Thursday, July 15, 2010

United Kingdom Versus Great Britain

FLG always knew that England was only one country that was part of the United Kingdom, even though people often use them interchangeably, he always tried to be specific with his usage of the terms.  He, however, did think that Great Britain and United Kingdom were interchangeable, but that's not the case, as he discovered recently.  Great Britain is the island where one finds England, Wales, and Scotland.  Whereas, the United Kingdom consists of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.


Andrew Stevens said...

In fact, the full name of the country is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Your mistake is understandable since in international competitions or the like, it is often shortened to "Great Britain" rather than "the United Kingdom."

By the way, Britain technically should refer only to England and Wales. You have to say Great Britain if you want to include Scotland. (The Romans never conquered Scotland, so their use of Britannia referred only to England and Wales.) It's quite possible that distinction is now obsolete though. As far as I can tell, common usage has Britain and Great Britain as interchangeable.

All of Ireland can technically be called British since it's part of the British Isles, but the Irish don't like it when you do that.

arethusa said...

And some day, we will hear the formula "His Majesty Charles III, by the grace of God King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland..."

*runs screaming from the room*

Andrew Stevens said...

I would too. The style and title in full goes on for several minutes, especially all the royal orders he's going to be sovereign of.

By the way, do you think he'll take Charles as his regnal name? I'm sure there are some Scots who still think Bonnie Prince Charlie was Charles III. It wouldn't shock me if he decided to reign as George VII instead (one of his middle names is George and he'd be honoring his grandfather).

arethusa said...

It wouldn't surprise me if Charles decided to rule as Flower Child I, either.

Sometime early in her reign, the Scots tried to give Elizabeth some object, I forget what, inscribed "To Elizabeth I." She sent it back, for obvious reasons. Charles would probably do the opposite.

Andrew Stevens said...


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