A little about the United Kingdom

The British Isles is the name for the group of islands that includes Great Britain, Ireland and lots of smaller islands.

Great Britain is the biggest of these islands and is made up of England, Scotland and Wales.
great britain map
(Britain is just England and Wales)

The United Kingdom, or the UK is the political name for Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The names

Britain: the name was made popular by the Romans when they came to the British islands.
The Romans Conquer Britain
The Romans Conquer Britain

Great Britain: was first used during the reign of King James I of England (James VI of Scotland) and refers to the separate kingdoms of England and Scotland.
James I of England
James I of England

England: used to be know as Engla-Land, meaning the land of the Angles (people from continental Germany who began to invade Britain, along with the Saxons and Jute.)
United Kingdom: (The uniting of kingdoms) was formed first by the act of union that created a single kingdom (with a single parliament). Then, Ireland joined to “Great Britain” (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland). Now is the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland” (the Republic of Ireland is not included)

Is Great Britain the same as Britain?

Great Britain and Britain do not mean the same thing.

Great Britain is made up of Scotland, England and Wales

where as Britain is just England and Wales.
England and Wales

The name Britain goes back to Roman times when they called England and Wales "Britannia". The Roman province of Britannia only covered the areas of modern England and Wales. The area of modern Scotland was never finally conquered.
Britannia by Rex Woods

The Union in 1707 joined Scotland and England and Wales to create Great Britain.

The Flag

The British flag is called the Union Jack. It is made up of three crosses, and they are crosses of the patron saints of England, Scotland and Ireland.

Saint George and the dragon (Patron Saint of England)
Saint George

St. Patrick and the snakes (Patron Saint of Ireland)
saint patrick of ireland

St. Andrew and the fishes (Patron Saint of Scotland)

The crosses were made into one flag to represent the past of the three countries.

Why is it called the Union Jack?
Well, the flag is named after Jack Knowles, a famous flag designer who lived in Britain in the late 1600s. Jack designed both the England flag and the Scottish flag.
Also, the flag is called this because it represents the union of the three countries and it is always flown on the jack-staff (main pole) on navy ships.


The language

There are two official languages in Great Britain: English and Welsh.
The word Welsh comes from the word wealh, which means "foreigner". The Welsh language is very different from English but they do have something in common: both are Indo-European languages. These languages, include "dead" languages like Latin and Sanskrit and all come from the same root language that no longer exists but its influence is still strong today.


1- SANSKRIT= matr

2-GAELIC= máthair

3-LATIN= mater

4-ENGLISH= mother

5-SPANISH= madre

Multicultural Britain
Britain has always been a multicultural society. In the Bronze Age, Neolithic migrants travelled across Europe to Britain. They were followed by the Celts, the Goths, the Romans, the Saxons, the Vikings and the Normans.
Many people came to Britain as slaves and servants or just in search of work or food.
If you trace back far enough, you will find that everyone in Britain has origins somewhere else.

Life in the UK:

A quarter of those currently living in London were born abroad. In the past, most immigrants to Britain were from ex-colonies such as India and the Caribbean but now people come from all over the world and this has created a "super-diversity" which goes beyond tradicional ethnic labels such as "White", "Asian" and "Black British".

If any of these new arrivals dedice yo become British citizens, they will need to sit an exam which tests their knowledge of British society, history and culture. They can get the information they need from a book called "Life in the UK".
Once they are British citizens, they have the right to have a British passport and vote in the national elections.


A short history of England


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