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Great Britain's Timeline

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1707

An Act of Union formally united Scotland with England and Wales as the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

1763

The Treaty of Paris recognized British control of Canada and India gained during the Seven Years’ War.

1801

An Act of Union took effect which incorporated Ireland into Great Britain.

1805

Admiral Horatio Nelson’s victory over the French fleet in the Battle of Trafalgar saved Britain from the threat of invasion.

1815

The Duke of Wellington’s victory at the Battle of Waterloo ended the Napoleonic Wars.

1830

The first railroad in Great Britain opened between Liverpool and Manchester.

1832

The Whig Reform Bill extended voting rights to middle-class men.

1833

Slavery was abolished in the British Empire.

1851

The Great Exhibition in London showcased Great Britain’s prosperity.

1858

Following the Sepoy Mutiny, the British government assumed direct control of India from the British East India Company.

1911

The Parliament Act reduced the power of the House of Lords.

1914-1918

Great Britain and the other Allies fought the Central Powers during World War I. Although the Allies won, the war had shattering economic and social effects on the country.

1916

British forces crushed the Easter Rebellion in Ireland.

1921

The Irish Free State was created. The British kingdom was renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

1936

Edward VIII abdicated in order to marry Wallis Warfield Simpson.

1940

Victory in the air during the Battle of Britain prevented a German invasion.

1945

After victory in World War II, the Labour party initiated reforms to make Great Britain a welfare state.

1947

The British colonies of India and Pakistan became independent nations. Many other British colonies became independent in the following years.

1972

Northern Ireland came under the direct rule of the British government, as violence intensified between Catholics and Protestants.

1973

Great Britain joined the European Community.

1979

Margaret Thatcher became the first woman to be elected prime minister.

1982

Great Britain defeated Argentine forces after Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands.

1994

The English Channel tunnel opened, linking Great Britain with France.

1997

The Labour Party, led by Tony Blair, wins the elections.

2001

Tony Blair makes another big victory over the Conservatives.