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date: 20 July 2017

A chronology of English

Source:
Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language

Appendix 1: A chronology of English

A selection of dates associated with the history and spread of the English language from Roman times to 1998.

55 bc

Roman military expedition to Britain by Julius Caesar.

ad 43

Roman invasion under the emperor Claudius, beginning 400 years of control over much of the island.

150

From around this date, with Roman permission, small numbers of settlers arrive from the coastlands of Germany, speaking dialects ancestral to English.

297

First mention of the Picts of Caledonia, tribes beyond Roman control, well to the north of Hadrian’s Wall.

410

The Goths sack Rome.

436

The end of a period of gradual Roman withdrawal. Britons south of the Wall are attacked by the Picts and by Scots from Ireland. Angles, Saxons, and other Germanic settlers come first as mercenaries to help the Britons, then take over more and more territory.

449

The traditional date for the beginning of Anglo-Saxon settlements.

450–80

The first surviving Old English inscriptions, in runic letters.

495

The Saxon kingdom of Wessex established.

500

The kingdom of Dalriada established in Argyll by Scots from Ireland.

527

The Saxon kingdoms of Essex and Middlesex established.

550

The Angle kingdoms of Mercia, East Anglia, and Northumbria established.

557

At the battle of Deorham, the West Saxons drive a wedge between the Britons of Wales and Cornwall.

597

Aethelberht, king of Kent, welcomes Augustine, and the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons begins.

613

At the battle of Chester, the Angles of Northumbria drive a wedge between the Britons of Wales and Cumbria.

638

Edwin of Northumbria takes Lothian from the Britons.

700

The first manuscript records of Old English from about this time.

792

Scandinavians begin to raid and settle in Britain, Ireland, and France. In 793, they sack the monastery of Lindisfarne, the centre of Northumbrian scholarship.

795

The Danes settle in parts of Ireland.

815

Egbert of Wessex defeats the south-western Britons of Cornwall and incorporates Cornwall into his kingdom.

828

Egbert of Wessex is hailed as bretwalda (lord of Britain), overlord of the Seven Kingdoms of the Angles and Saxons (the Heptarchy). England begins to emerge.

834

The Danes raid England.

843

Kenneth MacAlpin, King of Scots, gains the throne of Pictland.

865

The Danes occupy Northumbria, establish a kingdom at York, and Danish begins to influence English.

871

Alfred becomes king of Wessex, translates works of Latin into English, and establishes the writing of prose in English.

886

The boundaries of the Danelaw are settled.

911

Charles II of France grants lands on the lower Seine to the Viking (Norman = Northman) chief Hrolf the Ganger (Rollo the Rover). The beginnings of Normandy and Norman French.

954

The expulsion of Eric Blood-axe, last Danish king of York.

965

The English invade the northern Welsh kingdom of Gwynedd.

973

Edgar of England cedes Lothian to Kenneth II, King of Scots. Scotland multilingual: Gaelic dominant, Norse in the north, Cumbric in the south-west, English in the south-east, Latin for church and law.

992

A treaty between Ethelred of England and the Normans.

1000

The approximate date of the only surviving manuscript of the Old English epic poem Beowulf.

1007

Ethelred the Unready pays danegeld to stop the Danes attacking England. In 1013, however, they take the country and Ethelred flees to Normandy.

1014

The end of Danish rule in Ireland.

1016–42

The reigns of Canute/Knut and his sons over Denmark, Norway, and England.

1051

Edward the Confessor, King of England, impressed by the Normans and with French-speaking counsellors at his court, names as his heir William, Duke of Normandy, but reneges on his promise before his death.

1066

The Norman Conquest. William defeats Harold Godwin at Hastings, and sets in train the Normanization of the upper classes of the Britain Isles. England multilingual: English the majority language, Danish in the north, Cornish in the far south-west, Welsh on the border with Wales, Norman French at court and in the courts, and Latin in church and school.

1150

The first surviving texts of Middle English.

1167

The closure of the University of Paris to students from England accelerates the development of a university at Oxford.

1171

Henry II invades Ireland and declares himself its overlord, introducing English and Norman French into the island.

1204

King John loses the Duchy of Normandy to France.

1209

The exodus of a number of students from Oxford leads to the establishment of a second university in Cambridge.

1272–1307

The reign of Edward I, who consolidates royal authority in England, and extends it permanently to Wales and temporarily to Scotland.

1282

Death of Llewelyn, last native prince of Wales. In 1301, Edward of England’s son and heir is invested as Prince of Wales.

1284

The Statute of Rhuddlan establishes the law of England in Wales (in French and Latin), but retains the legal use of Welsh.

1314

Robert Bruce re-asserts Scottish independence by defeating Edward II at Bannockburn, an achievement later celebrated in an epic written in Scots.

1337

The outbreak of the Hundred Years War between England and France, which ends with the loss of all England’s French possessions save the Channel Islands.

1343?–1400

The life of Geoffrey Chaucer.

1348

English replaces Latin as medium of instruction in schools, but not at Oxford and Cambridge.

The worst year of the Black Death.

1362

Through the Statute of Pleading, written in French, English replaces French as the language of law in England, but the records continue to be kept in Latin.

English is used for the first time in Parliament.

1384

The publication of John Wycliffe’s English translation of the Latin Bible.

1385

The scholar John of Trevisa notes that ‘in all the gramere scoles of Engelond, children leveth Frensche and construeth and lerneth in Englische.’

1400

By this date the Great Vowel Shift has begun.

1450

Printing by movable type invented in the Rhineland.

1476

The first English book printed: The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye, translated from French by William Caxton, who printed it at Bruges in Flanders. Caxton sets up the first printing press in England, at Westminster. In 1478, he publishes Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.

1485

The Battle of Bosworth, after which the part-Welsh Henry Tudor becomes King of England. Welsh nobles follow him to London.

1492

Christopher Columbus discovers the New World.

1497

Giovanni Caboto (anglicized as ‘John Cabot’), in a ship from Bristol, lands on the Atlantic coast of North America.

1499

The publication of Thesaurus linguae romanae et britannicae (Treasury of the Roman and British Tongues), the first English-to-Latin wordbook, the work of Galfridus Grammaticus (Geoffrey the Grammarian).

1504

The settlement of St John’s on Newfoundland as a shore base for English fisheries.

1507

The German geographer Martin Waldseemüller puts the name America on his map of the world.

1525

The publication of William Tyndale’s translation of the New Testament of the Bible.

1534

Jacques Cartier lands on the Gaspé Peninsula in North America and claims it for France.

1536, 1542

The Statute of Wales (Acts of Union) unites England and Wales, excluding Welsh from official use.

1542

Henry VIII of England proclaims himself King of Ireland.

1549

The publication of the first version of the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England, the work in the main of Thomas Cranmer.

1558–1603

The reign of Elizabeth I.

1560–1620

The plantation of Ireland, first by English settlers and after 1603 also by Scots, establishing English throughout the island and Scots in Ulster.

1564–1616

The life of William Shakespeare.

1583

Sir Humphrey Gilbert establishes Newfoundland as England’s first colony beyond the British Isles.

1584

The settlement on Roanoke Island by colonists led by Sir Walter Raleigh. In 1587, Virginia Dare born at Roanoke, first child of English parents in North America. In 1590, the settlers of Roanoke disappear without trace.

1588

The publication of Bishop Morgan’s translation of the Bible into Welsh, serving as a focus for the survival of the language.

1600

English traders establish the East India Company.

1603

The Union of the Crowns under James VI of Scots, I of England.

1604

The publication of Robert Cawdrey’s Table Alphabeticall, the first dictionary of English.

1606

The Dutch explore northern New Holland (Terra Australis).

1607

The Jamestown colony in Virginia, the first permanent English settlement and the first representative assembly in the New World.

1608

Samuel Champlain founds the city of Quebec in New France.

1611

The publication of the Authorized or King James Version of the Bible, intended for use in the Protestant services of England, Scotland, and Ireland. A major influence on the written language and in adapting Scots towards English.

1612

Bermuda colonized under the charter of the Virginia Company.

Traders of the East India Company establish themselves in Gujarat, India.

1614

King James writes in English to the Moghul Emperor Jehangir, in order to encourage trade with the Orientall Indies’.

1619

At the Jamestown colony in America, the first African slaves arrive on a Dutch ship.

1620

The Mayflower arrives in the New World and the Pilgrim Fathers set up Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts. English is now in competition as a colonial language in the Americas with Dutch, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

1622

Publication in London of the first English newspaper, Weekly News.

1623

Publication in London of the First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays.

1627

An English colony established on Barbados in the Caribbean.

1637

English traders arrive on the coast of China.

The Académie française founded.

1640

An English trading factory established at Madras.

1647

The Bahamas colonized by settlers from Bermuda.

1652

The first Dutch settlers arrive in southern Africa.

1655

England acquires Jamaica from Spain.

1659

The East India Company annexes St Helena in the south Atlantic.

1660

John Dryden expresses his admiration for the Académie française and its work in ‘fixing’ French and wishes for something similar to serve English.

1662

The Royal Society of London receives its charter from Charles II. In 1664, it appoints a committee to consider ways of improving English as a language of science.

1670

The Hudson’s Bay Company founded for fur trading in northern America.

1674

Charles II receives Bombay from the Portuguese in the dowry of Catherine of Braganza and gives it to the East India Company.

1687

Isaac Newton writes Principia Mathematica in Latin: see 1704.

1688

The publication of Oronooko, or the History of the Royal Slave, by Aphra Behn: one of the first novels in English, by the first woman novelist in English, based on personal experience of a slave revolt in Surinam.

1690

A trading factory established at Calcutta in Bengal.

1696

British and French colonists in North America in open conflict.

1697

The Boston clergyman Cotton Mather applies the term American to English-speaking settlers in the New World.

1702

Publication in London of the first regular daily newspaper in English, The Daily Courant.

1704

Isaac Newton writes his second major work, Opticks, in English: see 1687.

1707

The Act of Union, uniting the Parliaments of England and Scotland, creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain, but keeping separate the state religions, educational systems, and laws of the two kingdoms.

1712

Jonathan Swift in Dublin proposes an English Academy to ‘fix’ the language and compete adequately with French.

In India, the Moghul Empire begins to decline.

1713

At the Treaty of Utrecht, France surrenders Hudson’s Bay, Acadia, and Newfoundland to the British.

Gibraltar is ceded to Britain by Spain.

1731

The abolition of Law French in England.

1746

The Wales and Berwick Act, by which England is deemed to include Wales and the Scottish town of Berwick is incorporated into England.

1755

The publication of Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language.

1757

The East India Company becomes the power behind the government of Bengal.

1759

General James Wolfe takes Quebec for the British.

1759–96

The life of Robert Burns.

1762

The publication of Robert Lowth’s Short Introduction to English Grammar.

1763

The French cede New France to Britain, retaining only St Pierre and Miquelon (islands off Newfoundland).

1768–71

The partwork publication in Edinburgh of The Encyclopaedia Britannica.

1770

Captain James Cook takes possession of the Australian continent for Britain.

1770–1850

The life of William Wordsworth.

1771–1832

The life of Sir Walter Scott.

1774

The Quebec Act creates the British province of Quebec, extending to the Ohio and Mississippi.

The Regulating Act places Bombay and Madras under the control of Bengal and the East India Company becomes a kind of state.

1776

The Declaration of Independence by thirteen British colonies in North America and the start of the American War of Independence (1776–83) which created the United States of America, the first nation outside the British Isles with English as its principal language.

1778

Captain James Cook visits and names the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii).

1780–1800

British Empire Ioyalists move from the United States to Canada.

1785

In London, the newspaper The Daily Universal Register founded. Renamed The Times in 1788.

1786

Lord Cornwallis is appointed first Governor-General of British India.

A British penal colony is established at Botany Bay in Australia. In 1788, the first convicts arrive there.

1791

The British colonies of Upper Canada (Ontario) and Lower Canada (Quebec) are established.

In London, the newspaper The Observer is founded, the oldest national Sunday newspaper in Britain.

1792

The first Europeans settle in New Zealand.

1794

The publication of Lindley Murray’s English Grammar.

1802

The establishment of the British colonies of Ceylon and Trinidad.

1803

The Act of Union incorporating Ireland into Britain, as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

The Louisiana Purchase, by which the United States buys from France its remaining North American territories, and doubles its size.

1806

The British take control of Cape Colony in southern Africa.

1808

The establishment of the British colony of Sierra Leone.

1814

The British annex Cape Colony.

France cedes to Britain Malta, Mauritius, St Lucia, and Tobago.

1816

The establishment of the British colony of Bathurst (the Gambia).

1819

The establishment of the British colony of Singapore.

The United States purchases Florida from Spain.

1820

Christian missionaries from the United States visit Hawaii.

1821

American settlers arrive in the Mexican territory of Texas.

1828

The publication of Noah Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language.

1829

Australia becomes a British dependency.

1831

The establishment of the colony of British Guiana.

1833

The abolition of slavery in the British Empire.

St Helena becomes a British colony.

1835

Thomas Macaulay writes the Minute on Education whereby the British rulers of India endorse English as a language of education for Indians.

1835–1910

The life of Sam Clemens (Mark Twain).

1836

Texas declares its independence from Mexico.

1839

The first Boer Republic is established in Natal, South Africa, after the Great Trek from the Cape.

1840

The Treaty of Waitangi, by which the Maori of New Zealand cede all rights and powers of government to Britain.

The transportation of convicts to Eastern Australia is ended.

1841

Upper and Lower Canada are brought together as British North America.

New Zealand becomes a British colony.

In London, the founding of the weekly magazine Punch.

1842

The opening of Chinese ports other than Canton to Western traders, after the defeat of China in the Opium War. Hong Kong is ceded by China to Britain as a Crown Colony.

The Philological Society is formed in London.

1845

Texas becomes a state of the United States.

1846

The British annex Natal but recognize the Transvaal and the Orange Free State as autonomous Boer republics.

1848

In the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico cedes vast western territories to the US.

1850

Britain takes control of the Bay Islands of Honduras, an English-speaking enclave in Central America.

Legislative councils are established in Australia by British Act of Parliament.

1852

The publication of Roget’s Thesaurus.

1853

Japan is forced by Commander Matthew Perry of the US Navy to open its harbours to Western trade.

The transportation of convicts to Tasmania is ended.

1855

The Government to the colony of New South Wales is established.

1856

The Governments of the colonies of Tasmania and Victoria are established.

1856–1950

The life of George Bernard Shaw.

1857

The Sepoy Rebellion (War of Independence, Indian Mutiny) in India leads to the transfer of British India from the East India Company to the Crown.

1858

The Philological Society passes a resolution calling for a new dictionary of English on historical principles.

Britain cedes the Bay Islands to Honduras.

1861

The establishment of the British colony of Lagos (Nigeria).

1862

The establishment of the colony of British Honduras.

1863

The establishment of the Cambridge Overseas Examinations.

1865

The abolition of slavery in the US, at the end of the Civil War. At the outbreak of the war there were over 4m slaves.

1867

The Dominion of Canada is created, consisting of Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.

Alaska is purchased from Russia by the US.

1868

Transportation of convicts to Western Australia is ended.

In the US, Christopher Latham Sholes and colleagues patent the first successful typewriter.

1869

Rupert’s Land and the Northwest Territories are bought by Canada from the Hudson’s Bay Company.

Basutoland becomes a British protectorate.

1870

Manitoba becomes a province of Canada.

1871

British Columbia becomes a province of Canada.

1873

The formation of the English Dialect Society (dissolved in 1896).

Prince Edward Island becomes a province of Canada.

1874

The establishment of the British colony of the Gold Coast in West Africa.

1879

James A. H. Murray begins editing the Philological Society’s New English Dictionary on Historical Principles.

1882–1941

The life of James Joyce.

1884

The Berlin Conference, in which European powers begin ‘the scramble for Africa’.

Britain declares a protectorate over South East New Guinea.

The French, Germans, and British attempt to annex what shortly becomes the German colony of Kamerun.

Publication of the first fascicle, A-Ant, of Murray’s dictionary (the OED).

1886

The annexation of Burma into British India and the abolition of the Burmese monarchy.

1888–94

The establishment of British protectorates in Kenya, Uganda, and Zanzibar.

1895

The establishment of the British East African Protectorate, open to white settlers.

1898

The annexation of Hawaii by the US. In 1900, it becomes a US territory.

Spain cedes the Philippines and Puerto Rico to the United States.

Yukon Territory comes under Canadian government control.

1901

The establishment of the Commonwealth of Australia as a dominion of the British Empire.

The first wireless telegraphy messages sent across the Atlantic by Guglielmo Marconi (Cornwall to Newfoundland).

The first film-show in an arcade opened in Los Angeles, California.

1903

A message from US President Theodore Roosevelt circles the world in less than 10 minutes by Pacific Cable.

1903–50

The life of George Orwell.

1905

Alberta and Saskatchewan become provinces of Canada.

The first cartoon strip, ‘Little Nemo’, appears in The New York Herald.

1906

The formation of the English Association.

The first full-length motion picture, The Story of the Kelly Gang.

The publication of the Fowler brothers’ The Kings’ English.

1907

The establishment of New Zealand as a dominion of the British Empire.

The first regular studio-based radio broadcasts by the De Forest Radio Telephone Company in the US.

The foundation of Hollywood as a film-making centre.

1910

The establishment of the Union of South Africa as a dominion of the British Empire.

The first radio receivers made in kit form for sale in the US.

1911

The publication of the Fowler brothers’ Concise Oxford Dictionary.

1913

The formation of the Society for Pure English.

The first crossword puzzle published, in the New York World.

1914

A third Home Rule Bill for Ireland passed by the British Parliament, but prevented from coming into operation by the outbreak of the First World War.

The German colony of Kamerun invaded by French and British.

1915

The death of Sir James A. H. Murray, aged 78, having finished the section Trink–Turndown in the OED.

1916

The Easter Rising in Dublin, an unsuccessful armed rebellion against the British, during which an Irish Republic is proclaimed.

The technicolor process is first used in the film The Gulf Between, in the US.

1917

The publication of Daniel Jones’s English Pronouncing Dictionary.

1918

The formation of the English-Speaking Union.

The US War Industries Board declares moving pictures an essential industry.

1919

The German colony of Tanganyika ceded to Britain.

The German colony of Kamerun divided between France (Cameroun) and Britain (Cameroon).

The publication of H. L. Mencken’s The American Language.

1920

The Partition of Ireland.

Kenya becomes a British colony.

The first public radio station set up by Marconi in the US.

1921

A treaty between the United Kingdom and the Irish Free State, which accepts dominion status within the British Empire.

The first full-length ‘talkie’ Dream Street produced by United Artists, in the US.

1922

The establishment of the British Broadcasting Company, renamed in 1927 the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

The founding in the US of the monthly magazine The Reader’s Digest.

1923

The founding of Time magazine in the US.

1925

The borders of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland established.

Afrikaans gains official status in South Africa.

The founding of the weekly magazine The New Yorker.

1926

The publication of Henry W. Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage.

1927

Fox’s Movietone News, the first sound newsfilm, released in the US.

The first film with dialogue, They’re Coming to Get Me, released in the US.

1928

The publication of Murray’s Dictionary as The Oxford English Dictionary, 70 years after Trench’s proposal to the Philological Society.

1930

C. K. Ogden launches Basic English.

The first television programme with synchronized sight and sound broadcast by the BBC.

1931

The British Commonwealth of Nations formed.

South Africa becomes a dominion of the British Empire.

The Cambridge Proficiency Examination held outside Britain for the first time.

1933

The publication of a supplement to The Oxford English Dictionary.

1934

The British Council created as an arm of British cultural diplomacy and a focus for teaching English as a foreign language.

1935

The Philippines become a self-governing Commonwealth in association with the US.

The publication of the first ten Penguin paperback titles.

1936

The Republic of Ireland severs all constitutional links with Great Britain.

1937

Burma is separated from British India and granted a constitution and limited self-rule.

In Wales, a new constitution for the National Eisteddfod makes Welsh as its official language.

1938

Photocopying invented.

1942

The publication in Japan of The Idiomatic and Syntactic Dictionary of English, prepared before the war by A. S. Hornby, E. V. Gatenby, and H. Wakefield.

1945

Japan is occupied by the Americans on behalf of the Allies.

1946

The Philippines gain their independence from the United States.

The French colony of Cameroun and the British colony of Cameroon become United Nations trusteeships.

1947

British India is partitioned, and India and Pakistan become independent states.

New Zealand gains its independence from Britain.

1948

Burma and Ceylon gain their independence from Britain.

The dictionary of Hornby et al. is brought out by Oxford University Press as A Learner’s Dictionary of Current English.

1949

Newfoundland becomes a province of Canada.

Two New Guinea territories are combined by the United Nations as an Australian mandate: the United Nations Trust Territory of Papua and New Guinea.

1951

The launch of the first two working business computers: the LED in the UK and the UNIVAC in the US.

1952

Puerto Rico becomes a Commonwealth in association with the US.

1957

The Gold Coast becomes independent from Britain as the Republic of Ghana. Robert W. Burchfield is appointed editor of a Supplement to The Oxford English Dictionary.

1957–63

The British colonies of Malaya and Borneo become independent and unite as Malaysia.

1959

Alaska and Hawaii become states of the US.

1960

Nigeria and French Cameroun become independent.

1961

South Africa becomes a republic, does not remain in the Commonwealth, and adopts Afrikaans and English as its two official languages.

The British colony of Cameroon divides, part joining Nigeria, part joining the ex-French colony to become the Republic of Cameroon.

Sierra Leone and Cyprus gain their independence from Britain.

The publication of Webster’s Third International Dictionary.

1962

Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uganda gain their independence from Britain.

1963

Kenya gains its independence from Britain.

The first protests in Wales by the Cymdeithas yr laith Gymraeg/Welsh Language Society, aimed at achieving fuller use of Welsh.

1964

Malta, Nyasaland (as Malawi), Tanganyika and Zanzibar (as Tanzania), and Northern Rhodesia (as Zambia) gain their independence from Britain.

The publication in Paris of René Etiemble’s Parlez-vous franglais?

1965

Gambia and Singapore gain their independence from Britain.

1966

Barbados, Basutoland (as Lesotho), Bechuanaland (as Botswana), and British Guiana (as Guyana) gain their independence from Britain.

1967

The Welsh Language Act gives Welsh equal validity with English in Wales, and Wales is no longer deemed to be a part of England.

1968

Mauritius, Swaziland, and Nauru gain their independence from Britain.

1969

Canada becomes officially bilingual, with a commitment to federal services in English and French.

1972

East Pakistan secedes and becomes the Republic of Bangladesh.

Two feminist magazines launched: Ms in the US and Spare Rib in the UK.

1973

The Bahamas gain their independence from Britain.

1974–9

Cyngor yr laith Gymraeg/Council for the Welsh Language set up to advise the Secretary of State for Wales on matters concerning the language.

1975

Papua New Guinea gains its independence from Australia.

The Bas-Lauriol law is passed in France, requiring the use solely of French in advertising and commerce.

1977

The spacecraft Voyager travels into deep space, its main message to any extra-terrestrials recorded in English by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kurt Waldheim, an Austrian.

In Quebec, Loi 101/Bill 101 is passed, making French the sole official language of the province, limiting access to English-medium schools, and banning public signs in other languages.

1978

The Government of Northern Territory in Australia is established.

1980

The British government averts a fast to the death by Gwynfor Evans, leader of Plaid Cymru (Welsh National Party), by honouring election pledges to provide a fourth television channel using both Welsh and English.

1981

British Honduras gains its independence as Belize.

1982

The patriation from Great Britain of Canada’s constitution. The Canada Act is the last act of the British Parliament concerning Canadian affairs.

1983

The publication by Penguin of The New Testament in Scots, a translation by William L. Lorimer.

1984

The launch of the Apple Macintosh personal (desktop) computer.

1985

The publication by Longman of A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language.

The publication by Belknap Press of the first volume of the Dictionary of American Regional English.

The launch by Cambridge University Press of the quarterly journal English Today: The International Review of the English Language.

1986

The showing by the BBC in the UK and public television in the US of The Story of English, a television series with both British and American backers, accompanied by a book of the same name, and followed by a radio version on BBC World Service.

1989

The publication of the 2nd edition of The Oxford English Dictionary, blending the first edition and its supplements.

1992

The publication of The Oxford Companion to the English Language by Oxford University Press.

1995

The publication of The Cambridge Encyclopedia of The English Language by Cambridge University Press.

1996

The publication of The Oxford English Grammar by Oxford University Press.

1997

Hong Kong ceases to be a British colony and becomes a Special Autonomous Region of China.

The Scots vote by a strong majority for a devolved parliament to be set up in Edinburgh.

The Welsh vote by a slim margin for a Welsh Assembly to be set up.

Publication of the report The Future of English? by the British Council as part of its consciousness-raising campaign entitled English 2000.

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