History 2

A History of Britain: British Wars 1603-1776 v. 2: The by Simon Schama

By Simon Schama

Timothy West reads the second one quantity of Simon Schama's compelling chronicle of the British Isles.

The British wars all started at the morning of 23 July 1637, heralding two hundred years of battles. such a lot have been pushed by means of non secular or political conviction, as Republicans and Royalists, Catholics and Protestants, Tories and Whigs, and colonialists and natives vied for supremacy. Of the battles no longer fought on domestic territory, many came about throughout Europe, the USA, India, and in addition at sea.

Schama's exam of this turbulent interval finds how the British humans finally united in imperial firm, forming 'Britannia Incorporated'. the tale of that modify conjures up the reminiscence of such enduringly influential humans as Oliver Cromwell, in addition to lesser identified yet both striking members. a narrative of revolution and response, growth and disaster, this can be a shiny account of 2 centuries which replaced Britain.

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When James ran out of forfeited and confiscated lands, he continued the process of extraction by requiring all Irish landowners to prove title according to the rigorous standards of English law – a notoriously difficult if not impossible task for estates that had been granted countless generations before systematic records were made and preserved. But that, of course, was the point. Large tracts in Wexford, Longford, Waterford and Carlow were transferred by this route from Irish to planter ownership.

The fancy of a British history had been given fresh authority by William Camden’s great compilation of geography, the antiquarian chronicle, Britannia, already in its sixth edition by 1607. On its frontispiece sat the helmeted personification of the island nation, flanked by Neptune and Ceres, together with an emblem of British antiquity – Stonehenge – thought to have been built by the Romano-British hero Aurelius. But Camden’s erudite work was originally in Latin, a volume for the shelves of a gentleman’s library.

After Aberdeen fell to the army of the Marquis of Montrose and Alasdair MacColla, the better-off citizens were made to strip naked before being hacked to death so that the blood would not stain the valuable booty of their clothes. For some victims the trauma would never go away. The septuagenarian Lady Jordan, according to John Aubrey, ‘being at Cirencester when it was besieged was so terrified with the shooting that her understanding was spoyled, that she became a tiny child that they made Babies for her to play withall’.

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