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England, Great Britain, the UK, What Does It All Mean!?

Updated on October 18, 2017
compu-smart profile image

I was born and bred in England, and even I was baffled as to the differences between the names The UK, Great Britain and England.

England, Great Britain, the UK, What Does It All Mean!?

Don't worry, It can be very confusing even for the average Brit! The names currently used are England, Great Britain and The United Kingdom, (UK). Confused!?

The United Kingdom is a union of four constituent countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The United Kingdom, the (UK) consist of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. The Isle of Wight located off the South Coast of Britain (See green arrow) is also part of this country.

The name Great Britain is the name of the largest island in the British Isles consisting of England, Scotland, and Wales. Northern Ireland is not part of Great Britain

Every Colour Represents The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom consists of the above named countries: The green arrow points to the "Isle Of White" which is part of the UK
The United Kingdom consists of the above named countries: The green arrow points to the "Isle Of White" which is part of the UK

Table of contents

  • Flag Of England~: St Georges Cross.
  • Video: History Of The Union Jack.
  • England.
  • Flag of Scotland.
  • Scotland
  • Flag of the Republic of Ireland.
  • Ireland.
  • The national flag of Wales.
  • Wales.
  • The Isle of Wight Flag.
  • The Isle of Wight.
  • The variations of accents.

  • Video: An example of accent variations.
  • How Can I Become a British Citizen?

Flag Of England. St George's Cross

Video: History Of The Union Jack


The Flag Of England is the St George's Cross.The red cross appeared during the Middle Ages and the Crusades. It is the earliest known emblems representing England. It achieved status as the national flag of England during the 16th century.

The flag of United Kingdom which represents Great Britain and Northern Ireland is The Union Flag, commonly known as the Union Jack.

Language: English. Capital: London City. Patron saint: Saint George. National Anthem: God Save the Queen. Floral emblem: the Rose. Currency: Pound Sterling.

Flag of Scotland. Saint Andrew's Cross or the Saltire

Scottish, Saltire
Scottish, Saltire


The Flag of Scotland is a white saltire, a crux decussate X-shaped cross representing the cross of the Christian martyr Saint Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, on a blue field. Scotland is a country which occupies the northern third of Great Britain.

It is part of the United Kingdom and shares a land border to the south with England. Until the May 1, 1707, the Kingdom of Scotland was an independent state until it joined in the political union with the Kingdom of England to create a United Kingdom of Great Britain.

Language: Scottish Gaelic . Capital: Edinburgh. Patron saint: St. Andrew. National Anthem: Unofficial: Flower of Scotland - Scotland the Brave. Floral emblem: the Thistle and Scottish Bluebell. Currency: Scottish pound-Scottish notes - (Info & pic)

For years the Scottish people decided they wanted their own democracy and independence by leaving the United Kingdom and in 2014, they voted to leave the UK in the referendum on September 18th. The voting statistics were 44.7% for independence and 55.3% voted against It which would have made many changes to the rest of the UK if they won. 2017. Scotland is always campaigning to leave the UK, and become independent again.

Flag of the Republic of Ireland. Irish tricolour


The flag of Ireland. The green The green represents Irish Catholics, while the orange represents Irish Protestants. The white in the centre represents the peace between the two groups.

The Republic of Ireland is bordered by Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. This country which was first partitioned on May 3, 1921.

Northern Ireland is a constituent country within the United Kingdom, lying in the North East of Ireland. It shares a border with the Republic of Ireland.

Language: Irish, and Irish Gaelic. Capital: Dublin. Patron saint: Saint Patrick. National Anthem: The Soldier's Song. Floral emblem: the Shamrock, similar to a 3 leaf clover. Currency: Irish Pound or punt, Irish - Eireannach.

On May 3, 1921, Northern Ireland and Ireland separated after the people living there went to war against their British rulers. The IRA and other groups used bombings to end British rule of Northern Ireland and join the Republic of Ireland to the south. The south was now called the Republic of Ireland. They still share an open border.

The national flag of Wales is The Red Dragon (Welsh: Y Ddraig Goch)


The Welsh flag. The red dragon itself has been associated with Wales for centuries and was granted official status in 1959. It consists of a red dragon, passant, on a green and white field.

Wales is a country which is part of the United Kingdom, bordering with England on its east.

Language: Welsh. Capital: Cardiff. Patron saint: Saint David. National Anthem: is 'Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau' or 'The Land of my Fathers'. Floral emblem: the Daffodil. Currency: The Welsh Pound.

The Isle of Wight Flag

The Isle of Wight

The Isle Of White flag - I.O.W Is part of Britain-GB./UK.The flag is taken from the Isle of Wight Arms in 1928.The castle featured represents the seat of historical Governors at Carisbrooke Castle, The blue field & 3 gold anchors represent the Islands maritime history and status.

Language: English. Capitol: Newport. Patron saint: Saint David. National Anthem: God Save the Queen. Currency: Pound Sterling.

The variations of accents

The variations of accents throughout the countries, cities and towns can be the equivalent of listening to another language. Every location of The United Kingdom have very different accents, dialects, colloquialisms and slang. Even I as a Londoner find it hard to fully understand, and vice verse. An example of the variations of the Irish accent is explained perfectly in the video below.

Video: An example of accent variations - Irish

How Can I Become a British Citizen?

You can apply for British citizenship by naturalisation if you're 18 aged or over and you don't have a serious criminal record and you want to make the UK your permanent residency, you're English must be good. Finally, you have to meet the residency requirement which can be found here. In 2016. The United Kingdom decided (voted) to leave the European Union which may additional problems for new citizens wanting to come to the UK.

More by the author.

© 2008 Compu-Smart


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    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 15 months ago from London UK


      I wish I had the knowledge to understand all the fundamental differences between staying and leaving and I have no idea at all even after hearing every debate and conversation!

      All we can do is await until the new decisions and rules start affecting us, but how and when will we know!? I won't.

      All I do know is, this nation as a whole has become more divided, weather we voted in or out and I just hope what ever happens, we can move forward and let this Brexit campaign be a part of history, because at this present moment, I feel we are all walking on prehistoric egg shells until somebody cracks the solution to this problem and we can once again, move forward and be confident in the new people who will be voted (or not) to run this great country.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 15 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      The 'Remain' campaigners haven't thrown in the towel yet. There's still some notion that the referendum result wasn't binding, and that there's still parliamentary debate due. Various 'components' of the Media took opposing positions, such as The Sun, the Daily Express and Daily Telegraph following the 'Brexit' line. Good old 'Aunty' (BBC) still has hopes the result isn't binding.

      For my money (although I live in London and overall the capital voted 'In', including me to fall in line with the rest of my family - I'm a Brexiter at heart) I think the result should indicate the UK's leanings. Whether Ulster, or Northern Ireland, and Scotland actually vote to leave the UK is another matter. It's possible the vote north of the border was 'chivvied' by the SNP, as some Scots extremists tried in the 2014 referendum. The Ulster voters initially opted to stay with the UK as the Six Counties in the 1920s. They might draw back from the brink at the prospect of breaking up the Union. The idea of placing their future in the hands of Dublin might be repugnant to them, considering the plight Dublin found itself in shortly after joining the Euro zone. Likewise the Scots may not want to take the plunge. Both countries have equal say at Westminster, they each have three national banks issuing their own notes which they would lose on joining the Euro zone.

      The UK as a whole voted to reject the Euro, and look what's happened in Ireland (although they worked themselves back out of their doldrums by introducing higher taxes and other fiscal measures), Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain. The ones who pull the strings are the 'Benelux' countries, France and Germany, the original five who form the 'committee'.

      We'd be best out of that 'elitism', it's non-democratic.

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 16 months ago from London UK

      Reference the "Brexit" campaign, Britain has has voted and the decision is for Great Britain to remain in the European Union and what a divided nation we are as 48.1% wanted to remain and 51.9% to leave.

      Results by country as follows...

      England voters - remain 46% - to leave 53.2%

      Scotland voters - remain 62% - to leave 38%

      Wales voters - remain 48.3% - to leave 51.7%

      Northern Ireland voters - remain 55.7% - to leave 44.3%

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 22 months ago from London UK

      Thanks Alan for your knowledgeable input... Your last words you wrote... "a lot of British nationals don't either"..I'm afraid .that includes me I guess :/

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 22 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      What about the Channel Islands? (They're part of Great Britain, but not the United Kingdom, and what's left of our Norman holdings that King John lost to France). The only part of Britain occupied in WWII, and many still spoke Norman French at the time - look at their names.

      Again, the Isle of Man is part of Great Britain but doesn't pay taxes through Westminster (the Channel Islands have the same tax status, much to the annoyance of the EU).

      The Isle of Wight is the only offshore part of the United Kingdom and has 'shire' or county status with a royal 'seat' at Osborne (Queen Vic's favourite).

      The Irish flag you showed is of the Irish Republic or Eire, not Northern Ireland. There is an Ulster flag on the net.

      We're all British, but have our separate identities as well. A lot of outsiders don't understand that part (a lot of British nationals don't either).

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

      lol! love the joke above! One thing I hate is when foreigners say, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Britain! What about English? I am English, not british or anything else, great hub, nell

    • profile image

      jardo 4 years ago

      one of the most obvious is that Wales and Northern Ireland are NOT countries. Wales is a 'Principality' - that's why there is a Prince of Wales - and Northern Ireland is a 'Province' - although not exactly like Canada was. It must annoy the good folk of Northern Ireland when people say "British" when they actually mean 'United Kingdom' because Northern Ireland is NOT part of Great Britain - or even Britain. Britain is England and Wales which became Great Britain (larger Britain as in Greater London and Greater Glasgow) when Scottish James 6th joined the crowns. I suppose we all live in the British Isles, including Éire and the many smaller islands, but if that makes us British - like Norwegians, Swedes, Fins and Danes are Scandinavian - perhaps that may have stopped all the bloodshed during the 1930s - and even now???

    • profile image

      Saor Alba 5 years ago

      Isn't it funny that Scots,Irish and Welsh never get confused about this,must be an English Imperialist attitude thing! Mind you,the English are welcome to call themselves Brits if they want,we certainly don't want to! SAOR ALBA,ALBA GU BRATH!

    • bilboburgler profile image

      bilboburgler 5 years ago from Europe

      Isle of Man

      is included in your map but you don't explain its position, any ideas?

    • Mrs. J. B. profile image

      Mrs. J. B. 6 years ago from Southern California

      I absolutely love your hub. It was so interesting and well written. Happy Easter..

    • mag76 profile image

      mag76 6 years ago

      I usually have to devote whole lesson to explain it to my students and there are still some who don't get it. They too usually think that Scotland is a part of England.

    • profile image 6 years ago

      Alba Gu Brath

    • vox vocis profile image

      Jasmine 7 years ago

      The way you presented and organized this hub is perfect! Very interesting - rated up! You just have to do some more research to make sure all you´ve written is true!

    • profile image

      E. Barton  7 years ago

      Previous poster Paraglider is correct, the official title is "United Kingdom Of Great Britain And Northern Ireland". That's what is says on the front of my passport and at the very top of it, it says "European Union".

    • profile image

      E. Barton 7 years ago

      Edinburgh, Cardiff and London are Capital cities. They are not "Capitol" cities. It's not like Capitol Hill in the USA. Also English is the language spoken in Scotland. A very small minority speak Gaelic but these people tend to live in the remote Western islands of Scotland. The general population can only speak English the same as England.

    • profile image

      sonia fooder 7 years ago


    • profile image

      AJdaemon 7 years ago from Great Britain

      A bit of information for everyone, the union flag is only the union jack when at sea.

      And good hub.

    • livingsta profile image

      livingsta 8 years ago from United Kingdom

      That was a useful piece of information to be shared, because there are lots of people who are totally confused about these facts, including me lol...Thank you for sharing compu-smart

    • Dottie1 profile image

      Dottie1 8 years ago from MA, USA

      The difference between the UK, Britain, Great Britain, and England has always been confusing for me and as you know compu-smart, I mixed them up yesterday so came here for my geography lesson. So thanks for this hub with all this great information.

    • rikbut profile image

      rikbut 8 years ago from UK

      The Republic of Ireland's currency is the Euro. And where is the flag of Northern Ireland?

    • BristolBoy profile image

      BristolBoy 8 years ago from Bristol

      Hey great hub. It was definitely worth you pointing this out and so have added it to the UK based Hubbers page:

      The whole page reminds me of a talk I had with an American in the UK who when I was trying to explain that Bristol was in England but near the bridges to Wales said 'But isn't Wales in England as well?'

    • solacemoon profile image

      solacemoon 8 years ago from Illinois

      Nice hub very informative.I hope to travel to the UK one day!

    • highprofile profile image

      highprofile 8 years ago from Hampshire

      This is a great hub...You should explain about the words in each anthem as I would be interested in that information as well.

      I willhave a look at your other hubs....thumbs up for you on this one!!!

    • desert blondie profile image

      desert blondie 9 years ago from Palm trees, swimming pools, lots of sand, lots of sunscreen

      Such good information! And from all the comments too! As someone who's heritage is English and Irish...enjoyed seeing more about how all this works together. Best!

    • Paraglider profile image

      Dave McClure 9 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      Greetings - That's a pretty good attempt to unconfuse matters! But a couple of points: I'm pretty sure the official title of the union is "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" You're right in saying that Great Britain is the name for the island comprising Scotland, Wales & England. The Irish hate it when people refer to Great Britain as the mainland!

      National anthems - officially, God save the Queen might be the national anthem of Wales, but you'll never find a Welshman who agrees with that. Their national anthem is 'Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau' or 'The Land of my Fathers'. Scotland has always been confused over the national anthem issue. 'Scots wha hae' by Burns was the most serious contender, except that not enough people knew it! 'Scotland the Brave' is too trivial and is really a march tune with a bolt-on lyric. The one that's gained widest acceptance is 'Flower of Scotland', by Roy Williamson of the Corries. It has the advantage of being roarable by rugby & football crowds, but the words are banal and the melody too folksy. Bring back Burns, say I...

    • Bard of Ely profile image

      Steve Andrews 9 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Well, in conspiracy theory the belief is that the plan is to do away with Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland eventually so then it would be a United Kingdom whether people wanted it or not. It is already part of the European Union. They are working towards doing away with nations to create the New World Order. They already have the EU in place and the NAU is planned to follow in the near future composed of North America, Mexico and Canada and with the dollars replaced by the amero. Ultimately the elite intend one currency only and that will be electronic and controlled by a one world bank and a microchipped population.

      Immigration is being covertly encouraged to help break down the national and cultural divisions.

      I have a friend called Lou who used to run Zine Zone underground magazine, and may still do so, and he used to always write the last part of the address as "London, Not Really Great Britain."

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 9 years ago

      Nice hub :-) One day I will go visit the UK! I recently watched an old film called Trainspotting and found out that I really like the Scottish accent. It's kind of hard to understand but fun to hear.

    • koncling profile image

      koncling 9 years ago from Nice Winding Room

      well thank's

      now i know the different

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      I appreciate the good map and the synopsis of the countries! Very well put together.

    • marisuewrites profile image

      marisuewrites 9 years ago from USA

      I'm so glad you did this HUB, a great refresher course and we need more of it! It's wonderful to know more about our neighbors! =)

    • sschilke profile image

      sschilke 9 years ago

      compu smart,

      All four countries should forget about their national football teams and join forces to make the United Kingdom national football team. They may just have a chance at winning something on the world stage.

      Thanks for the informative hub.


    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 9 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      CompuSmart: I was involved with an Irish man for 7 years and didn't know what their  flag represented, but got immersed in the Irish culture. Its beautiful to have the white as peace between the two religions, may it come true one day!

      And to cgull8m, re your comment in this hub about shipping to "United Kindgom"... yikes I just shipped a package this morning to a customer in London and wrote UK... Have been doing this with our British customers. Visiting Compusmart's hubs are always enlightening!


    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 9 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Both my grandfathers were Irish, compu-smart, but I can't help because, as an old editor friend of mine used to say, "You're talking to a totally ignorant person." Of course, he meant he just didn't know anything about it. Thanks for the informative hub. I've always been confused by your country -- or is it kingdom, or commonwealth, or Great Britain, or United Kingdom? Loved the joke!

    • jimmythejock profile image

      James Paterson 9 years ago from Scotland

      Hi Compu-Smart, nice hub, it's good to see someone who realises that Scotland is not a part of England.

      here is a little fact that you may not know

      Scottish money is not actually legal tender, it is a promisary note to banks to pay the bearer on demand the amount in sterling or English bank notes.

      take care and thanks for sharing.....jimmy

    • cgull8m profile image

      cgull8m 9 years ago from North Carolina

      I used to ship packages to UK before with "United Kingdom" now the postal service accept only Great Britain. I am still confused LOL, but the article helped. Cheers.

    • CJStone profile image

      CJStone 9 years ago from Whitstable, UK

      No English flag. Also St.George isn't the patron saint of the United Kingdom, but of England. Personally I never agreed with that anyway. I think if we're going to have a mythological figure as a saint, it might as well be an English one, and I vote for Robin Hood.

    • MasonsMom profile image

      MasonsMom 9 years ago from U.S.A.

      Thanks for clearing that up!!!!

    • Priceless Sam profile image

      Priceless Sam 9 years ago

      Very informative!! LOL - love the joke. haha

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 9 years ago from London UK

      A Welshman, Scotsman, Irishman and Englishman walk into a pub! ,,,,The barman says "What's this!? Some kind of Joke!?