Kingdom of Great Britain

The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called Great Britain,[1] was a sovereign state in Western Europe from 1 May 1707[2] to 31 December 1800[citation needed]. The state was created by the 1706 Treaty of Union and ratified by the Acts of Union 1707, which united the kingdoms of England (which included Wales) and Scotland to form a single kingdom encompassing the whole island of Great Britain and its outlying islands, with the exception of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The unitary state was governed by a single parliament at the Palace of Westminster, but distinct legal systems – English law and Scots law – remained in use.

Great Britain
1707–1800
Anthem: God Save The King
Royal coats of arms:[lower-alpha 1]
Location of Great Britain in 1789 in dark green; Ireland, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Hanover in light green
CapitalLondon
51°30′N 0°7′W
Official languagesEnglish
Recognised regional languagesScots, Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Norn, Cornish
Religion
Church of England
Church of Scotland
Demonym(s)British
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Monarch 
 1707–1714[a]
Anne
 1714–1727
George I
 1727–1760
George II
 1760–1800[b]
George III
Prime Minister 
 1721–1742
Robert Walpole (first)
 1783–1800
William Pitt the Younger (last of GB)
LegislatureParliament of Great Britain
House of Lords
House of Commons
History 
22 July 1706
1 May 1707
1 January 1801
Area
Total230,977 km2 (89,181 sq mi)
Population
 1707
7,000,000
 1800
10,500,000
CurrencyPound sterling
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kingdom of England
Kingdom of Scotland
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Today part ofUnited Kingdom
  1. ^ Monarch of England and Scotland from 1702 to 1707.
  2. ^ Continued as monarch of the United Kingdom until 1820.

The formerly separate kingdoms had been in personal union since the 1603 "Union of the Crowns" when James VI of Scotland became King of England and King of Ireland. Since James's reign, who had been the first to refer to himself as "king of Great Britain", political union between the two mainland British kingdoms had been repeatedly attempted and aborted by both the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland. Queen Anne (r. 1702–1714) did not produce a clear Protestant heir and endangered the line of succession, with the laws of succession differing in the two kingdoms and threatening a return to the throne of Scotland of the Roman Catholic House of Stuart, exiled in the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

The resulting kingdom was in legislative and personal union with the Kingdom of Ireland from its inception, but the Parliament of Great Britain resisted early attempts to incorporate Ireland in the political union. The early years of the newly-united kingdom were marked by Jacobite risings, particularly the Jacobite rising of 1715. The relative incapacity or ineptitude of the Hanoverian kings resulted in a growth in the powers of Parliament and a new role, that of "prime minister", emerged in the heyday of Robert Walpole. The "South Sea Bubble" economic crisis was brought on by the failure of the South Sea Company, an early joint-stock company. The campaigns of Jacobitism ended in defeat for the Stuarts' cause in 1746.

The Hanoverian line of monarchs gave their names to the Georgian era and the term "Georgian" is typically used in the contexts of social and political history for Georgian architecture. The term "Augustan literature" is often used for Augustan drama, Augustan poetry and Augustan prose in the period 1700–1740s. The term "Augustan" refers to the acknowledgement of the influence of classical Latin from the ancient Roman Republic.[3]

Victory in the Seven Years' War led to the dominance of the British Empire, which was to become the foremost global power for over a century. Great Britain would dominate the Indian subcontinent through the trading and military expansion of the East India Company in colonial India. In wars against France, it gained control of both Upper and Lower Canada, and until suffering defeat in the American War of Independence, it also had dominion over the Thirteen Colonies. From 1787, Britain began the colonisation of New South Wales with the departure of the First Fleet in the process of penal transportation to Australia. Britain was a leading belligerent in the French Revolutionary Wars.

Great Britain was merged into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on 1 January 1801, with the Acts of Union 1800, enacted by Great Britain and Ireland.