A Timeline of Firsts in the Development of English

  • 410

    Engla land

    Engla land
    After the Romans left, the Jutes, Angles and Saxons began invading Britain. The Anglo-Saxons became the dominant tribe. In Latin the name Angles was Angli. This later mutated in OE to Engla. Engla land used to refer to the homeland of all 3 tribes. This later mutatted to England. Read more ...
  • Period: 410 to Dec 31, 1050

    Old English AD

  • 450

    First surviving OE runic inscription on Medal

    First surviving OE runic inscription on Medal
    The first known written English sentence, which reads "This she-wolf is a reward to my kinsman", is an Anglo-Saxon runic inscription on a gold medallion found in Suffolk, and has been dated to about 450-480 AD. Read more
  • 597

    St Augustine's Mission to Britain

    St Augustine's Mission to Britain
    Whilst Christianity was already in England it is St Augistine's mission from the Pope in Rome to King Aethelbert of Kent is credited with the future course of Christianity.
    Read more ...
  • 597

    Latin - Language of Church and School

    Latin - Language of Church and School
    After paganism came the Catholic Church. Latin was the language of the Church. The Church was responsible for establishing the schools with the first school, The King's School of Canterbury, founded by the abbey in 597CE. English replaced Latin in most schools in 1348.
  • Jul 1, 650

    First surviving Old English Runic Inscription

    First surviving Old English Runic Inscription
    Their is a debate about whether the Ruthwell Cross or Frank's Casket are the first surving OE runic inscription. Ruthwell's Cross includes Cademon's Hymn, the first example of OE poetry.
  • Jul 1, 1000

    Beowulf Manuscript

    Beowulf Manuscript
    Read more ...Only surviving copy of the Beowulf manuscript is held at the British Museum. The manuscript is printed on Vellum. It is about events in Denmark and Sweden in the 5th or 6th centuries.
  • Period: Dec 31, 1050 to Dec 31, 1450

    Middle English

  • Sep 28, 1066

    French is the language of the court and law

    French is the language of the court and law
    It is believed King Edward of England named William the Conqueror as his successor. On Edward's death Harold Godwinson, the 2nd most powerful person in England, assumed the throne. William invaded England, fought King Harold at the Battle of Hastings and won. William was crowned King on 25/12/1066. As a result French became the language of government and its institutions including the court system. Today we still use the French words introduced to court from the events of 1066.
  • Jul 1, 1343

    Geoffrey Chaucer born circa

    Geoffrey Chaucer born circa
    Historians are unsure of Chaucer's actual dob. He was considered to be the the greatest English poet of the middle ages and is known as the 'Father of Literature'. He was a prolific writer but his most famous book would be Canterbury Tales. Chaucer was the first poet to be buried in 'Poet's Corner' in Westminster Abbey.
  • Jul 1, 1348

    English replaces Latin in Schools

    English replaces Latin in Schools
    Note: Oxford and Cambridge retained Latin as the language of their schools.
  • Jan 1, 1350

    Great Vowel Shift (GVS)

    Great Vowel Shift (GVS)
    Changing how English sounds today to that spoken by Chaucer was the GVS. The actual period over which the change occurred. Some argue it began slowly in the 12th century with the greatest change occurring between 1500-1600 whilst others argue it continues today. Most agree the many of the changes occurred from the 14th century to the 18th century. Read more ...
  • Jul 1, 1362

    Pleading in English Act 1362

    Pleading in English Act 1362
    The Pleading in English Act 1362 replaced the use of Law French and Latin in the court on the basis that most people did not know what was being said to/about them in court.
  • Jul 1, 1380

    Reformation and Renaissance 14th-17th Century

    Reformation and Renaissance 14th-17th Century
    The Catholic Church was politically and spiritually very powerful. Internally there were major power struggles and it was corrupt. This state of affairs led to the Renaisaance and Reformation. Some argue the Reformation began with Martin Luther in 1517.Others argue it began with the schism of t he papacy in 1378. The Renaissance was a revival of the the Arts. The Renaissance took the focus of the people away from the Church.
  • Period: Dec 31, 1450 to

    Early Modern English

  • Jul 1, 1476

    Caxton Introduce Printing Press

    Caxton Introduce Printing Press
    William Caxton originally an importer and translator of books travelled to France to study the art of printing. He introduced the first printing press into England. Other presses were later introduced. The introduction of this technology, a desire to have books read beyond the local area and an agreement between printers is considered to be one of the factors leading to the standardisation of English spelling.
  • Jul 1, 1476

    Publication of Canterbury Tales

    Publication of Canterbury Tales
    Read more ...</a>Canterbury Tales was written by Geoffrey Chaucer between 1387 and 1400. "It is the story of a group of thirty people who travel as pilgrims to Canterbury (England). The pilgrims, who come from all layers of society, tell stories to each other to kill time while they travel to Canterbury", <a href='http://www.bl.uk/treasures/caxton/homepage.html' >
  • Jul 1, 1526

    Tynsdale Translation into English - New Testament

    Tynsdale Translation into English - New Testament
    The New Testament was translated into English fby William Tynsdale 1525 -1526. Tyndale's translation was considered heretical in England. His Bibles were smuggled into the country in bales of cloth. Those discovered owning them were punished. At first only the books were destroyed, but soon heretics would be burned too - including Tyndale himself in 1536, (http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/sacredtexts/tyndale.html, Accessed 23/9/2015).
  • Apr 23, 1564

    William Shakespeare 1564 - 1662

    William Shakespeare 1564 - 1662
    William Shakespeare was a poet, author and actor. He is regarded as the greatest writer in the English Language. Whilst no birth records exist, from his baptism on April 26, 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, it is estimated he was born on 23 April 1564. He was a prolific writer, writing 37 plays and many sonnets. He married Anne Hathaway on 28/11/1652. They had 3 children. Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616 at Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom.
  • First English Dictionary

    First English Dictionary
    Robert Cawdrey's published a Table Alphabeticall in 1604. It was the first single-language English dictionary ever published. It lists approximately 3000 words, defining each one with a simple and brief description.
  • Publication of King James Bible

    Publication of King James Bible
    The King James Bible is not the first translation of the Bible into English, but it is considered to be one of the best because of the language and rhythm of the translation.
  • Oroonoki: History of the Royal Slave by Aphra Behn

    Oroonoki: History of the Royal Slave by Aphra Behn
    Oroonoko tells the tale of an African prince captured and brought as a slave to a sugarcane plantation in Surinam.The author achieved fame for her publication. Previously she had been a spy for King Charles II, one-time prisoner in debtor’s jail, a controversial political writer and Restoration dramatist, Aphra Behn was born in 1640 and died in 1689.
  • Period: to

    Modern English

  • First Publication of The Daily Courant

    First Publication of The Daily Courant
    Edward and Elizabeth Mallet began publishing the 'Daily Courant" on 11/3/1702, it was a single sheet of newsprint. The "Daily Courant "was Engliand's first English regular newspaper. It ceased publication in 1735.
  • Publication of Swift's Proposal

    Publication of Swift's Proposal
    Swift felt the English Language was in chaos. He wrote to Robert Hadley who was leader of the government at the time. Swift The model was to be based on French Academy. The effect of Swift's proposal would have been to establish an official English Language controlling grammar and reintroducing some words which were disappearing.
  • Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of EL

    Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of EL
  • Publication of Short Introduction of English Grammar

    Publication of Short Introduction of English Grammar
    Robert Lowth, the author (compiler) of 'Short Introduction of English Grammar' was an academic and an Anglican bishop. The book was re-issued around 45 times between 1762 and 1800.
  • First Telgraph Msg Washington D.C. to Baltimore

    First Telgraph Msg Washington D.C. to Baltimore
    Message sent by the inventor Samuel B Morse. The telegraphic line was experimental. The first message sent was suggested to Samuel Morse by Annie Ellsworth the daughter of a friend. The message said, "What hath God wrought?" It was taken from the Bible.
  • First Release Fox Movietone News

    First Release Fox Movietone News
    Fox newsreels appeared in theatres during the silent era. William Fox partnered with Theodore Case and Earl from 1926. Case and Sponable had been working on an optical sound. system to put sound onto film. They were successful and Fox bought the patents from the inventors. The first showing of Fox Movietone News with synchronised sound was at the Roxy Theatre in NYC .It showed Charles Lindburgh taking off and landing his aeroplane.
  • First working digital computer

    First working digital computer
    The first modern digital computer, Colossus, was run at Bletchley Park in Britain. It was used to help break the German's coded messages.
  • First working computer in America

    Work started on other computers prior to UNIVAC but weren't completed until after the dedication of UNIVAC. The UNIVAC was the "first commercially produced electronic digital computer", (http://inventors.about.com/od/uvstartinventions/a/UNIVAC.htm)
  • Birth of the Internet

    Birth of the Internet
    The internet is a global interconnection of computer networks. Work began on its creation in the 1950s. Originally connecting universities with time-sharing computers, early business systems for applications such as airline reservations, and the US Dept of Defense's ARPANET. IFinally, in1994, tthe internet became a commercial reality. On October 24, 1995, the FNC defined the term 'internet'. N.B. The internet is not the World Wide Web. <a href='http://www.computerhistory.org/internet_history/' >