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The Mau Mau Uprising

In the early 1950s, many parts of Africa were looking to throw off the colonial rule of their European masters and seek independence.

In the British colony of Kenya, local Kikuyu tribesmen formed a resistance group, calling themselves the Kenya Land and Freedom Army (KLFA). Their unofficial name of Mau Mau, is believed to be an anagram of the Kikuyu word “Uma Uma” (Get Out! Get Out!).

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The Barons' War

King Henry's heavy taxes to pay for his dynastic ambitions in Europe, plus bad weather and widespread famine, provoked civil unrest in England leading to civil war.

200 years after the Norman invasion the country's nobility had largely become anglicized and viewed France and Europe in general with suspicion.

French born Simon de Montfort was tolerated as a councillor of King Henry III, but things changed when he inherited through his mother, the title of Earl of Leicester and became a focal point for those nobles unhappy with the perceived misuse of power by the king. The situation worsened when he married the king's sister Eleanor without first seeking royal consent.

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Bannockburn and After

King Edward II had infuriated his barons by his refusal to consult with them or take their advice and instead was influenced by his coterie of hangers on such as Gaveston and Despenser. Revolt and open defiance of his rule was spreading throughout the old nobility and was to result in a crushing English defeat at the hands of the Scots.

Taking advantage of the unrest, Robert the Bruce of Scotland had not been idle and was gradually retaking the castles captured and garrisoned by Edward’s father and by 1313 only Stirling castle remained in English hands. The Scots besiegers were led by Edward, the brother of Robert Bruce.

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The Fate of Wales under Edward I

Despite a bitter campaign to preserve Welsh independence, Llywelyin and David were finally killed. The Welsh would have to wait for more than 100 years before Glendower made a fresh claim for the principality.

Edward arrived back in England from his crusade in August 1274, he had been proclaimed king on the death of his father without opposition reflecting the regard for his prowess and renown as a warrior, called in his time “the best lance in the world”. He was crowned in 1274 at Westminster Abbey.

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