The metric-affine variational principle is applied to generate teleparallel and symmetric teleparallel theories of gravity. From the latter is discovered an exceptional class which is consistent with a vanishing affine connection. Based on this remarkable property, this work proposes a simpler geometrical formulation of General Relativity that is oblivious to the affine spacetime structure, thus fundamentally depriving gravity of any inertial character. The resulting theory is described by the Hilbert action purged from the boundary term and is more robustly underpinned by the spin-2 field theory, where an extra symmetry is now manifest, possibly related to the double copy structure of the gravity amplitudes. This construction also provides a novel starting point for modified gravity theories, and the paper presents new and simple generalisations where analytical self-accelerating cosmological solutions arise naturally in the early and late time universe.