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

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

April 1, 2024

The British islands are a group of islands that form an archipelago located in northwestern Europe, formed by two large main islands and a set of smaller islands around it. In them we find one of the powers that has had more power historically in Europe: United Kingdom.

But we often refer to the inhabitants of these islands as English, or we can not correctly distinguish between Great Britain, the United Kingdom and England. And although deeply associated are not synonymous: they do not imply exactly the same. An inhabitant of the United Kingdom does not have, for example, why to be English, and not even properly British.

So, what are the differences between England, United Kingdom and Great Britain ? In this article, we will delve into them.

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Main differences between the United Kingdom, Great Britain and England

Although today a large part of the population knows the differences by general culture or because it has traveled to the United Kingdom at some point, it is not uncommon that there are doubts and confusions about what exactly or how Britain is different, United Kingdom and England. This can lead to uncomfortable situations in which an inhabitant of one of these regions is offended by confusing or identifying him with another: for example, identify a Scotsman with an English . That is why we will now look at some of the main differences that exist.

Type of unit: politics or physics

One of the elements that differentiates Great Britain from the other two entities mentioned above is the fact that at present only what is understood by Great Britain is only the largest of the islands of the archipelago of the British Isles. England and the United Kingdom they refer to political units, not merely territorial . However, in the past the Kingdom of Great Britain itself was a political entity and not just a physical one.

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Differences at the level of a political entity

One of the biggest differences between the aforementioned territories is that they include different political entities. The United Kingdom is a country that is made up of four different nations: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. A) Yes, Although England is part of the United Kingdom, it does not represent the entire country , but to one of its parts (concretely the most populated and important at the economic and political level).

As far as Great Britain is concerned, it is understood as the island on which three of these nations are located, namely Scotland, Wales and England. In fact, formerly they formed the Kingdom of Great Britain, which was generated by the political union of the kingdoms of Scotland and England. The United Kingdom (technically United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) would not exist as such until the incorporation into the political unit of the country of the territory of Northern Ireland in 1800.

Political system

The set of territories that are part of the United Kingdom (including Great Britain which in turn includes England) they share nationality, monarch, prime minister and the parliament of the United Kingdom . But despite this there are differences at the level of political system: while England does not have its own political system in addition to the above, the rest of the territory that are part of Britain and the United Kingdom have their own ministers and parliaments besides the central .

Territory that each one occupies

Another major difference is at the physical terrain level. England is a country located on the island of Great Britain, but it does not occupy it in its entirety but shares it with other countries . Specifically with Scotland and Wales.

As far as the United Kingdom is concerned, it integrates all the countries that are located on the island of Great Britain, but it also includes a part of the island of Ireland (specifically, Northern Ireland) and different minor islands bordering on these .. Thus, at territorial level there are differences between Great Britain, England and the United Kingdom.


One of the most frequent causes of confusion is found in the fact that the official language of the United Kingdom is English, which would be the native language of England. But this does not mean that there are no other languages ​​in the country, each of the nations that are part of the United Kingdom having its own language, which is co-official with English in their respective territories: Scottish, Welsh and Irish. In fact, the differences are greater than those that are believed, since while English part of the Germanic language and brass the rest of the languages ​​of the United Kingdom have mainly Celtic origin .

The Difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain and England Explained (April 2024).

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