Perhaps you are confused about the nature of England. Is it a city, state, or country? England is a country, and it is one of the four European countries that comprise the United Kingdom. Let’s take a closer look at England, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom and see how these concepts are related to one another.
Many people are confused about the relationship between the United Kingdom, Great Britain, and England. In a nutshell, the United Kingdom is a kingdom or union made out of the countries of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The official name of the UK is actually the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The government of the UK is based in London, and its current head of state is Queen Elizabeth II. Meanwhile, England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland are all their own countries with their own regional governments.
The Relationships Between England, Wales, Scotland And Northern Ireland
Great Britain refers to the island that Scotland, Wales, and England are located on. It’s a political title referencing the union between these three different countries. The union was created in 1707, and Northern Ireland is apart from Great Britain. As mentioned, England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland are all their own countries, loosely tied together, which make up the United Kingdom.
England has the largest population out of the countries in the United Kingdom, with a population of approximately 51 million people. The capital of England is London.
Scotland is also located in Great Britain, and it borders England but is not part of England. Scotland’s capital is Edinburgh, and the country’s population is around 5 million people. Scotland was an independent country until 1707 when it merged with Wales and England to create the United Kingdom. English is Scotland’s official language, however, Scottish Gaelic is another official language of the country and was the official language of the region before English. While Scotland is part of the United Kingdom, it does maintain some independent political power with regards to certain regional political decisions.
Wales is located in the western part of Great Britain and is considered part of the United Kingdom with a population of around 3 million. Cardiff is the capital city of Wales, and the official language of Wales is English, though many people there also speak Welsh. Street signs throughout Wales are likely to be written in English and Welsh. Wales is an independent country, though it has been politically aligned with England since about 1542. Like Scotland, which can make some of its own laws, it is still considered part of the UK political system.
Northern Ireland is not part of Great Britain, but it is part of the United Kingdom. The country of Northern Ireland is located in Ireland, an island about 80 kilometers to the west of Great Britain at its shortest distance. Northern Ireland’s capital is Belfast, and the population is thought to be around 2 million. Northern Ireland joined the United Kingdom in 1921. Ireland is divided into two different parts with Northern Ireland being part of the United Kingdom, while the southern Republic of Ireland is its own independent country with its own government, currency, and laws. Northern Ireland’s most commonly spoken language is English.
The History Of Great Britain
For much of Great Britain’s history, most of the island of Great Britain was controlled by the Romans. This ancient Roman stretch of territory became the province of Britannia. After the fall of the Roman empire, Britons living in the territory ended up being either displaced or assimilated by Anglo-Saxons, Germanic tribes of people. This coincided with the invasion of Gaelic tribes from the north-west, setting the stage for the creation of the Kingdom of Scotland in the 9th century. Over time, the population of Anglo-Saxons and Britons in southeast Britain became known as the English.
Britons were called the Welsh by Germanic tribes and this term eventually mutated over time to referred exclusively to residents of the modern day region of Wales. Throughout the medieval period, the island of Great Britain was divided into many different tribes of Welsh and various Anglo-Saxon lineages. The ninth century saw a Danish invasion on the northern English kingdoms, and the 10th century would eventually see the various English kingdoms become united under the Kingdom of England.
In October of 1604 King James declared himself “king of Great Britain, France, and Ireland”, marking what may be the first time the phrase Great Britain appears in history. When his successor, King Charles I took the throne, the documents also referred to him as the “king of Great Britain”. Despite this, Scotland and England would remain legally separate and distinct countries with their own parliaments until around 1707. At this time the Act of Union was passed and the two kingdoms of Scotland and England to joined together, creating the state of Great Britain in May 1707.
The History Of The United Kingdom
The unification of Scotland and England into Great Britain in 1707 is also said to be the beginning of the United Kingdom. England and Scotland would maintain their alliance as Great Britain throughout the 17th century, and the Act of Union 1800 would add the kingdom of Ireland to the union, creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
During the 1707 unification, the kingdom of England included Wales, and therefore the merger with the kingdom of Scotland combined Wales, England, and Scotland into the new United Kingdom. Throughout the 1700s and 1800s many different colonization attempts, uprisings, and wars would change the boundaries of the United Kingdom. The makeup of the United Kingdom has changed many times since its creation, with Ireland joining the UK in 1800 and at one point breaking away from the UK during the 1920s. Northern Ireland would eventually secede from the Irish Free State to return to the UK and in 1927 the UK would change its formal title to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Facts About The Four Countries Of The UK
London is the most densely populated city in England, with a population of around 8.8 million people. England has one of the largest and most powerful economies in the world, with a variety of different industries supporting it. England’s main industries are banking, finance, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, shipbuilding, chemicals, tourism, and information technology.
England’s total land area is approximately 130,000 km² or 50,300 mi.², comprising two thirds of the island of Great Britain and parts of surrounding island groups like the Isle of Wight and the Isles of Sicily. England is home to several famous rivers like the Thames River, and it is also connected to France via the channel tunnel near the city of Folkestone, which has the distinction of being the longest underwater tunnel in the world.
The highest point in Wales is the mountain of Snowdon, coming in at around 1085 km or 3560 feet above sea level, which also makes it the highest point within the British Isles, with the exception of some areas of the Scottish highlands. Wales is home to three different national parks, and these national parks protect around 1/5 of the country, encompassing the various natural habitats, landscapes, and world heritage sites.
Due to the country’s long history of kingdoms, Wales is believed to have more castles per square kilometer than any other country in the world. One of these castles, Chepstow Castle in Monmouthshire, is the oldest known post-Roman fort in all of Great Britain, being constructed sometime around 1070. Wales is also home to approximately four times more sheep than humans.
Northern Ireland makes up approximately 1/6 of the the entire island of Ireland. The North Channel separates Northern Ireland from Scotland by around 181 km or 30 miles, while the Irish Sea separates England and Wales from the island.
Northern Ireland’s economy is closely tied to the economy of the United Kingdom at large, and trade between Ireland and Northern Ireland has grown substantially in the past couple decades. The service sector is the largest part of Northern Ireland’s economy, making up approximately three quarters of the jobs there. Marine farming has taken on more of an importance in recent years, particularly oyster farming. Northern Ireland enjoys a mild temperate climate throughout most of the year.
Scotland’s territory includes around 790 different islands, referred to as the Shetland, Hebrides, and Orkney Island groups respectively. The Scottish Highlands, though not densely populated, are of tremendous historical importance to the country, and many animals like deer, squirrels, golden eagles, and puffins can be found there.
Scotland is a home to over 3000 castles, and Edinburgh Castle is the most famous of these castles. Scotland has the highest proportion of red-haired individuals out of any country on the globe, with around 13% of Scottish people having red hair, and around 40% of them having the gene for red hair.