Majesty and Machinations: A Glimpse into Pre-1900s United Kingdom

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21 Peasants’ Revolt Cause

Peasants' Revolt Cause

In the aftermath of the Black Death in England, peasants found leverage in negotiating better wages due to labor shortages. In response, Parliament enacted the Statute of Labourers in 1351, restraining wage demands to pre-plague levels. This fueled the English Peasants’ Revolt of 1381. Over 70,000 peasants from across England, under the leadership of farmer Wat Tyler, formed the ‘Peasant Army’ which marched into London, sacking parts of the city and targeting affluent elites.


22 Meat Terminology Shift

Meat Terminology Shift

Post the Norman Conquest of England, nobles used French terms for the meat they consumed, while the peasants who raised these animals used Anglo-Saxon. Hence, English has “beef” and “pork” for meat and “cow” and “pig” for the animals it comes from.


23 Coffeehouse Conversations

Coffeehouse Conversations

During the 17th century, coffeehouses were so popular in England that they were often known as “penny universities.” For a penny, one could enjoy coffee and engage in stimulating conversations, spanning politics to literature.


24 Emigrant Remittance Men

Emigrant Remittance Men

Termed “remittance men,” young British emigrants received payments from their families to live abroad, often in Canada or the U.S., with the expectation they would not return home to Britain. This practice originated in the 1880s and continued into the early 20th century.


25 Press Gangs Impression

Press Gangs Impression

In times of war and crises, men with seafaring experience were forcibly taken by press gangs to serve in the Royal Navy. Captured on the streets, they found themselves trapped on ships without escape.


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26 Exaggerated Livestock Art

Exaggerated Livestock Art

Wealthy 19th-century British farmers commissioned exaggerated paintings of large livestock as status symbols, asserting superiority over other livestock breeders.


27 Deadly Variety Show

Deadly Variety Show

The worst human stampede in Britain occurred in June 1883, when 183 children were fatally crushed while rushing to collect gifts from performers after a variety show.


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28 19th-Century Economic Power

19th-Century Economic Power

In the 19th century, Britain was the world’s richest and most advanced economy. Real GDP per capita nearly doubled in the 90 years between 1780 and 1870, reaching $3,263 per person, surpassing the USA’s GDP per person by one-third, and outstripping France and Germany by 70%.


29 Viking Dublin’s History

Viking Dublin's History

In the ninth century, the Norse founded the Viking Kingdom of “Dyflin,” which is now Dublin, Ireland. The name “Dubh Linn” translates to “black pool” in Irish. During this era, Dublin became a significant hub for the slave trade in Western Europe. However, its Viking rule came to an end when the Norman conquerors killed the last Viking king in 1171.


30 Mercia’s Ancient Kingdom

Mercia's Ancient Kingdom

Mercia emerged as one of the three prominent Anglo-Saxon kingdoms established during the settlement of sub-Roman Britain by the Anglo-Saxons. Encompassing the area around the River Trent and its tributaries, it occupied what is now recognized as the English Midlands.


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