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After the American Revolution, Anglican congregations in the United States and British North America (which would later form the basis for the modern country of Canada) were each reconstituted into autonomous churches with their own bishops and self-governing structures; these were known as the American Episcopal Church and the Church of England in the Dominion of Canada.
Through the expansion of the British Empire and the activity of Christian missions, this model was adopted as the model for many newly formed churches, especially in Africa, Australasia, and Asia-Pacific.
While many Anglicans celebrate the Eucharist in similar ways to the predominant western Catholic tradition, a considerable degree of liturgical freedom is permitted, and worship styles range from the simple to elaborate.
The term was kept when the church became international because all Anglicans used to share in its use around the world.
In 1549, the first Book of Common Prayer was compiled by Thomas Cranmer, who was then Archbishop of Canterbury.
Anglicanism, in its structures, theology and forms of worship, is commonly understood as a distinct Christian tradition representing a middle ground between what are perceived to be the extremes of the claims of 16th-century Roman Catholicism and the Lutheran and Reformed varieties of Protestantism of that era.
As such, it is often referred to as being a via media (or "middle way") between these traditions.
By the end of the century, the retention in Anglicanism of many traditional liturgical forms and of the episcopate was already seen as unacceptable by those promoting the most developed Protestant principles.