Great Britain, United Kingdom or the British Isles ?

“Great Britain”, “the United Kingdom” and the “British Isles” makes for an interesting dinner conversation, unless one is an expert in these things…

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The Difference between Great Britain, United Kingdom and the British Isles.

Working out the differences between the terms: “Great Britain”, “the United Kingdom” and the “British Isles” makes for an interesting dinner conversation, unless one is an expert in these things.


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I got it wrong last night, so here are the FACTS…

The British Isles consist of the islands of Great Britain, Ireland and over several thousand smaller islands.

Britain:

  • England – Capital: London.
  • Wales – Capital: Cardiff.

Great Britain:

  • England – Capital: London.
  • Scotland – Capital: Edinburgh.
  • Wales – Capital: Cardiff.

The United Kingdom:


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  • England – Capital: London.
  • Scotland – Capital: Edinburgh.
  • Wales – Capital: Cardiff.
  • Northern Ireland – Capital: Belfast.

The British Isles:

  • England – Capital: London. (GB & UK)
  • Scotland – Capital: Edinburgh. (GB & UK)
  • Wales – Capital: Cardiff. (GB & UK)
  • Northern Ireland – Capital: Belfast. (UK)
  • Ireland – Capital: Dublin. (Republic of Ireland) No connection to Britain since the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 6th December 1921
  • The Isle of Man – Capital: Douglas (Self Governing British Crown Dependency)
  • The Channel Islands – Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney and Sark, off the coast of Normandy, France. (Self Governing British Crown Dependency; the “Duchy of Normandy”)

Islands included as part of England

  • The Isle of Wight, southern coast of England.
  • Isles of Scilly, southwest coast of England.
  • Lundy Island, southwest coast of England.

Islands included as part of Scotland

  • The Hebrides, the northwest coast of Scotland.
  • The Orkney and Shetland Islands, the northeast coast of Scotland.

Notes:

  1. 1494 – A law passed in Ireland gave the English Crown an effective veto over Irish legislation.
  2. 1536 – ‘Act of Union 1536’ between England and Wales.
  3. 1603 – The term “Great Britain” was first officially used after James VI of Scotland acceded to the throne of England and Wales in 1603, as King James I.
  4. 1707 – ‘Act of Union 1707‘ unites Scotland, England and Wales to form the ‘Kingdom of Great Britain’.
  5. 1801 – ‘Act of Union 1801’ followed the Irish Parliament voting to join the Union, forming the ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland’. The term “United” Kingdom now being used for the first time.
  6. 1922 – Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1922. When 26 of Ireland’s 32 counties choose independence, the name was changed to the ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’.
  7. The Queen has other titles by which she is known in different parts of Britain. In the Isle of Man, she is ‘Lord of Man’; in the Channel Islands, she is ‘Duke of Normandy’; and in the land of the Duchy of Lancaster, she is ‘Duke of Lancaster’. http://www.royal.gov.uk/FrequentlyAskedQuestions/20%20most%20asked%20questions.aspx

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