Link #144: Britain Was Once a Peninsula

Bowfield Dam
Image credit: Thomas Nugent/CC BY-SA 2.0


Chain of Facts - A Connection of Facts

Link #144: Britain Was Once a Peninsula

Bowfield Dam
Image credit: Thomas Nugent/CC BY-SA 2.0

We explained in our last post that the first documented contact between the Hawaiian Islands and Europeans was through James Cook. Cook, at the time, decided to name the islands Sandwich Islands because his expedition was funded by the 4th Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu. This was made possible because of Britain’s naval prowess.

In fact, Great Britain owes a lot to its naval power. It dominated the world for many centuries because it could control the seas. However, did you know that Britain’s nature could’ve been different had a tsunami not struck its lands 8,000 years ago?

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Was Great Britain Always A Cluster Of Islands?

Ice Age
Image credit: Stephen Hudson/GFDL.

No, Great Britain wasn’t always a cluster of islands. It was once a peninsula! Before the last great Ice Age on Earth concluded, the region we call the United Kingdom right now was a dry, cold, and unforgiving place. However, when the Ice Age started retreating, the ice caps began to melt.

This caused lands in the United Kingdom region to become wetter and less cold. This was a time when the North Sea and the Irish Sea were both dry lands. As the sea levels rose, these lands started submerging.

While these areas and the connection between the United Kingdom and the mainland of Europe were marshy and wet at this time, they wouldn’t be completely submerged till about 6,100 BC.

How Did The United Kingdom Become A Cluster Of Islands?

Tsunami, Public Domain Image

Geologists suspect that the United Kingdom region transformed from a peninsula to a group of islands because of massive landslides which occurred in Norway. These landslides caused a landlocked sea in Norway to become free and merge with main water bodies.

As massive amounts of land fell into the main water bodies followed by huge amounts of water, a gigantic tsunami was formed. The tsunami would hit the United Kingdom region with incredible force. The tsunami, according to many experts, would’ve consisted of waves as high as 33 feet.

The force of the tsunami allowed it to travel about 40 kilometres inland. It settled in low lying regions to form what is the modern day North Sea and created the channel that separates the United Kingdom from mainland Europe.

What Happened To People When The United Kingdom Became An Island?

When the tsunami severed the United Kingdom region from mainland Europe, the area was populated by hunter gatherers. In fact, the whole region only boasted of about 5,000 hunter gatherers who were only there because they were following herds of reindeer and mammoths.

The region that was submerged by the tsunami is being searched by scientists. These scientists have already found grooved timbers which, they claim, are parts of 8,000 year old log boats. As a result, these scientists say that the region under the channel between United Kingdom and mainland Europe used to be home to a boat building yard for people of that time.

These scientists also say that if United Kingdom had not become an island region from a peninsula, the idea of United Kingdom being an island nation may never have took form. Needless to say, this would’ve changed what United Kingdom would become today!

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