United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Overview
 
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 formed a part of it.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland came into being on 1 January 1801 under the terms of the Acts of Union 1800, by which the formerly separate kingdoms of Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 and Ireland
Kingdom of Ireland
The Kingdom of Ireland refers to the country of Ireland in the period between the proclamation of Henry VIII as King of Ireland by the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 and the Act of Union in 1800. It replaced the Lordship of Ireland, which had been created in 1171...

 were united. (The Kingdom of Great Britain had itself been formed in 1707 by the union of the formerly separate kingdoms of England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

 and Scotland
Kingdom of Scotland
The Kingdom of Scotland was a Sovereign state in North-West Europe that existed from 843 until 1707. It occupied the northern third of the island of Great Britain and shared a land border to the south with the Kingdom of England...

.)

By the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty
Anglo-Irish Treaty
The Anglo-Irish Treaty , officially called the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was a treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and representatives of the secessionist Irish Republic that concluded the Irish War of...

 the greater part of Ireland became independent on 6 December 1922 as the Irish Free State
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand...

.
Timeline

1800    The Act of Union 1800 is passed in which merges the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

1801    The legislative union of Kingdom of Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland is completed to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

1803    The Convention of Artlenburg leads to the French occupation of Hanover (which had been ruled by the British king).

1812    War of 1812: American frigate ''USS Constitution'' defeats the British frigate ''HMS Guerriere'' off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada earning her nickname "Old Ironsides".

1813    War of 1812: three weeks of British raids on Fort Schlosser, Black Rock and Plattsburgh, New York begin.

1814    Washington, D.C. is burned and White House is destroyed by British forces during the War of 1812.

1815    Signing of the Kandyan Convention treaty by British invaders and the King of Sri Lanka.

1820    Cato Street Conspiracy: A plot to murder all the British cabinet ministers is exposed.

1830    Charles Grey, (2nd Earl Grey), became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

1831    William IV and Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen are crowned King and Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

Encyclopedia
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 formed a part of it.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland came into being on 1 January 1801 under the terms of the Acts of Union 1800, by which the formerly separate kingdoms of Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 and Ireland
Kingdom of Ireland
The Kingdom of Ireland refers to the country of Ireland in the period between the proclamation of Henry VIII as King of Ireland by the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 and the Act of Union in 1800. It replaced the Lordship of Ireland, which had been created in 1171...

 were united. (The Kingdom of Great Britain had itself been formed in 1707 by the union of the formerly separate kingdoms of England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

 and Scotland
Kingdom of Scotland
The Kingdom of Scotland was a Sovereign state in North-West Europe that existed from 843 until 1707. It occupied the northern third of the island of Great Britain and shared a land border to the south with the Kingdom of England...

.)

By the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty
Anglo-Irish Treaty
The Anglo-Irish Treaty , officially called the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was a treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and representatives of the secessionist Irish Republic that concluded the Irish War of...

 the greater part of Ireland became independent on 6 December 1922 as the Irish Free State
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand...

. In consequence, the formal name of the United Kingdom was changed in 1927 to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The present-day United Kingdom is considered to be a direct continuation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and not a successor state.

The Acts of Union

Despite being a kingdom in its own right, Ireland before 1801 was not a fully sovereign state. Its government was headed by a Lord Lieutenant
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland was the British King's representative and head of the Irish executive during the Lordship of Ireland , the Kingdom of Ireland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland...

 and his Chief Secretary, who were responsible to the government of Great Britain rather than to the Parliament of Ireland
Parliament of Ireland
The Parliament of Ireland was a legislature that existed in Dublin from 1297 until 1800. In its early mediaeval period during the Lordship of Ireland it consisted of either two or three chambers: the House of Commons, elected by a very restricted suffrage, the House of Lords in which the lords...

. Before 1782 the Irish parliament was also severely fettered, and the Irish courts were subordinated to the jurisdiction of the British House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

 in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

.

Ireland gained a degree of independence in the 1780s thanks to Henry Grattan
Henry Grattan
Henry Grattan was an Irish politician and member of the Irish House of Commons and a campaigner for legislative freedom for the Irish Parliament in the late 18th century. He opposed the Act of Union 1800 that merged the Kingdoms of Ireland and Great Britain.-Early life:Grattan was born at...

. During this time the effect of the penal laws on the majority Catholic population was reduced, and Catholics were given the vote in 1794; however, they were still excluded from becoming members of the Irish House of Commons
Irish House of Commons
The Irish House of Commons was the lower house of the Parliament of Ireland, that existed from 1297 until 1800. The upper house was the House of Lords...

. This brief period of limited independence came to an end following the Irish Rebellion of 1798
Irish Rebellion of 1798
The Irish Rebellion of 1798 , also known as the United Irishmen Rebellion , was an uprising in 1798, lasting several months, against British rule in Ireland...

; occurring during the British war with revolutionary France
French Revolutionary Wars
The French Revolutionary Wars were a series of major conflicts, from 1792 until 1802, fought between the French Revolutionary government and several European states...

, the British government's fear of an independent Ireland siding against them with the French resulted in the decision to unite the two countries. This was brought about by legislation in the parliaments of both kingdoms, and came into effect on 1 January 1801.

The Irish had been led to believe by the British that their loss of legislative independence would be compensated for with Catholic Emancipation
Catholic Emancipation
Catholic emancipation or Catholic relief was a process in Great Britain and Ireland in the late 18th century and early 19th century which involved reducing and removing many of the restrictions on Roman Catholics which had been introduced by the Act of Uniformity, the Test Acts and the penal laws...

, i.e. by the removal of civil disabilities placed upon Roman Catholics in both Ireland and Great Britain. However, King George III
George III of the United Kingdom
George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of these two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death...

 was bitterly opposed to Catholic Emancipation, and blocked his government from introducing it into the Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

. This meant that an initial popularity in Ireland for the union soon waned, with even Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 leaders such as Grattan being critical.

Ireland under the Union

Despite losing its own parliament, much of the system of government in Ireland
Dublin Castle administration in Ireland
The Dublin Castle administration in Ireland was the government of Ireland under English and later British rule, from the twelfth century until 1922, based at Dublin Castle.-Head:...

 remained in place after the union: the offices of Lord Lieutenant and Chief Secretary remained (although the latter came to eclipse the former), as well as the Privy Council of Ireland
Privy Council of Ireland
The Privy Council of Ireland was an institution of the Kingdom of Ireland until 31 December 1800 and of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 1801-1922...

 and the various government departments. Ireland retained also its own legal system, and its own courts; the Irish courts became subordinate to the House of Lords once again, though, after briefly achieving judicial independence in the 1780s. While the retention of laws and courts was paralleled with the position of Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 under the union, the continuation of a separate system of government was unique to Ireland.

Catholic Emancipation
Catholic Emancipation
Catholic emancipation or Catholic relief was a process in Great Britain and Ireland in the late 18th century and early 19th century which involved reducing and removing many of the restrictions on Roman Catholics which had been introduced by the Act of Uniformity, the Test Acts and the penal laws...

 was finally brought about in 1829, following a campaign led by Daniel O'Connell
Daniel O'Connell
Daniel O'Connell Daniel O'Connell Daniel O'Connell (6 August 1775 – 15 May 1847; often referred to as The Liberator, or The Emancipator, was an Irish political leader in the first half of the 19th century...

. O'Connell had been elected as Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 for County Clare
Clare (UK Parliament constituency)
Clare was a parliamentary constituency in Ireland, represented in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. From 1801 to 1885 it returned two Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland....

, but had been prevented from taking his seat in the House of Commons
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

 at Westminster because of the requirement to swear the Oath of Supremacy
Oath of Supremacy
The Oath of Supremacy, originally imposed by King Henry VIII of England through the Act of Supremacy 1534, but repealed by his daughter, Queen Mary I of England and reinstated under Mary's sister, Queen Elizabeth I of England under the Act of Supremacy 1559, provided for any person taking public or...

; the oath had been expressly worded to prevent Roman Catholics from entering parliament.

O'Connell had also campaigned for "Repeal", i.e. for the repeal of the Acts of Union and a return to Ireland's position under the Constitution of 1782
Constitution of 1782
The Constitution of 1782 is a collective term given to a series of legal changes which freed the Parliament of Ireland, a Medieval parliament consisting of the Irish House of Commons and the Irish House of Lords, of legal restrictions that had been imposed by successive Norman, English, and later,...

. Similar demands from Ireland for the re-establishment of its own parliament in Ireland were to be repeated through the course of the 19th century, building up until the Home Rule movement came to dominate Irish politics from the late 1870s onwards.

Irish Home Rule

Amongst others, Isaac Butt
Isaac Butt
Isaac Butt Q.C. M.P. was an Irish barrister, politician, Member of Parliament , and the founder and first leader of a number of Irish nationalist parties and organisations, including the Irish Metropolitan Conservative Society in 1836, the Home Government Association in 1870 and in 1873 the Home...

 and Charles Stewart Parnell
Charles Stewart Parnell
Charles Stewart Parnell was an Irish landowner, nationalist political leader, land reform agitator, and the founder and leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party...

 headed an increasingly organised campaign for Home Rule, or self-government for Ireland. Parnell's Irish Parliamentary Party
Irish Parliamentary Party
The Irish Parliamentary Party was formed in 1882 by Charles Stewart Parnell, the leader of the Nationalist Party, replacing the Home Rule League, as official parliamentary party for Irish nationalist Members of Parliament elected to the House of Commons at...

 held most of the seats in the House of Commons for constituencies in Ireland, and the party became a significant factor in British politics even though it never formed part of a British government.

The British Liberal
Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major political parties of the United Kingdom during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a third party of negligible importance throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, before merging with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the present day...

 Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

, William Ewart Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone FRS FSS was a British Liberal statesman. In a career lasting over sixty years, he served as Prime Minister four separate times , more than any other person. Gladstone was also Britain's oldest Prime Minister, 84 years old when he resigned for the last time...

, became convinced of the necessity of addressing the "Irish question" by establishing a parliament at Dublin, albeit one with quite limited powers. Gladstone's proposals did not go as far as Irish nationalist
Irish nationalism
Irish nationalism manifests itself in political and social movements and in sentiment inspired by a love for Irish culture, language and history, and as a sense of pride in Ireland and in the Irish people...

 opinion desired, but were too radical for unionists in both Ireland and Great Britain: his First Home Rule Bill was defeated in the House of Commons following a split in his own party, while his Second Home Rule Bill failed (as was expected) in the Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

-dominated House of Lords.

With the Conservatives opposed to Home Rule, it slipped from the mainstream of British politics once they came into power in the 1890s. However, the Conservative government also felt that the demands for Home Rule were essentially materialist in origin, and that to improve conditions in Ireland would satisfy opinion there; this has been described as "killing home rule with kindness". Reforms passed as a result included the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898
Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898
The Local Government Act 1898 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that established a system of local government in Ireland similar to that already created for England, Wales and Scotland by legislation in 1888 and 1889...

 and the Wyndham Land Act.

The Liberals regained power in 1905. Following a confrontation with the House of Lords over the "People's Budget
People's Budget
The 1909 People's Budget was a product of then British Prime Minister H. H. Asquith's Liberal government, introducing many unprecedented taxes on the wealthy and radical social welfare programmes to Britain's political life...

", a wider constitutional conflict developed, resulting in two general elections during 1910 and the passage of the Parliament Act 1911
Parliament Act 1911
The Parliament Act 1911 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is constitutionally important and partly governs the relationship between the House of Commons and the House of Lords which make up the Houses of Parliament. This Act must be construed as one with the Parliament Act 1949...

. The 1910 elections saw the Liberals lose seats in the Commons, necessitating the support of the Irish Parliamentary Party (now led by John Redmond
John Redmond
John Edward Redmond was an Irish nationalist politician, barrister, MP in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party from 1900 to 1918...

). The Irish party expected their support to be repaid by the introduction of Home Rule, which with the removal of the House of Lords' veto power by the Parliament Act became a clear possibility for the first time.

The Third Home Rule Bill, introduced in 1912, provoked increasingly bitter opposition from Unionists, particularly those in Ulster
Ulster
Ulster is one of the four provinces of Ireland, located in the north of the island. In ancient Ireland, it was one of the fifths ruled by a "king of over-kings" . Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were shired into a number of counties for administrative and judicial...

. The Bill finally passed into law as the Government of Ireland Act 1914 a few weeks after the start of the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, but its implementation was simultaneously suspended
Suspensory Act 1914
The Suspensory Act 1914 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which suspended the coming into force of two other Acts: the Welsh Church Act 1914 , and the Government of Ireland Act 1914...

 for the duration of the war. The situation in Ireland had deteriorated severely, with both unionist Ulster Volunteers and nationalist Irish Volunteers
Irish Volunteers
The Irish Volunteers was a military organisation established in 1913 by Irish nationalists. It was ostensibly formed in response to the formation of the Ulster Volunteers in 1912, and its declared primary aim was "to secure and maintain the rights and liberties common to the whole people of Ireland"...

 openly drilling, and with both groups having imported arms. The war exacerbated tensions further, with unionists urging loyalty to the King by volunteering in the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

, but with nationalists much more ambivalent about a war that was seen by many as Britain's and not Ireland's fight.

The 1916 Easter Rising
Easter Rising
The Easter Rising was an insurrection staged in Ireland during Easter Week, 1916. The Rising was mounted by Irish republicans with the aims of ending British rule in Ireland and establishing the Irish Republic at a time when the British Empire was heavily engaged in the First World War...

 in favour of an independent Irish Republic
Irish Republic
The Irish Republic was a revolutionary state that declared its independence from Great Britain in January 1919. It established a legislature , a government , a court system and a police force...

 was suppressed without great difficulty by the British, but the severe measures taken by them in its aftermath further alienated nationalist opinion. An attempt to introduce a modified form of Home Rule was made by the Prime Minister Lloyd George in 1917 when he called together all parties within Ireland to an Irish Convention
Irish Convention
The Irish Convention was an assembly which sat in Dublin, Ireland from July 1917 until March 1918 to address the Irish Question and other constitutional problems relating to an early enactment of self-government for Ireland, to debate its wider future, discuss and come to an understanding on...

; however, after six months the Convention failed to reach agreement on the important question of whether Ulster was to be under the authority of any new Dublin parliament. The European situation with the threat of conscription (which had been operating in Great Britain but had not yet been introduced into Ireland) changed the political climate further, such that in the 1918 general election, the Irish Party lost most of its seats to the more radical Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin is a left wing, Irish republican political party in Ireland. The name is Irish for "ourselves" or "we ourselves", although it is frequently mistranslated as "ourselves alone". Originating in the Sinn Féin organisation founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith, it took its current form in 1970...

 party.

Breakdown of the Union

In 1919, Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin is a left wing, Irish republican political party in Ireland. The name is Irish for "ourselves" or "we ourselves", although it is frequently mistranslated as "ourselves alone". Originating in the Sinn Féin organisation founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith, it took its current form in 1970...

 MPs elected to Westminster formed a unilaterally independent Irish parliament in Dublin, the first Dáil Éireann
First Dáil
The First Dáil was Dáil Éireann as it convened from 1919–1921. In 1919 candidates who had been elected in the Westminster elections of 1918 refused to recognise the Parliament of the United Kingdom and instead assembled as a unicameral, revolutionary parliament called "Dáil Éireann"...

 with an executive under the President of Dáil Éireann
President of Dáil Éireann
The President of Dáil Éireann was the leader of the revolutionary Irish Republic of 1919–1921. The office, also known as Príomh Aire , was created in the Dáil Constitution adopted by Dáil Éireann, the parliament of the Republic, at its first meeting in January 1919. This provided that the...

, Éamon de Valera
Éamon de Valera
Éamon de Valera was one of the dominant political figures in twentieth century Ireland, serving as head of government of the Irish Free State and head of government and head of state of Ireland...

. A War of Independence was fought between 1919 and 1921. The island of Ireland was partitioned on 3 May 1921 under the Government of Ireland Act 1920
Government of Ireland Act 1920
The Government of Ireland Act 1920 was the Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which partitioned Ireland. The Act's long title was "An Act to provide for the better government of Ireland"; it is also known as the Fourth Home Rule Bill or as the Fourth Home Rule Act.The Act was intended...

 into two distinct autonomous United Kingdom regions, Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 and the short-lived Southern Ireland
Southern Ireland
Southern Ireland was a short-lived autonomous region of the United Kingdom established on 3 May 1921 and dissolved on 6 December 1922.Southern Ireland was established under the Government of Ireland Act 1920 together with its sister region, Northern Ireland...

. On 6 December 1922, a year after the Anglo-Irish Treaty
Anglo-Irish Treaty
The Anglo-Irish Treaty , officially called the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was a treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and representatives of the secessionist Irish Republic that concluded the Irish War of...

 was signed, the entire island of Ireland effectively seceded from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and formed a new dominion, the Irish Free State
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand...

. As was widely expected, however, Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 immediately exercised its right under the Anglo-Irish Treaty
Anglo-Irish Treaty
The Anglo-Irish Treaty , officially called the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was a treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and representatives of the secessionist Irish Republic that concluded the Irish War of...

, to opt out of the Irish Free State. On 7 December 1922 (the day after the establishment of the Irish Free State) the Parliament of Northern Ireland
Parliament of Northern Ireland
The Parliament of Northern Ireland was the home rule legislature of Northern Ireland, created under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, which sat from 7 June 1921 to 30 March 1972, when it was suspended...

 resolved to make an address to the King
George V of the United Kingdom
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

 so as to opt out of the Irish Free State. If Northern Ireland had not done so it would have become an autonomous part of the Irish Free State
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand...

. With the King's acceptance of the petition, the Irish border
Partition of Ireland
The partition of Ireland was the division of the island of Ireland into two distinct territories, now Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland . Partition occurred when the British Parliament passed the Government of Ireland Act 1920...

 became an international frontier.

The surviving Union of Great Britain with part of Ireland continued to be called the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland" until 1927, when it was renamed the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

" by the Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927
Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927
The Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927 [17 & 18 Geo. 5 c. 4] was an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom that authorised the alteration of the British monarch's royal style and titles, and altered the formal name of the British Parliament, in recognition of much of Ireland separating from...

. One reason for this was that there was confusion as to whether the Irish Free State was a self-governing part of the United Kingdom. For instance, the Irish Free State Constitution Act 1922 refers to "the Irish Free State or... any other part of the United Kingdom".

Northern Ireland decides to leave the Free State

The Anglo-Irish Treaty was given effect in the whole of the British Isles
British Isles
The British Isles are a group of islands off the northwest coast of continental Europe that include the islands of Great Britain and Ireland and over six thousand smaller isles. There are two sovereign states located on the islands: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and...

 through the Irish Free State Constitution Act 1922
Irish Free State Constitution Act 1922
The Irish Free State Constitution Act 1922 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, passed in 1922 to confirm the Constitution of the Irish Free State, and to ratify the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty....

. That Act established a new Dominion
Dominion
A dominion, often Dominion, refers to one of a group of autonomous polities that were nominally under British sovereignty, constituting the British Empire and British Commonwealth, beginning in the latter part of the 19th century. They have included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland,...

 for the whole island of Ireland but also allowed Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 to opt out of it. Under Article 12 of the Treaty, Northern Ireland could exercise its opt out by presenting an address to the King
George V of the United Kingdom
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

 requesting not to be part of the Irish Free State. Once the Treaty was ratified, the Houses of Parliament of Northern Ireland
Parliament of Northern Ireland
The Parliament of Northern Ireland was the home rule legislature of Northern Ireland, created under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, which sat from 7 June 1921 to 30 March 1972, when it was suspended...

 had one month to exercise this opt out during which month the Irish Free State Government could not legislate for Northern Ireland, holding the Free State’s effective jurisdiction in abeyance for a month.

On 7 December 1922 (the day after the establishment of the Irish Free State) the Houses of Parliament demonstrated its lack of hesitation by resolving to make the following address to the King so as to opt out of the Irish Free State:
On 13 December 1922 Prime Minister James Craig
James Craig, 1st Viscount Craigavon
James Craig, 1st Viscount Craigavon, PC, PC , was a prominent Irish unionist politician, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party and the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland...

 addressed the Parliament of Northern Ireland
Parliament of Northern Ireland
The Parliament of Northern Ireland was the home rule legislature of Northern Ireland, created under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, which sat from 7 June 1921 to 30 March 1972, when it was suspended...

, informing them that the King had responded to the Parliament’s address as follows (the King having received it on 8 December 1922):

Legacy

Despite increasing political independence from each other from 1922 and complete political independence since the new constitution of 1937, the union left the two countries intertwined with each other in many respects. Ireland used the Irish pound
Irish pound
The Irish pound was the currency of Ireland until 2002. Its ISO 4217 code was IEP, and the usual notation was the prefix £...

 from 1928 until 2001 when the euro
Euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

 replaced it. Until it joined the ERM
European Exchange Rate Mechanism
The European Exchange Rate Mechanism, ERM, was a system introduced by the European Community in March 1979, as part of the European Monetary System , to reduce exchange rate variability and achieve monetary stability in Europe, in preparation for Economic and Monetary Union and the introduction of...

 in 1979, the Irish pound was directly linked to the pound sterling
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

. Decimalisation
Decimalisation
Decimal currency is the term used to describe any currency that is based on one basic unit of currency and a sub-unit which is a power of 10, most commonly 100....

 of both currencies occurred simultaneously on Decimal Day
Decimal Day
Decimal Day was the day the United Kingdom and Ireland decimalised their currencies.-Old system:Under the old currency of pounds, shillings and pence, the pound was made up of 240 pence , with 12 pence in a shilling and 20 shillings in a...

 in 1971. Coins of equivalent value had the same dimensions and size until the introduction of the British twenty pence coin
British Twenty Pence coin
The British decimal twenty pence coin – often pronounced "twenty pee" – was issued on 9 June 1982 to fill the obvious gap between the ten pence and fifty pence coins...

 in 1982, the first new coin to be issued since the break with sterling. British coinage, therefore, although technically not legal tender in the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 was in wide circulation and usually acceptable as payment, and vice versa. The new British twenty pence coin
British Twenty Pence coin
The British decimal twenty pence coin – often pronounced "twenty pee" – was issued on 9 June 1982 to fill the obvious gap between the ten pence and fifty pence coins...

 and later British one pound coin
British One Pound coin
The circulating British one pound coin is minted from a nickel-brass alloy of approximately 70% copper, 24.5% zinc, and 5.5% nickel. The coin weighs 9.50 grams and has a diameter of 22.50 millimetres...

 were the notable exceptions to this, as there was initially no equivalent Irish coin value, and when subsequently, Irish coins of these values were introduced, their designs differed significantly, thereby not allowing for 'stealth' passing of the coins in change.

Irish citizens in the UK have a status almost equivalent to British citizens. They can vote in all elections and even stand for Parliament. As well as this, some people born in the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 before 1949, but after 3 March 1922, are British subject
British subject
In British nationality law, the term British subject has at different times had different meanings. The current definition of the term British subject is contained in the British Nationality Act 1981.- Prior to 1949 :...

s. British citizens have similar rights to Irish citizens in the Republic of Ireland and can vote in all elections apart from presidential
President of Ireland
The President of Ireland is the head of state of Ireland. The President is usually directly elected by the people for seven years, and can be elected for a maximum of two terms. The presidency is largely a ceremonial office, but the President does exercise certain limited powers with absolute...

 elections and referendum
Referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

s. Under the Irish nationality law anyone born on the island of Ireland to a British or Irish parent can have Irish citizenship and so most children born in Northern Ireland can have a British or an Irish passport (or both). Before 2002, there was no requirement for one parent to be a British or Irish citizen and so all persons born on the island of Ireland before then are entitled to be Irish citizens.

List of monarchs

Until 1927, part of the monarch's royal title included the words King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1927, the words United Kingdom were dropped from the royal title so that the monarch was instead styled as King/Queen of Great Britain, Ireland...[and other places]. The words United Kingdom were restored to the monarch's title in 1953 with the reference to Ireland replaced with a reference to Northern Ireland.
  • George III
    George III of the United Kingdom
    George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of these two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death...

     (1801–1820) (monarch from 1760)
  • George IV
    George IV of the United Kingdom
    George IV was the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and also of Hanover from the death of his father, George III, on 29 January 1820 until his own death ten years later...

     (1820–1830)
  • William IV
    William IV of the United Kingdom
    William IV was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of Hanover from 26 June 1830 until his death...

     (1830–1837)
  • Victoria
    Victoria of the United Kingdom
    Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

     (1837–1901)
  • Edward VII
    Edward VII of the United Kingdom
    Edward VII was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910...

     (1901–1910)
  • George V
    George V of the United Kingdom
    George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

     (1910–1922) (title used until 1927)


See also

  • History of Ireland (1801-1922)
  • History of the United Kingdom
    History of the United Kingdom
    The history of the United Kingdom as a unified sovereign state began with the political union of the kingdoms of England, which included Wales, and Scotland on 1 May 1707 in accordance with the Treaty of Union, as ratified by the Acts of Union 1707...

  • British Empire
    British Empire
    The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

  • Terminology of the British Isles
  • Irish head of state from 1936 to 1949

External links


Preceded by:
Kingdom of Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...


1707–1801
Kingdom of Ireland
Kingdom of Ireland
The Kingdom of Ireland refers to the country of Ireland in the period between the proclamation of Henry VIII as King of Ireland by the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 and the Act of Union in 1800. It replaced the Lordship of Ireland, which had been created in 1171...


1541–1801
United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Ireland

1801–1922
Succeeded by:
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...


1922–present
Irish Free State
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand...


1922–1937
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