It all boils down to tea
One thing you may already know about the English is that we love our tea. This is not just a stereotype; Britain consumes 60 billion cups of tea a year, or 2.5 cups a day per person. Unlike most countries, tea in England is often drunk with milk and sugar. There are some good reasons for our tea obsession:
During the industrial revolution, the caffeine burst and cheap calories that come from drinking sugary tea helped workers to stay alert for the long work days. Boiling water also kills all bacteria, which made tea the safest drink in the dirty urban squalor of industrial Britain.
We also spread tea around the world from China, including to British India. This allowed us to build a huge trade Empire, and the tax of tea may have accounted for 10% of British tax income in 1700.
Tea may even have helped women get the right to vote! Tea rooms in Victorian England provided a neutral space for English women to gather, eat, drink, and discuss the struggle for equal rights.
English spelling is stupid
Mainly because of the British Empire, English is one of the most widely spoken languages on Earth. There are lots of things that make English an easy and logical language: it has no genders, no tones, and we don’t conjugate words in complicated ways.
But English is far from perfect. English is a hybrid, mongrel language with words coming from Latin, old French, old English, Greek and many others. This has led to a language that has more exceptions than it does rules, especially when it comes to spelling. In my perfect language, each letter would make one sound, and each sound would be made by one letter. English is very far from this. We have 26 different letters, which combine in 1,100 different ways to make 44 sounds.
Here are two examples I made of how English is stupid:
“Here he sees happy Chief Caesar eating people on the ceiling” contains 9 different ways to spell the “ee” sound. Why isn’t it just: “Heer hee sees hapee cheef Seeser eeting peepl on the seeling”?
Then there is the opposite problem: “I was ploughing through the borough, and I thought I had a rough cough, although at the lough I realised it was hiccoughs”, contains 8 ways to pronounce “ough”. Why isn’t it: “I was plowing threw the buruh and I thort I had a ruff coff, altho at the lock I realised it was hickups”? Because English is stupid, that’s why.
England is a country, within a country
The borders of England have hardly changed in 1000 years, although England has gradually combined with the rest of Britain, and Northern Ireland, to form the UK. Despite this, England has maintained a separate national identity, and is still counted as a country (although not an independent state). This has led to much confusion, as people from the UK can identify as British, English, Scottish, Welsh, or Northern Irish. Many people in Northern Ireland even choose to have Irish citizenship, and carry Irish passports instead of British ones.
The UK Olympic team is called “Team GB” (for “Great Britain”), in the world cup we have 4 separate teams, and in rugby we have 3 teams (Northern Ireland plays with the Republic of Ireland). All this chaos comes from England’s long and complex history.
England is very, very old.
England is a contender for the title of “Oldest country on Earth”. The English royal family can trace their ancestry back to Cerdic the Great, an Anglo-Saxon King who, in 519, founded the Kingdom of Wessex in southern England. Wessex united all of England by 930 to defend against the Vikings. The last successful invasion of England was in 1066 by William the Conqueror, and England’s borders have hardy changed since then.
They Lead the world in:
British scientists have discovered or co-discovered 23 chemical elements, and 20 of those were by English scientists. England has been a major contributor to science throughout its history. The first pencil, postage stamp, anaesthetic, steam train, radio, jet engine, computer, and the World Wide Web all have their origins in England.