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Towe Bridge Great Britain is made up from the countries of England, Scotland and Wales

Britain is often used informally for the country often known as "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". This name is often shortened to The United Kingdom or simply U.K. It lies at the top-left edge of Europe, separated from the mainland by the North Sea and the English Channel.

England is the largest and most populous unit in the country. It has an area of over 130,000 km2 and a population of nearly 50 million.

Wales, to the west of England, has an area of nearly 21,000 km2 and almost 3 million people.
It became part of the English kingdom in 1282, but keeps a separate language and national identity.

Scotland, has an area of almost 80,000 km2, and nearly 50 million people, and lies to the north of England.
Scotland and England were governed by the same rulers after 1603 and united in 1707 to form Great Britain.

Ireland was made a part of the state in 1801, changing the official name to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
The present name has been used since the division of Ireland in 1921.

Northern Ireland has an area of over 14,000 km2 and a population of over 1,600,000.


London - England
Edinburgh - Scotland
Cardiff - Wales
Belfast - Northern Ireland


English, Welsh (21% of the population speak Welsh, though only 1% of the population speak Welsh as their first language), Gaelic (under 1% of the population of Scotland).


Anglican (55% nominal, 4% practising); Roman Catholic (9%); Presbyterian (3%, including Church of Scotland); Methodist (2%); various other Christian Churches (4%); Sunni Islam (2%); Judaism (under 1%).

© December 1999 English on the Internet www.aj.cz