Creation of the UK
Acts of Union 1707
- The Acts of Union 1707 officially united the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland into a single, united entity known as the Kingdom of Great Britain.
- The two countries had shared a monarch since 1603, when James VI of Scotland became also James I of England, but the 1707 Acts brought about a closer political union.
- The Scottish Parliament and the English Parliament were dissolved and replaced by a single Parliament of Great Britain based in Westminster.
- The Act established shared political, civil, and religious rights between England and Scotland, creating a single market and abolishing border controls.
Act of Union 1800
- The Act of Union 1800 united the Kingdom of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
- This came into effect on 1 January 1801.
- Irish Parliament was abolished and Ireland was represented with seats in the House of Commons and symbolic representation in the House of Lords.
- The Act aimed to maintain peace between England and Ireland, particularly in the wake of Ireland’s 1798 rebellion.
Irish Home Rule and the Partition of Ireland
- Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, the issue of Irish Home Rule led to tensions and conflicts, culminating in the Irish War of Independence in 1919.
- The Government of Ireland Act 1920 partitioned Ireland into Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland. Only Northern Ireland remained part of the UK.
- The Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 ended the War of Independence and acknowledged the independence of the Irish Free State (now the Republic of Ireland).
- The official name of the UK was then changed to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 1927, reflecting the altered territorial boundaries.
By understanding these main events, the creation of the United Kingdom as we know it today becomes more clear.