Whats foreigners understanding of British history?

#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
TheKing said:
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..
Your comment is true for all those over 40.

The kids know nothing.


Educashion times 3 as Neu Labour said.

.
 
#5
smallbore said:
TheKing said:
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..
Your comment is true for all those over 40.

The kids know nothing.


Educashion times 3 as Neu Labour said.

.
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.

smallbore said:
Your comment is true for all those over 40.

The kids know nothing.

Educashion times 3 as Neu Labour said.
TheKing said:
Everyone knows Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I, Charles II, James I, etc etc don't they? Or do they?
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
 
#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
DeeJay said:
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.

smallbore said:
Your comment is true for all those over 40.

The kids know nothing.

Educashion times 3 as Neu Labour said.
TheKing said:
Everyone knows Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I, Charles II, James I, etc etc don't they? Or do they?
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.
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................
 
#13
Miner said:
Legal immigrant says "I claim this land in (insert diety of choice)".
Is that like Weightwatchers, F Plan or something?
 
#15
Mag to grid.
 
#16
Who cares about history johnny foreigner will always blame it on the English as they are not very good at joining up all the dots of history.

we where once a nice peaceful island race then the Romans, Normans, Vikings and catholic church taught us how to make war. Our true kings and queens are long gone but somebody kindly replaced them with a bunch of Germans.
 
#17
Miner said:
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................

A generic history lesson in one!!
 
#19
As to what is known of British history outside of the UK, I am a fairly average septic sort. I had some required history courses in high school and college. No British history but some coverage in world history courses and US history courses. I never majored in history or took history courses that were not required.

This thread prompted me to think about what I know about the UK and it's history. I found I was able to list all monarchs back to the first Monarch of Great Britain, Anne. Before that I am shaky although my son's college was originally King William College (name changed on American revolution). I can remember most not all of the wars but cannot for the life of me tell you what you got out of the War of Austrian Succession other than French acceptance of the Act of Succession. I draw a blank on the opium wars and I never have and probably never will understand the Corn Laws and what relationship they have to enclosure (if any).

As to the UK's role in popular thought and speech when we say "The Queen" we mean Elizabeth and when we say the Royal Navy we mean the British navy, not the Royal Dutch, Royal Swedish, Royal Norwegian etc. In fact when you use the word Royal with Americans it is assumed to be British. When describing a palace at an Italian ski area to a friend I mentioned that it was owned by the royal family and my friend immediately assumed I meant your royal family when i meant that the palace was owned by the Italian royal family.

Many Americans would know more UK history than me. Many would know less but some people here don't even understand US history. In general Americans know more about UK history than about any other foreign country and probably know as much about the UK as they know about all other countries combined.
 
#20
It is a sad fact that, as DavidBOC points out, few foreigners a actually learn British History (aka World History). Which is a shame, because they don't get a chance to grasp how great the world really is, and their lowly position in it.

British History should be mandatory to everyone in the world. Which would also mean less wars and violence, as everyone realises that they are all the same.... potential subjects of the British.

Once proper History is taught, then perhaps the various nations of the world will ask Britain to take them over again, and to rule them with a fist of iron. The British Empire rises, the curse of the EU and UN falls, and the World goes forth in to prosperity and peace.

Foreginers are like children really, we nurtured them and then we gave them their freedom to grow in themselves, some had to ask for help or money along the way, like an errant child in Uni finding out the realities of life away from their guardian. They'll come back to the fold.

CharlieBubbles said:
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?
Then you are a rebel and a traitor, take him away.

We defeated both of those countries, they should speak English, in gratitude that we didn't out law their language.

When abroad I personnally find speaking English, Clearly, Loudly, As an order and with Pauses gets the job done.

Sometimes I have to repeat, with a more volume, but soon enough the English language breaks down the barriers of ignorance in the foreigners head, and the foreigner understands.

For particularly stubborn foreigners, such as the French, I find a clip round the head, or a kick up the bum soon gets the discussion flowing in the right direction.

"Garcon, fetch me some Tea".
"But I is the President de France".
"What is that? Some sort of tinpot rank in your traffic wardens? Char, and get jaldi with it, chop chop."
"Oui, Monsiure".

English and obedience to those speaking English is hard wired in to most foreigners. Especially those who were once our loyal subjects or have felt the fury of a red coated musket volley.

I heartly recommend you watch "It ain't half hot mum", for a display of how a British should act whilst amongst the riff raff.
 
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