England, Great Britain, United Kingdom: What's the Difference?

Sometimes you find answers in unexpected places. I found the most succinct description I've ever seen of how England, Great Britain and the United Kingdom relate to each other in a library newsletter about travel guidebooks:

  • London is the capital of England.
  • England is a country.
  • Britain is an area that consists of England and the country of Wales.
  • Great Britain is the name of the island that is home to the countries of England, Wales, and Scotland.
  • The United Kingdom (UK) is a country that is a union of the countries on the island of Great Britain, along with the country of Northern Ireland (which shares the island of Ireland with the Republic of Ireland.)
  • [The Republic of Ireland is] a separate country that is not part of the UK.
  • London is also the capital of the UK.

Guidebooks will often include various parts of this geography, with the most common subdivisions being London, England, and Great Britain. Travelers should be aware that while all residents of the UK are British subjects, residents of Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland will prefer to be referred to as Welsh, Scottish, and Irish, respectively, rather than British.

Description from Reviews: Library Journal; Travel, the London Olympics and Beyond, February 28, 2012

Written by Janet on July 20, 2012

Comments

Lisa F. on July 23, 2012

Comment

Blimey, that's confusing. I didn't realize Ireland wasn't part of anything.

Comment

And I can never understand the differences among Britain, Great Britain, The British Isles, and United Kingdom

Comment

Yes, Ireland is a country, Northen Ireland is the part The Brits stole from the Irish and occupied for centuries, Finally in the 1920's The Irish took back most of their country, When the Brits occupied Ireland they claimed not only the country but peoples homes and land and made them pay rent to the Brits even though they were on their land, the Brits prohibited Irish people from going to school, from owning anything, they took their property, all of it and tried to kill them by NOT allowing them to have food, that is the reason millions died and tried to immigrate to the United States, because the BRITS starved them to death on their own country, Irish were not allowed to practice their religion. The IRA was a group of people who got together to try and take back from the Brits their land, they were able to take back many counties but the Brits still hold and occupy a huge part of Northern Ireland, Brits have always been thieves and occupiers, such as the Malvinas which they call the Folklen islands, those Islands belong to Argentina but the Brits won't let it go, We speak of monsters all the time, but we never include these so called democratic countries who are the thieves of the weak, Why did they give Palestine to the Jewish people ? To create a war that has no end, Would you fight for your country to the end? Or give it up to the thief's? I don't have anything against everyday English , British the entire thing is so confusing but I do have a huge problem as to why they take what is NOT theirs and still today refuse to return it to its owners, Like Northern Ireland and the Folklen Islands is there more?

Anonymous on July 23, 2012

Comment

Oh my, won't the Irish be surprised!

Erin T. on July 23, 2012

Comment

That is a very interesting fact! Thanks for sharing!

Janet on July 23, 2012

Comment

Seems like the Irish are probably proud to be separate.

Comment

I'm absolutely proud to be Irish. My people were persecuted worse than Jews, blacks and american Indians. We were slaves and yet the american Indians hate us because we came here , to tthe united states, for solitude, but first we were slaves. Treated worse and far cheaper than black slaves from Africa, etc. But no one ever discusses our history. It's extremely sad and should be known!

Anonymous on July 23, 2012

Comment

Thank you!

Leave a comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.