The Kingdom of Great Britain is an island kingdom located off the northwestern coast of Western Europe. It was Gulliver's home country.
In 1706, the Treaty of Union was enacted, uniting the kingdoms of England and Scotland into a single monarchy, under King James VI, King of Scots. After defeating the Jacobite uprisings, its victory over France in the Seven Years' War ensured its growth into one of the greatest empires in history.
British society Edit
Great Britain was ruled by the King or Queen of Great Britain, with the Parliament functioning as the nation's legislature. Prior to the Acts of Union 1707, Scotland also had its own parliament, and the monarch directly ruled several smaller islands, such as the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
When the Acts of Union 1707 was enacted, all three regions of Great Britain were united under the rule of the British monarch, while Ireland remained separate with its own parliament until it was merged with England's Parliament with the enactment of the Acts of Union 1800.
The people of Britain were divided into the nobles and the rich, the growing middle class, and the rural people and the poor. With the rise of industrial technology, people became richer (with more products and less time to work) or poorer (due to being displaced by machines). While richer people had more comforts and time for entertainment (such as dinner parties and theater events), the poor lived simple lives under very difficult conditions. The poor and many rural inhabitants also migrated to cities out of expecting a better livelihood, even though they later lived under overcrowded, dirty settings. There were also times when street urchins, poorer English people, and Scottish and Irish people were kidnapped or arrested, and then sent to the colonies in North America or the Caribbean, where they worked under restrictive and abusive conditions.
As Britain developed its international trade and empire, many products were brought in from abroad, from sugar to coffee and tea. This lead to the existence of the renowned coffee houses where middle-class gentlemen spent their time, and social etiquette involving drinking tea.
The national religion of Great Britain was (as it is in the present day) Christianity, particularly of the form practiced by the Church of England. The Toleration Act 1689 permitted some Christian sects, the "Non-conformists" or "Dissenters", to practice their beliefs, but subjected them to social and political restrictions. Catholics (whose beliefs were predominant in Ireland), non-trinitarians, and atheists were subjected to severe discrimination from social life until later times.
Role in the books Edit
Lemuel Gulliver, the protagonist of "Gulliver's Travels", was a middle-class man who was born and raised in Great Britain, specifically in the region of England, where he lived with his wife and children at the town of Redriff.
Many of the fictitious locations that Gulliver had visited — Lilliput, Laputa, Balnibarbi, and Houyhnhnm Land — were based on satirical depictions of the negative aspects of British society during his time.
- During the time of the book's protagonist Gulliver and author Jonathan Swift, Ireland (where Swift was born and raised) was a kingdom that was ruled by Great Britain. After revolutionaries declared independence from British rule on 21 January, most of Ireland (except the northern six counties, which is still under British control) became the Irish Free State on 6 December, 1922, and achieved full independence on 29 December, 1939.