Manual Uniting the Kingdom?: The Making of British History

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Info Alerts Maps Calendar Reserve. Alerts In Effect Dismiss. History of the British Flag. English National Flag In , the year of Queen Elizabeth I's death, England and Scotland existed as completely separate nations, each with their own monarch and parliament. Scottish National Flag The English national flag at this period consisted of a simple red cross fully imposed upon a plain white field, this being the emblem of St.


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George, England's patron saint. The Scottish national flag consisted of a diagonal, or X-shaped, white cross, fully imposed upon a medium blue field. This was the emblem of St.

Uniting the Kingdom?: The Making of British History

Andrew, Scotland's patron saint. In the spring of , to symbolize the monarchical unification of the two nations under himself, James created a banner to this end, by fully superimposing the English red cross with a narrow white border to represent its normal white field upon the Scottish flag. This became known as the Union Flag, and it was the forerunner of the present flag of Great Britain.

Union Flag In the decree of issuance of the new flag, James stipulated that all ships of both English and Scottish registry were to fly this flag from atop their mainmasts. The Cross of St. George was to be flown from the foremasts of the English ships, while the Cross of St. What Morgan uncovers is the extent to which English policies were driven by self-interest. Parallels could perhaps be drawn with the new allegedly non-Anglocentric scholarship. Brady concludes with a statement that reinforces the difficulty successive viceroys experienced:.

Jim Smyth, in a lucid presentation of the obstacles looming at the limits of the period, reinstates the centrality of an understanding of imperialism in order to appreciate the British Problem in its Irish context.

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Canny offers five fairly telling criticisms of the new historiography. It applies mainly to political history, rather than social and economic history, reinforcing a split perhaps unique to British history; it excludes Europe and implies a necessary unity between Ireland and Britain; it serves as a means of expanding knowledge of a pivotal period in English history; it emphasises coherence over fragmentation and difference; and it calls for a demanding level of scholarship since to be in control of all the sources means having a working knowledge of the Celtic languages as well as English and Latin The last point is perhaps the weakest, since most of us get by, like Shakespeare, with a little Latin and less Greek, and may even struggle with English.

It is worth remembering that Ireland was a lordship or colony of England for four hundred years while Scotland enjoyed relative autonomy.

In her preface to Castle Rackrent, written on the cusp of the Union of Great Britain and Ireland, Maria Edgeworth predicted that Ireland would lose its separate identity in the process, but it is one of the ironies of history that it was Scotland that sank from view. An Anglo-Scottish union that had started life with the mutual carve-up of Ireland led to an Anglo-Irish Union that resulted in the diminution of Scotland.

The concern with Britishness as a problem can be used in positive ways, in order to show that Britain is no more historically homogenous than Ireland by underlining the distinctiveness of Scotland and Wales. As a Scottish academic who has worked for the past ten years on English views of Ireland in the Renaissance I have always been sympathetic to work on the British Problem, both as a useful corrective to previously Anglocentric positions, and as an ideal opportunity to re-inscribe Scotland into Anglo-Irish history.

Great Britain

My own approach to authors such as Bacon, Milton, Shakespeare, and Spenser has entailed the exploration of multiple kingdom contexts in their writings. There is much that is promising and provocative in this historiography, but there is also a new danger in this new labour, the danger that the old Anglocentrism merely enlarges itself as a Britocentrism, leaving Europe outside, and conveniently forgetting the links between the first British Empire—Great Britain—and the second—Greater Britain.

It is arguably the loss of the latter that has compelled historians to look inward in the guise of widening their lens. Indeed, what is needed is a history of culture and Empire that takes religion seriously. There remains a pressing need for a British history that confronts the vexed issue of religion. It is something that Irish historians have always, and for obvious reasons, placed at the heart of their work. Both are arguably linked to the question of ideology, and ideology does not always get taken seriously enough in high political history, which is where the new historiography originated.

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Uniting the Kingdom?, The Making of British History by Alexander Grant | | Booktopia

The British Problem will have more relevance and impact when it comes down from its political high horse and confronts popular culture and society. This is where the new historiography, as part of revisionism, may find fresh difficulties, for if the deconstruction of oppositions is its ultimate aim, then that between high and low is the hardest hurdle to overcome.

The displacement of class struggle underpinned colonialism, so it would be appropriate if the renewed critique of colonialism which the British Problem could be harnessed to effect, brought class back into the frame, because on one level the British Problem is class. This is not to suggest that economics matters more than ideology, but that an understanding of the workings of ideology is essential to an awareness of the ways in which, historically, class conflict has been regionalised and reoriented.

It is fitting that Hempton concludes by pointing to the French Revolution as the event that prompted the return of religion to the spheres of social reform and cultural identity, for it is in the intricacies of class and nation rather than in the grand narrative of state formation that the most fruitful labour of the new British history may be located.

So the focus may have changed, but the focal points remain largely in place.


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There is no mention of the head. Login Subscribe To renew a subscription please login first. Search for:. The British Problem, c. Uniting the Kingdom? Here is how the first British monarch is presented: As a hated Scot, James was suspect to the English from the beginning, and his ungainly presence, mumbling speech and dirty ways did not inspire respect.

Willy Maley '. That field of glory. The story of Clontarf, from battleground to garden suburb Read More. Personal Histories is an initiative by History Ireland, which aims to capture the individual histories of Irish people both in Ireland and around the world.