SHORT AND SIMPLE: England, Great Britain, UK and the British Isles?

I am sometimes confused with these four words and what countries are included: England, Great Britain, United Kingdom and the British Isles. How about you, dear Senior Citizens (SCs)?

Well, it is never too late to know or recall (senior moment?!) so this post was written and we, as SCs, will no longer get confused, or simply smile because we never forgot and our brain cells are still working!

England is a European country bordered by Scotland to the north, the Irish Sea to the northwest, Wales to the west, and the Celtic Sea to the southwest, the English Channel to the south, and North Sea to the east, according to the Wikipedia page, “England1,” accessed November 14, 2017. This country is not a sovereign state. It is the largest country in the United Kingdom and includes more than 100 smaller named islands2. Its capital and largest city is London.

Great Britain is the official collective name of the landmass/island consisting of England, Scotland and Wales, and their associated islands, according to the Wikipedia page, “Great Britain3,” accessed November 14, 2017. It is considered the largest island of Europe that is why the word “Great” is used, but it can also be simple called Britain. Its capital and largest city is London.

The United Kingdom (UK), or more appropriately the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, is the political union of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (since 1922), according to the Wikipedia page, “United Kingdom4,” accessed November 14, 2017. Its capital and largest city is London. The UK is a sovereign state, made up of these 4 countries in their own right. NOTE: From 1801-1922, the UK also included all of Ireland.

The British Isles is a geographical term which includes the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, 3 Crown Dependencies5, as well as over 6,000 islands scattered around their coasts, according to the Wikipedia page, “British Isles6,” accessed November 14, 2017. NOTE: This term is purely geographical, not pertaining to the nationality of the inhabitants.

Did you find this post informative? Do you have other terms or travel trivia which you would like me to feature? I would like to hear from you. Just scroll to the bottom of this post and type your comment in the designated box. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” box on the lower right corner of your gadget. Thank you!

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1“England,” accessed November 14, 2017,

2According to the Wikipedia page, “List of islands of England,” accessed March 8, 2018, the top 10 smaller named islands of England (based on area/size, in descending order) include: Isle of Wight, Isle of Sheppey, Hayling Island, Foulness Island, Portsea Island, Canvey Island, Mersea Island, Walney Island, Wallasea Island, and St. Mary’s. SOURCE: “List of islands of England,” accessed November 14, 2017,

3“Great Britain,” accessed November 14, 2017,

4“United Kingdom,” accessed November 14, 2017,

5According to the Wikipedia page, “Crown dependencies,” accessed November 14, 2017, the three Crown Dependencies are independently administered jurisdictions and include: the Isle of Man (in the Irish Sea) and the Bailiwicks7 of Guernsey and Jersey (part of the archipelago called the Channel Islands, located in the English Channel). SOURCE: “Crown dependencies,” accessed November 14, 2017,

6“British Isles,” accessed November 14, 2017,

7A bailiwick, according to the Wikipedia page, “Bailiwick,” accessed March 8, 2018,  is an area of jurisdiction of a baliff8, a term still used in British Crown Dependencies5 of the Channel Islands, grouped as such, like the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Bailiwick of Jersey. SOURCE: “Bailiwick,” accessed November 14, 2017,

8A baliff is an overseer or custodian who has jurisdiction over a geographical area or territory under a royal writ.

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