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militia


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The British regionally based volunteer armed forces (from the Latin miles, a soldier). Of Anglo‐Saxon origin or earlier, the militia was established as an obligation for all freemen by the Assize of Arms of 1181. Although militarily negligible throughout its existence, the militia was intended to repel any invasion, to secure order locally, and as a regional ‘constitutional force’ to balance royal control of the standing army. The 1907 Territorial and Reserve Forces Act abolished the militia by amalgamating all volunteer forces into the Territorial Force, renamed the Territorial Army in 1921, which continues in existence.

Subjects: Regional and National History.


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