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 Post subject: History overview
PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 5:35 pm 
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Location: Ryde, Isle of Wight, UK
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Early history

The Isle of Wight is first mentioned in writing in Geography by Claudius Ptolemaeus.

At the end of the Roman Empire the island of Vectis became a Jutish kingdom ruled by King Stuf and his successors until AD 661 when it was invaded by Wulfhere of Mercia and forcibly converted to Christianity at sword point. When he left for Mercia the islanders reverted to paganism.

In AD 685 it was invaded by Caedwalla of Wessex and can be considered to have become part of Wessex. Following the accession of West Saxon kings as kings of all England, it then became part of England. The island became part of the shire of Hampshire and was divided into hundreds as was the norm.

In 686, it became the last part of England to convert to Christianity.[5][6][7]

The island suffered especially from the Vikings. Alfred the Great's navy defeated the Danes in 871 after they had "ravaged Devon and the Isle of Wight".
Memorial to Charles I at Carisbrooke Castle

Middle ages

The Norman Conquest created the position of Lord of the Isle of Wight. Carisbrooke Priory and the fort of Carisbrooke Castle were founded. The island did not come under full control of the Crown until it was sold by the dying last Norman Lord, Lady Isabella de Fortibus, to Edward I in 1293.

The Lordship thereafter became a royal appointment, with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick was in 1444 crowned King of the Isle of Wight,[8] with King Henry VI assisting in person at the ceremony, placing the crown on his head. With no male heir, the regal title expired on the death of Henry de Beauchamp.

Henry VIII, who developed the Royal Navy and its permanent base at Portsmouth, fortified the island at Yarmouth, East and West Cowes, and Sandown. Much later, after the Spanish Armada in 1588, the threat of Spanish attacks remained and the outer fortifications of Carisbrooke Castle were built between 1597 and 1602.
Civil war

During the English Civil War King Charles fled to the Isle of Wight, believing he would receive sympathy from the governor, Robert Hammond. Hammond was appalled, and imprisoned the King in Carisbrooke Castle.
Osborne House and its grounds are now open to the public
Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria made Osborne House on the Isle of Wight her summer home for many years and, as a result, it became a major holiday resort for fashionable Victorians including Alfred Lord Tennyson, Julia Margaret Cameron, Charles Dickens (who wrote much of David Copperfield there) and members of European royalty.

During her reign, in 1897, the world's first radio station[9] was set up by Marconi, at the Needles battery, at the western tip of the island.

Modern history

During the Second World War the island was frequently bombed. With its proximity to France the island also had a number of observation stations and transmitters, and was the starting-point for one of the earlier Operation Pluto pipelines to feed fuel to the Normandy landings.

The Needles battery was used as the site for testing and development of the Black Arrow and Black Knight space rockets, subsequently launched from Woomera, Australia.

The Isle of Wight Festival was a very large rock festival that took place near Afton Down, West Wight in 1970, following two smaller concerts in 1968 and 1969. The 1970 show was notable both for being one of the last public performances by Jimi Hendrix and for the number of attendees reaching, by many estimates, 600,000.[10] The Festival was revived in 2002 and is now an annual event.
Physical geography and wildlife
Isle of Wight map.

Isle of Wight is approximately diamond-shaped and covers an area of 380 km2 (147 sq mi). Slightly more than half of the island, mainly in the west of the island, is designated as the Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The island has 258 km2 (99.6 sq mi) of farmland, 52 km2 (20 sq mi) of developed areas, and 92 km (57 mi) of coastline. The landscape of the island is remarkably diverse, leading to its oft-quoted description of "England in Miniature". West Wight is predominantly rural, with dramatic coastlines dominated by the famous chalk downland ridge, running across the whole island and ending in The Needles stacks — perhaps the most photographed aspect of the Isle of Wight. The highest point on the island is St Boniface Down, at 241 m (791 ft), which is a Marilyn.
The famous view at The Needles and Alum Bay.

The rest of the island landscape also has great diversity, with perhaps the most notable habitats being the soft cliffs and sea ledges, which are spectacular features as well as being very important for wildlife, and are internationally protected. The River Medina flows north into the Solent, whilst the other main river, the River Yar flows roughly north-east, emerging at Bembridge Harbour at the eastern end of the island. Confusingly, there is another entirely separate river at the western end also called the River Yar flowing the short distance from Freshwater Bay to a relatively large estuary at Yarmouth. To distinguish them, they may be referred to as the Eastern and Western Yar.

The south coast of the island borders the English Channel. Without man's intervention the island might well have been split into three, with the sea breaking through

* at the west end of the island where a bank of pebbles separates Freshwater Bay from the marshy backwaters of the Western Yar east of Freshwater, and
* at the east end of the island where a thin strip of land separates Sandown Bay from the marshy basin of the Eastern Yar, east of Sandown. Yarmouth itself was effectively an island, with water on all sides and only connected to the rest of the island by a regularly breached neck of land immediately east of the town.

Island wildlife is remarkable, and it is one of the few places in England where the red squirrel is flourishing, with a stable population (Brownsea Island is another). Unlike most of England, no grey squirrels are to be found on the island[11], nor are there any wild deer. Instead, rare and protected species such as the dormouse and many rare bats can be found. The Glanville Fritillary butterfly's distribution in the United Kingdom is largely restricted to the edges of the crumbling cliffs of the Isle of Wight.

A competition in 2002 named the Pyramidal Orchid as the Isle of Wight's county flower.[12]

The island is known as one of the most important areas in Europe for dinosaur fossils. The eroding cliffs often reveal previously hidden remains.
Climate

Being one of the most southerly parts of the UK, the Isle of Wight has a milder sub-climate than most other areas, which results in high numbers of holiday-makers, particularly in the resorts in the SE of the island. It also has a longer growing season than most other areas in the UK.[13]

From wikipedia


Last edited by zenobia on Sat Mar 14, 2009 5:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: History overview
PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 5:42 pm 
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The Isle of Wight is an English island and county, located 3-5 miles from the south coast of the mainland, in the English Channel. It is situated south of the county of Hampshire and is separated from mainland Britain by the Solent. Various regular ferry services operate across the Solent: Southampton to Cowes is 9.9 miles (16 km), Portsmouth Harbour to Ryde Pier is 5.07 miles (8 km), Portsmouth Gunwharf to Fishbourne is 7.1 miles (11 km), and Lymington to Yarmouth is 4 miles (6 km). The island's holiday resorts have been popular since Victorian times as a holiday resort. The island is known for its outstanding natural beauty and for its world-famous sailing based at Cowes.

The island has a rich history, including a brief status as a nominally independent kingdom in the 15th century. It was home to the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Queen Victoria built her much loved summer residence and final home Osborne House at East Cowes. The island's maritime and industrial history encompasses boat building, sail making, the manufacture of flying boats, the world's first hovercraft and the testing and development of Britain's space rockets. It is home to the Isle of Wight International Jazz Festival, Bestival and the recently-revived Isle of Wight Festival, which, in 1970, was one of the largest rock music events ever held. The island has some exceptional wildlife and is also one of the richest fossil locations for dinosaurs in Europe.

It has in the past been part of Hampshire; however, it became an independent administrative county (although still sharing the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire) in 1890. In 1974 it was reconstituted as a non-metropolitan and ceremonial county with its own Lord Lieutenant and the name was adopted as a postal county. The island is the smallest ceremonial county in England at high tide (if the City of London is excluded), but its land area at low tide is larger than that of Rutland, normally thought of as Britain's smallest county. With a single Member of Parliament and 132,731 permanent residents according to the 2001 census, it is also the most populated Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom.


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