England, Great Britain, the United Kingdom … These words are used in our everyday lives to talk about the “land of the Britons”. However, most of the time, each one of these is used unaccordingly and this can bring some citizens quite some frustration. So let’s take a look at the differences between all of these.
The United Kingdom
The United Kingdom is the name given to the country member of the European Union. Its official name is United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is the union of four countries: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
These four countries share the same head of state – Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II, the same Prime Minister – David Cameron, and the same currency – the pound sterling (GBP).
As the UK is a union between 4 countries, the same had to be done with the flag … and this is how was created the famous Union Jack. This emblematic flag was used in the old days for special occasions on war ships.
You may notice Wales is missing in the flag. The reason for this is that in those days, Wales was still a province of England.
Great Britain is a geographical term, which is the name given to the island shared by the 3 countries: England, Wales and Scotland.
So what about Northern Ireland? It certainly is part of the United Kingdom, but is not part of Great Britain.
England is one of the three countries of Great Britain, along with Wales and Scotland (and of course one of the four countries of which is composed the United Kingdom). The confusing part can be that London is the Capital of England, but also the capital city of the United Kingdom.
In case it is still confusing for you, you can watch the video below, which should help make things clearer!