Mary II of England
Mary II was Queen of England and Ireland, co-reigning with her husband and first cousin, King William III and II, from 1689 until her death. William and Mary, both Protestants, became king and queen regnant following the Glorious Revolution, which resulted in the adoption of the English Bill of Rights and the deposition of her Roman Catholic father, James II and VII. William became sole ruler upon her death in 1694, he reigned as such until his own death in 1702. Mary wielded less power than William when he was in England, ceding most of her authority to him, though he relied on her, she did, act alone when William was engaged in military campaigns abroad, proving herself to be a powerful and effective ruler. Mary, born at St James's Palace in London on 30 April 1662, was the eldest daughter of the Duke of York, his first wife, Anne Hyde. Mary's uncle was King Charles II, who ruled the three kingdoms of England and Ireland, she was baptised into the Anglican faith in the Chapel Royal at St James's, was named after her ancestor, Queen of Scots.
Her godparents included Prince Rupert of the Rhine. Although her mother bore eight children, all except Mary and her younger sister Anne died young, King Charles II had no legitimate children. For most of her childhood, Mary was second in line to the throne after her father; the Duke of York converted to Roman Catholicism in 1668 or 1669 and the Duchess about eight years earlier, but Mary and Anne were brought up as Anglicans, pursuant to the command of Charles II. They were moved to their own establishment at Richmond Palace, where they were raised by their governess Lady Frances Villiers, with only occasional visits to see their parents at St James's or their grandfather Lord Clarendon at Twickenham. Mary's education, from private tutors, was restricted to music, drawing and religious instruction, her mother died in 1671, her father remarried in 1673, taking as his second wife Mary of Modena, a Catholic, only four years older than Mary. From about the age of nine until her marriage, Mary wrote passionate letters to an older girl, Frances Apsley, the daughter of courtier Sir Allen Apsley.
Mary signed herself'Mary Clorine'. In time, Frances became uncomfortable with the correspondence, replied more formally. At the age of fifteen, Mary became betrothed to her cousin, the Protestant Stadtholder of Holland, William III of Orange. William was the son of the King's late sister, Princess Royal, thus fourth in the line of succession after James and Anne. At first, Charles II opposed the alliance with the Dutch ruler—he preferred that Mary wed the heir to the French throne, the Dauphin Louis, thus allying his realms with Catholic France and strengthening the odds of an eventual Catholic successor in Britain; the Duke of York agreed to the marriage, after pressure from chief minister Lord Danby and the King, who incorrectly assumed that it would improve James's popularity among Protestants. When James told Mary that she was to marry her cousin, "she wept all that afternoon and all the following day". William and a tearful Mary were married in St James's Palace by Bishop Henry Compton on 4 November 1677.
Mary accompanied her husband on a rough sea crossing back to the Netherlands that month, after a delay of two weeks caused by bad weather. Rotterdam was inaccessible because of ice, they were forced to land at the small village of Ter Heijde, walk through the frosty countryside until met by coaches to take them to Huis Honselaarsdijk. On 14 December, they made a formal entry to The Hague in a grand procession. Mary's animated and personable nature made her popular with the Dutch people, her marriage to a Protestant prince was popular in Britain, she was devoted to her husband, but he was away on campaigns, which led to Mary's family supposing him to be cold and neglectful. Within months of the marriage Mary was pregnant, she suffered further bouts of illness that may have been miscarriages in mid-1678, early 1679, early 1680. Her childlessness would be the greatest source of unhappiness in her life. From May 1684, King Charles's illegitimate son, James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, lived in the Netherlands, where he was fêted by William and Mary.
Monmouth was viewed as a rival to the Duke of York, as a potential Protestant heir who could supplant the Duke in the line of succession. William, did not consider him a viable alternative and assumed that Monmouth had insufficient support. Upon the death of Charles II without legitimate issue in February 1685, the Duke of York became king as James II in England and Ireland and James VII in Scotland. Mary was playing cards when her husband informed her of her father's accession, that she was heir presumptive; when Charles's illegitimate son the Duke of Monmouth assembled an invasion force at Amsterdam, sailed for Britain, William informed James of the Duke's departure, ordered English regiments in the Low Countries to return to Britain. To William's relief, Monmouth was defeated and executed, but both he and Mary were dismayed by James's subsequent actions
The Glorious Revolution called the Revolution of 1688, was the overthrow of King James II of England by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III, Prince of Orange, James's nephew and son-in-law. William's successful invasion of England with a Dutch fleet and army led to his ascension to the throne as William III of England jointly with his wife, Mary II, James's daughter, after the Declaration of Right, leading to the Bill of Rights 1689. King James's policies of religious tolerance after 1685 met with increasing opposition from members of leading political circles, who were troubled by the King's Catholicism and his close ties with France; the crisis facing the King came with the birth of his son, James, on 10 June. This changed the existing line of succession by displacing the heir presumptive with young James as heir apparent; the establishment of a Roman Catholic dynasty in the British kingdoms now seemed likely. Some Tory members of parliament worked with members of the opposition Whigs in an attempt to resolve the crisis by secretly initiating dialogue with William of Orange to come to England, outside the jurisdiction of the English Parliament.
Stadtholder William, the de facto head of state of the Dutch United Provinces, feared a Catholic Anglo–French alliance and had been planning a military intervention in England. After consolidating political and financial support, William crossed the North Sea and English Channel with a large invasion fleet in November 1688, landing at Torbay. After only two minor clashes between the two opposing armies in England, anti-Catholic riots in several towns, James's regime collapsed because of a lack of resolve shown by the king; this was followed, however, by the protracted Williamite War in Ireland and Dundee's rising in Scotland. In England's distant American colonies, the revolution led to the collapse of the Dominion of New England and the overthrow of the Province of Maryland's government. Following a defeat of his forces at the Battle of Reading on 9 December 1688, James and his wife Mary fled England. By threatening to withdraw his troops, William, in February 1689, convinced a newly chosen Convention Parliament to make him and his wife joint monarchs.
The Revolution permanently ended any chance of Catholicism becoming re-established in England. For British Catholics its effects were disastrous both and politically: For over a century Catholics were denied the right to vote and sit in the Westminster Parliament; the Revolution led to limited tolerance for Nonconformist Protestants, although it would be some time before they had full political rights. It has been argued by Whig historians, that James's overthrow began modern English parliamentary democracy: the Bill of Rights 1689 has become one of the most important documents in the political history of Britain and never since has the monarch held absolute power. Internationally, the Revolution was related to the War of the Grand Alliance on mainland Europe, it has been seen as the last successful invasion of England. It ended all attempts by England in the Anglo-Dutch Wars of the 17th century to subdue the Dutch Republic by military force; the resulting economic integration and military co-operation between the English and Dutch navies, shifted the dominance in world trade from the Dutch Republic to England and to Great Britain.
The expression "Glorious Revolution" was first used by John Hampden in late 1689, is an expression, still used by the British Parliament. The Glorious Revolution is occasionally termed the Bloodless Revolution, albeit inaccurately; the English Civil War was still within living memory for most of the major English participants in the events of 1688, for them, in comparison to that war the deaths in the conflict of 1688 were few. During his three-year reign, King James II became directly involved in the political battles in England between Catholicism and Protestantism, between the concept of the divine right of kings and the political rights of the Parliament of England. James's greatest political problem was his Catholicism, which left him alienated from both parties in England; the low church Whigs had failed in their attempt to pass the Exclusion Bill to exclude James from the throne between 1679 and 1681, James's supporters were the high church Anglican Tories. In Scotland, his supporters in the Parliament of Scotland stepped up attempts to force the Covenanters to renounce their faith and accept episcopalian rule of the church by the monarch.
When James inherited the English throne in 1685, he had much support in the'Loyal Parliament', composed of Tories. His Catholicism was of concern to many, but the fact that he had no son, his daughters and Anne, were Protestants, was a "saving grace". James's attempt to relax the Penal Laws alienated his natural supporters, because the Tories viewed this as tantamount to disestablishment of the Church of England. Abandoning the Tories, James looked to form a'King's party' as a counterweight to the Anglican Tories, so in 1687 James supported the policy of religious toleration and issued the Declaration of Indulgence; the majority of Irish people backed James II for this reason and because of his promise to the Irish
Scotland is a country, part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides; the Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the Early Middle Ages and continued to exist until 1707. By inheritance in 1603, James VI, King of Scots, became King of England and King of Ireland, thus forming a personal union of the three kingdoms. Scotland subsequently entered into a political union with the Kingdom of England on 1 May 1707 to create the new Kingdom of Great Britain; the union created a new Parliament of Great Britain, which succeeded both the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England. In 1801, the Kingdom of Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland enacted a political union to create a United Kingdom.
The majority of Ireland subsequently seceded from the UK in 1922. Within Scotland, the monarchy of the United Kingdom has continued to use a variety of styles and other royal symbols of statehood specific to the pre-union Kingdom of Scotland; the legal system within Scotland has remained separate from those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland. The continued existence of legal, educational and other institutions distinct from those in the remainder of the UK have all contributed to the continuation of Scottish culture and national identity since the 1707 union with England; the Scottish Parliament, a unicameral legislature comprising 129 members, was established in 1999 and has authority over those areas of domestic policy which have been devolved by the United Kingdom Parliament. The head of the Scottish Government, the executive of the devolved legislature, is the First Minister of Scotland. Scotland is represented in the UK House of Commons by 59 MPs and in the European Parliament by 6 MEPs.
Scotland is a member of the British–Irish Council, sends five members of the Scottish Parliament to the British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly. Scotland is divided into councils. Glasgow City is the largest subdivision in Scotland in terms of population, with Highland being the largest in terms of area. "Scotland" comes from the Latin name for the Gaels. From the ninth century, the meaning of Scotia shifted to designate Gaelic Scotland and by the eleventh century the name was being used to refer to the core territory of the Kingdom of Alba in what is now east-central Scotland; the use of the words Scots and Scotland to encompass most of what is now Scotland became common in the Late Middle Ages, as the Kingdom of Alba expanded and came to encompass various peoples of diverse origins. Repeated glaciations, which covered the entire land mass of modern Scotland, destroyed any traces of human habitation that may have existed before the Mesolithic period, it is believed the first post-glacial groups of hunter-gatherers arrived in Scotland around 12,800 years ago, as the ice sheet retreated after the last glaciation.
At the time, Scotland was covered in forests, had more bog-land, the main form of transport was by water. These settlers began building the first known permanent houses on Scottish soil around 9,500 years ago, the first villages around 6,000 years ago; the well-preserved village of Skara Brae on the mainland of Orkney dates from this period. Neolithic habitation and ritual sites are common and well preserved in the Northern Isles and Western Isles, where a lack of trees led to most structures being built of local stone. Evidence of sophisticated pre-Christian belief systems is demonstrated by sites such as the Callanish Stones on Lewis and the Maes Howe on Orkney, which were built in the third millennium BCE; the first written reference to Scotland was in 320 BC by Greek sailor Pytheas, who called the northern tip of Britain "Orcas", the source of the name of the Orkney islands. During the first millennium BCE, the society changed to a chiefdom model, as consolidation of settlement led to the concentration of wealth and underground stores of surplus food.
The first Roman incursion into Scotland occurred in 79 AD. After the Roman victory, Roman forts were set along the Gask Ridge close to the Highland line, but by three years after the battle, the Roman armies had withdrawn to the Southern Uplands; the Romans erected Hadrian's Wall in northern England and the Limes Britannicus became the northern border of the Roman Empire. The Roman influence on the southern part of the country was considerable, they introduced Christianity to Scotland. Beginning in the sixth century, the area, now Scotland was divided into three areas: Pictland, a patchwork of small lordships in central Scotland; these societies were based on the family unit and had sharp divisions in wealth, although the vast majority were poor and worked full-time in subsistence agriculture. The Picts kept slaves through the ninth century. Gaelic influence over Pictland and Northumbria was facilitated by the large number of Gaelic-speaking clerics working as missionaries. Operating in the sixth ce
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was established by the Acts of Union 1800, which merged the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom, having financed the European coalition that defeated France during the Napoleonic Wars, developed a large Royal Navy that enabled the British Empire to become the foremost world power for the next century; the Crimean War with Russia and the Boer wars were small operations in a peaceful century. Rapid industrialisation that began in the decades prior to the state's formation continued up until the mid-19th century; the Great Irish Famine, exacerbated by government inaction in the mid-19th century, led to demographic collapse in much of Ireland and increased calls for Irish land reform. The 19th century was an era of rapid economic modernisation and growth of industry and finance, in which Britain dominated the world economy. Outward migration was heavy to the United States; the empire was expanded into much of South Asia. The Colonial Office and India Office ruled through a small number of administrators who managed the units of the empire locally, while democratic institutions began to develop.
British India, by far the most important overseas possession, saw a short-lived revolt in 1857. In overseas policy, the central policy was free trade, which enabled British and Irish financiers and merchants to operate in many otherwise independent countries, as in South America. London formed no permanent military alliances until the early 20th century, when it began to cooperate with Japan and Russia, moved closer to the United States. Growing desire for Irish self-governance led to the Irish War of Independence, which resulted in most of Ireland seceding from the Union and forming the Irish Free State in 1922. Northern Ireland remained part of the Union, the state was renamed to the current "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" in 1927; the modern-day United Kingdom is the same country as the one from this period—a direct continuation of what remained after the secession—not an new successor state. A brief period of limited independence for Ireland came to an end following the Irish Rebellion of 1798, which occurred during the British war with revolutionary France.
The British government's fear of an independent Ireland siding against them with the French resulted in the decision to unite the two countries. This was brought about by legislation in the parliaments of both kingdoms and came into effect on 1 January 1801; the Irish had been led to believe by the British that their loss of legislative independence would be compensated with Catholic emancipation, that is, by the removal of civil disabilities placed upon Roman Catholics in both Great Britain and Ireland. However, King George III was bitterly opposed to any such Emancipation and succeeded in defeating his government's attempts to introduce it. During the War of the Second Coalition, Britain occupied most of the French and Dutch overseas possessions, the Netherlands having become a satellite state of France in 1796, but tropical diseases claimed the lives of over 40,000 troops; when the Treaty of Amiens ended the war, Britain agreed to return most of the territories it had seized. The peace settlement was in effect only a ceasefire, Napoleon continued to provoke the British by attempting a trade embargo on the country and by occupying the city of Hanover, capital of the Electorate, a German-speaking duchy, in a personal union with the United Kingdom.
In May 1803, war was declared again. Napoleon's plans to invade Great Britain failed, chiefly due to the inferiority of his navy, in 1805 a Royal Navy fleet led by Nelson decisively defeated the French and Spanish at Trafalgar, the last significant naval action of the Napoleonic Wars. In 1806, Napoleon issued the series of Berlin Decrees, which brought into effect the Continental System; this policy aimed to eliminate the threat from the British by closing French-controlled territory to foreign trade. The British Army remained a minimal threat to France. Although the Royal Navy disrupted France's extra-continental trade—both by seizing and threatening French shipping and by seizing French colonial possessions—it could do nothing about France's trade with the major continental economies and posed little threat to French territory in Europe. France's population and agricultural capacity far outstripped that of the British Isles, but it was smaller in terms of industry, mercantile marine and naval strength.
Napoleon expected that cutting Britain off from the European mainland would end its economic hegemony. On the contrary Britain possessed the greatest industrial capacity in the world, its mastery of the seas allowed it to build up considerable economic strength through trade to its possessions and the United States; the Spanish uprising in 1808 at last permitted Britain to gain a foothold on the Continent. The Duke of Wellington pushed the French out of Spain, in early 1814, as Napoleon was being driven back in the east by the Prussians and Russians, Wellington invaded southern France. After Napoleon's surrender and exile to the island of Elba, peace appeared to have returned. Napoleon reappeared in 1815; the Allies united and the armies of Wellington and Blücher defeated Napoleon once and for all at Waterloo. To defeat France, Britain put heavy pressure on the Americans
Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, the twentieth-largest on Earth. Politically, Ireland is divided between the Republic of Ireland, which covers five-sixths of the island, Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom. In 2011, the population of Ireland was about 6.6 million, ranking it the second-most populous island in Europe after Great Britain. Just under 4.8 million live in the Republic of Ireland and just over 1.8 million live in Northern Ireland. The island's geography comprises low-lying mountains surrounding a central plain, with several navigable rivers extending inland, its lush vegetation is a product of its mild but changeable climate, free of extremes in temperature. Much of Ireland was woodland until the end of the Middle Ages. Today, woodland makes up about 10% of the island, compared with a European average of over 33%, most of it is non-native conifer plantations.
There are twenty-six extant mammal species native to Ireland. The Irish climate is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and thus moderate, winters are milder than expected for such a northerly area, although summers are cooler than those in continental Europe. Rainfall and cloud cover are abundant; the earliest evidence of human presence in Ireland is dated at 10,500 BC. Gaelic Ireland had emerged by the 1st century AD; the island was Christianised from the 5th century onward. Following the 12th century Norman invasion, England claimed sovereignty. However, English rule did not extend over the whole island until the 16th–17th century Tudor conquest, which led to colonisation by settlers from Britain. In the 1690s, a system of Protestant English rule was designed to materially disadvantage the Catholic majority and Protestant dissenters, was extended during the 18th century. With the Acts of Union in 1801, Ireland became a part of the United Kingdom. A war of independence in the early 20th century was followed by the partition of the island, creating the Irish Free State, which became sovereign over the following decades, Northern Ireland, which remained a part of the United Kingdom.
Northern Ireland saw much civil unrest from the late 1960s until the 1990s. This subsided following a political agreement in 1998. In 1973 the Republic of Ireland joined the European Economic Community while the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, as part of it, did the same. Irish culture has had a significant influence on other cultures in the field of literature. Alongside mainstream Western culture, a strong indigenous culture exists, as expressed through Gaelic games, Irish music and the Irish language; the island's culture shares many features with that of Great Britain, including the English language, sports such as association football, horse racing, golf. The names Éire derive from Old Irish Eriu; this in turn comes from the Proto-Celtic *Iveriu, the source of Latin Hibernia. Iveriu derives from a root meaning'fat, prosperous'. During the last glacial period, up until about 10,000 BC, most of Ireland was periodically covered in ice. Sea levels were lower and Ireland, like Great Britain, formed part of continental Europe.
By 16,000 BC, rising sea levels due to ice melting caused Ireland to become separated from Great Britain. Around 6000 BC, Great Britain itself became separated from continental Europe; the earliest evidence of human presence in Ireland is dated at 10,500 BC, demonstrated by a butchered bear bone found in a cave in County Clare. It is not until about 8000 BC, that more sustained occupation of the island has been shown, with evidence for Mesolithic communities around the island; these Mesolithic communities lived as hunter-gatherers across the island until about 4000 BC. Some time before 4000 BC, Neolithic settlers arrived introducing cereal cultivars, domesticated animals such as cattle and sheep, large timber building, stone monuments; the earliest evidence for farming in Ireland or Great Britain is from Co.. Kerry, where a flint knife, cattle bones and a sheep's tooth were carbon-dated to c. 4350 BC. Field systems were developed in different parts of Ireland, including at the Céide Fields, preserved beneath a blanket of peat in present-day Tyrawley.
An extensive field system, arguably the oldest in the world, consisted of small divisions separated by dry-stone walls. The fields were farmed for several centuries between 3500 BC and 3000 BC. Wheat and barley were the principal crops; the Bronze Age – defined by the use of metal – began around 2500 BC, with technology changing people's everyday lives during this period through innovations such as the wheel. According to John T. Koch and others, Ireland in the Late Bronze Age was part of a maritime trading-network culture called the Atlantic Bronze Age that included Britain, western France and Iberia, that this is where Celtic languages developed; this contrasts with the traditional view that their origin lies in mainland Europe with the Hallstatt culture. During the Iron Age, a Celtic language and culture emerged in Ireland. How and when the island became Celtic has been debated for close to a century, with the migrations of the Celts being one of the more enduring themes of archaeological and linguistic studies.
The most recent genetic research s
England is a country, part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to Scotland to the north-northwest; the Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south; the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world; the English language, the Anglican Church, English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, the country's parliamentary system of government has been adopted by other nations.
The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation. England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the west; the capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom concentrated around London, the South East, conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century; the Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles"; the Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Anglia peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea; the earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late-ninth-century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The term was used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was part of the English kingdom of Northumbria; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the Domesday Book of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but a few years the Chronicle stated that King Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its modern spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used; the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe, less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons to distinguish them from continental Saxons of Old Saxony between the Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England. An alternative name for England is Albion; the name Albion referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus the 4th-century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth.
In it are two large islands called Britannia. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins, it either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend; the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximate
The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K