northern ireland

Countries of th United KingdomMany people may not be aware that in the United Kingdom of Great Britain, there is almost a constant state of confusion over just exactly who they are. They are considered Great Britain or the United Kingdom, but the United Kingdom takes in the countries of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It was on this day May 1, 1707 that England and Scotland joined together to become the United Kingdom. I think the union must have been a bit surprising, given that the English and the Scots had long battled over one thing or another. Nevertheless, The Scots needed the economic support that England could offer, while for England the merger was political. The Scots would no longer have a Parliment, but they were given instead a proportion of the seats at Westminster.

The English tend to call Great Britain, England, with notorious disregard for the feelings of the Welsh, with whom they joined in 1536 and the Scots, with whom they joined in 1707. The Act of Union of 1707, states merely that England and Scotland shall ‘be united into one kingdom by the name of Great Britain’. Many people simply lumped them together as Britain, calling all of them the Brits, which technically isn’t so…and even the English didn’t like that name. The last official merger was with Northern Ireland in 1800, at which time the enlarged kingdom became the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

It’s hard for me to think about being a country that is part of a kingdom, and yet, I suppose that is exactly what we were when the United States of America was part of England. Although we may not have been considered a part of a kingdom exactly, we were under British rule until the Revolutionary War. I suppose that there could be a love/hate relationship among the countries of the United Kingdom to this day. I do think that the British Royals do like to go to the different countries that are a part of the United Kingdom, and maybe Balmoral Castlequeen-elizabeth-ii-3those countries like having them come for a visit now, but I have to wonder if that was always the case. Queen Elizabeth heads to her Scottish castle, Balmoral, at this time of the year, so she must love the whole Scottish countryside at least almost as much as she does England. For Queen Elizabeth, having a castle in Scotland is normal. I suppose that if you grew up being a part of a kingdom, it would be normal, and in all reality, while it wasn’t always a kingdom, it has been since 1536, so it might as well have been always…at least for the people who call the United Kingdom of Great Britain home.

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