The Union Jack, in addition to being the flag of the United Kingdom, also serves as a common symbol used by British nationalists
Satellite photograph of Great Britain and Ireland. Originally British nationalism was applicable to Great Britain. British nationalism typically focuses on the unity of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.[citation needed]

British nationalism asserts that the British are a nation and promotes the cultural unity of Britons,[1][2] in a definition of Britishness that may include people of English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish descent.[3] British nationalism is closely associated with UK or British unionism, which seeks to uphold the political union that is the United Kingdom, or strengthen the links between the countries of the United Kingdom.[4]


King Arthur, the king of the medieval Britons, depicted as one of the Nine Worthies in tapestry, c. 1385. The legend of King Arthur as a warrior ruler and a British hero as he is depicted by Geoffrey of Monmouth in Historia Regum Britanniae laid the foundations of British nationalism.

British nationalism's unifying identity was developed by the ancient Britons who dwelt on the island of Great Britain.[2] British nationalism grew to include people outside Great Britain, in Ireland, because of the 1542 Crown of Ireland Act, which declared that the crown of Ireland was to be held by the ruling monarch of England as well as Anglo-Irish calls for unity with Britain.[5]


British nationalism is characterised as a "powerful but ambivalent force in British politics".[6] In its moderate form, British nationalism has been a civic nationalism, emphasizing both cohesion and diversity of the people of the United Kingdom, its dependencies, and its former colonies.[7] However, nativist nationalism has arisen based on fear of Britain being swamped by immigrants; this anti-immigrant nativist nationalism has manifested politically in the British National Party (BNP) and other nativist nationalist movements.[7] Politicians, such as former British Prime Minister David Cameron, have sought to promote British nationalism as a progressive cause.[8]

See also



  1. ^ Motyl 2001, pp. 62–63.
  2. ^ a b Guntram H. Herb, David H. Kaplan. Nations and Nationalism: A Global Historical Overview: A Global Historical Overview. Santa Barbara, California, USA: ABC-CLIO, 2008.
  3. ^ Motyl 2001, pp. 62–64.
  4. ^ Miller 2005, p. 133.
  5. ^ Brendan Bradshaw, Peter Roberts. British Consciousness and Identity: The Making of Britain, 1533-1707. P. 302.
  6. ^ Smith, Smith & White 1988, p. 61.
  7. ^ a b Motyl 2001, pp. 64.
  8. ^ Conservative Party leader David Cameron advocates liberal or civic British nationalism: "Cameron: I will never take Scotland for granted". Conservatives. 15 September 2006. Archived from the original on 24 September 2012. Being British is one of the most successful examples of inclusive civic nationalism in the world. The official party site.