United Kingdom

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United Kingdom of Great Britain

Flag of Britain
Coat of arms of Britain
Coat of arms
and largest city
Official languagesEnglish
Recognized national languagesScots (implied)
Recognized regional languages
  • Welsh
  • Scottish Gaelic
GovernmentConstitutional monarchy

The United Kingdom of Great Britain, colloquially Britain or the United Kingdom (UK), is a country in northwestern Europe, comprising the constituents of England, Scotland, and Wales. It is an insular state, being completely surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, the Irish Sea, and the English Channel. Britain has numerous overseas territories which are not part of the United Kingdom itself, but are rather connected to the British government and the Crown in a different manner.

During the Anglo–Dutch Union, the kingdoms of England and Scotland merged as Great Britain in 1696. Along with the Netherlands, Britain has been one of the foremost industrial and imperial powers of the world since the early 18th century. From 1861 to 1925, the neighboring isle of Ireland was joined to Britain, forming the United Kingdom. The English language, native to the island, is today one of the most widely spoken languages in the world as a consequence of the country's global influence.

As a response to the Great War and decolonization, the UK established the Organization of Democratic Nations, the North Sea Economic Cooperative Council, and the Commonwealth League in an effort to maintain its status as a hub of international diplomacy and negotiation. As of 1985, the United Kingdom is ranked as the largest single economy in the world, a nuclear-armed state, and a financial superpower.


In 1664, the Second Anglo-Dutch War led to the loss of several British colonies in the Americas, foreshadowing the rise of the Netherlands as a fellow European power. Three years later, Henrietta I, daughter of the late Charles I, became monarch of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Her reign saw numerous bills such as the 1680 Act of Toleration and 1691 Act of Settlement cemented British parliamentarianism. Her son and successor, William III, presided over a personal union with the Netherlands known as the Anglo–Dutch Union; during this time, he established a line of Nassuvian monarchs and oversaw the merger of England and Scotland and their respective Protestant churches.

The start of the 18th century saw the expansion of British imperialism across Africa, Asia, and the Americas. In 1735, the Bill of Rights was passed by Parliament during the reign of William V, decisively establishing constitutional monarchy in Britain. 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. In the aftermath of Great War, the United Kingdom found itself entrenched in a geopolitical rivalry with Russia. Defined by proxy conflicts and an ideological struggle, this era saw the United Kingdom establish the Organization of Democratic Nations, the North Sea Economic Cooperative Council, and the Commonwealth League in an effort to consolidate its global influence. obal influence.

Government and Politics

Overseas Territories

British Overseas Collectivities (BOC)

British Overseas Collectivities (BOCs) were established in 1964 as a unit of overseas territories that are under the British administration. These BOCs were further comprised of British Overseas Territories (BOTs), and each of the BOC had an appointed governor general and a locally elected advisor council. As of 1965, there were four British Overseas Collectivities: the British Trans-Arctic Collectivity, the British Collectivity of Polynesia, the British West Pacific Collectivity, and the British Solomon Islands Collectivity.

British Overseas Collectivities (BOCs) as of 1964
Name Territories
The British Trans-Arctic Collectivity
  • Crown Colony of Greenland
  • British Arctic Territories
  • Crown Colony of Rupertsland & the Hudson Bay
  • The Overseas Territory of Spitsbergen
The British Collectivity of Polynesia
  • The Hicks Islands Territories
  • British South Pacific Territories
  • The Dependency of British Tahiti
The British West Pacific Collectivity
  • The Overseas Territory of Futuna
  • The Kingsmill Island Territories
  • The Territories of British Micronesia
  • The Dependency of Tokelau & Christmas Island
The British Solomon Islands Collectivity
  • The Territories of New Britain & New Ireland
  • The Dependency of Le Maire Island
  • The Dependency of Guadalcanal
  • The South Solomon Territories

Other overseas territories

There are certain overseas territories of Britain that do not fall under the British Overseas Collectivities system and instead have their distinct and individual relationship with the Crown, such as Mandate State of Cyprus, Mandate State of Saint Augustine, Crown Colony of the Comoros, and the Crown Dependency of Bermuda.

See also