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The Roman invasion of Britain in 55 B.C. and most of Britain's subsequent incorporation into the Roman Empire stimulated development and brought more active contacts with the rest of Europe. As Rome's strength declined, the country again was exposed to invasion including the pivotal incursions of the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes in the fifth and sixth centuries A.D. up to the Norman conquest in 1066. Norman rule effectively ensured Britain's safety from further intrusions; certain institutions, which remain characteristic of Britain, could develop. Among these are a political, administrative, cultural, and economic center in London; a separate but established church; a system of common law; distinctive and distinguished university education; and representative government.

In 1603, the kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland were united in a personal union when James VI, King of Scots, inherited the crowns of England and Ireland and moved his court from Edinburgh to London; each country nevertheless remained a separate political entity and retained its separate political institutions. In the mid-17th century, all three kingdoms were involved in a series of connected wars (including the English Civil War) which led to the temporary overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of the short-lived unitary republicof the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland. Although the monarchy was restored, it ensured (with the GloriousRevolutionof 1688) that, unlike much of the rest of Europe, royal absolutism would not prevail. The British constitution would develop on the basis of constitutional monarchy and the parliamentary system. During this period, particularly in England, the development of navalpower (and the interest in voyages of discovery) led to the acquisition and settlement of overseas colonies, particularly in North America.

On May 1, 1707, the Kingdom of England (including Wales) and the Kingdom of Scotland merged as a political union known as the United Kingdom of Great Britain. This is the result of agreed terms, signed by parliaments of England and Scotland, under the Treaty of Union. Queen Anne is the first monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

The Act of Union 1800 merged the Kingdom of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland On January 1, 1801. This is the result of several centuries of historic events including the invasions of ruling Normans in Ireland, the Irish Rebellion of 1641, and War of American Independence. The union eliminated the separate Parliaments of Great Britain and Ireland creating an integrated Parliament of the United Kingdom. Ireland sent roughly 100 MPs to the House of Commons and 28 peers to the House of Lords.

During the 19th and early 20th century, the rise of Irish Nationalism emerged particularly in the Catholic population. Movement for the cancellation of the Act of Union is known as “Home Rule” and many campaigns have failed including the one in 1912 that passed the House of Commons but was voted out in the House of Lords. In 1916, an one-sidedly declared “Irish Republic” was announced in Dublin and resulted to the Anglo-Irish War that lasts until 1921. The Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 formed the Irish Free State and left the British Commonwealth without constitutional ties with UK and 6 northern Irish counties remained part of the United Kingdom. The Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927 renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland to United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Source: http://www.spainexchange.com/guide/GB-history.htm