and the United Kingdom
the centuries, Great Britain has evolved politically from several
independent countries (England, Scotland, and Wales) through two
kingdoms with a shared monarch (England and Scotland) with the
union of the Crowns in 1603, a single all-island Kingdom of Great
Britain from 1707, to the situation following 1801 in which Great
Britain together with the island of Ireland constituted the larger
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (UK).
The UK became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
Ireland in the 1920s (1922) following the independence of five-sixths
of Ireland as first the Irish Free State, a Dominion of the then
British Commonwealth, and then later as an independent republic
outside the British Commonwealth as the Republic of Ireland.
Union with Wales 1284
Wales became incorporated into England under the Statute of Rhuddlan
in 1284, after it had been annexed by Edward I of England in 1282.
Edward dubbed his eldest son Edward Prince of Wales, since which
time the eldest son of each English monarch has borne the same
title. In the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542, Wales became
legally part of the Kingdom of England
Union of the Crowns of of England and Scotland 1603
The Crowns of England and Scotland were united in 1603 when James
VI of King Scotland became James 1st King of England. In October
1604, one year later , he decreed that the Royal Title would use
the term Great Brittaine to refer to the "one Imperiall Crowne"
made up of England and Scotland.
Union with Scotland 1707
1707 The Acts of Union uniting England and Scotland under one
Parliament and Crown came into effect. Queen Anne had recommended
the union of the two kingdoms in her first speech to parliament
In 1681 Anne had spent 10 months in Scotland (a stay not repeated
by another British monarch until George IV).
On January 16th 1707 the Scottish Parliament passed an Act of
Union, and on February 28th the Commons in England followed suit.
Queen Anne gave the royal assent on March 6. This would bring
into effect the Treaty of Union with its 25 Articles, the first
of which declared:
"That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon
the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be
United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain”.
It would dissolve both parliaments and establish a single Parliament
for Great Britain, taking in 16 peers and 45elected members from
Scotland and 190 peers and 513 members from England. Queen Anne
attended a service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral
in London, wearing both the Order of the Garter and the Order
of the Thistle.
Monetary union and a customs union were created. Scotland was
allowed to have its own established (Presbyterian) church and
England its established (Episcopal) church. Scottish law would
remain in force and the Court of Session would decide it. Provisions
of the Act of Settlement, 1701, were confirmed, so “that
all Papists and persons marrying Papists, shall be excluded”
from the throne.
new Union flag combined the Cross of St Andrew (white diagonals
on a blue ground) and the Cross of St George (a red cross).
Union with Ireland 1801
In 1800 the Act of Union with Ireland was passed by both the
Irish and British parliaments despite much opposition. It was
signed by George III in August 1800 to become effective on 1 January
Prime Minister Pitt intended to follow the Act of Union with
other, more far reaching reforms, including Catholic Emancipation,
but was thwarted by George III, who refused to break his Coronation
Oath to uphold the Anglican Church.
The 1801 Act of Irish Union said that
* Ireland was to be joined to Great Britain into a single kingdom,
the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
* the Dublin parliament was abolished. Ireland was to be represented
at Westminster by 100 MPs, 4 Lords Spiritual and 28 Lords Temporal
(all were Anglicans).
* the Anglican Church was to be recognised as the official Church
* there was to be free trade between Ireland and Britain.
* Ireland was to keep a separate Exchequer and was to be responsible
for two-seventeenths of the general expense of the United Kingdom.
* Ireland kept its own Courts of Justice and civil service.
* no Catholics were to be allowed to hold public office.
* there was to be no Catholic Emancipation.
The new kingdom was from then onwards unambiguously called the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1922, 26 of Ireland's 32 counties were given independence
to form a separate Irish Free State - now the Republic of Ireland.
The remaining truncated kingdom has therefore since then been
known as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern