Herewith a quick summary of the various historical events which gave us today's United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland:

  1. England, under Edward I, conquered Wales in the thirteenth century.
  2. Union of the crowns of Scotland and England, formalised in the Act of Union of 1707.
  3. The Irish parliament votes itself out of existence in another Act of Union in 1801.
  4. Protracted period of rampant imperialism. The United Kingdom retains the same status, but imperial possessions are added to form the British Empire.
  5. Irish struggle for independence gets underway in earnest in 1919. The island is partitioned, with the bulk of the country winning independence through a treaty in 1922.
  6. The smaller part, Northern Ireland, opts to remain part of the United Kingdom.
And that's the exciting story of how the UK came to be what it is today.