Jan
13
2009

What’s the difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain and the British Isles?

Ireland, and the United Kingdom (CIA World Factbook - PD)

The British Isles (CIA World Factbook - PD)

The terms United Kingdom, Great Britain and British Isles are confusing, even to many people who live in Britain. It’s easier to understand the differences if you remember that United Kingdom is short for “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland“.

The British Isles are an island group containing Great Britain and its outlying islands, plus Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

Great Britain is the largest of the British Isles, and comprises England, Wales and Scotland. As a political unit it also includes the outlying islands of Anglesey, the Isle of Wight, the Isles of Scilly, the Hebrides, the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands. It does not include the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands (Jersey, and the islands of Guernsey) which are independent.

The second-largest of the British Isles is the island of Ireland, which comprises the Republic of Ireland plus Northern Ireland.

The United Kingdom consists of Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) together with Northern Ireland.

The term Britain is used loosely, and may refer to either Great Britain or the United Kingdom.

Related questions:

  • What are the key facts about the United Kingdom?What are the key facts about the United Kingdom? The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland ("the UK") lies to the west of continental Europe. It comprises England, Wales and Scotland ("Great Britain"), plus Northern […]
  • What is the SS Great Britain?What is the SS Great Britain? If you are visiting the historic maritime port of Bristol in England, then a tour of one of the pioneers of ocean-going passengers ships is recommended. The Steam Ship (SS) Great […]
  • What are the key facts about Ireland?What are the key facts about Ireland? Ireland, and Éire in the Irish language, are the official names of the Republic of Ireland. Ireland comprises the island of Ireland, except for the six northern counties that are part […]
  • Are there any good beaches in the UK?Are there any good beaches in the UK? After a news report about UK beaches whose water quality failed to meet regulatory standards, I heard someone say that they didn't know there were any good beaches in the United […]
  • Where Can I Find Free Newspaper Archives Online in the UK?Where Can I Find Free Newspaper Archives Online in the UK? There are literally billions of pages of newspaper archives available online.  Only a small portion of them are from the UK, and a still smaller portion can be viewed for free.  […]

  Need research? Quezi's researchers can answer your questions at uclue.com

Written by | 24,620 views | Tags: , , ,

No Comments

Comments are closed.

RSS feed for comments on this post.


Privacy Policy | Acknowledgements