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Difference Between Great Britain and the United Kingdom

uk-mapGreat Britain vs the United Kingdom

Great Britain refers to the island located to the east of Ireland, and to the northwest of France. It comprises of three autonomous regions, namely England, Scotland and Wales. Due to it’s historical power and dominance, there is a tendency for many to confuse England as Great Britain or the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom is the country that is made up of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, thus the name the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This implies that England is a part of Great Britain, which is also part of the United Kingdom. One thing of importance to note here is, that England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are not countries, but regions that make up the country called the United Kingdom. There is a portion of Ireland that is not a part of Northern Ireland, and this is an independent country known as the Republic of Ireland.

England makes up the largest part of the United Kingdom in terms of population, making up about eighty four percent of the entire population of the country. Geographically, England makes up about 57% of Great Britain. England’s capital, London, is also the largest city in the United Kingdom, and has acted as the center of power for the United Kingdom since the year 1707. However, things were to change a bit in 1999, when partial ruling powers were granted to the Scottish Parliament and the National Assembly of Wales.
The term ‘British’ rightly refers to any persons from Great Britain, not just people from England, but it has widely been confused to mean the same as ‘English’, which denotes persons from England. However, the more generic term of ‘British’ is often shunned by people from the three regions of Great Britain, who prefer to be referred to as English, Scottish or Welsh.

The northern most part of Great Britain is occupied by the region Scotland. It was not part of England until 1603, when the Scottish king, King James VI, inherited the English throne. However, the regions remained separate until 1707 when the acts of union were passed, which merged the parliaments of England and Scotland into the United Kingdom parliament. Wales and Ireland were under the control of England by this time.

In the southwestern part of Great Britain is the region known as Wales. The Irish Sea separates Wales from Ireland and Northern Ireland. Although it’s long, and often complex history, has always linked it to England, it has been considered a separate region since 1955.

Northern Ireland makes up the final component of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1920, and it is not part of the Republic of Ireland. It is located on a different island from the rest of the regions of the United Kingdom, occupying the island west of Great Britain with Ireland. Great Britain, together with the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, as well as many other small islands, make up the British Isles.

Summary:
Great Britain is made of three autonomous regions, and the United Kingdom comprises of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Great Britain is not a country, whereas the United Kingdom is a country.
The term ‘British’ may refer to all people from Great Britain, but it doesn’t refer to all people from the United Kingdom.


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5 Comments

  1. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland ARE countries

  2. What a load of baloney, there are 4 countries that make up the United Kingdom and 3 that make up Great Britain.
    Who ever wrote this (probably American) needs to go to some school that can put together a better geography class, and not think as everyone as subservients to America.

  3. What a load of nonsense. Scotland is a country.
    The U.K. is not.

  4. This was very clear and concise. Thank you

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