Britain became one of the most powerful and influential empires in the world due to its innovation and technological advance. In the beginning of the new era, however, it was dominated by the Roman conquerors. When they retreated in the 5th century AD, it came under the dominance of Anglo-Saxons. In the 11th century Britain was conquered by Normans, who transformed the country immensely. William the Conqueror started to construct large buildings of stone, with impressive Romanesque arches and vaults. The Tower of London stands as a reminder of his tyranny many centuries after his death. When gluttonous and cruel king Henry VIII came to power, this building was made larger, protected with additional walls and turned into execution ground. In his pursuit of the world dominance, the King ordered his naval engineers to build a strong fleet with weapons. The flagman of the fleet was the Mary Rose, equipped with heavy guns pointing at many directions. The ships were also equipped with iron-cast cannons, which were made in large stone furnaces, designed specifically with this purpose. Britain thus became an undefeatable maritime power and even managed to beat back the attack of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1805.
In the 19th century, Britain became unquestionable leader in technological innovation. The steam locomotive “Rocket”, built by Robert Stephenson, made a revolution in commercial transportation because of its incomparable speed. The Great Western Railway was designed to follow the straightest route possible, which required the dangerous operation of making tunnels through the rocks. The Palace of Westminster was reconstructed after the fire in 1834 with fascinating proportions and in an interesting mix of styles. The heavy but impressively accurate clock of Big Ben became an important symbol of the British dominance over the world. The empire grew larger and the invention of telegraph during the reign of Queen Victoria made the communication between its remote parts much easier. As more and more people were coming to London, the city suffered from sanitation problems. The creation of effective sewer system, which diverted waste from the river, turned London into a clean and glittering city. The problem of excessive traffic was solved with building the draw bridge – the Tower of London – which became a famous icon of the city.
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