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

Map of the UK: England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland.

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


So, if I understood correctly:

It is Scotland that makes Britain Great ;-)

Well played!

It is the best answere I have ever got

very helpful, thankx

plz explain with diagram thanxxx

Thank you so much for this simple and easy-to-understand explanation. It is a great help when I am documenting the places my ancestors lived, died, married in, died at...


Please read: http://lenamamikonyan.blogspot.com/2012/02/are-united-kingdom-great-britain-and.html

Then there's a mistake on your map! It should be entitled United Kingdom, not Great Britain, as it includes Northern Ireland.

The map IS entitled UK, it's written on the bottom in the margin. The large text reading "Great Britain" across he center of the island, denotes that the ISLAND is named Great Britain and is not the TITLE of the map.

After searching for a while about the differences between these countries, this is the best and more detailed answer I've gotten. Excellent!

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