UK, Great Britain and England: what's the difference?

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What is the difference between UK, Great Britain and England?

The United Kingdom, England and Great Britain are three names that are very often confused.

The City of London is the capital of both the United Kingdom and England.

The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is the union of four countries :

  • England - whose capital is the city of London.
  • Scotland - whose capital is the city of Edinburgh.
  • Wales - whose capital is the city of Cardiff.
  • Northern Ireland - whose capital is the city of Belfast.

The official name of this union is "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".

These nations share a Head of State (the Queen of the United Kingdom: Elizabeth II), a Prime Minister (currently Boris Johnson) and a system economy with pound sterling as currency.

The parliamentary government is in England but has three decentralised administrations in the capitals of each nation.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own parliaments and therefore ministers specific to their nations - they nevertheless remain dependent on the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Map of United Kingdom

The UK consists of the island of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland is also part of the Island of Ireland - which consists of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Only Northern Ireland is part of the UK.

Map of United Kingdom

Great Britain

The term "Great Britain" refers to the main island of the United Kingdom - this is only a geographic reference.

Great Britain is formed by three nations:

  • England - whose capital is the city of London.
  • Scotland - whose capital is the city of Edinburgh.
  • Wales - whose capital is the city of Cardiff.

Unlike the UK which also includes Northern Ireland.

Great Britain can be compared to the Iberian Peninsula (Spain, Portugal and Andorra): an area where several countries coexist, but which has no political or economic dimension.

Map of Great Britain

Great Britain is the main island of the archipelago of the British Isles.

The term "British Isles" is also only a geographic reference - the British Isles consist of Great Britain, Ireland (North and South) and several other small islands.

Map of Great Britain

England

England is the greatest nation of Great Britain and the United Kingdom. Its capital is the city of London - also the capital of the United Kingdom.

Map of England

England borders Scotland (in the North), Wales (in the West), the Irish Sea (in the North West), the Celtic Sea (in the South West), The North Sea (to the east) and the English Channel (to the south).

Map of England