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United Kingdom 57,,  British citizens of any race or ethnicity. People who identify of full or partial British ancestry born into that country. UK-born people who identify of British ancestry only. British citizens by way of residency in the British overseas territories ; however, not all have ancestry from the United Kingdom.
British citizens or nationals. When used in a historical context, "British" or "Britons" can refer to the Celtic Britons , the indigenous inhabitants of Great Britain and Brittany , whose surviving members are the modern Welsh people , Cornish people and Bretons.
Although early assertions of being British date from the Late Middle Ages , the creation of the united Kingdom of Great Britain      in triggered a sense of British national identity. Modern Britons are descended mainly from the varied ethnic groups that settled in the British Isles in and before the 11th century: The British are a diverse, multinational ,   multicultural and multilingual society, with "strong regional accents, expressions and identities".
The population of the UK stands at around The earliest known reference to the inhabitants of Britain may have come from 4th century BC records of the voyage of Pytheas , a Greek geographer who made a voyage of exploration around the British Isles.
Although none of his own writings remain, writers during the time of the Roman Empire made much reference to them. The group included Ireland , which was referred to as Ierne Insula sacra "sacred island" as the Greeks interpreted it "inhabited by the different race of Hiberni " gens hibernorum , and Britain as insula Albionum , "island of the Albions".
It has been suggested that this name derives from a Gaulish description translated as "people of the forms", referring to the custom of tattooing or painting their bodies with blue woad made from Isatis tinctoria. In this sub-Roman Britain , as Anglo-Saxon culture spread across southern and eastern Britain and Gaelic through much of the north, the demonym "Briton" became restricted to the Brittonic-speaking inhabitants of what would later be called Wales , Cornwall , North West England Cumbria , and parts of Scotland  such as Strathearn , Morayshire , Aberdeenshire and Strathclyde.
However, the term Britannia persisted as the Latin name for the island. The Historia Brittonum claimed legendary origins as a prestigious genealogy for Brittonic kings , followed by the Historia Regum Britanniae which popularised this pseudo-history to support the claims of the Kings of England. During the Middle Ages , and particularly in the Tudor period , the term "British" was used to refer to the Welsh people and Cornish people.
At that time, it was "the long held belief that these were the remaining descendants of the Britons and that they spoke ' the British tongue ' ". Wales and Cornwall , and north, i. Cumbria , Strathclyde and northern Scotland. The Matter of Britain, a national myth , was retold or reinterpreted in works by Gerald of Wales , a Cambro-Norman chronicler who in the 12th and 13th centuries used the term British to refer to the people later known as the Welsh.
Between the 8th and 11th centuries, "three major cultural divisions" had emerged in Great Britain: Scottish historian and archaeologist Neil Oliver said that the Battle of Brunanburh would "define the shape of Britain into the modern era", it was a "showdown for two very different ethnic identities — a Norse Celtic alliance versus Anglo Saxon. It aimed to settle once and for all whether Britain would be controlled by a single imperial power or remain several separate independent kingdoms, a split in perceptions which is still very much with us today".
Though Wales was conquered by England, and its legal system replaced by that of the Kingdom of England under the Laws in Wales Acts — , the Welsh endured as a nation distinct from the English , and to some degree the Cornish people , although conquered into England by the 11th century, also retained a distinct Brittonic identity and language. Despite centuries of military and religious conflict, the Kingdoms of England and Scotland had been "drawing increasingly together" since the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century and the Union of the Crowns in Despite this, although popular with the monarchy and much of the aristocracy, attempts to unite the two states by Acts of Parliament in , , and were unsuccessful;  increased political management of Scottish affairs from England had led to "criticism", and strained Anglo-Scottish relations.
While English maritime explorations during the Age of Discovery gave new-found imperial power and wealth to the English and Welsh at the end of the 17th century, Scotland suffered from a long-standing weak economy. The events of the Darien Scheme, and the passing by the English Parliament of the Act of Settlement asserting the right to choose the order of succession for English, Scottish and Irish thrones, escalated political hostilities between England and Scotland, and neutralised calls for a united British people.
The Parliament of Scotland responded by passing the Act of Security , allowing it to appoint a different monarch to succeed to the Scottish crown from that of England, if it so wished. Despite opposition from within both Scotland  and England,  a Treaty of Union was agreed in and was then ratified by the parliaments of both countries with the passing of the Acts of Union With effect from 1 May , this created a new sovereign state called the " Kingdom of Great Britain ". After , a British national identity began to develop, though it was initially resisted, particularly by the English.
The terms North Briton and South Briton were devised for the Scots and the English respectively, with the former gaining some preference in Scotland, particularly by the economists and philosophers of the Scottish Enlightenment. Britannia , the new national personification of Great Britain, was established in the s as a representation of "nation and empire rather than any single national hero".
Up until Britannia was conventionally depicted holding a spear, but as a consequence of the increasingly prominent role of the Royal Navy in the war against the French, and of several spectacular victories, the spear was replaced by a trident The navy had come to be seen From the Union of through to the Battle of Waterloo in , Great Britain was "involved in successive, very dangerous wars with Catholic France",  but which "all brought enough military and naval victories The neo-classical monuments that proliferated at the end of the 18th century and the start of the 19th, such as The Kymin at Monmouth , were attempts to meld the concepts of Britishness with the Greco-Roman empires of classical antiquity.
The new and expanding British Empire provided "unprecedented opportunities for upward mobility and the accumulations of wealth", and so the "Scottish, Welsh and Irish populations were prepared to suppress nationalist issues on pragmatic grounds". The political union in of the predominantly Catholic Kingdom of Ireland with Great Britain, coupled with the outbreak of peace with France in the early 19th century, challenged the previous century's concept of militant Protestant Britishness.
The people of Ireland are ready to become a portion of the British Empire , provided they be made so in reality and not in name alone; they are ready to become a kind of West Briton if made so in benefits and justice; but if not, we are Irishmen again. Ireland, from to , was marked by a succession of economic and political mismanagement and neglect, which marginalised the Irish,  and advanced Irish nationalism.
In the forty years that followed the Union, successive British governments grappled with the problems of governing a country which had as Benjamin Disraeli , a staunch anti-Irish and anti-Catholic member of the Conservative party with a virulent racial and religious prejudice towards Ireland  put it in , "a starving population, an absentee aristocracy, and an alien Church, and in addition the weakest executive in the world".
War continued to be a unifying factor for the people of Great Britain: British jingoism re-emerged during the Boer Wars in southern Africa. Morally, we Britons plant the British flag on every peak and pass; and wherever the Union Jack floats there we place the cardinal British institutions—tea, tubs, sanitary appliances, lawn tennis, and churches.
Britain's national and imperial pre-tensions". The First World War "reinforced the sense of Britishness" and patriotism in the early 20th century. At its international zenith, "Britishness joined peoples around the world in shared traditions and common loyalties that were strenuously maintained". The secession of the Irish Free State from the United Kingdom meant that Britishness had lost "its Irish dimension" in ,  and the shrinking empire supplanted by independence movements dwindled the appeal of British identity in the Commonwealth of Nations during the midth century.
Since the British Nationality Act and the subsequent mass immigration to the United Kingdom from the Commonwealth and elsewhere in the world, "the expression and experience of cultural life in Britain has become fragmented and reshaped by the influences of gender, ethnicity, class and region". The late 20th century saw major changes to the politics of the United Kingdom with the establishment of devolved national administrations for Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales following pre-legislative referendums.
Gwynfor Evans , a Welsh nationalist politician active in the late 20th century, rebuffed Britishness as "a political synonym for Englishness which extends English culture over the Scots, Welsh and the Irish". In Sir Bernard Crick , political theorist and democratic socialist tasked with developing the life in the United Kingdom test said:.
Britishness, to me, is an overarching political and legal concept: Gordon Brown initiated a debate on British identity in As well as celebrating the achievements of armed forces veterans, Brown's speech at the first event for the celebration said:. Scots and people from the rest of the UK share the purpose that Britain has something to say to the rest of the world about the values of freedom, democracy and the dignity of the people that you stand up for.
So at a time when people can talk about football and devolution and money, it is important that we also remember the values that we share in common.
The earliest migrations of Britons date from the 5th and 6th centuries AD, when Brittonic Celts fleeing the Anglo-Saxon invasions migrated what is today northern France and north western Spain and forged the colonies of Brittany and Britonia. Brittany remained independent of France until the early 16th century and still retains a distinct Brittonic culture and language, whilst Britonia in modern Galicia was absorbed into Spanish states by the end of the 9th century AD.
Britons - people with British citizenship or of British descent - have a significant presence in a number of countries other than the United Kingdom, and in particular in those with historic connections to the British Empire.
After the Age of Discovery the British were one of the earliest and largest communities to emigrate out of Europe , and the British Empire's expansion during the first half of the 19th century triggered an "extraordinary dispersion of the British people", resulting in particular concentrations "in Australasia and North America ".
The British Empire was "built on waves of migration overseas by British people",  who left the United Kingdom and "reached across the globe and permanently affected population structures in three continents". In colonies such as Southern Rhodesia , British East Africa and Cape Colony , permanently resident British communities were established and whilst never more than a numerical minority these Britons "exercised a dominant influence" upon the culture and politics of those lands.
The United Kingdom Census estimated the size of the overseas British to be around 2. From the beginning of Australia's colonial period until after the Second World War, people from the United Kingdom made up a large majority of people coming to Australia, meaning that many people born in Australia can trace their origins to Britain.
Together with another five largely self-governing Crown Colonies, the federation of Australia was achieved on 1 January Its history of British dominance meant that Australia was "grounded in British culture and political traditions that had been transported to the Australian colonies in the nineteenth century and become part of colonial culture and politics".
Until , the national status of Australian citizens was formally described as "British Subject: Britons continue to make up a substantial proportion of immigrants. All 6 states of Australia retain the flag of the United Kingdom in the canton of their respective flags. The approximately , people of the British overseas territories are British by citizenship , via origins or naturalisation.
Along with aspects of common British identity, each of them has their own distinct identity shaped in the respective particular circumstances of political, economic, ethnic, social and cultural history. British cultural, economic, social, political and educational values create a unique British-like, Falkland Islands. Yet Islanders feel distinctly different from their fellow citizens who reside in the United Kingdom. This might have something to do with geographical isolation or with living on a smaller island—perhaps akin to those Britons not feeling European.
In contrast, for the majority of the Gibraltarians , who live in Gibraltar , there is an "insistence on their Britishness" which "carries excessive loyalty" to Britain. Canada traces its statehood to the French , English and Scottish expeditions of North America from the lateth century. France ceded nearly all of New France in after the Seven Years' War , and so after the United States Declaration of Independence in , Quebec and Nova Scotia formed "the nucleus of the colonies that constituted Britain's remaining stake on the North American continent".
In there was a union of three colonies with British North America which together formed the Canadian Confederation , a federal dominion.
Nevertheless, it is recognised that there is a "continuing importance of Canada's long and close relationship with Britain";  large parts of Canada's modern population claim "British origins" and the cultural impact of the British upon Canada's institutions is profound. It was not until that the phrase "A Canadian citizen is a British subject" ceased to be used in Canadian passports. The politics of Canada are strongly influenced by British political culture.
British iconography remains present in the design of many Canadian flags , with 10 out of 13 Canadian provincial and territorial flags adopting some form of British symbolism in their design. The flag of the United Kingdom is also an official ceremonial flag in Canada known as the Royal Union Flag which is flown outside of federal buildings three days of the year. A long-term result of James Cook 's voyage of —,  a significant number of New Zealanders are of British descent, for whom a sense of Britishness has contributed to their identity.
Citizen of New Zealand" until , when this was changed to "New Zealand citizen". British immigrants fit in here very well. My own ancestry is all British. New Zealand values are British values, derived from centuries of struggle since Magna Carta. Those things make New Zealand the society it is. The politics of New Zealand are strongly influenced by British political culture. Although significant modifications have been made, New Zealand is governed by a democratic parliamentary framework comparable to the Westminster system , and retains Elizabeth II as the head of the monarchy of New Zealand.
British nationality law as it pertains to Hong Kong has been unusual ever since Hong Kong became a British colony in From its beginning as a sparsely populated trading port to its modern role as a cosmopolitan international financial centre of over seven million people, the territory has attracted refugees, immigrants and expatriates alike searching for a new life.
Citizenship matters were complicated by the fact that British nationality law treated those born in Hong Kong as British subjects although they did not enjoy full rights and citizenship , while the People's Republic of China PRC did not recognise Hong Kong Chinese as such./p>
It was understood that he would be happy [to do so] if the recipients were Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly. In order to ensure his attendance, this assurance was given. But it could not be definitively established that Williams' involvement led to the wrong winner being announced" [italics added].
Beginning on 26 July , British tabloid newspapers reported the alleged involvement of the British Comedy Awards in the British television phone-in scandal. In a statement, the company said: ITV will not make any further comment regarding this matter until the conclusion of the investigation. It was announced on 21 September that the British Comedy Awards would not be screened by ITV1; however, it was not confirmed then that the Awards would still take place in December, and it was not ruled out that they could be screened by another channel.
On 15 August , it was announced that a similar scandal could have been committed in the award ceremony at the Awards. Following The Russell Brand Show prank telephone calls row and his week unpaid suspension from all of his BBC shows, Jonathan Ross resigned from presenting the awards, in agreement with ITV , as he did not want to "take away from the awards themselves or the many talented winners of the awards.
The awards were presented at a two-hour ceremony hosted by Jonathan Ross on 12 December and shown live on Channel 4. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. ITV —, —09 Channel 4 — Archived from the original on 13 May As Michael Hurll marks his half-century in broadcasting, he tells Tim Cooper the secrets of keeping stars sweet.
Archived from the original on 21 March Ant and Dec are reportedly appalled at the error over the prize [photo caption]. The Catherine Tate Show collected more votes for the People's Choice Awards , an independent report on the affair says.
He sought this as the final step of reform, rather than a first step in a long process, emphasising the urgent need in to settle the intense and growing political unrest across Britain. He believed that the respectable classes deserved to have their demands for greater representation met, but he refused to extend political power to the mass of the lower middle class and working class, saying that they were not ready to be trusted with it. He wanted to preserve the basic elements of the existing constitution by removing obvious abuses, thinking that this would strengthen aristocratic leadership.
He persuaded the king to promise to create enough new peers to force the bill through the House of Lords. The king made the promise while also advising the peers to stop blocking the bill. The Reform Act was Grey's principal achievement; it reflects his pragmatic, moderate and conservative character, as well as his parliamentary skills of timing and persuasion. His cabinet was a coalition of diverse interests, so in when it divided over the Irish church question he resigned.
Palmerston played the dominant role in shaping British foreign-policy as Foreign Secretary , —41 and —51 and as Prime Minister —58, — The Tories despised him thereafter as a turncoat, and many of the more radical Whigs were distrustful of his basically conservative views that saw him fainthearted about or opposed to reform measures. He typically warned on the one hand against delays and on the other hand against excessive enthusiasm for reforms, preferring compromise. He was keenly sensitive to public opinion, and indeed often shapes it through his dealings with newspaper editors.
He routinely gave the same advice to foreign governments. Diplomats across Europe took careful note of his move from the Tories to the Whigs, and suspected him of sympathy with the reform movements which were setting off upheavals in France, Belgium and elsewhere, and which frightened the reactionary governments of the major powers Russia, Austria, and Russia.
In reality he drew his foreign policy ideals from Canning. His main goals were to promote British strategic and economic interests worldwide, remain aloof from European alliances, mediate peace in Europe, and use British naval power sparingly as needed. He worried most about France as an adversary, although he collaborated with them as in securing the independence of Belgium from the kingdom of the Netherlands.
He placed a high priority on building up British strength in India, He spoke often of pride in British nationalism, which found favour in public opinion and gave him a strong basis of support outside Parliament. Jeremy Bentham was an intellectual who focused on reforming English law.
He was a leading promoter of utilitarianism as a working philosophy of action. The "greatest happiness principle", or the principle of utility, forms the cornerstone of Bentham's thought. By "happiness", he understood a predominance of "pleasure" over "pain". He is best known for his inspiration of the radical forces, helping them define those reforms that were most urgently needed and how they could be implemented.
His intellectual leadership helped achieve many of the key legal, political, economic and social reforms of the s and s. John Bright built on his middle-class Quaker heritage and his collaboration with Richard Cobden to promote all varieties of humanitarian and parliamentary reform.
They started with a successful campaign against the Corn Laws. These were tariffs on imported food that kept up the price of grain to placate Tory landowners. The major factor in the cost of living was the price of food, and the corn laws kept the price high. Bright was a powerful speaker, which boosted him to election to parliament in His radical program included extension of the suffrage, land reform, and reduction of taxation.
He opposed factory reforms, labour unions and controls on hours For workers, women and children, arguing that government intervention in economic life was always mistaken.
He opposed wars and imperialism. His unremitting hostility to the Crimean war led to his defeat for reelection in He was soon reelected from Birmingham, leading a national campaign for parliamentary reform to enlarge the suffrage to reach the working man. He was intensely moralistic and distrusted the integrity of his opponents. He loathed the aristocracy that continued to rule Britain. He held a few minor cabinet positions, but his reputation rests on his organising skills and his rhetorical leadership for reform.
Taylor has summarized Bright's achievements:. The Victorian era was the period of Queen Victoria's rule between and which signified the height of the British Industrial Revolution and the apex of the British Empire. Scholars debate whether the Victorian period—as defined by a variety of sensibilities and political concerns that have come to be associated with the Victorians—actually begins with the passage of the Reform Act The era was preceded by the Regency era and succeeded by the Edwardian period.
Victoria became queen in at age Her long reign saw Britain reach the zenith of its economic and political power, with the introduction of steam ships, railroads, photography, and the telegraph. Britain again remained mostly inactive in Continental politics. After the defeat of France in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars — , the UK emerged as the principal naval and imperial power of the 19th century with London the largest city in the world from about Thus Britain had both a formal Empire based on British rule as well as an informal one based on the British pound.
One nagging fear was the possible collapse of the Ottoman Empire. It was well understood that a collapse of that country would set off a scramble for its territory and possibly plunge Britain into war. To head that off Britain sought to keep the Russians from occupying Constantinople and taking over the Bosphorus Strait , as well as from threatening India via Afghanistan.
Despite mediocre generalship, they managed to capture the Russian port of Sevastopol , compelling Tsar Nicholas I to ask for peace. The next Russo-Ottoman war in led to another European intervention, although this time at the negotiating table. During the American Civil War — , British leaders favoured the Confederate States, a major source of cotton for textile mills. Prince Albert was effective in defusing a war scare in late The British people, however, generally favoured the Union.
Trade flourished with the Union and many young men crossed the Atlantic to join the Union Army. In September , President Abraham Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation would be issued in 90 days, thus making abolition of slavery a war goal.
Britain was long opposed to slavery, itself having abolished it some three decades earlier , and any possibility of its intervention on behalf of the Confederacy ended. London ignored American complaints that it allowed the building of warships for the Confederacy.
The warships caused a major diplomatic row that was resolved in the Alabama Claims in , in the Americans' favour by payment of reparations. Starting in , Britain united most of its North American colonies as the Dominion of Canada , giving it self-government and responsibility for its own defence, Canada did not have an independent foreign policy until The second half of the 19th century saw a scramble for Africa among the European powers. There was talk of war with France over the Fashoda Incident of The rise of the German Empire after posed a new challenge, for it along with the United States , threatened to usurp Britain's place as the world's foremost industrial power.
Germany acquired a number of colonies in Africa and the Pacific, but Chancellor Otto von Bismarck succeeded in achieving general peace through his balance of power strategy. When William II became emperor in , he discarded Bismarck, began using bellicose language, and planned to build a navy to rival Britain's.
It restored good relations with France and the United States, and ended tensions with Russia, while the confrontation with Germany became a naval race. Ever since Britain had wrested control of the Cape Colony from the Netherlands during the Napoleonic Wars , it had co-existed with Dutch settlers who had migrated further away from the Cape and created two republics of their own. The British imperial vision called for control over these new countries, and the Dutch-speaking "Boers" or "Afrikaners" fought back in the War in — Outgunned by a mighty empire, the Boers waged a guerrilla war which certain other British territories would later employ to attain independence.
This gave the British troops a difficult fight, but their weight of numbers, superior equipment, and often brutal tactics, eventually brought about a British victory. The war had been costly in human rights and was widely criticised by Liberals in Britain and worldwide.
However, the United States gave London its support. The Boer republics were merged with Cape Colony and Natal into the Union of South Africa in ; this had internal self-government, but its foreign policy was controlled by London and it was an integral part of the British Empire. The Queen gave her name to an era of British greatness, especially in the far-flung British Empire with which she identified. She played a small role in politics, but became the iconic symbol of the nation, the empire, and proper, restrained behaviour.
Disraeli and Gladstone dominated the politics of the late 19th century, Britain's golden age of parliamentary government.
They long were idolized, but historians in recent decades have become much more critical, especially regarding Disraeli. Benjamin Disraeli — , prime minister and —80 , remains an iconic hero of the Conservative Party. He was typical of the generation of British leaders who matured in the s and s. He was concerned with threats to established political, social, and religious values and elites; he emphasized the need for national leadership in response to radicalism, uncertainty, and materialism.
Gladstone denounced Disraeli's policies of territorial aggrandizement, military pomp, and imperial symbolism such as making the Queen Empress of India , saying it did not fit a modern commercial and Christian nation. However Gladstone himself did not turn down attractive opportunities to expand the empire in Egypt.
Disraeli drummed up support by warnings of a supposed Russian threat to India that sank deep into the Conservative mindset. His reputation as the "Tory democrat" and promoter of the welfare state fell away as historians showed that Disraeli had few proposals for social legislation in —80, and that the Reform Act did not reflect a vision of Conservatism for the unenfranchised working man. In the popular culture, Disraeli was a great political hero, a status that persisted for decades after his death.
Historian Michael Diamond reports that for British music hall patrons in the s and s, "xenophobia and pride in empire" were reflected in the halls' most popular political heroes: The films created "a facsimile world where existing values were invariably validated by events in the film and where all discord could be turned into harmony by an acceptance of the status quo. Fielding says Arliss "personified the kind of paternalistic, kindly, homely statesmanship that appealed to a significant proportion of the cinema audience Even workers attending Labour party meetings deferred to leaders with an elevated social background who showed they cared.
William Ewart Gladstone — was the Liberal counterpart to Disraeli, serving as prime minister four times —74, —85, , and — His financial policies, based on the notion of balanced budgets, low taxes and laissez-faire, were suited to a developing capitalist society but could not respond effectively as economic and social conditions changed.
Called the "Grand Old Man" later in life, he was always a dynamic popular orator who appealed strongly to British workers and the lower middle class. The deeply religious Gladstone brought a new moral tone to politics with his evangelical sensibility. His moralism often angered his upper-class opponents including Queen Victoria, who strongly favoured Disraeli , and his heavy-handed control split the Liberal party. His foreign policy goal was to create a European order based on cooperation rather than conflict and mutual trust instead of rivalry and suspicion; the rule of law was to supplant the reign of force and self-interest.
This Gladstonian concept of a harmonious Concert of Europe was opposed to and ultimately defeated by the Germans with a Bismarckian system of manipulated alliances and antagonisms. Historians portray Conservative Prime Minister Lord Salisbury — as a talented leader who was an icon of traditional, aristocratic conservatism. Matthew points to "the narrow cynicism of Salisbury". The Victorian era is famous for the Victorian standards of personal morality.
Historians generally agree that the middle classes held high personal moral standards and usually followed them , but have debated whether the working classes followed suit.
Moralists in the late 19th century such as Henry Mayhew decried the slums for their supposed high levels of cohabitation without marriage and illegitimate births.
Prime Ministers from to Queen Victoria died in and her son Edward VII became king, inaugurating the Edwardian Era, which was characterised by great and ostentatious displays of wealth in contrast to the sombre Victorian Era. With the advent of the 20th century, things such as motion pictures, automobiles, and aeroplanes were coming into use. The new century was characterised by a feeling of great optimism. The social reforms of the last century continued into the 20th with the Labour Party being formed in Edward died in , to be succeeded by George V , who reigned — Scandal-free, hard working and popular, George V was the British monarch who, with Queen Mary , established the modern pattern of exemplary conduct for British royalty, based on middle-class values and virtues.
He understood the overseas Empire better than any of his prime ministers and used his exceptional memory for figures and details, whether of uniforms, politics, or relations, to good effect in reaching out in conversation with his subjects. The era was prosperous but political crises were escalating out of control.
Dangerfield identified the "strange death of liberal England" as the multiple crises that hit simultaneously in — with serious social and political instability arising from the Irish crisis, labour unrest, the women's suffrage movements, and partisan and constitutional struggles in Parliament.
At one point it even seemed the Army might refuse orders dealing with Ireland. McKibbin argues that the political party system of the Edwardian era was in delicate balance on the eve of the war in The Liberals were in power with a progressive alliance of Labour and, off and on, Irish Nationalists. The coalition was committed to free trade as opposed to the high tariffs the Conservatives sought , free collective bargaining for trades unions which Conservatives opposed , an active social policy that was forging the welfare state, and constitutional reform to reduce the power of the House of Lords.
The coalition lacked a long-term plan, because it was cobbled together from leftovers from the s. The sociological basis was non-Anglicanism and non-English ethnicity rather than the emerging class conflict emphasized by the Labour Party.
After a rough start Britain under David Lloyd George successfully mobilised its manpower, industry, finances, empire and diplomacy, in league with the French and Americans, to defeat the Central Powers. The Great War saw a decline in civilian consumption, with a major reallocation to munitions. Britain entered the war to protect Belgium from German aggression, and quickly assumed the role of fighting the Germans on the Western Front, and dismantling the overseas German Empire.
The romantic notions of warfare that everyone had expected faded as the fighting in France bogged down into trench warfare. Along the Western Front the British and French launched repeated assaults on the German trench lines in —17, which killed and wounded hundreds of thousands, but made only limited gains.
By early , with number of volunteers falling off, the government imposed conscription in Britain but was not able to do so in Ireland where nationalists of all stripes militantly opposed it in order to keep up the strength of the army.
Industry turned out munitions in large quantities, with many women taking factory jobs. The Asquith government proved ineffective but when David Lloyd George replaced him in December Britain gained a powerful and successful wartime leader. The Navy continued to dominate the seas, fighting the German fleet to a draw in the only great battle, the Battle of Jutland in Germany was blockaded and was increasingly short of food.
It tried to fight back with submarines, despite the risk of war by the powerful neutral power the United States. The waters around Britain were declared a war zone where any ship, neutral or otherwise, was a target.
After the liner Lusitania was sunk in May , drowning over American passengers, protests by the United States led Germany to abandon unrestricted submarine warfare. In spring it resumed the sinking of all merchant ships without warning.
The United States entered the war alongside the Allies in , and provided the needed manpower, money and supplies to keep them going. Britain fought the Ottoman Empire, suffering defeats in the Gallipoli Campaign and initially in Mesopotamia , while arousing the Arabs who helped expel the Turks from Mesopotamia and Palestine. Exhaustion and war-weariness were growing worse in , as the fighting in France continued with no end in sight.
With Russia collapsing in Germany now calculated it could finally have numerical superiority on the Western Front. The massive German Spring Offensives of failed, and with arrival of a million of the American Expeditionary Forces at the rate of 10, a day by May , the Germans realized they were being overwhelmed.
Germany gave up, agreeing to an Armistice on 11 November It was actually tantamount almost to a surrender with Germany handing over her fleet and heavy weapons, and her army retreating behind the river Rhine.
The almost three million casualties were known as the "lost generation," and such numbers inevitably left society scarred; but even so, some people felt their sacrifice was little regarded in Britain, with poems like Siegfried Sassoon 's Blighters criticising the war as a human failure. The literary legacy focused on mass death, mechanized slaughter, fallacious propaganda, and deep disillusionment, thereby annihilating long-standing romanticized images of the glories of war.
The war had been won by Britain and its allies, but at a terrible human and financial cost, creating a sentiment that wars should never be fought again. The League of Nations was founded with the idea that nations could resolve their differences peacefully, but these hopes were unfounded. Britain was granted League of Nations mandates over Palestine , which was turned into a homeland for Jewish settlers, and Iraq, created from the three Ottoman provinces in Mesopotamia; the latter of which became fully independent in Egypt, which had been a British protectorate since , became independent in , although British troops remained stationed there until In domestic affairs the Housing Act of led to affordable council housing which allowed people to move out of decrepit inner-city slums.
The slums remained for several more years, with trams being electrified long before many houses. The Representation of the People Act gave women householders the vote, but it would not be until that full equal suffrage was achieved.
Labour displaced the Liberal Party for second place and achieved major success with the general election. Part of the agreement which led to the Act of Union stipulated that the Penal Laws in Ireland were to be repealed and Catholic emancipation granted. On 1 January O'Connell confidently, but wrongly, declared that Repeal would be achieved that year.
When potato blight hit the island in , much of the rural population, especially in Catholic districts, began to starve. While government funds were supplemented by private individuals and charities, and aid from the United States, it was not enough to avert a major catastrophe.
Cottiers or farm labourers were largely wiped out during what is known in Ireland as the " Great Hunger ". A significant minority elected Unionists , who championed the Union. After Butt's death the Home Rule Movement, or the Irish Parliamentary Party as it had become known, was turned into a major political force under the guidance of William Shaw and a radical young Protestant landowner, Charles Stewart Parnell.
Parnell's movement campaigned for "Home Rule", by which they meant that Ireland would govern itself as a region within the United Kingdom.
The issue was a source of contention throughout Ireland, as a significant majority of Unionists largely but not exclusively based in Ulster , opposed Home Rule, fearing that a Catholic Nationalist "Rome Rule" Parliament in Dublin would discriminate or retaliate against them, impose Roman Catholic doctrine, and impose tariffs on industry. While most of Ireland was primarily agricultural, six of the counties in Ulster were the location of heavy industry and would be affected by any tariff barriers imposed.
Irish demands ranged from the "repeal" of O'Connell, the "federal scheme" of William Sharman Crawford actually devolution, not federalism as such , to the Home Rule League of Issac Butt. Ireland was no closer to home rule by the midth century, and rebellions in and failed. O'Connell's campaign was hampered by the limited scope of the franchise in Ireland. A wider franchise also changed the ideological mix among non-Irish MPs, making them more receptive to Irish demands.
They initially supported the Conservatives in a minority government , but when news leaked that Liberal Party leader William Ewart Gladstone was considering Home Rule, the IPP ousted the Conservatives and brought the Liberals into office.
Irish MPs would no longer vote in Westminster but would have their own separate Dublin parliament, which would control domestic issues. Foreign policy and military affairs would remain with London. He broke with the Gladstone and in formed a new party, the Liberal Unionist Party. It helped defeat Home Rule and eventually merged with the Conservative party. Chamberlain used anti-Catholicism to built a base for the new party among "Orange" Nonconformist Protestant elements in Britain and Ireland.
Gladstone took the issue to the people in the election , but the unionists Conservatives plus Liberal Unionists won a majority.
In a divorce case showed Parnell was an adulterer; he was forced from power, and died in Gladstone introduced a Second Home Rule Bill in , which this time was passed by the Commons, but was defeated in the Conservative-dominated House of Lords. The Irish nationalists forces were rejected by the Conservatives and had no choice but to support the minority Liberal Party. New groups split off and they finally all merged in into the Irish Parliamentary Party led by John Redmond. The Conservative government also felt that the demands in Ireland could be satisfied by helping the Catholics purchase their farms from Protestant owners.
A solution by money not force was called "killing home rule with kindness". Between and Ulster Protestants began to arm and form militias ready to fight; senior leaders of the British Army indicated they would not move to suppress the Protestants the Curragh Incident. Suddenly war with Germany broke out and home rule was suspended for the duration. Military service was optional; there was no conscription in Ireland.
Large proportions of both Protestant and Catholic young men volunteered to fight Germany. The Easter Rising of , using arms supplied by Germany was badly organized. The British army suppressed it after a week of fighting but the quick executions of 15 leaders alienated Catholic and nationalist opinion. Overnight there was a movement away from home rule and toward Irish independence.
The Cabinet decided that the Act should be brought into operation immediately and a Government established in Dublin. London made a second attempt to implement Home Rule in , with the calling of the Irish Convention. Prime Minister Lloyd George sought a dual policy in April that attempted to link implementing Home Rule with extending conscription to Ireland.
Catholics rejected conscription and a wave of anti-conscription demonstrations signalled the insistent demand for total independence. London's solution was the establishment of two Irish parliaments to pave the way for the Fourth Home Rule Bill, enacted as the Government of Ireland Act As expected, " Northern Ireland " six counties in Ulster , immediately exercised its right under the Anglo-Irish Treaty to opt out of the new state.
Until , the monarch's royal title included the words "of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland". The words "United Kingdom" were restored to the monarch's title in with the reference to "Ireland" replaced with a reference to "Northern Ireland". From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the United Kingdom when all of Ireland was part of it. For the state in its current form, see United Kingdom. Royal coat of arms — Part of a series on the.
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