The down of British History — страница 4

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Anglo-Saxons spoke various dialects but gradually the dialect of the Angles of Murcia became predominant. In the course of time all the people of Britain were known to us as the English after the Angles and the new name of England was given to the whole country. The Anglo-Saxons language or English has been the principal language of the country since then although it has undergone great change. After the conquest of Britain the survivals of the primitive way of life were very strong among the Anglo-Saxons. But in the 7-9 centuries great changes were taking place in Anglo-Saxon society, Feudalism was slowly taking root. 2. Establishment of the Kingdom of England. For three centuries a struggle went on between the little Anglo-Saxons kingdoms set up in the 5-6 centuries. As feudal

relations develop the owners of the landed estates strike to unify the separate kingdoms into one state under the power of the king. At the end of the 8 century another brunch of Germanic people began to attack Britain. The separate Anglo-Saxon kingdoms fighting among themselves become an easy prey for the invaders. The 9 century sees the political unification of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. The Anglo-Saxon kingdoms waged a constant struggle against one another for predominance over the country from time to time. Some stronger states seized the land of the neighboring kingdoms were always changing so were their boundaries. The greatest and most important kingdoms were North Umbria, Murcia and Wessex. For a time North Umbria gained supremacy. Murcia was the next kingdom to take the

lead. The struggle for predominance continued and at last at the beginning of the 9 century Wessex became the strongest state. In 829 Egbert, king of Wessex was acknowledged by Kent, Murcia and North Umbria. This was really the beginning of the unit of kingdom of England, for Wessex never again lost its supremacy and king Egbert became the first king of England. Under this rule all the small Anglo-Saxon kingdoms were united to form one kingdom which was called England from that time on. The clergy, royal warriors and officials supported the king’s power. The political unification of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms was spread up by the urgent task of defending the country against the dangerous raids of the new enemies. From the end of the 8 century and during the 9 and the10 centuries

Western Europe was troubled by a new wave of barbarian attacks. These barbarians came from the North- from Norway, Sweden and Denmark, and were called, as the Vikings, the Normans, and The Danes. They came to Britain from Norway and Denmark. But more often the British Isles were raided from Denmark and the invaders came to be known in English history as the Danes. The Danes were of the same Germanic race as the Anglo-Saxons themselves and they came from the same part of the continent. But unlike the Anglo-Saxons whose way of life had Ф-ОБ- 001/026 changed greatly ever since they came to Britain, the Danes still lived in tribes. They were still pagans. The Danes were well armed with sword, spear, dagger, battle- axe and bow. North Umbria and East Anglia suffered most from the

Danish raids. The Danes seized the ancient city of York and then all of Yorkshire. Soon after the Danes conquered East Anglia and England, north of the Thames, that is, North Umbria, Murcia and East Anglia were in their hands. Only Wessex was left to face the enemy. Before the Danes conquered the North, they had made an attack on Wessex but in 835 King Egbert defeated them. In the reign of Egbert’s Son the Danes sailed up the Thames and captured London. Thus the Danes came into conflict with the strongest of all the Anglo- Saxon kingdoms, Wessex. In 871 the Danes invaded again. But it was not so easy to devastate Wessex as other parts of England. Wessex had united the small Anglo-Saxon kingdoms and under the reign of Egbert’s grandson, King Alfred (871-899) who became known

in English history as Alfred the Great Wessex became the center of resistance against the invaders. Alfred managed to raise an army and to stop the offensive of the Danes. He made new rules for the army in which every free man had to serve and to come provided with the proper weapons. During the reign of Alfred the Great the first British Navy was build and a war fleet of ships larger and faster than those of the Danes protected the island. At the end of 9 century new Danish attacks were made, but they were beaten off; The Anglo-Saxon won their first victories on the sea, and soon the Danes no longer dared to attack Wessex. The kingdom of England in the 10-11 century. In the 10 century the united Anglo-Saxon feudal monarchy was consolidated. A much larger territory including the