting the life and customs of various classes came into being. John Gower was a poet of the gentry ideals, whereas the ideology of the peasantry during the 1380’s was expressed by W. Langland in his narrative poem The Vision Concerning Piers the Ploughman. A synthesis of the culture of the epoch of mature feudalism and a presage of the early Renaissance were characteristic of the Canterbury Tales (written at the end of the 14th century), a collection of tales and short stories in verse by G. Chaucer. In the Prologue to this work the author provides a description of people of all classes and occupations who have set forth on a pilgrimage to Canterbury. The medieval romance of chivalry is combined here with the prosaic humor of the burghers; the evaluations of the phenomena of life contain the seeds of early humanism. The Hundred Years’ War with France and then the War of the Roses retarded the development of literature. Among the few landmarks of this period is the expository prose version of the legends about the Knights of the Round Table, Le Morte Darthur, by Thomas Malory (15th century). On the other hand, there was a growth of folk poetry in the form of ballads of a legendary, historical, and dramatic nature.

The end of the destructive feudal conflict and the establishment of Tudor absolutism facilitated the revival of literary activity. Ties were developed between English writers and the representatives of humanism in other countries. The beginning of the 16th century saw Thomas More, the author of Utopia, which contained not only a criticism of the feudal system but also a picture of the ideal state based on a communistic sharing of property. During the second half of the 16th century, after Elizabeth I’s accession to the throne, humanism became the dominant ideological trend. Lyric poetry was created by the authors of sonnets, T. Wyatt, H. H. Surrey, and others. The highest achievement of epic poetry was E. Spenser’s narrative poem, The Faerie Queene (1590). Adventure and picaresque novels, as well as a pastoral literature, also appeared. At the beginning of the 17th century the essay genre (F. Bacon) and the character sketch (T. Overbury) appeared. A prose novella about the daily life of artisans was written by T. Deloney.

But the greatest peak in literature was achieved by the dramaturgy of the High Renaissance in England. English drama had passed through an ecclesiastical phase; then it moved to street presentations of mystery plays, which were cyclical in nature and took several days to perform. During the 15th century the genres of morality plays and interludia appeared in city theaters. At the beginning of the 16th century the humanists used plays in order to propagate their own ideas. During the reformation of the church, drama was drawn into the struggle against Catholicism. King John (1548) by Bishop J. Bale appeared under these conditions; even though it was the first historical drama it still contained significant elements of the morality play. In the middle of the 16th century academic groups staged the first English plays written in imitation of ancient, primarily Latin models: the tragedy Gorboduc (1561) by T. Norton and T. Sackville, the comedy Ralph Roister Doister (c. 1551) by N. Udall, and Gammer Gurton’s Needle (1556) by an unknown author. The devices of Italian “learned” comedy were transferred to English soil by G. Gascoigne in his adaptation of Ariosto’s The Supposes (1566). In the popular theater, which underwent a vigorous growth during the second half of the 16th century, an independent national school of playwrights arose, including C. Marlowe (1564-93), R. Greene (1560-92), T. Kyd (1558-94), and others, well known as the “university wits.” J. Lyly (1554-1606) also belongs to the originators of humanistic drama. Their activity prepared the ground for the great playwright Shakespeare (1564-1616). His comedies expressed the joyous lively spirit of the Renaissance and the optimism of the humanists; his chronicle plays, drawn from English history (Richard III, Henry IV, and others), showed with great realism the conflict between feudal separatism and the striving to create a centralized monarchical power. The summit of Shakespeare’s creative work was his tragedies (Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, and others). In expressing his melancholy awareness that there was no place for humanistic ideals in reality, Shakespeare showed with unprecedented force the complex spiritual world of Renaissance people. Also part of this constellation of talented playwrights were B. Jonson (c. 1573-1637), the creator of satirical comedies drawn from contemporary daily life; T. Heywood (c. 1574-1641); T. Dekker (1609-66); F. Beaumont (c. 1584-1616); and G. Fletcher (1579-1625).

The English civil war put an end to the development of the humanistic drama; upon the demand of the Puritans in 1642 all theaters were closed. The revolutionary period was comparatively low in literary production. J. Milton (1608-74), an active figure in the civil war, created Paradise Lost (1667), an epic poem on a biblical subject, during the Restoration; in biblical images it reflected the titanic struggle between the epoch’s social forces. The Puritan preacher J. Bunyan (1628-88) in his allegorical novel The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678-84) showed how difficult it is to be a good and honorable person in a world of social inequality and bourgeois profit-seeking. The spirit of the Restoration of the Stuart monarchy marked the poetry and plays of J. Dryden (1631-1700), who alternated between the baroque and the classical styles. At the end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th, W. Wycherley (1640-1715) and W. Congreve (c. 1670-1729) wrote frivolous comedies, drawing upon material from aristocratic daily life.

The so-called Glorious Revolution of 1688-89 laid the foundation for a new period in English literature, wherein the center of attention was the average man of the new bourgeois society. The foremost ideological tendency of the 18th century was the Enlightenment. First place in literature passed from poetry to prose; the bourgeois novel came into being. Its creator was D. Defoe (1661-1731), whose work Robinson Crusoe (1719) provided an idealized image of an energetic worker, a conqueror of nature. The satire Gulliver’s Travels (1726) by J. Swift (1667-1745) contains a devastating characterization of England as it underwent the transition from feudalism to a bourgeois structure. The sentimental novels of S. Richardson (1689-1761), written in the epistolary form, were full of idealized bourgeois virtues. H. Fielding (1707-54) in his The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling (1749) created an epic narrative that reflected, partially in a satirical spirit, all sides of aristocratic and bourgeois daily life. Elements of social satire were even stronger in the novels of T. Smollett (1721-71). The English novel of social realism had an influence on all European literature. Despite the eccentric form of his novels The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy (1759-67) and A Sentimental Journey (1768), L. Sterne (1713-68) revealed contradictions in the human character that had previously been unattainable for the rationalism of the Enlightenment.

In dramaturgy, Enlightenment classicism attained its highest expression in the tragedies Cato (1713) by J. Addison and Irene (1749) by S. Johnson. New paths were marked by R. Steele’s sentimental comedy The Conscious Lovers (1722), but a genuine turning point in drama was brought about by G. Lillo (1693-1739), the creator of the first bourgeois tragedy, The London Merchant (1731). The satirical current was very strong in the English theater. The Beggar’s Opera (1728) by J. Gay (1685-1732), with its use of ballads, and Fielding’s comedies of the 1730’s boldly criticized government corruption. The ruling circles responded to this criticism by introducing theatrical censorship (1737). Nevertheless, the satirical line in the social comedy of everyday life continued to develop and reached a culmination in the creative work of R. B. Sheridan (1751-1816), the author of the satirical comedy School for Scandal (1777).

At the end of the 18th century the reaction to the Enlightenment found expression in the preromantic cult of the past and in the replacement of optimism by motifs of melancholy. The most typical manifestations of this were Poems of Ossian (1762-63) by J. Macpherson (1736-96), the verses of T. Chatterton (1752-70), and the novels of “horrors and mysteries” (“Gothic”) by H. Walpole (1717-97) and A. Radcliffe (1764-1823). The revival of interest in folk poetry brought about the popularity of the Scottish poet R. Burns (1759-96). Romanticism arose in the 1790’s as a reaction to the collisions of bourgeois progress, to the capitalistic industrialization of the country, and to the disillusionment with the results of the Great French Revolution. W. Wordsworth (1770-1850), S. T. Coleridge (1772-1834), and R. Southey (1774-1843), sometimes grouped together by the term Lake School, cultivated motifs of a return to nature, a patriarchal quality, and a simplicity of manners; they surrounded everyday facts with an aureole of romantic mysteriousness. These poets brought poetic diction closer to the sounds of living speech. The second generation of English romantics—G. G. Byron (1788-1824), P. B. Shelley (1792-1822), and J. Keats (1795-1821)—sharply rejected the political conservatism of the Lake School. Byron satirized the reactionary policies of the Holy Alliance, and Shelley propagated the ideas of Utopian socialism. Social utopianism was also characteristic of the poetry of W. Blake (1757-1827). Byron’s heroes, such as his disenchanted melancholic, Childe Harold, and his battler against god, Cain, expressed a decisive rejection of the ideals of bourgeois aristocratic society as well as those of anarchistic individualism. In Shelley’s works there appeared images of fighters for the freedom of mankind—Laon (Laon and Cythna) and Prometheus (Prometheus Unbound). W. Scott (1771-1832) created the genre of the historical novel. In 20 novels, beginning with Waverley (1814), Scott depicted the basic periods in the history of England and Scotland, and to a lesser extent France and Germany, from the time of the Crusades to the middle of the 18th century.

A new period in English literature began in the 1830’s when there were tense social conflicts and Chartism was growing in the workers’ movement. Criticism of capitalism from a romantic point of view was continued by the novelist and journalist T. Carlyle (1795-1881). Serving as a transition from romanticism to realism was the creative work of the novelist and playwright E. G. Bulwer-Lytton (1803-73). The years from the 1830’s to the 1860’s were a period of the flowering of critical realism; in the novels of Dickens (1812-70), W. M. Thackeray (1811-63), C. Brontë (1816-55), and E. Gaskell (1810-65) all strata of the bourgeoisie were vividly depicted, and, what was new, the working class was shown as carrying on a struggle for its own rights—for example, Shirley by Brontë, 1849; Mary Barton by Gaskell, 1848; and Hard Times by Dickens, 1854. While Dickens always had his favorite and beloved heroes (Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, and others), Thackeray was ironic in his satire and created a “novel without a hero” (Vanity Fair, 1847-48). G. Eliot (1819-80) and G. Meredith (1828-1909) combined the usual motifs of the social novel about everyday life with a refined psychological analysis.

At the end of the 19th century the English novel was marked by a sharp contrast between the neoromanticism of R. L. Stevenson (1850-94) and the austere realism of T. Hardy (1840-1928) and S. Butler (1835-1902). The representatives of English naturalism, G. Moore (1852-1933) and G. Gissing (1857-1903), were followers of E. Zola. Although the genre of the novel occupied the dominant position in 19th-century literature—the “Victorian epoch” (a period that bourgeois historians have idealized as an era of prosperity)—there was, nevertheless, also a development of poetry of the late romantic type. Its foremost figures were the lyricist and author of narrative poems A. Tennyson (1809-92), the master of the dramatic lyric R. Browning (1812-89), and his wife, E. B. Browning, a poetess of refined spiritual experience. During the second half of the 19th century a reaction began against the “Victorian” spirit in poetry. E. Fitzgerald published his translations from Omar Khayyam, the hedonistic motifs of which were a challenge to the bourgeois ideology of usefulness and middle-class virtues. A gloomy picture of the contemporary capitalistic city was drawn by J. Thomson (in City of Dreadful Night, 1874). The movement of aesthetic criticism of capitalism, headed by the art theoreticians J. Ruskin and W. Morris, led to the founding of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood—a group of poets and artists who contrasted the ugliness of the bourgeois world with the aesthetic ideal of the late Middle Ages and the early Renaissance. This movement advanced the poets D. G. Rossetti (1828-82) and Christina Rossetti (1830-94). The late romantic A. C. Swinburne (1837-1909) was close to the Pre-Raphaelites.

The drama of the 19th century lagged considerably behind the novel in truthfulness to life and social incisiveness. A flood of light, diverting plays stood in contrast to certain individual works that possessed some artistic and ideological merit—for example, Money (1840) by Bulwer-Lytton and Caste (1867) by T. W. Robertson (1829-71). The first efforts to introduce motifs of social and moral criticism were the plays of A. W. Pinero, such as The Second Mrs. Tanqueray (1893, published in 1895) and The Notorious Mrs. Ebbsmith (1895).

The 1890’s marked the beginning of the modern period of English literature. It began with a brief period of decadence and symbolism, represented by O. Wilde (1854-1900), who continued the line of aesthetic criticism of capitalism. The foremost leader of English symbolism was the Irishman W. B. Yeats (1865-1939), whose creative work, however, was not confined within narrow stylistic boundaries. A connection with the traditions of folk poetry is combined in his work with an extremely refined poetic culture. The last decade of the 19th century and the years preceding World War I were marked by a vigorous growth of critical realism. The plays of B. Shaw (1856-1950) demonstrated the absurdity of the capitalist system and advanced the idea of transforming society on the basis of socialism. Realistic drama of everyday life was represented by the plays of J. Galsworthy (The Silver Box, 1906; published in 1909, for example), H. Granville-Barker (1877-1946), and others. The philosophical and social-fantasy novels of H. G. Wells (1866-1946) revealed the processes of capitalist industrialization leading to the complete dehumanization of the proletariat. The trilogies The Forsyte Saga and A Modern Comedy by J. Galsworthy (1867-1933), which depict the history of a bourgeois family, reflected the decline of an entire class. The same path of the traditional realistic novel and short story was taken by W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965; Of Human Bondage, 1915), E. M. Forster (1879-1970), the short-story writers A. E. Coppard (1878-1957), Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923), and others. A unique case was J. Conrad (1857-1924), who combined the romance of sea voyages and the description of “exotic” lands with psychological insight. Poetry at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th was represented most originally by the bard of British imperialism, R. Kipling (1865-1936); nevertheless, Kipling introduced a prosaic and straightforward tone and plebeian soldiers’ motifs into his poetry (Barrack-Room Ballads, 1892). Together with a modern imitation of the rococo style in the Vignettes in Rhyme by A. Dobson, there sounded the melancholy poetry of A. E. Housman, the poetry of the sea of J. Masefield, and the philosophical and nature lyricism of R. Bridges.

World War I and the postwar crisis led to noticeable changes in English literature, which entered upon a new phase of development. Poetry decisively broke with the traditional forms of versification and poetic imagery. The modernistic trend was headed in Britain by the Americans T. S. Eliot and E. Pound. They, as well as the imagists, transformed the language of poetry, combining the precision of the word with a free versification. This poetry was imbued with a dark symbolism and a tendency to create new “myths.” The poets W. H. Auden, S. Spender, and C. Day-Lewis adopted the devices of modernism. During the 1930’s they made up the so-called Oxford Group, which engaged in radical politics but soon turned sharply to the right. Among the playwrights of the period between the two wars the most popular were N. Coward, J. Barrie, S. Maugham, and J. B. Priestley. The novel retained its fundamental position in the literature of this period; modern experimentation was also used in this genre. The Irishman J. Joyce (1882-1941) in his novel Ulysses (1922) used the method of “stream of consciousness” in literature, registering the most minute details of the characters’ inner lives. Other representatives of the modernistic novel, D. Richardson and V. Woolf, followed in the steps of Joyce. A minute psychological analysis resembling Freudianism was characteristic of D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930). The creative work of A. Huxley (1894-1963) alternated between modernism and realism. More consistent was the realism of R. Aldington (1892-1962), A. Cronin (born 1896), and J. B. Priestley (born 1894), which reflected the country’s contemporary social life. The master of the satirical novel E. Waugh (1903-66) ridiculed the aristocratic and bourgeois upper classes of society, although he did this from a conservative point of view.

After World War II a new generation of novelists appeared, who reflected the crisis of the English bourgeois society, which had become more profound as a result of the decline of the British colonial empire and the country’s loss of its former position in the world economy and in world politics. A reactionary, anticommunist position was taken by G. Orwell, the author of the antiutopian Animal Farm (1945) and 1984 (1949). Existentialist motifs are characteristic of W. Golding, who in his work Lord of the Flies (1954) took a gloomy view of the prospects for the development of mankind. Although existentialism forms the philosophical basis for the novels of Iris Murdoch (Under the Net, 1954; The Red and the Green, 1965; and others), her creative work is broader than her doctrine and is close to realism. Irony characterizes the everyday psychological novels of A. Wilson (Anglo-Saxon Attitudes, 1956, and others). Social and psychological motifs mark the work of J. Cary (Herself Surprised, 1941; Prisoner of Grace, 1952). The creative work of G. Greene combines social criticism, sophisticated psychologism, and adventure motifs (The Power and the Glory, 1940; The Heart of the Matter, 1948; The Quiet American, 1955; The Comedians, 1966). A chronicle of the social and intellectual life of Britain was created by C. P. Snow in a series of novels entitled Strangers and Brothers, of which the most interesting are Time of Hope (1949), New Men (1954), and Corridors of Power (1964). The life of the democratic strata of society was reflected in the novels of J. Lindsay (Betrayed Spring, 1953), D. Lambert (He Must So Live, 1956), and G. Thomas (The World Cannot Hear You, 1951). During the mid-1950’s the literature of the “angry young men” appeared; its principal representatives in the novel were K. Amis (Lucky Jim, 1954), J. Wain (Hurry On Down, 1953), and J. Braine (Room at the Top, 1957). The satirical and social unmasking motifs of this school are combined with a profound disillusionment with the social and spiritual potentials of capitalism; but the nihilism of the angry young men also extends to the efforts of progressive elements to transform society. Vivid manifestations of the newest “workers’” novels were the books by A. Sillitoe (Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, 1958), S. Chaplin (The Day of the Sardine, 1961), and S. Barstow (A Kind of Loving, 1960). Political motifs fill the novels of J. Aldridge (The Diplomat, 1949; Heroes of the Empty View, 1954), unmasking British imperialism. Anticolonial motifs constitute the basis of the creative work of B. Davidson (The Rapids, 1956), D. Stewart (The Unsuitable Englishman, 1954), and N. Lewis (Darkness Visible, 1960). The most important representative of modern poetry was D. Thomas (1914-53). A unique phenomenon in British literature in the 1960’s was artistic prose dealing with philosophical and scientific subjects (for example, C. Wilson’s novels The Mind Parasites, 1967, and Philosopher’s Stone, 1969).

The appearance in 1956 of J. Osborne’s play Look Back in Anger served as the beginning of the serious revival of English drama that was part of the movement of the angry young men. The plays of Osborne, Shelagh Delaney (A Taste of Honey, 1958), A. Wesker, R. Bolt, B. Behan, H. Pinter, J. Arden, and N. F. Simpson posed a number of acute social problems and reawakened the theater’s social significance. A new generation of playwrights had already appeared in the 1960’s—D. Mercer, H. Livings, J. Orton, J. Mortimer, and D. Rudkin.


Literary scholarship. The first works of literary scholarship were written during the Middle Ages under the influence of the ideas of antiquity. During the eighth century the monk named the Venerable Bede (c. 673-735) wrote a work on versification and a commentary on the New and Old Testaments. During the period of the Renaissance the humanists opposed the attacks made by the Puritans on art. In his Apologie for Poetrie (1583, published in 1595) P. Sidney (1554-86) praised the poet’s freedom of imagination. The theoretician of classicism during the 17th century was J. Dryden in his works Of Dramatick Poesie (1668) and Essay on Heroic Stanzas (1672). Early Enlightenment classicism is connected with the name of A. Pope (1688-1744), the author of An Essay on Criticism (1711). Rationalism and the defense of normative aesthetics were also manifested in the preface by S. Johnson (1709-84) to his edition of Shakespeare’s works (1765), in his Lives of the English Poets (1779-1781), and in his sketches. The growth of sentimentalism was accompanied by a turning to medieval landmarks and to folklore (collections by R. Dodsley and T. Percy). R. Hurd published his Letters on Chivalry and Romance (1762), and T. Warton published the first History of English Poetry (1774—81). A reaction to the aesthetics of classicism was represented by E. Young’s work Conjectures on Original Composition (1759). The basic tendencies of English conservative and revolutionary romanticism were represented by S. T. Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria (1817) and Lectures on Shakespeare (1809-19, published separately in 1949) and P. B. Shelley’s On the Origin of Literature (1815) and A Defence of Poetry (1821).

The rise of literary scholarship as an independent branch of learning came about in the middle of the 19th century. At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th a positivistic literary scholarship developed (the works of A. W. Ward, G. Saintsbury, and the 15-volume Cambridge History of English Literature). The organ of the comparative-historical school was the Journal of Comparative Literature (founded in 1903 by G. E. Woodberry). Anti-positivistic tendencies were connected with M. Arnold and the theoreticians of aestheticism (J. Ruskin, W. Pater, A. C. Swinburne, and O. Wilde). After World War I the idealistic trend in English literary scholarship was represented by T. S. Eliot (the collection The Sacred Wood, 1920) with his theory of the “depersonalization of the artist” (his article “Tradition and the Individual Talent”) and his demand for a castelike, enclosed type of culture and a rejection of poetry’s social significance. Together with A. Richards and T. Hume, Eliot laid the foundations of the New Criticism, which formalistically examines a literary work as an autonomous structure. The school of New Criticism became widespread during the 1950’s and 1960’s (F. R. Leavis).

During the 1930’s Marxist literary scholarship developed, represented by A. Fox’s The Novel and the People (1937), C. Caudwell’s Illusion and Reality (1937), A. West’s Crisis and Criticism (1937), T. Jackson’s Charles Dickens: The Progress of a Radical (1937), J. Lindsay’s After the Thirties: The Novel in Britain and Its Future (1956), and A. Kettle’s Introduction to the English Novel (vols. 1-2, 1951-53). Outstanding among works of a general nature is The Matter of Britain (1966) by the Marxist historian A. Morton.

In working out the problems of the novel W. Allen’s The English Novel (1954) and Tradition and Dream (1964) were significant. Problems of dramatic art and the philosophical content of contemporary Western drama are treated in E. Bentley’s The Life of the Drama (1967) and R. Williams’ Modern Tragedy (1966).



Istoriia angliiskoi literatury, vols. 1-3. Moscow-Leningrad, 1943-58.
Zhantieva, D. G. Angliiskii roman XX veka: 1918-1939. Moscow, 1965.
Ivasheva, V. V. Angliiskaia literatura: XX vek. Moscow, 1967.
Allen, W. Traditsiia i mechta. Moscow, 1970.
Morton, A. Ot Malori do Eliota. Moscow, 1970.
Oxford History of English Literature, in 12 vols. Edited by F. P. Wilson and B. Dobree. (Already published are vol. 2, parts 1-2, and vols. 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12). Oxford, 1948-64.
The Pelican Guide to English Literature, vols. 1-7. Edited by B. Ford. London, 1954-63.
Daiches, D. A Critical History of English Literature, vols. 1-2. London, 1963.
Watson, G. The Concise Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, 2nd ed. Cambridge, 1965.

The characteristic traits of British art were formed as a result of many centuries of development. The stability of its traditions, its practicality and close ties with everyday life and with housing, and its constant attention to the surrounding life and nature are uniquely combined with a formal refinement and decorative imagination. There have been preserved very large, unusually complex, and compositionally integrated megalithic groupings of the Aeneolithic and Bronze ages (Stonehenge and Avebury); relics of Roman structures dating from the first through fifth centuries; stone carvings and metal artifacts of the Celts, Picts, and Anglo-Saxons; and churches (at Earls-Barton, tenth century) that originated from peasant frame structures and miniatures with a complex curvilinear design dating from the seventh through the tenth centuries. There are Anglo-Norman cathedrals in Norwich, Winchester, and Ely with narrow, long naves, choirs, and transepts; heavy-set, square towers; tower-shaped castles (the Tower of London, begun around 1078); and vividly graphic miniatures of the Winchester school, all characteristic of the Romanesque style of the 11th and 12th centuries. The English Gothic, which began to develop in the 12th century (the first Gothic structure in Europe was the Cathedral at Durham, circa 1130-33), is represented by the cathedrals at Canterbury, Lincoln, Salisbury, York, Wells, and Exeter and by Westminster Abbey in London. These cathedrals are characterized by a combination of simplicity and massiveness in their stretched-out, low-set volume with an increasing abundance of decoration and an ever-more complex design of broad facades and ribbed vaults. Decorative elegance was a characteristic trait of Gothic painting, miniatures, sculpture, and tombs with figures of stone or engraved on copper sheets. The Late Gothic (Perpendicular style, dating from the second half of the 14th century) was marked by a sharp division of light, spacious interiors in churches as well as in secular buildings (the Chapel of St. George at Windsor, 1474-1528; the Chapel of Henry VII at Westminster in London, 1503-19; banquet halls and colleges), and also by the appearance of easel painting, including portraits. There is an exceptionally refined quality in medieval woven goods, embroidery, rug-making, carving, and jewelry.

The Reformation (which began in 1534) provided English culture with a purely secular character, and after the 17th-century revolution in England there was an increased striving toward comfort and efficiency. During the Renaissance the type of country manor house developed that has been maintained down to the present time because of the convenience of its central plan, halls and galleries with two tiers of windows, its picturesque freedom of composition, its organic connection with nature, and its artful use of wood, stone, and panelling. These traits were also adopted by the builders of castles and palaces, and much was borrowed from Italian and Dutch architecture.

In painting of the 16th and 17th centuries the portrait occupied the principal place. The traditions of H. Holbein, who had stayed in Britain, were developed by the English miniaturists H. Hilliard, A. Oliver, and S. Cooper, who combined the traditional refinement of miniature technique with an inventive individual characteristic. The type of effective aristocratic portrait of the 17th century, introduced into Britain by foreigners who had lived in the country—A. Van Dyke, P. Lely, G. Kneller—acquired a greater simplicity, severity, and objectivity among their English followers, W. Dobson and J. Riley.

The classically simple buildings of I. Jones (the Banqueting House in London, 1619-22), based on the heritage of Palladio, served as a point of departure for the development of English classicism during the 17th and 18th centuries; it was marked by a restrained, severe, ceremonial quality and a precise logic in the composition of city ensembles (for example, Greenwich Hospital, 1616-1728, architects, C. Wren and others; Fitzroy Square, c. 1790-1800, architects, R. and J. Adam, in London; and Charlotte Square in Edinburgh, 1792-1807, architect, R. Adam). Another characteristic was the opening to nature of the regular city ensembles (in Bath, 1729-75; architects, J. Wood and J. Wood the Younger), churches (St. Paul’s Cathedral, 1675-1710; and 52 churches in London constructed by C. Wren after the Great Fire of 1666), public buildings (the Radcliff Library at Oxford, 1737-49; architect, J. Gibbs), manor houses and sectional town houses (with from two to three tiers of apartments), and rural cottages. The design and interior furnishings were extremely elegant. During the 18th century there was also some development in the luxurious, dramatic architecture of the baroque (J. Vanbrugh, N. Hawksmoor). Britain was the homeland of the romantic trend of the pseudogothic and the landscaped “English” parks (W. Kent, W. Chambers), the picturesque quality of which answered the cult of natural feelings and the attraction toward nature that were characteristic of sentimentalism.

The flowering of English art during the 18th century was inaugurated by the creative work of W. Hogarth, which was democratically oriented both in his cheerful portraits and in his cycles of caustically satirical pictures and engravings. A constellation of brilliant portrait painters—A. Ramsay, J. Reynolds, T. Gainsborough, H. Raeburn, and J. Opie—were able to combine a ceremonial, imposing type of composition with an intimate, natural quality, inspired imagery, profound and exact social and individual characterization, and a confident, free drawing technique. G. Romney, J. Hoppner, and T. Lawrence were the creators of portraits with virtuoso effects. National schools of landscape (Gainsborough, R. Wilson, J. Crome, and the watercolor painters J. R. Cozens and T. Girtin) and genre painting (G. Morland, J. Wright) were formed. In the culture of the 18th century and first half of the 19th an important role was played by political and everyday caricatures (J. Gillray, T. Rowlandson, and G. Cruikshank) as well as by reproduced prints (mezzotint and stipple); T. Bewick invented xylography. The achievements of the decorative arts during the 17th and 18th centuries were connected with the elegant and comfortable furniture designed by T. Chippendale, G. Hepplewhite, and T. Sheraton; with the invention and production of crystal and chinaware (outstanding in their severe elegance were the china articles manufactured by J. Wedgwood with reliefs by J. Flaxman, executed in an antique style); and with the work of the tapestry manufacture in Mortlake and the porcelain plants in Bow, Chelsea, Worcester, and Derby, as well as the manufacture of silverware products with fine chasing and engraving.

The Industrial Revolution at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th transformed the cities of central England (Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield) and southern Scotland (Glasgow) and the ports on the west coast (Bristol, Plymouth) into huge industrial trading centers with monotonous boxlike factories, docks, and slums. Industrial and transportation facilities were scattered amid housing without any sense of planning or order. Mass urban construction was largely confined to the most economical, but oppressively gloomy and overcrowded, brick houses with two tiers of apartments. The development of complex metal structural components for bridges and roofs (engineers T. Telford and R. Stephenson) and the prefabricated metallic framework filled in with glass, used in the Crystal Palace (1851) by J. Paxton, prepared the way for the efficient methods of modern architecture. But the chief efforts were directed at the showy construction of urban centers and bourgeois sections of the cities. Classicism and the romantic penchant for the exotic at the beginning of the 19th century (J. Nash) were soon replaced by two basic stylistic trends, which had pretensions to archaeological accuracy—the neoclassical (the British Museum in London, 1823-57, architects R. and S. Smirke; the Town Hall in Liverpool, 1842-54, architects, H. Elms, C. Cockerell) and the neogothic (the Parliament in London, 1840-68, architects, C. and E. Barry and A. Pugin; churches based on plans by G. Scott)—and later by an open eclecticism.

During the first half of the 19th century, along with the romantic fantasists—the graphic artist W. Blake and the bold color landscape painter W. Turner—there came to the fore J. Constable, the founder of landscape painting full of the vital freshness of plein-air realism; R. P. Bonington, the refined landscape artist and painter of historical portraits; J. C. Cotman and G. Cox, masters of watercolor landscapes; and D. Wilkie, a master of democratic genre painting.

In the middle of the 19th century, against the background of the dominant art of the salon and academy (F. Leighton and L. Alma-Tadema), the attempt of F. M. Brown and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (formed in 1848, including D. G. Rossetti, J. E. Millais, and W. H. Hunt) to return to the sincerity and social significance of medieval and early Renaissance art was noteworthy. The stylization that was characteristic of the Pre-Raphaelites took on a decadent quality among their less talented followers (the graphic artist A. Beardsley, for example). Nevertheless, the late Pre-Raphaelites (W. Morris, E. Burne-Jones, and W. Crane) strove to introduce aesthetic foundations into everyday life and to oppose industry, which had a depersonalizing effect because of the machine, through handicrafts (artistic crafts workshops and bookmaking). Parallel attempts were being made to seek efficiency, simplicity, and comfort in the architecture of individual dwellings, for the most part, suburban and country houses (B. Scott, N. Shaw, and C. F. Voysey). English genre painting during the second half of the 19th century bore the imprint of literary interest and sentimentality (W. Frith and H. Herkomer); a more vital sense of the contemporary is to be felt in the etchings of S. Hayden and in the creative work of the Scottish artists (the genre painter W. MacTaggart and the still-life painter W. MacGregor). J. M. Whistler brought into British painting the sharp observational quality and refined color harmony of impressionism, the principles of which were developed by the founders of the New English Arts Club (dating from 1885-86), W. Sickert and W. Steer.

During the 20th century the chaotic growth of the cities, the abundance of slums, and the unrestrained settlement of the suburbs with low-storied buildings evoked numerous proposals in the field of urban construction: E. Howard and R. Anwin were the first to propose plans for garden cities (for example, Letchworth, begun in 1902) and satellite cities; P. Geddes and L. P. Abercrombie advanced the idea of the overall planning of entire industrial regions. At the beginning of the 20th century, along with the major followers of the traditions of neoclassicism (E. Lutyens) and the neo-Gothic (G. G. Scott the Younger), there appeared the initiators of the style of modernism and efficiency, C. R. Mackintosh and C. Holden, and during the 1920’s and 1930’s, the functionalists M. Fry and O. Williams. After World War II the urban regions that had been destroyed in wartime were rebuilt (beginning in 1946, the center of the city of Coventry was divided into zones that were to serve different purposes, architects, D. Gibson and A. Ling; the region around St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, beginning in 1956; architect, W. Holford). Up until the mid-1960’s the principle of microregioning was utilized in creating housing complexes with a free and varied design (Hallfield in London, 1949-56, architects, L. Drake, D. Lasdun, and others) and satellite cities (since 1946, Harlow near London; architects, F. Gibberd and others); they were characterized by a spaced-out construction and a close connection with nature. Also built were a number of compositionally rational industrial and transport installations; complex public, trade, and commercial centers; urban and rural houses; laboratories; libraries; colleges; and original and convenient school complexes (architects C. Aslin and A. and P. Smithson). Among the major structures were the Royal Festival Hall in London (1949-51; architects, R. Matthew and J. L. Martin) and Coventry Cathedral (1954-62; architect, B. Spence).

However, the development of contemporary architecture in Britain is being held back by the country’s economic difficulties, and the implementation of urban construction projects (including L. P. Abercrombie’s proposed plan for the redesign and development of London, limiting its growth by means of satellite cities) has been hindered by the private ownership of land, the chaotic growth of cities, and the anarchy of capitalist enterprise. City skylines, which had developed historically, have been spoiled by high-rise office buildings.

In 20th-century art the flourishing of vividly temperamental realistic portrait and genre painting as well as graphic art (A. John, W. Orpen, L. Brangwyn, D. Peploe) was combined with the emergence of new trends proceeding from fauvism (M. Smith, I. Hitchens), futurism, and cubism (W. Lewis) and gravitating toward refined fantasy (S. Spencer, G. Sutherland, P. Nash, F. Bacon) or abstractionism (B. Nicholson, the sculptor B. Hepworth). The influence of surrealism was felt by the sculptor H. Moore, who created a number of monumental, powerful images. During the 1930’s groups of artists arose who linked their creative work with the proletariat and with the antifascist struggle; during the 1950’s they formed a group of “social realists.” The graphic artists P. Hogarth, E. Ardizzone, L. Lowry, K. Rowe, D. Greaves, and P. de Francia and the sculptors L. Bradshaw, and B. Shots created a number of realistic works, many of which were devoted to the struggle for peace and the life of the British people, including that of the working class. The difficult, unattractive aspects of the lives of simple Englishmen are reflected in a number of pictures by E. Middleditch, J. Smith, and J. Bratby.

Britain’s folk art flourished during the 18th century. Long widespread in England have been pottery (figured or engraved vessels, the humorous Staffordshire Figurines), carving and painting on wood (on village houses, on ships and boats, and on carousel horses), and making small pictures for chapbooks. Scotland is famous for its checked woven fabrics (tartans), leather pouches, and daggers; and Wales, for its carved oak furniture and brightly colored decorative ceramic ware.


Vipper, B. R. Angliiskoe iskusstvo: Kratkii istoricheskii ocherk. Moscow, 1945.
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Atkinson, T. D. English Architecture. London, 1958.
Short, E. H. A History of British Painting. London, 1953.

The sources of British music date back to the musical culture of the Celtic tribes. The bearers of the ancient folk song traditions were the bards—folk singers and creators of epic and heroic songs. After the establishment of Christianity in England (during the second half of the seventh century) professional musical art began to develop on the basis of folk and religious music that had become part of the ecclesiastical liturgy. It first appeared in the form of unison singing without any regular meter (plainsong). From the tenth century ecclesiastical singing became two-part. In the 12th century polyphony began to develop under the influence of folk music; the so-called gymel and faburden were introduced.

Catholic plainsong (Gregorian chant) predominated in English church music of the Middle Ages. The liturgy was accompanied by the organ; the first organ was installed in Winchester Cathedral in the tenth century; by the 13th century there were organs in all the major churches, and this further facilitated the development of polyphony.

The Norman conquest of England influenced the development of the musical and poetic art of the minstrels, who performed ballads and songs of a historical as well as satirical content, accompanying themselves on the harp, lute, and other instruments; bagpipes, woodwinds—including a kind of pipe, recorder, tabor, and so on—accompanied dances.

At the end of the 14th century and the beginning of the 15th century musicians became more professional with the growth of the urban, bourgeois culture. At the royal court and at the castles of the great feudal lords vocal and instrumental groups were organized. During the first half of the 15th century an English school of polyphonic composers emerged, headed by J. Dunstable. The foremost role in Western European polyphonic art passed from the French masters of counterpoint to English composers.

During the Renaissance music came to occupy an important place in the social and everyday life of the aristocrats and burghers; it became fashionable to make music in the home, giving rise to consorts (collective groups that played various instruments). The number of players in a consort gradually increased, reaching as many as 30 or 40. Thus primitive forms of orchestras came into existence. Connected with their appearance was the rise of masters of the instrumental genres, among whom was J. Dowland, the composer of pieces for lute as well as numerous songs with lute accompaniment. At the end of the 16th century, in addition to the lute, viol, and portative organ (small organ), the virginal (a small harpsichord) gained widespread acceptance. Variations on themes from folk songs, fantasies, dance songs, and so on were written for the virginal. The madrigal became popular.

The founder of the English national school of the madrigal was W. Byrd. His followers—J. Bull, O. Gibbons, and later J. Blow—laid the foundations of Western keyboard music; they also wrote madrigals and polyphonic choral religious works, Catholic masses and Anglican hymns. Another line in the development of secular polyphony was represented by the creative work of T. Morley, T. Weelkes, and J. Wilbye, who wrote “ballets” and music for the plays of Shakespeare, Marlowe, and others, as well as madrigals. It became a tradition for the English theater of the 16th and 17th centuries to introduce music in the form of intermedia in fairy tales, comedies, and masques.

With the onset of Puritanism, which retarded the development of music by prohibiting polyphony and musical instruments, widespread and sole acceptance in the church service was gained by anthems—a form of vocal polyphony close to the folk choral style. Permitted in daily life were one-part hymns and psalms, performed in the vernacular, set to melodic compositions that were also close to the folk-song tradition.

Musical life, which had died away during the period of the Reformation, was revived soon after the Restoration of the Stuarts at the court of Charles II and in the major centers of Britain. In 1672 the violinist J. Banister organized the first public concerts in London.

The creator of the national English musical theater was the very prominent 17th-century composer H. Purcell (who wrote the opera Dido and Aeneas). Soon after his death, however, interest in a national opera declined, especially in connection with the appearances in London of an Italian operatic company.

The liberation of Britain’s operatic culture from the influence of Italian opera was facilitated by the oratorios and operas written on ancient, historical, and biblical subjects by G. F. Handel (who lived in London for about 50 years); they were a summation of the traditions of the old-time English choral culture. In his heroically monumental art, which was based on a democratic artistic tradition, Handel embodied the ideals of the nation and the people. In 1728, The Beggar’s Opera by J. Gay and the composer J. Pepusch was staged in London; it represented a parody on this genre and, at the same time, a satire on the mores of English bourgeois society. Being an expression of the tastes of the national democratic opposition, it revived the tradition of minstrel shows and laid the foundation of a new genre, the so-called ballad opera, constructed on the principle of a montage of songs.

At the end of the 18th century the composers working in London included J. C. Bach (the “London Bach,” the son of J. S. Bach); J. Haydn, who wrote 12 “London Symphonies” here and arranged about 100 Scottish songs; and M. Clementi, the Italian pianist and teacher, who became the head of the English school of the piano. Many musical institutions, choral groups, and societies came into being—for example, the catch clubs for amateur singers of polyphonic works (1761) and the Royal Society of Musicians (1762); musical publishing houses were organized (1778); and J. Broadwood, the oldest keyboard instrument manufacturing company in the world, was founded (it began to produce pianos in 1773).

In the middle of the 18th century an English school of musicologists began to take shape, among which the most famous was the music historian C. Burney, author of A General History of Music (published 1776-89), sketches of the musical life of Western European countries, and other works.

In the middle of the 19th century British composers worked for the most part in the operatic genre (H. Bishop and M. Balfe), but their art was eclectic; an epigonic quality was also typical of such composers as W. S. Bennett and later C. H. Parry (the originator of the public movement for the revival of an English national musical culture) and C. Stanford (they were all famous as teachers). English musical tastes at the end of the 19th century were satisfied to a great degree by the operettas of A. Sullivan (The Mikado, 1885) and S. Jones (The Geisha, 1896).

In the 19th century London became one of the centers of European musical culture. The most important composers and performers of that time appeared there. Great musical festivals have been held since 1855, and London also witnessed the opening of the Royal Academy of Music in 1822, Trinity College in 1872, and the Royal College of Music in 1883. The National Concert Society was founded in 1878; numerous choral societies and amateur groups came into being, as well as a musical scholarship society that was engaged in studying the history of music and another society that conducted research on music of the Middle Ages.

An affirmation of the founding of a national school of composition was made by E. Elgar, the composer of The Dream of Gerontius (1900). In the opera A Village Romeo and Juliet by F. Delius and in the works of G. Hoist and G. Bantock use was made of English folklore motifs. Of great importance were the studies made by the musicologist and folklorist C. Sharp and his school. In 1898, Sharp founded in London the English Folk Song and Folk Dance Society, which concerned itself with propagandizing the musical folklore of Britain. R. Vaughan Williams became the head of the English national school (English musical renaissance). His style is characterized by a combination of the development of folklore themes and the innovative devices of harmonic language and modern instrumentation. Many other composers at the beginning of the 20th century strove to renew the content and style of British music by developing national traditions—for example, J. Ireland, A. Bax, and R. Boughton.

At the beginning of the 20th century the musical life of Britain was developing intensively, encompassing more and more new cities, where music schools, orchestras, and choral societies were created. Music festivals and competitions were also held (in Birmingham, Leeds, Norwich, Sheffield, and so on).

The creative work of contemporary British composers testifies to the presence of a significant school of national composition, fundamentally based on the principles of tonal writing. Many composers, however, are striving to utilize new means of timbre and harmony and to make use of the methods of constructivism and other avant-garde musical trends. A special place in the musical art of Britain is occupied by the creative work of B. Britten, which has achieved international recognition. Among progressive musicians in Britain an attempt is being made to bring the art of music closer to the requirements of the masses. At the head of this democratic movement is the composer A. Bush—an active figure in the field of national music.

A great contribution to the musical culture of Britain was made by the music historians G. Grove (Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 1st ed., 1879), P. A. Scholes, H. C. Colles, and E. Blom. Outstanding performing groups are the London Philharmonic and the London Symphony orchestras, the BBC Symphony Orchestra (principal conductor, M. Sargent), and the Manchester Orchestra. Well-known conductors include J. Barbirolli and A. C. Boult. Major pianists are G. Moore, M. Lympany, J. Ogdon, and G. Lyle; also famous is the violinist A. Campoli. The popularization of old-fashioned instrumental music has been facilitated by the Dolmetsch family. Major male singers include W. Hyde, J. McCormack, and P. Pears; and female singers, C. Novello, J. Vyvyan, J. Hammond, and C. Shacklock. Very important for the spread of British operatic art was the activity of T. Beecham, the principal conductor at Covent Garden. During the 1930’s operas and ballets by British composers were staged by the Sadler’s Wells Theater (in London). In 1934 the patron of the arts J. Christie had a theater constructed on his estate, Glyndebourne (in Sussex), where summer opera festivals (the Glyndebourne Festivals) were inaugurated. Since the 1940’s and 1950’s traditional annual festivals have taken place in Edinburgh, Aldeburgh, and Bath, in addition to international musical competitions in Leeds.

During the 1960’s there was extensive development of music-hall performances, the so-called pop music; especially popular were The Beatles, a vocal-instrumental quartet of young male singers who performed characteristic melodies (combining elements of Negro jazz and blues); they were widely imitated by Western European and American youth.

Among present-day musical educational institutions are the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music in London and musical colleges in Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and other cities. Musicology is also taught at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and Birmingham.


Materialy i dokumenty po istorii muzyki, vol. 2. Edited by M. V. Boretskii. Moscow, 1934. (Translated from German, French, Italian, and English.)
Kabalevskii, Dm. “Zametki o muzykal’noi zhizni sovremennoi Anglii.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1950, no. 2.
Shneerson, G. M. Sovremennaia angliiskaia muzyka. Moscow, 1945.
Mason, C. Music in Britain: 1951-1962. London, 1963.
Mackerness, E. D. A Social History of English Music. London, 1964.

The stage traditions on the basis of which English ballet took form have their origins in the court productions of masques during the 16th century. The spread of Puritanism (16th-17th centuries) put a stop to the formation of the ballet art. National choreographic forms were subsequently developed in the drama, in the dance and dramatic productions of J. Weaver, and especially in pantomime. During the 18th and 19th centuries ballets were staged in London by the foreign ballet masters S. Didelot and J. Perrot. At the end of the 19th century ballets were being presented in music halls. During the 1920’s and 1930’s, under the influence of Russian ballet artists (A. P. Pavlova and the company of S. P. Diaghilev) there was a newly awakened interest in ballet. The following major choreographic groups were established: the Ballet Club (1930, which later became the Ballet Rambert) and the Vic Wells Ballet (1931; from 1942, the Sadler’s Wells Ballet, and since 1957, the Royal Ballet). The leaders of English ballet strove to combine the experience of the Russian school with their own national characteristics. The repertoire permanently includes the ballets of the classical heritage: Giselle by A. Adam, Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty by P. I. Tchaikovsky, and others. The traditions of the English pantomime were markedly visible in the early productions of the ballet mistress N. de Valois (Job by R. Vaughan Williams, 1935, and others), in the tragic productions by choreographer R. Helpmann (Hamlet, based on music by Tchaikovsky, 1942, and others), and in certain ballets produced by J. Cranko (The Lady and the Fool, based on music by G. Verdi, 1954). Also widely accepted were comedy ballets, connected with the national humorous literature and with painting (Façade by W. Walton, choreographer, F. Ashton, 1931; The Rake’s Progress by G. Gordon, choreographer, N. de Valois, 1935). The transition of the English ballet to large choreographic forms was accomplished by F. Ashton, who gravitated toward classical dance. He staged a number of ballets to the accompaniment of symphonic music: the multiact ballet Ondine by H. W. Henze (1958) and a new production of La Fille mal gardée by L. F. Hérold (1960). Of considerable importance was the activity of choreographer J. Cranko, who staged B. Britten’s multiact Prince of the Pagodas (1957) for the Royal Ballet, and of K. MacMillan, who created his own versions of S. S. Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet (1965) and many ballets by I. F. Stravinsky. The leading ballet artists in the period from the 1930’s through the 1960’s were A. Markova, A. Dolin, M. Fonteyn, M. Somes, S. Beriosova, N. Nerina, B. Grey, A. Grant, and A. Linden. The distinguishing traits of the performing style of the English dancers are lyricism combined with humor, a “classical” quality, and a severity that are the results of meticulous regard for traditions. There are several ballet schools in the country, including the School of the Royal Ballet (since 1931), the Ballet Marie Rambert (since 1920), and the school of N. Legat (since 1926; it is now headed by N. Nikolaeva-Legat). The Royal Academy of Dance was founded in 1920 (formerly it was called the Association of Operatic Dance).

The Edinburgh Ballet School and Club, founded in 1944, stages classical ballets. At the beginning of the 1960’s the company of the Scottish National Ballet was established; it gives performances to folk songs and dances. The new company of the Scottish Theatre Ballet (which has multiact productions in its repertoire) opened in 1969.


Guest, I. The Romantic Ballet in England. London, 1954.
Clarke, M. The Sadler’s Wells Ballet. London, 1955.
Swinson, S. The Royal Ballet Today. London, 1958.
The Ballet in Britain. Edited by P. Brinson. London, 1962.


As was the case in many countries of Western Europe, the theater in Britain at first was part of the church and was a component part of religious ritual. Church presentations included episodes from the Holy Scriptures. While preserving the religious subjects, the burghers introduced everyday motifs and comic episodes into the productions. During the period when medieval urban culture was flourishing, these plays acquired the character of generalized national ceremonies that were held on important church holidays; group mystery plays were staged, with each municipal guild performing a play depicting episodes from the Holy Scriptures. Amateurs took part in these productions, which were presented on wagon-stages (pageants). During the 15th century interludia appeared (comic scenes that were close to French farces) and moralities (plays of an allegorical nature with characters personifying virtues and vices). Troupes of strolling professional actors came into being. During the Renaissance amateurs were finally crowded out by professional actors. During this period dramaturgy reached a high point (Marlowe, Shakespeare, B. Jonson). Among the actors of this period great fame was enjoyed by E. Alleyn, who appeared in Marlowe’s plays, and by R. Burbage, who was the first to perform the roles of Romeo, Hamlet, and Lear in Shakespeare’s plays. The acting troupes were joint-stock companies; the stockholders were the principal actors who hired performers for the secondary roles. (Troupes in London numbered from 16 to 20 each; the strolling troupes who performed in provincial cities numbered from five to eight persons each.) In 1576 the first theater was built in London; it was named the Theatre. Later there appeared the Globe (1599), where Shakespeare’s acting troupe performed, the Fortune (1600), and others. These theaters did not have roofs over the area for the spectators. The spectators stood on the ground within a high enclosure, and along the inner sides of the walls galleries were located. The stage jutted far out into the auditorium; above it was a canopy that was hung on two posts and rested against the backdrop, which had doors for the exits and entrances of the actors; the second floor of the back wall had a small balcony. There was no curtain. The meager stage decor was supplemented by the rich costumes of the actors and by stage props.

There were also troupes of boy singers (who performed in enclosed areas for a select public). In the theater of Shakespeare’s time there were no actresses. The women’s roles were performed by boys. At the end of the 16th century the troupe to which Shakespeare belonged, together with its productions at the generally accessible Globe Theatre, began to give plays within the enclosed area of the former Black-friars Monastery.

While at the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th the theater was basically a popular spectacle, beginning with the 1620’s it became more and more an aristocratic diversion. During the 16th century the bourgeois Puritans attacked the theater, condemning it for immorality. At the beginning of the 17th-century English revolution the Puritans banned theatrical performances after coming into power. Only during the years of the Protectorate of Cromwell were productions of an operatic type given at his court. In 1660, after the Restoration of the Stuart monarchy, the theaters renewed their activities, coming under the patronage and control of the court. A theatrical monopoly was introduced; patents for the right to produce plays were granted to two newly created troupes—the King’s Men and the Duke’s Troupe (which later acquired the names Drury Lane and Covent Garden, respectively). These theaters had buildings with roofs; there were benches on the main floor, boxes in the galleries, and galleries on the topmost tier for the servants of the aristocracy as well as for the bourgeoisie; for members of the royal family there were side boxes located on the stage. During this period stage sets appeared, which as a rule were not changed throughout the course of the entire play: in accordance with the rules of classicism unity of place was observed in plays. Actresses first appeared at the end of the 17th century. T. Betterton was an outstanding actor famous in tragic roles. After the so-called Glorious Revolution (at the end of the 17th century), when the bourgeoisie became a recognized part of the ruling class, strict censorship was introduced. The flowering of the theater in the 18th century was connected with the Enlightenment and with the assertion of realism in art and literature. The summit of the acting art of this period was the creative work of the very great realistic actor D. Garrick, who headed the Drury Lane during the years 1747-76. Garrick possessed a multifaceted talent and appeared with equal brilliance in tragic and comic roles. D. Diderot had high praise for the realistic quality of his acting.

At the turn of the 19th century a new style of acting came into being that was dramatic, intense, and lofty. Its most important representatives were J. Kemble and his sister S. Siddons. During the 19th century the theater’ became more and more dependent on bourgeois enterprise and the bourgeois public. Along with the traditional theaters, buildings were constructed for elaborate pantomime productions, often with various decorative effects (pools of water and so on). In 1843, after the monopoly of Covent Garden and Drury Lane had been ended, new theaters appeared. During the 19th century the modern type of theater took shape, theatrical lighting was improved, painted stage sets appeared, and at the end of the century, a revolving stage was introduced.

The history of English acting in the 19th century is replete with the names of outstanding performers, including E. Kean, his son C. Kean, and W. Macready. C. Kean introduced historical authenticity in costumes and in sets. During the second half of the 19th century the actor and director H. Irving established the Lyceum Theatre (E. Terry was Irving’s female partner), where he staged monumental productions of Shakespeare’s plays, developing the principles of Kean. In this same theater sentimental petit-bourgeois plays were staged. The Lyceum was wary of the new plays emerging at that time. Despite the high quality of acting and the artistic strivings of Irving and Terry, the acuteness of social problems was blunted in their productions. Yet the public demanded topical plays dealing with pressing problems of the times.

Semiprofessional and amateur groups attempted to make up for the lack of such a theater. In 1891 the critic J. Grein founded the Independent Theatre of London. Later the New Century Theatre and the Society for a Literary Theatre were established. Although the Old Vic had existed since 1818, its activity for the English theatrical culture was most important beginning in 1898, when the theater was headed by L. Baylis, who staged primarily the plays of Shakespeare. The success of these theaters was determined by their new repertoire; they created an acting style that corresponded to the realistic and naturalistic trends of the new drama. This same task was taken on by the Court Theatre (opened in 1870, since 1871 called the Royal Court Theatre), which was headed during the years 1904-1907 by the playwright and actor H. Granville-Barker. Granville-Barker’s methods of directing helped raise the artistic level of the English theater. Permanent theaters also came into being in the major industrial cities—for example, in Manchester (1908), Liverpool (1911), and Birmingham (1913); the last two are still operating.

The beginning of the 20th century was crucial for the theatrical art of Britain. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries the system of “star” actors had been predominant; the success of a production had been determined by the outstanding performers. Granville-Barker introduced a style of directing that constructed the play according to the ensemble principle. The new plays also brought forth new actors capable of performing drama with social problems, problems of everyday life, and psychological problems (J. Achurch, P. Campbell, G. Alexander, L. McCarthy, L. Calvert, and others). Together with magnificent productions of the classics, especially Shakespeare (directed by H. Beerbohm Tree), there was an attempt to bring the plays closer to contemporary problems and to render a psychological portrayal of the characters; this was especially characteristic of the Shakespearean productions directed by Granville-Barker.

Before World War I the British theater had primarily a realistic and sometimes a naturalistic tendency. Attempts to find the forms of a symbolic theater, undertaken by E. G. Craig, most frequently were of a theoretical nature, since the entrepreneurs would not risk their money to implement his original projects. After World War I, English directing was enriched by the experience of Russian art. Of great importance was the activity of the Russian director F. F. Komisarjevsky, who settled in Britain and brought with him the rich experience of the Russian theater, including the system of K. S. Stanislavsky and the creative searchings of E. B. Vakhtangov and B. E. Meyerhold.

The 1920’s and 1930’s were marked by the appearance on the stage of drama of various trends. The plays of B. Shaw, J. Galsworthy, S. Maugham, F. Lonsdale, J. M. Barrie, A. A. Milne, and N. Coward were staged by companies in the capital as well as by provincial and touring troupes. The Everyman Theatre, located in the London suburb of Hampstead, produced the plays of A. Strindberg, B. Shaw, and E. O’Neill. The Gaiety Theatre acquainted the English public with the dramas of German expressionism, and the Barnes Theatre, with the plays of Chekhov; the Mercury Theatre specialized in contemporary poetical drama and put on plays by T. S. Eliot, W. H. Auden, and C. Isherwood. In the student theater at Oxford, the director J. B. Fagan provided original interpretations of the European classics. From 1926 through 1933 the Festival Theatre of Cambridge created a number of interesting plays of an experimental nature with innovative sets. The director B. Jackson organized annual festivals at Malvern (1929-37) of the plays of B. Shaw. Important for the English theater of these years was the appearance of such playwrights as S. O’Casey, J. B. Priestley, and J. Bridie, who boldly experimented with dramatic forms.

The outstanding actresses of the 1920’s were S. Thorndyke and E. Evans. During the 1930’s a new generation of masters of the theater appeared on the English stage—for example, J. Gielgud, L. Olivier, A. Guinness, R. Richardson, A. Clunes, C. Laughton, V. Leigh, B. Lehmann, F. Robson, and P. Ashcroft—many of whom continued their activity throughout the 1960’s. The psychological truthfulness, pliability of stage images, musicality of speech, and the absorption into the characters being portrayed have all made these actors famous beyond the borders of Britain.

During World War II many theaters shut down, but companies were formed which performed in military sectors as well as in institutions in the rear. For the first time in the history of Britain the government began to subsidize the theaters.

In the 1940’s and the beginning of the 1950’s the playwrights Bridie, Priestley, and O’Casey continued their work, and playwrights P. Ustinov, C. Fry, R. MacDougall, and E. MacColl achieved fame. New theaters arose with more or less permanent staffs of actors, for example, in 1945 the Theatre Workshop Studio, which was headed by the progressive director J. Littlewood. In 1956, G. Devine organized the English Stage Company—a troupe that performs on the premises of the Royal Court Theatre. This group, as well as the Mermaid Theatre, established by B. Miles in 1959, experiments not only in the field of theatrical techniques but also boldly presents the contemporary drama of Britain and other countries.

The new generation of actors that appeared after World War II includes such names as P. Scofield, R. Burton, C. Bloom, P. Daneman, B. Jefford, J. Neville, P. Rogers, P. O’Toole, D. Tutin, A. Finney, T. Courtenay, A. Bates, N. Williamson, and others. The postwar period was marked by the development of bold, creative directing, represented by J. Littlewood, B. Miles, P. Brook, P. Hall, J. Barton, K. Williams, T. Nunn, and others.

The appearance in 1956 of Look Back in Anger, a play by the actor J. Osborne, laid the foundation for a new upswing in the English theater. The dramas of the angry young men appeared, and then a new social drama concerned with everyday life (plays by A. Wesker, S. Delaney, B. Copes, D. Mercer, R. Bolt, B. Behan, and others). The English theater has not stood on the sidelines with regard to “experimental” directions, in particular, the theater of the absurd, which arose on the Continent during the 1950’s and 1960’s. In Britain this tendency is represented by N. F. Simpson, A. Jellicoe, T. Stoppard, and, in part, H. Pinter, who also writes psychological dramas.

In present-day Britain there are few theater groups with a permanent company and their own building. Theater buildings are owned by entrepreneurs who rent them to troupes, which are usually formed to stage one play; the latter will continue to be performed as long as it is still making money. Then the troupe is disbanded, and the actors look for new work. Progressive figures in the British theater have fought for a long time for the establishment of a national theater. The first step in this direction was the founding of the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-on-Avon during the second half of the 19th century. In 1925 this theater was given a royal license, thus ensuring its existence. In 1961 the theater was renamed the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (with an affiliate in London which uses the premises of the Aldwych Theatre).

The movement for the creation of repertory theaters, begun in the 20th century, brought about the appearance of companies with more or less permanent staffs in Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, and other cities. Only a few theaters exist on state subsidies, the remainder on private support and on profits from their productions. Since 1964 the Aldwych Theatre has made its premises available every year during the summer months for international theatrical reviews, at which troupes from various countries stage their best plays from the previous season. Among the stationary theaters with more or less permanent companies, including those in London, where there are about 50 theaters in operation, the Old Vic (since 1963 the troupe of the National Theatre under L. Olivier’s direction has performed here), the Royal Court Theatre (playing here since 1956 have been the troupe of the English Stage Company), the Mermaid Theatre, the workers’ theater Unity (since 1936), and the Theatre Workshop (since 1953 it has worked on the premises of the Theatre Royale). In most of the major cities there are repertory theaters (approximately 40), including the Bristol Old Vic (since 1946 it has operated at the Royale and Little theaters), the Belgrade Theatre (since 1958 in Coventry), the Dundee Repertory Theatre (since 1939), the Edinburgh Civic Theatre (since 1965 on the premises of the Royal Lyceum), the Citizens’ Theatre (since 1936, in Glasgow), the Library Theatre (since 1947, in Manchester), the Meadow Players (since 1956, at Oxford, on the premises of the Playhouse), the Repertory Theatre in Liverpool (since 1911 on the premises of the Playhouse), and others.

At the end of the 1960’s small theaters (with from 100 to 200 seats) connected with avant-garde drama arose in London—for example, Empty Space, Theatre Upstairs, New Arts Laboratory, and others.

Journals concerned with theatrical questions are Drama (since 1919) and Place and Players (since 1954). Among the leading theater critics are M. Beerbohm, J. Agate, A. Dukes, K. Tynan, I. Brown, E. Bentley, and D. R. Taylor.

The most important theatrical educational institutions in Britain are the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (since 1904), the Central School of Diction and Dramatic Art (Drama Center London Limited; a three-year course of instruction in acting skill), the Guild-Hall School (divisions of music and theater), the Webber-Douglas School (divisions of vocal and dramatic art), the educational division of the British Dramatic League (all in London), the Birmingham School of Diction and Dramatic Art, the Theatre School of the Bristol Old Vic, and the Theatre Faculty of Birmingham University.


Istoriia zapadnogoevropeiskogo teatra, vols. 1-4. Moscow, 1956-64.
Mints, N. Edmund Kin. Moscow, 1957.
Sovremennyi angliiskii teatr. [A collection compiled by F. Krymko.] Moscow [1963].
Zingerman, B. “Angliiskie peremeny.” In his book Zhan Vilar i drugie. Moscow, 1964.
Stupnikov, I. Devid Garrik. Leningrad, 1969.
Anikst, A. Teatr epokhi Shekspira. [Moscow, 1965.]
Nicoll, A. A History of English Drama: 1660-1900, vols. 1-6. Cambridge, 1952-59.
Mander, R., and J. Mitchenson. A Picture History of the British Theatre. London, 1957.
The Oxford Companion to the Theatre, 3rd ed. Edited by P. Harthole. London, 1967.


Circus. The beginning of circus art in England existed in the 16th century. Since the end of the 17th century horse-back acrobats and riders achieved great popularity. The first circus enterprise in Britain was P. Astley’s Amphitheatre (1772, London). The amphitheater built by Astley near Westminster Bridge (1780) laid the foundation for the permanent circus in Britain. Equestrian acts and later other types of acts—acrobatics on horseback, tumbling, and juggling, for example—were shown here. Wild-animal acts began to occupy a prominent place in the British circus from the mid-19th century. Pantomime with many visual, musical, sound, and other effects developed.

Among the successors of Astley were A. Ducrow and G. Sanger. The latter (known in the arena as Lord Sanger) founded a number of traveling circuses and became the originator and organizer of the so-called zoological pantomime acts, in which large groups of various animals took part, and of Christmas pantomime acts for children. Beginning in 1913 pantomimes were staged in the Olympia Hall in London, and after World War I they came under the direction of the circus managers Bertram W. Mills and the Smart Brothers. Other stationary, permanent circuses in Britain—the Yarmouth and Blackpool circuses—operate, as does the Olympia, only during the winter months. These circuses have no permanent troupes. During the summer months touring circuses are active.


Kuznetsov, E. Tsirk. Leningrad-Moscow, 1931.
Drake, H. D. The English Circus and Fair Ground. London, 1946.
Thétard, H. La Merveilleuse Histoire du cirque, vols. 1-3. [Paris] 1947.
Sanders, R. M. The English Circus. London, 1952.


In 1889 a film that lasted for several seconds was demonstrated in Britain. In 1896, R. W. Paul organized the first showing of a British film, laying the foundation for the national motion-picture industry. Paul, the pioneer of the English cinema, as well as the directors of the so-called Brighton school, A. Collins, J. Williamson, and G. A. Smith, produced screen versions of novels and plays, slapstick and situation comedies, films with special effects, and films about criminals, and they utilized the new expressive techniques of the cinema (montage, the long-range shot, double exposure, and so on). News and documentary films enjoyed great popularity. Beginning in 1906, because of competition from the film monopolies of the USA and France the British film industry entered a period of crisis (in 1909 domestically produced films ran only 15 percent of screening time). During the 1920’s 95 percent of the releases were Hollywood films. In 1927, as a result of the efforts of the English public, Parliament passed a law that was directed at supporting the national motion-picture industry. The production of films increased (from 26 films in 1926 to 129 in 1929), but for the most part these were screen versions of popular plays and musical shows. In 1929 the first sound film, Blackmail, was produced (director A. Hitchcock, based on a play by C. Benton).

During the 1930’s the British film industry was reorganized; the artistic and technical level of motion pictures was raised in part by the work of the director A. Korda, who in 1932 founded the firm London Films. Here worked many foreign film figures (R. Clair, J. Feyder, C. Veidt, R. Mate, G. Perinal), as well as talented English actors (C. Laughton, R. Donat, V. Leigh, L. Howard, L. Olivier). The best motion pictures produced by London Films were the comedy The Ghost Goes West (1935, directed by Clair), the historical biographical film Rembrandt (1936, directed by Korda), and the screen version of H. G. Wells’ novel Things to Come (1936, directed by W. C. Menzies). Great popularity was enjoyed by the detective films of Hitchcock (The Man Who Knew Too Much, 1933; The Thirty-Nine Steps, 1935; The Lady Vanishes, 1938). During the 1930’s the creative work of the following English directors took shape: A. Asquith (Tell England, 1931; Pygmalion, 1938, based on the play by Shaw) and C. Reed (Bank Holiday, 1937; The Stars Look Down, 1939, based on the novel by A. Cronin). An important role in the formation of the national film art was played by the documentary directors who worked under J. Grierson. Their films, varied in genre and subject matter (Drifters, 1929, directed by Grierson; Man of Aran, 1934, directed by R. Flaherty; Night Mail, 1935, directed by H. Watt and B. Wright), realistically depicted life in Britain, and they were marked by efforts to find new means of expression. During the years of World War II the British cinema showed an increase in its progressive tendencies. Under the influence of the school of documentary cinema, famous films were made combining the veracity and journalistic quality of the documentary film sketch with elements of the dramatic motion picture. The artistic documentaries In Which We Serve (1942) and San Demetrio, London (1943) brought fame to the directors N. Coward, D. Lean, and C. Frend. After the war the production of films was again cut back. Despite the success of the best motion pictures of D. Lean (Brief Encounter, 1945; and Great Expectations, 1946, and Oliver Twist, 1947, based on the novels by Dickens), of C. Reed (Odd Man Out, 1947; The Fallen Idol, 1948; The Third Man, 1949), and of L. Olivier (Henry V, 1944; Hamlet, 1948—screen versions of tragedies by Shakespeare), the British film industry again experienced a crisis. During the 1950’s the realistic traditions of the English cinema were revived in the film comedies directed by H. Cornelius (Genevieve, 1952), A. Mackendrick (The Man in the White Suit, 1952), and the Boulting brothers (Carlton-Browne of the F.O., 1959) and in the activity of the documentary directors of the Free Cinema group (Oh, My Dreamland, 1954; Momma Don’t Allow, 1956; March on Aldermaston, 1958). At the end of the 1950’s films appeared that expressed a disillusionment with the bourgeois way of life (Room at the Top, 1958, directed by J. Clayton, based on the novel by J. Braine). The film directors who were connected with the literary trend of the angry young men showed the anarchistic revolt of youth against class limitations, the ideals of middle-class prosperity, and philistine conformity (Look Back in Anger, 1958, directed by T. Richardson, based on the play by J. Osborne; Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, 1960, directed by K. Reisz, based on the novel by A. Sillitoe; This Sporting Life, 1963, directed by L. Anderson, based on a novel by D. Storey). Since the mid-1960’s the British motion-picture industry has lost more and more of its independence because of the economic expansion of Hollywood (in 1969, 84 dramatic films were released, 70 of which were funded by the USA). The films of the director P. Brook (Lord of the Flies, 1963; Marat-Sade, 1967) and J. Losey (The Servant, 1963; Accident, 1967) conveyed the idea of the absurd quality of reality and the inevitability of the degradation of the personality. Certain films by R. Lester (How I Won the War, 1968) are permeated with a rejection of bourgeois morality and philosophy. Important social problems were the subject of films by P. Watkins (The War Game, Privilege, both released in 1967), L. Anderson (If..., 1968), and K. Loach (Cathy Come Home, 1967; Poor Cow, 1968). Among the actors of the English cinema are L. Olivier, M. Redgrave, A. Guinness, D. Bogarde, R. Harris, A. Finney, P. Finch, V. Redgrave, and R. Tushingham.

The British Film Institute (founded in 1933)—a center for scientific research and promotional work in the field of the cinema—operates in London. Every year film festivals are held in Edinburgh (included in the Festival of the Arts), as well as in London.


Sadul’, Zh. Istoriia kinoiskusstva. Moscow, 1957.
Kino Velikobritanii. Moscow, 1970.
Oakley, C. Where We Came In. London, 1964.


Great Britain

England, Wales, and Scotland including those adjacent islands governed from the mainland (i.e. excluding the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands). The United Kingdom of Great Britain was formed by the Act of Union (1707), although the term Great Britain had been in use since 1603, when James VI of Scotland became James I of England (including Wales). Later unions created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1801) and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (1922). Pop.: 57 851 100 (2003 est.). Area: 229 523 sq. km (88 619 sq. miles)