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View Poll Results: What is/are Britain's greatest contribution(s) to the world ?

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  • The English language

    37 54.41%
  • The agricultural & industrial revolutions

    27 39.71%
  • Mechanical inventions (railway, gas turbine, jet engine, automobile, etc.)

    25 36.76%
  • Economics (mercantilism, free trade, capitalism, liberalism)

    22 32.35%
  • Scientists & philosophers (Bacon, Locke, Newton, Darwin, Russell...)

    30 44.12%
  • Politicians (Walpole, Disraeli, Gladstone, Churchill, Thatcher, Blair...)

    6 8.82%
  • Parliamentary monarchy

    9 13.24%
  • Teas, jams and biscuits

    14 20.59%
  • Literature & Poetry (Shakespeare, Milton, Bronte's, Kipling, Dickens, Elliot...)

    24 35.29%
  • Crime fictions (Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes...)

    13 19.12%
  • Children stories (Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh, Peter Rabbit, Harry Potter...)

    20 29.41%
  • Architectural styles (Norman, Tudor, Georgian, Regency, Victorian...)

    11 16.18%
  • Pop music (Beatles, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Queen, Robbie Williams, All Saints...)

    26 38.24%
  • Luxury cars (Roll Royce, Bentley, Jaguar, Lotus, Aston Martin)

    10 14.71%
  • Fashion (Burberry, Dunhill, Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood, FCUK)

    5 7.35%
  • Oxford & Cambridge universities

    15 22.06%
  • The Commonwealth of Nations

    8 11.76%
  • Negative & colour photography

    10 14.71%
  • Sports (tennis, badminton, cricket, golf, rugby, boxing...)

    5 7.35%
  • Games (snooker, croquet, bridge, whist...)

    3 4.41%
Multiple Choice Poll.
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Thread: Greatest British contribution to the world ?

  1. #1
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    Arrow Greatest British contribution to the world ?



    I have waited to post this thread as the list may be longer than that of any other countries. Britain has had a remarkably important role in shaping today's world compared to its tiny size (half the land area of France or Texas).

    British inventions alone include the steam engine, the gas turbine, the railway, the gas stove/cooker, the car, negative & colour photography, radio waves, the jet engine and arguably also video games.

    We also owe to Britain the agricultural and industrial revolutions, and a big part in the development of mercantilism, free trade, capitalism, economic liberalism.

    England was the first major country to have a parliament (after Iceland and the Isle of Man).

    English is now the most widely spoken language around the world, and the official language of science, computering, aviation and diplomacy, among others.

    But Britain's contribution to the world are not limited to its system and inventions. Britain is has given the world famous brands of food, drinks and clothes, such as :

    - Tea & Jam : Fortnum & Mason, Lipton, Twinings, Pickwick, Whittards, Wilkin & Son Tiptree, Chivers/Hartleys, Rather Jolly, Thursday Cottage...
    - Clothes : Burberry, Paul Smith, Alred Dunhill, Vivienne Westwood, FCUK...
    - Cars : Roll Royce, Bentley, Jaguar, Lotus, Aston Martin, MG, Mini Cooper, Rover

    Many famous novels and children stories are also British. Many of them were adapted by Disney or Hollywood :

    - Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh, Peter Rabbit, Marry Poppins, Oliver Twist, Lords of the Rings, Harry Potter, etc.

    Related threads :

    Greatest contributions of :

    Ancient Egypt - Ancient Greece - Ancient Rome

    India - China - Japan

    Belgium - Britain - France - Germany - Netherlands - Italy - Poland - Spain
    Last edited by Maciamo; 17-03-11 at 12:18.

  2. #2
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    A very difficult subject to post. I have selected several, but overall the two most important are the Industrial Revolution and the English Language. Both have shaped the world in which we live in today. I did think about putting on this thread myself, but I found it a case of 'Where do I start?' and 'I've got to check to make sure'. But what you have is a good set of choices.

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    Viagra!!!! Peter Dunn and Albert Wood both of Kent, England are named as the inventors of the process of a drug for Pfizer by which Viagra was created.

    i dont use it, but when i am 55 and it dont work good anymore,, i will be happy to use viagra

  4. #4
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    Well so much to choose from, but I will stick with the industrial revolution and the great invetions, rails and what not, and with one particular man, Brunel. This guy was amazing, made the first modern rail track, first steel ship, and then an even bigger one, he was just a great genius. Not to offend any british person, but when it comes to the legacy of Great Britain I always think of the many problems it has left behind. Palestine, Cyprus, Kashmir, just to name a few. Another important contribution i feel is Great Britain in WW2, basically the only European country to really resist Hitler, I mean just really great effort, only the Air battles are just incredible, outnumbered and in those conditions the britts made the germans bite the dust. Really extraordinary in my view.

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    I think the greatest contribution that Great Britain made to the world occurred in 1940 and was described by the historian A.J.P. Taylor thus ...

    Question ... What was the greatest acomplishment of Great Britain during World War II ?

    Answer ... They kept it going !


    Apart from that ... ... yeah ! ... we ain't done too bad, have we !

    But - I would like to make a few comments with regard to the poll ...

    The Automobile? Shouldn't Herr Daimler and his fellow Germans have kudos for that ?

    Was Tolkien really British?

    And ...no classical music ? Let's wipe the smiles off the faces of the Germans/Austrians/Italians ... and remind them of Holst(?), Vaughan-Williams, Walton, Benjamin Britten, Butterworth .... and a few others !

    Regards

    ジョン

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    Harry Potter, Shakespeare, Elizabithen theater. Wait a moment, isn't that what actors called during Queen Elizabeth's reign? I really don't know. And what about Protastant Cathlocism? The break away from the Catholic church happened in England. And the only person that was trying to restore the Catholic church back to it's original state was Mary. I'm not sure about my knowladge of history. So, would the Protastant ideology also be a British contribution to the world?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sensuikan San
    The Automobile? Shouldn't Herr Daimler and his fellow Germans have kudos for that ?
    According to Wikipedia : " It was in Birmingham also that the first four wheel petrol-driven automobiles were built in Britain in 1895 by Frederick William Lanchester who also patented the disc brake in the city." But it's true that Daimler, Benz, and Maybach had built motorbikes, car engines and what could be called a car 9-10 years before.

    Was Tolkien really British?
    Why not ? He was born in South Africa to an English father at a time where there was no such thing as South African nationality. He moved to England when he was 3, was schooled in Birmingham and went to Oxford university. He became a professor at Leeds, then Oxford. He spent most of his life in England.

    And ...no classical music ? Let's wipe the smiles off the faces of the Germans/Austrians/Italians ... and remind them of Holst(?), Vaughan-Williams, Walton, Benjamin Britten, Butterworth .... and a few others !
    I thought about classical music too, but Britain has not many great names as you said compared to some other countries.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ma Cherie
    And what about Protastant Cathlocism? The break away from the Catholic church happened in England. And the only person that was trying to restore the Catholic church back to it's original state was Mary. I'm not sure about my knowladge of history. So, would the Protastant ideology also be a British contribution to the world?
    Protestanism started with Luther in Germany and Calvin in Switzerland. Henry VIII seceded from Rome for political reasons. Anglicanism is just another form of Catholicism as the dogma is almost identical. We could call it Anglican Catholicism, as opposed to Roman Catholicism. "Bloody Mary" was born a Roman Catholic and married the very Catholic King Philip II of Spain. She tried to restore this after her father's death, but only verry briefly. One century later, King James II (who was a friend of Louis XIV of France) also tried to restore Roman Catholicism, but was forced into exile during the Glorious Revolution (William of Orange then became king). To know more, you can read my brief History of England.

  9. #9
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    That's right, it was Martin Luther and Calvin. I can't belive I forgot that. Thanks for the info Mac.

  10. #10
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    I picked language and people. But not the politicians you listed. I admire people like Robert Owen and Kier Hardy. Without people like that I would working fourteen hours a day at t' mill!

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    I have participated in the poll.

    I have chosen several, but my favourite are:

    Biscuits,
    The English language,
    The universities,
    Burberry & Mulberry

    Another important contribution not mentioned is: (quoted from wikipedia):

    PENICILLIN & Alexander Fleming:
    It was serendipitously rediscovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928, who noticed a halo of inhibition of bacterial growth around a contaminant blue-green mould on a Staphylococcus culture. Fleming concluded that the mould was releasing a substance that was inhibiting bacterial growth. He grew a pure culture and discovered that the fungus was Penicillium notatum ― he later named the bacterial inhibiting substance penicillin after the Penicillium notatum that released it.
    Fleming was convinced after conducting some more experiments that penicillin could not last long enough in the human body to kill pathogenic bacteria and stopped studying penicillin after 1931.

    It would prove to be the discovery that changed modern medicine. In 1939, Howard Walter Florey and a team of researchers at Oxford University made significant progress in showing Penicillin's in vivo ability to kill infectious bacteria.

    This eventually led to commercial production of penicillin and the belief that modern medicine has led the world in an era free of diseases.

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    England Has A Real Personal Meaning To Me .

    2 of the most wonderful people in my life were "Made in England" ; my wife of 28 years and a special "GOOD" mother-in law!!

    Frank


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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsuyoiko
    I picked language and people. But not the politicians you listed. I admire people like Robert Owen and Kier Hardy. Without people like that I would working fourteen hours a day at t' mill!
    Good comment! I totally agree !

    ジョン

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank D. White
    2 of the most wonderful people in my life were "Made in England" ; my wife of 28 years and a special "GOOD" mother-in law!!

    Frank

    That is sweet Uncle Frank!!!!

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    one of my fav british contributions is oasis

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    I voted for parliamentary monarchy because it inspired a lot of the development of our government in the US which then has spawned other democracys.

    Let me add that Jaguars may actually be the leading cause of headaches in the world, rather than contribution.

    (You go, Dutch Baka! LOL)

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    Mac, Perhaps you could do a thread on greatest Japanese discoveries/inventions next?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pararousia
    Mac, Perhaps you could do a thread on greatest Japanese discoveries/inventions next?
    FYI, there is already such a thread here. I thought it was clearly visible to all on the main index, but I am now wondering what %age of forum members frequently visits it.

    There are also similar threads about Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, France and Italy linked from the Eupedia main index, and about the US here.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 20-02-11 at 09:49.

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    Isaac Newton. Hands down. No one person in history has even come close to advancing our understanding of the world in the way he did.

    In a more flippant vein, I'd also like to nominate Cheddar Cheese. My God, I miss it.

  20. #20
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    Probably Neville Barnes Wallis who invented the "Bouncing Bomb". You could argue that without the "Bouncing Bomb" the war could have taken a very different path.

  21. #21
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    IMHO, industrial revolution and mechanical inventions. And probably lots of scientists too, except I can't think of any (that haven't been already posted) right now! And the negative/colour photography is pretty important too, I think.

    On a lighter note, Harry Potter and Hobnobs (they are British, right? )

  22. #22
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    I love Hobnobs, especailly the ones with dark chocolate. mmmm.... :homer: Shouldn't forget Jaffa Cakes though

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    I'm thinking it is the steam engine and the mini cooper.
    I also love the old brit theologians.
    Isn't the Pinzgauer made in GB now?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycernius
    I love Hobnobs, especailly the ones with dark chocolate. mmmm.... :homer: Shouldn't forget Jaffa Cakes though
    HOBNOBS I agree!!! YUMMY!! One can get addicted to them.....

    Speaking of cookies and chocolate, I also adore Maltesers!!!

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    i had always thought tetra pak had been british which is definitely one of the worlds greatest inventions but a quick check revelas its origins to be sweden

    well, in that case i have to vote for the sinclair c5
    unappreciated in its time and almost forgotten in this day and age
    the time has come for its revival (or not)
    Last edited by deadhippo; 08-08-05 at 08:03. Reason: spelling

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