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United Kingdom

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Index
  1. United Kingdom Main Page
  2. The Magna Carta Is Signed and a House of Commons Is Born
  3. The Church of England Is Established and Parliament Reigns Supreme
  4. England's Empire Grows While the American Colonies Revolt
  5. Democratic Government Emerges
  6. Britain Enters WWII
  7. Britain Enters European Community and Margaret Thatcher Becomes First Female Prime Minister
  8. Tony Blair and the Labor Party End Conservative Rule
  9. Britain Supports Post-Sept. 11 America, Enters the Iraq War
  10. Terror Strikes at Home
  11. Gordon Brown Succeeds Blair
  12. A Historic Changing of the Guard
  13. Royal Wedding Precedes Media Scandal
  14. London Sets New Olympic Record
  15. Same-Sex Marriage Bill Passes and Receives Royal Approval
  16. The Duchess of Cambridge Gives Birth to a Baby Boy
  17. Parliament Rejects Cameron's Plan to Strike Syria
Tony Blair and the Labor Party End Conservative Rule

Eighteen years of Conservative rule ended in May 1997 when Tony Blair and the Labour Party triumphed in the British elections. Blair has been compared to former U.S. president Bill Clinton for his youthful, telegenic personality and centrist views. He produced constitutional reform that partially decentralized the UK, leading to the formation of separate parliaments in Wales and Scotland by 1999. Britain turned over its colony Hong Kong to China in July 1997.

Blair's controversial meeting in Oct. 1997 with Sinn Fein's president, Gerry Adams, was the first meeting in 76 years between a British prime minister and a Sinn Fein leader. It infuriated numerous factions but was a symbolic gesture in support of the nascent peace talks in Northern Ireland. In 1998, the Good Friday Agreement, strongly supported by Tony Blair, led to the first promise of peace between Catholics and Protestants since the beginning of the so-called Troubles.

Along with the U.S., Britain launched air strikes against Iraq in Dec. 1998 after Saddam Hussein expelled UN arms inspectors. In the spring of 1999, Britain spearheaded the NATO operation in Kosovo, which resulted in Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milosevic's withdrawal from the territory.

In Feb. 2001, foot-and-mouth disease broke out among British livestock, prompting other nations to ban British meat imports and forcing the slaughter of thousands of cattle, pigs, and sheep in an effort to stem the highly contagious disease.

In June 2001, Blair won a second landslide victory, with the Labour Party capturing 413 seats in parliament.

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