Great Britain: an island grows together

Great Britain: an island growing together

England? Scotland? For many today, the question does not arise as to where the difference lies – after all, it is all Great Britain, or the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as the official name of the state is. In fact, the two countries were separate states for many centuries. Even the Romans, who ruled England and Wales from around 43 to 440, were not able to advance to the far north of the island. Instead, he built Hadrian’s Wall, a fortification with which he sealed off his empire.

On May 1, 1701, Scotland and England formed the United Kingdom with the “Act of Union” – after the two countries had been governed by a monarch in personal union from 1603. Nevertheless, uniting the two politically was controversial: about 45 percent of Scotland’s parliamentarians voted in favor of unification, but the mood of the people was the opposite. Nevertheless, the Parliament in Edinburgh was dissolved with the Unification Act and the north of the island has since been co-governed by London. In return, Scotland sent representatives to the newly combined upper and lower houses.

Scotland was broken

Although now unofficial Scottish politicians were promised all kinds of positions in the common capital, the reason for the merger seemed to be more of an economic nature: Scotland was more or less broken up by the early 18th century. The country’s attempt to establish its trading colony in Central America with the Company of Scotland failed mercilessly and destroyed nearly a quarter of the Scottish capital. Attacks by rival Spaniards and several epidemics put an end to colonial efforts. In the new common state, the Scots could now act freely, with England paying compensation claims and accepting the North that it could stick to, among other things, its own education system and the Reformed Church.

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the birth of the union jack

The Union Jack, in fact the Union Flag, quickly became a symbol of unification. The first version of King James I was introduced shortly after the royal personal union in 1606. The flag is an overlay of the English Cross of St George with the Cross of Scotland. The Irish Cross of St Patrick was also added in 1801, giving the Union Jack its present form.

Since then, it has been difficult for Scots to accept state affairs in London. British Prime Minister Tony Blair first granted him greater sovereignty in 1998: under his government, the parliament in Edinburgh was revived and has received many rights since then.


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