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  1. First comment back to you, enjoyed the episode but as a resident of the UK (a Scottish one at that) felt compelled to comment. The things we take for granted this side of the pond… 😉

    To clarify something from the start of the episode, England, Scotland and Wales are countries in their own right. Britain (or Great Britain) is the name of the island itself and consists of the three countries I’ve mentioned (four if you ask someone Cornish) and each has it’s own rich history and even it’s own language. In the main most people only know English but the languages are Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Irish Gaelic and, to be fair to the people of Cornwall, Cornish.

    What about Ireland? Well Ireland is more complex but for now all I’ll say is when talking about Ireland it’s normally in reference to a separate country on a separate island with, again, a different language than the other countries (but English is again predominant) and uses the Euro as a currency.

    The United Kingdom (singular) is also a country that is the amalgam of these parts. There is a central parliament that, like the One Ring, rules them all but Scotland also has it’s own parliament and different legal system while Wales has an assembly that deals with Welsh legislation. As Tina rightly pointed out there was a referendum in Scotland over coming our of the UK to just run our country ourselves which came out as an uncomfortable-for-all result of closes to half and half. 45% for independence, 55% against.

    Along with England, Wales and Scotland there’s also Northern Ireland. “Ireland” is the name of actual island but I’d say most people would take it to mean “the Republic of Ireland” which is an entirely different country. I suppose it’s similar in someways to “America” in that “America”, or North America is the continent so Canada is part of (North) America but when people say “America” they normally mean the USA and Canada is most certainly not part of the USA. 🙂

    Anyway, at one point in time the Kingdom of Ireland was the whole island and had joined the United Kingdom but later separated to become the Republic of Ireland shortly after WW1 but with Northern Ireland partitioned off to remain with the UK. This has always been a far from peaceful arrangement, incidents around the divide are often referred to as the “troubles”, and as someone growing up through the 80’s and 90’s in the UK it’d seem a fairly regular occurrence to hear of a terrorist attack, particularly in London, from the IRA (or Irish Republican Army) up until they got their own assembly near the end of the 90’s (98 I think) through of peace talks.

    … Wow, I thought the “here’s the difference between the UK and Britain and what the countries are” would take a line or two but that’s a bit more reading that I’d intended. Needless to say the history of the island is huge. Even if you take the Roman occupation forward you’re talking around two millennia of history with a lot of wars and conflict, one of the reasons for so many castles!

    Love the show and glad the two of you enjoyed coming to our island. 🙂

  2. “First comment back to you” was supposed to have “Been a listener for a while but this is my…” in front of it. It’s late here, is my excuse. 😉

  3. Yeah I was about to post about the difference between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland but Mike beat me to most of it. There was about 700 to 800 years of bloody occupation or rule; give or take. So it’s a bit of sore spot and not something to bring up in the pub. Mike is mostly spot on. Here’s a fun video about the subject.

  4. Thanks, guys! It’s good to know that I’m not just missing something simple, this is pretty complex. And thanks for the video, Ugly Child. I may have spent two weeks in England and consider myself smarter because of it, but I may have learned more from that video than from my trip.

  5. Enlightbystand Reply to Enlightbystand

    On the Roman stuff, it’s a lot more complicated than was portrayed.

    Rome is the first power to really bring recorded history, and a lot of infrastructural stuff into the country. Plus they murdered a lot of the druids who were keepers of the oral lore of the previous civilisations, meaning that we’re really only operating on ‘what we dug up’ level of history from before then.

    Constantine doesn’t have a specific influence on Britain – he was involved in legitimising Christianity as a significant part of the empire, but what bits of that spread to Britain were probably much the earliest influx of Christianity into the ireland.

    About a hundred years on, Rome started to weaken, and so it started drawing armies more central, leaving outer provinces to fend for themselves. Romano-Britain continued for a while, but eventually wave of Saxon & Norse invaders moved in and shifted it to a much different style. Eventually, William the conqueror sweeps in from Normandy turns up and takes over, slicing the country between his lords, and creating effectively a French speaking ruling class over a English speaking common people.

    Swing on 600 years, and you reach the Stuarts, where the King of Scotland becomes King of England due to Elizabeth the 1st not having kids. After a hundred more years of having the leadership shared but the legal structures & admin seperate, it reaches a point in 1707 where it makes sense to unify, but this new entity needs a name, and so the stretch back to the roman age where we were called Britannia. Cut a bit off the end, add a Great to the beginning to look more awesome and thus Great Britain. The formal name at this point is the United Kingdom of Great Britain, to represent that it was a combination of the two old kingdoms

    Skip on another 100 or so years to the Napoleonic period and you’ve got Ireland, which had had the English King as also the Irish Kng since 1541, but a rebellion/attempted French invasion led to a need to bring it fully into control, and thus was born the Uk of Great Britain & Ireland.

    Throughout the 1800s, there was a growing divide between the Industrial North and Agraian South of Ireland, with the North wanting to stay part of the UK for the economic benefits, and the south wanting to be independant. Eventually in 1922 the South was given that right, and became the Republic of Ireland, which is completely seperate, but with cultural ties to each other (very roughly similar to the US/Canada relationship. Very roughly)

    After this, the main body became the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland, which is still the full legal entity today. At the turn of the century, some powers were devolved to Scotland & Wales to cover some areas, whilst the peace process in Northern Ireland led to them also getting some powers of their own -Mike is right that the agreement was in 1998 (signed on Good Friday), but it took several years and a couple of suspensions before it was running smoothly as it is now (and that doesn’t mean it’s perfect yet….

  6. Ethan C. Reply to Ethan

    Oh, my. It was a bit painful for me to listen to the talk about Roman history and religion. Sorry to say that you were way off. Here’s a little help:

    England was conquered and colonized by Rome before the advent of Christianity in the Empire, under Julius Caesar and then Claudius, in the first century AD. Emperor Hadrian ordered Hadrian’s Wall built around 122 AD, which basically marks the furthest extent of Roman occupation. Both the Romans and the Britons were polytheistic pagans throughout this period.

    Constantine became the first Christian Emperor in 312, almost 200 years later. He did start the military campaigns that eventually won him the throne from Britain, where his father had been the ruler (this might have been where Ryan got confused), but he didn’t become a de facto Christian until later in the war — actually, he just made the Christian Cross the standard for his army at first; Constantine himself wasn’t baptized until the year of his death in 327. And even then, Constantine didn’t make Christianity the official religion of the empire. He just made it legal, and of course it was promoted heavily by his endorsement. It didn’t become the official Imperial religion until 380.

    The Roman occupation of Britain petered out around 400, by which time the general populace still wasn’t especially Christian. In fact, Ireland because more heavily Christianized before Britain did, thanks to the success of St. Patrick and his followers in the mid to late 400’s. The area we call England wasn’t Christianized until much later, through a fairly long series of missionary projects by Irish Christians, and a number of wars between Christian and pagan kings of the many small kingdoms on the island of Britain at the time.

    So while the Roman occupation did indeed influence the land we now call England (named after the Anglo-Saxons, Germanic groups who emigrated/occupied the area starting in the 400’s, and who also were pagans at the time), it did not directly affect the course of Christianity in England all that much. I hope that’s helpful.

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