In 1800 a further “Act of Union” was passed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was created.
After the Norman conquest of 1066 the Normans took control of parts of Wales and in 1283 Prince Edward conquered the remainder of Wales making it a Principality. But it was not until the “Laws in Wales act of 1535” that Wales followed the same laws as England and was officially consolidated with Welch administration under English Government.
Then on the 24th of March 1603 Queen Elizabeth I of England died and left no son to take the throne. Her closest male heir was her cousin King James VI of Scotland and on that day he became King of England and Scotland uniting the two kingdoms under one king. King James VI of Scotland was known as King James I of England and he wanted to be known as King of a united state of the two Kingdoms. He put it to Scottish and English MP’s to come up with a way of uniting the two parliaments but they were unsuccessful. In October 1604 he decreed that in future he should be known as King of Great Britain. He gave orders for a new flag that incorporated both the Saint George’s cross and the cross of Saint Andrew. On the 12th of April 1606 the Union Jack was created and was named Jack short for Jacobus, the Latin version of James.
On the 9th of December 1688 William of Orange defeated James II at the Battle of Reading and soon after he and his wife Mary became joint monarchs of England, Ireland and Scotland in what became known as “the Glorious Revolution”. He was deeply opposed to French King Louise XIV who had tried to invade his homeland of the Dutch Republic. In 1689 William III entered England, Ireland and Scotland into the “League of Augsburg” or “Grand Alliance” which included many European powers including the Dutch Republic and Spain. In an attempt to gain similar colonial fortunes that England enjoyed Scotsman William Patterson set up “The Company of Scotland” with plans of setting up a colony and trading post in an area known as Darien (now known as Panama). It was believed that the area would gain much profit and originally many Scottish, English and Dutch investors agreed to fund the company and expedition. However the outpost would be very close to Spain’s own colonies and William III wanted to avoid tensions between members of the Alliance and possible war. He refused to give his backing to the “Darien Venture”, as it became known and with additional opposition from the English East India Company (who wanted to maintain their monopoly on foreign trade) soon all the English and Dutch investors also pulled out of the scheme. Unpertured Patterson continued to sell the idea to his countrymen and had managed to obtain almost £500,000 (around half of Scotland’s money) from the people of Scotland. The venture had been miss-sold and Darien proved too harsh a landscape to create a stable colony. Additionally attacks by Spanish colonists and fever added to the growing number of dead and only the charity of the Native Americans gave them any hope. Out of the sixteen ships that sailed to the new colony only one made it home. Thousands died and Scotland was bankrupt. In an attempt to save themselves from bankruptcy and to become part of a major power many Scottish Nobles partitioned the English Government for aid and eventually the Act of Union was agreed between England and Scotland. As part of the Act of Union England agreed to pay Scotland almost all it had lost in the Darien Venture and both England and Scotland prospered from the Union.
When the ‘Act of Union 1707’ came into effect on the 1st of May 1707 the Kingdom of England, Scotland and the Principality of Wales were governed under one parliament which was based in London and this marks the beginning of the Kingdom of Great Britain.
Great Britain is the largest part of the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was its full title and although King James also inherited the Irish throne from Elizabeth, Ireland was not governed by the British government until a further “Act of Union” was passed on the 1st of August 1800 which included Ireland and came into effect in 1801, that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was created. The red cross of Saint Patrick was added to the Union Jack slightly overlapping the white Saint Andrews cross. Then when Ireland became a republic on the 6th of December 1922 and on the 8th Northern Ireland chose to re-unite with Great Britain, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was created (UK or United Kingdom for short).