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Örjan Martinsson

The British Isles

  

= Wessex
= Small Anglo-Saxon kingdoms
               (Sussex, Kent, Essex, East Anglia)
= Mercia
= Northumbria (Bernicia, Deira, York)
= Wales, Cornwall, Strathclyde
= Pictland
= Dalriada
= Ireland
Great Britain

= England
= Scotland
= Wales
= Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey
= Northern Ireland

= Republic of Ireland

The map to the right show all the lands that make up the kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland plus the republic of Ireland. The most important part of Great Britain is England, which originally was divided between several Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. The map to the left show to borders of these kingdoms about the year 802 when the king of Wessex claimed to be king over all England. But because of the Viking conquests it was not until 954 that the Wessex king de facto ruled over all England.

Scotland was also originally divided between several petty kingdoms and it was unified thru conquests and unions. But it never became as strong as England and the Scots were temporarily forced to recognize England's supremacy during the middle age. At the beginning of the 14th century the Scots managed to restore its independence. Scotland and England would become arch enemies until the Scottish king inherited the English throne 1603. The personal union between England and Scotland was transformed to a real union when the new state of Great Britain was created 1707. Areas as Wales and Ireland were also forced to defend its independence against England but they were eventually conquered by the English.

The Irish people's discontent with the English rule were to be a continuous feature in he history of the British Isles. It continued even after the Irish Free State was created 1922 (independent 1937). Northern Ireland with its large protestant population remained under British rule. The catholic minority has for a long time fought with violent methods for a unification with the Irish republic.