When it comes to describing United Kingdom or UK, many people use other terms such as England, Britain and Great Britain. It is generally perceived that all these names denote one and the same thing.
However, if we get into the details, it becomes apparent that each of these names denote a different region. To better understand the topic, here’s a look at what’s the difference between United Kingdom vs. England vs. Britain vs. Great Britain.
British Isles – This is a geographical region that covers all the islands in the North Atlantic Ocean. It includes all the names we commonly come across such as United Kingdom, Great Britain, Northern Island, Scotland, Ireland, etc. The British Isles region is also home to more than 6,000 smaller islands.
Great Britain – While there are hundreds of islands in the British Isles, the biggest island is Great Britain. So, Great Britain is actually a geographical region and not necessarily the name of a country. Great Britain comprises England, Scotland and Wales. The name Britain comes from the ancient tribe Briton that used to live in this region many centuries earlier. Britons lived in this region before the arrival of Anglo-Saxons in the region.
Britain – Britain is a part of Great Britain. If we leave out Scotland, the ones remaining are England and Wales. The region of England and Wales is collectively referred to as Britain.
England – Just like Scotland and Wales, England is a country and part of the United Kingdom. The term ‘England’ comes from the ‘Angles’, a Germanic tribe that came from the Anglia peninsula. This tribe had settled in the present-day England region in 5th and 6th centuries.
United Kingdom – United Kingdom is a sovereign state, comprising England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Each of these are separate countries or kingdoms, which work together as United Kingdom. As compared to a collection of states like in the United States, United Kingdom is a collection of different countries or kingdoms. The most populous country in United Kingdom is England, which has its capital in London.
English vs British – These terms are also used interchangeably. However, as is evident from above points, English refers to all things and people that are part of England. In comparison, British means everything associated with the Great Britain, which includes Scotland, Wales and England.
So, the next time you use any of these terms, always remember what they actually denote. Not many may actually notice, but if you are aspiring to be an influencer, a leader or an expert, it is important to understand the basic difference between United Kingdom vs. Great Britain vs. Britain vs. England.