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The Legendary White Cliffs of Dover: A Natural Wonder With a Rich History and Romantic Legends

   Located on the border of England, there is a rare spectacle in the world: on the broad coastal hillside, suddenly, as if it had been split straight by a giant axe, a white cliff hundreds of meters high appeared. This dream-like scenery made the great writer Shakespeare emotionally describe it in his famous tragedy “King Lear”: “Standing on the steep white cliff, overlooking the deep sea water, the surging waves beat against the countless rocks on the seashore… This is our White Cliff, which will always be the pride of the English nation!”
  The wonder that Shakespeare praised is the White Cliff, known as the “Southern Gate” of the British Isles! As a popular landscape on the south coast of England, it is also known as the Dover White Cliffs because it is located on the shore of the Dover Strait near Dover, Kent. This beautiful and peculiar landscape is one of Britain’s national geographical indications and national symbols. Countless artists have sought creative inspiration around the White Cliffs of Dover, leaving behind many popular works of literature, music and paintings. So what are the legends surrounding the White Cliffs of Dover?
  A natural barrier to block foreign enemies
   Speaking of the formation of the White Cliffs of Dover, it can be traced back to ancient prehistoric times. The climate in Western Europe at that time was extremely warm, which allowed a variety of marine microorganisms to flourish. White Cliff is formed by the deposition of these tiny marine microbial fossils bit by bit at a rate of 0.015 millimeters per year.
  Over a long period of time, it gradually accumulated into what it is today: the Dover White Cliffs, which is about 150 meters high. The chalk layer in it has a loose structure and is extremely susceptible to natural erosion. Therefore, the White Cliffs have an average annual Retreat at a speed of 0.35 meters.
  It is precisely because of the special structure of the chalk layer that the white cliff reflects and scatters light more strongly than other limestones. Therefore, to the naked eye, the entire white cliff sparkles and is dazzlingly white, forming its special landform!
  Nature has gifted the British Isles with these incredibly magical white cliffs. Entering this stage of human history, the White Cliffs of Dover have been closely linked to British history.
   According to records preserved in the Dover City Museum, in 55 BC, in order to expand the territory of the Roman Republic, Caesar led two Roman legions from France after occupying the Gaul region of today’s France. Set sail from the Port of Calais in an attempt to cross the Strait of Dover and conquer the British Isles across the sea.
   On a sunny day with excellent air visibility, the sentry reported to Caesar in horror: “A tall, straight and steep white barrier appeared on the British Island across the strait. It seems that it is difficult for ships to pass.”
   Caesar Sa was very puzzled after hearing this, so he went to check it out in person. There were no telescopes at that time, so Caesar and his generals could only board the tallest wooden ship to see far away. Unexpectedly, the scene that caught his eye surprised Caesar!
   Although there was still some distance, Caesar saw a large white cliff with extremely steep slopes, like gates falling from the sky, firmly guarding the southern tip of the British Isles. Under the reflection of the sun, those giant white “gates” that are as neat and orderly as a knife, emit dazzling light, making people feel a little scared when they see it.
   Caesar discussed with his generals. Some people thought that it might be because of the blessing of the gods that such a white barrier appeared on the British Isles. The subordinates suggested that Caesar end this disastrous campaign. After some thought, Caesar temporarily canceled the invasion plan. In this way, the towering and steep White Cliffs of Dover blocked the landing of the Roman legions. For the first time in history, it acted as a protective barrier for the lands of southern England.
   Later, the Roman legion changed the direction of crossing the sea and tried every means to turn to the coast of Dire in the north of the British Isles, but this had been postponed for many years. Even though the mighty Roman legions landed on the British Isles, they did not dare to go south because they were afraid of the mysterious White Cliffs of Dover.
   During that period, the English indigenous peoples on the British Isles continued to launch uprisings against the Romans, which devastated the Roman legions. In order to strengthen the fighting strength, the Roman emperor sent troops across the sea twice for reinforcements, but they encountered strong winds and blew the ships near the White Cliffs of Dover. Facing the steep white cliffs, the Roman soldiers had no way to climb, so they could only turn around and return to the European continent in despair. The furious Roman emperor believed that the White Cliffs of Dover were insurmountable, and finally had to give up the invasion of Britain.
  After the English drove away the Roman legions, they took advantage of the dangerous White Cliffs of Dover to build the earliest Dover Castle. They also successfully prevented the Vikings from invading the southern part of the British island, causing the population and financial resources to slowly concentrate in the southern part of England. Gradually, a southern urban agglomeration with London as its core was formed. The dynasties of England have always been willing to use London as their capital. The important reason is that the White Cliffs of Dover serve as a shelter and barrier.
  The Eternal Symbol of Justice and Peace
   In the mid-12th century AD, due to the issue of the succession to the throne of England, the British noble Harold and the French Duke William of Normandy declared war on each other. Harold controlled the entire southern part of the British Isles and had the right time and place. He believed that the natural barrier of the White Cliffs of Dover would prevent William’s army from France from landing.
   Therefore, the arrogant Harold did not take his opponents seriously at all. He ignored the dissuasion of his officials, concentrated his troops in the north, and brazenly launched a war against the Norwegians. After a lot of fighting, Harold won a great victory! The Norwegians were beaten and fled. Harold became even more complacent and boasted: “We will cross the Strait of Dover and go straight to William’s French territory of Normandy.”
   In fact, when Harold was leading his army to fight the Norwegians, William, Duke of Normandy, had already led the ship. The team set sail from the port of Calais, France, and quietly headed towards the White Cliffs of Dover. Knowing that Harold had tens of thousands of troops, William’s subordinates couldn’t help but show fear on their faces. They approached William one after another and asked: “With a small number, we can defeat a large number. Besides, the opponent has a dangerous white cliff. How can we land?” William replied calmly
   . : “Although the White Cliffs of Dover are a natural danger given by God, the people it protects must belong to the benevolent and righteous party.” Hearing what William said, the soldiers finally felt at ease.
  In fact, it was true. Harold was cruel and cruel, and the people complained endlessly, while William, Duke of Normandy, had always been approachable and loved the people like a son.
   Even this expedition to the British Isles was because William was a member of the royal family of the English dynasty and had legal and legitimate reasons to inherit the throne of England. It turned out that William was born in Falaise, Normandy, France. He was the only son of Robert I, Duke of Normandy. At the same time, William was also the grandnephew of Queen Emma of England.
   Perhaps, as William said, the White Cliffs of Dover will protect the merciful and righteous party. The coast at the southern tip of the British Isles is usually shrouded in fog, making it impossible for ships to identify their direction and having to follow the wind to the White Cliffs of Dover.
   Because of this, Harold judged that William’s army from France could only linger on the sea below the White Cliffs of Dover for many days without being able to land. This would give Harold enough time to assemble his army from the north and move south to fight.
   But unexpectedly, on September 27, 1066 AD, that is, the day when William’s fleet was about to arrive at the foot of the White Cliffs of Dover, the dense fog for many days actually cleared up, and there was a dazzling red sun. Hanging high in the sky, the bright colors reflected the sea red. Due to the reflection of light, the white cliff turned golden red. What a strange sight!
   Due to the good visibility, you can have a panoramic view of the bay topography that is usually invisible. William’s scouts were sitting in small boats and soon found a bay hidden at the southernmost end of the White Cliffs of Dover suitable for landing. He immediately returned to report to William. William seized the God-given opportunity and commanded the troops to finally land successfully.
   William led his army in a surprise attack from behind, captured Dover Castle in one fell swoop, and controlled the entire White Cliffs of Dover. William stood on the top of the white cliff overlooking the vast blue sea below, and couldn’t help but feel excited: “It’s so spectacular, this is simply the most beautiful paradise in the world!” William then turned around and looked at the endless grassland
   on the hillside on the top of the cliff. Carpet-like green interweaves with red, white and pink flowers, forming a colorful brocade painting.
   At the end of the grassland is a lush forest, and the Dover Castle, a military pass painstakingly built by the English, is hidden among the green trees of the forest. William plans to build a splendid palace here in the future so that he can often enjoy the magnificent scenery of the White Cliffs of Dover.
   When he learned that William’s army had successfully landed, Harold was extremely surprised: “It’s strange that the White Cliffs of Dover failed to stop them!” In fact, Harold ignored this truth: the power of justice cannot be stopped!
   As a result of the fighting between the two sides, Harold’s men defected one after another, making William, the weaker party, become the stronger one. William captured London and was crowned the new King of England. This was the famous Norman Conquest in history.
   During William’s reign, he visited the White Cliffs of Dover nine times. Due to various reasons, the construction of the palace that William had in mind was never started, but Dover Castle was repaired and strengthened into an impregnable military fortress.
   The rectangular-shaped Dover Castle is surrounded by granite walls, with high observation towers built at the four corners and the main castle in the middle. The castle is surrounded by gentle hills on three sides, and only the southeast faces the White Cliffs of Dover, which together guard the coastline. This castle left over from the William era was later known as the “key to England”.
  Since then, it has experienced many baptisms of war. Its unparalleled natural terrain, loyalty and courage have earned it many reputations as “the bravest castle” and “the castle of peace” in British history.
  Romantic legends are endless.
   The wheel of history is rolling forward and entering the modern Renaissance period where talents emerge in large numbers. The famous dramatist and poet Shakespeare once left London and came to visit the White Cliffs of Dover. Shakespeare was sitting in a boat looking up, and saw the white cliffs of Dover towering straight into the clouds.
   What’s special is that in the middle section of the White Cliffs of Dover, there are seven closely connected cliffs. Looking from the bottom up, these seven cliffs are like seven fairies wearing white flower crowns and white dresses, rising from the sky like giants. Standing vertically out of the deep sea, emerging from the sky, lifelike.
   These seven human-shaped cliffs are layered on top of each other, rising and falling. Some of them seem to be walking hand in hand, while others seem to be whispering. When Shakespeare saw this, he couldn’t help but admired his friends around him: “Wonderful, it’s so wonderful. You see these seven cliffs are like close sisters holding hands and looking at the sea!” After hearing this, the friend couldn’t help but have an idea and
   suggested Said: “Then just call this section of the white cliffs the ‘Seven Sisters Cliff’!”
   From then on, the name “Seven Sisters Cliff” in the middle section of the white cliffs of Dover spread quickly. Through this unusual trip, Shakespeare incorporated the magnificent scenery of the Seven Sisters into his works, and wrote the classic tragedy “King Lear” that has been handed down from generation to generation.
   When “King Lear” was performed in cities across England, the crowds were almost empty. Many people even went to look for and visit the “Seven Sisters Cliff” according to the locations suggested in the play with excitement. After visiting the Seven Sisters Cliff, writers who are good at fairy tale creation were so inspired that they actually interpreted many legendary stories in different versions.
   One of the most widely known and widely circulated stories in the UK is that a young man named Karen met seven lost girls while out hunting.
  These seven girls were originally the king’s treasures, but because they were bored in the palace all day long, they met to go out for fun, and never thought of getting lost in the valley. The kind-hearted Karen escorted the seven princesses home, and the two parties formed a deep friendship. Unexpectedly, the king learned of this and strongly opposed the princesses’ interaction with poor people. He also sent a female palace baker who was good at witchcraft to supervise the princesses.
   In order to protest against their father’s hierarchical concept, the seven princesses resolutely chose to flee from the palace collectively. The king was furious after hearing the news and ordered the palace female baker to chase the princesses. The seven princesses ran and ran until they escaped to the hillside by the sea. They saw a wooden boat in the sea from a distance, and the person holding the boat was their good friend Karen who they missed so much.
   Karen originally wanted to use a wooden boat to escort the seven princesses to the European continent across the strait. Unexpectedly, the vicious female palace baker used witchcraft to permanently turn the seven princesses into seven cliffs standing on the seaside.
   The reputation of “Seven Sisters Cliff” is spreading more and more widely. During the British bourgeois revolution, the aristocratic army owned by King Charles I fought a decisive battle with the civilian army controlled by the bourgeois parliament. After several battles, even Charles I became a prisoner and was imprisoned in the Isle of Wight prison set by the bourgeois parliament in the southern part of the British island.
   Queen Mary of Charles I was very loyal to her husband. When she saw that the guards around the king had been disarmed, she pinned her hopes on the five female palace guards.
   Mary decided to take her personal maids with them to the Isle of Wight to rescue Charles I. The leader of the five female palace guards was called Bea. She said with tears: “We all grew up in the palace, and we should use our lives to serve them!” Bea, Queen Mary and her party disguised themselves, and they arrived After some setbacks after returning to the Isle of Wight, Charles I was finally rescued from prison.
   Unfortunately, they were soon discovered by the guarding soldiers. Bea and her five other female guards covered the queen and king while fighting and escaping. Finally, they had no way to escape and ran to the White Cliffs of Dover.
   Standing on the top of the 152-meter-high Seven Sisters Cliff, Beya saw King Charles I falling into the hands of the civilian army again. She knew that the rescue operation was a complete failure and was determined to defend her dignity with her death.
   Bea said sadly: “We will end our lives together here, which can be regarded as our last loyalty!” After saying that, the five female guards jumped into the waves below the white cliff, and the queen and her maids followed them. . The people who witnessed this scene were so moved that they actually staged a living tragedy of seven sisters jumping off a cliff.
  Picturesque scenery famous all over the world
   This cliff jumping story makes the Seven Sisters Cliff even more legendary. Among the entire White Cliffs of Dover, the Seven Sisters Cliff has become the most representative and famous unique landscape.
   So much so that the later British travel writer Bill Bryson described the Seven Sisters Cliffs affectionately in words: “The beauty here is simply shocking. Facing the sea, it is cut into white cliffs by magic swords and ghost axes. What you see is absolutely stunning.” Pure green, dazzling white, deep blue sea and the sky that seems to be within reach.”
   Following Bill Bryson, American novelist Howard Perry traveled to the UK and stood on the Seven Sisters Cliff, looking into the distance. Reluctant to leave for a long time. The majestic beauty of the Seven Sisters Cliff gave Howard a rich source of creative inspiration, and he quickly completed a popular legendary novel “Robin Hood”, which was later made into a movie. The Seven Sisters Cliff is mentioned many times in the novel, making it famous again. Many tourists from all over the world come here to see the wonders of the White Cliffs with their own eyes.
   Shortly after the outbreak of World War II, German fascists invaded France and surrounded hundreds of thousands of British and French troops at Dunkirk. British Prime Minister Churchill personally rushed to the White Cliffs of Dover to take command.
   Thousands of ships anchored on the sea below the White Cliffs of Dover worked day and night to transport hundreds of thousands of officers and soldiers who were about to fall into the clutches of the fascists safely back to the UK, thus retaining war power for the future counterattack of the Normandy landings.
   The German fascists hated the White Cliffs of Dover, a natural barrier, and sent out planes to bomb them in turn. However, the extremely strong White Cliffs of Dover withstood the severe test. No matter what barbaric methods the fascists used, the White Cliffs of Dover remained like a giant. Guarding the “Southern Gate” of Britain like a guard.
   After the Second World War, human history entered a new period of peace. In response to public opinion, the British government officially announced in 1984 that the White Cliffs of Dover and Dover Castle would cease military use and be transformed into truly world-class scenic spots and filming locations for film and television dramas. As a result, the world-famous movies “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” and “Atonement” all chose the White Cliffs of Dover as their filming locations.
   In “Atonement”, the Seven Sisters Cliff is not only a beautiful scene in the movie, but also represents the hope of reunion in the hearts of lovers separated by fate.
   Although the hero and heroine failed to reunite at the end of the movie, in Brioni’s novel, they will always stay together on the Seven Sisters Cliff that they have longed for each other. I don’t know how many real love stories have happened in Baiya in reality.
   Famous singer Jay Chou’s MTV “What’s Up”, in order to find the best filming location, traveled to more than a dozen countries, and finally chose the Seven Sisters Cliff as the filming location, because Jay Chou likes the wild flowers here. Indeed, despite the fact that it is difficult for moss and other lichen plants to survive on the surface of the white cliff, there are still tenacious lives in the gaps everywhere.
   Accidents will happen. In 2012, the White Cliffs of Dover suffered a large-scale collapse due to extreme weather. Huge chunks of limestone weighing thousands of tons and covering an area the size of a football field fell into the sea. Experts conducted in-depth investigation and analysis and believed that during the recent cold weather, rainwater flowed into the cracked cracks in the cracked stones and froze and expanded, causing the boulders to loosen, break and collapse due to the unbearable pressure. However, this did not affect people’s love for the White Cliffs of Dover. In the selection of the top ten scenic spots in the UK that year, countless people still voted for the White Cliffs of Dover.
   In 2016, the UK formed an archaeological team of 200 people to conduct a comprehensive inspection of the White Cliffs of Dover. As a result, traces of tombs, settlement sites and city walls from the Bronze Age left by the primitive society from the Neolithic era were discovered on the Seven Sisters Cliff, which marks a direct trace of the history of the Seven Sisters Cliff and the ancestors of the British back to 5,000 years ago. No wonder the British proudly said: “Our history is older than many European countries…”
   Nowadays, the best time to travel to the White Cliffs of Dover is summer and autumn. Because the sea breeze was gentle and the sun was shining brightly at that time. Whether it is the ancient Dover Castle or the white cliffs of Dover where the waves still sound, they will silently welcome every guest who comes here at every sunrise, sunset and ebb and flow.