When Was the United Kingdom Formed?
The United Kingdom was formed in 1801 when an Act of Union brought Ireland under the same parliament with England, Scotland and Wales. The official name of the country was changed to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. But 26 Irish counties left the Union in 1922 and formed the Irish Free State, now the Republic of Ireland. Five years later the Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act named the union as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Wales was the first to unite with England, having been subdued by King Edward I in 1282. The heir to the English throne has been known as the Prince of Wales ever since Edward gave the title to his baby son in 1301. But it was not until 1536 when Henry VIII, a Tudor monarch of Welsh descent, was on the throne, that an Act of Union peacefully incorporated the Principality into the kingdom. The name Great Britain came into the use after James VI of Scotland succeeded to the English throne in 1603 as James I and united the two crowns, though not the nations. Another act of Union brought England and Scotland under one government in 1707.
The Union flag of the present kingdom is composed of the flag of England (white with an upright red cross), the flag of Scotland (blue with a diagonal white cross) and the red diagonal cross of Ireland.
On May 29, 1952, under the Royal Titles Act, a proclamation was issued which gave Queen the title: Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith. The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance. The monarch—since 6 February 1952—is Queen Elizabeth II.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country in Western Europe. Lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland, it includes the island of Great Britain (the name of which is also loosely applied to the whole country), the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that shares a land border with another sovereign state—the Republic of Ireland.
Apart from this land border, the UK is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to its east, the English Channel to its south and the Celtic Sea to its south-south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometers (93,600 sq mi), the UK is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world and the 11th-largest in Europe. It is also the 21st-most populous country, with an estimated 65.1 million inhabitants. Together, this makes it the fourth most densely populated country in the European Union.
The capital of the UK and its largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million, the fourth-largest in Europe and second-largest in the European Union. Other major urban areas in the UK include the regions of Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow and Liverpool.
The UK consists of four countries—England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The last three have devolved administrations, each with varying powers, based in their capitals, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, respectively. The nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the United Kingdom, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defense and international representation.
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. The UK is considered to have a high-income economy and is categorized as very high in the Human Development Index, ranking 14th in the world. It was the world’s first industrialized 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 recognized nuclear weapons state and its military expenditure ranks fourth or fifth in the world. The UK 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 EU and its predecessor, the European Economic Community (EEC), since 1973.
However, on 23 June 2016, a national referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU resulted in a 51.9% vote to exit. The UK is also a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7 finance ministers, the G7 forum, the G20, NATO, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the World Trade Organization (WTO).