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Act of Union 1707: Overview

Here we look at the relationship between the two independent kingdoms of England and Scotland in the 16th and 17th centuries. We explore the critical period leading up to the passing of Acts of Union by both the English and Scottish parliaments in 1707. Finally, we look at the aftermath of the Union, and the development over many years of a 'British' identity.

Revolution and civil war
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In March 1625 James VI and I died and was succeeded by his son Charles I.

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On 14 May 1660 Charles II was formally restored to his kingdoms and proclaimed King of Great Britain and Ireland.

Union between Scotland and England?
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The idea of a union between England and Scotland was aired in February and March 1689 during the deliberations of the Convention Parliament in Edinburgh.

Negotiations for Union 1702 - 03
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In February 1702 William III sent a message to both houses at Westminster urging consideration of "a firm and intire union" - a union of the two kingdoms with a single parliament.

The Scottish Parliament in revolt 1703
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The union commission in London was adjourned in February 1703 with plans to resume in October. But with the rise of anti-English feeling in the Scottish Parliament they had to be abandoned.

Westminster passes the Alien Act 1705
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Rumours of a plot to restore the Stuarts in Scotland had increased English nervousness of an independent, Jacobite and possibly Francophile Scotland.

Negotiating the Articles of Union 1705 - 1706
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The Scottish Parliament assembled in Edinburgh on 28 June 1705, but for nearly a month did nothing to consider the question.

The 1706 negotiations
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Negotiations between the English and Scottish commissioners were held at the Cockpit, one of the government buildings at Whitehall in London.

Union of the Crowns
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Until the early 17th century England and Scotland were two entirely independent kingdoms.

The Articles, constitution and trade
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There were 25 Articles of Union which formed the basis of the two separate Acts of Union passed by the parliaments at Westminster and in Edinburgh.