chapter  3
18 Pages

Britain

The Creation of a National Digital Topographic Database

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a constitutional monarchy created by the union of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is situated in northwest Europe and has a population of 56.7 million living on a land area of 244,000 square kilometres (see Figure 3.1). The effective union of the principality of Wales with the Kingdom of England dates back to 1301 when King Edward I was created Prince of Wales although Wales was not enfranchised until the sixteenth century. The name Great Britain was first used in 1604 after James VI of Scotland succeeded to the throne of England, but was not formally adopted until 1707 when the Parliaments of England and Scotland were combined by the Act of Union. In 1801 Ireland became part of the United Kingdom as a result of a further Act of Union, but in 1922, 26 Irish counties left the United Kingdom to form the Irish Free State, now the Republic of Ireland. From that time the territory has been referred to as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.