Northern Ireland, the lands of the independent Catholic Gaelic nobility were confiscated and given to Protestant settlers from England and Scotland. In 1603, the kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland were united in a personal union when James VI, King of Scots, inherited the crowns of England and Ireland and moved his court from Edinburgh to London; each country nevertheless remained a separate political entity and retained its separate political institutions. In the mid-17th century, all three kingdoms were involved in a series of connected wars (including the English Civil War) which led to the temporary overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of the short-lived unitary republic of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland. Although the monarchy was restored, it ensured (with the Glorious Revolution of 1688) that, unlike much of the rest of Europe, royal absolutism would not prevail. The British constitution would develop on the basis of constitutional monarchy and the parliamentary system. During this period, particularly in England, the development of naval power (and the interest in voyages of discovery) led to the acquisition and settlement of overseas colonies, particularly in North America.
Since the Acts of Union of 1707
On 1 May 1707 a new kingdom of Great Britain was created by the political union of the kingdoms of England and Scotland in accordance with the Treaty of Union, negotiated the previous year and ratified by the English and Scottish Parliaments passing Acts of Union.
In the 18th century, the country played an important role in developing Western ideas of the parliamentary system and in making significant contributions to literature, the arts, and science. The British-led Industrial Revolution transformed the country and fuelled the growing British Empire. During this time Britain, like other great powers, was involved in colonial exploitation, including the Atlantic slave trade, although with