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English

Beset by many threats, the English unite under the fluttering flag, the holy verses, and the law of the land. Obedience and dedication to lord and liege are paramount.

The first unified Kingdom of England emerged in the 10th century when the King of Wessex unified the territories of Mercia, Northumbria, and East Anglia. Saxon and Danish influences, enriched by the traditions of the Norman lords, produced a centralized feudal system based on land ownership and agriculture.

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Between the seventh and eleventh centuries, the British Isles were one of the main migratory routes for Germanic and Nordic populations living on the coasts of the North Sea. The Angles, Jutes, Saxons, and Danes began to established territories and settlements in fertile areas of land, which formed the basis of counties and would be controlled by the Norman lords after 1066. On his accession to the throne, William the Conqueror enhanced the monarchical system to reform, extend, and reinforce the agrarian structure already firmly established in the central regions of England. Underpinning this system was the hide, which was a unit of land sufficient to support a household linked to its exploitation. These were grouped around the estate of a lord, who was responsible for local administration and tax collection. Improved crop production led to steady population growth and the development of urban centers until the mid-13th century. The addition of continental territories to the English crown’s possessions by the Norman and Plantagenet rulers (1066–1485) heightened tensions between England and France for over three centuries. The enduring state of conflict between these two kingdoms resulted in the need for and creation of councils of lords to help them administer the kingdom. Little by little, these councils acquired new powers and evolved into the two chambers of British Parliament that we know today.

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Norman customary law was developed between the 10th and 13th centuries based on elements of Frankish and Scandinavian law and had a profound influence on the English legal system. The principles established in Norman customary law remain the basic pillars of the legal system in the Channel Islands of Jersey, Guernsey, Sark, and Alderney. These islands remain under the authority of the British monarch, who still bears the title of Duke of Normandy.