Finding Background Information - British History

When you are doing research on a topic, you will often encounter unfamiliar terms, or familiar ones used in a specialized way. Dictionaries can provide a quick definition and often some elaboration on the uses of the term. Encyclopedias provide background information on unfamiliar subjects, leading you quickly to key ideas and sources in developing your topic. Many encyclopedia articles will also include brief bibliographies which will lead you to further sources of information.

Dictionaries and encyclopedias covering British history topics include:

The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England
The 700 articles are supplemented by maps, line-drawings, and black and white photos. An Appendix lists rulers of all the constituent kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England from ca. 450 to 1066.
REFERENCE DA152.B58 1999

Britannia: British History
Comprehensive treatment of the Times, Places, Events and People of British History.” Includes narrative histories, timelines, historical documents, etc.

British History Online
Key primary and secondary sources for the history of Britain and Ireland, focusing on 1300-1800.

The Cambridge Historical Encyclopedia of Great Britain and Ireland
The 60 chapters written by academic historians are arranged in seven chronological sections. Coverage is from before the first Roman invasion until after the 1975 referendum on entry to the EEC. Illustrated with photos and maps.

The Columbia Companion to British History
Written by six distinguished historians, with contributions from authorities in specific fields, this covers from the Roman invasion to 1979.

Companion to Irish History, 1603-1921: From the Submission of Tyrone to Partition
The theme of the Irish struggle for independence is carried throughout the book. A chronology, bibliography, and maps are provided.
REFERENCE DA912.N485 1991

A Companion to Scottish History: From the Reformation to the Present
Entries vary from less than 100 words to more than 3,000. A chronology, genealogical tables, and maps are included.
REFERENCE DA757.9.D68 1989

A Dictionary of British History (J. P. Kenyon)
Covers the history of the British Isles and its overseas possessions from the Roman conquest to 1970. A chronology at the back provides a year-by-year survey of events.

A Dictionary of British History (J. Cannon)

A Dictionary of British Social History
Entries are "concerned with the everyday life of ordinary people throughout the ages." Supplemented with drawings.

The Dictionary of English History
Many of the entries are several pages long and list detailed factual information.

A Dictionary of Irish History Since 1800
REFERENCE DA949.7.H53 1980

Historical Dictionary of Stuart England, 1603-1689
Supplemented with a chronology and bibliography.
REFERENCE DA375.H57 1996

History of the United Kingdom: Primary Documents
Lists primary documents useful for the study of British history, providing links to transcriptions of the actual documents.

The New A-Z of Empire : A Concise Handbook of British Imperial History

The Oxford Companion to British History
There are more than 4,000 entries in this one-vol. work covering from 55 BC to the late 1990s. Includes maps and genealogical charts. A rev. 'online only' ed. is available as an e-book to the UPEI community.

The Oxford Companion to Irish History
Covers the history of Ireland and its peoples from the earliest times to the late 20th century.  The 2nd ed. (2002) is available as an e-book to the UPEI community.
REFERENCE DA910.O93 1998

The Oxford Companion to Scottish History

Routledge Dictionary of Modern British History

Steinberg's Dictionary of British History
Entries have been authored by British scholars. Includes entries for "countries which are, or at some time were, part of England and her overseas possessions, the British Empire, or the Commonwealth of Nations. Their history, however, is carried on only as long as their British connexion lasted."

Tudor England: An Encyclopedia
Over 700 entries covering history, personalities, religion, culture, politics, and science from 1485 to 1603.
REFERENCE DA320.T839 2001

Twentieth-Century Britain: An Encyclopedia
Articles have been contributed by over 200 scholars. Includes a chronology.
REFERENCE DA566.T835 1995

Victorian Britain: An Encyclopedia
Chronologically arranged, this reference work covers the years of Queen Victoria's reign, although many of the topics begin well before 1837 or continue well after 1901.
REFERENCE DA550.V53 1988

Created by: Betty Jeffery, B.A., M.L.S.
Former Instruction & Education Services Librarian
Date Created: 17-June-2002
Date Revised: 30-July-2010
Date Revised: 11-April-2015