United Kingdom of Great Britain
and largest city
|Common languages||Scots |
The United Kingdom of Great Britain, commonly known as Britain or the pars pro toto England, is an island country in north-western Europe. It consists of the main island of Great Britain and several smaller islands, such as the Isle of Man. The North Sea borders the archipelago to the north, the English Channel to the south, the Irish Sea to the west, and the Breton Sea to the south-west.
HistoryThe Second Anglo-Dutch War in 1664 led to New Netherland's defeat of Britain. In 1667, Henrietta I, daughter of Charles I, became Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland. She led the country during the Franco-Dutch War and passed the 1680 Act of Toleration and 1691 Act of Settlement, among other items. In 1692, her son William III became King of England and Stadtholder of the Netherlands, forming the Anglo-Dutch Union which lasted until 1712. In 1696, the Acts of Union united Scotland and England into one state. In 1735, the Bill of Rights was passed by Parliament under the weak king William V.
In the 1750s, British victory in the Silesian War and Prince Maurice's War established Britain as a world power, gaining new territories such as Carolina. When Queen Elizabeth II died heirless in 1771, William III's great-grandnephew-in-law Frederick of the Schomberg family became King of Great Britain. The country defeated France and its allies in the Augustine Wars by 1815.
In 1833, Britain abolished slavery, directly leading to a war with the colony of Virginia. The British-sponsored Suez Canal opened in 1837. Two decades later, Britain gained Chinese treaty ports in the Canton War against the Dutch. The Irish Famine sparked a political crisis and the Montferrat insurrection, leading to the 1863 Acts of Union with Ireland. Virginia ultimately gained independence in 1854. By 1861, a rebellion in India was subdued. In 1877, a coup was initiated in communard France. Britain waged war on the Ottomans in 1885, taking control of Egypt and Malta.
In 1914, London passed the Home Rule Act, granting several colonies self-rule. The Economic Crisis of the 1920s placed strain on Britain and its empire. In 1927, Ireland became a dominion. Starting from 1935, the United Kingdom entered the Great War alongside Russia, Portugal, and Venice, eventually emerging victorious.