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U.S.-British 'special relationship': The feuds! The folly! The fun!

By the CNN.com staff
U.S. Gen. George Patton, right, had a "special relationship" with World War II allies such as British Gen. Bernard Montgomery.
U.S. Gen. George Patton, right, had a "special relationship" with World War II allies such as British Gen. Bernard Montgomery.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Relationship between America and Britain goes back for centuries
  • Like two cantankerous buddies, we fuss and make up, fuss and make up
  • From Jamestown to World Cup, they're up in each others' business

(CNN) -- British Prime Minister David Cameron visited Tuesday for the first time with U.S. President Obama at the White House. Here's an almost-accurate look at key dates in the two countries' shared histories:

1587: Roanoke Island colony established in present-day North Carolina but disappears in mystery three years later. The only clue to what happened to the colonists is the word "Croatan" carved into a tree. It's believed to have meant, "Blimey, it's hot."

1607: Jamestown settlement established in present-day Virginia as another attempt as an English foothold in the New World. This one works out better.

1775-1783: Revolution/American War of Independence: Ingrate colonists revolt against England/Americans drive British out of country, depending on your point of view. The British lose the 13 Colonies but are allowed to keep the letter "u" in words such as "favourite" and "neighbour."

1812-1815: U.S. fights Great Britain over trade restrictions, other issues. War ends when both sides realize they've forgotten what they're fighting over.

Also in the early 1800s: British distracted with other colonies -- U.S. buys Florida from Spain for a nice vacation place; buys middle of the country from France because it's too good of a deal to pass up.

Video: Warmer ties?
Video: Diplomat: US-UK relations evolved
Video: Cameron visits New York
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1861-1865: U.S. Civil War -- British hedge bets on both Union and Confederacy.

1867: Canada revolts against the British in a very Canadian way, culminating in almost-independence 115 years later.

Late 1800s: U.S. settles West, British fascination with cowboys begins.

1914-1918: World War I begins, U.S. waits in the bullpen until the late innings, gets credit for the save.

1929-1939: Great Depression. Economists in both countries still debating how and when it ended and how to prevent future financial upheavals.

1936: U.S. finally succeeds in bringing down British monarchy -- well, at least they got Edward VIII to abdicate the throne when he picked divorcee Mrs. Wallis Simpson over the crown.

1939-1945: World War II -- Thousands of U.S. servicemen stationed in United Kingdom. British tire of "overpaid, oversexed and over here" Americans on their soil, so Allies invade continental Europe and war ends.

1947-1991: Cold War -- U.S. and British allied against Soviet Union and China, with whom they had been allies with in World War II. U.S. and British allied with Germany and Japan, with whom had been allied against in WWII. France allied with France.

1960s-2000s: Two countries engaged in musical wars -- U.S. retaliates for British Invasion of 1960s with Osmonds, disco. British punk movement spreads to U.S. in 1970s, U.S. counterattacks with waves of boy bands. Two countries agree to truce after England threatens doomsday Rick Astley weapon.

1980s: U.S. President Ronald Reagan, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher begin dating.

1991: First Gulf war -- U.S., Britain fall in love amid conflict.

2000s: U.S. President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair begin dating.

2003-present: Second Gulf war -- U.S., Britain in conflict amid conflict.

2009: In a royal shocker, Michelle Obama touches the Queen! The last person to do that was dubbed the "Lizard of Oz," but he was Australian, and Michelle is so tall and toned and the Queen even seemed to like it, so maybe they're now gal pals.

2010: British attempt to resolve conflict with U.S. over what shape a football should be by giving U.S. a goal in their World Cup game.