1. World War II began and ended, taking the lives of ~60 million people.
In the 1936 Wimbledon finals, which were the last won by a British man, Fred Perry beat Nazi Germany’s Gottfried von Cramm.
2. Three British monarchs have held the throne.
Edward VIII took the throne in January 1936 and abdicated in December to marry the American Wallis Simpson. George VI reigned from 1936 to 1952, and his successor, Elizabeth II, still holds the throne.
3. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison were all born.
4. 16 men and one woman have served as British Prime Minister.
5. England won a World Cup.
The notoriously futile English national soccer team is more successful in the sports’ biggest competition than their tennis players are at their domestic tournament. This says a lot. England won in 1966, with Geoff Hurst (who has since been knighted) scoring the only hat-trick in the history of the World Cup finals. Guess where that Cup was held? That’s right: England.
6. 29 British men and women have won Best Actor/Actress Oscars.
Here’s Kate Winslet in The Reader. Also, American actress Meryl Streep won for playing Margaret Thatcher.
7. All six members of Monty Python were born.
And one, Graham Chapman, died.
8. Manchester United won three Champions League titles.
Hey, remember when Cristiano Ronaldo played for Man U?
9. Ian Fleming created James Bond, leading to 44 novels and 23 movies.
10. Great Britain’s population went from ~47 million to ~62 million.
11. The British Empire, which had 700 million subjects in 1936, disappeared.
12. C.S. Lewis published all seven “Chronicles of Narnia” books, and J.R.R. Tolkien published “The Lord of the Rings.”
13. John Lennon, Sid Vicious, and Joe Strummer were born and died.
R.I.P. John Lennon (1940-1980), Sid Vicious (1957-1979), and Joe Strummer (1952-2002).