Britain's 1000 year prominence on the international stage endures. Posterity owes the English language (spoken now by more than half the world's population) a tradition of democratic freedom, governmental and legal systems which have been adapted in many countries, and world figures in science, literature, and the arts. The 'British Inheritance' is shared not just by the peoples of the UK but also by those of many lands the U.S.A., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, and India which were once its colonies and are now its allies and partners. Britain's rich historical heritage is evident in the great archive and manuscript collections found in such institutions as the Public Record Office, British Library, National Library of Scotland, Scottish Record Office, and National Library of Wales. From King Arthur, Alfred the Great, and William the Conqueror to the end of the Empire, swinging England of the 1960s, and the multicultural Britain of the '90s, this volume displays, in chronological order, key documents which illuminate defining moments in British history. The documents are accompanied by lively commentaries by experts and curators, placing the material in context and explaining its significance. Alongside such major treasures as the Domesday Book and Magna Carta are many less well known but nonetheless fascinating items such as Oscar Wilde's calling card and the last letter of Mary, Queen of Scots. Superbly illustrated in color throughout, with a brief introduction, this authoritative and accessible book will appeal to anyone with an interest in history, politics, and culture.