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The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called Great Britain,"After the political union of England and Scotland in 1707, the nation's official name became 'Great Britain'", ''The American Pageant, Volume 1'', Cengage Learning (2012) was a
sovereign country A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social relation, social relation ...
in
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on context. Beginning with foreign exploration during the Age of Discovery, roughly from the 15th century, the concept of ''Europe'' as "the W ...

Western Europe
from 1 May 1707 to 31 December 1800. The state was created by the 1706
Treaty of Union A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually entered into by sovereign states and international organizations, but can sometimes include individuals, business entities, and other L ...

Treaty of Union
and ratified by the
Acts of Union 1707 The Acts of Union ( gd, Achd an Aonaidh) were two Acts of Parliament: the Union with Scotland Act 1706 passed by the Parliament of England, and the Union with England Act passed in 1707 by the Parliament of Scotland. They put into effect the ...
, which united the kingdoms of
England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to the southwest. England is separated from by the to the east and the to the south. The country cover ...

England
(which included
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or citizenship. A country may be an independent sovereign ...

Wales
) and
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Tele ...
to form a single kingdom encompassing the whole island of
Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the List of European islands by area, largest European island, and the List of i ...

Great Britain
and its outlying islands, with the exception of the
Isle of Man ) , anthem = " O Land of Our Birth" , image = Isle of Man by Sentinel-2.jpg , image_map = Europe-Isle_of_Man.svg , mapsize = 290px , map_alt = Location of the Isle of Man in Europe , map_caption = Location of the Isle of Man (green) in E ...

Isle of Man
and the
Channel Islands The Channel Islands ( nrf, Îles d'la Manche; french: îles Anglo-Normandes or ''îles de la Manche'') are an archipelago in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two Crown Dependencies: the Jersey, Bailiwick of ...

Channel Islands
. The
unitary state A unitary state is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...
was governed by a single
parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representation (politics), representing the Election#Suffrage, electorate, making laws and overseeing the g ...
at the
Palace of Westminster The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place for both the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Informally known as the Houses of Parlia ...

Palace of Westminster
, but distinct legal systems –
English law English law is the common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black ...
and
Scots law Scots law () is the List of country legal systems, legal system of Scotland. It is a hybrid or mixed legal system containing Civil law (legal system), civil law and common law elements, that traces its roots to a number of different historical ...
– remained in use. The formerly separate kingdoms had been in
personal union A personal union is the combination of two or more states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The Stat ...

personal union
since the 1603 "
Union of the Crowns The Union of the Crowns ( gd, Aonadh nan Crùintean; sco, Union o the Crouns) was the accession Accession refers to the general idea of joining or adding to. It may also refer to: *Accession (property law) * Accession, the act of joining a tr ...
" when
James VI of Scotland James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland The monarch of Scotland was the head of state of the Kingdom of Scotland. According to tradition, the first King of Scots was Kenneth I MacAlpi ...
became
King of England This list of kings and queens of the begins with , who initially ruled , one of the which later made up modern England. Alfred styled himself King of the from about 886, and while he was not the first king to claim to rule all of the , his ...
and
King of Ireland Monarchical systems of government have existed in Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain_(righ ...
. Since James's reign, who had been the first to refer to himself as "king of Great Britain", political union between the two mainland British kingdoms had been repeatedly attempted and aborted by both the
Parliament of England The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England from the mid 13th to 17th century. The first English Parliament was convened in 1215, with the creation and signing of the Magna Carta, which established the rights of ba ...
and the
Parliament of Scotland The Parliament of Scotland ( sco, Pairlament o Scotland; gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba) was the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign ...
.
Queen Anne Queen Anne often refers to: * Anne, Queen of Great Britain (1665–1714), queen of England, Scotland and Ireland (1702–1707) and of Great Britain (1707–1714) **Queen Anne style architecture, an architectural style from her reign, and its revival ...

Queen Anne
() did not produce a clear
Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of , but disagree among themselves ...
heir and endangered the
line of succession An order of succession or right of succession is the line of individuals entitled to hold a high office when it becomes vacated such as head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state ...
, with the laws of succession differing in the two kingdoms and threatening a return to the throne of Scotland of the
Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus Romulus was the legendary founder and first king of Rome , established_title = ...

Roman Catholic
House of Stuart The House of Stuart, originally Stewart, was a royal house A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recog ...

House of Stuart
, exiled in the
Glorious Revolution The Glorious Revolution of November 1688 ( ga, An Réabhlóid Ghlórmhar; gd, Rèabhlaid Ghlòrmhor; cy, Chwyldro Gogoneddus), the invasion also known as the ''Glorieuze Overtocht'' or Glorious Crossing by the Dutch, was the deposition of ...
of 1688. The resulting kingdom was in legislative and personal union with the
Kingdom of Ireland The Kingdom of Ireland ( ga, label= Classical Irish, an Ríoghacht Éireann; ga, label=Modern Irish Irish (also called in Standard Irish Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of fla ...

Kingdom of Ireland
from its inception, but the
Parliament of Great Britain The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in May 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of UnionAct of Union may refer to: In Great Britain and Ireland * Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542, passed during the reign of King Henry VIII to ma ...
resisted early attempts to incorporate Ireland in the political union. The early years of the newly-united kingdom were marked by
Jacobite risings Jacobitism (; gd, Seumasachas, ; ga, Seacaibíteachas, ) was a largely 17th- and 18th-century movement that supported the restoration of the House of Stuart The House of Stuart, originally Stewart, was a dynasty, royal house of Kingdom ...
, particularly the
Jacobite rising of 1715 The Jacobite rising of 1715 ( gd, Bliadhna Sheumais ; or 'the Fifteen') was the attempt by James Francis Edward Stuart, James Edward Stuart (the Old Pretender) to regain the thrones of Kingdom of England, England, Kingdom of Ireland, Ireland ...
. The relative incapacity or ineptitude of the Hanoverian kings resulted in a growth in the powers of Parliament and a new role, that of "
prime minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpar ...
", emerged in the heyday of
Robert Walpole Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, (26 August 1676 – 18 March 1745; known between 1725 and 1742 as Sir Robert Walpole) was a British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people The British people, or Brit ...

Robert Walpole
. The "South Sea Bubble" economic crisis was brought on by the failure of the
South Sea Company Hall of South Sea House, 1810 File:ShareCertificate SouthSeaCompany 1733.jpg, 1723 pro-forma power of attorney signed by a shareholder of the South Sea Company showing the Company's coat of arms and the Latin motto ''A Gadibus usque Auroram'' ...
, an early
joint-stock company A joint-stock company is a business entity in which shares of the company's stock can be bought & sold by shareholders. Each shareholder owns company stock in proportion, evidenced by their share (finance), shares (certificates of ownership). Sh ...
. The campaigns of
Jacobitism Jacobitism (; gd, Seumasachas, ; ga, Seacaibíteachas, ) was a largely 17th- and 18th-century movement that supported the restoration of the senior line of the House of Stuart The House of Stuart, originally Stewart, was a royal house ...
ended in
defeat for the Stuarts' cause in 1746
defeat for the Stuarts' cause in 1746
. The Hanoverian line of monarchs gave their names to the
Georgian era The Georgian era is a period in British history from 1714 to , named after the House of Hanover, Hanoverian Kings George I of Great Britain, George I, George II of Great Britain, George II, George III of the United Kingdom, George III and George ...
and the term "
Georgian Georgian may refer to: Common meanings * Anything related to, or originating from Georgia (country) **Georgians, an indigenous Caucasian ethnic group **Georgian language, a Kartvelian language spoken by Georgians **Georgian scripts, three scripts ...
" is typically used in the contexts of social and political history for
Georgian architecture Georgian architecture is the name given in most English-speaking countries to the set of architectural style An architectural style is a set of characteristics and features that make a building or other structure notable or historically ident ...
. The term "
Augustan literature Augustan literature (sometimes referred to misleadingly as Georgian literature) is a style Style is a manner of doing or presenting things and may refer to: * Architectural style, the features that make a building or structure historically ident ...
" is often used for
Augustan drama ''Augustan drama'' can refer to the dramas of Ancient Rome during the reign of Augustus, Caesar Augustus, but it most commonly refers to the English drama, plays of Great Britain in the early 18th century, a subset of 18th-century Augustan literat ...
,
Augustan poetry In Latin literature, Augustan poetry is the poetry that flourished during the reign of Caesar Augustus as Roman Emperor, Emperor of Rome, most notably including the works of Virgil, Horace, and Ovid. In English literature, Augustan poetry is a br ...
and
Augustan prose Augustan prose is somewhat ill-defined, as the definition of ''"Augustan"'' relies primarily upon changes in taste in poetry. However, the general time represented by Augustan literature Augustan literature (sometimes referred to misleadingly ...
in the period 1700–1740s. The term "Augustan" refers to the acknowledgement of the influence of
classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestur ...
from the ancient
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the , run through of the . Beginning with the of the (traditionally dated to 509 BC) and ending in 27 BC with the establishment of the , Rome's control rapidly expanded durin ...
. Victory in the
Seven Years' War The Seven Years' War (1756–1763) is widely considered to be the first global conflict in history, and was a struggle for world supremacy between Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest c ...
led to the dominance of the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
, which was to become the foremost global power for over a century. Great Britain would dominate the Indian subcontinent through the trading and military expansion of the
East India Company The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC), East India Trading Company (EITC), the English East India Company or (after Acts of Union 1707, 1707) the British East India Company, and informally known a ...
in
colonial India Colonial India was the part of the Indian subcontinent that was under the jurisdiction of European colonial powers during the Age of Discovery The Age of Discovery, or the Age of Exploration (sometimes also, particularly regionally, Age of Co ...
. In wars against
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its extends from the to the and from the to the and the ; overseas territories include in , in the N ...
, it gained control of both Upper and
Lower Canada The Province of Lower Canada (french: province du Bas-Canada) was a British colony on the lower Saint Lawrence River The Saint Lawrence River is a large river in the middle latitudes of North America. The Saint Lawrence River flows in a rough ...
, and until suffering defeat in the
American War of Independence The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the Revolutionary War and the American War of Independence, was initiated by delegates from thirteen American colonies of British America British America comprised the colonia ...
, it also had dominion over the
Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America. Founded in the 17th and 18th centuries, th ...
. From 1787, Britain began the colonisation of
New South Wales New South Wales (abbreviated as NSW) is a States and territories of Australia, state on the Eastern states of Australia, east coast of :Australia. It borders three other states, Queensland to the north, Victoria (Australia), Victoria to the sou ...
with the departure of the
First Fleet The First Fleet was a fleet of 11 ships A ship is a large watercraft that travels the world's oceans and other sufficiently deep Sea lane, waterways, carrying goods or passengers, or in support of specialized missions, such as defense, r ...
in the process of
penal transportation Penal transportation or transportation was the relocation of convict A convict is "a person found guilty Guilty or The Guilty may refer to: * Guilt (emotion), an experience that occurs when a person believes they have violated a moral st ...
to
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
. Britain was a leading belligerent in the
French Revolutionary Wars The French Revolutionary Wars (french: Guerres de la Révolution française) were a series of sweeping military conflicts lasting from 1792 until 1802 and resulting from the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the peri ...
. Great Britain was merged into the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereig ...

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
on 1 January 1801, with the
Acts of Union 1800 The Acts of Union 1800 (sometimes referred to as a single Act of Union 1801) were parallel acts of the Parliament of Great Britain The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in May 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union by ...
, enacted by Great Britain and Ireland, under
George III George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 173829 January 1820) was King of Great Britain There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the ...

George III
, to merge with it the
Kingdom of Ireland The Kingdom of Ireland ( ga, label= Classical Irish, an Ríoghacht Éireann; ga, label=Modern Irish Irish (also called in Standard Irish Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of fla ...

Kingdom of Ireland
.


Etymology

The name ''Britain'' descends from the Latin name for the island of Great Britain, ''Britannia'' or ''Brittānia'', the land of the Britons via the
Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the Latin spok ...
''Bretaigne'' (whence also
Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance language The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin is a range of info ...
''Bretagne'') and
Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the Wor ...
''Bretayne'', ''Breteyne''. The term ''Great Britain'' was first used officially in 1474. The use of the word "Great" before "Britain" originates in the French language, which uses ''Bretagne'' for both Britain and
Brittany Brittany (; french: link=no, Bretagne ; br, Breizh, or ; Gallo language, Gallo: ''Bertaèyn'' ) is a peninsula and cultural region in the west of France, covering the western part of what was known as Armorica during the period of Roman occup ...
. French therefore distinguishes between the two by calling Britain ''la Grande Bretagne'', a distinction which was transferred into English. The
Treaty of Union A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually entered into by sovereign states and international organizations, but can sometimes include individuals, business entities, and other L ...

Treaty of Union
and the subsequent
Acts of UnionAct of Union may refer to: In Great Britain and Ireland * Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542, passed during the reign of King Henry VIII to make Wales a part of the Kingdom of England (These laws are often referred to in the plural as the "Acts of Un ...
state that England and Scotland were to be "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain",

:
Both Acts and the Treaty state in Article I: ''That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon 1 May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN''.
and as such "Great Britain" was the official name of the state, as well as being used in titles such as "Parliament of Great Britain". The websites of the
Scottish Parliament The Scottish Parliament ( gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba ; : ''Scots Pairlament'') is the , legislature of . Located in the area of the capital city, , it is frequently referred to by the Holyrood. The Parliament is a democratically elected body ...

Scottish Parliament
, the
BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of ...
, and others, including the
Historical AssociationThe Historical Association is a membership organisation of historians and scholars founded in 1906 and based in London. Its goals are to support "the study and enjoyment of history at all levels by creating an environment that promotes lifelong learn ...
, refer to the state created on 1 May 1707 as ''the United Kingdom of Great Britain''. Both the Acts and the Treaty describe the country as "One Kingdom" and a "United Kingdom", leading some publications to treat the state as the "United Kingdom". The term ''United Kingdom'' was sometimes used during the 18th century to describe the state.


Political structure

The kingdoms of England and Scotland, both in existence from the 9th century (with England incorporating Wales in the 16th century), were separate states until 1707. However, they had come into a
personal union A personal union is the combination of two or more states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The Stat ...

personal union
in 1603, when James VI of Scotland became king of England under the name of
James I James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and King of Ireland, Ireland as James I from the Union of the Crowns, union of the Scottish and En ...

James I
. This
Union of the Crowns The Union of the Crowns ( gd, Aonadh nan Crùintean; sco, Union o the Crouns) was the accession Accession refers to the general idea of joining or adding to. It may also refer to: *Accession (property law) * Accession, the act of joining a tr ...
under the
House of Stuart The House of Stuart, originally Stewart, was a royal house A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recog ...

House of Stuart
meant that the whole of the island of Great Britain was now ruled by a single monarch, who by virtue of holding the English crown also ruled over the
Kingdom of Ireland The Kingdom of Ireland ( ga, label= Classical Irish, an Ríoghacht Éireann; ga, label=Modern Irish Irish (also called in Standard Irish Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of fla ...

Kingdom of Ireland
. Each of the three kingdoms maintained its own parliament and laws. Various smaller islands were in the king's domain, including the
Isle of Man ) , anthem = " O Land of Our Birth" , image = Isle of Man by Sentinel-2.jpg , image_map = Europe-Isle_of_Man.svg , mapsize = 290px , map_alt = Location of the Isle of Man in Europe , map_caption = Location of the Isle of Man (green) in E ...

Isle of Man
and the
Channel Islands The Channel Islands ( nrf, Îles d'la Manche; french: îles Anglo-Normandes or ''îles de la Manche'') are an archipelago in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two Crown Dependencies: the Jersey, Bailiwick of ...

Channel Islands
. This disposition changed dramatically when the
Acts of Union 1707 The Acts of Union ( gd, Achd an Aonaidh) were two Acts of Parliament: the Union with Scotland Act 1706 passed by the Parliament of England, and the Union with England Act passed in 1707 by the Parliament of Scotland. They put into effect the ...
came into force, with a single unified Crown of Great Britain and a single unified parliament. Ireland remained formally separate, with its own parliament, until the
Acts of Union 1800 The Acts of Union 1800 (sometimes referred to as a single Act of Union 1801) were parallel acts of the Parliament of Great Britain The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in May 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union by ...
took effect. The Union of 1707 provided for a Protestant-only succession to the throne in accordance with the English Act of Settlement of 1701; rather than Scotland's Act of Security of 1704 and the Act anent Peace and War 1703, which ceased to have effect by the Repeal of Certain Scotch Acts 1707. The Act of Settlement required that the heir to the English throne be a descendant of the
Electress Sophia of Hanover Sophia of Hanover (born Princess Sophia of the Palatinate; 14 October 1630 – 8 June 1714) was a Kingdom of Bohemia, Bohemian noblewoman who was the List of Hanoverian consorts, Electress of Hanover by marriage to Elector Ernest Augustus, and la ...
and not a Roman Catholic; this brought about the
Hanoverian succession The Act of Settlement is an Acts of the Parliament of England, Act of the Parliament of England that was passed in 1701 to settle the order of succession, succession to the List of English monarchs, English and List of Irish monarchs, Irish cro ...
of
George I of Great Britain George I (George Louis; ; 28 May 1660 – 11 June 1727) was King of Great Britain There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of G ...
in 1714. Legislative power was vested in the
Parliament of Great Britain The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in May 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of UnionAct of Union may refer to: In Great Britain and Ireland * Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542, passed during the reign of King Henry VIII to ma ...
, which replaced both the
Parliament of England The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England from the mid 13th to 17th century. The first English Parliament was convened in 1215, with the creation and signing of the Magna Carta, which established the rights of ba ...
and the
Parliament of Scotland The Parliament of Scotland ( sco, Pairlament o Scotland; gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba) was the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign ...
. In practice, it was a continuation of the English parliament, sitting at the same location in Westminster, expanded to include representation from Scotland. As with the former Parliament of England and the modern
Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the of the , the and the . It alone possesses and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and the overseas territories. Parliament is but has three parts, consisting of the ...
, the Parliament of Great Britain was formally constituted of three elements: the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorporat ...
, the
House of Lords The House of Lords, formally The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the of the . Membership is by , or . Like the , it meets in the . ar ...

House of Lords
, and
the Crown The Crown is the state (polity), state in all its aspects within the jurisprudence of the Commonwealth realms and their subdivisions (such as the Crown Dependencies, British Overseas Territories, overseas territories, Provinces and territorie ...

the Crown
. The right of the English peers to sit in the House of Lords remained unchanged, while the disproportionately large number of Scottish peers were permitted to send only sixteen
representative peer In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer ...
s, elected from amongst their number for the life of each parliament. Similarly, the members of the former English House of Commons continued as members of the British House of Commons, but as a reflection of the relative tax bases of the two countries the number of Scottish representatives was fixed at 45. Newly created peers in the
Peerage of Great Britain The Peerage of Great Britain comprises all extant peerage A peerage is a legal system historically comprising various hereditary titles (and sometimes Life peer, non-hereditary titles) in a number of countries, and composed of assorted noble ...
, and their successors, had the right to sit in the Lords. Despite the end of a separate parliament for Scotland, it retained its own laws and system of courts, as also its own established Presbyterian Church and control over its own schools. The social structure was highly hierarchical, and the same ruling class remained in control after 1707. Scotland continued to have its own universities, and with its intellectual community, especially in Edinburgh, the Scottish Enlightenment had a major impact on British, American, and European thinking.


Role of Ireland

As a result of Poynings' Law of 1495, the
Parliament of Ireland The Parliament of Ireland ( ga, Parlaimint na hÉireann) was the of the , and later the , from 1297 until 1800. It was modelled on the and from 1537 comprised two chambers: the and the . The Lords were members of the (’’) and bisho ...
was subordinate to the
Parliament of England The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England from the mid 13th to 17th century. The first English Parliament was convened in 1215, with the creation and signing of the Magna Carta, which established the rights of ba ...
, and after 1707 to the Parliament of Great Britain. The Westminster parliament's Declaratory Act 1719 (also called the Dependency of Ireland on Great Britain Act 1719) noted that the
Irish House of Lords The Irish House of Lords was the upper house of the Parliament of Ireland that existed from medieval times until 1800. It was also the final court of appeal of the Kingdom of Ireland. It was modelled on the House of Lords of England, with mem ...
had recently "assumed to themselves a Power and Jurisdiction to examine, correct and amend" judgements of the Irish courts and declared that as the
Kingdom of Ireland The Kingdom of Ireland ( ga, label= Classical Irish, an Ríoghacht Éireann; ga, label=Modern Irish Irish (also called in Standard Irish Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of fla ...

Kingdom of Ireland
was subordinate to and dependent upon the crown of Great Britain, the
King King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen regnant, queen, which title is also given to the queen consort, consort of a king. *In the context of prehistory, antiquity and contempora ...
, through the Parliament of Great Britain, had "full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient validity to bind the Kingdom and people of Ireland". The Act was repealed by the
Repeal of Act for Securing Dependence of Ireland Act 1782 The Repeal Act of 1782 (22. Geo. III, c. 53) was an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of Great Britain, which repealed the Declaratory Act of 1719. The 1719 Act had declared the Parliament of Ireland dependent on the Parliament and Privy Co ...
. The same year, the Irish constitution of 1782 produced a period of legislative freedom. However, the
Irish Rebellion of 1798 The Irish Rebellion of 1798 ( ga, Éirí Amach 1798; Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster-Scots: ' ...
, which sought to end the subordination and dependency of the country on the British crown and to establish a republic, was one of the factors that led to the formation of the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereig ...

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
in 1801.


Merging of Scottish and English Parliaments

The deeper political integration of her kingdoms was a key policy of
Queen Anne Queen Anne often refers to: * Anne, Queen of Great Britain (1665–1714), queen of England, Scotland and Ireland (1702–1707) and of Great Britain (1707–1714) **Queen Anne style architecture, an architectural style from her reign, and its revival ...

Queen Anne
, the last Stuart monarch of England and Scotland and the first monarch of Great Britain. A
Treaty of Union A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually entered into by sovereign states and international organizations, but can sometimes include individuals, business entities, and other L ...

Treaty of Union
was agreed in 1706, following negotiations between representatives of the parliaments of England and Scotland, and each parliament then passed separate Acts of Union to ratify it. The Acts came into effect on 1 May 1707, uniting the separate Parliaments and uniting the two kingdoms into a kingdom called Great Britain. Anne became the first monarch to occupy the unified British throne, and in line with Article 22 of the
Treaty of Union A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually entered into by sovereign states and international organizations, but can sometimes include individuals, business entities, and other L ...

Treaty of Union
Scotland and England each sent members to the new
House of Commons of Great Britain The House of Commons of Great Britain was the lower house of the Parliament of Great Britain The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in May 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union by both the Parliament of England and the Pa ...
. The Scottish and English
ruling class In sociology, the ruling class of a society is the social class A social class is a set of concepts in the social sciences and political theory Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government A government is the ...
es retained power, and each country kept its legal and educational systems, as well as its established Church. United, they formed a larger economy, and the Scots began to provide soldiers and colonial officials to the new British forces and Empire. However, one notable difference at the outset was that the new Scottish members of parliament and representative peers were elected by the outgoing Parliament of Scotland, while all existing members of the Houses of Commons and Lords at Westminster remained in office.


Queen Anne, 1702–1714

During the
War of the Spanish Succession The War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714) was an early-18th-century European war, triggered by the death in November 1700 of the childless Charles II of Spain. It established the principle that dynastic rights were secondary to maintaini ...
(1702–14) England continued its policy of forming and funding alliances, especially with the
Dutch Republic The United Provinces of the Netherlands, or United Provinces (officially the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands), commonly referred to in historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was ...
and the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
against their common enemy,
King Louis XIV , house = BourbonBourbon may refer to: Food and drink * Bourbon whiskey, an American whiskey made using a corn-based mash * Bourbon barrel aged beer, a type of beer aged in bourbon barrels * Bourbon biscuit, a chocolate sandwich bis ...
of France.
Queen Anne Queen Anne often refers to: * Anne, Queen of Great Britain (1665–1714), queen of England, Scotland and Ireland (1702–1707) and of Great Britain (1707–1714) **Queen Anne style architecture, an architectural style from her reign, and its revival ...

Queen Anne
, who reigned 1702–1714, was the central decision maker, working closely with her advisers, especially her remarkably successful senior general,
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough General A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marines or naval infantry, are typically a military force trained to operate on Littoral Zone, littoral ...

John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
. The war was a financial drain, for Britain had to finance its allies and hire foreign soldiers. Stalemate on the battlefield and war weariness on the home front set in toward the end. The anti-war Tory politicians won control of Parliament in 1710 and forced a peace. The concluding
Treaty of Utrecht The Peace of Utrecht was a series of peace treaties A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized commun ...

Treaty of Utrecht
was highly favourable for Britain. Spain lost its empire in Europe and faded away as a great power, while working to better manage its colonies in the Americas. The First British Empire, based upon the
English overseas possessions The English overseas possessions, also known as the English colonial empire, comprised a variety of overseas territories that were colonised, conquered, or otherwise acquired by the former Kingdom of England during the centuries before the Act ...
, was enlarged. From France, Great Britain gained
Newfoundland Newfoundland and Labrador (, ) is the easternmost provinces and territories of Canada, province of Canada, in the country's Atlantic Canada, Atlantic region. It is composed of the island of Newfoundland (island), Newfoundland and the continental ...
and
Acadia Acadia (french: link=no, Acadie) was a colony of New France New France (french: Nouvelle-France) was the area colonized by France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanni ...

Acadia
, and from Spain
Gibraltar ) , anthem = "God Save the Queen" , song = "Gibraltar Anthem" , image_map = Gibraltar location in Europe.svg , map_alt = Location of Gibraltar in Europe , map_caption = United Kingdom shown in pale green , mapsize = 290px , image_map2 = ...

Gibraltar
and
Menorca Menorca or Minorca (from la, Insula Minor, , smaller island, later ''Minorica'') is one of the Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean Sea belonging to Spain. Its name derives from its size, contrasting it with nearby Mallorca. Its large ...

Menorca
. Gibraltar became a major naval base which allowed Great Britain to control the entrance from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. The war marks the weakening of French military, diplomatic and economic dominance, and the arrival on the world scene of Britain as a major imperial, military and financial power. British historian G. M. Trevelyan argued: :That Treaty f Utrecht which ushered in the stable and characteristic period of Eighteenth-Century civilization, marked the end of danger to Europe from the old French monarchy, and it marked a change of no less significance to the world at large,—the maritime, commercial and financial supremacy of Great Britain.


Hanoverian succession: 1714–1760

In the 18th century England, and after 1707 Great Britain, rose to become the world's dominant colonialism, colonial power, with France as its main rival on the imperial stage. The pre-1707
English overseas possessions The English overseas possessions, also known as the English colonial empire, comprised a variety of overseas territories that were colonised, conquered, or otherwise acquired by the former Kingdom of England during the centuries before the Act ...
became the nucleus of the British Empire, First British Empire. "In 1714 the ruling class was so bitterly divided that many feared a civil war might break out on Queen Anne's death", wrote historian W. A. Speck. A few hundred of the richest
ruling class In sociology, the ruling class of a society is the social class A social class is a set of concepts in the social sciences and political theory Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government A government is the ...
and landed gentry families controlled parliament, but were deeply split, with Tories committed to the legitimacy of the James Francis Edward Stuart, Stuart "Old Pretender", then in exile. The Whigs strongly supported the Hanoverians, in order to ensure a Protestant succession. The new king, George I was a foreign prince and had a small English standing army to support him, with military support from his native Hanover and from his allies in the Netherlands. In the
Jacobite rising of 1715 The Jacobite rising of 1715 ( gd, Bliadhna Sheumais ; or 'the Fifteen') was the attempt by James Francis Edward Stuart, James Edward Stuart (the Old Pretender) to regain the thrones of Kingdom of England, England, Kingdom of Ireland, Ireland ...
, based in Scotland, the John Erskine, Earl of Mar (1675–1732), Earl of Mar led eighteen Jacobite peers and 10,000 men, with the aim of overthrowing the new king and restoring the Stuarts. Poorly organised, it was decisively defeated. Several of the leaders were executed, many others dispossessed of their lands, and some 700 prominent followers deported to forced labour on sugar plantations in the West Indies. A key decision was the refusal of the Pretender to change his religion from Roman Catholic to Anglican, which would have mobilised much more of the Tory element. The Whigs came to power, under the leadership of James Stanhope, 1st Earl Stanhope, James Stanhope, Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend, Charles Townshend, the Charles Spencer, 3rd Earl of Sunderland, Earl of Sunderland, and
Robert Walpole Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, (26 August 1676 – 18 March 1745; known between 1725 and 1742 as Sir Robert Walpole) was a British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people The British people, or Brit ...

Robert Walpole
. Many Tories were driven out of national and local government, and new laws were passed to impose greater national control. The right of habeas corpus was restricted; to reduce electoral instability, the Septennial Act 1715 increased the maximum life of a parliament from three years to seven.


George I: 1714–1727

During his reign, George I spent only about half as much of his time overseas as had William III, who also reigned for thirteen years. Jeremy Black (historian), Jeremy Black has argued that George wanted to spend even more time in Hanover: "His visits, in 1716, 1719, 1720, 1723 and 1725, were lengthy, and, in total, he spent a considerable part of his reign abroad. These visits were also occasions both for significant negotiations and for the exchange of information and opinion....The visits to Hanover also provided critics with the opportunity...to argue that British interests were being neglected....George could not speak English, and all relevant documents from his British ministers were translated into French for him....Few British ministers or diplomats...knew German, or could handle it in precise discussion." George I supported the expulsion of the Tories from power; they remained in the political wilderness until his great-grandson George III came to power in 1760 and began to replace Whigs with Tories. George I has often been caricatured in the history books, but according to his biographer Ragnhild Hatton:


Age of Walpole: 1721–1742

Robert Walpole (1676–1745) was a son of the landed gentry who rose to power in the House of Commons from 1721 to 1742. He became the first "prime minister", a term in use by 1727. In 1742, he was created Earl of Orford and was succeeded as prime minister by two of his followers, Henry Pelham (1743–1754) and Pelham's brother the Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle, Duke of Newcastle (1754–1762). Clayton Roberts summarizes Walpole's new functions:


South Sea Bubble

Corporate stock was a new phenomenon, not well understood, except for the strong gossip among financiers that fortunes could be made overnight. The South Sea Company, although originally set up to trade with the Spanish Empire, quickly turned most of its attention to very high risk financing, involving £30 million, some 60 per cent of the entire British national debt. It set up a scheme that invited stock owners to turn in their certificates for stock in the Company at a par value of £100—the idea was that they would profit by the rising price of their stock. Everyone with connections wanted in on the bonanza, and many other outlandish schemes found gullible takers. South Sea stock peaked at £1,060 on 25 June 1720. Then the bubble burst, and by the end of September it had fallen to £150. Hundreds of prominent men had borrowed to buy stock high; their apparent profits had vanished, but they were liable to repay the full amount of the loans. Many went bankrupt, and many more lost fortunes. Confidence in the entire national financial and political system collapsed. Parliament investigated and concluded that there had been widespread fraud by the company directors and corruption in the Cabinet. Among Cabinet members implicated were the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Postmaster General, and a Secretary of State, as well as two other leading men, James Stanhope, 1st Earl Stanhope, Lord Stanhope and Charles Spencer, 3rd Earl of Sunderland, Lord Sunderland. Walpole had dabbled in the speculation himself but was not a major player. He rose to the challenge, as the new First Lord of the Treasury, of resolving the financial and political disaster. The economy was basically healthy, and the panic ended. Working with the financiers he successfully restored confidence in the system. However, public opinion, as shaped by the many prominent men who had lost so much money so quickly, demanded revenge. Walpole supervised the process, which removed all 33 company directors and stripped them of, on average, 82% of their wealth. The money went to the victims. The government bought the stock of the South Sea Company for £33 and sold it to the Bank of England and the East India Company, the only other two corporations big enough to handle the challenge. Walpole made sure that King George and his mistresses were not embarrassed, and by the margin of three votes he saved several key government officials from impeachment.
Stanhope and Sunderland died of natural causes, leaving Walpole alone as the dominant figure in British politics. The public hailed him as the saviour of the financial system, and historians credit him with rescuing the Whig government, and indeed the Hanoverian dynasty, from total disgrace.


Patronage and corruption

Robert Walpole, Walpole was a master of the effective use of patronage, as were Pelham and Lord Newcastle. They each paid close attention to the work of bestowing upon their political allies high places, lifetime pensions, honours, lucrative government contracts, and help at election time. In turn the friends enabled them to control Parliament. Thus in 1742, over 140 members of parliament held powerful positions thanks in part to Walpole, including 24 men at the royal court, 50 in the government agencies, and the rest with sinecures or other handsome emoluments, often in the range of £500 – £1000 per year. Usually there was little or no work involved. Walpole also distributed highly attractive ecclesiastical appointments. When the Court in 1725 instituted a new order of chivalry, the Order of the Bath, Walpole immediately seized the opportunity. He made sure that most of the 36 men honoured were peers and members of parliament who would provide him with useful connections. Walpole himself became enormously wealthy, investing heavily in his estate at Houghton Hall and its large collection of European master paintings. Walpole's methods won him victory after victory, but aroused furious opposition. Historian J. H. Plumb wrote: The opposition called for "patriotism" and looked at the Prince of Wales as the future "Patriot King". Walpole supporters ridiculed the very term "patriot". The opposition Country Party (Britain), Country Party attacked Walpole relentlessly, primarily targeting his patronage, which they denounced as corruption. In turn, Walpole imposed censorship on the London theatre and subsidised writers such as William Arnall and others who rejected the charge of political corruption by arguing that corruption is the universal human condition. Furthermore, they argued, political divisiveness was also universal and inevitable because of selfish passions that were integral to human nature. Arnall argued that government must be strong enough to control conflict, and in that regard Walpole was quite successful. This style of "court" political rhetoric continued through the 18th century. Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham, Lord Cobham, a leading soldier, used his own connections to build up an opposition after 1733. Young William Pitt the Elder, William Pitt and George Grenville joined Cobhamite, Cobham's faction—they were called "Cobham's Cubs". They became leading enemies of Walpole and both later became prime minister. By 1741, Walpole was facing mounting criticism on foreign policy—he was accused of entangling Britain in a useless war with Spain—and mounting allegations of corruption. On 13 February 1741, Samuel Sandys, 1st Baron Sandys, Samuel Sandys, a former ally, called for his removal. He said: Walpole's allies defeated a censure motion by a vote of 209 to 106, but Walpole's coalition lost seats in the election of 1741, and by a narrow margin he was finally forced out of office in early 1742.


Walpole's foreign policy

Walpole secured widespread support with his policy of avoiding war. He used his influence to prevent George II from entering the War of the Polish Succession in 1733, because it was a dispute between the Bourbons and the Habsburgs. He boasted, "There are 50,000 men slain in Europe this year, and not one Englishman." Walpole himself let others, especially Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend, his brother-in-law Lord Townshend, handle foreign policy until about 1726, then took charge. A major challenge for his administration was the royal role as simultaneous ruler of Hanover, a small German state that was opposed to Prussian supremacy. George I and George II saw a French alliance as the best way to neutralise Prussia. They forced a dramatic reversal of British foreign policy, which for centuries had seen France as England's greatest enemy. However, the bellicose King Louis XIV died in 1715, and the regents who ran France were preoccupied with internal affairs. Louis XV of France, King Louis XV came of age in 1726, and his elderly chief minister André-Hercule de Fleury, Cardinal Fleury collaborated informally with Walpole to prevent a major war and keep the peace. Both sides wanted peace, which allowed both countries enormous cost savings, and recovery from expensive wars. Henry Pelham became prime minister in 1744 and continued Walpole's policies. He worked for an end to the War of the Austrian Succession. His financial policy was a major success once peace had been signed in 1748. He demobilised the armed forces, and reduced government spending from £12 million to £7 million. He refinanced the national debt, dropping the interest rate from 4% p.a. to 3% p.a. Taxes had risen to pay for the war, but in 1752 he reduced the land tax from four shillings to two shillings in the pound: that is, from 20% to 10%.


Lower debt and taxes

By avoiding wars, Walpole could lower taxes. He reduced the national debt with a sinking fund, and by negotiating lower interest rates. He reduced the land tax from four shillings in 1721, to 3s in 1728, 2s in 1731 and finally to only 1s (i.e. 5%) in 1732. His long-term goal was to replace the land tax, which was paid by the local gentry, with excise and customs taxes, which were paid by merchants and ultimately by consumers. Walpole joked that the landed gentry resembled hogs, which squealed loudly whenever anyone laid hands on them. By contrast, he said, merchants were like sheep, and yielded their wool without complaint. The joke backfired in 1733 when he was defeated in a major battle to Excise Bill, impose excise taxes on wine and tobacco. To reduce the threat of smuggling, the tax was to be collected not at ports but at warehouses. This new proposal, however, was extremely unpopular with the public, and aroused the opposition of the merchants because of the supervision it would involve. Walpole was defeated as his strength in Parliament dropped a notch.


Walpole's reputation

Historians hold Walpole's record in high regard, though there has been a recent tendency to share credit more widely among his allies. W.A. Speck wrote that Walpole's uninterrupted run of 20 years as Prime Minister He was a Whig (British political party), Whig from the gentry class, who first arrived in Parliament in 1701, and held many senior positions. He was a country squire and looked to country gentlemen for his political base. Historian Frank O'Gorman said his leadership in Parliament reflected his "reasonable and persuasive oratory, his ability to move both the emotions as well as the minds of men, and, above all, his extraordinary self-confidence." Julian Hoppit said Walpole's policies sought moderation: he worked for peace, lower taxes, growing exports, and allowed a little more tolerance for Protestant Dissenters. He avoided controversy and high-intensity disputes, as his middle way attracted moderates from both the Whig and Tory camps. H.T. Dickinson summed up his historical role:


Age of George III, 1760–1820


Victory in the Seven Years' War, 1756–1763

The
Seven Years' War The Seven Years' War (1756–1763) is widely considered to be the first global conflict in history, and was a struggle for world supremacy between Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest c ...
, which began in 1756, was the first war waged on a global scale and saw Great Britain in the Seven Years' War, British involvement in Europe, Company rule in India, India, North America, the Caribbean, the Philippines, and coastal Africa. The results were highly favourable for Britain, and a major disaster for France. Key decisions were largely in the hands of William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, William Pitt the Elder. The war started poorly. Britain Siege of Fort St Philip (1756), lost the island of Minorca in 1756, and suffered a series of defeats in North America. After years of setbacks and mediocre results, British luck turned in the "miracle year" ("Annus Mirabilis") of 1759. The British had entered the year anxious about a planned French Invasion of Britain (1759), French invasion, but by the end of the year, they were victorious in all theatres. In the Americas, they Battle of Ticonderoga (1759), captured Fort Ticonderoga (Carillon), Forbes Expedition, drove the French out of the Ohio Country, captured Quebec City in Canada as a result of the decisive Battle of the Plains of Abraham, and Invasion of Guadeloupe (1759), captured the rich sugar island of Guadeloupe in the West Indies. In India, the John Company Siege of Madras, repulsed French forces besieging Madras. In Europe, British troops partook in a decisive Allied victory at the Battle of Minden. The victory over the French navy at the Battle of Lagos and the decisive Battle of Quiberon Bay ended threats of a French invasion, and confirmed Britain's reputation as the world's foremost naval power. The Treaty of Paris (1763), Treaty of Paris of 1763 marked the high point of the First British Empire. France's future in North America ended, as New France (Quebec) came under British control. In India, the Carnatic Wars#Third Carnatic War (1756–1763), third Carnatic War had left France still in control of several small French India, enclaves, but with military restrictions and an obligation to support the British client states, effectively leaving the future of India to Great Britain. The British victory over France in the Seven Years' War therefore left Great Britain as the world's dominant colonial power, with a bitter France thirsting for revenge.


Evangelical religion and social reform

The evangelical movement inside and outside the Church of England gained strength in the late 18th and early 19th century. The movement challenged the traditional religious sensibility that emphasized a code of honour for the upper-class, and suitable behaviour for everyone else, together with faithful observances of rituals. John Wesley (1703–1791) and his followers preached revivalist religion, trying to convert individuals to a personal relationship with Christ through Bible reading, regular prayer, and especially the revival experience. Wesley himself preached 52,000 times, calling on men and women to "redeem the time" and save their souls. Wesley always operated inside the Church of England, but at his death, it set up outside institutions that became the Methodism, Methodist Church. It stood alongside the traditional nonconformist churches, Presbyterians, Congregationalist, Baptists, Unitarians and Quakers. The nonconformist churches, however, were less influenced by revivalism. The Church of England remained dominant, but it had a growing evangelical, revivalist faction the "Low Church". Its leaders included William Wilberforce and Hannah More. It reached the upper class through the Clapham Sect. It did not seek political reform, but rather the opportunity to save souls through political action by freeing slaves, abolishing the duel, prohibiting cruelty to children and animals, stopping gambling, avoiding frivolity on the Sabbath; they read the Bible every day. All souls were equal in God's view, but not all bodies, so evangelicals did not challenge the hierarchical structure of English society.


First British Empire

The first British Empire, was based largely in mainland North America and the West Indies, with a growing presence in India. Emigration from Britain went mostly to the
Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America. Founded in the 17th and 18th centuries, th ...
and the West Indies, with some to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. Few permanent settlers went to British India, although many young men went there in the hope of making money and returning home.


Mercantilist trade policy

Mercantilism was the basic policy imposed by Great Britain on its overseas possessions. Mercantilism meant that the government and the merchants became partners with the goal of increasing political power and private wealth, to the exclusion of other empires. The government protected its merchants—and kept others out—by trade barriers, regulations, and subsidies to domestic industries to maximise exports from and minimise imports to the realm. The government had to fight smuggling—which became a favourite American technique in the 18th century to circumvent the restrictions on trading with the French, Spanish or Dutch. The goal of mercantilism was to run trade surpluses, so that gold and silver would pour into London. The government took its share through duties and taxes, with the remainder going to merchants in London and other British ports. The government spent much of its revenue on a superb Royal Navy, which not only protected the British colonies but threatened the colonies of the other empires, and sometimes seized them. Thus the Royal Navy captured New Amsterdam (later New York) in 1664. The colonies were captive markets for British industry, and the goal was to enrich the mother country.


Loss of the 13 American colonies

During the 1760s and 1770s, relations with the
Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America. Founded in the 17th and 18th centuries, th ...
turned from benign neglect to outright revolt, primarily because of the British Parliament's insistence on taxing colonists without their consent to recover losses incurred protecting the American Colonists during the French and Indian War (1754–1763). In 1775, the American Revolutionary War began, as the Americans trapped the British army in Boston and suppressed the Loyalists who supported the Crown. In 1776 the Americans United States Declaration of Independence, declared the independence of the United States of America. Under the military leadership of General George Washington, and, with economic and military assistance from France, the Dutch Republic, and Spain, the United States held off successive British invasions. The Americans captured two main British armies in 1777 and 1781. After that King George III lost control of Parliament and was unable to continue the war. It ended with the Treaty of Paris (1783), Treaty of Paris by which Great Britain relinquished the Thirteen Colonies and recognized the United States. The war was expensive but the British financed it successfully.


Second British Empire

The loss of the
Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America. Founded in the 17th and 18th centuries, th ...
marked the transition between the "first" and "second" empires, in which Britain shifted its attention away from the Americas to Asia, the Pacific and later Africa. Adam Smith's ''Wealth of Nations'', published in 1776, had argued that colonies were redundant, and that free trade should replace the old mercantilist policies that had characterised the first period of colonial expansion, dating back to the protectionism of Spain and Portugal. The growth of trade between the newly independent United States and Great Britain after 1781 confirmed Smith's view that political control was not necessary for economic success.


Canada

After a series of "French and Indian wars", the British took over most of France's North American operations in 1763. Canada (New France), New France became Province of Quebec (1763–1791), Quebec. Great Britain's policy was to respect Quebec's Catholic establishment as well as its semi-feudal legal, economic, and social systems. By the Quebec Act of 1774, the Province of Quebec was enlarged to include the western holdings of the American colonies. In the American Revolutionary War, Halifax, Nova Scotia became Britain's major base for naval action. They repulsed an American revolutionary invasion in 1776, but in 1777 a British invasion army was captured in New York, encouraging France to enter the war. After the American victory, between 40,000 and 60,000 United Empire Loyalist, defeated Loyalists migrated, some bringing their slaves. Most families were given free land to compensate their losses. Several thousand free blacks also arrived; most of them later went to Sierra Leone in Africa. The 14,000 Loyalists who went to the Saint John and Saint Croix river valleys, then part of Nova Scotia, were not welcomed by the locals. Therefore, in 1784 the British split off History of New Brunswick, New Brunswick as a separate colony. The Constitutional Act of 1791 created the provinces of Upper Canada (mainly English-speaking) and Lower Canada (mainly French-speaking) to defuse tensions between the French and English-speaking communities, and implemented governmental systems similar to those employed in Great Britain, with the intention of asserting imperial authority and not allowing the sort of popular control of government that was perceived to have led to the American Revolution.


Australia

In 1770, British explorer James Cook had discovered the eastern coast of Australia whilst on a scientific First voyage of James Cook, voyage to the South Pacific. In 1778, Joseph Banks, Cook's botanist on the voyage, presented evidence to the government on the suitability of Botany Bay for the establishment of a penal settlement. Australia marks the beginning of the Second British Empire. It was planned by the government in London and designed as a replacement for the lost American colonies. The American Loyalist James Matra in 1783 wrote "A Proposal for Establishing a Settlement in New South Wales" proposing the establishment of a colony composed of American Loyalists, Chinese and South Sea Islanders (but not convicts). Matra reasoned that the land was suitable for plantations of sugar, cotton and tobacco; New Zealand timber and hemp or flax could prove valuable commodities; it could form a base for Pacific trade; and it could be a suitable compensation for displaced American Loyalists. At the suggestion of Secretary of State Lord Sydney, Matra amended his proposal to include convicts as settlers, considering that this would benefit both "Economy to the Publick, & Humanity to the Individual". The government adopted the basics of Matra's plan in 1784, and funded the settlement of convicts. In 1787 the
First Fleet The First Fleet was a fleet of 11 ships A ship is a large watercraft that travels the world's oceans and other sufficiently deep Sea lane, waterways, carrying goods or passengers, or in support of specialized missions, such as defense, r ...
set sail, carrying the first shipment of Convicts in Australia, convicts to the colony. It arrived in January 1788.


India

India was not directly ruled by the British government, instead certain parts were seized by the
East India Company The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC), East India Trading Company (EITC), the English East India Company or (after Acts of Union 1707, 1707) the British East India Company, and informally known a ...
, a private, for-profit corporation, with its own army. The "John Company" (as it was nicknamed) took direct control of half of India and built friendly relations with the other half, which was controlled by numerous local princes. Its goal was trade, and vast profits for the Company officials, not the building of the British empire. Company interests expanded during the 18th century to include control of territory as the old Mughal Empire declined in power and the East India Company battled for the spoils with the French East India Company (''Compagnie française des Indes orientales'') during the Carnatic Wars of the 1740s and 1750s. Victories at the Battle of Plassey and Battle of Buxar by Robert Clive gave the Company control over Bengal Presidency, Bengal and made it the major military and political power in India. In the following decades it gradually increased the extent of territories under its control, ruling either directly or in cooperation with local princes. Although Britain itself only had a small standing army, the Company had a large and well trained force, the presidency armies, with British officers commanding native Indian troops (called sepoys).


Battling the French Revolution and Napoleon

With the regicide of King Louis XVI in 1793, the French Revolution represented a contest of ideologies between conservative, royalist Britain and radical Republican France. The long bitter wars with France 1793–1815, saw anti-Catholicism emerge as the glue that held the three kingdoms together. From the upper classes to the lower classes, Protestants were brought together from England, Scotland and Ireland into a profound distrust and distaste for all things French. That enemy nation was depicted as the natural home of misery and oppression because of its inherent inability to shed the darkness of Catholic superstition and clerical manipulation.


Napoleon

It was not only Britain's position on the world stage that was threatened: Napoleon, who came to power in 1799, threatened invasion of Great Britain itself, and with it, a fate similar to the countries of continental Europe that his armies had overrun. The Napoleonic Wars were therefore ones in which the British invested all the moneys and energies it could raise. French ports were blockaded by the Royal Navy.


Ireland

The French Revolution revived religious and political grievances in Kingdom of Ireland, Ireland. In 1798, Irish nationalists, under Protestant leadership, plotted the
Irish Rebellion of 1798 The Irish Rebellion of 1798 ( ga, Éirí Amach 1798; Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster-Scots: ' ...
, believing that the French would help them to overthrow the British. They hoped for significant French support, which never came. The uprising was very poorly organized, and quickly suppressed by much more powerful British forces. Including many bloody reprisals, the total death toll was in the range of 10,000 to 30,000. William Pitt the Younger, the British prime minister, firmly believed that the only solution to the problem was a union of Great Britain and Ireland. The union was established by the Act of Union 1800; compensation and patronage ensured the support of the Parliament of Ireland, Irish Parliament. Great Britain and Ireland were formally united on 1 January 1801. The Irish Parliament was closed down.


Parliament of Great Britain

The Parliament of Great Britain consisted of the
House of Lords The House of Lords, formally The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the of the . Membership is by , or . Like the , it meets in the . ar ...

House of Lords
(an unelected upper house of the Lords Spiritual and Lords Temporal, Temporal) and the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorporat ...
, the lower chamber, which was elected periodically. In England and Wales parliamentary constituencies remained unchanged throughout the existence of the Parliament.Chris Cook & John Stevenson, ''British Historical Facts 1760–1830'' (The Macmillan Press, 1980)


Monarchs


House of Stuart

Anne had been Queen regnant, Queen of England, List of Scottish monarchs, Queen of Scots, and Queen of Ireland since 1702. * Anne, Queen of Great Britain (1707–1714)


House of Hanover

*
George I of Great Britain George I (George Louis; ; 28 May 1660 – 11 June 1727) was King of Great Britain There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of G ...
(1714–1727) * George II of Great Britain (1727–1760) * George III of Great Britain (1760–1800) George continued as King of the United Kingdom until his death in 1820.


See also

* List of British monarchs * Great Britain in the Seven Years' War * Timeline of British history (1700–1799) * History of the United Kingdom#18th century, History of the United Kingdom § 18th century * Early Modern Britain *
Georgian era The Georgian era is a period in British history from 1714 to , named after the House of Hanover, Hanoverian Kings George I of Great Britain, George I, George II of Great Britain, George II, George III of the United Kingdom, George III and George ...
*
Jacobitism Jacobitism (; gd, Seumasachas, ; ga, Seacaibíteachas, ) was a largely 17th- and 18th-century movement that supported the restoration of the senior line of the House of Stuart The House of Stuart, originally Stewart, was a royal house ...


Notes


References


Sources

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Further reading

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Gutenberg edition
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Historiography

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External links



Scottish Parliament The Scottish Parliament ( gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba ; : ''Scots Pairlament'') is the , legislature of . Located in the area of the capital city, , it is frequently referred to by the Holyrood. The Parliament is a democratically elected body ...

Scottish Parliament

Text of Union with England Act

Text of Union with Scotland Act
{{DEFAULTSORT:Kingdom of Great Britain Kingdom of Great Britain, History of Great Britain, * 1707 establishments in Great Britain, * 1800 disestablishments in Great Britain, * 18th century in England, . 1707 establishments in Europe 1800 disestablishments in Europe 18th century in Scotland 18th century in Wales Early Modern history of the United Kingdom Former countries in Europe Former kingdoms, Great Britain Former monarchies of Europe, Great Britain States and territories disestablished in 1801 States and territories established in 1707