Whats foreigners understanding of British history?

Discussion in 'The NAAFI Bar' started by TheKing, Mar 14, 2009.

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  1. OK, in the UK we regard our history highly and the emphasis, whether satirically or affectionately, we hold our monarchy and its 1000 history in esteemed regard.

    Everyone knows Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I, Charles II, James I, etc etc don't they? Or do they?

    What level of understanding do you have for the Dutch monarchy? Polish medievel history? The assyrians? When travelling outside of this sceptre'd isle of ours I notice that lots of people refer to Britain's Queen as "the Queen" (particularly Americans) rather than UK Queen, etc. It's as though there's only one main Queen left, that's ours. Quite impressive but what of our history, are people from around the world familiar with Henry VIII?, Tower of London, Civil war etc etc as much as we think, or indeed more so than their understanding of other significant countries?

    I tend to find this to be the case, but recently abroad someone didn't know who the Queen was so I was kind of brought back down to earth, i.e I realised our long history is really just one of thousands and probably isn't well known abroad.
  2. If you're British, you tend to not care for the lesser Johnny Foreigner tribes. After all, England was the template for most of these insignificant outposts. :roll:
  3. What foreigners understand and speak ENGLISH??

    While I was in Germany I learnt GERMAN and I had no intention then of living there but it was right for me to do . . . don't the French make it that those who wish to stay in France learn FRENCH?
  4. Your comment is true for all those over 40.

    The kids know nothing.

    Educashion times 3 as Neu Labour said.

  5. Yes people where saying the same in the 1960s. Most people in their 50s have as bout as much knowledge of the Palace household than your average 15 year old but as they get older, as we all will do, you perhaps get less aggressive to things like monarchy and, church, etc.
  6. I was going to suggest that we learn primarily British history because we are British. On reflection, I think it may be (or at least may have used to be) a combination of the superiority complex that still lingers from the empire and the fact that as a country we have a much longer history than most.

    If I remember when I sober up in the morning, I'll check with the kids and see how many of the above they've learnt about under the modern education system.
  7. im 18 and all i was taught in history class was russian history. i could talk for ages about stolypin but about 3 seconds on charlesII
  8. 26 now but 10 years ago all i learnt were WW1 & WW2
  9. Well, I've found that a fair few of the foreigners I have met have at least a vague idea of British history. The key word there being "vague".

    I'm 22 and know a fair bit about our history...unfortunately most of it is through reading for pleasure rather than being educated. I understand that a fair chunk of simplified British history is taught in primary (which I, being an oil brat, spent in West Africa and HK, so can't comment) but in my secondary education we did a lot on the first and second Little Unpleasantnesses and not much else on British history.

    We did do the Chinese Revolution, the Russian Revolution, the Spanish Civil War, Vietnam and innumerable other foreign topics but sweet f.a. about our history.

    And Charlie: Most of the foreigners abroad seem to speak English...it's the ones over here that don't!
  10. Nope nope and nope , but I can tell you all about the suffragettes , civil rights movements, the industrial revoloution and the run up to WW2 (never got to do the juicy bits though). Not big on monarchy , my old school. We spent alot of time looking at a certain large republic too. Them commies are turnin' the kids again' us...
  11. Foreigners understanding of our history goes like this:-

    White man came from sea.
    We gave gifts on beach to him.
    White man say "I claim this land in the name of (insert name of current British monarch)".
    White man then use his fire stick & many people die.
    White man then set up trading posts & strip our country bare of its natural resources.
    White man then give us independence & tell us how lucky we are.
    White man goes home.

    Fast forward a couple of decades years.
    History of the UK now goes like this:-

    Illegal immigrant came from sea.
    We gave him house & benefits & citizenship.
    Legal immigrant then imports all extended family.
    Legal immigrant says "I claim this land in (insert diety of choice)".
    Legal Immigrant then use his home made bombs & many people die.
    Etc, etc, etc................
  12. Karma , innit.
  13. Is that like Weightwatchers, F Plan or something?
  14. Is that my taxi?
  15. Mag to grid.