The Kingdom of England was a state on the island of Great Britain from the 10th century, when it emerged following the unification of various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, until 1707, when it united with Scotland to form a unified Kingdom of Great Britain. The Anglo-Saxon kingdoms were unified under Æthelstan (r. 927–939) during the 10th century. In the early 11th century, England became part of the “North Sea Empire” of Cnut the Great. With the Norman conquest, the kingdom became one of the territories ruled by the House of Anjou. The English capital and chief royal residence in the Anglo-Saxon period was Winchester, but Westminster and Gloucester were accorded almost equal status, with Westminster gradually gaining preference and becoming the administrative capital by the beginning of the 12th century. During the 10th century, the City of London quickly established itself as England’s largest town and principal commercial centre. The history of the kingdom of England from the Norman conquest of 1066 is conventionally divided into periods named after the ruling dynasty as follows: Norman 1066–1154, Plantagenet 1216–1485, Tudor 1485–1603 and Stuart 1603–1714 (interrupted by the Interregnum of 1649–1660). Dynastically, all English monarchs after 1066 ultimately claim descent from the Angevins; the distinction of the Plantagenets is merely conventional, beginning with Henry III as from that time, the Angevin kings became “more English in nature”; the houses of Lancaster and York are both Plantagenet cadet branches, the Tudor dynasty claimed descent from Edward III via John Beaufort and James VI and I of the House of Stuart claimed descent from Henry VII via Margaret Tudor. The completion of the conquest of Wales by Edward I (formalised with the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284) put Wales under the control of the English crown. Edward III (r. 1327–1377) transformed the Kingdom of England into one of the most formidable military powers in Europe; his reign also saw vital developments in legislation and government—in particular the evolution of the English parliament. From the 1340s, the kings of England also laid claim to the crown of France, but after the Hundred Years’ War and from the outbreak of the Wars of the Roses (1455), the English were no longer in any position to pursue their claim and lost all their land on the continent, except for Calais. After the turmoils of the War of the Roses, the Tudor dynasty ruled during the English Renaissance and again extended their power beyond England proper, achieving the full union of England and the Principality of Wales in 1542. Henry VIII oversaw the English Reformation, and his daughter Elizabeth I (r. 1558–1603) settled the religious dispute, established England as a great power and laid the foundations of the British Empire by claiming possessions in the New World. From the accession of James I in 1603, England was ruled in personal union with Scotland and Ireland by the Stuart dynasty. Under the Stuarts, the kingdom was plunged into civil war, which culminated in the execution of Charles I (1649). The monarchy was restored in 1660, but the civil war established the precedent that an English monarch cannot govern without the consent of Parliament, although this concept was legally established only as part of the Glorious Revolution of 1688. From this time the kingdom of England, as well as its successor state the United Kingdom, was in effect a constitutional monarchy. On 1 May 1707, under the terms of the Acts of Union 1707, the kingdoms of England and Scotland united to form Great Britain.
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