England vs UK vs Great Britain – are these the same?
Do England, the United Kingdom, and Great Britain, all refer to the same place? What’s the difference between England vs UK vs Great Britain, and what’s included in each? Is Scotland a country? Here’s the answer in a 5-minute video that breaks these down. I’ve also highlighted some quick answers below that. You’ll understand your initial question in the first 30-seconds, but this clip does a great job with the natural follow-up questions.
For example, why is the Queen is on Canadian currency? Where do Belize and the Cayman Islands fit in? Enjoy!
England vs UK vs Great Britain
Here’s a quick breakdown:
England contains about 80% of the population of the UK.
Great Britain includes England, Wales and Scotland. Great Britain is a geographical term referring to the island on which the greater parts of England, Wales and Scotland are situated. GB is also a legal one referring to those three territories considered together. Great Britain is the largest island of the British Isles, which is most of the UK but not all.
Where does the name Great Britain come from? The name GB originates from the Latin ‘Britannia’, the ‘Great’ being introduced to distinguish it from Little Britain, which was the French province later called Bretagne, or Brittany.
United Kingdom includes Great Britain (England, Scotland, & Wales), plus Northern Ireland. The full name of the UK is actually “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.” It defines the area represented in the UK Parliament and for which that Parliament normally makes laws. Northern Ireland and multiple small islands from each country in the region are part of the UK but not part of GB.
So you now you know the difference between England vs UK vs Great Britain, but that still leaves some unanswered questions.
Why is the Queen on Canadian money?
The Commonwealth realm are countries who were formerly British colonies. This term includes the United Kingdom, as well as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, in addition to Belize, Bahamas, Barbados, St Lucia, St Vincent. They’re independent sovereign nations, but recognize the monarchy as head of state. The official name is the Commonwealth Realm.
British territories are different than those above in that they’re not independent (formerly known as “Crown Colonies”). These territories are not part of the UK but they’re under the UK’s jurisdiction. These include Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Turks & Caicos, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, and more. The full name is British Overseas Territories.
“British” doesn’t mean you’re from Great Britain; all of the above countries are British, even though they have different nationalities, and the vast majority aren’t in Great Britain. Technically, British are citizens or natives of the United Kingdom, Crown Dependencies (Gibraltar, Jersey, Isle of Man), British Overseas Territories, and their descendants.
Here’s a helpful diagram:
England vs UK vs Great Britain
Sources – CGPGrey‘s informative video clip (above), various Wiki links.
CGPGrey‘s youtube page and blog have a wealth of tremendous video explainers on other topics as well – I strongly recommend!