Periods in history

Below is a summary of the main periods of British history with dates.

Click on a period to take you to a timeline for that period – or select from the drop-down menu.

Click on a featured article to give you some selective background. Read each article in sequence for a complete, but potted, version of Britain’s story.

PERIOD WHEN WAS IT? FEATURED ARTICLES
PREHISTORIC Before 43AD
(the Roman Conquest)
Early British History
ROMAN 43AD – approx 425AD What did the Romans do for Britain?
DARK AGES From approx 425AD – 1066
(the Norman Conquest).
Sometimes called the ‘Early Medieval Period’.
The time of the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings
Dark Age Britain
Vikings murder defenceless monks
Why London is the capital of Britain
MEDIEVAL 1066-1485
(the Battle of Bosworth)
Sometimes divided into ‘the High Middle Ages’
up to the 13th C
and the ‘Late Middle Ages’ from 1300-1500
How the Normans shaped world history
Brits invent parliamentary democracy
How Scotland was born
Whatever happened to Wales?
Why France isn’t part of Britain
When death walked the land
A violent royal soap opera
TUDOR 1485-1603 The victor of Bosworth
Losing our religion – how Henry VIII changed the world and his wife
Dawn of Empire
STUART 1603-1714 The Stuarts and the Republic of Britain
Glorious Revolution
When Britain got a German king
GEORGIAN 1714-1837
Sometimes referred to as ‘Hanoverian’
The last battle
British expansion
Why they don’t play cricket in the USA
Britain’s industrial revolution
The greatest happiness of the greatest number
Revolting Britain
How Britain got the vote
VICTORIAN 1837-1901 Wasn’t Victorian Britain great?
Poor Britain
The Empire on which the sun never set
EDWARDIAN 1901-1914 Fog in Channel, Europe cut off
How did the First World War happen?
MODERN 1 1914-1945 Britain and the First World War
The legacy of 1914-18
Britain in the 1920s and ’30s?
Could Britain have avoided war in 1939?
Britain and the Second World War 1939-45
MODERN 2 1945-2000 Shop till you drop – Britain since 1945