Our country's full name is The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, although most people just refer to it as United Kingdom or the UK.
On this page we will share with you the origins of the full name .
Before 17th Century
Up until the seventeenth century there had been four 'countries' in the British Isles:
Each one had its own separate sense of identity, its own history, even its own language. There was no such word as British. People were simply either English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish.
End of 18th Century
By the end of the eighteenth century, all this changed. The word British was used for the first time, Rule Britannia song was composed and the Union Flag created.
The Making of Great Britain
In 1543, during the Tudor times, England and Wales were united as one country. Scotland and Ireland remained separate kingdoms, with their own parliaments and laws until the much later.
In 1603 England and Scotland shared the same king. King James VI of Scotland became also James I of England.
James I was very keen to be King of Great Britain, and from 1606 Scots were officially called English citizens. However, it wasn't until 1652, that the two countries were united together through force by Oliver Cromwell. The Scots had never accepted this action.
In 1707 the Act of Union meant that Scotland lost her Parliament and her independence and became part of a new country to be called 'Kingdom of Great Britain'.
In 1801 a second Act of Union was passed, creating yet another new country, the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland'.
|English/British monarchs had been also monarchs of Ireland since Henry Vlll claimed regal sovereignty in 1542.
The Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921 removed mainland Ireland from the UK. Six northern Irish counties (Northern Ireland) remained part of the UK.
The current name of the country, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland, was adopted in 1927
See also the story behind the UK Flag
Facts about the UK
All about the UK
Interactive Map of the UK