Two Become One

On March 24, 1707, the Parliament of Scotland passed the Union with England Act. Together with the Union with Scotland Act, which passed the English Parliament the year before, the acts formally joined the two countries, creating the united kingdom of Great Britain.

England and Scotland had existed under one ruler but two Parliaments ever since James VI/I inherited the English throne on March 24, 1603. There were three attempts to unite the two countries, but it wasn’t until the early 18th century that the political establishments accepted the idea of union. England wanted to be sure Scotland wouldn’t go off script and choose a monarch different from the one occupying the English throne while Scotland needed a way to bolster its economy following the Darien scheme, in which Scotland disastrously attempted to establish a colony in Panama.

Negotiations began in April 1706 and included 31 Scottish and 31 English commissioners. Talks ended in July 1706 and the acts were sent to each Parliament to be ratified. The Acts officially took effect on May 1, 1707.



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