Friday, May 26, 2006

British Isles Terminology

Just did my research on this important point. I strive to be as socially, politically and morally right as possible in my writings, thus the emergence of this post - both for educational as well as correction purposes.

Below is an excerpt from the ooh-la-la-thank-God-for-Wikipedia site. Thanks to Wikipedia, our hair is still much in a bunch and in place, without which we would be pulling them off in dismay and frustration at the limited knowledge that restricts our educational horizon. Thanks to the Internet, thanks to all who contributed to the Internet and made it accesible for all. Peace to the world! ;)

Ok 'nuff said. Here goes...


The various terms used to describe the different (and sometimes overlapping) geographical and political areas of the islands traditionally referred to collectively as the British Isles are often a source of confusion for people from other parts of the world, and even for the inhabitants of those islands themselves. The purpose of this article is to explain the meanings of and inter-relationships among those terms

- British Isles (as a geographical term) is the archipelago consisting of the island of Great Britain, the island of Ireland and thousands of smaller surrounding islands.

i.e. British Isles = Great Britain + Ireland

- United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the official name for one of the two sovereign states of the British Isles

- United Kingdom is short for United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

A Venn diagram clarifying the terminology. Geographical locations are written in red, political entities are written in blue

- Great Britain (as a geographical term) is the largest and most populous island of the archipelago.

- Great Britain (as a political term) consists of England, Scotland and Wales, and includes those politically-integrated islands (e.g. the Isles of Scilly and Shetland). It is sometimes
incorrectly used to mean the United Kingdom.

i.e. Great Britain = England + Scotland + Wales + other isles

- Britain in its modern usage is the usual short form for Great Britain and also for United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

- British in its modern usage is an adjective for Britain (with the same ambiguity). Also the official term for citizenship of the United Kingdom.

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