Four nations

Matthew Paris's Map of Britain

Matthew Paris' map of Great Britain

The finest of the four maps drawn by a 13th-century monk at St Alban's, which are the earliest surviving maps of Britain with such detail and accuracy. This one, made about 1250, raises questions about the home nations: Scotland, Wales... and Devonia?

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Chronicle of Mann

Chronicle of Mann

Compiled at Rushen Abbey on the Isle of Man, this chronicle records events from 1016 to the 14th century on and around the island whose thousand-year-old parliament, Tynwald, is the world's oldest continuous ruling body

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Declaration of Arbroath

The Declaration of Arbroath

In the early 1300s, Scotland's independence was under threat from the schemes of Edward I of England. But they fought back under two national heroes, William Wallace and Robert Bruce, and produced this defiant and rousing statement of national liberty

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Pennal letter

Pennal letter

The great fighter for Welsh independence Owain Glyn Dŵr is thought to have written this letter to the king of France, setting out his plans for an independent Wales

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Articles of Union

Articles of Union

This Scottish copy of the Articles of Union approved the merging of Scotland's parliament with that of England and Wales, starting a period of nearly 300 years of rule from Westminster until devolution in 1999

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Home rule notes by Gladstone

Home rule notes by Gladstone

Gladstone was a champion of home rule for Ireland, which he thought could help end the centuries of violence and tension between it and Britain. After his first bill failed in 1886, he secretly drafted another bill in 1893, using notes such as these

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Belfast agreement

The Belfast agreement

The Agreement paved the way for power-sharing in Northern Ireland following decades of conflict between its Protestant majority and large Catholic minority

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