Woodcut of King James II of Scotland showing the birthmark on his face
History repeats itself. This aphorism is especially true for the Scottish monarchy. There was a period during Scottish history where Kings would die, leaving a child as heir to be ruled by a regency council. This happened over and over and it happened to King James II.
James II was born on October 16, 1430, one of twins. The other twin died in infancy leaving James as heir. There may have been other problems with the birth because James had a vermilion birthmark on his face which led contemporaries to call him “Fiery Face”. This would also be looked upon as an outward sign of a fiery temper. His father was King James I of Scotland and his mother was Joan Beaufort, the grand-daughter of John of Gaunt and Kathryn Swynford. Little is known of James’…
Matilda was born in 1102, to parents King Henry I and Matilda Queen Consort, daughter of Malcolm Canmore, the King of Scotland.
Matilda, married the Emperor Henry V of Germany on the 7th January 1114, and was recalled back to England in 1125, when her husband died… for she was Henry’s only remaining legitimate child.
Henry forced his barons to swear an allegiance to his daughter Matilda, as the rightful Queen of England upon his death.
In the June of 1128, Matilda, a somewhat reluctant Matilda marries the fourteen-year-old Geoffrey Plantagenet.
On the 5th March 1133 a son was born to Matilda and Geoffrey Plantagenet at Le Mans, Anjou.
On the 1st December 1135, King Henry I died, aged 67 in Rouen, France and was buried at Reading Abbey. It had been his choice that Matilda his daughter and husband Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou would rule.
English barons did not want to be ruled by a woman and an Angevin, which led to Civil War and strife over succession. Stephen the nephew of Henry I, seized the English throne on the 22nd December, and was crowned on the 26th December at Westminster Abbey.
In the January of 1136, King David I of Scotland invaded English lands in support of Matilda believing she be the rightful heir to the English throne, not Stephen. He went on to capture Carlisle and Newcastle.
Robert, the Earl of Gloucester, rebels against King Stephen in 1138, a supporter of Matilda’s right to the English throne.
In the February of 1141, Stephen laid siege to Lincoln Castle, during which he was captured and held prisoner at Bristol.
In the April, Matilda was elected Queen, and headed to London for her coronation, but was driven out by the citizens of London, prior to her coronation.
Robert, the Earl of Gloucester, was captured under order of Stephen’s wife. The captives were then mutually exchanged, and Stephen resumed his position as England’s King.
By 1142 Matilda’s constant battle with Stephen, had split the country in two.
Robert the Earl of Gloucester died in 1147, Matilda’s most powerful ally in her fight for the English throne … the fight had been taken out of her, and in 1148 she returned to Normandy … never to step foot on English soil again.
Geoffrey of Anjou, husband to Matilda died in 1151, and their son Henry Plantagenet becomes Count of Anjou and Duke of Normandy; with it came huge power and resources.
In 1153, Henry Plantagenet, the Count of Anjou, landed his forces on English soil for war against Stephen, to put a wrong…right.
The Civil War between Stephen and Matilda is resolved by an agreement between Stephen and Henry under the “Treaty of Westminster.” Stephen would remain King of England, until his death, and then Henry Plantagenet, the Count of Anjou would become King Henry II of England.
In 1154 King Stephen of England died, and was buried at Faversham in Kent.
In 1167 the rightful heir to the English throne according to the wishes of her father; King Henry I, was that his daughter Matilda should have reigned … sadly that never happened.
On the 10th September 1167, Matilda died at Rouen, and was buried in Rouen Cathedral, France.
The Battle of Hastings, took place on the 14th October 1066; The Saxons led by King Harold against the Norman army led by Duke William of Normandy.
In little over two months, Harold the last Saxon King of England, lost his life on the battlefield. William, saw the English throne in his grasp, and went on to capture Dover, Canterbury and London. He was crowned King of England on the 25th December 1066 and the Saxon era was over, and the Norman Conquest was beginning.
Resistance by Saxon’s to these Norman’s was mostly limited to the outer reaches of the kingdom. With the Church and Government in his grip, it wouldn’t be long before these remaining Saxon’s accepted the rule of the Norman’s.
William had taken this land with only a small invasion force… he had to control some two million Saxon’s until more Norman troops arrived. Nobles, Lords and Landowners, who might have stood up against the Norman’s, were lying with their armies on the battleground at Hastings.
Some Nobles opened their arms, and welcomed these Norman’s onto English soil, like the Saxon Lord of Wallingford; Wigod, who went on to assist William’s entrance into London.
England has seen invaders of the past, come and go, like Cnut and the Danes. It is this, that made some believe, William and the Norman’s would be short lived, like Stigand, the then Archbishop of Canterbury.
William’s new Kingdom of Britain was not as free of rebellion as he had hoped; resistance continued for many years. In January 1069, the Yorkshire inhabitants made up of Scandinavian descendants, rebelled against these Norman’s, and William and his army quelled the flames of rebellion.
In the autumn of 1069, King Swein of Denmark landed in Yorkshire, firing the rebellion against the Norman’s once again… The Danes were forced to withdraw.
William was determined to put an end to rebellions from the north of his kingdom. He ordered his men to burn houses, crops and slaughter all livestock between the River Humber and Durham. There followed many years of famine in the north; thousand’s starved to death, and it took years for the land to recover from this horrific event.
Meanwhile, Danish forces sailed south, plundering Peterborough and made the Isle of Ely their base. Some rebels led by Hereward the Wake joined the Danes. In June 1070, the Danes left, having made a treaty with William and by 1071 the Saxon rebels in the Fens had surrendered, and Hereward had escaped capture.
King Malcolm III of Scotland (1058-1093) offered exile to Anglo-Saxon Nobles, and assisted their attempts in re-claiming northern parts of England in 1069… There was a price to pay!
Malcolm was looking to the future, by marrying Margaret; daughter of Edward the Aetheling and sister of Edgar Aetheling as his Queen. She bore him four sons; Edward, Edgar, Edmund and Ethelred. These four sons with English names, could be used in claiming a seat on the English throne… one would say he was very devious in his outlook.
William marched north with his army in 1072, and confronted Malcolm at Abernethy… would they battle, a question both men more than likely asked themselves. Yet it was Malcolm who made the first step towards peace; one a King of Scotland, and the other King of England. Malcolm accepted that William was Lord over his Lothian province; these lands which were once part of England in Northumbria.
A battle had been averted, but William was wary of this Scottish foe, leading him to order the strengthening of the border between their two countries with castles.
Once William had been crowned King of England in 1066, he granted English Landowners and Lords, who had been loyal to his cause, that they could keep their lands.
After 1070, many Saxon landowners, had lost faith in their new King, which led William to instigate a police of Normanization; Norman’s took over their lands.
William needed land to compensate his loyal Norman followers. What better way, confiscate these Saxon lands… was it a wise move? For it led to numerous revolts up and down the country.
William and his Barons forced marriages to Norman’s by Saxon widows and daughters inheriting estates.
He didn’t stop there with his reforms, replacing Stigand the Archbishop of Canterbury with his own man; Lanfranc, formerly Abbot of Caen. Then Latin and Norman French became the accepted languages used by the Church and Government.
These Norman’s who had invaded England weren’t farmers, they were warriors at heart, and their origin was Viking. The King gave them land; they returned the service with highly trained and armed knights, to do battle for their King.
These Norman Lords built castles to emphasise their presence and authority in these former Saxon lands. Early defences were built from earthen mounds and stockades, later stone versions were the norm, like Windsor Castle.
In 1085 William started a survey of these lands, which led to “The Domesday Book” of 1086, which informed the Crown, the wealth of his lands.
Computer operating systems (OS) provide a set of functions needed and used by most applications, and provide the necessary linkages to control a computer’s hardware. On the first computers, without an operating system, each program would have to have drivers for your video card, memory card, and other peripherals. The evolution of the computer applications and their complexity led to the OS necessities.
Early computers lacked any form of operating system. The user had sole use of the machine; he would arrive at the machine armed with his program and data, often on punched paper tape. The program would be loaded into the machine, and the machine set to work, until the program stopped, or maybe more likely, crashed. Programs could generally be debugged via a front panel using switches and lights; it is said that Alan Turing was a master of this on the early Manchester Mark I machine. He drew the seminal concepts of operating systems from the Universal Turing Machine concept.
Later, machines came with libraries of support code which were linked to the user’s program to assist in operations such as input and output. This would become the genesis of the modern-day operating system. However, machines still ran a single job at a time; at Cambridge University in England the job queue was at one time a washing line from which tapes were hung with clothes pegs. The color of the pegs indicated the priority of the job.
As machines became more powerful, the time needed for a run of a program diminished and the time to hand off the equipment became very large by comparison. Accounting for and paying for machine usage went from checking the wall clock to using the computer to do the timing. Run queues went from being people waiting at the door to stacks of media waiting on a table to using the hardware of the machine such as switching which magnetic tape drive was online or stacking punch cards on top of the previous jobs cards in the reader. Operating the computer went from a task performed by the program developer to a job for full time dedicated machine operators. When commercially available computer centers found they had to deal with accidental or malicious tampering of the accounting information, equipment vendors were encouraged to enhance the properties of the runtime libraries to prevent misuse of the systems resources. Accounting practices were also expanded beyond recording CPU usage to also count pages printed, cards punched, cards read, disk storage used, and even operator action required by jobs such as changing magnetic tapes. Eventually, the runtime libraries became a program that was started before the first customer job, that read in the customer job, controlled its execution, cleaned up after it, recorded its usage, and immediately went on to process the next job. Jobs also evolved from being binary images produced by hand encoding to symbolic programs that were translated by the computer. An operating system, or “monitor” as it was sometimes called, permitted jobs to become multistep with the monitor running several programs in sequence to effect the translation and subsequent run of the user’s program.
The conceptual bridge between the precise description of an operating system and the colloquial definition is the tendency to bundle widely, or generally, used utilities and applications (such as text editors or file managers) with the basic OS for the sake of convenience; as OSes progressed, a larger selection of ‘second class’ OS software came to be included, such that now, an OS without a graphical user interface or various file viewers is often considered not to be a true or complete OS. To accommodate this evolution of the meaning most of what was the original “operating system” is now called the “kernel”, and OS has come to mean the complete package.
The broader categories of systems and application software are discussed in the computer software article.
The mainframe: Early operating systems were very diverse, with each vendor producing one or more operating systems specific to their particular hardware. Every operating system, even from the same vendor, could have radically different models of commands, operating procedures, and such facilities as debugging aids. Typically, each time the manufacturer brought out a new machine, there would be a new operating system. This state of affairs continued until the 1960s when IBM developed the System/360 series of machines which all used the same instruction architecture. Because there were enormous performance differences across the range, a single operating system could not be used and a family of operating systems were developed. (The problems encountered in the development of the OS/360 are legendary, and are described by Fred Brooks in The Mythical Man-Month – a book that has become a classic of software engineering).
OS/360 evolved to become successively MFT, MVT, SVS, MVS, MVS/XA, MVS/ESA, OS/390 and z/OS, that includes the UNIX kernel as well as a huge amount of new functions required by modern mission-critical applications running on the zSeries mainframes. It is worth mentioning, that IBM maintained full compatibility with the past, so that programs developed in the sixties can still run under z/OS with no change. Although z/OS runs UNIX applications, it is a proprietary OS, in opposition to an Open System.
Control Data Corporation developed the Scope operating system in the 1960s, for batch processing. In cooperation with the University of Minnesota, the KRONOS and later the NOS operating systems were developed during the 1970s, which supported simultaneous batch and timesharing use. Like many commercial timesharing systems, its interface was an extension of the Dartmouth BASIC operating systems, one of the pioneering efforts in timesharing and programming languages. In the late 1970s, Control Data and the University of Illinois developed the PLATO operating system, which used plasma planel displays and long-distance time sharing networks. Plato was remarkably innovative for its time, featuring real-time chat, and multi-user graphical games.
UNIVAC, the first commercial computer manufacturer, produced a series of EXEC operating systems. Like all early main-frame systems, this was a batch-oriented system that managed magnetic drums, disks, card readers and line printers. In the 1970s, UNIVAC produced the Real-Time Basic (RTB) system to support large-scale time sharing, also patterned after the Dartmouth BASIC system.
Digital Equipment Corporation developed many operating systems for its various computer lines, including the simple RT-11 system for its 16-bit PDP-11 class machines, the VMS system for the 32-bit VAX computer, and TOPS-10 and TOPS-20 time sharing systems for the 36-bit PDP-10 class systems. Prior to the widespread use of UNIX, TOPS-10 was a particularly popular system in universities, and in the early ARPANET community.
The UNIX operating system was developed at AT&T Bell Laboratories in the 1970s. Because it was essentially free in early editions, easily obtainable, and easily modified, it achieved wide acceptance. It also became a requirement within the Bell systems operating companies. Since it was written in a high level language, when that language was ported to a new machine architecture UNIX was also able to be ported. This portability permitted it to become the choice for a second generation of minicomputers and the first generation of workstations. By widespread use it exemplified the idea of an operating system that was conceptually the same across various hardware platforms. It was still owned by AT&T and that limited its use to those groups or corporations who could afford to license it.
Many early operating systems were collections of utilities to allow users to run software on their systems. There were some companies who were able to develop better systems, such as early Digital Equipment Corporation systems, but others never supported features that were useful on other hardware types.
In the late 1960s through the late 1970s, several hardware capabilities evolved that allowed similar or ported software to run on more than one system. Early systems had utilized Microprogramming to implement features on their systems in order to permit different underlying architecture to appear to be the same as others in a series. In fact most 360s after the 360/40 (except the 360/165 and 360/168) were microprogrammed implementations.
One system which evolved in this time frame was the Pick operating system. The Pick system was developed and sold by Microdata Corporation, and Dick Pick, who created the precursors of the system with an associate, Don Nelson. The system is an example of a system which started as a database application support program, graduated to system work, and still exists across a wide variety of systems supported on most UNIX systems as an addon database system.
Other packages such as Oracle are middleware and contain many of the features of operating systems, but are in fact large applications supported on many hardware platforms.
As hardware was packaged in ever larger amounts in small packages, first the bit slice level of integration in systems, and then entire systems came to be present on a single chip. This type of system in small 4 and 8 bit processors came to be known as microprocessors. Most were not microprogrammed, but were completely integrated general purpose processors.
Home computers: Although most smallest 8-bit home computers of the 1980s, such as the Commodore 64, the Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum series and others could use a “normal” disk-loading operating system, such as CP/M or GEOS they could generally work without one. In fact, most if not all of these computers shipped with a built-in BASIC interpreter on ROM, which also served as a crude operating system, allowing minimal file management operations (such as deletion, copying, etc.) to be performed and sometimes disk formatting, along of course with application loading and execution, which sometimes required a non-trivial command sequence, like with the Commodore 64.
The fact that the majority of these machines were bought for entertainment and educational purposes and were seldom used for more “serious” or business/science oriented applications, partly explains why a “true” operating system was not necessary.
Another reason is that they were usually single-task and single-user machines and shipped with minimal amounts of RAM, usually between 4 and 256 kilobytes, with 64 and 128 being common figures, and 8-bit processors, so an operating system’s overhead would likely compromise the performance of the machine without really being necessary.
Even the rare word processor and office suite applications were mostly self-contained programs which took over the machine completely, as also did videogames.
Finally, most of these machines didn’t even ship with a built-in flexible disk drive, which made using a disk-based OS impossible or a luxury option.
Since virtually all video game consoles and arcade cabinets designed and built after 1980 were true digital machines (unlike the analog PONG clones and derivatives), some of them carried a minimal form of BIOS or built-in game, such as the Colecovision, the Sega Master System and the SNK Neo Geo. There were however successful designs where a BIOS was not necessary, such as the Nintendo NES and its clones.
Modern day game consoles and videogames, starting from the PlayStation all have a minimal BIOS that also provides some interactive utilities such as memory card management, Audio or Video CD playback, copy prevention and sometimes carry libraries for developers to use etc. Few of these cases, however, would qualify as a “true” operating system.
The most notable exceptions are probably the Dreamcast game console which includes a minimal BIOS, like the PlayStation, but can load the Windows CE operating system from the game disk allowing easily porting of games from the PC world, and the Xbox game console, which is little more than a disguised Intel-based PC running a secret, modified version of Microsoft Windows in the background.
Furthermore, there are Linux versions that will run on a PlayStation or Xbox and maybe other game consoles as well, provided they have access to a large mass storage device and have a reasonable amount of RAM (the bare minimum for a GUI is around 512 kilobytes, as the case of the Commodore Amiga or early ATARI ST shows. GEOS however ran on a stock C64 which came with as little as 64 kilobytes).
Long before that, Sony had released a kind of development kit called the Net Yaroze for its first PlayStation platform, which provided a series of programming and developing tools to be used with a normal PC and a specially modified “Black PlayStation” that could be interfaced with a PC and download programs from it. These operations require in general a functional OS on both platforms involved.
In general, it can be said that videogame consoles and arcade coin operated machines used at most a built-in BIOS during the 1970s, 1980s and most of the 1990s, while from the PlayStation era and beyond they started getting more and more sophisticated, to the point of requiring a generic or custom-built OS for aiding in developing and expandibility.
The personal computer era: Apple, DOS and beyond
The development of microprocessors made inexpensive computing available for the small business and hobbyist, which in turn led to the widespread use of interchangeable hardware components using a common interconnection (such as the S-100, SS-50, Apple II, ISA, and PCI buses), and an increasing need for ‘standard’ operating systems to control them. The most important of the early OSes on these machines was Digital Research’s CP/M-80 for the 8080 / 8085 / Z-80 CPUs. It was based on several Digital Equipment Corporation operating systems, mostly for the PDP-11 architecture. MS-DOS (or PC-DOS when supplied by IBM) was based originally on CP/M-80. Each of these machines had a small boot program in ROM which loaded the OS itself from disk. The BIOS on the IBM-PC class machines was an extension of this idea and has accreted more features and functions in the 20 years since the first IBM-PC was introduced in 1981.
The decreasing cost of display equipment and processors made it practical to provide graphical user interfaces for many operating systems, such as the generic X Window System that is provided with many UNIX systems, or other graphical systems such as Microsoft Windows, the RadioShack Color Computer’s OS-9, Commodore’s AmigaOS, Level II, Apple’s Mac OS, or even IBM’s OS/2. The original GUI was developed at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center in the early ’70s (the Alto computer system) and imitated by many vendors.
So when was the first computer invented? There is no easy answer to this question because of all the different classifications of computers. Therefore, this document has been created with a listing of each of the first computers starting with the first automatic computing engines leading up to the computers of today. Keep in mind that early inventions such as the abacus, calculators, and tablet machines are not accounted for in this document.
First mechanical computer or automatic computing engine concept
In 1822, Charles Babbage purposed and began developing the Difference Engine, considered to be the first automatic computing engine that was capable of computing several sets of numbers and making a hard copies of the results. Unfortunately, because of funding he was never able to complete a full-scale functional version of this machine. In June of 1991, the London Science Museum completed the Difference Engine No 2 for the bicentennial year of Babbage’s birth and later completed the printing mechanism in 2000.
Later, in 1837 Charles Babbage proposed the first general mechanical computer, the Analytical Engine. The Analytical Engine contained an Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU), basic flow control, and integrated memory and is the first general-purpose computer concept. Unfortunately, because of funding issues this computer was also never built while Charles Babbage’s was alive. In 1910, Henry Babbage, Charles Babbage’s youngest son was able to complete a portion of this machine and was able to perform basic calculations.
First programmable computer
The Z1, originally created by Germany’s Konrad Zuse in his parents living room in 1936 to 1938 is considered to be the first electro-mechanical binary programmable (modern) computer and really the first functional computer.
The first electric programmable computer
The Colossus was the first electric programmable computer and was developed by Tommy Flowers and first demonstrated in December 1943. The Colossus was created to help the British code breakers read encrypted German messages.
The first digital computer
Short for Atanasoff-Berry Computer, the ABC started being developed by Professor John Vincent Atanasoff and graduate student Cliff Berry in 1937 and continued to be developed until 1942 at the Iowa State College (now Iowa State University). The ABC was an electrical computer that used vacuum tubes for digital computation including binary math and Boolean logic and had no CPU. On October 19, 1973, the US Federal Judge Earl R. Larson signed his decision that the ENIAC patent by Eckert and Mauchly was invalid and named Atanasoff the inventor of the electronic digital computer.
The ENIAC was invented by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly at the University of Pennsylvania and began construction in 1943 and was not completed until 1946. It occupied about 1,800 square feet and used about 18,000 vacuum tubes, weighing almost 50 tons. Although the Judge ruled that the ABC computer was the first digital computer, many still consider the ENIAC to be the first digital computer because it was fully functional.
The first stored program computer
The early British computer known as the EDSAC is considered to be the first stored program electronic computer. The computer performed its first calculation on May 6, 1949 and was the computer that ran the first graphical computer game, nicknamed “Baby”.
The first computer company
The first computer company was the Electronic Controls Company and was founded in 1949 by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, the same individuals who helped create the ENIAC computer. The company was later renamed to EMCC or Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation and released a series of mainframe computers under the UNIVAC name.
First stored program computer
First delivered to the United States Government in 1950, the UNIVAC 1101 or ERA 1101 is considered to be the first computer that was capable of storing and running a program from memory.
First commercial computer
In 1942, Konrad Zuse begin working on the Z4, which later became the first commercial computer after being sold to Eduard Stiefel a mathematician of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich on July 12, 1950.
The first PC (IBM compatible) computer
On April 7, 1953 IBM publicly introduced the 701, its first electric computer and first mass produced computer. Later IBM introduced its first personal computer called the IBM PC in 1981. The computer was code named and still sometimes referred to as the Acorn and had a 8088 processor, 16 KB of memory, which was expandable to 256 and utilizing MS-DOS.
The first computer with RAM
MIT introduces the Whirlwind machine on March 8, 1955, a revolutionary computer that was the first digital computer with magnetic core RAM and real-time graphics.
The first transistor computer
The TX-O (Transistorized Experimental computer) is the first transistorized computer to be demonstrated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1956.
The first minicomputer
In 1960, Digital Equipment Corporation released its first of many PDP computers the PDP-1.
The first mass-market PC
In 1968, Hewlett Packard began marketing the first mass-marketed PC, the HP 9100A.
The first workstation
Although it was never sold, the first workstation is considered to be the Xerox Alto, introduced in 1974. The computer was revolutionary for its time and included a fully functional computer, display, and mouse. The computer operated like many computers today utilizing windows, menus and icons as an interface to its operating system.
The first microprocessor
Intel introduces the first microprocessor, the Intel 4004 on November 15, 1971.
The first personal computer
In 1975, Ed Roberts coined the term “personal computer” when he introduced the Altair 8800. Although the first personal computer is considered by many to be the Kenback-1, which was first introduced for $750 in 1971. The computer relied on a series of switches for inputting data and output data by turning on and off a series of lights.
The Micral is considered the be the first commercial non-assembly computer. The computer used the Intel 8008 processor and sold for $1,750 in 1973.
The first laptop or portable computer
The IBM 5100 is the first portable computer, which was released on September 1975. The computer weighed 55 pounds and had a five inch CRT display, tape drive, 1.9MHz PALM processor, and 64KB of RAM. In the picture to the right, is an ad of the IBM 5100 taken from a November 1975 issue of Scientific America.
The first truly portable computer or laptop is considered to be the Osborne I, which was released on April 1981 and developed by Adam Osborne. The Osborne I was developed by Adam Osborne and weighed 24.5 pounds, had a 5-inch display, 64 KB of memory, two 5 1/4″ floppy drives, ran the CP/M 2.2 operating system, included a modem, and cost US$179.
The IBM PC Division (PCD) later released the IBM portable in 1984, it’s first portable computer that weighed in at 30 pounds. Later in 1986, IBM PCD announced it’s first laptop computer, the PC Convertible, weighing 12 pounds. Finally, in 1994, IBM introduced the IBM ThinkPad 775CD, the first notebook with an integrated CD-ROM.
The first Apple computer
Steve Wozniak designed the first Apple known as the Apple I computer in 1976.
The first PC clone
The Compaq Portable is considered to be the first PC clone and was release in March 1983 by Compaq. The Compaq Portable was 100% compatible with IBM computers and was capable of running any software developed for IBM computers.
See the below other major computer companies first for other IBM compatible computers
The first multimedia computer
In 1992, Tandy Radio Shack becomes one of the first companies to release a computer based on the MPC standard with its introduction of the M2500 XL/2 and M4020 SX computers.
Other major computer company firsts
Below is a listing of some of the major computers companies first computers.
Compaq – In March 1983, Compaq released its first computer and the first 100% IBM compatible computer the “Compaq Portable.” Dell – In 1985, Dell introduced its first computer, the “Turbo PC.” Hewlett Packard – In 1966, Hewlett Packard released its first general computer, the “HP-2115.” NEC – In 1958, NEC builds its first computer the “NEAC 1101.” Toshiba – In 1954, Toshiba introduces its first computer, the “TAC” digital computer.
Wessex; the kingdom of the West Saxons, started from humble beginnings, becoming the most powerful kingdom in the land.
Cerdic, founder of Wessex the first Anglo-Saxon King, had ventured from Saxony in AD495 landing on England’s Hampshire coastline, with his son Cynric and five warrior ships.
In AD519, Cerdic was victorious at the “Battle of Cerdic’s Ford” (Cerdicesleag) and claimed the title “King of Wessex” (520-540).
Cynric son of Cerdic, succeeded him upon his death and reigned from 540-560. Cynric spent the early years of his reign, expanding the kingdom of Wessex into Wiltshire. He faced much opposition from native Briton’s, but managed minor gains; “Battle of Sarum” and “Beranbury,” known as Barbury Castle. In 560 Cynric died and was succeeded by his son Ceawlin.
When Ceawlin stepped forward as the next Anglo-Saxon King of Wessex, much of southern England was under Anglo-Saxon control.
The “Battle of Wibbandun” took place in 568, between the forces of the Saxons of Wessex and the Jutes of Kent. In 571 Ceawlin capturedAylesbury and Linbury, and by 577 he had taken Gloucester and Bath, reaching the Severn Estuary.
Ceawlin ordered the construction of a defensive earthwork, stretching between Wiltshire and Bristol.
Ceawlin King of Wessex achieved much fame among his people, as they crossed England as victorious warriors. All this would change in 584, when Ceawlin fought the Britons at Fethanleag; “Battle of Stoke Lyne” followed by a period of taking towns and countless spoils of war, from the local area.
Then he retreated to his own lands… questions remain unanswered, why? Did he lose the battle, and attack local towns in response.
As written in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles: This year Ceawlin… fought with the Britons on the spot that is called Fretherne… And Ceawlin took many towns, as well as immense booty and wealth. He then retreated to his people.
In 591 Ceawlin’s nephew; Ceol is believed to have led an uprising against his King, at the “Battle of Woden’s Burg.” Ceol became King of Wessex after deposing his uncle; Ceawlin.
Ceol reigned from 591-597, his successor his son; Cynegils, was too young to inherit the throne. Ceolwulf, brother of Ceol claimed the throne. One could say he was keeping the seat warm for the future king.
Cynegils came to the throne in 611 after Coolwulf’s death and would reign till 643. His reign commenced with a victory over Welsh forces in 614.
Cynegils granted the northern part of his kingdom to his son Cwichelm, at a time when the Northumbrian’s grew in power. Cynegils forged an alliance with the King of Mercia. This alliance was sealed through marriasge; Cynegils youngest son Cenwalh married the sister of King Penda of Mercia.
In 626 Cwichelm launched a failed assassination against King Edwin of Northumbria. Edwin laid siege to the Kingdom of Wessex, clashing against the Mercian and Wessex forces, in reply to the attempted assassination, and was victorious.
Cynegils and Cwichelm had suffered a humiliating defeat by a smaller army, and forced to retreat back, within their own borders.
In 628 the forces of Wessex and Mercia fought at the “Battle of Cirencester.” With Mercian’s victorious, Wessex became a minor kingdom as control of the Severn Valley, parts of Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Gloucestershire were lost.
In 635, Cynegils of Wessex was baptised by Bishop Birinus in Dorchester. In 636 Cwichelm was also baptised in Dorchester and died later that year. In 643 Cynegils died…
In 643, Cenwalh the youngest son of Cynegils became King of Wessex, he who had been forced into a marriage with King Penda of Mercia’s sister, to seal an alliance of the kingdom’s.
One of his first duties was to discard his wife and marry Seaxburh, which annoyed King Penda, where upon a war was declared and Cenwalh was driven from his lands and into exile in 645.
Cenwalh converted to Christianity whilst exiled in East Anglia, and by 648 had reclaimed his throne; King of Wessex. He went on to commission the construction of Winchester Cathedral, and built it in St.Peter’s name.
In 672 King Cenwalh died and Seaxburh his wife succeeded him as the first Queen of Wessex from 673-674.
In 674 Seaxburh died, and was succeeded by her son; Aescwine. In 675 Aescwine’s forces defended his kingdom from the Mercian’s at the “Battle of Bedwyn” becoming victorious in battle.
In 676 Aescwine passed away and his uncle Centwine claimed the throne. In the early part of hisd reign, he was a pagan king, and in the 680’s converted to Christianity. In 685, King Centwine of the Wessex Kingdom, abdicated his position as king to become a monk.
Caedwalla descendant of Cerdic and from a noble house, who had been driven from Wessex by Cenwalh in the removal of sub-royal families. Aged barely twenty-six had gathered support, as he invaded Sussex and built his own kingdom.
Caedwalla became the new King of Wessex following Centwine abdication. He conquered the Kingdoms of Sussex, Kent and the Isle of Wight. It is believed, he went on to commit acts of genocide and forced his people to renounce the Christian faith.
In 688 King Caedwalla travelled to Rome, and received holy baptism on the 13th April from Pope Sergius, who gave him the name Peter. On the 20th April, he died dressed in his baptismal robes and was laid to restin St.Peter’s Church.
Ine, a nobleman claimed the throne of Wessex in 689, taking over a kingdom stretching from the Severn Estuary to Kent’s shorelines. King Ine is remembered in his reforms; increasing trade, coinage throughout his realm. The introduction of laws in 694, covering convicted murder’s rights, which would lead to the development of an English society.
In 728, King Ine of Wessex had become weak and feeble, opting to abdicate his post, travel to Rome and retire. At that time it was one’s belief it would aid one’s ascension to heaven.
Aethelheard, brother-in-law to King Ine, claimed the Wessex throne in 726. Nobleman Oswald contested his right to the throne, and a bitter struggle lasted for almost a year, until Aethelheard prevailed with assistance from the Mercians.
His fourteen year reign was a struggle as he fought with the Mercians to the north, and lost much land in the process. They who had supported him in battle for the throne, demanded that the Kingdom of Wessex should fall under their control.
In 740 King Aethelheard passed away and was succeeded by his brother Cuthred who received the West-Saxon Kingdom of Wessex, which he would hold for sixteen years. He fought fiercly with Aethelbald, King of Mercia.
In the early years of Cuthred’s reign, Wessex was nothing more than a puppet state of Mercia. When the Mercian’s fought the Welsh, the warriors of Wessex were expected to assist.
In 752 Cuthred was fed up of Mercian dominance and went to war against them, in a bid for Wessex independence. Victory was theirs and Independence was theirs… In 753 Cuthred took on the Welsh and passed away in 756.
Sigeberht succeeded his cousin as the new King of Wessex in 756. His reign was short lived, for he had killed the Earl of Cumbra. The council of nobles stripped of his title as King, and Cynewulf drove him into the weald, where he lived until a swineherd stabbed him to death at Privett stream, and so the death… the murder of the Earl had been avenged.
Cynewulf became King of Wessex in 757 and had the support of Aethelbald of Mercia in his claim for the throne. In the first few months of his reign, Cynewulf felt more a sub-king of Wessex under Mercian rule.
Aethelbald of Mercia was assassinated in 757 at Seckington. With Aethelwald out of the way, Cynewulf saw his opportunity to push for an independent Wessex, and the expansion of Wessex territories into the southern counties of Mercia.
Cynewulf lost the Mercian territories in 779, when he was defeated by King Offa, who had succeeded Aethelbald as King of Mercia at the “Battle of Bensington.” A defeated Cynewulf army, were forced back, to the lands of Wessex.
In 786, Cynewulf of Wessex was murdered by the nobleman Cybeheard, whom he had exiled years earlier.
In 786 Beorhtric, distant descendant of Cerdic, founder of Wessex, succeeded to the throne with the backing of King Offa of Mercia. Beorhtric married Lady Eadburh; daughter of King Offa.
Legend has it; Beorhtric was poisoned by his wife Eadburh, and exiled to Germany for her crime in 789. Charlemagne and his son offered her the choice of husband, she chose the younger. Charlemagne replied you chose badly and as such, will have neither.
Embarassed by the affair chose to live out her remaining years in a German convent. She was expelled after receiving her vows, for breaking the rules by having sex with a Saxon man. She spent her remaining days, begging on the streets of Pavia in northern Italy.
Egbert exiled by Beorhtric in the 780’s returned to the Kingdom of Wessex in 802, upon the death of Beorhtric, to claim the throne.
The first twenty years of his reign, was spent keeping Wessex independant from Mercia. In 825 they met in battle at Ellandun. Egbert’s victorious forces pushed the Mercian’s to retreat to the north, Egbert’s army pushed south-east to Surrey, Sussex, Essex and Kent.
It took barely a year, and by 826 Anglo-Saxon England, had seen Wessex become the most powerful kingdom in the land. In 829, Egbert was victorious against the Mercians, as he claimed all of southern Britain up to the River Humber, and the kingdom of Northumbria submitted to him.
Egbert had claimed Mercia, as the exiled King Wiglaf revolted, driving the Wessex army, back into their own lands. The Mercians made no attempt to re-claim lost territories of Kent, Sussex, and Surrey. Wessex was seen as the most powerful kingdom of southern England.
Aethelwulf, son of Egbert and King of Kent, became the next King of Wessex in 839, following his father’s death. Aethelwulf’s kingdom of Kent, would be ruled by his son; Aethelstan, on his behalf.
Aethelwulf and his wife; Osburh bore six children one of whom was Alfred. In 853 Alfred was sent to Rome on a pilgrimage. Aethelwulf’s wife died in 855, and he joined his son in Rome. On his return journey home, met his second wife, a twelve year old French princess named Judith.
When Aethelwulf landed on British shores in 856, his son Aethelbald had stolen his kingdom from him, in his absence. His Christian attitudes led him to grant Aethelbald the western part of Wessex, an attempt to avoid civil war breaking out.
In 858 Aethelwulf died and was succeeded by his son Aethelbald. who took his father’s widow, Judith as his wife.
Aethelberht, brother to Aethelbald and son of Aethelwulf became King of Wessex in 860. He integrated the Kingdom of Kent into Wessex, and battled against Viking incursions seeing off the Danish invaders. Around 865 these Vikings accepted money from men of Kent, in return for a truce, but it wasn’t long before it was broken, as these Vikings ravaged eastern Kent.
In 865 Aethelberht died with no successor, and so the throne of Wessex was passed to his brother; Aethelred.
Aethelred’s six year reign as King of Wessex was one battle after another with Viking invaders.
In 871, King Ethelred, the West Saxon King and elder brother of Alfred dies in battle. On the 23rd April, Alfred becomes King of Wessex, a land beset with Viking invaders.
Alfred builds an English fleet of ships, to take on these Viking invaders on land and sea. The English learnt quickly, for in 875 they claim their first sea victory, capturing one of the Viking ships.
In 878, Alfred is pushed west into the Somerset marshes by Danish forces. From Athelney Fort and surrounding areas he creates a force to come out fighting, beating the Danes.
In 878 the “Treaty of Wedmore” is born, dividing England in two, with Alfred overlord of both halves. Anglo-Saxons in the south and west, with Danes in the north and east.
As the Danes invade Kent in 885, Alfred drives Danish forces out of London in 886, and recognised by its people, as King of all England.
Alfred the Great, King of England, died in 899 and was succeeded by Edward, which was disputed by Edward’s cousin; Aethelwold, who sought assistance from the Danes, in claiming the crown.
Edward retaliated attacking the Danish Kingdom of East Anglia, culminating at the “Battle of Holme” where East Anglian Danes and Wessex warriors fought, and Aethelwold died in battle.
Edward the Elder’s reign was made up of constant clashes with the Danes. By the end of his reign, Edward had almost quashed threats of Viking invasion.
Edward the Elder dies in 924 and is succeeded by his son, Aelfweard who reigns for a mere sixteen days.
Aethelstan becomes the next King of Wessex in 924 and the first King of England. By the time of his coronation in 925, Anglo-Saxons had retaken much of England leaving an area around York in Danish control.
A truce was drawn up, preventing either side going to war. When the Danish King; Sihtric died in 927, Aethelstan swiftly captured York and the Danes were forced into submission.
Aethelstan believed he be King of Britain, and called a gathering of the Kings including Scotland and Wales to acknowledge that he be the true King of England. The welsh and Scots agreed, providing borders were placed between the three countries.
King Aethelstan died on the 27th October 940. During his reign he had defeated the Vikings, created a united Anglo-Saxon Kingdom under a single banner, becoming the first King of England.