Great Britain (comprising England, Scotland, and Wales) is the largest island within the British Isles, but the term is often used interchangeably with the United Kingdom.
London is the capital city of England and is where the government of the UK is situated. The countries of Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland have devolved governments, giving them certain powers that affect their regional governance. Wales's assembly is in the Welsh capital city of Cardiff, Scotland's government is located in Holyrood (Edinburgh), and Northern Ireland's in Stormont (Belfast).
The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and the British monarch is the Head of the Commonwealth.
There are also three Crown Dependencies:
The Crown Dependencies are not part of the United Kingdom, but are officially grouped together with the United Kingdom in the British Islands. Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic Games actually covered the British Islands as a whole, despite its name.
Based on the 2011 census, the population of the various constituents is as follows:
|Isle of Man||84,655|
For comparison, the population of the Republic of Ireland in 2011 was 4,588,252.
Coverage in this wiki
This Wiki covers the British Islands, and therefore includes the Channel Islands and the isle of Man as well as the UK.
Historically, England, Ireland, and Scotland were three separate countries. From early mediaeval times the Kings of England were Lords, and later Kings, of Ireland, but Scotland had its own Kings and Queens.
When James VI of Scotland became King of England (as James I) in 1603 the two crowns were united, but Scotland retained its separate government until it was united with England to form the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707, under Queen Anne.
A further union (in which Lord Castlereagh took a leading role) happened in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. This lasted until Ireland was partitioned in 1922, since when it has been the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
A report by the Pew Research Center in April 2014 revealed the UK as the sixth most tolerant of the nations surveyed in attitudes to homosexuality, with only 15% of respondents saying that homosexuality was morally unacceptable. The most tolerant nation was Spain with 6%.
- The British Islands should not be confused with the "British Isles" which is the geographical term for Great Britain together with the whole island of Ireland.