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Last Updated: Nov 14, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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General Information - The British Empire & Commonwealth

  • Australia: Topic Page
    Country occupying all of the Earth's smallest continent, situated south of Indonesia, between the Pacific and Indian oceans.
  • Commonwealth of Nations Topic Page
    Voluntary association of Great Britain and its dependencies, certain former British dependencies that are now sovereign states and their dependencies, and the associated states (states with full internal government but whose external relations are governed by Britain).
  • British East India Company
    From The Columbia Encyclopedia
    1600–1874, company chartered by Queen Elizabeth I for trade with Asia. The original object of the group of merchants involved was to break the Dutch monopoly of the spice trade with the East Indies.
  • British Empire: Topic Page
    Empire covering, at its height in the 1920s, about a sixth of the landmass of the Earth, all of its lands recognizing the United Kingdom (UK) as their leader.
  • Canada: Topic Page
    Independent nation (2001 pop. 30,007,094), 3,851,787 sq mi (9,976,128 sq km), N North America. Canada occupies all of North America N of the United States (and E of Alaska) except for Greenland and the French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon.
  • Falkland Islands: Topic Page
    British crown colony in the South Atlantic, 480 km/300 mi east of the Straits of Magellan; area 12,173 sq km/4,700 sq mi, made up of two main islands: East Falkland (6,760 sq km/2,610 sq mi) and West Falkland (5,413 sq km/2,090 sq mi); population (2001 est) 2,400.
  • India: Topic Page
    Country in southern Asia, bounded to the north by China, Nepal, and Bhutan; east by Myanmar and Bangladesh; northwest by Pakistan and Afghanistan; and southeast, south, and southwest by the Indian Ocean.
  • Thirteen Colonies: Topic Page
    Original North American colonies that signed the Declaration of Independence from Britain in 1776.
  • Isle of Man
    From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia
    Island in the Irish Sea, a dependency of the British crown, but not part of the UK; area 570 sq km/220 sq mi; population (2001) 76,300, almost 50% of which lives in the capital Douglas and nearby Onchan.


  • Court of Tynwald
    From Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable
    The Court of Tynwald constitutes the governing body of the isle of man. It claims to be the oldest parliament in the world in continuous existence and has two branches: the Legislative Council and the House of Keys.
  • Northern Ireland Assembly: Topic Page
    Power-sharing assembly based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Assembly came into being as a result of the 10 April 1998 Good Friday peace agreement between the contending Unionist and Irish Nationalist communities in Northern Ireland.
  • Prime minister: Topic Page
    Head of a parliamentary government, usually the leader of the largest party. In countries with an executive president, the prime minister is of lesser standing, whereas in those with dual executives, such as France, power is shared with the president.
  • Scottish Parliament: Topic Page
    Devolved legislative (law-making) body of Scotland. It comprises 129 members and was created by the November 1998 Scotland Act, which was passed following the Scottish electorate's overwhelming approval of government proposals in a referendum on devolution held on 11 September 1997.
  • The House of Commons
    From Dictionary of British History
    The lower chamber of parliament, representing the `communities', or counties and towns (compare House of Lords). Its origin lay in the requirement that taxation must be consented to by those who have to pay it.
  • The House of Lords: Topic Page
    The non-elected upper assembly in parliament, made up of peers and bishops, and also constituting the highest court in the UK.

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The United Kingdom

  • United Kingdom: Topic Page
    Country in northwest Europe off the coast of France, consisting of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
  • England: Topic Page
    The largest and most populous portion of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • Northern Ireland: Topic Page
    Constituent part of the United Kingdom, in the northeast of the island of Ireland; area 13,460 sq km/5,196 sq mi.
  • Scotland: Topic Page
    Political division of Great Britain (1991 pop. 4,957,000), 30,414 sq mi (78,772 sq km), comprising the northern portion of the island of Great.
  • Wales: Topic Page
    Welsh Cymru, western peninsula and political division (principality) of Great Britain (1991 pop. 2,798,200), 8,016 sq mi (20,761 sq km).

Royal Dynasties

  • Hanover
    From The Columbia Encyclopedia
    Ruling dynasty of Hanover (see Hanover, province), which was descended from the Guelphs and which in 1714 acceded to the British throne in the person of George I.
  • Lancaster
    From Dictionary of British History
    A royal dynasty descended from the second son of Henry III - Edmund, created earl of Lancaster in 1267.
  • Plantaganet
    From Andromeda Encyclopedic Dictionary of World History
    Royal dynastic family of England, founded by Henry II in 1154 and lasting until Richard III's death in 1485, with a dynastic split between the cadet houses of Lancaster and York occurring after Richard II was deposed in 1399.
  • Stuart
    From Dictionary of British History
    The ruling dynasty of Scotland from 1371 to 1714 and of England from 1603 to 1714.
  • Tudor: Topic Page
    English dynasty 1485-1603, founded by Henry VII, who became king by overthrowing Richard III (the last of the York dynasty).
  • Windsor
    From The Columbia Encyclopedia
    Family name of the royal house of Great Britain. The name Wettin, family name of Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, consort of Queen Victoria, was changed to Windsor by George V in 1917.
  • York
    From The Columbia Encyclopedia
    Royal house of England, deriving its name from the creation of Edmund of Langley, fifth son of Edward III, as duke of York in 1385. The claims to the throne of Edmund's grandson, Richard, duke of York, in opposition to Henry VI of the house of Lancaster resulted in the Wars of the Roses.

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