How are The United Kingdom, Great Britain, England and Ireland Different? (another intermezzo)

I used to ponder myself with this question: what are the differences among The United Kingdom, Britain, Great Britain, England and Ireland? While the last two may be easily distinguished as separated entity, the rests are bit confusing to an average non-British like me.

Britain is usually a term used to refer United Kingdom and Great Britain, and if the word Britain can be use for both, why do we often heard people refer “the British islands” as United Kingdom and sometimes Great Britain? Are there any differences? Hmm, actually it is. United Kingdom is not the same as the Great Britain.

So what does United Kingdom mean? I’ve put in my wild guess that “United Kingdom” means the “united kingdom” of England and Ireland, since they occasionally had the same king but are different countries. To prove it, I’ve dig up some references, I found out that the full name of United Kingdom is “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, yeah, am I right!? bzztt.. damn, I was partly right, Ireland wasn't part of the “United Kingdom”, Ireland has its own government and sovereignty even with an elected female president. Only 1/6 of the Ireland is part of United Kingdom.

So United Kingdom consists of England and part of Ireland, but uh-oh not quite, the term Great Britain does not refer only to England, but also Scotland… yeah, grab Braveheart DVD and you’ll understand. Uh oh not quite, Great Britain also includes Wales!

To summarise it,

United Kingdom = England + Scotland + Wales + Northern Ireland
= (Great Britain) + Northern Ireland

Union Jack

The source of confusion often lead by media that always refer “the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island” as just Britain, and of course the sports event, where we can see that United Kingdom “isn’t so united” at all, when the participants of Northern Ireland would compete under the flag the Republic of Ireland instead of under the UK flag, and of course the usual England vs Scotland stuff, and even where there’s a reference to Great Britain in sports even, Scotland often competes independently.

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