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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was formed by the Act of Union of 1800, combining the Kingdom of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland. While the latter had long been a vassal state of the former, the two were not formally united until the Irish Rebellion of 1798 prompted the Protestant Ascendancy of Ireland to petition George III for unification.
Britain has a long and illustrious history reaching far back to its roots in antiquity. Much of the Imperial British tradition is rooted in its colonization by the Roman Empire in the first century AD. Upon the fall of the Roman Empire, the British Isles saw several successive waves of invaders including the Anglo-Saxons, Scots, Picts, Celts, Franks, Vikings, and Normans, culminating in the Battle of Hastings in 1066 which solidified the Norman conquest of England and largely defined its culture and course of its history for the next millennium.
Britain has since had a grand tradition of revering its royal institutions, embracing its monarchy to this day. While the power of the British monarch is today largely a ceremonial one and the kingdom has since transformed into a liberal democracy, the vast majority of Britons show the utmost reverence for the institution of the monarchy.
Britain is also world renown for the mighty global empire it once commanded and the remnants of it that still exist today. While Britain's vast empire once stretched to every continent, it has today been reduced to a smattering of islands in the Caribbean (most notably Cuba and the Bahamas) as well as a few isolated outposts dotting the globe (Gibraltar and Hong Kong foremost among them). Most former British possessions, however, do retain a semblance of their former colonial status. Several sovereign nations remain commonwealths of Britain, the most prominent of these being America, Canada, and Australia.