Place:United Kingdom


NameUnited Kingdom
Alt namesBritanniasource: Times Atlas of World History (1993) p 339
Grossbritannien und Nordirlandsource: Cassell's German Dictionary (1982) p 1528
Regno Unitosource: Cassell's Italian Dictionary (1983) p 1047
Reino Unidosource: Cassell's Spanish Dictionary (1978) p 1072
Royaume-Unisource: Cassell's French Dictionary (1981) II, 589
UKsource: Seal, Cataloguing in UK (1980)
Great Britain
GB
United Kingdom of Great Britain
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Irelandsource: Britannica Book of the Year (1992) p 723-724; Britannica Book of the Year (1993) p 739; Cambridge World Gazetteer (1990) p 238; NIMA, GEOnet Names Server (1996-1998); Times Atlas of the World (1994) p 205; UN Terminology Bulletin (1993) p 88; Webster's Geographical Dictionary (1988) p 459
Vereinigte Königreichsource: Rand McNally Atlas (1994) p 320
Verenigd Koninkrijksource: Engels Woordenboek (1987) I, 812
TypeCountry
Coordinates54°N 4.5°W
Contained Places
Country
England ( 1927 - )
Northern Ireland ( 1927 - )
Scotland ( 1927 - )
Wales ( 1927 - )
Dependent state
Northern Ireland ( 1927 - )
Legal jurisdiction
England and Wales
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

The United Kingdom, officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but more commonly known as the UK or Britain, is a sovereign country lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign statethe Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of , the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

The UK is a unitary parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state. The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow and Liverpool.

The United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Belfast respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers. The nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed almost a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language, culture and political systems of many of its former colonies.

The United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a very high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world. It was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific and political influence internationally. It is a recognised nuclear weapons state and is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946. It has been a leading member state of the European Union (EU) and its predecessor, the European Economic Community (EEC), since 1973; however, a referendum in 2016 resulted in 51.9% of UK voters favouring leaving the European Union, and the country's exit is being negotiated. The United Kingdom is also a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Interpol and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Contents

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Background

Settlement by anatomically modern humans of what was to become the United Kingdom occurred in waves beginning by about 30,000 years ago. By the end of the region's prehistoric period, the population is thought to have belonged, in the main, to a culture termed Insular Celtic, comprising Brittonic Britain and Gaelic Ireland. The Roman conquest, beginning in 43 AD, and the 400-year rule of southern Britain, was followed by an invasion by Germanic Anglo-Saxon settlers, reducing the Brittonic area mainly to what was to become Wales, Cornwall and, until the latter stages of the Anglo-Saxon settlement, the Hen Ogledd (northern England and parts of southern Scotland). Most of the region settled by the Anglo-Saxons became unified as the Kingdom of England in the 10th century. Meanwhile, Gaelic-speakers in north-west Britain (with connections to the north-east of Ireland and traditionally supposed to have migrated from there in the 5th century) united with the Picts to create the Kingdom of Scotland in the 9th century.


In 1066, the Normans and their Breton allies invaded England from northern France and after its conquest, seized large parts of Wales, conquered much of Ireland and were invited to settle in Scotland, bringing to each country feudalism on the Northern French model and Norman-French culture. The Anglo-Norman ruling class greatly influenced, but eventually assimilated with, each of the local cultures. Subsequent medieval English kings completed the conquest of Wales and made an unsuccessful attempt to annex Scotland. Following the Declaration of Arbroath, Scotland maintained its independence, albeit in near-constant conflict with England. The English monarchs, through inheritance of substantial territories in France and claims to the French crown, were also heavily involved in conflicts in France, most notably the Hundred Years War, while the Kings of Scots were in an alliance with the French during this period.

The early modern period saw religious conflict resulting from the Reformation and the introduction of Protestant state churches in each country. Wales was fully incorporated into the Kingdom of England, and Ireland was constituted as a kingdom in personal union with the English crown. In what was to become Northern Ireland, the lands of the independent Catholic Gaelic nobility were confiscated and given to Protestant settlers from England and Scotland.

In 1603, the kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland were united in a personal union when James VI, King of Scots, inherited the crowns of England and Ireland and moved his court from Edinburgh to London; each country nevertheless remained a separate political entity and retained its separate political, legal, and religious institutions.

In the mid-17th century, all three kingdoms were involved in a series of connected wars (including the English Civil War) which led to the temporary overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of the short-lived unitary republic of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland. During the 17th and 18th centuries, British sailors were involved in acts of piracy (privateering), attacking and stealing from ships off the coast of Europe and the Caribbean.


Although the monarchy was restored, the Interregnum ensured (along with the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the subsequent Bill of Rights 1689, and the Claim of Right Act 1689) that, unlike much of the rest of Europe, royal absolutism would not prevail, and a professed Catholic could never accede to the throne. The British constitution would develop on the basis of constitutional monarchy and the parliamentary system. With the founding of the Royal Society in 1660, science was greatly encouraged. During this period, particularly in England, the development of naval power (and the interest in voyages of discovery) led to the acquisition and settlement of overseas colonies, particularly in North America.

Though previous attempts at uniting the two kingdoms within Great Britain in 1606, 1667, and 1689 had proved unsuccessful, the attempt initiated in 1705 led to the Treaty of Union of 1706 being agreed and ratified by both parliaments


Treaty of Union

On 1 May 1707, the united Kingdom of Great Britain came into being, the result of Acts of Union being passed by the parliaments of England and Scotland to ratify the 1706 Treaty of Union and so unite the two kingdoms.

In the 18th century, cabinet government developed under Robert Walpole, in practice the first prime minister (1721–1742). A series of Jacobite Uprisings sought to remove the Protestant House of Hanover from the British throne and restore the Catholic House of Stuart. The Jacobites were finally defeated at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, after which the Scottish Highlanders were brutally suppressed. The British colonies in North America that broke away from Britain in the American War of Independence became the United States of America, recognised by Britain in 1783. British imperial ambition turned towards Asia, particularly to India.

During the 18th century, Britain was involved in the Atlantic slave trade. British ships transported an estimated two million slaves from Africa to the West Indies. Parliament banned the trade in 1807, banned slavery in the British Empire in 1833, and Britain took a leading role in the movement to abolish slavery worldwide through the blockade of Africa and pressing other nations to end their trade with a series of treaties. The world's oldest international human rights organisation, Anti-Slavery International, was formed in London in 1839.

Union with Ireland

The term "United Kingdom" became official in 1801 when the parliaments of Britain and Ireland each passed an Act of Union, uniting the two kingdoms and creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.


In the early 19th century, the British-led Industrial Revolution began to transform the country. Gradually political power shifted away from the old Tory and Whig landowning classes towards the new industrialists. An alliance of merchants and industrialists with the Whigs would lead to a new party, the Liberals, with an ideology of free trade and laissez-faire. In 1832 Parliament passed the Great Reform Act, which began the transfer of political power from the aristocracy to the middle classes. In the countryside, enclosure of the land was driving small farmers out. Towns and cities began to swell with a new urban working class. Few ordinary workers had the vote, and they created their own organisations in the form of trade unions.

After the defeat of France at the end of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (1792–1815), Great Britain emerged as the principal naval and imperial power of the 19th century (with London the largest city in the world from about 1830). Unchallenged at sea, British dominance was later described as Pax Britannica ("British Peace"), a period of relative peace among the Great Powers (1815–1914) during which the British Empire became the global hegemon and adopted the role of global policeman. By the time of the Great Exhibition of 1851, Britain was described as the "workshop of the world". The British Empire was expanded to include India, large parts of Africa and many other territories throughout the world. Alongside the formal control it exerted over its own colonies, British dominance of much of world trade meant that it effectively controlled the economies of many regions, such as Asia and Latin America. Domestically, political attitudes favoured free trade and laissez-faire policies and a gradual widening of the voting franchise. During the century, the population increased at a dramatic rate, accompanied by rapid urbanisation, causing significant social and economic stresses. To seek new markets and sources of raw materials, the Conservative Party under Disraeli launched a period of imperialist expansion in Egypt, South Africa, and elsewhere. Canada, Australia, and New Zealand became self-governing dominions. After the turn of the century, Britain's industrial dominance was challenged by Germany and the United States.

Social reform and home rule for Ireland were important domestic issues after 1900. The Labour Party emerged from an alliance of trade unions and small socialist groups in 1900, and suffragettes campaigned for women's right to vote before 1914.


Britain fought alongside France, Russia and (after 1917) the United States, against Germany and its allies in the First World War (1914–1918). British armed forces were engaged across much of the British Empire and in several regions of Europe, particularly on the Western front.[1] The high fatalities of trench warfare caused the loss of much of a generation of men, with lasting social effects in the nation and a great disruption in the social order.

After the war, Britain received the League of Nations mandate over a number of former German and Ottoman colonies. The British Empire reached its greatest extent, covering a fifth of the world's land surface and a quarter of its population. However, Britain had suffered 2.5 million casualties and finished the war with a huge national debt.

Irish independence

The rise of Irish nationalism, and disputes within Ireland over the terms of Irish Home Rule, led eventually to the partition of the island in 1921. The Irish Free State became independent, initially with Dominion status in 1922, and unambiguously independent in 1931. Northern Ireland remained part of the United Kingdom. A wave of strikes in the mid-1920s culminated in the General Strike of 1926. Britain had still not recovered from the effects of the war when the Great Depression (1929–1932) occurred. This led to considerable unemployment and hardship in the old industrial areas, as well as political and social unrest in the 1930s, with rising membership in communist and socialist parties. A coalition government was formed in 1931.

Britain entered the Second World War by declaring war on Nazi Germany in 1939 after Germany had invaded Poland. Winston Churchill became prime minister and head of a coalition government in 1940. Despite the defeat of its European allies in the first year of the war, Britain and its Empire continued the fight alone against Germany. In 1940, the Royal Air Force defeated the German Luftwaffe in a struggle for control of the skies in the Battle of Britain. Urban areas suffered heavy bombing during the Blitz. There were also eventual hard-fought victories in the Battle of the Atlantic, the North Africa campaign and the Burma campaign. British forces played an important role in the Normandy landings of 1944, achieved with its United States ally.

Since the Second World War

After the end of the Second World War in 1945, the UK was one of the Big Four powers (along with the U.S., the Soviet Union, and China) who met to plan the post-war world; it was an original signatory to the Declaration of the United Nations. The UK became one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and worked closely with the United States to establish the IMF, World Bank and NATO. However, the war left the UK severely weakened and depending financially on the Marshall Plan. In the immediate post-war years, the Labour government initiated a radical programme of reforms, which had a significant effect on British society in the following decades. Major industries and public utilities were nationalised, a welfare state was established, and a comprehensive, publicly funded healthcare system, the National Health Service, was created. The rise of nationalism in the colonies coincided with Britain's now much-diminished economic position, so that a policy of decolonisation was unavoidable. Independence was granted to India and Pakistan in 1947. Over the next three decades, most colonies of the British Empire gained their independence, with all those that sought independence supported by the U.K, during both the transition period and afterwards. Many became members of the Commonwealth of Nations.

The UK was the third country to develop a nuclear weapons arsenal (with its first atomic bomb test in 1952), but the new post-war limits of Britain's international role were illustrated by the Suez Crisis of 1956. The international spread of the English language ensured the continuing international influence of its literature and culture.[2][3] As a result of a shortage of workers in the 1950s, the government encouraged immigration from Commonwealth countries. In the following decades, the UK became a more multi-ethnic society than before. Despite rising living standards in the late 1950s and 1960s, the UK's economic performance was less successful than many of its main competitors such as France, West Germany and Japan.


In the decade-long process of European integration, the UK was a founding member of the alliance called the Western European Union, established with the London and Paris Conferences in 1954. In 1960 the UK was one of the seven founding members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), but in 1973 it left to join the European Communities (EC). When the EC became the European Union (EU) in 1992, the UK was one of the 12 founding members. The Treaty of Lisbon was signed in 2007, which forms the constitutional basis of the European Union since then.

From the late 1960s, Northern Ireland suffered communal and paramilitary violence (sometimes affecting other parts of the UK) conventionally known as the Troubles. It is usually considered to have ended with the Belfast "Good Friday" Agreement of 1998.

Following a period of widespread economic slowdown and industrial strife in the 1970s, the Conservative government of the 1980s under Margaret Thatcher initiated a radical policy of monetarism, deregulation, particularly of the financial sector (for example, Big Bang in 1986) and labour markets, the sale of state-owned companies (privatisation), and the withdrawal of subsidies to others. This resulted in high unemployment and social unrest, but ultimately also economic growth, particularly in the services sector. From 1984, the economy was helped by the inflow of substantial North Sea oil revenues.

Around the end of the 20th century there were major changes to the governance of the UK with the establishment of devolved administrations for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The statutory incorporation followed acceptance of the European Convention on Human Rights. The UK is still a key global player diplomatically and militarily. It plays leading roles in the EU, UN and NATO. However, controversy surrounds some of Britain's overseas military deployments, particularly in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The 2008 global financial crisis severely affected the UK economy. The coalition government of 2010 introduced austerity measures intended to tackle the substantial public deficits which resulted. In 2014 the Scottish Government held a referendum on Scottish independence, with 55.3% of voters rejecting the independence proposal and opting to remain within the United Kingdom. In 2016, 51.9% of voters in the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. The legal process of leaving the EU began on 29 March 2017, with the UK's invocation of Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, formally notifying the EU of the UK's intention to leave. The article stipulates that the negotiations to leave will last at least two years. The UK remains a full member of the EU during this time.

Research Tips

The following copied from Ancestral Quest mailing list:
Re: Question about British dates...(and locations)
Posted by: "L. Nelson" myancestry@rogers.com
Sun Jan 29, 2012 1:13 pm (PST)

The dates we use should be the dates written in our source material.

That said, it's important to know that in 1752 Great Britain jumped from using the Julian calendar to the Gregorian, which Roman Catholic countries had been using since 1582 and adopted by Protestant countries at various times. In 1752 the Gregorian calendar was ahead of the Julian by 11 days, so those days simply disappeared in Britain and its colonies.

You can imagine that having two calendars on the go was rather a pain for trade, diplomacy and life in general. This was solved by designating Julian dates as "Old Style" and Gregorian dates as "New Style". In this way, a date would be written on a document as "5 July 1750 OS" or "16 July 1750 NS".
Dates could also be written "5/16 July 1750" to acknowledge both calendars. For informal purposes (such as family letters) it was customary to show just one date according to the calendar in use - so it's worth remembering that 5 July 1750 in England was 16 July 1750 in France.

Another wrinkle is that until 1752 the New Year in England and Ireland (but not Scotland) did not legally begin until 25 March (Lady Day), even though new year's celebrations took place on 1 January. This discrepancy was acknowledged by writing dates as "12 February 1749/1750" - i.e., the year was legally 1749, but most folks looked on it as 1750. Throw in Old Style and New Style dates and you can get a date written like this: "12/23 February 1749/1750". You can imagine what a big relief it was to everyone when Britain finally adopted the Gregorian calendar.

Scotland made 1 January their legal New Year in 1600.

The Act of Union in 1707 did not change any calendars; Scotland continued to reckon the New Year as 1 January whereas England and Ireland stayed with 25 March until 1752.

But dates should never be changed to "translate" them to a different calendar. Dates should be recorded exactly as they appear in our source material. Explain a date if you need to, but don't change it.

Leslie

2c. Re: Question about British dates
Posted by: "Stewart Millar" stew999@gmail.com
Sun Jan 29, 2012 7:18 pm (PST)

The genealogy convention in the British Isles for the constituent countries(this is not the equivalent of US states in their federal connections with the US) is to always use the "Home" country at any historic date; the "Home" countries being - England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

Trying to utilise the "Political"country labels will drive you nuts . . .pre 1538 (from memory) - there was - England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

after 1538 when England annexed Wales there was - England & Wales, Scotland and Ireland

after 1707 when there was Great Britain and Ireland (Great Britain was the amalgamation of England & Wales with Scotland)

After 1801 there was the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

After 1922 there is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland with a separate new state for the divided Ireland variously known at various dates to the present as The Irish Free State, Eire and currently as The Republic of Ireland. Note that in just using "United Kingdom" you really need to be more specific as to which version of the "United Kingdom" you mean.

As an Irish man . . . I can tell you that you will be most unwelcome in Ireland if you "label" their country between 1801 and 1922 as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland . . . . and really, the same goes for all the Home countries . . . they are designated "countries" and the inhabitants consider the nationality tied to their home countries rather than than any temporary political union . . . currently there is a movement by the largest political party in Scotland to leave the the presently constituted United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

You are well advised to stick the standard used over here . . . simply use the "Home" countries of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland for any time period.

Hope this helps.

===Stewart

2d. Re: Question about British dates
Posted by: "Richard Rands" rrands@earthlink.net
Sun Jan 29, 2012 9:30 pm (PST)

Hi Stewart.
Thank you, thank you.
I have been trying to teach that notion in my classes for years, but often run into disagreements.



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