|United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland|
|State ideology||Unitary Monarchy, Social Darwinism|
|Head of state|
|Head of government|
| Prime Minister|
|Territories||British Isles, Australia, India, Pakistan, China, OTL continental US and Canada|
|Demonym||British or Briton|
|Area||18,983,092 sq mi|
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK), British Empire, or simply Britain, is a sovereign state located off the north-western coast of continental Europe.
Lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland, the United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to its east, the English Channel to its south and the Celtic Sea to its south-south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states.
With an area of 53,159,103 square kilometres (20,524,884 sq mi), 27% of the Earth's total land area, the British Empire is the largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the most populous country, with an estimated 1.8 billion inhabitants, 24% of the world population
The UK's form of government is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. Its capital city is London, an important global city with the second largest urban area in Europe. The current British monarch - since 6 February 1972 - is Queen Elizabeth II. The United Kingdom "British Isles" consists of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. The latter three have devolved administrations, each with varying powers, based in their capital cities, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, respectively.
The relationships among the countries of the UK have changed over time. Wales was annexed by the Kingdom of England under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542. A treaty between England and Scotland resulted in 1707 in a unified Kingdom of Great Britain, which merged in 1801 with the Kingdom of Ireland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. There are twenty-one British Overseas Territories. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. The phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" is often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.
The United Kingdom has had a long and somewhat troubled history but for the last hundred years has been one of the three most powerful superpowers.
After the Acts of Union of 1707
On 1 May 1707, the united Kingdom of Great Britain came into being, the result of Acts of Union being passed by the parliaments of England and Scotland to ratify the 1706 Treaty of Union and so unite the two kingdoms.
In the 18th century, cabinet government developed under Robert Walpole, in practice the first prime minister (1721–1742). A series of Jacobite Uprisings sought to remove the Protestant House of Hanover from the British throne and restore the Catholic House of Stuart. The Jacobites were finally defeated at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, after which the Scottish Highlanders were brutally suppressed. The British colonies in North America that were suppressed from Britain in the American Colonial Crisis became the North American Union in 1783. British imperial ambition expanded elsewhere, particularly to India.
During the 18th century, Britain was involved in the Atlantic slave trade. British ships transported an estimated 2 million slaves from Africa to the West Indies before banning the trade in 1807, banning slavery in 1833 which was met with resistance from slave sympathizers in the NAU, taking a leading role in the movement to abolish slavery worldwide by pressing other nations to end their trade with a series of treaties, and then formed the world's oldest international human rights organisation, Anti-Slavery International, in London in 1839. The term "United Kingdom" became official in 1801 when the parliaments of Britain and Ireland each passed an Act of Union, uniting the two kingdoms and creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In the late 18th century, the British-led Industrial Revolution began to transform the country, thanks to the development and use of extremely advanced steam-driven technology in industry such as the Babbage computers which by 1905 have become mass-produced and ubiquitous. Other steam-powered technologies have also developed, so, for example, Gurney steam carriages are an increasingly common sight throughout the empire by 1899.It slowly led to a shift in political power away from the old Tory and Whig landowning classes towards the new industrialists. An alliance of merchants and industrialists with the Whigs would lead to a new party, the Liberals, with an ideology of free trade and laissez-faire. In 1832 Parliament passed the Great Reform Act, which began the transfer of political power from the aristocracy to the middle classes. In the countryside, enclosure of the land was driving small farmers out. Towns and cities began to swell with a new urban working class. Few ordinary workers had the vote, and they created their own organisations in the form of trade unions.
After the defeat of Franco-Spain in the Louisiana and the New Spain war (1812–1861), the UK emerged as the principal naval and imperial power of the 19th century (with London the largest city in the world from about 1830). Unchallenged at sea, British dominance was later described as Pax Britannica ("British Peace"), a period of relative peace in Europe and the world (1847–1918) during which the British Empire became the global hegemon and adopted the role of global policeman. By the time of the Great Exhibition of 1851, Britain was described as the "workshop of the world". The British Empire was expanded to include it encompassed the North American Union, Gibraltar, Malta and Cyprus and large swaths of Africa, India and Australia. In time, the Ottoman Empire, China and Hawaii all became protectorates. Britain maintained a toe-hold in South America, but that continent was dominated by the Franco-Spanish Holy Alliance, as was the largest part of Africa. Britain's other main political rival was the Russian Empire. However, it was the North American Union that was the Empire's most critical possession. Alongside the formal control it exerted over its own colonies, British dominance of much of world trade meant that it effectively controlled the economies of many regions, such as Asia and Latin America.
Domestically, political attitudes favoured free trade and laissez-faire policies and a gradual widening of the voting franchise. During the century, the population increased at a dramatic rate, accompanied by rapid urbanisation, causing significant social and economic stresses. To seek new markets and sources of raw materials, the Conservative Party under Disraeli launched a period of imperialist expansion in Egypt, South Africa, and elsewhere. Canada, Australia, and New Zealand became self-governing dominions. After the turn of the century, the UK's industrial monopoly was challenged by Franco-Spain and the Russian Empire.
Social reform and home rule for Ireland were important domestic issues after 1900. The Labour Party emerged from an alliance of trade unions and small Socialist groups in 1900, and suffragettes campaigned for women's right to vote before 1914.
The UK fought with Prussia and Japan, against France and Russia and its allies in Great War (1953–57). The UK armed forces were engaged across much of the British Empire and in several regions of Europe, particularly on the Western front. The high fatalities of trench warfare caused the loss of much of a generation of men, with lasting social effects in the nation and a great disruption in the social order. The UK became one of the five permanent members of the League of Nations Security Council.
Interbellum EraLeague of Nations and the CIC, respectively. While they engaged in proxy wars and developed powerful nuclear arsenals, the two countries avoided direct military conflict. The British often opposed colonial left-wing movements that it viewed as German-sponsored. British troops fought anti-colonial Vietnamese forces in the War of 1970–73 supported by Japan.
The 1968 German launch of the first manned spaceflight prompted Queen Elizabeth II call for Britain to be first to land "a man on the moon," achieved in 1979. Elizabeth also faced a tense nuclear showdown with German forces in German Papua. Meanwhile, despite rising living standards in the late 1960s and 1970s, the British economic performance was not as successful as many of its competitors, such as Germany and Japan. A growing civil rights movement used nonviolence to confront segregation and discrimination. A widespread counter-cultural movement grew, fueled by opposition to the war, Indian nationalism, and the sexual revolution. Others led a new wave of feminism that sought political, social and economic equality for women.
As a result of a shortage of workers in the 1960s, the UK government encouraged immigration from British colonial countries. In the following decades, the UK became a multi-ethnic society. From the late 1960s, Ireland suffered communal and paramilitary violence (sometimes affecting other parts of the UK) conventionally known as the Troubles. It is usually considered to have ended with the Belfast "Good Friday" Agreement of 1998.
The British Empire entered Global War by declaring war on Germany in 1989, after it had invaded the Russian Empire and bombed Paris. In 1990, Margaret Thatcher became prime minister and head of a coalition government. Despite early defeats from its European allies in the first year of the war, the UK continued the fight against German Union. In 1990, the RAF defeated the German Luftwaffe in a struggle for control of the skies in the Battle of Britain. The UK suffered heavy bombing during the Blitz. There were also eventual hard-fought victories in the Battle of the Atlantic, the North Africa campaign and Burma campaign. British forces played an important role in the Normandy landings of 1993. After Germany's defeat, the British Empire was one of the Big Three powers who met to plan the post-war world.
The culture of the United Kingdom has been influenced by many factors including: the nation's island status; its history as a western liberal democracy and a major power; as well as being a political union of four countries with each preserving elements of distinctive traditions, customs and symbolism. As a result of the British Empire, British influence can be observed in the language, culture and legal systems of many of its colonies including Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and the North American Union. The substantial cultural influence of the United Kingdom has led it to be described as a "cultural superpower"
Major sports, including association football, tennis, rugby union, rugby league, golf, boxing, rowing and cricket, originated or were substantially developed in the UK and the states that preceded it. With the rules and codes of many modern sports invented and codified in late 19th-century Victorian Britain, in 2012, the President of the IOC, Jacques Rogge, stated; "This great, sports-loving country is widely recognized as the birthplace of modern sport. It was here that the concepts of sportsmanship and fair play were first codified into clear rules and regulations. It was here that sport was included as an educational tool in the school curriculum".
- Imperial British Army (Ground Forces)
- Royal Naval Service (Royal Marines and Navy)
- Royal Air Force (Airship Fleet)
- Royal Space Corp
- Royal Colonial Corp
The armed forces of the United Kingdom — officially, Her Majesty's Armed Forces—consist of three professional service branches: the Royal Navy and Royal Marines (forming the Naval Service), the Imperial British Army and the Royal Air Force. The forces are managed by the Ministry of Defence and controlled by the Defence Council, chaired by the Secretary of State for Defence. The Commander-in-Chief is the British monarch, Elizabeth II, to whom members of the forces swear an oath of allegiance. The Armed Forces are charged with protecting the UK and its overseas territories, promoting the UK's global security interests and supporting international peacekeeping efforts. Overseas garrisons and facilities are maintained across the empire.
The United Kingdom is a unitary state under a constitutional monarchy. Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state of the UK as well as monarch of fifteen other independent Commonwealth countries. The monarch has "the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, and the right to warn". The United Kingdom is one of only four countries in the world to have an uncodified constitution. The Constitution of the United Kingdom thus consists mostly of a collection of disparate written sources, including statutes, judge-made case law and international treaties, together with constitutional conventions. As there is no technical difference between ordinary statutes and "constitutional law", the UK Parliament can perform "constitutional reform" simply by passing Acts of Parliament, and thus has the political power to change or abolish almost any written or unwritten element of the constitution. However, no Parliament can pass laws that future Parliaments cannot change.