Why does history matter?

A walk out of Africa

70,000 years ago homosapians walked out of Africa. They dispersed across the world and some even ended up in Britain. They wandered around a bit and then the next Ice Age came. There was no chasing of peanuts, there was just bloody cold and the prospect of freezing to death sent them back to Europe. Bloody immigrants. It was easy back then, there was no sea between us and the Continent. Around 10,000 years ago the thaw came and we traipsed back to sunny Britain without a care in the world. Then came the monster tsunami about 8000 years ago and now we were stuck here. Bugger. No more trips back to the Continent for fresh beer and Italian girls. Oh well. They built Stonehenge instead and invented the Bronze Age and chucked some swords in the swamp near Peterborough.

Italian girls and candles

Until just about 2000 years ago when the Romans arrived. With Italian girls, straight roads, bath houses and a bloody great wall to keep the Scots out. Smart move. After 400 years or so they went back home as someone had left the kettle on and Rome had burnt down whilst the Emperor played the fiddle.

That confused us. What about all these potholes? Who was going to keep the water hot? Where have the Italian girls gone? It was a nightmare and with only candles to light the country we called it the Dark Ages. Hang on though, who are this lot coming here? The Angles and the Saxons from Germany. Even better, busty girls and beer. They stayed awhile and renamed the place Angle-land – the land of the Angles. Which confused everyone learning maths.

Uh oh, it’s the Vikings

Things settled down again until the Vikings attacked Lindsifarne. There they were, little baldy monks thrashing themselves with twigs and writing pretty books and a bunch of hooligans from Norway turned up and kicked the shit out of them. They were followed by more oiks from Sweden and Denmark. It seemed like everyone wanted to come here for our tin, gold, wheat and dirty girls (does this sound familiar?)

In 875 King Alfred decided he was crap at cooking and beat the Danes instead. He kept the south of England and the Danes kept the north – as in where we are standing now. He was a wise king and founded schools and invented new laws, but his chances in the Great British Bake Off were still scuppered. His grandson Athlestan was the first king of Britain though. By then the country was called Englo-land; we were getting our identity. He even kept away the naughty Vikings when they tried to take over again. After he died they came back though and one of the Vikings kings was a right Cnut – although he couldn’t hold the tide back.

Now here’s the French

A few years after him was Edward the Confessor, the only English king ever made a saint and it’s not looking likely to change any time soon. He made an almighty cock up though promising the crown to Harold and William the Bastard. When Harold took the throne in January 1066 on the death of Edward William got the right hump and said he was invading even if he had to build a tunnel. Instead he got a bunch of ships together, slung a load of orcs in them (Orcs was an Anglo-Saxon word meaning ‘devils’) and invaded in October 1066. We all know what happened there.

A bunch of mongrels

And since then things have been pretty much set. This island nation is full of immigrants because we all descend from those first Africans. Peel away the colour of our skin and we are all the same. Our language is 70% French. The 3 Lions on the shirt: French. The red cross on the white background, devised in France during the Crusades. The Bible? King James – a Scot.

So here we sit. A mongrel nation trying to deny that we are anything but. If you want to get rid of rascism, if you want to destroy patriotism, if you want to think of us as anything but a nation of people (not British, English or European) then learn your bloody history.

 

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