In the end it may well be that Britain will be honoured by the historians more for the way she disposed of an empire than for the way in which she acquired it.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and (later) Northern Ireland was formed by the Act of Union in 1707. The Scottish and English crowns had been united by the Union of the Crowns in 1603, and before 1707, the histories of Scotland, England, Wales, and Ireland were quite separate from that of the United Kingdom. This node will attempt to provide a timeline of British history since the Union. Message me with any additions.
British history timeline
1707: Queen Anne enacts the Act of Union between England and Scotland.
1721: George I unofficially makes Ropert Walpole Britain's first prime minister.
1783: Britain loses its North American colonies that form the USA - Canada remains British.
1801: The Act of Ireland unites Britain and Ireland.
1819: The Peterloo massacre takes place.
1832: The Great Reform Bill becomes law.
1838: The working-class movement of Chartism is formed.
1846: Robert Peel repeals the Corn Laws.
1867: A second Reform Bill extends the voting franchise.
1906: The Liberal Party wins the election, and begins a programme of social reform.
1911: The powers of the House of Lords are curbed.
1914: The Irish Home Rule Bill is introduced.
1914-1918: World War I.
1916: David Lloyd George becomes prime minister.
1920: The Home Rule Act incorporates the northeast of Ireland (Ulster) into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
1921: Ireland except Ulster becomes the Irish Free State, a dominion of Britain, and later (1937)Eire.
1924: Ramsay MacDonald becomes the leader of the first Labour government.
1926: General Strike takes place.
1931: A coalition government is formed. Unemployment reaches 3 million.
1939: World War II begins.
1940: Winston Churchill becomes head of a coalition government.
1945: A Labour government takes over under Clement Attlee. The welfare state is established.
1951: The Conservative party defeat Labour.
1956: The Suez Crisis hits the headlines.
1957: Harold Macmillan becomes prime minister. Bill Haley and His Comets play London. Fog causes a rail crash in Lewisham; 92 die.
1958: Manchester United's Busby Babes are killed in Munich plane crash. CND marchers rally at Aldermaston, Britain's nuclear weapons HQ. British paratroops land in Jordan after coup in Iraq. Race riots in Notting Hill.
1959: UK warns Iceland in Cod Wars. The Mini car is launched. Eisenhower visits MacMillan; who is later re-elected. Europe is split into EEC and EFTA trade blocs - Britain is in EFTA at this point.
1960: MacMillan speaks about "wind of change" in Africa. Nye Bevan, founder of the NHS, dies.
1961: Tony Benn is barred from the House of Commons after receiving a peerage. London ban-the-bomb demo leads to 850 arrests.
1962: A smallpox outbreak occurs in the UK. The Night of the Long Knives: Macmillan drastically reworks his cabinet, sacking seven. The first passenger hovercraft enters service. Polaris nuclear missiles will equip British submarines. Francis Crick, James Watson, and Maurice Wilkins win Nobel Prizes for their work on DNA.
1963: De Gaulle reject's British entry to EEC, and Polaris deal with US. Hugh Gaitskell, Labour leader, dies; Harold Wilson is new leader. The Profumo affair breaks out. Beeching axes branch lines. Kim Philby third man in spy trio with Guy Burgess and Donald MacLean. The Great Train Robbery. Lord Home becomes Tory leader and PM. JFK is shot in Dallas. Christine Keeler is jailed.
1964: 10 Great Train Robbers are convicted. Ian Smith is elected PM in Rhodesia. Mods and Rockers battle at Margate. James Bond writer Ian Fleming dies.
The Hutchinson Encylopedian (1997 ed.), Helicon Publishing Ltd
20th Century Day by Day, 2000, Dorling Kindersley Ltd