Formally known as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland these questions relate to the history of events that have happened in the countries that make up the United Kingdom; such as England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and various territories; or the United Kingdom's ...

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33
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6answers
7k views

Why was Britain willing to return Hong Kong but not Gibraltar?

Why was Britain willing to return Hong Kong to China, but not Gibraltar to Spain? Was it because Gibraltar has more strategic value than Hong Kong?
27
votes
7answers
10k views

When and how did the USA and the UK become allies?

So, you may remember that the United States and Great Britain had a minor spat in 1776, which shall we say, did not put them on the friendliest of terms. In 1812, while Britain was focused on its war ...
2
votes
1answer
109 views

How were Warrant Officers appointed to Royal Navy ships during the Age of Sail?

As I understand it, Warrant Officers got their name from the warrant issued by the Admiralty (depending on the applicant having the correct qualifications). From the descriptions I've read, these ...
-2
votes
1answer
116 views

WWII: Did the entire war depend on breaking the ENIGMA cipher? [closed]

I recently watched this great historical movie called ENIGMA (2001) As I saw the movie, a British general claimed that the entire war was depended on breaking the ENIGMA cipher? Is this really a ...
3
votes
4answers
415 views

Why did the Allies let Hitler break the Treaty of Versailles?

I was reading about what led up to ww2 and I noticed that Hitler broke several of the agreements in the Treaty of Versailles such as getting a army of more than 100000 men. I was wondering why the ...
3
votes
3answers
142 views

Were Tories “Catholics” and “Whigs” Anglican?

I had one exam with the following question: About the Glorious Revolution (1688-1689), mark true (T) or False (F): In 1688, after the deposition of James II, the English parliament was divided in ...
2
votes
1answer
97 views

Do British peers have a special way of signing their names?

This passage in wikipedia implies that they do: Shortly before his death, Forrest was informed that the King had approved his being raised to the British peerage as Baron Forrest of Bunbury. ...
24
votes
1answer
1k views

Did the end of the British Raj in India create an economic loss for Britain?

I know the economic downturn of the World War and the victory of the Labour Party played some role in Britain deciding to quit India. Did GB have any serious economic implications because of this? ...
0
votes
2answers
119 views

What was the official policy of British administration about the integration of Indian Princely States in 1947?

What direction was given in Indian Independence Act, 1947 about the political integration of Princely States during the partition of India? What policy was introduced by the British authority about ...
40
votes
9answers
5k views

Why didn't France and UK invade Germany September 3rd 1939?

On September 3rd 1939, when UK and France declared war on Germany, both ordinary Polish people and government officials became enthusiastic. There were spontaneous demonstrations of support for the ...
0
votes
1answer
86 views

Could the UK have ended slavery earlier? If not, why not? [closed]

This Wikipedia timeline shows that the UK is one of the first (Please edit this if it's wrong) developed countries to abolish slavery, but could they've done so before 1843 (This Act was passed in ...
14
votes
1answer
623 views

What effect did the Attack on Mers-el-Kébir have on Great Britain's international relations during WW2?

The Attack on Mers-el-Kébir/Battle of Mers-el-Kébir was an action that took part between the Royal Navy and the French Navy on July 3rd 1940 that was a result of Winston Churchill ordering that the ...
23
votes
7answers
5k views

Why did the United Kingdom industrialize first?

What factors made the United Kingdom the first to industrialize? Was it simply the importance and benefit of its position in the global community for trade?
6
votes
4answers
422 views

What were Britain's defensive plans for a Nazi invasion?

Despite the fact that it never ended up happening, a Nazi invasion of England was kind of a common sense inevitability for a while during the beginning of World War 2. Had the Battle of Britain gone ...
5
votes
1answer
60 views

Why did meat and dairy drop out of the working people in Britain's diet during the industrial enclosures period?

During the industrial enclosures period (1750-1832) meats and dairy dropped out of the diet of working people in Britain. This change was regional (oatmeal regions maintained milk consumption, bread ...
6
votes
1answer
260 views

What is the origin of these WW1 “official history” maps?

I'm looking for a source, preferably the original atlas or set of documents in facsimile, for the following WW1 maps (and their siblings): I've only found these fragments, reproduced on the Web ...
19
votes
3answers
2k views

Is there a reason for a Queen's husband not to be referred to as King?

While watching the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II events going on recently, I noticed that the Queen's husband is referred to as 'Prince'-- not 'King'. Upon researching further, I found that ...
12
votes
1answer
10k views

When did the American War of 1812 actually end?

My daughter was recently studying this in high school, and somehow I had always assumed that it had only lasted a year. Apparently it ran on for at least a couple of years, but her textbook only ...
2
votes
3answers
214 views

What was the impetus behind the British Empire's acquisition of what is now Canada?

What led the British to Canada as part of a plan to colonise North America? There are no good natural resources in Canada and, from what I can see, there was no point in getting a military ...
7
votes
1answer
179 views

Were British parliamentary seats really advertised in newspapers?

I have this vague recollection of reading about actual ads in newspapers selling seats in the British parliament (18th or 19th century pocket/rotten boroughs) Did they actually have ads in ...
-3
votes
1answer
405 views

Why did the British control Hong Kong over 99 years? [closed]

There is different version why British Empire took control over Hong Kong. Britain helped China to eliminate pirates in South China Sea. As a sign of appreciation China give control of Hong Kong to ...
9
votes
1answer
133 views

How different were Labour and Conservative party lines on race immigration and empire in around 1962?

Though obviously I want responses to focus on concrete answers and evidence for the title question, I am ultimately interested in how likely it would have been for the 1962 Commonwealth Immigration ...
3
votes
1answer
258 views

Which forts did the British keep in the Northwest Territory after the American Revolution?

At the end of the American Revolution, Britain ceded the Northwest Territory to the US as one of the terms of the Treaty of Paris. I stumbled across a very interesting statement on Wikipedia that ...
4
votes
2answers
170 views

Is it correct to refer the Victorian Era outside of the UK?

Here in the UK, we refer to the "Victorians", or the era in which the "Victorians" reigned. I recently read an article on the BBC about a story set in the United States during the Victorian Era. ...
5
votes
2answers
572 views

Why did East India Company accept Government of India Act 1858?

In 1858, British parliament passed Government of India Act which contained provisions of liquidation of the company and transference of assets, governance to British crown. The act was going to kill ...
8
votes
2answers
303 views

Could Great Britain have built the British Empire if it was not the pioneer of the Industrial Revolution?

Could Great Britain have built the British Empire if it was not the pioneer of the Industrial Revolution? Put another way: Was the Industrial Revolution the single key over-riding factor to its ...
83
votes
27answers
20k views

Why did Hitler attack the Soviet Union when he was still busy fighting the United Kingdom?

This has always bothered me. Everyone knows that having to fight on two opposite fronts at once is bad... and it's also a well known fact that every European country which tried to invade Russia has ...
23
votes
7answers
5k views

Why didn't Britain's nuclear weapons deter Argentina from invading the Falklands?

The United Kingdom has nuclear weapons. All the [major] political parties support this policy. A common justification heard is that they are a deterrent against foreign aggression. For example: UK ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Did King George III turn his back on John Adams and Thomas Jefferson?

After the resolution of the Revolutionary War, John Adams and (later) Thomas Jefferson were diplomatic agents in London. John Adams had been there a while and had previously met the King, apparently ...
5
votes
2answers
184 views

What is this stick that William III of England/Orange is holding in this portrait?

While looking at a bit of Dutch history, I saw William holding a stick in this portrait. I looked for a description of the portrait on another site and it only says: This autograph portrait is a ...
1
vote
3answers
227 views

Can the current Monarch in UK be overthrown or otherwise replaced?

Having read a few discussions regarding the Plantagenet's and ascending line of monarchy since, I became curious if another group / family had a 'more' legitimate claim to the thrown (asked and ...
2
votes
3answers
447 views

How did British queens get power over kings despite a male-dominant society?

I am not a history guy. But, from what I have collected from movies, TV shows and people, I see that old British society was male-dominant and there were female rights issues too. But, I also see some ...
0
votes
2answers
359 views

Do more Britons than Americans profess Christianity?

If so, why? And if not, when was it not the case that a greater percentage of Americans believe in Christianity than Britons? And what caused the subsequent divergence? Definitions. (For the ...
2
votes
1answer
70 views

First Royalty in Scotland?

The standard answer is Kenneth Macalpine as far as I can see with lesser kings before him, I assume between Scotland and England this where out modern/current Royals come from, I was trying to ...
9
votes
2answers
902 views

What is the equivalent in France of the “Victorian era”?

By Victorian era I mean the moral rigidity and the dominance of the bourgeoisie. We had the same culture in France but I can't find the proper term to phrase it. For example how would you translate ...
1
vote
2answers
127 views

Nicknames of M36 Gun Motor Carriage

During World War 2 and Korean War United States Army used tank destroyer M36 (90mm Gun Motor Carriage M36). British soldiers gave one of nicknames to it, "Jackson", after general Thomas Jonathan ...
2
votes
0answers
55 views

What is the approximate value of treasure seized by privateers from 1567 to 1720?

What is the approximate value for the treasure seized by Spanish privateers from English ships between 1567 and 1720? For example, "Attacks by the Anglo-Dutch axis over the period 1567 to 1720 seized ...
11
votes
8answers
7k views

Why did Canada, Australia and New Zealand separate from UK?

I asked this question in various places in the Web. I haven't received a clear answer. The USA separated from the UK because the people felt that they are not British, and they weren't. Weren't ...
6
votes
1answer
193 views

Did Edward VIII's abdication follow constitutional procedures?

Edward VIII abdicated the English throne after discussion with his Prime Minister. Edward informed Baldwin that he would abdicate if he could not marry Simpson. Baldwin then presented Edward with ...
1
vote
1answer
237 views

UK Tories vs Whigs in the 19th century: broad political classification? [closed]

I realise that it's hard providing a direct parallel to today, but is it roughly fair to say that the Tories were analogous to modern conservatives and the Whigs were closer to modern progressives? ...
31
votes
3answers
3k views

Why did Britain not purchase Alaska when Russia had it up for sale?

One thing that comes up often when discussing "what-ifs" with family or friends is why the British government never nabbed Alaska when Russia had placed it up for sale and made it into Canada's fourth ...
6
votes
2answers
519 views

What factors led to the 30% devaluation of pound sterling in 1949?

In 1949, Britain devalued the pound sterling by 30%. This was a major world economic event given that the pound was and still is one of the major currencies in the world. In fact, 9 other countries ...
2
votes
0answers
126 views

How many tons of diamonds did European colonies take from Africa? [closed]

Last night I watched a movie & it said a London Diamond Company in 60s had more than 3 tons of diamonds. Are those all from Africa? What is the total amount of diamonds that Europeans took from ...
10
votes
1answer
170 views

What were the factors that aided Margaret Thatcher in her victory against the trade unions when her predecessors failed?

Industrial strife has often been cited as a major reason for weakness in the British economy during the 1970s. For much of the 1970s, UK politics appeared to be a battle between the government and the ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Even though Spain and Portugal had many colonies (15th/16th C), what factors permitted UK/France to become world powers later (18th/19th C)?

Some of the first European countries to acquire colonies in the "New World" (and elsewhere) were Spain and Portugal. They "discovered America" (as the euro-centric interpretation goes), and had ...
6
votes
3answers
271 views

Why did Churchill accept the Order of the Garter in 1953?

Churchill had refused the Order of the Garter in 1945, quipping that he couldn't accept the garter from the king after the people gave him the boot. But in 1953 he relented and accepted the honour? Is ...
16
votes
1answer
570 views

What was used instead of toilet paper in the US and the UK prior to 1900?

I read in this Wikipedia article that toilet paper came to be available only around 1920. On the other hand, this article says bidets were never popular in the UK and the US. Moreover, colonies of ...
16
votes
1answer
310 views

Colonisation of India: Which regions of the United Kingdom did colonial personnel come from?

I'm a linguist doing research on the emergence of new dialects of English spoken in former colonies, especially India. These new dialects have two major influences: (1) Interference from the mother ...
6
votes
2answers
267 views

Why the six hour gap between British and French declarations of war?

In Britain the story (and the audio) of the events of 3rd September 1939 are so well known and Neville Chamberlain's moving broadcast so cherished that the it's strange that the French declaration of ...
10
votes
3answers
426 views

Was Antarctica a factor in the Falklands war?

Were Argentina's and the UK's Antarctic territorial claims significant in the Falklands War?