The history of the United Kingdom spans over a thousand years, starting with the Anglo-Saxon period and the formation of the English nation in the 10th century. Over the centuries, the United Kingdom has seen numerous political and social changes, including the Norman Conquest, the Tudor dynasty, the English Civil War, the Union with Scotland, the Industrial Revolution, and the two World Wars.
One of the defining moments in the history of the United Kingdom was the Act of Union in 1707, which united England and Scotland into one country. This led to the creation of Great Britain, which was ruled by the Hanoverian dynasty for much of the 18th and 19th centuries.
During the Victorian era, the United Kingdom became a global power and was the center of the Industrial Revolution, which saw it undergo a transformation from an agrarian economy to an industrialized nation. This period also saw the expansion of the British Empire, which became the largest empire in history and included territories in Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
In the 20th century, the United Kingdom played a major role in both World War I and II, with its military forces contributing greatly to the Allied victories. The country also underwent significant social and political changes during this period, including the granting of votes for women and the creation of the National Health Service.
In the post-war period, the United Kingdom continued to see change, including the dismantling of the Empire and the formation of the Commonwealth of Nations, the rise of the welfare state, and the entry into the European Union. The country also saw a rise of nationalism in Scotland and Wales, leading to the formation of devolved governments in both regions.
Today, the United Kingdom remains a major global power and a member of international organizations such as the United Nations, NATO, and the G7. Its political system is a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state, and a parliamentary democracy, with a system of checks and balances between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.