England, the UK, Great Britain and the British Isles

UKWe were chatting yesterday about England, the UK, Great Britain and the British Isles. I quickly realised that despite being a white Australian descended from ancestors from that part of the world that I did not know what the various terms meant.

So I did some quick research, and here’s the result:

England is a part of Great Britain. So is Wales and Scotland. England is not a country.

Great Britain is part of the United Kingdom. So is Northern Island. Great Britain is a country. The full name for the UK is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The British Isles is an archipelago consisting of all of Great Britain, all of Ireland and a number of smaller islands nearby. Amazingly, these number about 6,000, including Isle of White, Shetland Mainland, Isle of Man, Jersey and The Hebrides.

So, my great, great, great… etc, grandparents came from England, which is part of Great Britain, which is part of the UK.

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