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United Kingdom

(8,367 words)

Author(s): Smith, Mark
1. Historical Development The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is constituted from four major units: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Each of these regions has had a distinct history, both secular and ecclesiastical. The present article deals with the first three of these regions, collectively known as Great Britain until the 17th century, when the part of Ireland that became “Northern Ireland” in 1920 began to develop a distinctive religious identity. From that p…