1. In groups of three find the answer to the following question:What is the difference between the UK, Great Britain (GB) and the British Isles?
Read the quote and find out what other names sometimes refer to the UK.
“When people say England, they sometimes mean Great Britain, sometimes the United Kingdom, sometimes the British Isles – but never England”
“How to be an Alien” by George Mikes
3. Read Text A and check your answers in Act. 1.Why is England or the UK sometimes called Britain?
“England” is sometimes, wrongly, used in reference to the whole United Kingdom, the entire island of Great Britain (or simply Britain), or indeed the British Isles. This is not only incorrect but can cause offence to people from other parts of the UK. The diverse history of England, Scotland and Wales has led to very different cultural traditions; the Scots and Welsh have right to feel aggrieved whenever the term “English” is used wrongly, to mean all three.
Countries within a Country – the United Kingdom
The name United Kingdom refers to the union of what were once four separate countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland (though most of Ireland is now independent, only Northern Ireland remains part of the UK).
The UK’s full and official name is the “United Kingdom of great Britain and Northern Ireland”.
History of the making of the UK: 1536 – Act of Union joins England and Wales; 1707 – Act of Union unites Scotland and England, together with Wales to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. 1801 – The Irish Parliament voted to join the Union. The then Kingdom of Great Britain becomes theUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. 1922 – Name changed to United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, when most of the Southern counties in Ireland chose independence.
Britain comprises only England and Wales. Great Britain comprises only England, Scotland and Wales. The British Isles are made up of several islands, where Great Britain is the largest one.
Answer the questions and use a map to prove your ideas.
1) What is Great Britain? 2) Is Britain the same as Great Britain? 3) Which countries are in Great Britain? 4) Where is the UK? 5) What countries make the UK? 6) What is the official title (name) of the UK? 7) Why is the whole Ireland not part of the UK? 8) What is the British Isles?
5. Use the following geographical names to complete the text below:
The British Isles; Great Britain; Europe; Ireland; Scotland; the Atlantic Ocean; the United Kingdom.
The British Isles are situated off the northwest coast of mainland Europe. They are bounded to the west by (1)… , to the north and east by the North Sea, and in the south the English Channel separates them from the rest of (2)… . The two main islands of Great Britain and Ireland make up (3)… . There also many groups of small islands off the western and northern coasts. The British Isles consist of two separate nations – (4)… and the Republic of Ireland. The United Kingdom is made up of the countries of England, (5)… and Wales on the island of (6) …, and Northern Ireland in the northeast of the island of Ireland. The Republic of Ireland covers the rest of (7)….