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The four nations that constitute the sovereign nation-state “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”—England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales—are all distinct, shaped by specific circumstances. Scotland, for example, has its own legal and education system and established church. The 1998 Scotland Act led to the formation of a Scottish parliament, though the U.K. parliament at Westminster (London) retains control over some areas such as defense. Wales's governing council was abolished in 1689 (leading to direct rule from Westminster), and it was only in 1999 that the Welsh National Assembly with various decision-making powers was created. The Anglican Church in Wales was disestablished in 1920. Northern Ireland has a very particular religious and political history. It is now a distinct jurisdiction governed ...

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