|United Kingdom / Arthur Kirkland|
This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning. - Winston Churchill"
(mix of actual history and key points of Hetalia history)
In his earliest days, England was known as “Albion”. The Celtic tribes that had migrated from Central Europe and France mixed with the indigenous tribes to create a distinct culture apart from the mainland. These tribes were scattered about the British Isles and didn’t truly get along with each other.
He has two older brothers: Wales (which includes Northern Ireland) and Scotland who would pick on him for his small size. They hate him and would drive him away with stones and arrows, and even be as mean as to mail him curses. He spent his childhood playing with the faie and learned the art and laws of magic from them. He was conquered by the Romans in 43 AD and became part of the Roman Empire, causing greater rifts in the family. Rome renamed Albion “Britannia”. The Romans controlled most of present-day England and Wales, and founded a large number of cities that still exist today such as London, York, Bath, and Lancaster. It was at this time that Roman missionaries spread Christianity to England, which became the main religion for the next 1800 or so years.
Eventually, Rome left after about 400 years due to the failing Empire but Britannia’s problems were far from over. With the Romans gone, the Celtic tribes started among themselves again and one of the local chieftains had the “ brilliant” idea to request help from the some Germanic tribes from the North of present-day Germany and South of Denmark. These tribes were the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, who arrived in the 5th and 6th centuries.
After the fighting was over, things did not go Just As Planned for the Celts. The Germanic tribes who aided them felt strong enough to seize the whole of the country for themselves. So instead of going back home, they conquered the land, pushing all the Celtic tribes to Wales and Cornwall. The Anglo-Saxons set up a heptarchy which ruled over all “Britannia” from approximately 500 to 850 AD (Kent, Essex, Sussex, Wessex (the Saxons), East Anglia, Mercia, and Northumbria). They integrated with the locals during this time and the result of this mixing resulted in what we now know as “England”.
Things were going swimmingly even with the internal scuffles until the Norsemen from Scandinavia (aka the Vikings) started showing up during their invasion of Europe. The Danes invaded Northeastern England and founded the kingdom of Danelaw. A separate group took over Paris and this group obtained land from the King of France in 911. This area became the Duchy of Normandy. After happily settling in this new land, the Normans adopted the French feudal system and French as official language. During that time, the Kings of Wessex had resisted and eventually vanquished the Danes in England in the 10th century. But the powerful Canute the Great made two other invasions on England in 1013 and 1015, and became king of England in 1016, after crushing the Anglo-Saxon king, Edmund II.
Edward the Confessor succeeded to Canute's two sons. He nominated William, Duke of Normandy, as his successor, but upon his death in 1066, Harold Godwinson, the powerful Earl of Wessex, crowned himself king. William refused to acknowledge Harold and invaded England in response. King Harold was killed at the battle of Hastings (as legend tells it, he was felled by an arrow in the eye) and William the Conqueror become William I of England.
French became the official language of England (until the beginning of the Hundred Years' War with France). However, English remained the language of the populace, and the fusion of English (a mixture of Anglo-Saxon and Norse languages) with French and Latin (used by the clergy) slowly evolved into modern English. At this part of Hetalia history, France practically raised England. Everything France did, made or even said, England copied. He even trying to grow his hair out to imitate the France’s wavy long hair. Sadly, England’s hair is not as luxurious as France’s and it ended up looking so messy that France cut his hair again.
William’s reign saw to the construction of many medieval castles all over England, strengthening England’s defenses. England managed to beat his brother Wales, followed by Scotland, though this was later overturned. This is why Scotland was quite a bit more aggressive than Wales from then on; Wales stayed with England and grew fonder of him.
There was a small civil war relating to the succession of the throne after Henry (between his daughter Matilda and her cousin Stephen (grandson of William I). Although Stephen won, Matilda's son succeeded him as Henry II. The Crusades also were happening around this time, lending to the usurpation of the throne by King John from King Richard I (think Robin Hood). John’s grandson Edward I spent his reign fighting, the most prominent of which is against the Scots led by William Wallace and Robert the Bruce (if this sounds familiar, Braveheart is based on this fight). He was quite a macho guy. His son, however, preferred partying to wars and he was tragically imprisoned and then murdered by his wife and lover for his homosexuality. Edward III succeeded his father at the age of 14 and his reign was marked by the Hundred Years War (1337-1416) as well as the Black Death (1348-1350).
In Hetalia timeline, England has grown to be a young teenager and lashes out at France, driving him back to his own country. King Edward III declared himself the rightful heir to the French throne in 1337 and thus started what became known as the Hundred Years’ War.
During this war, Henry VI took the throne and his reign saw the loss of most of the English possessions in France to a 17-year-old girl named Jeanne d’Arc, whom France truly loved. England burned her at the stake as a witch and took the top half of France's land. This truly was what set France and England’s hatred for each other in stone. This hatred lingers even to this day between the two Nations.
The fighting halted once the Black Death hit both Nations. England broke out in boils and fever often during this period, going through a diseased cycle of life and death. (Apparently Hetalia Nations don’t actually stay dead unless the country actually dies and disappears for real.). After this bout of serious illness, the War of the Roses takes the stage.
It was series of dynastic civil wars between supporters of the rival houses of Lancaster and York, for the English throne. The war ended with the victory of the Lancastrian Henry Tudor (Henry VII), who founded the House of Tudor. His son Henry VIII is very well known for the Acts of Union with Wales (uniting the mainland, bringing Wales and Scotland to (grudgingly) live with England.) as well as marrying six times to produce a male heir (he made himself the head of the Church of England). It was also during his rule that England started to explore and to establish trade routes outside of Europe.
In 1497, English sailors discovered America. England fought against France, Finland, and Spain for the right to be America’s “big brother” While all the others tempted the little boy out with offers of fine food, culture and the like, England realized he had nothing so impressive to offer , and sat down to sulk away from the others (England’s cooking is very bad). But tiny America noticed him, and came over to see what was wrong and to cheer him up.
Thus England claimed the little colony for his own, and happily raised him with all the care he could. Flashbacks during the America’s Storage Cleaning scenes show England walking with America and giving him special gifts such as a handcrafted box of unique toy soldiers when America was very young (injuring himself in the process of making them) as well as an expensive tuxedo suit when America was older. He also cooks food for him (fortunately America has no sense of taste either so England’s nasty cooking is overlooked by the younger Nation.)
Henry VIIIth’s son Edward VI inherited the throne but died of illness. He was succeeded by Mary I. “Bloody Mary” was a staunch Catholic, intended to restore Roman Catholicism to England and executed over 300 religious dissenters in her 5-year reign. She married King Philip II of Spain but died childless of ovarian cancer in 1558. Her half-sister, the “Virgin Queen” Elizabeth I ascended the throne.
Queen Elizabeth I’s rule saw the first golden age of England (the Elizabethan era). It was during this time where colonialzation really took flight and England had a period of enlightenment and exploration. One would think of Sir Walter Raleigh, Francis Bacon, and William Shakespeare when they think of this time period. In Hetalia, a teenage England had quite a huge crush on her and is still extremely proud of the era in which she reigned. As well as and the defeat of the “Invincible” Spanish Armada (he gloats about it even to this day.)
Her reign was also marked by conflicts with France and Scotland (bound by a common queen, Mary Stuart), then Spain and Ireland. Elizabeth died in 1603, and ironically, Mary Stuart's son, James VI of Scotland, succeeded Elizabeth as King James I of England - thus creating the United Kingdom.
England becomes involved with India in the early 1600s as the English Empire starts to expand. India teaches him many things and makes him wealthy. England is an ass though and abuses her wealth and her people, causing the relation to become bitter though they continue to exchange things with each other for hundreds of years. In 1620, the Puritan ship The Mayflower lands on American shores. England keeps supporting the American colonies despite being busy with exploration and with wars with both France and Spain.
James I’s rule saw the failure of the Gunpowder Plot (Guy Fawkes’s failed attempt to kill all of the Protestant aristocracy in one go) and the widening fissure between the Catholics and the Protestants. James's successor Charles I was eager to unify Britain and Ireland, and wanted to do so as an absolute ruler of divine right, like his French counter-part Louis XIV. His marriage with a French Roman Catholic as well as his conflicting policies and totalitarian rule in Parliament sparked the English Civil War (1642-1651). The country was torn between Royalist and Parliamentarian troops.
Charles was beheaded, and the puritan leader of the Parliamentarians, Oliver Cromwell became England’s “Lord Protector” dictator. The execution shocked (Hetalia) England and he calls Cromwell “generally a bit of an arse” for beating up on Scotland and invading Ireland. He also starts drinking tea because this is when imported Indian tea starts coming in. Cromwell was briefly succeeded by his son Richard at the head of the Protectorate, but his political inability prompted the Parliament to restore the monarchy in 1660, calling in Charles I's exiled son, Charles II.
Charles II was good at handling Parliament matters and the Whig and Tory parties are created. He was also a patron of the arts and sciences, helping with the founding of the Royal Society and sponsored architect Sir Christopher Wren, who rebuilt the City of London of the Great Fire of 1666 (In Hetalia, England gets heartburn from this) . Charles acquired Bombay and Tangiers through his Portuguese wife, thus laying the foundation for the British Empire. Although Charles produced countless illegitimate children, his wife couldn't bear an heir. The throne is thus passed to his brother James in 1685 upon Charles II’s death. He is removed from power three years later in the Glorious Revolution for his religious inclinations and despotism by his Protestant daughter Mary and his nephew William of Orange.
The new ruling couple became known as the "Grand Alliance". The parliament ratified that all kings or queens would have to be Protestant from then on. In 1707, the Act of Union joined the Scottish and the English Parliaments thus creating the single Kingdom of Great Britain and centralizing political power in London (In Hetalia, Scotland came to live in England’s house, and has remained there to this day, though the two still bicker about everything.). George of Hanover, was called to rule over the United Kingdom after James’s second daughter Anne died heirless.
Since George was German and arrived not knowing a word of English, he was unable to communicate well with his government and subjects. He appointed a de facto Prime Minister: Robert Walpole. This decision led to the turn of British power in politics so that future monarchs were also to remain more passive figures, letting the reins of the government to the Prime Minister. His son George II was a powerful ruler and British Empire expanded considerably during his reign.
(Hetalia) England’s reputation for being a pirate privateer and power grows as he continues to gain more and more territories. He becomes too cocky. He and America start bickering on things and start to fight often. The strict and restrictive taxes that he forced on his colonies were too much for America, who rebelled during the American War of Independence. He faces off with a determined young America, completely devastated by the betrayal for America still holds a special place in his heart despite the boy’s rapid growth . Though he lashes out angrily at first, charging at America with a bayonette that sends America’s musket flying and then points his musket at America’s head, he cannot bring himself to shoot. He then drops to his knees in the muddy battlefield and weeps in front of America, commenting bitterly on America’s foolish tenacity. He has never quite recovered from the defeat, and the loss of his beloved colony.
After the American Revolution, England distracts himself with more work. Luckily, there are lots of events that keep him busy. He discovers Australia (he starts sending convicted criminals there in 1788) and Ireland joins the Union in 1800 as the result of the Act of Union that merged the Kingdoms together. The Industrial Revolution picks up speed with James Watt’s famous steam engine and the mechanization of the manufacturing industry. During this time, Britain kicks France’s beloved Napoleon’s ass at the battle of Waterloo (in the Hetalia anime, England tricks the French army into falling into a trap hole. This victory earns England even more bragging rights against France).
The 1800s looks very good for England as his empire spreads over all five continents from Canada and the Caribbean to Australia and New Zealand, via Africa, India and South-East Asia.
Queen Victoria reigned at this time and this time period saw things such as The Great Exhibition (the first World Fair), The Opium Wars with Qing China, and Crimean War (on the side of the Ottoman Empire against Russia) and the Boer Wars with South Africa.
Hetalia England begins to refine himself from a from a pirate privateer into the “refined British Gentleman”. He’s gotten rich and powerful and the power goes completely to his head. He settles down a little after kicking Russia’s butt in the Crimean war and focuses on technology more than finding new land to conquer since he owned over 40% of it anyways. He becomes a major world power by the 20th century. He mourns the death of Queen Victoria in 1901.
About a decade after the Boer Wars, the United Kingdom gets dragged into the Great War (WWI) because of the invasion of Belgium on Germany’s part. The monarchies in Germany, Austria, Russia and the Ottoman Empire all fell, and the map of Europe was redrawn. The British created the Labour Party after being disillusioned with the government and the monarchy. Women gained the same rights as men in 1928. England was left a mess after World War I and he was traumatized by the whole event.
Hetalia’s England’s relations with France become less strained after they were forced to survive together in the trenches (as they were allies in WWI). Unfortunately, they both caught very bad colds with the crash of America’s stock market (Nations get colds when they go into a recession. This particular one was a Very Bad Cold).
Ireland fights her way away from England during the Irish War of Independence in 1919. She leaves a new younger sibling, Northern Ireland, with England.
The country of Germany is very bitter with the outcome of WWI as they are fitted with the whole bill, driving the whole country into despair. The Great Depression doesn’t help this situation at all and the Nazi party gains power.
Nazi Germany becomes very aggressive under Adolf Hitler’s control and Britain and France were forced to declare war on Germany after the invasion of Poland in September 1939. World War II begins. The Blitz (September 1940-May 1941) devastated London, almost leading to England’s collapse. But Winston Churchill ( war-time Prime Minister in 1940) encouraged the British to fight off the attempted German invasion. He encouraged the troops to “defend our island, whatever the cost may be” and to “never surrender” and so England fought alongside the Allied Forces with the stubborn refusal to step down. America arrives late on the scene and though Hetalia England outwardly remarks that he was fine without him, America’s support was relieving.
By the end of the war, everyone was exhausted, both by the fight itself and by revelations of the dangers of power-hungry countries. The United Kingdom is bankrupt in 1945 and with its industry destroyed by the Blitz, the British Empire is dismantled little by little. India and Pakistan are granted independence in 1947. The other colonies of Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean gain theirs as well in the following decades. Many of these ex-colonies formed and exist today as the Commonwealth of Nations.
Elizabeth II takes the throne in 1952. Hetalia France proposes marriage to England but England outright refuses him (marriage = union of countries. France was in a panic after the Suez Canal incident). Pop and Rock music flooded the scene in the 1960's (The Beatles, Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, etc). The Hippie subculture also developed at that time. England alludes to a possible tattoo of a “hot six-string” somewhere on his body in his rendition of the ending song for the show, possibly referencing to this time period.
The 1970's brought the oil crisis and the collapse of the British industry but that was not the last of England’s worries.
Tired of fighting, Hetalia England had settles down with a desk job and his relations with America have returned to one of friendship. However, things get ugly when tensions between Russia and America start escalating. England, along with the rest of world, becomes deadlocked in a horrible Cold War where one wrong move means the start of a global meltdown due to the possession of nuclear weapons. The whole situation had England both annoyed and fearful during the long years.
The two Ireland siblings get into a lot of fighting known literally as The Troubles which is a very violent and bloody three decades from 1968-1998. Hetalia England finds some enjoyment in the 1980s with the British punk scene. Things finally calm down as the Cold War fades away.
In the present time, England’s busy being paranoid about bomb scares due to the “War on Terror” (the 7/7 London Underground bombings gave him a literal heart attack) and becoming strict with immigration laws. He is not the empire he was once was but he is still a major world power, maintaining 14 territories overseas. And despite his rough history with America, he still has strong relations with him.
Even if he is still an idiot at the United Nations meeting in regards to global warming.
England is his own cold rainy island, literally as well as personality-wise. He is a very sharp-tongued man and he doesn’t beat around the bush. If he doesn’t like something or someone, he’d express it off the cuff and can even coldly insult the person or idea in typical British fashion. He’s quite full of himself thanks to his victorious history over many of the other Nations and the proud cocky nature can still come out at times though he is doing much better at being amiable these days. However, he is still seen as a cocky and pigheaded man who hates to lose. Sometimes he does pretty stupid things in public with his “fuck off” attitude but he generally knows when something can go too far and he keeps himself in check. Despite his blunt nature, he seems to know how to get along with most people and nations.
He claims to be a gentleman after putting his pirate past behind him but England is prone to rough speech and being very rude whenever he is agitated. But despite this hostile nature to quickly shoot down anything he deems ridiculous or a waste of time, he’s not truly a bad person. He is actually very bad with expressing himself correctly, sometimes being unusually indirect and causing others to misunderstand him much to his chagrin. This trait also causes him to seem very tsundere. The fact that he still cares deeply for America yet hides it via his scathing criticisms of America’s culture and decisions doesn’t help counter this characteristic. In theory, he is a person with a cold and professional exterior but he would quietly warm up to someone and become good friends with them in time.
Though he has a very cynical and jaded view on the world, he is truly a romantic very deep down. This fact comes out mainly only when he’s drunk. His personality changes then, transforming from that of a “refined gentleman” to that of a bitter and belligerent punk who cries and lashes out at America as he yearns for the golden years they had (he gets so riled up in one episode that he starts to cry and hit America in a sadly comical way). England also holds his grudges for a very long time as seen with his intense rivalry with France with whom he will disagree and bicker about anything and everything. He might not be violent as he was in his past but he can still pack a punch with his words.
Despite his hard-assed nature, he is also a spacey sort and is “the king of losing things”. This strange part of his character is linked to his strong belief of magic and spirits. This doesn’t stop him from making fun of America’s belief in aliens though. But when it comes to his own quirky beliefs, England shows either a darker malicious side of himself when he is involved with black magic (he would try to conjure curses and one time he’s even attempted to kill America with a cursed chair) or a more light-hearted and ditzy side when he would be conversing or playing with his “imaginary” friends (as seen in the episode when his friends come to visit him).
England can see and interact with beings of supernatural origin. He can see things like faries and unicorns but he can also see creatures and spirits of other cultures’ legends such as Japanese kappa.
He also can use black magic to conjure spells and to summon spirits (he once summoned Russia by mistake though).
He can curse his colonies to have the same bushy eyebrows as he does. (as seen with Hong Kong…)
England is a top spy. No one can outspy him! Not even James Bond.
America - ungrateful git. I-it's not like he really cares about what the ingrateful brat does nowadays. He sometimes wishes that they can be closer but he thinks that it is for the best that they have their own privacy.
Russia - a bother. England is a bit disturbed by Russia's ability to be utterly clueless as well as slightly creepy.
Prussia - too loud. Glad he fell asleep.
Sweden - soft-spoken. A little too quiet for England's taste.
Latvia - sweet though a tad callow.