This timeline covers the main points of British (and English) foreign policy from 1485 to the early 21st century.

16th century

17th century

After years of conflict, Spain and England sign the Treaty of London, 29 August 1604. (painting)
After years of conflict, Spain and England sign the Treaty of London, 29 August 1604. (painting)

1700–1789

1789–1815

1815–1860

Further information: International relations of the Great Powers (1814–1919) and British Empire § Britain's imperial century (1815–1914)

non-intervention; no European police system; every nation for itself, and God for us all; balance of power; respect for facts, not for abstract theories; respect for treaty rights, but caution in extending them … a republic is as good a member of the comity of nations as a monarch. 'England not Europe.' 'Our foreign policy cannot be conducted against the will of the nation.' 'Europe's domain extends to the shores of the Atlantic, England's begins there.'[77]

1860–1896

Further information: International relations of the Great Powers (1814–1919) and British Empire § Britain's imperial century (1815–1914)

a patient, pragmatic practitioner, with a keen understanding of Britain's historic interests....He oversaw the partition of Africa, the emergence of Germany and the United States as imperial powers, and the transfer of British attention from the Dardanelles to Suez without provoking a serious confrontation of the great powers.[110]
President Cleveland twists the tail of the British Lion regarding Venezuela—a policy hailed by Irish Catholics in the United States; cartoon in Puck by J.S. Pughe, 1895
President Cleveland twists the tail of the British Lion regarding Venezuela—a policy hailed by Irish Catholics in the United States; cartoon in Puck by J.S. Pughe, 1895
The battleship HMS Royal Sovereign, 1896
The battleship HMS Royal Sovereign, 1896

1897–1919

Further information: Causes of World War I

A 1904 French postcard showing Britannia and Marianne happily dancing together, celebrating the new spirit of co-operation in the "entente cordiale"
A 1904 French postcard showing Britannia and Marianne happily dancing together, celebrating the new spirit of co-operation in the "entente cordiale"
The Triple Entente formed 1907 (in grey) versus the Triple Alliance of 1882–1914, shown in red.
The Triple Entente formed 1907 (in grey) versus the Triple Alliance of 1882–1914, shown in red.
British Empire in 1921
British Empire in 1921

1920–1934

Further information: International relations (1919–1939)

1935–1945

Further information: Causes of World War II and Diplomatic history of World War II

1945–1989

Further information: Cold War

Since 1990

Prominent diplomats

See the full list at Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Military interventions include the 1999 Kosovo peacekeeping force, 2000 intervention in the Sierra Leone Civil War,[252] and the 2003 Iraq War.

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Bibliography

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