Friday, August 10, 2007

The English Channel

The channel has been the key natural defence for Britain, allowing the nation to intervene at will but rarely be dangerously threatened in European conflicts, the most notable threats being from Napoleon during the Napoleonic Wars, and Nazi Germany during the World War II. It has also been the scene of a number of other invasions and attempted invasions, including the Roman conquest of Britain, the Norman Conquest in 1066, the Spanish Armada in 1588, and the Normandy landings in 1944.

Nowadays, many travellers cross beneath the English Channel using the Channel Tunnel. This engineering feat, first proposed in the early 19th century and finally realised in 1994, connects the UK and France by rail. It is now routine to travel between Paris, Brussels and London on the Eurostar train.