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NB: I won't quiz students specifically over these dates unless they appear in other study questions for a specific reading. However, students will impress me if they make reference to them (accurately) as part of their mid-term or final essay examinations. It is more impressive if I can see the student understands why the date is important as a useful milestone, rather than a mere demonstration of the student's ability to regurgitate numbers.

Twelve Dates Every Historian of English Should Know


410: Roman troops pull out of Britain
449
: Traditional date the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes invade the part of Britain that will become England, introducing Old English as a language to the Celtic-speaking island. The Jutes under Hengest and Horsa conquer Kent (southeastern section of modern England).
597: St. Augustine the Lesser undertakes mission to Kent and begins conversion of Anglo-Saxons to Christianity
731: The Venerable Bede completes The Ecclesiastical History of the English People
793: Vikings sack Lindisfarne.
878: Formation of the Danelaw
1066: Norman Conquest commences with the Battle of Hastings--marks the start of Middle English (c. 1066-1450).
1400-50: Main sequences of the Great Vowel Shift take place
1476: Caxton's printing press set up in England.
1616: Shakespeare's death
1755: Samuel Johnson completes his A Dictionary of the English Language.
1828: Noah Webster publishes in two quarto volumes An American Dictionary of the English Language.

 

 

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