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

    I often get asked to explain the difference between England, Great Britain and the UK.

    Technically, the United Kingdom is one nation state comprised of four countries. Which is confusing for Americans who consider their homeland to be one country comprised of 50 states!

    I’ll do my jolly best to explain…

    The UK is the abbreviation for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  The capital city is London and the head of state is Queen Elizabeth II.

    So the UK includes four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland
    Great Britain consists of three countries: England, Wales and Scotland.

    Got it?

    So I was born in London, which is in England, which is part of Great Britain and also the United Kingdom!

    For a little historical background:

    In the tenth century, the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms unified under Alfred the Great.
    In 1536, King Henry VIII took a break from marrying and divorcing/murdering wives and enforced an Act of Union between England and Wales, effectively making them one nation.
    Scotland was added in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Britain.
    In 1801, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was formed, but was resisted for the next 120 years by the Catholic majority in the south until they officially withdrew from the Union in 1922 and the country was renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *