United Kingdom Interviews

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Effectively created by the political union of Ireland with the British territories of England, Wales and Scotland in 1801, it received its current name in 1927 under the Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act which took account of the creation of the Irish Free State in the South of Ireland in 1922. A major imperial power between the early modern era and the second half of the twentieth century, it retains many traces of its imperial past, including the fact that its monarch remains sovereign of 14 other Commonwealth Realms, the majority in the Caribbean. The global reach of the British Empire, which at its peak was home to nearly a quarter of the world’s population, led to hundreds of millions of people having the official status of ‘British subject’. The British Nationality Act of 1948 created the category of ‘Citizen of the UK and Colonies’ which made no distinction between those born and residing in the UK and the inhabitants of British colonial territories, such as those in the Caribbean, with all enjoying the right to enter and reside in the UK (as did citizens of independent Commonwealth countries). Only from 1962 did the UK begin to impose immigration controls on non-UK residents, through legislation framed to be racially discriminatory in practice. Current population c. 67,000,000.