Pipes and Drums

R.S. Taylor Stoermer takes a transatlantic perspective on the Anglo-Scottish Union of 1707.

THE ENGLISH IGNORE it, Americans have never heard of it, and many Scots despise the very thought of it. Yet the Anglo-Scottish Union of 1707 had a profound impact on the shared history of the three nations. What had been a collection of loosely connected English outposts and colonies was transformed in 1707 into a coherent British world in which people, products, and ideas flowed easily in perhaps the largest free trade zone the world - if not the largest land empire - had ever seen. But there is a hidden history of the creation of Great Britain, an untold story about unintended consequences with far-reaching implications. The instrument that wove the fabric of the British Empire in 1707 may also have unleashed the forces that unravelled it in 1776. And nowhere can that impact be seen more clearly than in the colony that this year celebrates the birth of its Englishness in 1607 and of its Britishness a century later: Virginia.

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