What’s the difference between the United Kingdom and Great Britain? // Vlogmas 2019 Day 10


Hello lovely people, If you’re new here, hi, I’m Jessica. I’m
British and I live in the United Kingdom and, even if you do too, you might not know the
difference so today I’m going to be running you through why exactly we’re such a confusing
country. – [cough] Religion [cough] Subscribe for more educational and amusing
content! By the way, thank you for following along with
Vlogmas so far and please don’t forget to go over to my instagram and comment in
my outfit of the day pictures to be in with the chance of being sent a personalised
Christmas card and yes That is a delightful picure of my wife and I I love them! Today I’ll be aided by this helpful graphic from Wikimedia YEah I’ll leave a link in the description as well Thank you That was meant to make it look less confusing
for you, not more. We’ll start in the middle and then move
outwards because that’s what conquering invaders do and that’s how this whole mess
was created… – I feel guilty already. This is England. It used to be a number of
countries but around the 10th century they realised that was a bit much and also there
was a guy called Æthelstan who was great at organising stuff and not dying long enough
to make a difference. This is Wales. Although it is its own country
with its own flag and language and traditions, England has always enjoyed pretending it isn’t
and, like a much larger sibling, can be quite a bully about it. Remarkably, despite centuries
of oppression, Welsh people managed to retain some of their national identity, which had
first emerged after the Romans withdrew in the 5th century. At one time Wales had its
own Kings and they even vaguely liked Æthelstan (him again) because they chose to pay tribute
to him… although this could have been just so he would stop getting people to smack them
over the head with sticks. The history books are unclear. Wales was first conquered by England in 1282
by Edward I but independence was briefly restored in the early 15th century. But… they were
annexed and incorporated within the English legal system under the Laws in Wales Acts
1535 and 1542 thanks to Henry VIII, who was himself partly Welsh and yes, was the one
who had six wives. At the time bringing English law to Wales was received well by Welsh gentry,
who already spoke English and wanted to be treated equally in law with English citizens,
and not hugely well by Welsh peasants, who were treated… like peasants who didn’t
speak English. This was known as ‘The Kingdom of England’ but we now say ‘England and
Wales’ because even the government are trying to be better people. Many horrible things happened to Wales and
to Welsh people in an attempt to crush down their distinctive culture and language but
admirably, with a population of currently only around 3 million, they’ve managed to
hold their own and keep their traditions alive. No thanks to the English. – you’re going to hear that a lot. English people have a lot of guilt. We then move on to the third country that
makes up Great Britain: Scotland. Another independent country that England ate
and then… felt mildly bad about. But not bad enough to actually let it go and do its
own thing. Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign
state in around the 5th century and continued to be such, often going to war with England,
until the early 18th century because a hundred years prior the English Queen had died without
children and was thus succeeded by her Scottish cousin (see my Mary Queen of Scots video for
more on that- link in the card above) meaning the monarchs became ‘King of England and
Scotland’. They only kept this up for a bit because it was confusing having two different
countries to rule and the English government like to take things that aren’t theirs.
Scotland entering into this political union in 1707 created the new Kingdom of Great Britain. – That’s the centre bit of this diagram. There we go: ‘Great Britain’. GB. That
wasn’t so hard, right? Is just that one island! Yeah… it’s about to get more confusing. The ‘United Kingdom’ was created in 1801
when the aforementioned Great Britain entered into a political union with the Kingdom of
Ireland. Now, Ireland the island (yes the whole thing) was already a Kingdom of the
English Monarch, much like Scotland, but from even earlier… King Henry II of England had invaded Ireland
and given the section of it he won to his son John in 1177. John was the Lord of Ireland
and… was also a 10-year-old. When John succeeded to the English throne in 1199, he remained
Lord of Ireland thereby bringing the kingdom of England and the lordship of Ireland into
union. Not that the Irish were very happy about it. Although the island was supposed
to be ruled by the English monarch from the mid 13th century the area they controlled
shrank drastically because they were too scared to actually go over there to do something
about it. Didn’t stop them taxing everyone though. At the end of the 14th century King
Richard II went to go sort it out but lost his English throne in the process and that
was the last time a medieval king of England visited Ireland. Smart move. In 1542, King Henry VIII of England (yes,
him again with the wives), was made King of Ireland and the English began establishing control over the
island by confiscating land from Irish people and hitting them over the head with sticks. – history is so friendly The Kingdom of Ireland was considered a client
state of England (and then ‘Great Britain’ when Scotland was smushed with England). A
‘client state’ means a state that is economically, politically, or militarily subordinate to
another more powerful state in international affairs. Basically everyone under England. Sorry. There will be some others popping up so keep that in mind. It was ruled by the monarch of Great Britain
via a viceroy, who ruled in their stead (basically saying whatever the monarch told him to say) – and it was always a ‘him’. It did however have its own laws, aristocracy
and state church… the ‘Protestant Church of Ireland’. Which wasn’t great since most of the population
were Catholic. This was the cause of many wars that broke out since not only is it pretty
awful when someone comes, takes over your country and tells you what to do, it’s particularly
awful if they bring religion into it. Catholics were officially discriminated against in the
Kingdom of Ireland which lead to several violent conflicts. In 1800 the Parliament of Ireland passed the Acts of Union by which it abolished itself
and the Kingdom, instead establishing the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
on the first day of 1801. So there you go. The United Kingdom. Both
of these Islands, plus all these other little ones 6,000 islands! minus the Isle of Man (the tiny island
in the middle that likes to do its own thing- but we’ll get to that in a minute), became
one thing: United. – [awkward beat] Except not really because that’s not how
history works! Or geography. Or anthropology. You can’t just hit someone on the head with
a stick and expect that they’ll then willingly do whatever you say forever. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
lasted from 1801 until 1921 and was marked by a period of rapid industrialisation and
expansion for the British empire where it became the foremost world power. My parents
used to spend their geography classes in primary school colouring a quarter of the world in
pink apparently. – my parents weren’t born before 1920, the
school system in Britain is just incredibly slow to change. However, the British weren’t great when
it came to looking after their own subjects as shown by the Great Irish Famine from 1845
to 1849 when around a million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland,
causing the island’s population to fall by 25%. The famine was exacerbated by government
inaction and lead to an increase in desire for Irish self-governance and eventually the
Irish War of Independence, which resulted in most of Ireland seceding from the Union
and forming the Irish Free State in 1922. Why not all of Ireland? Well… that’s a
long and complex issue that someone more qualified than me will be happy to explain to you in
another video. Find an Irish person. But to cut short an incredibly lengthy explanation:
This top bit of the island to the left is called ‘Northern Island’ and the bottom,
larger part is the Republic of Ireland. And this means that the United Kingdom was renamed
‘The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island’ in 1927. Although, this long title is rarely used and
instead we tend to refer to our country-that-is-actually-a-number-of-countries as ‘The UK’. So in summary: Great Britain is the island on the right,
it’s made up of England, Wales and Scotland. Ireland is the island on the left, it’s
made up of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The United Kingdom is the political unit of
England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The British Islands are The United Kingdom
plus three tiny islands: The Isle of Man, which is a self governing
British crown dependency of around 80,000 people between the island of Ireland and the
island of Great Britain, and- – fun fact! In 1881 the Isle of Man’s parliament
became the first national legislative body in the world to give women the right to vote
in a general election… although they excluded married women. Jersey, another small island and British crown
dependency- but slightly bigger with just over 100,000 people and a LOT closer to France
than it is to the British mainland. And Guernsey, 60,000 people who are only marginally
further away from France. The three islands (along with Sark and Alderney
but they’re both really small) are, again, not part of the UK, even though they’re
British. The ‘British Isles’ is a collective term
used for Great Britain, Ireland and the over 6,000 small islands surrounding them. And to anyone from the Republic of Ireland
who is offended by the inclusion of Ireland the island in the British Isles… I see your
pain but also: the islands are grouped together. Granted, ‘British Isles’ is itself an
antiquated colonial term that should have ceased to apply to Ireland once it withdrew
from the Act of Union in 1922 but yet, like many things from the British empire- The Union
Jack, afternoon tea, racism and general warmth towards the Queen- – one of these things is not like the other. It continues. The word ‘British’ is the issue because,
although it can be used to describe all of the islands and countries that sit within
English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish sovereignty… The Republic of Ireland is not within Great
Britain… Which is called ‘Great Britain’ because
during the Middle Ages the name Britain was also applied to a small part of France (because
the King of England was actually French) that is now known as Brittany. As a result ‘Great
Britain’ came into use in reference specifically to the bigger island bit. By the way, I’m posting this before the
UK election on the 12th December 2019 and Scottish independence has been a hot topic
so maybe by the time you’re watching this the UK looks different… I really hope you’ve enjoyed this video.
It was surprisingly hard to talk through whilst attempting not to offend anyone. Does the area you live in have any interesting
naming quirks you want to explain? Are you Are you Dutch? – I feel like my geography classes lied to
me about the difference between Holland and The Netherlands. Thank you for watching and I’ll see you
in my next video! That’s just my face. [Clara laughs after successfully winding Jessica up] Clara: I’m looking forward to learning about
the difference which I clearly don’t know… Ok Clara: off I go Bye friend! Clara: byeee

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