HOME
TheInfoList



The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shortha ...
, the
British Overseas Territories The British Overseas Territories (BOTs), also known as United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs), are fourteen territories all with a constitutional and historical link with the United Kingdom. They are remnants of the British Empire and do n ...
, and the
Crown dependencies The Crown dependencies (french: Dépendances de la Couronne; gv, Croghaneyn-crooin) are three island territories off the coast of Great Britain that are self-governing possessions of The Crown: the Bailiwick of Guernsey, the Bailiwick of Jers ...

Crown dependencies
.:
British nationality law British nationality law details the conditions in which a person holds United Kingdom nationality. There are six different classes of British nationality, each with varying degrees of civil and political rights, due to the UK's historical status ...
governs modern British citizenship and nationality, which can be acquired, for instance, by descent from British nationals. When used in a historical context, "British" or "Britons" can refer to the
Ancient Britons Drawing of two Celtic Britons (c. 1574); one with tattoos, and carrying a spear and shield; the other painted with woad, and carrying a sword and round shield. The Britons (''*Pritanī''), also known as Celtic Britons or Ancient Britons, were th ...
, the indigenous inhabitants of
Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the largest European island, and the ninth-largest island in the world. The isl ...

Great Britain
and
Brittany Brittany (; french: link=no, Bretagne ; br, Breizh, or ; Gallo: ''Bertaèyn'' ) is a peninsula and cultural region in the west of France, covering the western part of what was known as Armorica during the period of Roman occupation. It became an ...
, whose surviving members are the modern
Welsh people The Welsh ( cy, Cymry) are a Celtic nation and ethnic group native to Wales. "Welsh people" applies to those who were born in Wales ( cy, Cymru) and to those who have Welsh ancestry, perceiving themselves or being perceived as sharing a cultural ...
,
Cornish people The Cornish people or Cornish ( kw, Kernowyon, ang, Cornwīelisc) are a Celtic ethnic group and nation native to, or associated with Cornwall: and a recognised national minority in the United Kingdom, which can trace its roots to the ancient Br ...
, and
Bretons The Bretons ( br, Bretoned, ) are a Celtic ethnic group native to Brittany. They trace much of their heritage to groups of Brittonic speakers who emigrated from southwestern Great Britain, particularly Cornwall and Devon, mostly during the Anglo- ...
. It also refers to citizens of the former
British Empire#REDIRECT British Empire#REDIRECT British Empire {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
, who settled in the country prior to 1973, and hold neither UK citizenship nor nationality. Though early assertions of being British date from the
Late Middle Ages The Late Middle Ages or Late Medieval Period was the period of European history lasting from AD 1250 to 1500. The Late Middle Ages followed the High Middle Ages and preceded the onset of the early modern period (and in much of Europe, the Renaiss ...
, the
Union of the Crowns The Union of the Crowns ( gd, Aonadh nan Crùintean; sco, Union o the Crouns) was the accession of James VI of Scotland to the thrones of England and Ireland as James I and the consequential unification for some purposes (such as overseas diploma ...
in 1603 and the creation of the
Kingdom of Great Britain The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called Great Britain,"After the political union of England and Scotland in 1707, the nation's official name became 'Great Britain'", ''The American Pageant, Volume 1'', Cengage Learning (2012) was a so ...
in 1707 triggered a sense of British national identity.. The notion of
Britishness Britishness is the state or quality of being British, or of embodying British characteristics. It comprises the claimed qualities that bind and distinguish the British people and form the basis of their unity and identity, and the expressions ...
and a shared British identity was forged during the 18th century and early 19th century when Britain engaged in several global conflicts with France, and developed further during the
Victorian era In the history of the United Kingdom, the Victorian era was the period of Queen Victoria's reign, from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. The era followed the Georgian period and preceded the Edwardian period, and its later h ...
.. The complex
history of the formation of the United Kingdom The formation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has involved personal and political union across Great Britain and the wider British Isles. The United Kingdom is the most recent of a number of sovereign states that have ...
created a "particular sense of nationhood and belonging" in Great Britain and Ireland; Britishness became "superimposed on much older identities", of
English English usually refers to: * English language * English people English may also refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * ''English'', an adjective for something of, from, or related to England ** English national identity, an identity and ...
, Scots,
Welsh Welsh may refer to: Related to Wales * Welsh, referring or related to Wales * Welsh language, a Brittonic Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, indigenous to the British Isles, spoken in Wales ** Patagonian Welsh, a dialect of Wels ...
, and
Irish Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland, an island situated off the north-western coast of continental Europe ** Northern Ireland, a constituent unit of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and North ...
cultures, whose distinctiveness still resists notions of a homogenised British identity.. Because of longstanding ethno-sectarian divisions, British identity in
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; Ulster-Scots: ') is variously described as a country, province, or region which is part of the United Kingdom. Located in the northeast of the island of Ireland, Northern Ireland shares a border to ...

Northern Ireland
is controversial, but it is held with strong conviction by Unionists. Modern Britons are descended mainly from the varied ethnic groups that settled in
Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the largest European island, and the ninth-largest island in the world. The isl ...

Great Britain
in and before the 11th century:
Prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history between the use of the first stone tools by hominins 3.3 million years ago and the invention of writing systems. The use of symbols, marks, and images appears very e ...
, Brittonic,
Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *''Epistle to the Romans'', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in ...
,
Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group who inhabited England. They traced their origins to the 5th century settlement of incomers to Britain, who migrated to the island from the North Sea coastlands of mainland Europe. However, the ethnogenesis ...
,
Norse Norse is demonym for Norsemen, a medieval North Germanic ethnolinguistic group ancestral to modern Scandinavians, defined as speakers of Old Norse from about the 9th to the 13th centuries. Norse may also refer to: Culture and religion * Norse my ...
, and
Normans The Normans (Norman: ''Normaunds''; french: Normands; la, Nortmanni/Normanni) were inhabitants of the early medieval Duchy of Normandy, descended from Norse Vikings (after whom Normandy was named), indigenous Franks and Gallo-Romans. The term is ...
. The progressive political unification of the British Isles facilitated migration, cultural and linguistic exchange, and intermarriage between the peoples of England, Scotland and Wales during the late Middle Ages,
early modern period#REDIRECT Early modern period#REDIRECT Early modern period {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
and beyond... Since 1922 and earlier, there has been
immigration to the United Kingdom Since 1945, immigration to the United Kingdom under British nationality law has been significant, in particular from the Republic of Ireland and from the former British Empire especially India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Caribbean, South Africa ...
by people from what is now the
Republic of Ireland Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also known as the Republic of Ireland ('), is a country in north-western Europe occupying 26 of 32 counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, which is located on the eastern side of the i ...

Republic of Ireland
, the
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good. Historically it has sometimes been synonymous with "republic". The noun "commonwealth", meaning "public welfare, general good or advantage", dates ...

Commonwealth
, mainland Europe and elsewhere; they and their descendants are mostly British citizens, with some assuming a British, dual or hyphenated identity.. This includes the groups
black British Black British people are British citizens of either African descent or of Black African-Caribbean (sometimes called "Afro-Caribbean") background.Gadsby, Meredith (2006), ''Sucking Salt: Caribbean Women Writers, Migration, and Survival'', Universi ...
and Asian British people, which constitute around 10% of the British population. The British are a diverse, multinational, multicultural and multilingual society, with "strong regional accents, expressions and identities".. The
social structure of the United Kingdom The social structure of the United Kingdom has historically been highly influenced by the concept of social class, which continues to affect British society today. British society, like its European neighbours and most societies in world history, w ...
has changed radically since the 19th century, with a decline in religious observance, enlargement of the
middle class The middle class is a class of people in the middle of a social hierarchy. Its usage has often been vague whether defined in terms of occupation, income, education or social status. The definition by any author is often chosen for political connot ...
, and increased ethnic diversity, particularly since the 1950s, when citizens of the British Empire were encouraged to immigrate to Britain to work as part of the recovery from World War II. The population of the UK stands at around 66 million, with a
British diaspora The British diaspora consists of people of British ancestry (and their descendants) who emigrated from the British Isles. The largest proportional concentrations of people of self-identified British descent in the world outside of the United King ...
of around 140 million concentrated in the United States, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, with smaller concentrations in the Republic of Ireland, Chile, South Africa, and parts of the Caribbean.


History of the term

The earliest known reference to the inhabitants of Great Britain may have come from 4th century BC records of the voyage of
Pytheas Pytheas of Massalia (; Ancient Greek: Πυθέας ὁ Μασσαλιώτης ''Pythéas ho Massaliōtēs''; Latin: ''Pytheas Massiliensis''; fl. 310–306 BC) was a Greek geographer, explorer and astronomer from the Greek colony of Massalia (mode ...
, a
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor of ...
geographer who made a voyage of exploration around the
British Isles The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic off the north-western coast of continental Europe, consisting of the islands of Great Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Hebrides and over six thousand smaller islands."Britis ...
. Although none of his own writings remain, writers during the time of the
Roman Empire#REDIRECT Roman Empire#REDIRECT Roman Empire {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...

Roman Empire made much reference to them. Pytheas called the islands collectively (''hai Brettaniai''), which has been translated as the ''Brittanic Isles'', and the peoples of what are today
England England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continent ...
,
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area ...
,
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a 96-mile (154 km) border with England to the southeast and is otherwis ...
and the
Isle of Man ) , anthem = "O Land of Our Birth" , image = Isle of Man by Sentinel-2.jpg , image_map = Europe-Isle_of_Man.svg , mapsize = 290px , map_alt = Location of the Isle of Man in Europe , map_caption = Location of the Isle of Man (green) in Europe ...
of ''Prettanike'' were called the (''Prettanoi''), ''Priteni'', ''Pritani'' or ''Pretani''. The group included
Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, ...

Ireland
, which was referred to as ''Ierne'' (''Insula sacra'' "sacred island" as the Greeks interpreted it) "inhabited by the different race of ''Hiberni''" (''gens hibernorum''), and Britain as ''insula Albionum'', "island of the Albions". The term ''Pritani'' may have reached Pytheas from the
Gaul Gaul ( la, Gallia) was a region of Western Europe first described by the Romans. It was inhabited by Celtic tribes, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg, Belgium, most of Switzerland, and parts of Northern Italy, the Netherlands, and Germ ...
s, who possibly used it as their term for the inhabitants of the islands.
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor of ...
and
Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *''Epistle to the Romans'', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in ...
writers, in the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD, name the inhabitants of
Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the largest European island, and the ninth-largest island in the world. The isl ...

Great Britain
and
Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, ...

Ireland
as the ''
Priteni The Cruthin (; Middle Irish: ' or '; Modern Irish: ' ) were a people of early medieval Ireland. Their heartland was in Ulster and included parts of the present-day counties of Antrim, Down and Londonderry. They are also said to have lived in parts ...
'', the origin of the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the dominant language ...
word ''Britanni''. It has been suggested that this name derives from a
Gaulish Gaulish was an ancient Celtic language that was spoken in parts of Continental Europe before and during the period of the Roman Empire. In the narrow sense, Gaulish was the language spoken by the Celtic inhabitants of Gaul (modern-day France, Lu ...
description translated as "people of the forms", referring to the custom of tattooing or painting their bodies with blue woad made from ''
Isatis tinctoria ''Isatis tinctoria'', also called woad (), dyer's woad, or glastum, is a flowering plant in the family Brassicaceae. It is occasionally known as Asp of Jerusalem. Woad is also the name of a blue dye produced from the leaves of the plant. Woad i ...
''. Parthenius, a 1st-century Ancient Greek grammarian, and the ''
Etymologicum Genuinum The ''Etymologicum Genuinum'' (standard abbreviation ''E Gen'') is the conventional modern title given to a lexical encyclopedia compiled at Constantinople in the mid-ninth century. The anonymous compiler drew on the works of numerous earlier lexico ...
'', a 9th-century lexical encyclopaedia, mention a mythical character Bretannus (the Latinised form of the grc, Βρεττανός, ''Brettanós'') as the father of Celtine, mother of Celtus, the eponymous ancestor of the
Celts The Celts (, see pronunciation of ''Celt'' for different usages) are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Second millennium B.C.E. to present ancestry: Celtic a collection of Indo-European peoples. "The Celts, an ancient Indo-European ...

Celts
. By 50 BC Greek geographers were using equivalents of ''Prettanikē'' as a collective name for the
British Isles The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic off the north-western coast of continental Europe, consisting of the islands of Great Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Hebrides and over six thousand smaller islands."Britis ...
. However, with the
Roman conquest of Britain The Roman conquest of Britain was a gradual process, beginning in AD 43 under Emperor Claudius and being largely completed by 87 when the Stanegate was established as the northern frontier. The Roman army was generally recruited in Italia ...
the Latin term ''
Britannia Britannia () is the national personification of Britain as a helmeted female warrior holding a trident and shield. An image first used in classical antiquity, the Latin ''Britannia'' was the name variously applied to the British Isles, Great B ...
'' was used for the island of Great Britain, and later Roman-occupied Britain south of
Caledonia Caledonia () was the Latin name used by the Roman Empire to refer to the part of Great Britain () that lies north of the River Forth, which includes most of the land area of Scotland. Today, it is used as a romantic or poetic name for all of Sco ...
(modern day Scotland north of the rivers Forth & Clyde), although the people of Caledonia and the north were also the self same Britons during the Roman period, the Gaels arriving four centuries later. Following the
end of Roman rule in Britain The end of Roman rule in Britain was the transition from Roman Britain to post-Roman Britain. Roman rule ended in different parts of Britain at different times, and under different circumstances. In 383, the usurper Magnus Maximus withdrew tro ...
, the island of Great Britain was left open to invasion by
pagan Paganism (from classical Latin ''pāgānus'' "rural", "rustic", later "civilian") is a term first used pejoratively in the fourth century by early Christians for people in the Roman Empire who practiced polytheism or ethnic religions other than ...
, seafaring warriors such as -speaking
Anglo-Saxons The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group who inhabited England. They traced their origins to the 5th century settlement of incomers to Britain, who migrated to the island from the North Sea coastlands of mainland Europe. However, the ethnogenesis ...
and
Jutes The Jutes (), Iuti, or Iutæ ( da, Jyde, ang, Ēotas) were one of the Anglo-Saxon tribes who settled in England after the departure of the Romans. According to Bede, they were one of the three most powerful Germanic nations. The Jutes are believe ...
from
Continental Europe Mainland or continental Europe is the contiguous continent of Europe, excluding its surrounding islands. It can also be referred to ambiguously as the European continent, – which can conversely mean the whole of Europe – and, by some, s ...
, who gained control in areas around the south east, and to
Middle Irish Middle Irish, sometimes called Middle Gaelic ( ga, An Mheán-Ghaeilge), is the Goidelic which was spoken in Ireland, most of Scotland and the Isle of Man from circa 900–1200 AD; it is therefore a contemporary of late Old English and early Middle E ...
-speaking people migrating from what is today
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; Ulster-Scots: ') is variously described as a country, province, or region which is part of the United Kingdom. Located in the northeast of the island of Ireland, Northern Ireland shares a border to ...

Northern Ireland
to the north of Great Britain (modern
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a 96-mile (154 km) border with England to the southeast and is otherwis ...
), founding Gaelic kingdoms such as
Dál Riata Dál Riata or Dál Riada (also Dalriada) () was a Gaelic kingdom that encompassed the western seaboard of Scotland and the north-eastern corner of Ireland, on each side of the North Channel. At its height in the 6th and 7th centuries, it cover ...
and
Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic pronunciation: /'aɫ̪apə/ ''AHL-ah-peh'') is the Scottish Gaelic name for Scotland. It is cognate with the Irish term ' (gen. ', dat. ') and the Manx term ', the two other Goidelic Insular Celtic languages, as well as co ...

Alba
, which would eventually subsume the native Brittonic and Pictish kingdoms and become Scotland. In this
sub-Roman Britain Sub-Roman Britain is the period of late antiquity on the island of Great Britain, covering the end of Roman rule in the late 4th and early 5th centuries, and its aftermath into the 6th century. The term "sub-Roman" was originally used to describ ...
, as Anglo-Saxon culture spread across southern and eastern Britain and Gaelic through much of the north, the demonym "Briton" became restricted to the Brittonic-speaking inhabitants of what would later be called
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area ...
,
Cornwall Cornwall (; kw, Kernow ) is a ceremonial county in South West England. It is recognised as one of the Celtic nations and is the homeland of the Cornish people. Cornwall is bordered to the north and west by the Atlantic Ocean, to the south by ...

Cornwall
,
North West England North West England is one of nine official regions of England and consists of the counties of Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside. The North West had a population of 7,052,000 in 2011. It is the third-most-populate ...
(
Cumbria Cumbria ( ) is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in North West England. The county and Cumbria County Council, its local government, came into existence in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972. Cumbria's county town is ...
), and a southern part of
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a 96-mile (154 km) border with England to the southeast and is otherwis ...
(
Strathclyde Strathclyde ( in Gaelic, meaning "strath (valley) of the River Clyde") was one of nine former local government regions of Scotland created in 1975 by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 and abolished in 1996 by the Local Government etc. ( ...
). In addition the term was also applied to
Brittany Brittany (; french: link=no, Bretagne ; br, Breizh, or ; Gallo: ''Bertaèyn'' ) is a peninsula and cultural region in the west of France, covering the western part of what was known as Armorica during the period of Roman occupation. It became an ...
in what is today
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consisting of metropolitan France and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of Fr ...
and
BritoniaBritonia (which became Bretoña in Galician) is the historical, apparently Latinized name of a Celtic settlement by Celtic Britons on the Iberian peninsula following the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain. The area is roughly analogous to the northern ...
in north west
Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 = , ...
, both regions having been colonised by Britons in the 5th century fleeing the Anglo-Saxon invasions. However, the term Britannia persisted as the Latin name for the island. The ''
Historia Brittonum ''The History of the Britons'' ( la, Historia Brittonum) is a purported history of the indigenous British (Brittonic) people that was written around 828 and survives in numerous recensions that date from after the 11th century. The ''Historia Britto ...
'' claimed legendary origins as a prestigious
genealogy Genealogy (from el, γενεαλογία ' "the making of a pedigree") is the study of families, family history, and the tracing of their lineages. Genealogists use oral interviews, historical records, genetic analysis, and other records to obta ...

genealogy
for Brittonic kings, followed by the ''
Historia Regum Britanniae ''Historia regum Britanniae'' (''The History of the Kings of Britain''), originally called ''De gestis Britonum'' (''On the Deeds of the Britons''), is a pseudohistorical account of British history, written around 1136 by Geoffrey of Monmouth. It c ...
'' which popularised this pseudo-history to support the claims of the
Kings of England This list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of England begins with Alfred the Great, who initially ruled Wessex, one of the seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms which later made up modern England. Alfred styled himself King of the Anglo-Saxons from abou ...
. During the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted from the 5th to the late 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and transitioned into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages i ...
, and particularly in the
Tudor period The Tudor period occurred between 1485 and 1603 in England and Wales and includes the Elizabethan period during the reign of Elizabeth I until 1603. The Tudor period coincides with the dynasty of the House of Tudor in England whose first monarch ...
, the term "British" was used to refer to the
Welsh people The Welsh ( cy, Cymry) are a Celtic nation and ethnic group native to Wales. "Welsh people" applies to those who were born in Wales ( cy, Cymru) and to those who have Welsh ancestry, perceiving themselves or being perceived as sharing a cultural ...
and
Cornish people The Cornish people or Cornish ( kw, Kernowyon, ang, Cornwīelisc) are a Celtic ethnic group and nation native to, or associated with Cornwall: and a recognised national minority in the United Kingdom, which can trace its roots to the ancient Br ...
. At that time, it was "the long held belief that these were the remaining descendants of the Britons and that they spoke ' the British tongue.. This notion was supported by texts such as the ''
Historia Regum Britanniae ''Historia regum Britanniae'' (''The History of the Kings of Britain''), originally called ''De gestis Britonum'' (''On the Deeds of the Britons''), is a pseudohistorical account of British history, written around 1136 by Geoffrey of Monmouth. It c ...
'', a
pseudohistorical Pseudohistory is a form of pseudoscholarship that attempts to distort or misrepresent the historical record, often using methods resembling those used in legitimate historical research. The related term cryptohistory is applied to a pseudohistory ba ...
account of ancient British history, written in the mid-12th century by
Geoffrey of Monmouth Geoffrey of Monmouth ( la, Galfridus Monemutensis, Galfridus Arturus, cy, Gruffudd ap Arthur, Sieffre o Fynwy; c. 1095 – c. 1155) was a British cleric, anthropologist and one of the major figures in the development of British historiography and ...
. The ''Historia Regum Britanniae'' chronicled the lives of legendary kings of the Britons in a narrative spanning 2000 years, beginning with the
Trojans Trojan or Trojans may refer to: * Of or from the ancient city of Troy * Trojan language, the language of the historical Trojans Arts and entertainment Music * ''Les Troyens'' ('The Trojans'), an opera by Berlioz, premiered part 1863, part 1890 * ...
founding the ancient British nation and continuing until the
Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain The Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain is the process which changed the language and culture of most of what became England from Romano-British to Germanic. The Germanic-speakers in Britain, themselves of diverse origins, eventually developed a ...
in the 7th century forced the Britons to the west, i.e.
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area ...
and
Cornwall Cornwall (; kw, Kernow ) is a ceremonial county in South West England. It is recognised as one of the Celtic nations and is the homeland of the Cornish people. Cornwall is bordered to the north and west by the Atlantic Ocean, to the south by ...

Cornwall
, and north, i.e.
Cumbria Cumbria ( ) is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in North West England. The county and Cumbria County Council, its local government, came into existence in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972. Cumbria's county town is ...
,
Strathclyde Strathclyde ( in Gaelic, meaning "strath (valley) of the River Clyde") was one of nine former local government regions of Scotland created in 1975 by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 and abolished in 1996 by the Local Government etc. ( ...
and northern Scotland. This legendary Celtic history of Great Britain is known as the
Matter of Britain The Matter of Britain is the body of Medieval literature and legendary material associated with Great Britain and Brittany, and the legendary kings and heroes associated with it, particularly King Arthur. It was one of the three great story c ...
. The Matter of Britain, a
national myth A national myth is an inspiring narrative or anecdote about a nation's past. Such myths often serve as an important national symbol and affirm a set of national values. A national myth may sometimes take the form of a national epic or be incorporat ...
, was retold or reinterpreted in works by
Gerald of Wales Gerald of Wales ( la, Giraldus Cambrensis; cy, Gerallt Gymro; french: Gerald de Barri; ) was a Cambro-Norman archdeacon of Brecon and historian. As a royal clerk to the king and two archbishops, he travelled widely and wrote extensively. He studie ...
, a
Cambro-Norman Cambro-Normans ( la, Cambria; "Wales", cy, Normaniaid Cymreig) were Normans who settled in southern Wales, and Welsh Marches, after the Norman invasion of Wales, allied with their counterpart families who settled England following its conquest. U ...
chronicler who in the 12th and 13th centuries used the term British to refer to the people later known as the Welsh.


History


Ancestral roots

The indigenous people of the
British Isles The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic off the north-western coast of continental Europe, consisting of the islands of Great Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Hebrides and over six thousand smaller islands."Britis ...
have a combination of
Celtic The words Celt and Celtic (also Keltic) may refer to: Ethno-linguistics *Celts, an ethnolinguistic group of tribal societies in Iron Age and Medieval Europe *Celts (modern), a modern cultural creation based on the older Celtic peoples *Celtic lang ...

Celtic
,
Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group who inhabited England. They traced their origins to the 5th century settlement of incomers to Britain, who migrated to the island from the North Sea coastlands of mainland Europe. However, the ethnogenesis ...
,
Norse Norse is demonym for Norsemen, a medieval North Germanic ethnolinguistic group ancestral to modern Scandinavians, defined as speakers of Old Norse from about the 9th to the 13th centuries. Norse may also refer to: Culture and religion * Norse my ...
and
Norman Norman or Normans may refer to: Ethnic and cultural identity * The Normans, a people partly descended from Norse Vikings who settled in the territory of Normandy in France in the 10th and 11th centuries ** People or things connected with the Norma ...
ancestry. Between the 8th and 11th centuries, "three major cultural divisions" had emerged in Great Britain: the
English English usually refers to: * English language * English people English may also refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * ''English'', an adjective for something of, from, or related to England ** English national identity, an identity and ...
, the Scots and the
Welsh Welsh may refer to: Related to Wales * Welsh, referring or related to Wales * Welsh language, a Brittonic Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, indigenous to the British Isles, spoken in Wales ** Patagonian Welsh, a dialect of Wels ...
, the earlier Brittonic Celtic polities in what are today England and Scotland having finally been absorbed into Anglo-Saxon England and Gaelic Scotland by the early 11th century. The English had been unified under a single
nation state A nation state is a state in which a great majority shares the same culture and is conscious of it. The nation state is an ideal in which cultural boundaries match up with political boundaries. According to one definition, "a nation state is a so ...
in 937 by King Athelstan of Wessex after the
Battle of Brunanburh The Battle of Brunanburh was fought in 937 between Æthelstan, King of England, and an alliance of Olaf Guthfrithson, King of Dublin; Constantine II, King of Scotland, and Owain, King of Strathclyde. The battle is often cited as the point of ...
. Before then, the English (known then in
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language, spoken in England and southern and eastern Scotland in the early Middle Ages. It was brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers in the mid-5th centur ...
as the ''Anglecynn'') were under the governance of independent Anglo-Saxon
petty kingdom A petty kingdom is a kingdom described as minor or "petty" (from the French 'petit' meaning small) by contrast to an empire or unified kingdom that either preceded or succeeded it (e.g. the numerous kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England unified into the K ...
s which gradually coalesced into a
Heptarchy 250px, The penultimate set of Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms was fivefold. The map annotates the names of the peoples of Essex and Sussex taken into the Kingdom of Wessex, (which later took in the Kingdom of Kent and became the senior dynasty) and the outl ...
of seven powerful states, the most powerful of which were
Mercia Mercia (, ; ang, Miercna rīċe; la, Merciorum regnum) was one of the kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy. The name is a Latinisation of the Old English or (West Saxon dialect; in the Mercian dialect itself), meaning "border people" (see Ma ...
and
Wessex Wessex (; ang, Westseaxna rīċe , 'the Kingdom of the West Saxons') was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom in the south of Great Britain, from 519 until England was unified by Æthelstan in 927. The Anglo-Saxons believed that Wessex was founded by Cerdic ...

Wessex
. Scottish historian and archaeologist
Neil Oliver Neil Oliver (born 21 February 1967) is a British television presenter, freelance archaeologist, conservationist, and author. He is best known as a presenter of several BBC historical and archaeological documentary series, including ''A History o ...
said that the Battle of Brunanburh would "define the shape of Britain into the modern era", it was a "showdown for two very different ethnic identities – a Norse Celtic alliance versus Anglo Saxon. It aimed to settle once and for all whether Britain would be controlled by a single imperial power or remain several separate independent kingdoms, a split in perceptions which is still very much with us today". However, historian
Simon Schama Sir Simon Michael Schama (; born 13 February 1945) is an English historian specialising in art history, Dutch history, Jewish history and French history. He is a University Professor of History and Art History at Columbia University, New York. ...
suggested that it was
Edward I of England Edward I (17/18 June 1239 – 7 July 1307), also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots ( la, Malleus Scotorum), was King of England from 1272 to 1307. Before his accession to the throne, he was commonly referred to as The L ...
who was solely "responsible for provoking the peoples of Britain into an awareness of their nationhood" in the 13th century. Schama hypothesised that
Scottish national identity Scottish national identity is a term referring to the sense of national identity, as embodied in the shared and characteristic culture, languages and traditions, of the Scottish people. Although the various dialects of Gaelic, the Scots languag ...
, "a complex amalgam" of
Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually. Gaelic languages are spoken in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. Whe ...
, Brittonic,
Pictish Pictish is the extinct language spoken by the Picts, the people of eastern and northern Scotland from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages. Virtually no direct attestations of Pictish remain, short of a limited number of geographical and person ...
,
Norsemen The Norsemen (or Norse people) were a North Germanic ethnolinguistic group of the Early Middle Ages, during which they spoke the Old Norse language. The language belongs to the North Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages and is the prede ...
and Anglo-Norman origins, was not finally forged until the
Wars of Scottish Independence The Wars of Scottish Independence were a series of military campaigns fought between the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. The First War (1296–1328) began with the English invasion of Sc ...
against the
Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 12 July 927, when it emerged from various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, until 1 May 1707, when it united with Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. The Kingdom ...
in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. Though
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area ...
was conquered by England, and its legal system replaced by that of the
Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 12 July 927, when it emerged from various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, until 1 May 1707, when it united with Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. The Kingdom ...
under the
Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542 The Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542 ( cy, Y Deddfau Cyfreithiau yng Nghymru 1535 a 1542) were parliamentary measures by which Wales was annexed to the Kingdom of England, the legal system of England was extended to Wales and the norms of English ...
, the Welsh endured as a
nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, history, ethnicity, or a common culture, and, in many cases, a shared territory. A nation is more overtly political than an ethnic group; it has been described as "a fully ...
distinct from the English, and to some degree the
Cornish people The Cornish people or Cornish ( kw, Kernowyon, ang, Cornwīelisc) are a Celtic ethnic group and nation native to, or associated with Cornwall: and a recognised national minority in the United Kingdom, which can trace its roots to the ancient Br ...
, although conquered into England by the 11th century, also retained a distinct Brittonic identity and language.. Later, with both an
English Reformation The English Reformation took place in 16th-century England when the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church. These events were, in part, associated with the wider European Protestant Reformatio ...
and a
Scottish Reformation The Scottish Reformation was the process by which Scotland broke with the Papacy and developed a predominantly Calvinist national Kirk (church), which was strongly Presbyterian in its outlook. It was part of the wider European Protestant Reform ...
,
Edward VI of England Edward VI (12 October 1537 – 6 July 1553) was the King of England and Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death in 1553. He was crowned on 20 February at the age of nine. Edward was the son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, and England's fi ...
, under the counsel of
Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset PC (150022 January 1552) (also 1st Earl of Hertford, 1st Viscount Beauchamp), also known as Edward Semel, was the eldest surviving brother of Queen Jane Seymour (d. 1537), the third wife of King Henry VI ...
, advocated a union with the
Kingdom of Scotland Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female monarch Taxonomy * Kingdom (biology), a category in biological taxonomy Arts an ...
, joining England, Wales, and Scotland in a united Protestant Great Britain.. The Duke of Somerset supported the unification of the English, Welsh and Scots under the "indifferent old name of Britons" on the basis that their monarchies "both derived from a Pre-Roman British monarchy". Following the death of
Elizabeth I of England Elizabeth I (7 September 153324 March 1603) was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death in 1603. Sometimes called the Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the last of the five monarchs of the Hou ...
in 1603, the throne of England was inherited by James VI, King of Scots, so that the
Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 12 July 927, when it emerged from various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, until 1 May 1707, when it united with Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. The Kingdom ...
and the
Kingdom of Scotland Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female monarch Taxonomy * Kingdom (biology), a category in biological taxonomy Arts an ...
were united in a
personal union A personal union is the combination of two or more states that have the same monarch while their boundaries, laws, and interests remain distinct. A real union, by contrast, would involve the constituent states being to some extent interlinked, s ...
under
James VI of Scotland and I of England James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the Scottish and English crowns on 24 March 1603 until his ...

James VI of Scotland and I of England
, an event referred to as the
Union of the Crowns The Union of the Crowns ( gd, Aonadh nan Crùintean; sco, Union o the Crouns) was the accession of James VI of Scotland to the thrones of England and Ireland as James I and the consequential unification for some purposes (such as overseas diploma ...
. King James advocated full
political union A political union is a type of state which is composed of or created out of smaller states. The process of creating such a state out of smaller states is called unification. Unification of states that used to be together and are reuniting is referr ...
between England and Scotland, and on 20 October 1604 proclaimed his assumption of the
style Style is a manner of doing or presenting things and may refer to: * Architectural style, the features that make a building or structure historically identifiable * Design, the process of creating something * Fashion, a prevailing mode of clothing s ...
"King of Great Britain", though this title was rejected by both the
Parliament of England The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England, existing from the early 14th century until 1707, when it united with the Parliament of Scotland to become the Parliament of Great Britain after the political union of Eng ...
and the
Parliament of Scotland The Parliament of Scotland ( sco, Pairlament o Scotland; gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba) was the legislature of the Kingdom of Scotland. The parliament, like other such institutions, evolved during the Middle Ages from the king's council of bishops an ...
, and so had no basis in either
English law English law is the common law legal system of England and Wales, comprising mainly criminal law and civil law, each branch having its own courts and procedures. Principal elements of English law Although the common law has, historically, been ...
or
Scots law Scots law () is the legal system of Scotland. It is a hybrid or mixed legal system containing civil law and common law elements, that traces its roots to a number of different historical sources. Together with English law and Northern Irish law ...
.


Union and the development of Britishness

Despite centuries of military and religious conflict, the Kingdoms of England and Scotland had been "drawing increasingly together" since the
Protestant Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity in 16th-century Europe that posed a religious and political challenge to the Catholic Church and in p ...
of the 16th century and the Union of the Crowns in 1603.. A broadly shared language, island, monarch, religion and Bible (the
Authorized King James Version The King James Version (KJV), also known as the King James Bible (KJB), sometimes as the English version of 1611, or simply the Version (AV), is an English translation of the Christian Bible for the Church of England, commissioned in 1604 an ...

Authorized King James Version
) further contributed to a growing cultural alliance between the two sovereign realms and their peoples. The
Glorious Revolution The Glorious Revolution of November 1688 ( ga, An Réabhlóid Ghlórmhar; gd, Rèabhlaid Ghlòrmhor; cy, Chwyldro Gogoneddus), is also known as the ''Glorieuze Overtocht'' or Glorious Crossing by the Dutch. It refers to the deposition of James ...
of 1688 resulted in a pair of
Acts The Acts of the Apostles ( grc-koi, Πράξεις Ἀποστόλων, ''Práxeis Apostólōn''; la, Actūs Apostolōrum), often referred to simply as Acts, or formally the Book of Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; it tells of the fo ...
of the English and Scottish legislatures—the
Bill of Rights 1689 The Bill of Rights 1689, also known as the Bill of Rights 1688, is a landmark Act in the constitutional law of England that sets out certain basic civil rights and clarifies who would be next to inherit the Crown. It received the Royal Assent on ...
and
Claim of Right Act 1689 The Claim of Right is an Act passed by the Parliament of Scotland in April 1689. It is one of the key documents of United Kingdom constitutional law and Scottish constitutional law. Background In the Glorious Revolution, William of Orange landed ...
respectively—which ensured that the shared
constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises authority in accordance with a written or unwritten constitution. Constitutional monarchies differ from absolute monarchies (in which a monarch holds absolute ...
of England and Scotland was held only by Protestants. Despite this, although popular with the monarchy and much of the aristocracy, attempts to unite the two states by Acts of Parliament in 1606, 1667, and 1689 were unsuccessful; increased political management of Scottish affairs from England had led to "criticism", and strained Anglo-Scottish relations. While English maritime explorations during the
Age of Discovery The Age of Discovery, or the Age of Exploration (sometimes also, particularly regionally, Age of Contact or Contact Period), is an informal and loosely defined term for the early modern period approximately from the 15th century to the 18th century ...
gave new-found imperial power and wealth to the English and Welsh at the end of the 17th century, Scotland suffered from a long-standing weak economy. In response, the Scottish kingdom, in opposition to , commenced the
Darien Scheme The Darien scheme was an unsuccessful attempt, backed largely by investors of the Kingdom of Scotland, to gain wealth and influence by establishing ''New Caledonia'', a colony on the Isthmus of Panama, in the late 1690s. To be located on the Gulf ...
, an attempt to establish a Scottish imperial outlet—the
colony In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonizers, colonies remain separate from the administration of the original country of the colonizers, the metropolitan state (or ...
of New Caledonia—on the
isthmus of Panama The Isthmus of Panama ( es, Istmo de Panamá), also historically known as the Isthmus of Darien (), is the narrow strip of land that lies between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, linking North and South America. It contains the country of ...
. However, through a combination of disease, Spanish hostility, Scottish mismanagement and opposition to the scheme by the
East India Company The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC), East India Trading Company (EITC), the English East India Company or (after 1707) the British East India Company, and informally known as John Company, Com ...
and the English government (who did not want to provoke the Spanish into war). this imperial venture ended in "catastrophic failure" with an estimated "25% of Scotland's total liquid capital" lost. The events of the Darien Scheme, and the passing by the English Parliament of the
Act of Settlement 1701 The Act of Settlement is an Act of the Parliament of England that was passed in 1701 to settle the succession to the English and Irish crowns on Protestants only. This had the effect of deposing the descendants of Charles I (other than his Prot ...
asserting the right to choose the
order of succession An order of succession or right of succession is the line of individuals entitled to hold a high office when it becomes vacated such as head of state or an honour such as a title of nobility.Act of Security 1704 The Act of Security 1704 (also referred to as the Act for the Security of the Kingdom) was a response by the Parliament of Scotland to the Parliament of England's Act of Settlement 1701. Queen Anne's last surviving child, William, Duke of Glouceste ...
, allowing it to appoint a different monarch to succeed to the Scottish crown from that of England, if it so wished. The English political perspective was that the appointment of a Jacobite monarchy in Scotland opened up the possibility of a Franco-Scottish military conquest of England during the Second Hundred Years' War and
War of the Spanish Succession The War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714) was an early-18th-century European war, triggered by the death in November 1700 of the childless Charles II of Spain. It established the principle that dynastic rights were secondary to maintaini ...
. The Parliament of England passed the
Alien Act 1705 The Alien Act was a law passed by the Parliament of England in February 1705, as a response to the Parliament of Scotland's Act of Security of 1704, which in turn was partially a response to the English Act of Settlement 1701. Lord Godolphin, the Lo ...
, which provided that Scottish nationals in England were to be treated as aliens and estates held by Scots would be treated as alien property, whilst also restricting the
import An import in the receiving country is an export from the sending country. Importation and exportation are the defining financial transactions of international trade. In international trade, the importation and exportation of goods are limited by ...
of Scottish products into England and its colonies (about half of Scotland's trade). However, the Act contained a provision that it would be suspended if the Parliament of Scotland entered into negotiations regarding the creation of a unified
Parliament of Great Britain The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in May 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union by both the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland. The Acts created a new unified Kingdom of Great Britain and dissolved the ...
, which in turn would refund Scottish financial losses on the Darien Scheme.


Union of Scotland and England

Despite opposition from within both Scotland and England,. a
Treaty of Union The Treaty of Union is the name usually now given to the agreement which led to the creation of the new state of Great Britain, stating that England (which already included Wales) and Scotland were to be "United into One Kingdom by the Name o ...

Treaty of Union
was agreed in 1706 and was then ratified by the parliaments of both countries with the passing of the
Acts of Union 1707 The Acts of Union ( gd, Achd an Aonaidh) were two Acts of Parliament: the Union with Scotland Act 1706 passed by the Parliament of England, and the Union with England Act passed in 1707 by the Parliament of Scotland. They put into effect the ter ...
. With effect from 1 May 1707, this created a new sovereign state called the "
Kingdom of Great Britain The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called Great Britain,"After the political union of England and Scotland in 1707, the nation's official name became 'Great Britain'", ''The American Pageant, Volume 1'', Cengage Learning (2012) was a so ...
". This kingdom "began as a hostile merger", but led to a "full partnership in the most powerful
going concernA going concern is a business that is assumed will meet its financial obligations when they fall due. Mits: It originates from the German word 'Konzern' (= company) It functions without the threat of liquidation for the foreseeable future, which is u ...
in the world"; historian
Simon Schama Sir Simon Michael Schama (; born 13 February 1945) is an English historian specialising in art history, Dutch history, Jewish history and French history. He is a University Professor of History and Art History at Columbia University, New York. ...
stated that "it was one of the most astonishing transformations in European history". After 1707, a British national identity began to develop, though it was initially resisted, particularly by the English. The peoples of Great Britain had by the 1750s begun to assume a "layered identity": to think of themselves as simultaneously British and also Scottish, English, or Welsh. The terms North Briton and South Briton were devised for the Scots and the English respectively, with the former gaining some preference in Scotland, particularly by the economists and philosophers of the
Scottish Enlightenment The Scottish Enlightenment ( sco, Scots Enlichtenment, gd, Soillseachadh na h-Alba) was the period in 18th- and early-19th-century Scotland characterised by an outpouring of intellectual and scientific accomplishments. By the eighteenth century, Sc ...
. Indeed, it was the "Scots played key roles in shaping the contours of British identity";. "their scepticism about the Union allowed the Scots the space and time in which to dominate the construction of Britishness in its early crucial years", drawing upon the notion of a shared "spirit of liberty common to both Saxon and Celt ... against the usurpation of the Church of Rome"..
James ThomsonJames, Jamie, Jim, or Jimmy Thomson may refer to: Arts and letters * James Thomson (architect) (1852–1927), Scottish architect, city architect of Dundee * James Thomson (poet, born 1700) (1700–1748), Scottish poet and playwright * James Thomson ...
was a poet and playwright born to a
Church of Scotland The Church of Scotland (CoS; sco, The Scots Kirk; gd, Eaglais na h-Alba), also known by its Scots language name, the Kirk, is the national church of Scotland. It is Presbyterian, having no head of faith or leadership group, and adheres to the Bi ...
minister in the
Scottish Lowlands The Lowlands ( sco, Lallans or ; gd, a' Ghalldachd, , place of the foreigners, ) is a cultural and historical region of Scotland. Culturally, the Lowlands and the Highlands diverged from the later Middle Ages into the modern period, when Lowland S ...
in 1700 who was interested in forging a common British culture and national identity in this way. In collaboration with
Thomas Arne Thomas Augustine Arne (; 12 March 17105 March 1778) was an English composer. He is best known for his patriotic song "Rule, Britannia!" and the song "A-Hunting We Will Go". Arne was a leading British theatre composer of the 18th century, working a ...
, they wrote ''
Alfred Alfred may refer to: Arts and entertainment *''Alfred J. Kwak'', Dutch-German-Japanese anime television series *''Alfred'' (Arne opera), a 1740 masque by Thomas Arne *''Alfred'' (Dvořák opera), an 1870 opera by Antonín Dvořák *"Alfred (Inte ...
'', an opera about
Alfred the Great Alfred the Great (848/49 – 26 October 899) was king of the West Saxons from 871 to and king of the Anglo-Saxons from to 899. He was the youngest son of King Æthelwulf, who died when Alfred was young. Three of Alfred's brothers, Æthelbald, ...

Alfred the Great
's victory against the
Viking Vikings—"pirate", non, víkingr were the seafaring Norse people from southern Scandinavia (present-day Denmark, Norway and Sweden) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * who from the late 8th to late 11th centuries raided, pirated, tr ...
s performed to
Frederick, Prince of Wales Frederick, Prince of Wales, (Frederick Louis; 1 February 170731 March 1751), was heir apparent to the British throne from 1727 until his death from a lung injury at the age of 44. He was the eldest but estranged son of King George II and Carolin ...
in 1740 to commemorate the accession of
George IGeorge I or 1 may refer to: People * Patriarch George I of Alexandria (fl. 621–631) * George I of Constantinople (d. 686) * George I of Antioch (d. 790) * George I of Abkhazia (ruled 872/3–878/9) * George I of Georgia (d. 1027) * Yuri Dolgorukiy ...
and the birthday of Princess Augusta. "
Rule, Britannia! "Rule, Britannia!" is a British patriotic song, originating from the 1740 poem "Rule, Britannia" by James Thomson and set to music by Thomas Arne in the same year. It is strongly associated with the Royal Navy, but is also used by the British ...
" was the climactic piece of the opera and quickly became a "
jingoistic Jingoism is nationalism in the form of aggressive and proactive foreign policy, such as a country's advocacy for the use of threats or actual force, as opposed to peaceful relations, in efforts to safeguard what it perceives as its national intere ...
" British patriotic song celebrating "Britain's supremacy offshore".. An
island country An island country or an island nation is a country whose primary territory consists of one or more islands or parts of islands. As of 1996, 25.2% of all independent countries were island countries. Island nations, because of their geography, tend ...
with a series of victories for the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by English and Scottish kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years' War against the K ...
associated empire and
naval warfare Naval warfare is human combat in and on the sea, the ocean, or any other battlespace involving a major body of water such as a large lake or wide river. History Mankind has fought battles on the sea for more than 3,000 years. Even in the interi ...
"inextricably with ideals of Britishness and Britain's place in the world".
Britannia Britannia () is the national personification of Britain as a helmeted female warrior holding a trident and shield. An image first used in classical antiquity, the Latin ''Britannia'' was the name variously applied to the British Isles, Great B ...
, the new
national personification upright=0.9, An early example of National personification in a gospel book dated 990: Germania.html"_style="text-decoration:_none;"class="mw-redirect"_title="Sclavinia,_Germania">Sclavinia,_Germania,_Gallia,_and_Sclavinia,_Germania,_Galli ...
of Great Britain, was established in the 1750s as a representation of "nation and empire rather than any single national hero". On Britannia and British identity, historian Peter Borsay wrote: From the Union of 1707 through to the
Battle of Waterloo The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday, 18 June 1815, near Waterloo in Belgium, part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands at the time. A French army under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated by two of the armies of the Seven ...

Battle of Waterloo
in 1815, Great Britain was "involved in successive, very dangerous wars with Catholic France",. but which "all brought enough military and naval victories ... to flatter British pride".. As the
Napoleonic Wars The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions. It produced a brief period of French ...
with the
First French Empire The First French Empire, officially the French Republic (until 1809) then the French Empire (; ), was the empire ruled by Napoleon Bonaparte, who established French hegemony over much of continental Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. ...
advanced, "the English and Scottish learned to define themselves as similar primarily by virtue of not being French or Catholic".. In combination with sea power and empire, the notion of Britishness became more "closely bound up with Protestantism",. a cultural commonality through which the English, Scots and Welsh became "fused together, and remain dso, despite their many cultural divergences".. The neo-classical monuments that proliferated at the end of the 18th century and the start of the 19th century, such as
The Kymin The Kymin, ( cy, Cae-y-Maen), is a hill overlooking Monmouth, in Monmouthshire, Wales. It is located approximately one mile east of Monmouth, on the eastern side of the River Wye and adjacent to the border with the Forest of Dean and England. The su ...
at
Monmouth Monmouth ( , ; cy, Trefynwy meaning "town on the Monnow") is both the historic county town of Monmouthshire in Wales and a community. Situated where the River Monnow joins the River Wye, from the Wales–England border. Monmouth is northeast o ...
, were attempts to meld the concepts of Britishness with the Greco-Roman empires of
classical antiquity#REDIRECT Classical antiquity#REDIRECT Classical antiquity#REDIRECT Classical antiquity#REDIRECT Classical antiquity {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ... {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ... {{ ...
. The new and expanding
British Empire#REDIRECT British Empire#REDIRECT British Empire {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
provided "unprecedented opportunities for upward mobility and the accumulations of wealth", and so the "Scottish, Welsh and Irish populations were prepared to suppress nationalist issues on pragmatic grounds". The British Empire was "crucial to the idea of a British identity and to the self-image of Britishness". Indeed, the Scottish welcomed Britishness during the 19th century "for it offered a context within which they could hold on to their own identity whilst participating in, and benefiting from, the expansion of the ritishEmpire". Similarly, the "new emphasis of Britishness was broadly welcomed by the Welsh who considered themselves to be the lineal descendants of the ancient Britons – a word that was still used to refer exclusively to the Welsh".. For the English, however, by the
Victorian era In the history of the United Kingdom, the Victorian era was the period of Queen Victoria's reign, from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. The era followed the Georgian period and preceded the Edwardian period, and its later h ...
their enthusiastic adoption of Britishness had meant that, for them, Britishness "meant the same as 'Englishness'", so much so that "Englishness and Britishness" and "'England' and 'Britain' were used interchangeably in a variety of contexts".. Britishness came to borrow heavily from English political history because England had "always been the dominant component of the British Isles in terms of size, population and power";
Magna Carta (Medieval Latin for "Great Charter of Freedoms"), commonly called (also ''Magna Charta''; "Great Charter"), is a royal charter of rights agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215. First drafted by Archb ...

Magna Carta
,
common law#REDIRECT common law#REDIRECT common law {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
and hostility to
continental Europe Mainland or continental Europe is the contiguous continent of Europe, excluding its surrounding islands. It can also be referred to ambiguously as the European continent, – which can conversely mean the whole of Europe – and, by some, s ...
were English factors that influenced British sensibilities.


Union with Ireland

The political union in 1800 of the predominantly Catholic
Kingdom of Ireland The Kingdom of Ireland (Classical Irish: '; Modern Irish: ' ()) was a client state of England and then of Great Britain that existed from 1542 until 1800 in the island of Ireland. It was ruled by the monarchs of England and then of Great Britai ...
with Great Britain, coupled with the outbreak of peace with France in the early 19th century, challenged the previous century's concept of militant Protestant Britishness.. The new, expanded
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was a sovereign state that existed between 1801 and 1922. It was established by the Acts of Union 1800, which merged the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland into a unified state. The establish ...
meant that the state had to re-evaluate its position on the civil rights of Catholics, and extend its definition of Britishness to the
Irish people The Irish ( ga, Muintir na hÉireann or ''Na hÉireannaigh'') are an ethnic group and nation native to the island of Ireland, who share a common identity and culture. Ireland has been inhabited for about 12,500 years according to archaeologic ...
.. Like the terms that had been invented at the time of the Acts of Union 1707, "
West Brit West Brit, an abbreviation of West Briton, is a derogatory term for an Irish person who is perceived as favouring England in matters of culture or politics. West Britain is a description of Ireland emphasising it as under British influence. His ...
on" was introduced for the Irish after 1800. In 1832
Daniel O'Connell Daniel O'Connell ( ga, Dónall Ó Conaill; 6 August 1775 – 15 May 1847), hailed in his time as The Liberator, was the acknowledged political leader of Ireland's Roman Catholic majority in the first half of the 19th century. His mobilisati ...

Daniel O'Connell
, an Irish politician who campaigned for
Catholic Emancipation Catholic emancipation or Catholic relief was a process in the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland, and later the combined United Kingdom in the late 18th century and early 19th century, that involved reducing and removing many of the restrictio ...
, stated in Britain's
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In the UK and Canada, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the nominally upper house of parliament. The lead ...

House of Commons
: Ireland, from 1801 to 1923, was marked by a succession of economic and political mismanagement and neglect, which marginalised the Irish, and advanced
Irish nationalism#REDIRECT Irish nationalism#REDIRECT Irish nationalism {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{R from other capitalisation ...
. In the forty years that followed the Union, successive British governments grappled with the problems of governing a country which had as
Benjamin Disraeli Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, (21 December 1804 – 19 April 1881), was twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, serving in 1868 and from 1874 to 1880. He was a member of the British Conservative Party and played a cen ...

Benjamin Disraeli
, a staunch anti-Irish and anti-Catholic member of the Conservative party with a virulent racial and religious prejudice towards Ireland put it in 1844, "a starving population, an absentee aristocracy, and an alien Church, and in addition the weakest executive in the world". Although the vast majority of Unionists in Ireland proclaimed themselves "simultaneously Irish and British", even for them there was a strain upon the adoption of Britishness after the Great Famine. War continued to be a unifying factor for the people of Great Britain: British jingoism re-emerged during the
Boer Wars The military history of South Africa chronicles a vast time period and complex events from the dawn of history until the present time. It covers civil wars and wars of aggression and of self-defence both within South Africa and against it. It inc ...
in
southern Africa Southern Africa is the southernmost region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics, and including several countries. The term ''southern Africa'' or ''Southern Africa'', generally includes Angola, Botswana, Eswati ...
. The experience of military, political and economic power from the rise of the British Empire led to a very specific drive in artistic technique, taste and sensibility for Britishness. In 1887,
Frederic Harrison Frederic Harrison (18 October 1831 – 14 January 1923) was a British jurist and historian. Biography Born at 17 Euston Square, London, he was the son of Frederick Harrison (1799–1881), a stockbroker and his wife Jane, daughter of Alexand ...

Frederic Harrison
wrote: The
Catholic Relief Act 1829 The Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829, also known as the Catholic Emancipation Act 1829, was passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom in 1829. It was the culmination of the process of Catholic Emancipation throughout the United Kingdom. In Ir ...
reflected a "marked change in attitudes" in Great Britain towards Catholics and Catholicism.. A "significant" example of this was the collaboration between
Augustus Welby Pugin Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin ( ; 1 March 181214 September 1852) was an English architect, designer, artist and critic who is principally remembered for his pioneering role in the Gothic Revival style of architecture. His work culminated in des ...
, an "ardent Roman Catholic" and son of a Frenchman, and Sir
Charles Barry Sir Charles Barry (23 May 1795 – 12 May 1860) was a British architect, best known for his role in the rebuilding of the Palace of Westminster (also known as the Houses of Parliament) in London during the mid-19th century, but also responsibl ...
, "a confirmed Protestant", in redesigning the
Palace of Westminster The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place for both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Informally known as the Houses of Parliament after its occupants, the Palace lies ...

Palace of Westminster
—"the building that most enshrines ... Britain's national and imperial pre-tensions". Protestantism gave way to
imperialism Imperialism is a policy or ideology of extending the rule over peoples and other countries, for extending political and economic access, power and control, often through employing hard power, especially military force, but also soft power. While ...
as the leading element of British national identity during the Victorian and
Edwardian era#REDIRECT Edwardian era#REDIRECT Edwardian era {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
s, and as such, a series of royal, imperial and national celebrations were introduced to the British people to assert imperial British culture and give themselves a sense of uniqueness, superiority and national consciousness.
Empire Day Commonwealth Day (formerly Empire Day) is the annual celebration of the Commonwealth of Nations, since 1977 often held on the second Monday in March. It is marked by an Anglican service in Westminster Abbey, normally attended by Queen Elizab ...
and jubilees of
Queen Victoria Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death in 1901. Known as the Victorian era, her reign of 63 years and seven months was lo ...

Queen Victoria
were introduced to the British
middle class The middle class is a class of people in the middle of a social hierarchy. Its usage has often been vague whether defined in terms of occupation, income, education or social status. The definition by any author is often chosen for political connot ...
, but quickly "merged into a national 'tradition'".


Modern period

The
First World War World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously known as the Great War or "the war to end all wars", i ...
"reinforced the sense of Britishness" and patriotism in the early 20th century. Through war service (including conscription in Great Britain), "the English, Welsh, Scots and Irish fought as British". The aftermath of the war institutionalised British national commemoration through
Remembrance Sunday Remembrance Sunday is held in the United Kingdom as a day to commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts. It is held at 11am on the second Sunday ...
and the Poppy Appeal. The
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—forming two opposing milit ...
had a similar unifying effect upon the British people, however, its outcome was to recondition Britishness on a basis of
democratic values Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which the people have the authority to choose their governing legislators. The decisions on who is considered par ...

democratic values
and its marked contrast to
Europeanism Europeanism is a term that encapsulates the norms and values that Europeans have in common, and which transcend national or state identity. In addition to helping promote the European integration, this doctrine also provides the basis for analyses ...
. Notions that the British "constituted an Island race, and that it stood for democracy were reinforced during the war and they were circulated in the country through
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, (30 November 187424 January 1965) was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, during the Second World War, and again from 1951 to 1955. Apart from two years between 1922 and 1924, ...

Winston Churchill
's speeches, history books and newspapers". At its international zenith, "Britishness joined peoples around the world in shared traditions and common loyalties that were strenuously maintained". But following the two world wars, the British Empire experienced rapid
decolonisation Decolonization (American and Oxford English) or decolonisation (other British English) is the undoing of colonialism, the latter being the process whereby a nation establishes and maintains its domination of foreign territories (often overseas ter ...
. The secession of the
Irish Free State The Irish Free State ( ga, Saorstát Éireann, , ; 6 December 192229 December 1937) was a state established in 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921. That treaty ended the three-year Irish War of Independence between the forces of ...
from the United Kingdom meant that Britishness had lost "its Irish dimension" in 1922, and the shrinking empire supplanted by independence movements dwindled the appeal of British identity in the
Commonwealth of Nations A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good. Historically it has sometimes been synonymous with "republic". The noun "commonwealth", meaning "public welfare, general good or advantage", dates ...

Commonwealth of Nations
during the mid-20th century. Since the
British Nationality Act 1948 The British Nationality Act 1948 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom on British nationality law which defined British nationality and created the status of "Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies" (CUKC) as the national citizenshi ...
and the subsequent mass
immigration to the United Kingdom Since 1945, immigration to the United Kingdom under British nationality law has been significant, in particular from the Republic of Ireland and from the former British Empire especially India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Caribbean, South Africa ...
from the Commonwealth and elsewhere in the world, "the expression and experience of cultural life in Britain has become fragmented and reshaped by the influences of gender, ethnicity, class and region". Furthermore, the United Kingdom's membership of the
European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organization that aimed to bring about economic integration among its member states. It was created by the Treaty of Rome of 1957.Today the largely rewritten treaty continues in force as the ...
in 1973 eroded the concept of Britishness as distinct from
continental Europe Mainland or continental Europe is the contiguous continent of Europe, excluding its surrounding islands. It can also be referred to ambiguously as the European continent, – which can conversely mean the whole of Europe – and, by some, s ...
. As such, since the 1970s "there has been a sense of crisis about what it has meant to be British",. exacerbated by growing demands for greater political autonomy for
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; Ulster-Scots: ') is variously described as a country, province, or region which is part of the United Kingdom. Located in the northeast of the island of Ireland, Northern Ireland shares a border to ...

Northern Ireland
,
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a 96-mile (154 km) border with England to the southeast and is otherwis ...
, and
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area ...
. The late 20th century saw major changes to the
politics of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom is a unitary state with devolution that is governed within the framework of a parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy in which the monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II, is the head of state while the Prim ...
with the establishment of
devolved Devolution is the statutory delegation of powers from the central government of a sovereign state to govern at a subnational level, such as a regional or local level. It is a form of administrative decentralization. Devolved territories hav ...
national administrations for Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales following pre-legislative
referendums A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct and universal vote in which an entire electorate is invited to vote on a particular proposal and can have nationwide or local forms. This may result in the adoption of a new ...
. Calls for greater autonomy for the four
countries of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK), since 1922, comprises four constituent countries: England, Scotland, and Wales (which collectively make up Great Britain), as well as Northern Ireland (variously described as a count ...
had existed since their original union with each other, but gathered pace in the 1960s and 1970s. Devolution has led to "increasingly assertive Scottish, Welsh and Irish national identities",. resulting in more diverse cultural expressions of Britishness, or else its outright rejection:
Gwynfor Evans Gwynfor Richard Evans (1 September 1912 – 21 April 2005) was a Welsh politician, lawyer and author. He was President of the Welsh political party Plaid Cymru for thirty-six years and was the first Member of Parliament to represent it at Westmin ...
, a
Welsh nationalist Welsh nationalism ( cy, Cenedlaetholdeb Cymreig) emphasises and celebrates the distinctiveness of Welsh language, culture, and history, and calls for more self-determination for Wales, which might include more devolved powers for the Senedd, or full ...
politician active in the late 20th century, rebuffed Britishness as "a political synonym for Englishness which extends English culture over the Scots, Welsh and the Irish". In 2004 Sir
Bernard Crick Sir Bernard Rowland Crick (16 December 1929 – 19 December 2008) was a British political theorist and democratic socialist whose views can be summarised as "politics is ethics done in public". He sought to arrive at a "politics of action", as ...
, political theorist and
democratic socialist Democratic socialism is a political philosophy supporting political democracy within a socially owned economy, with a particular emphasis on economic democracy, workplace democracy and workers' self-management within a market socialist economy ...
tasked with developing the
life in the United Kingdom test The Life in the United Kingdom test is a computer-based test constituting one of the requirements for anyone seeking Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK or naturalisation as a British citizen. It is meant to prove that the applicant has a sufficie ...
said:
Gordon Brown James Gordon Brown (born 20 February 1951) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Labour Party from 2007 to 2010. He served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Blair government from 19 ...
initiated a debate on British identity in 2006. Brown's speech to the
Fabian Society The Fabian Society is a British socialist organisation whose purpose is to advance the principles of democratic socialism via gradualist and reformist effort in democracies, rather than by revolutionary overthrow. As one of the founding organis ...
's Britishness Conference proposed that British values demand a new constitutional settlement and symbols to represent a modern patriotism, including a new youth community service scheme and a
British DayBritish National Day is a proposed official national day for the United Kingdom and a celebration of Britishness. Currently the UK has no single official national day, although the Queen's Official Birthday is used for this purpose in some contexts. ...
to celebrate. One of the central issues identified at the Fabian Society conference was how the English identity fits within the framework of a devolved United Kingdom. An expression of
Her Majesty's Government The Government of the United Kingdom, domestically referred to as Her Majesty's Government, is the central government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
's initiative to promote Britishness was the inaugural Veterans' Day which was first held on 27 June 2006. As well as celebrating the achievements of armed forces veterans, Brown's speech at the first event for the celebration said: In 2018, the
Windrush scandal The Windrush scandal was a 2018 British political scandal concerning people who were wrongly detained, denied legal rights, threatened with deportation and in at least 83 cases wrongly deported from the UK by the Home Office. Many of those affected ...
illustrated complex developments in British peoplehood, when it was revealed hundreds of Britons had been wrongfully deported. With roots in the break-up of the empire, and post-war rebuilding; the
Windrush generation British African-Caribbean people are a cultural group in the United Kingdom. They are citizens or residents of Caribbean descent, and whose ancestry originates partially to Africa. The most common and traditional use of the term African-Caribbea ...
had arrived as CUKC citizens in the 1950s and 1960s. Born in former
British colonies Within the British Empire, a Crown colony or royal colony was a colony administered by the Government of the United Kingdom (the Crown). There was usually a Governor, appointed by the Monarch on the advice of the ''Home'' (UK) Government, with or ...
, they settled in the UK before 1973, and were granted “right of abode” by the
Immigration Act 1971 The Immigration Act 1971c 77 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom concerning immigration. The Act, as with the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962, and that of 1968, restricts immigration, especially primary immigration into the UK. It int ...
. Having faced removal, or been deported, many British people of African Caribbean heritage suffered with loss of home, livelihood, and health. As a result of the political scandal, many institutions and elected politicians publicly affirmed that these individuals, while not legally holding British citizenship or nationality, were, in fact, British people. These included British Prime Minister
Theresa May Theresa Mary, Lady May (; ; born 1 October 1956) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 2016 to 2019. May served as Home Secretary from 2010 to 2016 in the Cameron g ...
, London Mayor
Sadiq Khan Sadiq Aman Khan (; born 8 October 1970) is a British politician serving as Mayor of London since 2016. He previously was Member of Parliament (MP) for Tooting from 2005 until 2016. A member of the Labour Party, Khan is on the party's soft left ...

Sadiq Khan
, Her Majesty's CPS Inspectorate Wendy Williams and her
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In the UK and Canada, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the nominally upper house of parliament. The lead ...

House of Commons
-ordered ''Windrush Lessons Learned Review'', the
Chartered Institute of Housing The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) is the professional body for those working in the housing profession in the United Kingdom. It has a royal charter, gained in 1984. Currently CIH has over 17,000 members, mostly in the UK but also overseas, ...
,
Amnesty International Amnesty International (also referred to as Amnesty or AI) is a non-governmental organization with its headquarters in the United Kingdom focused on human rights. The organization says it has more than seven million members and supporters around t ...
,
University of Oxford , mottoeng = The Lord is my light , established = , endowment = £6.1 billion (including colleges) (as of 31 July 2019) , budget = £2.145 billion (2019–20) , chancellor = The Lord Patten of Barnes , vice_chancellor = Louise Richa ...
's social geogapher
Danny Dorling Danny Dorling (born 16 January 1968) is an English social geographer and academic. Since 2013, he has been Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography of the School of Geography and the Environment of the University of Oxford. He is also a visitin ...
, and other public figures.


Geographic distribution

The earliest migrations of Britons date from the 5th and 6th centuries AD, when Brittonic Celts fleeing the Anglo-Saxon invasions migrated what is today northern France and north western Spain and forged the colonies of
Brittany Brittany (; french: link=no, Bretagne ; br, Breizh, or ; Gallo: ''Bertaèyn'' ) is a peninsula and cultural region in the west of France, covering the western part of what was known as Armorica during the period of Roman occupation. It became an ...
and
BritoniaBritonia (which became Bretoña in Galician) is the historical, apparently Latinized name of a Celtic settlement by Celtic Britons on the Iberian peninsula following the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain. The area is roughly analogous to the northern ...
. Brittany remained independent of France until the early 16th century and still retains a distinct Brittonic culture and language, whilst Britonia in modern Galicia was absorbed into Spanish states by the end of the 9th century AD. Britons – people with British citizenship or of British descent – have a significant presence in a number of countries other than the United Kingdom, and in particular in those with historic connections to the
British Empire#REDIRECT British Empire#REDIRECT British Empire {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
. After the
Age of Discovery The Age of Discovery, or the Age of Exploration (sometimes also, particularly regionally, Age of Contact or Contact Period), is an informal and loosely defined term for the early modern period approximately from the 15th century to the 18th century ...
the British were one of the earliest and largest communities to emigrate out of
Europe Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the continental landmass of Eurasia, and is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlant ...
, and the British Empire's expansion during the first half of the 19th century triggered an "extraordinary dispersion of the British people", resulting in particular concentrations "in
Australasia Australasia is a region which comprises Australia, New Zealand, and some neighbouring islands. The term is used in a number of different contexts including geopolitically, physiogeographically, and ecologically where the term covers several sl ...
and
North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as the northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to ...

North America
".. The British Empire was "built on waves of migration overseas by British people",. who left the United Kingdom and "reached across the globe and permanently affected population structures in three continents". As a result of the
British colonisation of the Americas The British colonization of the Americas was the history of establishment of control, settlement, and colonization of the continents of the Americas by England, Scotland and (after 1707) Great Britain. Colonization efforts began in the 17th ce ...
, what became the
United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, 326 India ...
was "easily the greatest single destination of emigrant British", but in
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixt ...

Australia
the British experienced a
birth rate The crude birth rate (CBR) in a period is the total number of live births per 1,000 population divided by the length of the period in years. The number of live births is normally taken from a universal registration system for births; population ...
higher than "anything seen before" resulting in the displacement of
indigenous Australians Indigenous Australians are people with familial heritage to groups that lived in Australia before British colonisation. They include the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia. The term Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander p ...
. In colonies such as
Southern Rhodesia The Colony of Southern Rhodesia was a landlocked self-governing British Crown colony in southern Africa, established in 1923 and consisting of British South Africa Company territories lying south of the Zambezi River. The region was informally ...
,
British East Africa East Africa Protectorate (also known as British East Africa) was an area in the African Great Lakes occupying roughly the same terrain as present-day Kenya—approximately —from the Indian Ocean inland to the border with Uganda in the west. C ...
and
Cape Colony The Cape Colony ( nl, Kaapkolonie), also known as the Cape of Good Hope, was a British colony in present-day South Africa named after the Cape of Good Hope. The British colony was preceded by an earlier Corporate colony that became a Dutch col ...
, permanently resident British communities were established and whilst never more than a numerical minority these Britons "exercised a dominant influence" upon the culture and politics of those lands. In Australia,
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering , making it the world's second-largest country by total ...

Canada
and
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island () and the South Island ()—and more than 700 smaller islands, covering a total area of . New Zealand ...
"people of British origin came to constitute the majority of the population" contributing to these states becoming integral to the
Anglosphere The Anglosphere is a group of English-speaking nations that share common cultural and historical ties to the United Kingdom, and which today maintain close political, diplomatic and military co-operation. While the nations included in different ...
. The
United Kingdom Census 1861 The United Kingdom Census of 1861 recorded the people residing in every household on the night of 7 April 1861, and was the third of the UK censuses to include details of household members. The census was taken and recorded everyone living in a hous ...
estimated the size of the overseas British to be around 2.5 million, but concluded that most of these were "not conventional settlers" but rather "travellers, merchants, professionals, and military personnel". By 1890, there were over 1.5 million further UK-born people living in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 59 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital cities: e ...
. A 2006 publication from the
Institute for Public Policy Research The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) is a progressive think tank based in London. It was founded in 1988 and is an independent registered charity. IPPR has offices in Newcastle, Manchester, and Edinburgh. Funding comes from trust and fou ...
estimated 5.6 million Britons lived outside of the United Kingdom. Outside of the United Kingdom and its
Overseas Territories A territory is an administrative division, usually an area that is under the jurisdiction of a sovereign state. In most countries, a ''territory'' is an organized division of an area that is controlled by a country but is not formally developed ...
, the largest proportions of people of self-identified ethnic British descent in the world are found in New Zealand (59%), Australia (46%) and Canada (31%), followed by a considerably smaller minority in the
United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, 326 India ...
(10.7%) and . Hong Kong has the highest proportion of British citizens outside of the United Kingdom and its Overseas Territories, with 47% of Hong Kong residents holding a British National (Overseas) citizenship or a British citizenship.


Australia

From the beginning of Australia's colonial period until after the Second World War, people from the United Kingdom made up a large majority of people coming to Australia, meaning that many people born in Australia can trace their origins to Britain. The colony of
New South Wales New South Wales (abbreviated as NSW) is a state on the east coast of :Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Coral and Tasman Seas to the east. The Australian ...
, founded on 26 January 1788, was part of the eastern half of Australia claimed by the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1770, and initially settled by Britons through
penal transportation Penal transportation or transportation was the relocation of convicted criminals, or other persons regarded as undesirable, to a distant place, often a colony, for a specified term; later, specifically established penal colonies became their de ...
. Together with another five largely self-governing Crown Colonies, the
federation of Australia The Federation of Australia was the process by which the six separate British self-governing colonies of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, and Western Australia agreed to unite and form the Commonwealth of Austr ...
was achieved on 1 January 1901. Its history of British dominance meant that Australia was "grounded in British culture and political traditions that had been transported to the Australian colonies in the nineteenth century and become part of colonial culture and politics". Australia maintains the
Westminster system The Westminster system or Westminster model is a type of parliamentary system of government that incorporates a series of procedures for operating a legislature that was first developed in England, key aspects of which include an executive branc ...
of Parliamentary Government and
Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is Queen of the United Kingdom and 15 other Commonwealth realms. Elizabeth was born in Mayfair, London, as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI a ...

Elizabeth II
as
Queen of Australia The monarchy of Australia refers to the institution in which a person serves as Australia's sovereign and head of state, on a hereditary basis. The Australian monarchy is a constitutional monarchy, modelled on the Westminster system of parliame ...
. Until 1987, the national status of Australian citizens was formally described as "British Subject: Citizen of Australia". Britons continue to make up a substantial proportion of immigrants. By 1947, Australia was fundamentally British in origin with 7,524,129 or 99.3% of the population declaring themselves as European. In the most recent
2016 2016 was designated as: * International Year of Pulses by the sixty-eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly. * International Year of Global Understanding (IYGU) by the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International So ...
census, a large proportion of Australians self-identified with British ancestral origins, including 36.1% or 7,852,224 as English Australians, English and 9.3% (2,023,474) as Scottish Australians, Scottish alone. A substantial proportion —33.5%— chose to identify as ‘Australian’, the census Bureau has stated that most of these are of Anglo-Celtic Australians, Anglo-Celtic colonial stock. All States and territories of Australia, 6 states of Australia retain the flag of the United Kingdom in the canton of their respective flags.


British overseas territories

The approximately 250,000 people of the British overseas territories are British by citizenship, via origins or naturalisation. Along with aspects of common British identity, each of them has their own distinct identity shaped in the respective particular circumstances of political, economic, ethnic, social and cultural history. For instance, in the case of the Falkland Islanders, Lewis Clifton the Speaker (politics), Speaker of the Legislative Council of the Falkland Islands, explains: In contrast, for the majority of the Gibraltarians, who live in Gibraltar, there is an "insistence on their Britishness" which "carries excessive loyalty" to Britain. The sovereignty of Gibraltar has been a point of contention in Spain–United Kingdom relations, but an overwhelming number of Gibraltarians embrace Britishness with strong conviction, in direct opposition to disputed status of Gibraltar, Spanish territorial claims.


Canada

Canada traces its statehood to the French colonisation of the Americas, French, British colonisation of the Americas, English, and Scottish expeditions of North America from the late-15th century. France ceded nearly all of New France in 1763 after the Seven Years' War, and so after the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776, Province of Quebec (1763–1791), Quebec and Nova Scotia formed "the nucleus of the colonies that constituted Britain's remaining stake on the North American continent". British North America attracted the United Empire Loyalists, Britons who migrated out of what they considered the "rebellious"
United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, 326 India ...
, increasing the size of British communities in what was to become Canada. In 1867 there was a union of three colonies with British North America which together formed the Canadian Confederation, a federalism, federal dominion. This began an Territorial evolution of Canada, accretion of additional provinces and territories and a process of increasing autonomy from the United Kingdom, highlighted by the Statute of Westminster 1931 and culminating in the Canada Act 1982, which severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the parliament of the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, it is recognised that there is a "continuing importance of Canada's long and close relationship with Britain"; large parts of Canada's modern population claim "British origins" and the cultural impact of the British upon Canada's institutions is profound. It was not until 1977 that the phrase "A Canadian citizen is a British subject" ceased to be used in Canadian passports. The politics of Canada are strongly influenced by British political culture. Although significant modifications have been made, Canada is governed by a democratic parliamentary framework comparable to the
Westminster system The Westminster system or Westminster model is a type of parliamentary system of government that incorporates a series of procedures for operating a legislature that was first developed in England, key aspects of which include an executive branc ...
, and retains
Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is Queen of the United Kingdom and 15 other Commonwealth realms. Elizabeth was born in Mayfair, London, as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI a ...

Elizabeth II
as Monarchy of Canada, The Queen of Canada and Head of State. English is the most commonly spoken language used in Canada and it is an official language of Canada. British iconography remains present in the design of many List of Canadian flags, Canadian flags, with 10 out of 13 Canadian provincial and territorial flags adopting some form of British symbolism in their design. The flag of the United Kingdom is also an official ceremonial flag in Canada known as the Royal Union Flag which is flown outside of federal buildings three days of the year.


New Zealand

A long-term result of James Cook's voyage of 1768–1771,. a significant number of New Zealanders are of British descent, for whom a sense of Britishness has contributed to their identity. As late as the 1950s, it was common for British New Zealanders to refer to themselves as British, such as when Prime Minister Keith Holyoake described Sir Edmund Hillary's successful ascent of Mount Everest as putting "the British race and New Zealand on top of the world". New Zealand passports described nationals as "British Subject: Citizen of New Zealand" until 1974, when this was changed to "New Zealand citizen". In an interview with the ''New Zealand Listener'' in 2006, Don Brash, the then Leader of the Opposition (New Zealand), Leader of the Opposition, said: The politics of New Zealand are strongly influenced by British political culture. Although significant modifications have been made, New Zealand is governed by a democratic parliamentary framework comparable to the
Westminster system The Westminster system or Westminster model is a type of parliamentary system of government that incorporates a series of procedures for operating a legislature that was first developed in England, key aspects of which include an executive branc ...
, and retains
Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is Queen of the United Kingdom and 15 other Commonwealth realms. Elizabeth was born in Mayfair, London, as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI a ...

Elizabeth II
as the head of the monarchy of New Zealand. English is the dominant official language used in New Zealand.


Hong Kong

British nationality law as it pertains to Hong Kong has been unusual ever since Hong Kong became a British colony in 1842. From its beginning as a sparsely populated trading port to its modern role as a cosmopolitan international financial centre of over seven million people, the territory has attracted refugees, immigrants and expatriates alike searching for a new life. Citizenship matters were complicated by the fact that
British nationality law British nationality law details the conditions in which a person holds United Kingdom nationality. There are six different classes of British nationality, each with varying degrees of civil and political rights, due to the UK's historical status ...
treated those born in Hong Kong as British subjects (although they did not enjoy full rights and citizenship), while the People's Republic of China (PRC) did not recognise Hong Kong Chinese as such. The main reason for this was that recognising these people as British was seen as a tacit acceptance of a series of historical treaties that the PRC labelled as "unequal", including the ones which ceded Hong Kong Island, the Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories to Britain. The British government, however, recognising the unique political situation of Hong Kong, granted 3.4 million Hong Kongers a new type of nationality known as British National (Overseas), which is established in accordance with the Hong Kong Act 1985. Among those 3.4 million people, there are many British Nationals (Overseas) who are eligible for full British citizenship. Both British Nationals (Overseas) and British citizens are British nationals and Commonwealth citizens according to the British Nationality Law, which enables them to various rights in the United Kingdom and the European Union.


United States

An English presence in North America began with the Roanoke Colony and Colony of Virginia in the late-16th century, but the first successful English settlement was established in 1607, on the James River (Virginia), James River at Jamestown, Virginia, Jamestown. By the 1610s an estimated 1,300 English people had travelled to North America, the "first of many millions from the British Isles".. In 1620 the Pilgrim (Plymouth Colony), Pilgrims established the English imperial venture of Plymouth Colony, beginning "a remarkable acceleration of permanent emigration from England" with over 60% of trans-Atlantic English migrants settling in the New England Colonies. During the 17th century an estimated 350,000 English and Welsh migrants arrived in North America, which in the century after the
Acts of Union 1707 The Acts of Union ( gd, Achd an Aonaidh) were two Acts of Parliament: the Union with Scotland Act 1706 passed by the Parliament of England, and the Union with England Act passed in 1707 by the Parliament of Scotland. They put into effect the ter ...
was surpassed in rate and number by Scottish and Irish migrants.. The British policy of salutary neglect for its North American colonies intended to minimise trade restrictions as a way of ensuring they stayed loyal to British interests. This permitted the development of the American Dream, a cultural spirit distinct from that of its European founders. The Thirteen Colonies of British America began an armed rebellion against British rule in 1775 when they rejected the Rights of Englishmen, right of the
Parliament of Great Britain The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in May 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union by both the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland. The Acts created a new unified Kingdom of Great Britain and dissolved the ...
to govern them No taxation without representation, without representation; they proclaimed their independence in 1776, and constituted the first thirteen states of the United States of America, which became a sovereign state in 1781 with the ratification of the Articles of Confederation. The Treaty of Paris (1783), 1783 Treaty of Paris represented Great Britain's formal acknowledgement of the United States' sovereignty at the end of the American Revolutionary War. Nevertheless, longstanding cultural and historical ties have, in more modern times, resulted in the Special Relationship, the historically close political, diplomatic, and military co-operation between the United Kingdom – United States relations, United Kingdom and United States. Linda Colley, a professor of history at Princeton University and specialist in Britishness, suggested that because of their colonial influence on the United States, the British find Americans a "mysterious and paradoxical people, physically distant but culturally close, engagingly similar yet irritatingly different". For over two centuries (1789-1989) of early U.S. history, all American presidents, Presidents with the exception of two (Van Buren and Kennedy) were descended from the varied colonial British stock, from the Pilgrims and Puritans to the Scotch-Irish and English who settled the Appalachia. The largest concentrations of self-reported British ethnic ancestry in the United States were found to be in Utah (35%), Maine (30%), New Hampshire (25%) and Vermont (25%) at the 2015 American Community Survey. Overall, 10.7% of Americans reported their ethnic ancestry as some form of "British" in the 2013–17 ACS, behind German Americans, German and African Americans, African ancestries and on par with Mexican Americans, Mexican and Irish Americans, Irish ancestries.


Chile

Approximately 4% of Chile, Chile's population is of British or Irish descent. Over 50,000 British Immigration to Chile, immigrants settled in Chile from 1840 to 1914. A significant number of them settled in Magallanes Province, especially in the city of Punta Arenas, Chile, Punta Arenas when it flourished as a major global seaport for ships crossing between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through the Strait of Magellan. Around 32,000 English settled in Valparaíso, influencing the port city to the extent of making it virtually a British colony during the last decades of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. However, the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914 and the outbreak of the First World War drove many of them away from the city or back to Europe. In Valparaíso, they created their largest and most important colony, bringing with them neighbourhoods of British character, schools, social clubs, sports clubs, business organisations and periodicals. Even today their influence is apparent in specific areas, such as the banks and the navy, as well as in certain social activities, such as Association football, football, horse racing, and the custom of drinking tea. During the movement for independence (1818), it was mainly the British who formed the Chilean Navy, under the command of Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, Lord Cochrane. British investment helped Chile become prosperous and British seamen helped the Chilean navy become a strong force in the South Pacific. Chile won two wars, the first against the Peru-Bolivian Confederation and the second, the War of the Pacific, in 1878–79, against an alliance between Peru and Bolivia. The liberal-socialist "Revolution of 1891" introduced political reforms modelled on British parliamentary practice and lawmaking. British immigrants were also important in the northern zone of the country during the saltpetre boom, in the ports of Iquique and Pisagua, Chile, Pisagua. The "King of Saltpetre", John Thomas North, was the principal tycoon of nitrate mining. The British legacy is reflected in the streets of the historic district of the city of Iquique, with the foundation of various institutions, such as the Club Hipico de Santiago, Club Hípico (Racing Club). Nevertheless, the British active presence came to an end with the saltpetre crisis during the 1930s. Some Scots settled in the country's more temperate regions, where the climate and the forested landscape with glaciers and islands may have reminded them of their homeland (the Highlands and Northern Scotland) while English Chilean, English and Welsh Chilean, Welsh made up the rest. The Irish immigrants, who were frequently confused with the British, arrived as merchants, tradesmen and sailors, settling along with the British in the main trading cities and ports. An important contingent of British (principally Welsh) immigrants arrived between 1914 and 1950, settling in the present-day region of Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena Region, Magallanes. British families were established in other areas of the country, such as Santiago, Chile, Santiago, Coquimbo, the Araucanía Region, Araucanía, and Chiloé. The cultural legacy of the British in Chile is notable and has spread beyond the British Chilean community into society at large. Customs taken from the British include afternoon tea (called Tea, onces by Chileans), Association football, football, rugby union and horse racing. Another legacy is the widespread use of British personal names by Chileans. Chile has the largest population of descendants of British settlers in Latin America. Over 700,000 Chileans may have British (English, Scottish people, Scottish and
Welsh Welsh may refer to: Related to Wales * Welsh, referring or related to Wales * Welsh language, a Brittonic Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, indigenous to the British Isles, spoken in Wales ** Patagonian Welsh, a dialect of Wels ...
) origin, amounting to 4.5% of Chile's population.


South Africa

The British arrived in the area which would become the modern-day
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 59 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital cities: e ...
during the early 18th century, yet substantial settlement only started end of the 18th century, in the Cape of Good Hope; the British first explored the area for conquests for or related to the Slave Trade. In the late 19th century, the discovery of gold and diamonds further encouraged colonisation of South Africa by the British, and the population of the British-South Africans rose substantially, although there was fierce rivalry between the British and Afrikaners (descendants of Dutch colonists) in the period known as the
Boer Wars The military history of South Africa chronicles a vast time period and complex events from the dawn of history until the present time. It covers civil wars and wars of aggression and of self-defence both within South Africa and against it. It inc ...
. When apartheid first started most British-South Africans were mostly keen on keeping and even strengthening its ties with the United Kingdom. The latest census in South Africa showed that there are almost 2 million British-South Africans; they make up about 40% of the total White South African demographic, and the greatest white British ancestry populations in South Africa are in the KwaZulu-Natal province and in the cities of Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth.


Ireland

Plantations of Ireland introduced large numbers of people from Great Britain to
Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, ...

Ireland
throughout the Middle Ages and early modern period. The resulting Protestant Ascendancy, the aristocratic class of the Lordship of Ireland, broadly identified themselves as Anglo-Irish. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Protestant British settlers subjugated Catholic, Gaelic inhabitants in the north of Ireland during the Plantation of Ulster and the Williamite War in Ireland; it was "an explicit attempt to control Ireland strategically by introducing ethnic and religious elements loyal to the British interest in Ireland".. The Ulster Scots people are an ethnic group of British origin in Ireland, broadly descended from Scottish Lowlands, Lowland Scots who settled in large numbers in the Province of Ulster during the planned process of colonisations of Ireland which took place in the reign of James VI of Scotland and I of England. Together with English and Welsh settlers, these Scots introduced Protestantism (particularly the Presbyterianism of the
Church of Scotland The Church of Scotland (CoS; sco, The Scots Kirk; gd, Eaglais na h-Alba), also known by its Scots language name, the Kirk, is the national church of Scotland. It is Presbyterian, having no head of faith or leadership group, and adheres to the Bi ...
) and the Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster Scots and English languages to, mainly, northeastern Ireland. With the partition of Ireland and independence for what is now the
Republic of Ireland Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also known as the Republic of Ireland ('), is a country in north-western Europe occupying 26 of 32 counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, which is located on the eastern side of the i ...

Republic of Ireland
some of these people found themselves no longer living within the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland itself was, for many years, the site of a violent and bitter ethno-sectarian conflict—The Troubles—between those claiming to represent
Irish nationalism#REDIRECT Irish nationalism#REDIRECT Irish nationalism {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{R from other capitalisation ...
, who are predominantly Roman Catholic, and those claiming to represent Unionism in Ireland, British unionism, who are predominantly Protestant. Unionists want Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom, while nationalists desire a united Ireland. Since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, most of the paramilitary groups involved in the Troubles have ceased their armed campaigns, and constitutionally, the people of Northern Ireland have been recognised as "all persons born in Northern Ireland and having, at the time of their birth, at least one parent who is a British citizen, an Irish citizen or is otherwise entitled to reside in Northern Ireland without any restriction on their period of residence". The Good Friday Agreement guarantees the "recognition of the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British, or both, as they may so choose".


Culture

Result from the expansion of the
British Empire#REDIRECT British Empire#REDIRECT British Empire {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
, British cultural influence can be observed in the language and culture of a geographically wide assortment of countries such as
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering , making it the world's second-largest country by total ...

Canada
,
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixt ...

Australia
,
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island () and the South Island ()—and more than 700 smaller islands, covering a total area of . New Zealand ...
,
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 59 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital cities: e ...
, India, Pakistan, the
United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, 326 India ...
, and the British overseas territory, British overseas territories. These states are sometimes collectively known as the
Anglosphere The Anglosphere is a group of English-speaking nations that share common cultural and historical ties to the United Kingdom, and which today maintain close political, diplomatic and military co-operation. While the nations included in different ...
. As well as the British influence on its empire, the empire also influenced British culture, particularly British cuisine. Innovations and movements within the wider-culture of Europe have also changed the United Kingdom; Humanism, Protestantism, and representative democracy have developed from broader Western culture. As a result of the
history of the formation of the United Kingdom The formation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has involved personal and political union across Great Britain and the wider British Isles. The United Kingdom is the most recent of a number of sovereign states that have ...
, the Culture of England, cultures of England, Culture of Scotland, Scotland, Culture of Wales, Wales, and Culture of Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland are diverse and have varying degrees of overlap and distinctiveness.


Cuisine

Historically, British cuisine has meant "unfussy dishes made with quality local ingredients, matched with simple sauces to accentuate flavour, rather than disguise it". It has been "vilified as unimaginative and heavy", and traditionally been limited in its international recognition to the full breakfast and the Christmas dinner.. This is despite British cuisine having absorbed the culinary influences of those who have Immigration to the United Kingdom since 1922, settled in Britain, resulting in hybrid dishes such as the British Asian Chicken tikka masala, hailed by some as "Britain's true national dish". Celtic fields, Celtic agriculture and animal breeding produced a wide variety of foodstuffs for Celts and Britons. The Anglo-Saxons developed meat and savoury herb stewing techniques before the practice became common in Europe. The Norman conquest of England introduced exotic spices into Britain in the Middle Ages. The British Empire facilitated a knowledge of Indian cuisine, India's food tradition of "strong, penetrating spices and herbs". Rationing in the United Kingdom, Food rationing policies, imposed by the British government during wartime periods of the 20th century, are said to have been the stimulus for British cuisine's poor international reputation. British dishes include fish and chips, the Sunday roast, and bangers and mash. British cuisine has several national and regional varieties, including English cuisine, English, Scottish cuisine, Scottish and Welsh cuisine, each of which has developed its own regional or local dishes, many of which are Geographically indicated foods of the United Kingdom, geographically indicated foods such as Cheddar cheese, Cheshire cheese, the Yorkshire pudding, Arbroath Smokie, Cornish pasty and Welsh cakes. The British are the second largest per capita tea consumers in the world, consuming an average of per person each year. British tea culture dates back to the 19th century, when India was part of the
British Empire#REDIRECT British Empire#REDIRECT British Empire {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
and British interests controlled tea production in the subcontinent.


Languages

There is no single British language, though English language, English is by far the main language spoken by British citizens, being spoken monolingually by more than 70% of the UK population. English is therefore the ''de facto'' official language of the United Kingdom. However, under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, the Welsh language, Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Cornish language, Cornish, Irish Gaelic, Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster Scots, Manx language, Manx, Scots language, Scots and Lowland Scots languages are officially recognised as Regional or Minority languages by the UK Government. As indigenous languages which continue to be spoken as a first language by native inhabitants, Welsh and Scottish Gaelic have a different legal status from other minority languages. In some parts of the UK, some of these languages are commonly spoken as a first language; in wider areas, their use in a bilingual context is sometimes supported or promoted by central or local government policy. For naturalisation purposes, a competence standard of English, Scottish Gaelic or Welsh is required to pass the
life in the United Kingdom test The Life in the United Kingdom test is a computer-based test constituting one of the requirements for anyone seeking Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK or naturalisation as a British citizen. It is meant to prove that the applicant has a sufficie ...
. However, English is used routinely, and although considered culturally important, Scottish Gaelic and Welsh are much less used. Throughout the United Kingdom there are distinctive spoken expressions and regional accents of English, which are seen to be symptomatic of a locality's culture and identity. An awareness and knowledge of accents in the United Kingdom can "place, within a few miles, the locality in which a man or woman has grown up"..


Literature

British literature is "one of the leading literatures in the world". The overwhelming part is written in the English language, but there are also pieces of literature written in Scots language, Scots, Scottish Gaelic, Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster Scots, Cornish literature, Cornish and Welsh language, Welsh. Britain has a long history of famous and influential authors. It boasts some of the oldest pieces of literature in the Western world, such as the epic poem Beowulf, one of the oldest surviving written work in the English language. Famous authors include some of the world's most studied and praised writers. William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe defined England's Elizabethan period. The British Romantic movement was one of the strongest and most recognisable in Europe. The poets William Blake, William Wordsworth, Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Coleridge were amongst the pioneers of Romanticism in literature. Other Romantic writers that followed these figure further enhanced the profile of Romanticism in Europe, such as John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron. Later periods like the Victorian Era saw a further flourishing of British writing, including Charles Dickens and William Thackeray. Women's literature in Britain has had a long and often troubled history, with many female writers producing work under a pen name, such as George Eliot. Other great female novelists that have contributed to world literature are Frances Burney, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters, Emily Brontë, Emily, Charlotte Brontë, Charlotte and Anne Brontë, Anne. Non-fiction has also played an important role in the history of British letters, with the first dictionary of the English language being produced and compiled by Samuel Johnson, a graduate of Oxford University and a London resident.


Media and music

Although cinema, theatre, dance and live music are popular, the favourite pastime of the British is watching television. Public broadcast television in the United Kingdom began in 1936, with the launch of the BBC Television Service (now BBC One). In the United Kingdom and the
Crown dependencies The Crown dependencies (french: Dépendances de la Couronne; gv, Croghaneyn-crooin) are three island territories off the coast of Great Britain that are self-governing possessions of The Crown: the Bailiwick of Guernsey, the Bailiwick of Jers ...

Crown dependencies
, one must have a television licensing in the United Kingdom, television licence to legally receive any broadcast television service, from any source. This includes the commercial channels, cable and satellite transmissions, and the Internet. Revenue generated from the television licence is used to provide radio, television and Internet content for the BBC, British Broadcasting Corporation, and Welsh language television programmes for S4C. The BBC, the common abbreviation of the British Broadcasting Corporation, is the world's largest broadcasting, broadcaster. Unlike other broadcasters in the UK, it is a Public service broadcasting in the United Kingdom, public service based, Autonomy, quasi-autonomous, statutory corporation run by the BBC Trust. Free-to-air terrestrial television channels available on a national basis are BBC One, BBC Two, ITV (TV channel), ITV, Channel 4 (S4C in Wales), and Five (TV channel), Five. 100 Greatest British Television Programmes was a list compiled by the British Film Institute in 2000, chosen by a poll of industry professionals, to determine what were the greatest British television programmes of any genre ever to have been screened. Topping the list was ''Fawlty Towers'', a British sitcom set in a fictional Torquay hotel starring John Cleese. "British musical tradition is essentially vocal", dominated by the English folk music, music of England and Germanic languages, Germanic culture, most greatly influenced by hymns and Anglican church music. However, the specific, traditional music of Wales and music of Scotland is distinct, and of the Celtic music, Celtic musical tradition. In the United Kingdom, more people attend live music performances than football matches. British rock was born in the mid-20th century out of the influence of rock and roll and rhythm and blues from the United States. Major early exports were The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who and The Kinks.. Together with other bands from the United Kingdom, these constituted the British Invasion, a popularisation of British pop and rock music in the United States. Into the 1970s Heavy metal music, heavy metal, New wave music, new wave, and 2 tone (type of music), 2 tone. Britpop is a subgenre of alternative rock that emerged from the British independent music scene of the early 1990s and was characterised by bands reviving British guitar pop music of the 1960s and 1970s. Leading exponents of Britpop were Blur (band), Blur, Oasis (band), Oasis and Pulp (band), Pulp. Also popularised in the United Kingdom during the 1990s were several domestically produced varieties of electronic dance music; acid house, UK hard house, Jungle music, jungle, UK garage which in turn have influenced Grime (music), grime and British hip hop in the 2000s. The BRIT Awards are the British Phonographic Industry's annual awards for both international and British popular music.


Religion

Historically, Christianity has been the most influential and important religion in Britain, and it remains the declared faith of the majority of the British people. The influence of Christianity on British culture has been "widespread, extending beyond the spheres of prayer and worship. Churches and cathedrals make a significant contribution to the architectural landscape of the nation's cities and towns" whilst "many schools and hospitals were founded by men and women who were strongly influenced by Christian motives". Throughout the United Kingdom, Easter and Christmas, the "two most important events in the Christian calendar", are recognised as holiday, public holidays. Christianity remains the major religion of the population of the United Kingdom in the 21st century, followed by Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and then Judaism in terms of numbers of adherents. The 2007 Tearfund Survey revealed 53% identified themselves as Christian, which was similar to the 2004 British Social Attitudes Survey, and to the United Kingdom Census 2001 in which 71.6% said that Christianity was their religion, However, the Tearfund Survey showed only one in ten Britons attend church weekly. Secularism was advanced in Britain during the Age of Enlightenment, and modern British organisations such as the British Humanist Association and the National Secular Society offer the opportunity for their members to "debate and explore the moral and philosophical issues in a non-religious setting". The
Treaty of Union The Treaty of Union is the name usually now given to the agreement which led to the creation of the new state of Great Britain, stating that England (which already included Wales) and Scotland were to be "United into One Kingdom by the Name o ...

Treaty of Union
that led to the formation of the Kingdom of Great Britain ensured that there would be a Protestant succession as well as a link between Separation of church and state, church and state that still remains. The Church of England (Anglican) is legally recognised as the established church, and so retains representation in the Parliament of the United Kingdom through the Lords Spiritual, whilst the Monarchy of the United Kingdom, British monarch is a member of the church as well as its Supreme Governor of the Church of England, Supreme Governor. The Church of England also retains the right to draft legislative measures (related to religious administration) through the General Synod of the Church of England, General Synod that can then be passed into law by Parliament. The Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales is the second largest Christian church with around five million members, mainly in England. There are also growing Orthodoxy, Orthodox, Evangelicalism, Evangelical and Pentecostalism, Pentecostal churches, with Pentecostal churches in England now third after the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church in terms of church attendance. Other large Christian groups include Methodism, Methodists and Baptists. The Presbyterianism, Presbyterian
Church of Scotland The Church of Scotland (CoS; sco, The Scots Kirk; gd, Eaglais na h-Alba), also known by its Scots language name, the Kirk, is the national church of Scotland. It is Presbyterian, having no head of faith or leadership group, and adheres to the Bi ...
(known informally as The Kirk), is recognised as the national church of Scotland and not subject to state control. The British monarch is an ordinary member and is required to swear an oath to "defend the security" of the church upon his or her accession. The Roman Catholicism in Scotland, Roman Catholic Church in Scotland is Scotland's second largest Christian church, with followers representing a sixth of the population of Scotland. The Scottish Episcopal Church, which is part of the Anglican Communion, dates from the final establishment of Presbyterianism in Scotland in 1690, when it split from the Church of Scotland over matters of theology and ritual. Further splits in the Church of Scotland, especially in the 19th century, led to the creation of other Presbyterian churches in Scotland, including the Free Church of Scotland (post-1900), Free Church of Scotland. In the 1920s, the Church in Wales became independent from the Church of England and became 'Disestablishmentarianism, disestablished' but remains in the Anglican Communion. Methodism and other Protestant churches have had a major presence in Wales. The main Religion in Northern Ireland, religious groups in Northern Ireland are organised on an all-Ireland basis. Though collectively Protestants constitute the overall majority, the Roman Catholicism in Ireland, Roman Catholic Church of Ireland is the largest single church. The Presbyterian Church in Ireland, closely linked to the Church of Scotland in terms of theology and history, is the second largest church followed by the Church of Ireland (Anglican) which was disestablished in the 19th century.


Sport

Sport is an important element of British culture, and is one of the most popular leisure activities of Britons. Within the United Kingdom, nearly half of all adults partake in one or more sporting activity each week. Some of the major sports in the United Kingdom "were invented by the British", including association football, football, rugby union, rugby league and cricket, and "exported various other games" including tennis, badminton, boxing, golf, snooker and Squash (sport), squash.. In most sports, separate organisations, teams and clubs represent the individual
countries of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK), since 1922, comprises four constituent countries: England, Scotland, and Wales (which collectively make up Great Britain), as well as Northern Ireland (variously described as a count ...
at international level, though in some sports, like rugby union, an all-Ireland team represents both Northern Ireland and Ireland (Republic of), and the British and Irish Lions represent Ireland and Britain as a whole. The UK is represented by a single team at the Olympic Games and at the 2012 Summer Olympics, the Great Britain at the Olympics, Great Britain team won 65 medals: 29 gold (the most since the 1908 Summer Olympics), 17 silver and 19 bronze, ranking them 3rd. In total, sportsmen and women from the UK "hold over 50 world titles in a variety of sports, such as professional boxing, rowing, snooker, squash and motorcycle sports". A 2006 poll found that association football was the most popular sport in the UK. In England 320 football clubs are affiliated to The Football Association (FA) and more than 42,000 clubs to regional or district associations. The FA, founded in 1863, and the Football League, founded in 1888, were both the first of their kind in the world. In Scotland there are 78 full and associate clubs and nearly 6,000 registered clubs under the jurisdiction of the Scottish Football Association. Two Welsh clubs play in England's Football League and others at non-league level, whilst the Welsh Football League contains 20 semi-professional clubs. In Northern Ireland, 12 semi-professional clubs play in the IFA Premiership, the second oldest league in the world. Recreational fishing, particularly angling, is one of the most popular participation activities in the United Kingdom, with an estimated 3–4 million anglers in the country. The most widely practised form of angling in England and Wales is for coarse fishing, coarse fish while in Scotland angling is usually for salmon and trout.


Visual art and architecture

For centuries, artists and architects in Britain were overwhelmingly influenced by Western art history. Amongst the first visual artists credited for developing a distinctly British aesthetic and artistic style is William Hogarth.. The experience of military, political and economic power from the rise of the
British Empire#REDIRECT British Empire#REDIRECT British Empire {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
, led to a very specific drive in artistic technique, taste and sensibility in the United Kingdom. Britons used their art "to illustrate their knowledge and command of the natural world", whilst the permanent settlers in British North America, Australasia, and South Africa "embarked upon a search for distinctive artistic expression appropriate to their sense of national identity". The empire has been "at the centre, rather than in the margins, of the history of British art", and imperial British visual arts have been fundamental to the construction, celebration and expression of Britishness. British attitudes to modern art were "polarised" at the end of the 19th century.. Modernist movements were both cherished and vilified by artists and critics; Impressionism was initially regarded by "many conservative critics" as a "subversive foreign influence", but became "fully assimilated" into British art during the early-20th century. Representation (arts), Representational art was described by Herbert Read during the interwar period as "necessarily... revolutionary", and was studied and produced to such an extent that by the 1950s, Classicism was effectively void in British visual art. Postmodern art, Post-modern, contemporary British art, particularly that of the Young British Artists, has been pre-occupied with postcolonialism, and "characterised by a fundamental concern with material culture ... perceived as a post-imperial cultural anxiety". Architecture of the United Kingdom is diverse; most influential developments have usually taken place in England, but Ireland, Scotland, and Wales have at various times played leading roles in architectural history. Although there are prehistoric and classical structures in the British Isles, British architecture effectively begins with the first Anglo-Saxon Christian churches, built soon after Augustine of Canterbury arrived in Great Britain in 597. Norman architecture was built on a vast scale from the 11th century onwards in the form of castles and churches to help impose Norman authority upon their dominion. English Gothic architecture, which flourished between 1180 until around 1520, was initially imported from France, but quickly developed its own unique qualities. Secular medieval architecture throughout Britain has left a legacy of large stone castles, with the "finest examples" being found lining both sides of the Anglo-Scottish border, dating from the
Wars of Scottish Independence The Wars of Scottish Independence were a series of military campaigns fought between the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. The First War (1296–1328) began with the English invasion of Sc ...
of the 14th century. The invention of gunpowder and canons made castles redundant, and the English Renaissance which followed facilitiated the development of new artistic styles for domestic architecture: Tudor style architecture, Tudor style, English Baroque, Queen Anne Style architecture, The Queen Anne Style and Palladian architecture, Palladian. Georgian architecture, Georgian and Neoclassical architecture advanced after the
Scottish Enlightenment The Scottish Enlightenment ( sco, Scots Enlichtenment, gd, Soillseachadh na h-Alba) was the period in 18th- and early-19th-century Scotland characterised by an outpouring of intellectual and scientific accomplishments. By the eighteenth century, Sc ...
. Outwith the United Kingdom, the influence of British architecture is particularly strong in South India,. the result of British Raj, British rule in India in the 19th century. The Indian cities of Bangalore, Chennai, and Mumbai each have courts, hotels and train stations designed in British architectural styles of Gothic Revival architecture, Gothic Revivalism and Neoclassical architecture, neoclassicism.


Political culture

British political culture is tied closely with its institutions and civics, and a "subtle fusion of new and old values". The principle of
constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises authority in accordance with a written or unwritten constitution. Constitutional monarchies differ from absolute monarchies (in which a monarch holds absolute ...
, with its notions of stable parliamentary government and political liberalism, "have come to dominate British culture". These views have been reinforced by Sir
Bernard Crick Sir Bernard Rowland Crick (16 December 1929 – 19 December 2008) was a British political theorist and democratic socialist whose views can be summarised as "politics is ethics done in public". He sought to arrive at a "politics of action", as ...
who said:. British political institutions include the
Westminster system The Westminster system or Westminster model is a type of parliamentary system of government that incorporates a series of procedures for operating a legislature that was first developed in England, key aspects of which include an executive branc ...
, the
Commonwealth of Nations A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good. Historically it has sometimes been synonymous with "republic". The noun "commonwealth", meaning "public welfare, general good or advantage", dates ...

Commonwealth of Nations
and Privy Council of the United Kingdom. Although the Privy Council is primarily a British institution, officials from other Commonwealth realms are also appointed to the body.. The most notable continuing instance is the Prime Minister of New Zealand, its senior politicians, Chief Justice and Court of Appeal judges are conventionally made Privy Counsellors, as the prime ministers and chief justices of Canada and Australia used to be. Prime Ministers of Commonwealth countries which retain the British monarch as their sovereign continue to be sworn as Privy Counsellors. Universal suffrage for all males over 21 was granted in 1918 and for adult women in 1928 after the Women's suffrage in the United Kingdom, Suffragette movement. Politics in the United Kingdom is multi-party system, multi-party, with three dominant political parties: the Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Party, the Labour Party (UK), Labour Party and the Scottish National Party. The social structure of Britain, specifically social class, has "long been pre-eminent among the factors used to explain party allegiance", and still persists as "the dominant basis" of party political allegiance for Britons. The Conservative Party is descended from the historic Tory Party (founded in England in 1678), and is a centre-right conservative political party, which traditionally draws support from the
middle class The middle class is a class of people in the middle of a social hierarchy. Its usage has often been vague whether defined in terms of occupation, income, education or social status. The definition by any author is often chosen for political connot ...
es. The Labour Party (founded by Scotsman Keir Hardie) grew out of the trade union movement and socialist political parties of the 19th century, and continues to describe itself as a "democratic socialist party". Labour states that it stands for the representation of the low-paid working class, who have traditionally been its members and voters. The Scottish National Party is the third largest political party in the UK in terms of both party membership and representation in parliament, having won 56 out of 59 Scottish seats at the 2015 General Election. The Liberal Democrats (UK), Liberal Democrats are a Liberalism, liberal political party, and fourth largest in England in terms of membership and MPs elected. It is descended from the Liberal Party (UK), Liberal Party, a major ruling party of 19th-century UK through to the First World War, when it was supplanted by the Labour Party. The Liberal Democrats have historically drawn support from wide and "differing social backgrounds".. There are over 300 other, smaller List of political parties in the United Kingdom, political parties in the United Kingdom registered to the Electoral Commission (United Kingdom), Electoral Commission.


Classification

According to the British Social Attitudes Survey, there are broadly two interpretations of British identity, with ethnic and civic dimensions: Of the two perspectives of British identity, the civic definition has become "the dominant idea ... by far", and in this capacity, Britishness is sometimes considered an institutional or overarching Sovereign state, state identity. This has been used to explain why first-, second- and third-generation immigrants are more likely to describe themselves as British, rather than English, because it is an "institutional, inclusive" identity, that can be acquired through naturalisation and
British nationality law British nationality law details the conditions in which a person holds United Kingdom nationality. There are six different classes of British nationality, each with varying degrees of civil and political rights, due to the UK's historical status ...
; the vast majority of people in the United Kingdom who are from an ethnic minority feel British. However, this attitude is more common in England than in Scotland or Wales; "white English people perceived themselves as English first and as British second, and most people from ethnic minority backgrounds perceived themselves as British, but none identified as English, a label they associated exclusively with white people". Contrawise, in Scotland and Wales, White British and ethnic minority people both identified more strongly with Scotland and Wales than with Britain. Studies and surveys have "reported that the majority of the Scots and Welsh see themselves as both Scottish/Welsh and British though with some differences in emphasis". The Commission for Racial Equality found that with respect to notions of nationality in Britain, "the most basic, objective and uncontroversial conception of the British people is one that includes the English, the Scots and the Welsh". However, "English participants tended to think of themselves as indistinguishably English or British, while both Scottish and Welsh participants identified themselves much more readily as Scottish or Welsh than as British". Some persons opted "to combine both identities" as "they felt Scottish or Welsh, but held a British passport and were therefore British", whereas others saw themselves as exclusively Scottish or exclusively Welsh and "felt quite divorced from the British, whom they saw as the English". Commentators have described this latter phenomenon as "nationalism", a rejection of British identity because some Scots and Welsh interpret it as "cultural imperialism imposed" upon the United Kingdom by "English ruling elites",. or else a response to a historical misappropriation of equating the word "English" with "British", which has "brought about a desire among Scots, Welsh and Irish to learn more about their heritage and distinguish themselves from the broader British identity".


See also

* Anti-British sentiment * Lists of British people ** 100 Greatest Britons


References


Citations


Sources

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Further reading

* * * * * * * *


External links

* * {{DEFAULTSORT:British people British people, British society Ethnic groups in the United Kingdom