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Great Britain

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The island of Great Britain shown in red

Great Britain is part of the United Kingdom.

In geography, Great Britain is the largest island in Europe. It is the main part of the United Kingdom. It contains England, Scotland and Wales. England is the biggest part of the island. England is in the southeast. Wales is to the west of England. Scotland is to the north of England.

Ireland is to the west of Great Britain. Ireland contains the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is not a part of the island of Great Britain, but it is part of the United Kingdom.

London is the capital of England and the UK. Scotland's capital is Edinburgh and Wales' capital is Cardiff.

Political definition

Great Britain is the largest island of the United Kingdom. Politically, Great Britain refers to England, Scotland and Wales in combination,[1] but not Northern Ireland. It does include islands such as the Isle of Wight, Anglesey, the Isles of Scilly, the Hebrides and the island groups of Orkney and Shetland.

It does not include the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, which are self-governing dependent territories.[1][2]


The political union that joined the kingdoms of England and Scotland happened in 1707 when the Acts of Union ratified the 1706 Treaty of Union and merged the parliaments of the two nations, forming the Kingdom of Great Britain, which covered the entire island.

Before this, a personal union had existed between these two countries since the 1603 Union of the Crowns under James VI of Scotland and I of England. That union was called the Kingdom of Great Britain.

In 1801, Ireland joined up with Great Britain, which made one country called the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The Republic of Ireland left the United Kingdom in 1922.

More reading

  • Marr, Andrew (2010). The Making of Modern Britain: From Queen Victoria to V.E. Day. Pan. ISBN 9780330510998
  • Marr, Andrew (2009). A History of Modern Britain (Second ed.). Pan. ISBN 9780330511476
  • Lynch, Michael (2008). Britain 1945-2007 (Access to History). Hodder Education. ISBN 9780340965955
  • Lynch, Michael (2008). Britain 1900-51 (Access to History). Hodder Education. ISBN 9780340965948
  • Deary, Terry (2010). The Horrible History of Britain and Ireland (Horrible Histories). Scholastic. ISBN 9780439953955
  • McDowall, David (1989). An Illustrated History of Britain. Longman. ISBN 9780582749146
  • Brocklehurst, Ruth (2008). The Usborne History of Britain. Usborne Publishing. ISBN 9780746084441
  • Morgan, Kenneth O. (2001). The Oxford History of Britain (Third ed.). Oxford Paperbacks. ISBN 9780192801357