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The phrase Act of Union 1800 actually refers to two acts: the Union with Ireland Act 1800 (an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain) and the Act of Union (Ireland) 1800 (an Act of the Parliament of Ireland).

 

These two Acts merged the Kingdom of Ireland and the unified Kingdom of Great Britain, (being itself a merger of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland under the Act of Union 1707), to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

In 1707 England and Scotland were united, but Ireland, the third of the three “sister kingdoms” was left out. In July 1707, each House of the Parliament of Ireland passed a congratulatory address to Queen Anne, praying that “May God put it in your royal heart to add greater strength and lustre to your crown, by a still more comprehensive Union”. The British government did not respond to this, and an equal union between Great Britain and Ireland was not considered until the 1790’s. When the union was finally passed in 1800, the British drove the process’

 

It should be noted that the acts were not made effective until 1 January 1801, which creates confusion as to the actual date of the merger. Before these Acts Ireland had been in personal union with England since 1541, when the Protestant Ascendancy dominating the Irish Parliament passed the Crown of Ireland Act 1542, proclaiming King Henry VIII of England to be King of Ireland. Both Ireland and England had been in personal union with Scotland since the Union of the Crowns in 1603. Both Acts remain in force (with amendments) in the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland.

 

Although the Irish Republic was established as an independent nation in 1921 the Union with Ireland Act 1800 (i.e. the UK/British Act) was not finally repealed until the passing of the Republic’s Statute Law Revision Act 1983. The Act of Union (Ireland) 1800 was repealed in 1962 but it remains arguable that the British Queen is still the monarch of Ireland.

 

Category: Historic Events 

 

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