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United Kingdom, Great Britain, British Isles: which is it?

  1. The British Isles are made up of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. Irish nationalists say “the British Isles and Ireland.” The “Atlantic archipelago” is also sometimes used.

Other islands include the Isle of Man, Wight, Scilly, Skye, the Arran Islands, Channel Islands, Shetland Islands, Inner and Outer Hebrides, Orkneys, and over 6,000 other smaller islands.

  1. The United Kingdom (owned by the British crown) is a political union made up of Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales. Wales and Scotland are their own countries; however, a referendum on independence for Scotland was held in 2014, losing by only a small margin. A second referendum is scheduled for 2023. England is considered a semi-autonomous region.
  1. Great Britain is a geographical term describing the land mass that incorporates Scotland, England, and Wales. Northern Ireland is not geographically part of Great Britain.

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