Great Britain and Britain, the difference.
The name Britain derives from the Roman word Britannia, but there are two conflicting arguments about why the ‘Great’ was stuck on the front of Britain.
The first is that it is used to distinguish Britain from its similar sounding, but much smaller French neighbour, Brittany.
The second reason is due to King James VI of Scotland in 1603, when he took the English Crown.
He wanted to make it clear that he wasn’t just the King of the old Roman Britain (which consisted of just England and Wales), but of the entire island, including Scotland, so he referred to himself as King of Great Britain.
However, the term Great Britain was first used officially in 1474, in the instrument drawing up the proposal for a marriage between Cecily the daughter of Edward IV of England, and James the son of James III of Scotland, which described it as “this Nobill Isle, callit Gret Britanee”.
It was used again in 1603, when King James VI and I styled himself “King of Great Britain”.
It seems that joining Britain and Scotland together, whether by Royalty or Politically, it was the reason for adding ‘Great’ to Britain.
Scotland made Britain great.
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