Chapter 1

NCERT
Class 10
History
Solutions
4. How was the history of nationalism in Britain unlike the rest of Europe?

Question:

Discuss

How was the history of nationalism in Britain unlike the rest of Europe?

Answer:

  • In Britain, the formation of the nation-state was not the result of a sudden upheaval or revolution.
  • There was no British nation prior to the eighteenth century. The primary identities of the people who inhabited the British Isles were ethnic ones such as English, Welsh, Scot or Irish.
  • All of these ethnic groups had their own cultural and political traditions. But as the English nation steadily grew in wealth, importance and power, it was able to extend its influence over the other nations of the islands.
  • In 1688, the English parliament seized power from the monarchy and became the instrument through which a nation state, with England at its centre, came to be forged.
  • The Act of Union [1707) between England and Scotland resulted in the formation of the ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain’.
  • Though the Irish Catholics were against a union with England as the English helped the protestants of Ireland to establish their dominance over a largely Catholic country, Ireland was forcibly incorporated into the United Kingdom in 1801.
  • Thus, the emergence of the United Kingdom as a strong and democratic state was the result of a parliamentary action and not of a revolution or war.

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