What is the Difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain, and England?

Map of the United KingdomDo you ever get confused and wonder what the difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain, and England is?  And where does Ireland and Northern Ireland fit into all this?  And what are the British Isles?

Well, I have come across an incredibly-helpful and amusing video on YouTube that answers those questions.

While I am happy to share it with you, I will caution you that he talks really fast.  So I’m going to give you the bottom line first, kind of a “cheat sheet” so your head won’t spin when you watch the video.

What is the United Kingdom?

The United Kingdom is made up of several countries:  England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.  Each is a sovereign nation.  The U.K. is actually called the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Citizens of each U.K. country carries a British passport.  There are all British citizens.  Yet, don’t call them all British.  In England the preferred name is English.  In Scotland the preferred name is Scottish.  In Wales the preferred name is Welsh.  And in Northern Ireland you will find the Northern Irish.

While the U.K. is a member of the European Union, the currency used in these countries is the British £ sterling.  Some larger stores will accept Euros but some have service fees.  You can use your Mastercard (Access) and Visa in most places.

England is the largest and most populous country in the U.K. and contains the United Kingdom capital city of London.  London is also the capital of the country of England.  Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland.  Cardiff is the capital of Wales.  And Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland.

What is Great Britain and What are the British Isles?

Unlike the United Kingdom, Great Britain is a geographical term, not a political one, and it includes:  England, Scotland, and Wales, but not Northern Ireland.  Great Britain is the largest island of The British Isles.

Where Does Ireland Fit into All of This?

Ireland is the second largest island in The British Isles.  Ireland is a geographical term and not a political one, in this regard.

The island of Ireland is split into two countries.  Northern Island is part of the U.K.  The Republic of Ireland (commonly known as Ireland) is part of the European Union and uses Euros as currency not British £ sterling.

Confused yet?  Want to learn more?  Then watch the following video to further understand the difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain, and England.  Let me know if you have any questions or comments!

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