Military history of the United Kingdom

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The military history of the United Kingdom covers the period from the creation of the Kingdom of Great Britain, uniting England and Scotland, in 1707,[1] with the political union of England and Scotland, to the present day.

From the 18th century, with the expansion of the British Empire and the country's industrial strength, Britain's military force became one of the largest and most powerful in the world, particularly that of its navy, with advanced technology and bases across the world. It declined during the 20th century in the wake of two world wars, decolonisation, and the rise of the United States and the USSR as the new superpowers. Britain has been involved in a great many armed conflicts since the union in 1707, on all continents except for Antarctica. Today it still remains a major power with frequent military interventions across the globe since the end of the Cold War in 1990.

The present-day British Armed Forces encompass the Royal Navy, the British Army, and the Royal Air Force.

18th century[edit]

19th century[edit]

20th century[edit]

21st century[edit]

List of civil wars[edit]

  1. Jacobite Rebellions (1715–16; 1719; 1745–46) - the last civil war in Great Britain
  2. The Troubles - in Northern Ireland, with some (terrorist) activity in Great Britain

Further reading[edit]

  • Black, Jeremy. A military history of Britain: from 1775 to the present (2008)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Acts of Union 1707, accessed 31 December 2010; Uniting the kingdom?, accessed 31 December 2010; Making the Act of Union 1707, accessed 31 December 2010
  2. ^ Reynolds, Paul (17 April 2007). "Declining use of 'war on terror'". BBC News. Retrieved 8 November 2014. Hilary Benn, the British minister, now says: "In the UK, we do not use the phrase 'war on terror', because we can't win by military means alone, and because this isn't us against one organised enemy with a clear identity and a coherent set of objectives," he said.