'When people say England, they sometimes mean Great Britain,
sometimes the United Kingdom,
sometimes the British Isles - but never England.'
'How to be an Alien' by George Mikes
"England" is sometimes, wrongly, used in reference to the whole United Kingdom, the entire island of Great Britain (or simply Britain), or indeed the British Isles. This is not only incorrect but can cause offence to people from other parts of the UK.
(See nationality of the British people).
The diverse history of England, Scotland and Wales has led to very different cultural traditions; The Scots and Welsh have right to feel aggrieved whenever the term 'English' is used wrongly, to mean all three.
The name United Kingdom refers to the union of what were once four separate countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland (though most of Ireland is now independent).
The United Kingdom
Scotland and England had separate Monarchs until 1603, when Queen
Elizabeth I died without any heirs.
The next in line of succession to
the English throne was James VI, King of Scots who became known as James
I in England. James
was also King of Ireland and of France at the same time. He is the King
that Guy Fawkes and the other members of the Gunpowder plot tried to
kill on November 5th 1605, which is why we remember on Guy Fawkes
Scotland and England, together with Wales united by the Act of
union passed by the Scottish Parliament and Westminster in 1707 to form
the Kingdom of Great Britain.
The Irish Parliament voted to join the
Union in 1801 when the then Kingdom of Great Britain became the United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The full name of the UK then
changed in 1922 when most of the Southern counties in Ireland choose
independence and ultimately became what is now the Republic of Ireland,
leaving the UK as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The UK's full name is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Find out more about the UK
Great Britain comprises only England, Scotland and Wales.
Find out more about Britain
Great Britain is the largest island of the British Isles.
Find out more about the British Isles
Questions about England
Why does England dominate the UK?
Where did the name England come from?
Questions about Great Britain
What is Great Britain?
Is Britain the same as Great Britain?
Which countries are in Great Britain?
Who gave Britain its name?
Find out about Great Britain
Questions about the United Kingdom
Where is the UK?
What countries make up the UK?
What is the official title (name) of the UK?
Why is the whole of Ireland not part of the UK?
How and why was the UK formed?Find out about the UK
Questions about the British Isles
What is the British Isles?
Find out about the British Isles