Britain vs Great Britain
The difference between Britain and Great Britain can be explained in terms of the area of land that belongs to each. Before delving into this subject, can you answer a few questions? What is the picture that comes to your mind when someone mentions Britain? Or for that matter Great Britain? The answer to these questions is important as there are countless people (of course non-British) who cannot make out the differences between Britain, Great Britain, England and UK. Most of us outside of Britain consider they are all synonyms. However, that is not the case. This article will make clear what these terms connote and the political and geographical boundaries of Britain and Great Britain.
More about Britain
Britain is the term used to refer to England and Wales when taken together. So, when the word Britain is used in place of Great Britain, the person really means to talk about an area comprising England and Wales. The word Britain is rarely used now. However, the name Britain was a common word in Roman times when England and Wales were considered as separate kingdoms from Scotland. That was because the Romans were never able to conquer Scotland fully. In the Roman times, Britain was known as Britannia. Or, to be more specific, they referred to the areas that cover modern England and Wales as Britannia. The most important fact to remember about the name Britain is this. Since the Roman times, a land called Britain has not been in existence. That was because Wales became a different kingdom after that time.
More about Great Britain
Great Britain is merely a political term that is used when one wishes to describe the combination of three distinct nations, England, Wales and Scotland. These are the islands that make up all the land in the geographical area. As you can see, three separate areas come together to create Great Britain. The capital of England is London. The capital of Scotland is Edinburgh, and the capital of Wales is Cardiff. So when one uses the term Great Britain, he is actually referring to a political term and not a country or nation, as Great Britain includes the area comprising the three nations of England, Scotland, and Wales. Apart from these main regions, Great Britain is again divided into regions with smaller areas called counties. If you look at the history, you can see that it was the Union in 1707 that brought England, Scotland, and Wales to create Great Britain. The Act of Union 1707 was the parliamentary act that was passed by English and Scottish parliaments to create Great Britain.
There is another term namely UK that is used when one also takes into account the island called Northern Ireland. So, if you add the area of Northern Island to the areas included in Great Britain, you get an entity called UK, which is United Kingdom. United Kingdom is again a shortened name for United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island. As described above, whole of Ireland was never a part of the Roman Empire, which is why only Northern Island is taken into consideration when we are talking about UK. It is only when we use the term British Isles that we take the whole of Ireland into account and then England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland are taken together.
What is the difference between Britain and Great Britain?
• Britain is a political entity when we take into consideration geographical areas of England and Wales. The term is not commonly used.
• Great Britain is a geographical area comprising England, Scotland, and Wales.
• When it comes to UK, it is a combination of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In other words, UK is Great Britain together with Northern Ireland.
• Britain has never truly existed after the Roman period. However, Great Britain still is there, since the Union of 1707.
• Britain was known as Britannia by Romans. Great Britain has always been known as Great Britain.
• Britain is a rarely used term now while Great Britain is used commonly.
These are the differences between Britain and Great Britain. As you can see, though most of us consider Britain and Great Britain to be synonyms, in reality, that is not the case. Now that you know the difference between the two, be mindful when you are using one or the other.