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.
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