England Around 910 CE

England Around 910 CE

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Children and Youth in History

Children and youth in early modern England (1500-1800) were subject to many diseases and physical hardships. From the great epidemic diseases of bubonic plague and smallpox, to more common illnesses such as measles and influenza that still afflict children today, sickness put children and youth at great risk. With no knowledge of bacteria or antibiotics, and surgery performed without anesthesia or even hand washing, there were few remedies for childhood illnesses beyond a nourishing diet and keeping the patient warm. Even surviving an illness could have permanent consequences, for example, scarlet fever left many children blind and deaf, and measles could cause severe scarring and facial bone loss.

One measurement of health in early modern England is revealed in the statistics of the number of deaths kept by church parishes. From these records historians have gleaned that infant mortality (death during the first year of life) was approximately 140 out of 1000 live births. The average mother had 7-8 live births over 15 years. Unidentifiable fevers, and the following list of diseases, killed perhaps 30% of England's children before the age of 15 – the bloody flux (dysentery), scarlatina (scarlet fever), whooping cough, influenza, smallpox, and pneumonia.

Death from disease was higher in urban than in rural areas. Early modern cities were widely, and often rightly, regarded as deadly environments. They contained large concentrations of population who were often poorly fed and housed. "Crowd diseases" such as typhus, smallpox, and tuberculosis prospered, and bubonic plague epidemics periodically swept through dense urban populations. In 1563, 1603, 1625 and 1665, about one fifth of the population of London died in plague outbreaks. In 1665, one of the deadliest years, 80,000 people died in the capital city. Of this number, historians estimate that at least 45,000 of the victims were under the age of 15.

Besides diseases, accidents were common sources of sickness, disability and death for children and youth. From surveys of coroners's inquests, drowning in wells and bathtubs, was the most reported accidental death in children under the age of 5. Accidents were also reported connected to the work in which children were engaged beginning around age 8. Children cracked their skulls while fetching water, were trampled by horses while ploughing, or dropped and injured while under the care of siblings. Boys, unless they were from the noblest of families, were expected to serve an apprenticeship. They were often placed in dangerous crafts such as tanning, blacksmithing, or serving on ships, where chemical poisonings, fires, and war injuries were frequent occurrences. There are also accounts in diaries of the period of youthful pranks leading to injury, for example, hiding gunpowder in candles so they blew up when lit.

Throughout this period the primary place where sick children and youth were cared for was in the home, and the principal healers were women – mothers, daughters, wives, and servants. Powder burn remedies —applying a mixture of poultry fat and dung—were commonly included in home receit (remedy/recipe) books kept by the mistress of the household. Women developed considerable professional knowledge after the rise of the printing press in 1500 and the publication of books that had been only in the hands of physicians. Both herbal and chemical medicines were described as suitable for the young in family receit books, such as dried dill in honey for a cough, and iron filings in beer for paleness of the skin.

Children were rarely treated by the small and expensive elite of university-trained physicians to whom adult patients turned for a prognosis and not for a cure. Their remedies were also considered too drastic for children as they largely consisted of rectal purging (laxatives), bloodletting (cutting a vein open with a lancet), and forced vomiting (emetics). These treatments were based on an ancient Greek medical theory that the body was composed of four substances, or humors, created from the digestion of food. The four humors were choler or yellow bile, phlegm or mucus, black bile, and blood, and all had properties of being hot/cold and dry/wet. If the humors were balanced – neither too strong nor too weak – you were healthy. The hot and wet humor of blood and the hot and dry humor of yellow bile were believed to be naturally stronger in the young. Occasionally if these humors were not weakened and released from the body in the form of sweat, tears, urine, feces, or even sneezing, physicians would give children emetics to make them vomit or let blood through "cupping." Heated glass, bone, or brass cups would be placed upon skin that had been scratched or scarified with a knife. Blood would then flow gently from these wounds due to the creation of a vacuum by the heated cup.

Worried parents consulted surgeons, trained through apprenticeship, for broken limbs, ruptures, and the bladder stone. The latter was caused by the early modern diet, which was rich in gravel. Boys were often operated on for the stone by surgeons in this period with a mortality rate of 30%. The operation was called a lithotomy and took about three to five minutes to perform. No anesthesia was used, instead surgeons relied on the child fainting from pain and being out during the extraction of the stone. Most often, parents turned first to family, friends, and neighbors, for medical advice, even the local blacksmith for a fee would set bones in humans as well as animals.

As the specialty of pediatrics (from the Greek for child and healing) had yet to emerge, children were treated as small adults in hospitals and kept in the same wards as adult men and women. Some charitable institutions were opened in the early modern period, for example, the Children's Hospital in Norwich in 1621, but they tended to be more for children who were abandoned by their parents or orphaned, than for sick youngsters. The largest institution for orphans was the Foundling Hospital in London, opened in 1741. There were also medical discoveries that helped children and youth in this period, most notably, inoculation and vaccination for smallpox.

Starting in the 1960s several scholars have argued that early modern parents tried not to invest too much emotion (or money) in a child until it reached an age where survival was likely. High birth rates, accompanied by high death rates for children under the age of ten years old, meant that family life was fragile and uncertain. Yet the parent-child relationship seems to have been as strong in the early modern period as in any other age, and former ideas of emotional indifference before the eighteenth century are now widely questioned by scholars. Most of the population had a hard struggle for existence but children were cared for as much as conditions would allow. The harrowing grief of mothers and fathers who lost children to disease or accident is indeed all too apparent in diaries and letters of the period.

Administration and government

Yorkshire comprises all or most of the following administrative units: the administrative county of North Yorkshire the unitary authorities of Redcar and Cleveland, Middlesbrough, Kingston upon Hull, and York the part of the unitary authority of Stockton-on-Tees south of the River Tees and all or most of every metropolitan borough in the metropolitan counties of West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire. The exceptions are the parish of Finningley and the area west of Bawtry—both in the metropolitan borough of Doncaster in South Yorkshire—which lie within the historic county of Nottinghamshire the area around Beighton and Mosborough in the city of Sheffield in South Yorkshire, which belongs to the historic county of Derbyshire and the area west of Todmorden in the metropolitan borough of Calderdale in West Yorkshire, which lies within the historic county of Lancashire. The historic county of Yorkshire also includes three large areas in other administrative units: much of the eastern part of the administrative county of Lancashire, including the areas around Earby and Barnoldswick in the borough of Pendle, and much of the borough of Ribble Valley, including the entire Forest of Bowland region Garsdale, Dentdale, and the area around Sedbergh in the South Lakeland district of the administrative county of Cumbria and the area south of the Tees in the Teesdale district of the administrative county of Durham. In addition, small areas along the southeast border of the historic county of Yorkshire lie in the unitary authority of North Lincolnshire.

Historically, Yorkshire was divided into ridings (“thirds”), each of which had the full administrative status of a county: the North Riding (the entire unitary authorities of Redcar and Cleveland and Middlesbrough, most of the administrative county of North Yorkshire, and parts of the administrative county of Durham and the unitary authorities of Stockton-on-Tees and York), the East Riding (the entire unitary authority of Kingston upon Hull, most of the unitary authority of East Riding of Yorkshire, and parts of the administrative county of North Yorkshire and the unitary authority of York), and the West Riding (almost the entire metropolitan counties of South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire, parts of the administrative counties of North Yorkshire, Cumbria, and Lancashire, and small parts of the unitary authorities of East Riding of Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire, and York). The historic city of York (a small area within the present city and unitary authority of York), where the ridings converged, had the status of a fourth administrative county. Although there was one high sheriff for the county, for most purposes the ridings were separate administrative units for a thousand years. Each riding had its own court of quarter sessions and its own county council. Yorkshire and the ridings lost their administrative powers in 1974.

The Middle Ages was a turbulent and violent period. The famous Middle Ages people included authors such as Geoffrey Chaucer, great leaders such as Robert the Bruce, William Wallace (Braveheart), Hereward the Wake and John of Gaunt.

Famous People of the Middle Ages
Great religious leaders who played important roles in the church during the Middle Ages such as Jan Hus, John Wycliffe and Erasmus. The men who were pretenders to the throne of England such as Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck. The most famous people of the Middle Ages were undoubted the Medieval Kings of England and these have been included in separate sections - as have the most famous women of the Middle Ages. The following links provide access to short biographies, facts, dates, events and the history of all of the important and most famous people from the Middle Ages.

Famous People: Facts and Biographies

Famous People: Facts and Biographies

Famous People of the Middle Ages - Marco Polo, famous explorer
Facts and a short biography with key dates about the life story of this important Medieval explorer who travelled to Cathay (China) Persia and Japan. The life story and his autobiography was called 'The Travels of Marco Polo' or 'Il Milione' provided inspiration for many other explorers including Christopher Columbus. Marco Polo was one of the most famous Middle Ages people.

Famous People: Johann Gutenberg, famous inventor
Facts and a short biography with key dates about the life story of this important Medieval figure who was famous as the inventor of the art of printing with movable types. He was another of the well known Middle Ages people.

Famous People of the Middle Ages - Frederick Barbarossa, King of Germany and Crusader
Facts and a short biography with key dates about the life story of this important Medieval figure who was famous for Fighting in the Third Crusade 1189 - 1192. He was another of the well known Middle Ages people.

Famous People: - Joan of Arc, led France to victory during the Hundred Years War
Facts and a short biography with key dates about the life story of this important Medieval figure who was famous for rousing the French against the English during the Hundred Years War. Joan of Arc was one of the most famous Middle Ages people.

Famous People: - Peter the Hermit, Religious Crusader
Facts and a short biography with key dates about the life story of this important Medieval figure who was famous for leading the People's Crusade - The First Crusade 1096 - 1099. He was another of the well known Middle Ages people.

Famous People of the Middle Ages - Robert the Bruce, Famous King of Scotland
Facts and a short biography with key dates about the life story of this important Medieval figure who was famous as the greatest Scottish King, the story of Robert the Bruce and the spider and his victory at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.

Famous People of the Middle Ages - William Wallace, Braveheart, hero of Scotland
Facts and a short biography with key dates about the life story of this important Medieval figure who was famous for leading a Scottish rebellion against King Edward I of England, a great Scottish hero. He was another of the well known Middle Ages people.

Famous People: - Thomas Becket, Saint and Archbishop of Canterbury
Facts and a short biography with key dates about the life story of this important Medieval figure who was famous as the Archbishop of Canterbury whose quarrels with King Henry II of England led to his murder in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170. Thomas Becket was one of the most famous Middle Ages people.

Famous People of the Middle Ages - Thomas Aquinas, a great theologian of the Catholic Church
Facts and a short biography with key dates about the life story of this important Medieval figure who was famous as one of the greatest theologians of the Catholic Church. He was another of the well known Middle Ages people.

Famous People: Jack Cade, leader of English rebellion (Peasants Revolt)
Facts and a short biography with key dates about the life story of this important Medieval figure who was famous for leading the peasants in the Kent rebellion of 1450. He was another of the well known Middle Ages people.

Famous People of the Middle Ages - Lambert Simnel, pretender to the throne of England
Facts and a short biography with key dates about the life story of this important Medieval figure who was famous as a pretender to the throne of England ruled by King Henry VII of England - The original claim was that he was Richard Duke of York ( one of the Princes in the Tower ) The major claim was that he was Edward, Earl of Warwick the son of George, Duke of Clarence.

Famous People: Perkin Warbeck, pretender to the throne of England
Facts and a short biography with key dates about the life story of this important Medieval figure who was famous as a pretender to the English throne, assuming the identity of Richard Duke of York (one of the Princes in the Tower) during the reign of King Henry VII of England. He was another of the well known Middle Ages people.

Middle Ages People
Each section of this Middle Ages website addresses all topics and provides interesting facts and information about these great monuments to bygone times. The Sitemap provides full details of all of the information and facts provided about the fascinating subject of Middle Ages!

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The Renaissance Inventions and Technology


The earliest design of a submarine was created by Leonardo da Vinci. However, Cornelius van Drebbel was the one who successfully developed the submarine in 1624. It was tested in the river Thames and remained submerged under water for about 3 hours. David Bushnell of the United States built the first submarine named ‘Turtle’ for military use in 1776. John Holland and Simon built, what can be called, the true submarine in the 1890s.

Mechanical Clock

The mechanical clocks that functioned with the help of ‘verge-and-foliot’ mechanism were introduced in the 14th century. The earliest designs of mechanical clock incorporated a drum which contained mercury the drum was driven by means of weights. Measuring a day’s time in a 24-hour cycle became possible after the invention of mechanical clock. In 1656, a pendulum clock was made by Christian Huygens. He improved the clock to reduce the error from 1 minute a day to 10 seconds a day.

In 1721, George Graham reduced the error up to 1 second a day and in 1889, Sigmund Riefler further reduced the error to 1/100th of a second a day. In the 1930s, the quartz crystals, which exhibit piezoelectric properties, were used to make the quartz clocks.

Printing Press

The printing press was invented by Johann Gutenberg of Germany in 1440. He started working on this machine in 1436. Before this woodblock technology was used for the purpose of printing. Invention of the printing press proved to be of great help in making vernacular literature available to the masses. Metal molds and alloys were used in the earliest form of printing press made by Gutenberg. The technique used by Gutenberg for printing was known as the letterpress printing.

He made use of the ‘movable type’ of letters for printing. In this technique, protruding surfaces of the matrix, meant for printing, were inked. The ink was used to create an impression of letters on the paper. The technique of printing developed by Gutenberg was used for a long period, i.e. from mid-15th century to second-half of 20th century, until the development of offset printing.


There are no clear records available as to who invented eyeglasses. Salvino D’Armato degli Armati from Italy is credited with making wearable eyeglasses in 1284. It was not until the 15th century that glasses for conditions like hyperopia, myopia and presbyopia were made. In the 13th century, Roger Bacon, had put forth a scientific theory on how to make use of corrective eyeglasses. However, There aren’t any documents or records which speak about his role in the invention of glasses.

Gunpowder and Artillery

The invention of gunpowder in China led to many different inventions like guns, rocket launchers, mortars, etc. The use of artillery with mechanical power was made by Romans in 399 BC. Gunpowder was accidentally invented in around 850 AD, in China. To improve the accuracy of rockets, an engineer called William Congreve made use of launching tubes. The ‘howitzer’ was invented in the 17th century. This artillery machine was used to hit targets positioned at steep angles.


Robert Boyle, a physicist from Ireland invented the match in 1680. Substances like phosphorus and sulfur, when rubbed together, produce fire. This concept was implemented by Robert Boyle in the process of inventing the match. However, the matches made by him were not the usable ones. Due to their combustible nature, the matches manufactured in those days were deemed unsafe. The first friction matches were invented by John Walker in 1827.

Mariner’s Compass

The compass was first used by a Chinese voyager Zheng He. He had undertaken seven ocean voyages in the period between 1405 and 1433 AD. The exact year of the invention of compass is not known. However, it is said to have been invented during the Qin Dynasty between 221 and 206 BC. Lodestone was the material that was used to make the compass. This ore of iron is available in the naturally magnetized form. These lodestones pointed southwards and therefore, people began using them as compass.

Earlier, the lodestones were made in the shape of spoon. Magnetic needles replaced them in the 8th century, after which they were used as pointing devices on ships. Eventually, Europeans also came to know about the compass. The Mariner’s compass has played a crucial role in the sea voyages undertaken by Europeans. There were able to discover new routes for trade and ultimately the continents new to them.

Compound Microscope

The early lenses got their name from lentils. This is because lenses had the shape of lentil seeds. Hans Janssen and Hans Lippershey are credited with the invention of the first compound microscope in 1590. The idea of placing one glass behind other, which increases their magnifying power, served as the basis of development of compound microscope. Earliest forms of microscopes offered 20-30 times greater magnification of objects.


It is one of the important inventions of the Renaissance period. The first paper mill was set up in 1496 in England. With the availability of paper, many different designs and patterns of wallpapers were developed. Stencils, hand painted designs and wood-block prints were used in the creation of wallpapers.

Flush Toilets

The first flush toilet was made in 1596 by John Harrington. It was only two hundred years after its invention that flush toilet was reinvented by Alexander Cummings.

Leonardo da Vinci’s Designs

Some of the sketches and designs made by Leonardo da Vinci were not converted into actual, workable machines. These designs, created in the Renaissance period, were quite sophisticated and detailed. The ornithopter was one such design which proved to be the basis on which today’s helicopters are designed.

Some of the important designs created by Leonardo da Vinci are listed below.

Ancient Rome

We often think of the Roman Empire as ruling Italy and the areas around the Mediterranean Sea. However, for nearly 400 years, Rome also ruled much of Britain. They called the land Britannia.

Caesar Invades Britain

It was Julius Caesar who first invaded Britain in 55 BC. He led two Roman legions across the waters and landed on the coast of Kent. This first invasion wasn't very successful. Caesar returned to France before the winter.

A year later, in 54 BC, Caesar returned to Britain with a larger force of five Roman legions. He was much more successful this time, invading well into Britain and even crossing the River Thames. He left peacefully after the tribes of Britain agreed to pay tribute to Rome.

The Romans Conquer Britain

About 90 years later, in 43 AD, Emperor Claudius decided he needed to conquer a new land and make a name for himself. He decided to conquer Britain. Under the leadership of General Plautius, four Roman legions invaded Britain. Conquering Britain wasn't a simple task, though. It took around 30 years for Rome to gain control of the southern part of the island.

In 122 AD the Roman Emperor Hadrian had a wall built across the middle of England. This wall created a fortified border between northern and southern Britain. The wall was 73 miles long. It varied in size from 10 to 20 feet wide and 10 to 20 feet tall. It is estimated that more than 10,000 troops manned the wall at some point. The wall helped to keep out the northern barbarians and also served as a point for taxation on imports and exports.

Portions of Hadrian's Wall still stand today
Photo by Velella at Wikimedia Commons

The End of Roman Rule

The Romans ruled Britain for nearly 400 years from 43 AD to 410 AD. They left Britain to defend their homeland in Italy which was being threatened by barbarians such as the Goths and the Vandals. The Western Roman Empire collapsed in 476 AD.

The Roman legions may have returned home to Italy, but they left a lasting legacy on the culture of Britain. Roman construction such as aqueducts, roads, and concrete had a lasting impact on the people of Britain. Other aspects of Roman culture that remained in England included the Julian calendar, Roman laws and government, and many words from the Latin language.

The Romans also established the city of Londinium around 50 AD, which later became London. The Romans built a network of roads throughout England many of which went through Londinium making the city an important trade center.

The Romans built many major structures in Londinium including temples, bathhouses, a basilica for meetings, and a governor's palace. Around 200 AD, they built a defensive wall around the city called London Wall. The wall was around three miles long, 20 feet high, and 8 feet wide.

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1066 and the Norman Conquest

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The Surprisingly Cool History of Ice

Until two centuries ago, ice was just an unfortunate side effect of winter. But in the early 1800s, one man saw dollar signs in frozen ponds. Frederic Tudor not only introduced the world to cold glasses of water on hot summer days, he created a thirst people never realized they had.

In 1805, two wealthy brothers from Boston were at a family picnic, enjoying the rare luxuries of cold beverages and ice cream. They joked about how their chilled refreshments would be the envy of all the colonists sweating in the West Indies. It was a passing remark, but it stuck with one of the brothers. His name was Frederic Tudor, and 30 years later, he would ship nearly 12,000 tons of ice halfway around the globe to become the "Ice King."


Nothing in Tudor's early years indicated that he would invent an industry. He had the pedigree to attend Harvard but dropped out of school at the age of 13. After loafing for a few years, he retired to his family's country estate to hunt, fish, and play at farming. When his brother, William, quipped that they should harvest ice from the estate's pond and sell it in the West Indies, Frederic took the notion seriously. After all, he had little else to do.

Frederic convinced William to join him in a scheme to ship ice from New England to the Caribbean. Tudor reasoned that once people tried it, they'd never want to live without it. During the next six months, the brothers pooled their money and laid out plans to ship their product to the French island of Martinique, where they hoped to create a monopoly on ice.

No one believed the idea would work. In fact, no ship in Boston would agree to transport the unusual cargo, so Frederic spent nearly $5000 (a big chunk of the seed money) buying a ship of his own. On February 10, 1806, the Boston Gazette

reported, "No joke. A vessel with a cargo of 80 tons of ice has cleared out from this port for Martinique. We hope this will not prove to be a slippery speculation."

It did. Although the ice arrived in Martinique in perfect condition, no one wanted to buy it. Tudor desperately explained how the cold blocks of ice could be used in the stifling Caribbean heat, but islanders weren't convinced.

After an inauspicious start, William pulled out of the partnership. The following winter, Frederic was on his own. Remarkably, he drummed up enough money to send another shipment of ice to the Indies. But when a trade embargo left much of the Caribbean off-limits for two years, Frederic was left twiddling his thumbs. Meanwhile, the Tudor family fortune had dwindled in a shady real estate deal in South Boston.

Despite financial woes, Frederic persisted, and his ice business finally turned a profit in 1810. But a series of circumstances—including war, weather, and relatives needing bailouts—kept him from staying in the black for too long. Between 1809 and 1813, he landed in debtors's prison three times and spent the rest of the time hiding from the sheriff.


Perhaps it was his Yankee entrepreneurial spirit, or perhaps monomania, but Tudor was obsessed with the idea that ice would make him rich. During the next decade, he developed clever new techniques to convince people that they actually needed ice, including a "first one's free" pitch. While living in a South Carolina boarding house in 1819, Tudor made a habit of bringing a cooler of chilled beverages to the dinner table. His fellow boarders always scoffed at the sight, but after a sip or two, they'd inevitably fall in love with his ice. Tudor traveled around the country and convinced barkeeps to offer chilled drinks at the same price as regular drinks—to see which would become more popular. He also taught restaurants how to make ice cream, and reached out to doctors and hospitals to convince them that ice was the perfect way to cool feverish patients. The truth is that people never knew they needed ice until Tudor made them try it. Once they did, they couldn't live without it.

By 1821, Tudor's business was strengthening. He'd created real demand for his product in Savannah, Charleston, New Orleans, and even Havana, but he still needed to refine his operation. Enter Nathaniel Wyeth, an innovator who became Tudor's foreman in 1826. Using a horse-drawn plow to cut the ice into large grids, Wyeth invented a much faster harvesting method. He also put an assembly process into place. Laborers sawed the blocks apart and plunked them into canals to float them downstream. Then a conveyor belt would hoist the blocks from the water and carry them up to icehouses, where they'd be stacked up to 80 feet high.

Still, only one-tenth of the ice harvested made it to sale. What's worse, the whole operation was incredibly unsafe. In addition to those towering stacks of ice, numb hands, sharp instruments, and frigid waters made the process dangerous. The 300-pound blocks of ice could slide easily, knocking down men and breaking their limbs. Ice harvesters often developed "ice man's knees," which were bruised and bloodied from days of shoving solid ice.

Despite these drawbacks, Wyeth's ingenious methods were a major improvement on prior harvesting practices. With the inventor by his side, Tudor asserted his long-fomenting monopoly and became known as the "Ice King." Tudor's reputation solidified in 1833 when he shipped 180 tons of ice halfway across the world to British colonists in Calcutta. The venture was so successful that it reopened trade routes between India and Boston.

Back at home, Tudor continued to dominate the scene. By 1847, nearly 52,000 tons of ice traveled by ship or train to 28 cities across the United States. Nearly half the ice came from Boston, and most of it was Tudor's. He also maintained ice-harvesting rights to key ponds throughout Massachusetts. Even Henry David Thoreau watched Tudor's workers harvest Walden Pond and waxed philosophic about the scene in his diary: "The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges."


Frederic Tudor died in 1864, finally rich again. By that time, everyone with access to a frozen body of water was in on the action. Ice boomtowns sprouted along the Kennebec River in Maine, where farmers found year-round employment. The 1860s became the peak competitive period of American ice harvesting, and Tudor's company prospered. Even during the Civil War, when the South was cut off from ice supplies in the North, the ice industry continued to grow in New England and in the Midwest.

As American society grew more accustomed to fresh meats, milk, and fruit, the ice industry expanded into one of the most powerful industries in the nation. At the turn of the 20th century, nearly every family, grocer, and barkeep in America had an icebox. But ironically, America's dependence on ice created the very technology that would lead to the decline of the ice empire—electric freezers and refrigerators. During the early 1900s, these appliances became more reliable, and by 1940, five million units had been sold. With freezers allowing people to make ice at home, there was little need to ship massive quantities across the country.

Today, the ice industry pulls in $2.5 billion a year, but it's nowhere near as dominant as it used to be. Most of the business is from pre-packaged, direct-to-consumer ice (the stuff you buy for your beer cooler). Still, that doesn't mean we shouldn't be grateful. The next time you put your lips to a slushie, or an iced tea, or a chilled martini, or a cold beer on a hot day, take a moment to thank the crazy Yankee who had the vision to turn water into money.

England Around 910 CE - History

Who were the Celts?

From around 750 BC to 12 BC, the Celts were the most powerful people in central and northern Europe. There were many groups (tribes) of Celts, speaking a vaguely common language.

The word Celt comes from the Greek word, Keltoi, which means barbarians and is properly pronounced as "Kelt".

Interesting fact

No-one called the people living in Britain during the Iron Age, Celts until the eighteenth century. In fact the Romans called these people Britons, not Celts. The name Celts is a 'modern' name and is used to collectively describe all the many tribes of people living during the Iron Age.

When did the Celts live in Europe?

The Iron Age Celts lived here 750 years before Jesus was born. The Iron Age ended in AD43 (43 years after Jesus was born) when the Romans invaded Britain.

Why are the Celts called Iron Age Celts?

The period of time in Britain immediately before the Roman period is known as the Iron Age. The name 'Iron Age' comes from the discovery of a new metal called iron. The Celts found out how to make iron tools and weapons.

Before the Iron Age the only metal used in Britain to make tools was bronze, which is an alloy of copper and tin (hence the Bronze Age).

Where did the Celts come from?

The Celts lived across most of Europe during the Iron Age.

Several hundred years before Julius Caesar, they occupied many parts of central and western Europe, especially what are now Austria, Switzerland, southern France and Spain. Over several years, in wave after wave, they spread outwards, taking over France and Belgium, and crossing to Britain.

Northwest Europe was dominated by three main Celtic groups:

Written accounts

People visiting Britain wrote of their impressions of the people and things they saw. Many of these reports are biased.

"Most of the inland inhabitants [of Britain] do not sow corn, but live on milk and flesh, and are clad with skins. All the Britons indeed, dye themselves with woad, which occasions a bluish colour, and thereby have a more terrible appearance in fight. They wear their hair long, and have every part of their body shaved except their head and upper lip. "
Julius Caesar (A Roman Emperor)

Much of what Caesar wrote about has since been proved wrong. First, we know that, early Britons did sow corn. Their ancestors had been farming for hundreds of years. Second, they weren't clad in skins. The Bronze Age introduced sewing implements that made it possible to tailor clothing. Third, not every Britain covered themselves in woad.

"They are very tall in stature, with rippling muscles under clear white skin. Their hair is blond, but not naturally so: they bleach it, to this day, artificially, washing it in lime and combing it back from their foreheads. They look like wood-demons, their hair thick and shaggy like a horse's mane. Some of them are clean-shaven, but others - especially those of high rank - shave their cheeks but leave a moustache that covers the whole mouth"
Diodorus Siculus (A Roman historian)

You can read more reports on our other Celt pages using the links on the left handside of this page.

© Copyright - please read
All the materials on these pages are free for homework and classroom use only. You may not redistribute, sell or place the content of this page on any other website or blog without written permission from the author Mandy Barrow.

Watch the video: Hrady a zamky Anglie (July 2022).


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