How was the History of Nationalism in Britain Unlike the Rest of Europe?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

The history of Nationalism in Britain, unlike the rest of Europe, was imposed on the people. Before the eighteenth century, the idea of a British country did not exist. The truth was that different ethnic groups lived in the area (English, Welsh, Scot, Irish). Each group had its own political and cultural history. But as the English Empire expanded in wealth, importance, and power, it established greater control over other island states.

History of Nationalism in Britain Unlike the Rest of Europe

The establishment of the “United Kingdom of Great Britain” as a result of the Acts of Union (1707) between England and Scotland allowed England to exert influence over Scotland. Political institutions and the unique culture of Scotland were systematically undermined. The British helped Irish Protestants establish their rule over the predominantly Catholic nation.

The Catholic rebellion against British rule was suppressed. In 1801, Britain forcibly annexed Ireland into its territory. The national anthem, the British flag, and the English language were publicly promoted as symbols of the new Britain.

  • At the same time, the various identities of the other participating states were actively suppressed.
  • The British nation was dominated by English culture, while the other states of the Union were merely dependents.
  • Thus, nationalism in Britain developed as a result of political decisions taken by those in power and not because of the public’s desire to join national movements.

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