The history of nationalism in Britain was unlike that in the rest of Europe in the sense that it was forced down upon the masses. There was no concept of a British nation prior to the eighteenth century. The region was in fact inhabited by different ethnic groups (English, Welsh, Scot, Irish). Each group had its own cultural and political tradition. However, as the English state grew in terms of wealth, importance and power, it was able to extend its influence over the other states of the islands. The English parliament, which had seized power from the monarchy, played a crucial role in doing away with the ethnic distinctions and uniting the different groups into a British nation-state, with England at its centre. The ethnic nationalities were, directly or indirectly, forced to join the English state to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain. The symbols of new Britain—the British flag, the national anthem and the English language were widely popularised, while the distinctive identities of the other joining states were systematically suppressed. English culture dominated the British nation, while the other states became mere subsidiaries in the Union. Thus, nationalism in Britain did not come about as a result of the people’s desire to unite or countrywide movements for the same, but from the decisions of the people in power.