Famous people in the UK and the USA

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United Kingdom[editovat]

William the Conqueror[editovat]

William I, also known as William the Conqueror was son of the unmarried Robert I, Duke of Normandy, born around 1028. His illegitimate status and his youth caused some difficulties for him after he succeeded his deceased father in 1035. In 1060 he managed to establish full authority over the duchy which allowed him to expand his territory.

In the 1050s and early 1060s William became a contender for the throne of England, which was held by the childless Edward the Confessor at the time. However, there were other claimants for the throne, including the powerful English earl Harold Godwinson, who was named the next king by Edward on the deathbed in January 1066. William disputed his right to the throne arguing by earlier Edward's promises and Harold's vow to support William's claim. He built a large fleet and invaded England in September 1066, defeating and killing Harold at the Battle of Hastings in October 1066. After further military operations William was crowned king on Christmas Day 1066, in London. He made arrangements for the administration of England in early 1067 before returning to Normandy. Several unsuccessful rebellions followed, but by 1075 William's control of England was mostly secure, allowing him to spend the majority of the rest of his reign on the continent. In 1086 William ordered the compilation of the Domesday Book, a survey listing all the landholdings in England along with their pre-conquest and current holders. During his reign new castles were built and new Norman nobility settled on the land. He died in September 1087 while leading a campaign in northern France.

Henry VIII[editovat]

Henry VIII was King of England from 1509 until his death 1547. Henry was the second Tudor monarch, succeeding his father, Henry VII Henry VIII is best known for his six marriages and his efforts to invalidate his first marriage to Cathrine of Aragon. After the Pope refused to annul the marriage, Henry initiated the English Reformation, which separated the Church of England from papal authority. He appointed himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England and dissolved convents and monasteries. His other wives were Anne Boleyn (marriage was annulled and she was executed for treason), Jane Seymour (which died twelve days after giving birth to Edward VI, most likely due to birth complications), Anne of Cleves (marriage was annulled, she outlived the rest of the wives), Catherine Howard (executed for treason) and Catherine Parr (widowed at death of Henry VIII). During his reign, Henry has made radical changes to the English constitution strengthening his power. Although he was able to convert the money formerly paid to Rome into the royal revenue, he was continually contending with the lack of finances caused by his extravagant life and numerous costly wars he was leading on the continent.

Elizabeth I[editovat]

Elizabeth I was Queen of England and Ireland from 1558 until her death in 1603. She was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn and the last monarch of the House of Tudor. During the rule of her stepsister Mary I, Elizabeth was imprisoned for almost a year on suspicion of supporting Protestant rebels. After Mary's death in 1558 Elizabeth became the queen. She depended heavily on a group of advisers led by William Cecil, 1st baron Burghley. One of her first actions as queen was the establishment of an English Protestant church, of which she became the Supreme Governor. In 1587, Elizabeth's advisors ordered the execution of Mary, Queen of the Scots since they considered her a threat for the queen. The strengthening of the Protestant church and the execution of Mary led to deterioration of relationship between Spain and England which eventually resulted in Anglo-Spanish War. In 1588, the Spanish Armada was defeated in the Battle of Gravelines and the Spanish fleet was subsequently decimated by storms. This was later considered one of the greatest military victories in English history. Elizabeth's reign is known as the Elizabethan era which ended by her death in 1603.

Admiral Nelson[editovat]

Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson was a British flag officer in the Royal Navy. He was noted for a number of decisive British naval victories, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. During the French Revolutionary Wars Nelson led HMS Agamemnon and significantly contributed to the capture of Corsica. In 1797, he distinguished himself while in command of HMS Captain at the Battle of Cape St Vincent when he disobeyed his orders and captured two Spanish ships (including the largest war ship at the time, Santisima Trinidad). Shortly after the battle, Nelson took part in the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, where his attack was defeated and he was badly wounded, losing his right arm, and was forced to return to England to recuperate. The following year, he won a decisive victory over the French at the Battle of the Nile and remained in the Mediterranean to support the Kingdom of Naples against a French invasion. In 1801, Nelson was dispatched to the Baltic and successfully negotiated with the Danes after the Battle of Copenhagen. For two years, he successfully commanded the blockade of the French and Spanish fleets at Toulon and chased them after their escape. In 1805, when Napoleon threatened to invade the England, Nelson's fleet engaged Franco-spanish fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar. The battle was one of the Britain's greatest naval victories, but during the action, Nelson was fatally wounded by a French sharpshooter.

Queen Victoria[editovat]

Victoria was the daughter of Prince Edward, the fourth son of King George III She inherited the throne at the age of 18, after her father's three elder brothers had all died, leaving no surviving legitimate children. Since United Kingdom was already an established constitutional monarchy, her power as the queen was limited. However, she attempted to influence government policy and ministerial appointments indirectly. She also became a national icon recognized for her strict moral standards. Her reign of 63 years (1837-1901) and seven months was longer than that of any of her predecessors and is known as the Victorian era. It was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire.

Queen Elizabeth II[editovat]

Elizabeth was born in 1926 as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York, later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Her father became the king after the abdication of his brother King Edward VIII in 1936, from which time she became entitled to inherit the throne. During the Second World War, she served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (women's branch of the British Army). In 1947, she married Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, a former prince of Greece and Denmark, with whom she has four children – Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward. when her father died in 1952, she became Queen of the United Kingdom. She is the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch as well as the world's longest-reigning queen regnant and female head of state, the oldest and longest-reigning current monarch and the oldest and longest-serving current head of state.

Winston Churchill[editovat]

Winston Churchill was born in 1874 to an aristocratic family residing in Oxfordshire. He joined the British Army, saw the action in British India, the Anglo-Sudan War and the Second Boer War and gained fame as a war correspondent. In 1900 he was elected as the member of parliament, initially as a conservative, but he run over to the Liberals in 1904. However, in 1925, he re-joined the Conservative Party. During the 1930s, Churchill was calling for British armament to counter the growing threat from Nazi Germany. After the beginning of the Second World War, he was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty. After Neville Chamberlain's resignation in 1940, Churchill became the Prime Minister of United Kingdom. He oversaw British involvement in the Allied war effort, resulting in victory in 1945. After the Conservatives' defeat in the 1945 election, he became Leader of the Opposition. He publicly warned of an "iron curtain" of Soviet influence in Europe and promoted European unity. In 1951, he was re-elected prime minister and stayed in the office until 1955, when he resigned. He died in 1965.

United States[editovat]

George Washington[editovat]

George Washington was born in 1732 to a family of wealthy planters who owned tobacco plantations and slaves, which he inherited. He served as a senior officer in the colonial militia during the first stages of the French and Indian War. He later began to disapprove the British rule due to lack of colonial representation in British Parliament and excessive taxation of the colonies. In 1775, the Continental Congress appointed him as commander of the Continental Army in the American Revolution. Washington's strategy eventually led to defeat of the British forces. In 1789, he was unanimously elected president by the Electoral College in the first two national elections. His retirement from office after two terms in 1797 established a tradition that lasted until 1940 and was later made law by the 22nd Amendment. He died in 1799 as a result of epiglottitis.

Thomas Jefferson[editovat]

Thomas Jefferson was born in 1743 in colonial Virginia. He graduated from the College of William & Mary and briefly practiced law. During the American Revolution, he represented Virginia in the Continental Congress and was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. In 1790 he was appointed the nation's first Secretary of State. He was the co-founder of the Democratic-Republican Party that opposed the centralizing policies of the Federalist Party. In 1801, he was elected the third President of the United States. During his governance, he organized the Louisiana Purchase that almost doubled the country's territory.

Abraham Lincoln[editovat]

Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809 in Kentucky. He became a lawyer in Illinois, a Whig Party leader, and was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives, in which he served for eight years. After he was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1846, Lincoln promoted rapid modernization of the economy and opposed the Mexican-American war. In 1854, he became a leader in building the new Republican Party, which opposed the Democrats and spoke out against slavery. In 1860, he was elected president, although he gained very little support in the slaveholding states of the South. The Lincoln's victory led to secession of the southern states which formed the Confederate States of America. When U.S. soldiers refused to hand over the Fort Sumter, Confederation forces attacked the fort resulting in the outbreak of American Revolutionary War. Lincoln then organized the war effort selecting the generals and deciding Union war strategy. In 1863, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed more than 3 million enslaved African Americans in the designated areas of the South. In 1865, Lincoln achieved Congress' approval of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which permanently outlawed slavery. On April 1865, five days after the surrender of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, Lincoln was shot by Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth and died the next day.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy[editovat]

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born in 1917 in Brookline. During the World War II, he served in the U.S. Navy and commanded a series of Patrol Torpedo boats. After the war, he was elected to the House of Representatives and subsequently to the U.S. Senate. In the 1960 presidential election, Kennedy defeated Republican candidate Richard Nixon and became the youngest elected president (at age 43). Kennedy increased the number of American military advisers in South Vietnam and organized a failed attempt to overthrow the Cuban government of Fidel Castro in the Bay of Pigs Invasion. When Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person to fly in space, Kennedy announced the goal to accomplish human landing on the Moon by 1970. In 1962, U.S. spy planes discovered that soviet missile bases has been deployed in Cuba resulting in Cuban Missile Crisis that nearly resulted in the outbreak of a global thermonuclear conflict. In 1963, Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas by Lee Harvey Oswald.

Martin Luther King[editovat]

Marthin Luther King was an activist and leader in the civil rights movement. In 1955, King led the Montgomery bus boycott, a political and social protest against the policy of racial segregation on the public transit system of Montgomery. The campaign started after Rosa Parks, an African American woman, was arrested for refusing to surrender her seat to a white person. In 1957, he became the first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an African-American civil rights organization. He also helped organize the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. In 1964, he won the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance. King's assassination by James Earl Ray in 1968 led to riots in many U.S. cities.

Your own choice[editovat]

Stephen Hawking[editovat]

Stephen William Hawking was an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author, and director of research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge. His scientific works included Penrose–Hawking singularity theorems and the theoretical prediction of radiation emitted by black holes, often called Hawking radiation. He was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge between 1979 and 2009 and achieved commercial success with his works of popular science in which he discusses his own theories and cosmology in general. Hawking had a rare early-onset slow-progressing form of motor neurone disease (known as "ALS") that gradually paralyzed him over the decades. Even after the loss of his speech, he was still able to communicate through a speech-generating device.