|Adjacent bodies of water||Atlantic Ocean|
|Area||315,159 km2 (121,684 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||1,345 m (4,413 ft)|
|Highest point||Ben Nevis|
|Capital and largest settlement||Saint Peter Port|
|Area covered||78 km2(30 sq mi; 0%)|
|Capital and largest settlement||Saint Helier|
|Area covered||118 km2(46 sq mi; 0%)|
|Capital and largest city||Dublin|
|Area covered||70,282 km2(27,136 sq mi; 22.3%)|
|Capital and largest settlement||Douglas|
|Area covered||572 km2(221 sq mi; 0.2%)|
|Capital and largest city||London|
|Area covered||244,111 km2(94,252 sq mi; 77.5%)|
|Pop. density||216 /km2 (559 /sq mi)|
|Languages||English, Scots, Ulster‑Scots, Welsh, Cornish, Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Manx, French, Jèrriais, Guernésiais, Sercquiais, Auregnais|
|• Summer (DST)|
|Drives on the||left|
The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic off the north-western coast of continental Europe that consist of the islands of Great Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Hebrides and over six thousand smaller isles. km2 and a combined population of almost 72 million, and include two sovereign states, the Republic of Ireland (which covers roughly five-sixths of Ireland) , and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The islands of Alderney, Jersey, Guernsey, and Sark, and their neighbouring smaller islands, are sometimes also taken to be part of the British Isles, even though, as islands off the coast of France, they do not form part of the archipelago.They have a total area of about 315,159
An archipelago, sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of islands, or sometimes a sea containing a small number of scattered islands.
The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest of the world's oceans, with an area of about 106,460,000 square kilometers. It covers approximately 20 percent of the Earth's surface and about 29 percent of its water surface area. It separates the "Old World" from the "New World".
Continental or mainland Europe is the continuous continent of Europe, excluding its surrounding islands. It can also be referred to ambiguously as the European continent – which can conversely mean the whole of Europe – and by Europeans, simply the Continent.
The oldest rocks in the group are in the north west of Scotland, Ireland, and North Wales and are 2.7 billion years old. 1,345 metres (4,413 ft), and Lough Neagh, which is notably larger than other lakes in the island group, covers 390 square kilometres (151 sq mi). The climate is temperate marine, with mild winters and warm summers. The North Atlantic drift brings significant moisture and raises temperatures 11 °C (20 °F) above the global average for the latitude. This led to a landscape which was long dominated by temperate rainforest, although human activity has since cleared the vast majority of forest cover. The region was re-inhabited after the last glacial period of Quaternary glaciation, by 12,000 BC, when Great Britain was still part of a peninsula of the European continent. Ireland, which became an island by 12,000 BC, was not inhabited until after 8000 BC. Great Britain became an island by 5600 BC.During the Silurian period, the north-western regions collided with the south-east, which had been part of a separate continental landmass. The topography of the islands is modest in scale by global standards. Ben Nevis rises to an elevation of only
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, the North Sea to the northeast, the Irish Sea to the south, and the North Channel to the southwest. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.
The Silurian is a geologic period and system spanning 24.6 million years from the end of the Ordovician Period, at 443.8 million years ago (Mya), to the beginning of the Devonian Period, 419.2 Mya. The Silurian is the shortest period of the Paleozoic Era. As with other geologic periods, the rock beds that define the period's start and end are well identified, but the exact dates are uncertain by several million years. The base of the Silurian is set at a series of major Ordovician–Silurian extinction events when up to 60% of marine genera were wiped out.
Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the British Isles. Standing at 1,345 metres (4,411 ft) above sea level, it is at the western end of the Grampian Mountains in the Lochaber area of the Scottish Highlands, close to the town of Fort William.
Hiberni (Ireland), Pictish (northern Britain) and Britons (southern Britain) tribes, all speaking Insular Celtic,inhabited the islands at the beginning of the 1st millennium AD. Much of Brittonic-occupied Britain was conquered by the Roman Empire from AD 43. The first Anglo-Saxons arrived as Roman power waned in the 5th century, and eventually dominated the bulk of what is now England. Viking invasions began in the 9th century, followed by more permanent settlements and political change, particularly in England. The Norman conquest of England in 1066 and the later Angevin partial conquest of Ireland from 1169 led to the imposition of a new Norman ruling elite across much of Britain and parts of Ireland. By the Late Middle Ages, Great Britain was separated into the Kingdoms of England and Kingdom of Scotland, while control in Ireland fluxed between Gaelic kingdoms, Hiberno-Norman lords and the English-dominated Lordship of Ireland, soon restricted only to The Pale. The 1603 Union of the Crowns, Acts of Union 1707 and Acts of Union 1800 attempted to consolidate Britain and Ireland into a single political unit, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, with the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands remaining as Crown Dependencies. The expansion of the British Empire and migrations following the Irish Famine and Highland Clearances resulted in the dispersal of some of the islands' population and culture throughout the world, and a rapid depopulation of Ireland in the second half of the 19th century. Most of Ireland seceded from the United Kingdom after the Irish War of Independence and the subsequent Anglo-Irish Treaty (1919–1922), with six counties remaining in the UK as Northern Ireland.
The Gaels are an ethnolinguistic group native to northwestern Europe. They are associated with the Gaelic languages: a branch of the Celtic languages comprising Irish, Manx and Scottish Gaelic. Historically, the ethnonyms Irish and Scots referred to the Gaels in general, but the scope of those nationalities is today more complex.
The Picts were a confederation of peoples who lived in what is today eastern and northern Scotland during the Late Iron Age and Early Medieval periods. Where they lived and what their culture was like can be inferred from the geographical distribution of Brittonic place name elements and Pictish stones. The name Picts appears in written records from Late Antiquity to the 10th century, when they are thought to have merged with the Gaels. They lived to the north of the rivers Forth and Clyde, and spoke the Pictish language, which was closely related to the Celtic Brittonic language spoken by the Britons who lived to the south of them.
Insular Celtic languages are a group of Celtic languages that originated in Britain and Ireland, in contrast to the Continental Celtic languages of mainland Europe and Anatolia. All surviving Celtic languages are from the Insular Celtic group, including the one which is now spoken in Continental Europe; the Continental Celtic languages are extinct. The six Insular Celtic languages of modern times are divided into two groups:
The term "British Isles" is controversial in Ireland,where there are nationalist objections to its usage. The Government of Ireland does not officially recognise the term, and its embassy in London discourages its use. Britain and Ireland is used as an alternative description, and Atlantic Archipelago has also seen limited use in academia.
In British English usage, the toponym "British Isles" refers to a European archipelago consisting of Great Britain, Ireland and adjacent islands. However, the word "British" is also an adjective and demonym referring to the United Kingdom and more historically associated with the British Empire. For this reason, the name British Isles is avoided by some in Hiberno-English, as such usage could be construed to imply continued territorial claims or political overlordship of the Republic of Ireland by the United Kingdom.
The Government of Ireland is the cabinet that exercises executive authority in Ireland.
The earliest known references to the islands as a group appeared in the writings of sea-farers from the ancient Greek colony of Massalia.The original records have been lost; however, later writings, e.g. Avienus's Ora maritima, that quoted from the Massaliote Periplus (6th century BC) and from Pytheas's On the Ocean (circa 325–320 BC) have survived. In the 1st century BC, Diodorus Siculus has Prettanikē nēsos, "the British Island", and Prettanoi, "the Britons". Strabo used Βρεττανική (Brettanike), and Marcian of Heraclea, in his Periplus maris exteri, used αἱ Πρεττανικαί νῆσοι (the Prettanic Isles) to refer to the islands. Historians today, though not in absolute agreement, largely agree that these Greek and Latin names were probably drawn from native Celtic-language names for the archipelago. Along these lines, the inhabitants of the islands were called the Πρεττανοί ( Priteni or Pretani). The shift from the "P" of Pretannia to the "B" of Britannia by the Romans occurred during the time of Julius Caesar.
Avienus was a Latin writer of the 4th century AD. An inscription from Bulla Regia, a former Roman city located in modern-day Tunisia, reports his full name as "Postumius Rufius Festus who is also Avienius". He was a native of Volsinii in Etruria, from the distinguished family of the Rufii Festi. He was twice appointed consul, if an inscription published by the 17th-century antiquaries Jacob Spon and Raffaello Fabretti really refers to this Avienus.
The Massaliote Periplus or Massiliote Periplus is a theoretical reconstruction of a sixth-century BC periplus, or sailing manual, proposed by Adolf Schulten.
Pytheas of Massalia was a Greek geographer and explorer from the Greek colony of Massalia. He made a voyage of exploration to northwestern Europe in about 325 BC, but his account of it, known widely in Antiquity, has not survived and is now known only through the writings of others.
The Greco-Egyptian scientist Claudius Ptolemy referred to the larger island as great Britain (μεγάλη Βρεττανία megale Brettania) and to Ireland as little Britain (μικρὰ Βρεττανία mikra Brettania) in his work Almagest (147–148 AD).In his later work, Geography (c. 150 AD), he gave these islands the names Alwion , Iwernia , and Mona (the Isle of Man), suggesting these may have been names of the individual islands not known to him at the time of writing Almagest. The name Albion appears to have fallen out of use sometime after the Roman conquest of Great Britain, after which Britain became the more commonplace name for the island called Great Britain.
There has been a large community of Greeks in Egypt, also known as Egyptiotes, from the Hellenistic period until the aftermath of the Egyptian revolution of 1952, when most were forced to leave.
The Almagest is a 2nd-century Greek-language mathematical and astronomical treatise on the apparent motions of the stars and planetary paths, written by Claudius Ptolemy. One of the most influential scientific texts of all time, it canonized a geocentric model of the Universe that was accepted for more than 1200 years from its origin in Hellenistic Alexandria, in the medieval Byzantine and Islamic worlds, and in Western Europe through the Middle Ages and early Renaissance until Copernicus. It is also a key source of information about ancient Greek astronomy.
The Geography, also known by its Latin names as the Geographia and the Cosmographia, is a gazetteer, an atlas, and a treatise on cartography, compiling the geographical knowledge of the 2nd-century Roman Empire. Originally written by Claudius Ptolemy in Greek at Alexandria around AD 150, the work was a revision of a now-lost atlas by Marinus of Tyre using additional Roman and Persian gazetteers and new principles. Its translation into Arabic in the 9th century and Latin in 1406 was highly influential on the geographical knowledge and cartographic traditions of the medieval Caliphate and Renaissance Europe.
The earliest known use of the phrase Brytish Iles in the English language is dated 1577 in a work by John Dee.Today, this name is seen by some as carrying imperialist overtones although it is still commonly used. Other names used to describe the islands include the Anglo-Celtic Isles, Atlantic archipelago, British-Irish Isles, Britain and Ireland, UK and Ireland, and British Isles and Ireland. Owing to political and national associations with the word British, the Government of Ireland does not use the term British Isles and in documents drawn up jointly between the British and Irish governments, the archipelago is referred to simply as "these islands". Nonetheless, British Isles is still the most widely accepted term for the archipelago.
The British Isles lie at the juncture of several regions with past episodes of tectonic mountain building. These orogenic belts form a complex geology that records a huge and varied span of Earth's history. million years the land that forms the islands has drifted northwest from around 30°S, crossing the equator around 370 million years ago to reach its present northern latitude.Of particular note was the Caledonian Orogeny during the Ordovician Period, c. 488–444 Ma and Early Silurian period, when the craton Baltica collided with the terrane Avalonia to form the mountains and hills in northern Britain and Ireland. Baltica formed roughly the northwestern half of Ireland and Scotland. Further collisions caused the Variscan orogeny in the Devonian and Carboniferous periods, forming the hills of Munster, southwest England, and southern Wales. Over the last 500
The islands have been shaped by numerous glaciations during the Quaternary Period, the most recent being the Devensian.[ citation needed ] As this ended, the central Irish Sea was deglaciated and the English Channel flooded, with sea levels rising to current levels some 4,000 to 5,000 years ago, leaving the British Isles in their current form. Whether or not there was a land bridge between Great Britain and Ireland at this time is somewhat disputed, though there was certainly a single ice sheet covering the entire sea.
On the west coasts of Ireland and Scotland that directly face the Atlantic Ocean there are several long peninsulas, and many headlands and bays; the internal and eastern coasts are "smoother".
There are about 136 permanently inhabited islands in the group, the largest two being Great Britain and Ireland. Great Britain is to the east and covers 83,700 sq mi (217,000 km2). Ireland is to the west and covers 32,590 sq mi (84,400 km2). The largest of the other islands are to be found in the Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland to the north, Anglesey and the Isle of Man between Great Britain and Ireland, and the Channel Islands near the coast of France.
The islands are at relatively low altitudes, with central Ireland and southern Great Britain particularly low-lying: the lowest point in the islands is the North Slob in County Wexford, Ireland, with an elevation of −3.0 metres (−9.8 ft). The Scottish Highlands in the northern part of Great Britain are mountainous, with Ben Nevis being the highest point on the islands at 1,345 m (4,413 ft). Other mountainous areas include Wales and parts of Ireland, although only seven peaks in these areas reach above 1,000 m (3,281 ft). Lakes on the islands are generally not large, although Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland is an exception, covering 150 square miles (390 km2).[ citation needed ] The largest freshwater body in Great Britain (by area) is Loch Lomond at 27.5 square miles (71 km2), and Loch Ness, by volume whilst Loch Morar is the deepest freshwater body in the British Isles, with a maximum depth of 310 m (1,017 ft). There are a number of major rivers within the British Isles. The longest is the Shannon in Ireland at 224 mi (360 km).[ citation needed ] The river Severn at 220 mi (354 km)[ citation needed ] is the longest in Great Britain.
The climate of the British Isles is mild, moist and changeable with abundant rainfall and a lack of temperature extremes. It is defined as a temperate oceanic climate, or Cfb on the Köppen climate classification system, a classification it shares with most of northwest Europe. °C (20 °F) above the global average for the islands' latitudes. Winters are cool and wet, with summers mild and also wet. Most Atlantic depressions pass to the north of the islands, combined with the general westerly circulation and interactions with the landmass, this imposes an east–west variation in climate.The islands receive generally cool summers and mild winters. The North Atlantic Drift ("Gulf Stream"), which flows from the Gulf of Mexico, brings with it significant moisture and raises temperatures 11
The islands enjoy a mild climate and varied soils, giving rise to a diverse pattern of vegetation. Animal and plant life is similar to that of the northwestern European mainland. There are however, fewer numbers of species, with Ireland having even less. All native flora and fauna in Ireland is made up of species that migrated from elsewhere in Europe, and Great Britain in particular. The only window when this could have occurred was between the end of the last Ice Age (about 12,000 years ago) and when the land bridge connecting the two islands was flooded by sea (about 8,000 years ago).
As with most of Europe, prehistoric Britain and Ireland were covered with forest and swamp. Clearing began around 6000 BC and accelerated in medieval times. Despite this, Britain retained its primeval forests longer than most of Europe due to a small population and later development of trade and industry, and wood shortages were not a problem until the 17th century. By the 18th century, most of Britain's forests were consumed for shipbuilding or manufacturing charcoal and the nation was forced to import lumber from Scandinavia, North America, and the Baltic. Most forest land in Ireland is maintained by state forestation programmes. Almost all land outside urban areas is farmland. However, relatively large areas of forest remain in east and north Scotland and in southeast England. Oak, elm, ash and beech are amongst the most common trees in England. In Scotland, pine and birch are most common. Natural forests in Ireland are mainly oak, ash, wych elm, birch and pine. Beech and lime, though not native to Ireland, are also common there. Farmland hosts a variety of semi-natural vegetation of grasses and flowering plants. Woods, hedgerows, mountain slopes and marshes host heather, wild grasses, gorse and bracken.
Many larger animals, such as wolf, bear and the European elk are today extinct. However, some species such as red deer are protected. Other small mammals, such as rabbits, foxes, badgers, hares, hedgehogs, and stoats, are very common and the European beaver has been reintroduced in parts of Scotland. Wild boar have also been reintroduced to parts of southern England, following escapes from boar farms and illegal releases. Many rivers contain otters and seals are common on coasts. Over 200 species of bird reside permanently and another 200 migrate. Common types are the common chaffinch, common blackbird, house sparrow and common starling; all small birds. Large birds are declining in number, except for those kept for game such as pheasant, partridge, and red grouse. Fish are abundant in the rivers and lakes, in particular salmon, trout, perch and pike. Sea fish include dogfish, cod, sole, pollock and bass, as well as mussels, crab and oysters along the coast. There are more than 21,000 species of insects.
Few species of reptiles or amphibians are found in Great Britain or Ireland. Only three snakes are native to Great Britain: the common European adder, the grass snake and the smooth snake;none are native to Ireland. In general, Great Britain has slightly more variation and native wild life, with weasels, polecats, wildcats, most shrews, moles, water voles, roe deer and common toads also being absent from Ireland. This pattern is also true for birds and insects. Notable exceptions include the Kerry slug and certain species of woodlouse native to Ireland but not Great Britain.
Domestic animals include the Connemara pony, Shetland pony, English Mastiff, Irish wolfhound and many varieties of cattle and sheep.
England has a generally high population density, with almost 80% of the total population of the islands. Elsewhere in Great Britain and Ireland, high density of population is limited to areas around a few large cities. The largest urban area by far is the Greater London Built-up Area with 9 million inhabitants. Other major population centres include the Greater Manchester Built-up Area (2.4 million), West Midlands conurbation (2.4 million) and West Yorkshire Urban Area (1.6 million) in England, Greater Glasgow (1.2 million) in Scotland and Greater Dublin Area (1.9 million) in Ireland.
The population of England rose rapidly during the 19th and 20th centuries, whereas the populations of Scotland and Wales showed little increase during the 20th century; the population of Scotland has remained unchanged since 1951. Ireland for most of its history had much the same population density as Great Britain (about one third of the total population). However, since the Great Irish Famine, the population of Ireland has fallen to less than one tenth of the population of the British Isles. The famine caused a century-long population decline, drastically reduced the Irish population and permanently altered the demographic make-up of the British Isles. On a global scale, this disaster led to the creation of an Irish diaspora that numbers fifteen times the current population of the island.
The linguistic heritage of the British Isles is rich,with twelve languages from six groups across four branches of the Indo-European family. The Insular Celtic languages of the Goidelic sub-group (Irish, Manx and Scottish Gaelic) and the Brittonic sub-group (Cornish, Welsh and Breton, spoken in north-western France) are the only remaining Celtic languages—the last of their continental relations were extinct before the 7th century. The Norman languages of Guernésiais, Jèrriais and Sercquiais spoken in the Channel Islands are similar to French. A cant, called Shelta, is spoken by Irish Travellers, often to conceal meaning from those outside the group. However, English, including Scots, is the dominant language, with few monoglots remaining in the other languages of the region. The Norn language of Orkney and Shetland became extinct around 1880.
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At the end of the last ice age, what are now the British Isles were joined to the European mainland as a mass of land extending north west from the modern-day northern coastline of France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Ice covered almost all of what is now Scotland, most of Ireland and Wales, and the hills of northern England. From 14,000 to 10,000 years ago, as the ice melted, sea levels rose separating Ireland from Great Britain and also creating the Isle of Man. About two to four millennia later, Great Britain became separated from the mainland. Britain probably became repopulated with people before the ice age ended and certainly before it became separated from the mainland. It is likely that Ireland became settled by sea after it had already become an island.
At the time of the Roman Empire, about two thousand years ago, various tribes, which spoke Celtic dialects of the Insular Celtic group, were inhabiting the islands. The Romans expanded their civilisation to control southern Great Britain but were impeded in advancing any further, building Hadrian's Wall to mark the northern frontier of their empire in 122 AD. At that time, Ireland was populated by a people known as Hiberni, the northern third or so of Great Britain by a people known as Picts and the southern two thirds by Britons.
Anglo-Saxons arrived as Roman power waned in the 5th century AD. Initially, their arrival seems to have been at the invitation of the Britons as mercenaries to repulse incursions by the Hiberni and Picts. In time, Anglo-Saxon demands on the British became so great that they came to culturally dominate the bulk of southern Great Britain, though recent genetic evidence suggests Britons still formed the bulk of the population. This dominance creating what is now England and leaving culturally British enclaves only in the north of what is now England, in Cornwall and what is now known as Wales. Ireland had been unaffected by the Romans except, significantly, for being Christianised—traditionally by the Romano-Briton, Saint Patrick. As Europe, including Britain, descended into turmoil following the collapse of Roman civilisation, an era known as the Dark Ages, Ireland entered a golden age and responded with missions (first to Great Britain and then to the continent), the founding of monasteries and universities. These were later joined by Anglo-Saxon missions of a similar nature.
Viking invasions began in the 9th century, followed by more permanent settlements, particularly along the east coast of Ireland, the west coast of modern-day Scotland and the Isle of Man. Though the Vikings were eventually neutralised in Ireland, their influence remained in the cities of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Wexford. England, however, was slowly conquered around the turn of the first millennium AD, and eventually became a feudal possession of Denmark. The relations between the descendants of Vikings in England and counterparts in Normandy, in northern France, lay at the heart of a series of events that led to the Norman conquest of England in 1066. The remnants of the Duchy of Normandy, which conquered England, remain associated to the English Crown as the Channel Islands to this day. A century later, the marriage of the future Henry II of England to Eleanor of Aquitaine created the Angevin Empire, partially under the French Crown. At the invitation of Diarmait Mac Murchada, a provincial king, and under the authority of Pope Adrian IV (the only Englishman to be elected pope), the Angevins invaded Ireland in 1169. Though initially intended to be kept as an independent kingdom, the failure of the Irish High King to ensure the terms of the Treaty of Windsor led Henry II, as King of England, to rule as effective monarch under the title of Lord of Ireland. This title was granted to his younger son, but when Henry's heir unexpectedly died, the title of King of England and Lord of Ireland became entwined in one person.
By the Late Middle Ages, Great Britain was separated into the Kingdoms of England and Scotland. Power in Ireland fluxed between Gaelic kingdoms, Hiberno-Norman lords and the English-dominated Lordship of Ireland. A similar situation existed in the Principality of Wales, which was slowly being annexed into the Kingdom of England by a series of laws. During the course of the 15th century, the Crown of England would assert a claim to the Crown of France, thereby also releasing the King of England from being vassal of the King of France. In 1534, King Henry VIII, at first having been a strong defender of Roman Catholicism in the face of the Reformation, separated from the Roman Church after failing to secure a divorce from the Pope. His response was to place the King of England as "the only Supreme Head in Earth of the Church of England", thereby removing the authority of the Pope from the affairs of the English Church. Ireland, which had been held by the King of England as Lord of Ireland, but which strictly speaking had been a feudal possession of the Pope since the Norman invasion was declared a separate kingdom in personal union with England.
Scotland, meanwhile had remained an independent Kingdom. In 1603, that changed when the King of Scotland inherited the Crown of England, and consequently the Crown of Ireland also. The subsequent 17th century was one of political upheaval, religious division and war. English colonialism in Ireland of the 16th century was extended by large-scale Scottish and English colonies in Ulster. Religious division heightened and the king in England came into conflict with parliament over his tolerance towards Catholicism. The resulting English Civil War or War of the Three Kingdoms led to a revolutionary republic in England. Ireland, largely Catholic was mainly loyal to the king. Following defeat to the parliaments army, large scale land distributions from loyalist Irish nobility to English commoners in the service of the parliamentary army created a new Ascendancy class which obliterated the remnants of Old English (Hiberno-Norman) and Gaelic Irish nobility in Ireland. The new ruling class was Protestant and English, whilst the populace was largely Catholic and Irish. This theme would influence Irish politics for centuries to come. When the monarchy was restored in England, the king found it politically impossible to restore the lands of former land-owners in Ireland. The "Glorious Revolution" of 1688 repeated similar themes: a Catholic king pushing for religious tolerance in opposition to a Protestant parliament in England. The king's army was defeated at the Battle of the Boyne and at the militarily crucial Battle of Aughrim in Ireland. Resistance held out, eventually forcing the guarantee of religious tolerance in the Treaty of Limerick. However, the terms were never honoured and a new monarchy was installed.
The Kingdoms of England and Scotland were unified in 1707 creating the Kingdom of Great Britain. Following an attempted republican revolution in Ireland in 1798, the Kingdoms of Ireland and Great Britain were unified in 1801, creating the United Kingdom. The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands remaining outside of the United Kingdom but with their ultimate good governance being the responsibility of the British Crown (effectively the British government). Although, the colonies of North America that would become the United States of America were lost by the start of the 19th century, the British Empire expanded rapidly elsewhere. A century later it would cover one third of the globe. Poverty in the United Kingdom remained desperate, however, and industrialisation in England led to terrible condition for the working classes. Mass migrations following the Irish Famine and Highland Clearances resulted in the distribution of the islands' population and culture throughout the world and a rapid de-population of Ireland in the second half of the 19th century. Most of Ireland seceded from the United Kingdom after the Irish War of Independence and the subsequent Anglo-Irish Treaty (1919–1922), with the six counties that formed Northern Ireland remaining as an autonomous region of the UK.
There are two sovereign states in the isles: Ireland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Ireland, sometimes called the Republic of Ireland, governs five sixths of the island of Ireland, with the remainder of the island forming Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, usually shortened to simply the United Kingdom, which governs the remainder of the archipelago with the exception of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The Isle of Man and the two states of the Channel Islands, Jersey and Guernsey, are known as the Crown dependencies. They exercise constitutional rights of self-government and judicial independence;responsibility for international representation rests largely upon the UK (in consultation with the respective governments); and responsibility for defence is reserved by the UK. The United Kingdom is made up of four constituent parts: England, Scotland and Wales, forming Great Britain, and Northern Ireland in the north-east of the island of Ireland. Of these, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have "devolved" governments, meaning that each has its own parliament or assembly and is self-governing with respect to certain areas set down by law. For judicial purposes, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England and Wales (the latter being one entity) form separate legal jurisdiction, with there being no single law for the UK as a whole.
Ireland, the United Kingdom and the three Crown dependencies are all parliamentary democracies, with their own separate parliaments. All parts of the United Kingdom return members to parliament in London. In addition to this, voters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland return members to a parliament in Edinburgh and to assemblies in Cardiff and Belfast respectively. Governance in the norm is by majority rule, however, Northern Ireland uses a system of power sharing whereby unionists and nationalists share executive posts proportionately and where the assent of both groups is required for the Northern Ireland Assembly to make certain decisions. (In the context of Northern Ireland, unionists are those who want Northern Ireland to remain a part of the United Kingdom and nationalists are those who want Northern Ireland to join with the rest of Ireland.) The British monarch is the head of state of the United Kingdom, while in the Republic of Ireland the head of state is the President of Ireland.
Ireland and the United Kingdom are both part of the European Union (EU). The Crown dependencies are not a part of the EU, but do participate in certain aspects that were negotiated as a part of the UK's accession to the EU.Neither the United Kingdom or Ireland are part of the Schengen Area, that allow passport-free travel between EU members states. However, since the partition of Ireland, an informal free-travel area had existed across the region. This area required formal recognition in 1997 during the course of negotiations for the Amsterdam Treaty of the European Union, and is now known as the Common Travel Area.
Reciprocal arrangements allow British and Irish citizens full voting rights in the two states. Exceptions to this are presidential elections and constitutional referendums in the Republic of Ireland, for which there is no comparable franchise in the other states. In the United Kingdom, these pre-date European Union law, and in both jurisdictions go further than that required by European Union law. Other EU nationals may only vote in local and European Parliament elections while resident in either the UK or Ireland. In 2008, a UK Ministry of Justice report investigating how to strengthen the British sense of citizenship proposed to end this arrangement, arguing that "the right to vote is one of the hallmarks of the political status of citizens; it is not a means of expressing closeness between countries".
In addition, some civil bodies are organised throughout the islands as a whole—for example the Samaritans, which is deliberately organised without regard to national boundaries on the basis that a service which is not political or religious should not recognise sectarian or political divisions.[ citation needed ] The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), a charity that operates a lifeboat service, is also organised throughout the islands as a whole, covering the waters of the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands.
The Northern Ireland peace process has led to a number of unusual arrangements between the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom. For example, citizens of Northern Ireland are entitled to the choice of Irish or British citizenship or both and the Governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom consult on matters not devolved to the Northern Ireland Executive. The Northern Ireland Executive and the Government of Ireland also meet as the North/South Ministerial Council to develop policies common across the island of Ireland. These arrangements were made following the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
Another body established under the Good Friday Agreement, the British–Irish Council, is made up of all of the states and territories of the British Isles. The British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly (Irish : Tionól Pharlaiminteach na Breataine agus na hÉireann) predates the British–Irish Council and was established in 1990. Originally it comprised 25 members of the Oireachtas, the Irish parliament, and 25 members of the parliament of the United Kingdom, with the purpose of building mutual understanding between members of both legislatures. Since then the role and scope of the body has been expanded to include representatives from the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the States of Jersey, the States of Guernsey and the High Court of Tynwald (Isle of Man).
The Council does not have executive powers, but meets biannually to discuss issues of mutual importance. Similarly, the Parliamentary Assembly has no legislative powers but investigates and collects witness evidence from the public on matters of mutual concern to its members. Reports on its findings are presented to the Governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom. During the February 2008 meeting of the British–Irish Council, it was agreed to set up a standing secretariat that would serve as a permanent 'civil service' for the Council.Leading on from developments in the British–Irish Council, the chair of the British–Irish Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, Niall Blaney, has suggested that the body should shadow the British–Irish Council's work.
The United Kingdom and Ireland have separate media, although British television, newspapers and magazines are widely available in Ireland, [ citation needed ] Certain reality TV shows have embraced the whole of the islands, for example The X Factor , seasons 3, 4 and 7 of which featured auditions in Dublin and were open to Irish voters, whilst the show previously known as Britain's Next Top Model became Britain and Ireland's Next Top Model in 2011. A few cultural events are organised for the island group as a whole. For example, the Costa Book Awards are awarded to authors resident in the UK or Ireland. The Mercury Music Prize is handed out every year to the best album from a British or Irish musician or group.giving people in Ireland a high level of familiarity with cultural matters in the United Kingdom. Irish newspapers are also available in the UK, and Irish state and private television is widely available in Northern Ireland.
Many globally popular sports had modern rules codified in the British Isles, including golf, association football, cricket, rugby, snooker and darts, as well as many minor sports such as croquet, bowls, pitch and putt, water polo and handball. A number of sports are popular throughout the British Isles, the most prominent of which is association football. While this is organised separately in different national associations, leagues and national teams, even within the UK, it is a common passion in all parts of the islands. Rugby union is also widely enjoyed across the islands with four national teams from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The British and Irish Lions is a team chosen from each national team and undertakes tours of the Southern Hemisphere rugby-playing nations every four years. Ireland play as a united team, represented by players from both Northern Ireland and the Republic. These national rugby teams play each other each year for the Triple Crown as part of the Six Nations Championship. Also, since 2001, the professional club teams of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Italy compete against each other in the Pro14.
The Ryder Cup in golf was originally played between a United States team and a team representing Great Britain and Ireland. From 1979 onwards this was expanded to include the whole of Europe.
London Heathrow Airport is Europe's busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic, and the Dublin-London route is the busiest air route in Europe collectively,the busiest route out of Heathrow, and the second-busiest international air route in the world. The English Channel and the southern North Sea are the busiest seaways in the world. The Channel Tunnel, opened in 1994, links Great Britain to France and is the second-longest rail tunnel in the world.
The idea of building a tunnel under the Irish Sea has been raised since 1895, 50 mi (80 km), would be by far the longest in the world, and would cost an estimated £15 billion or €20 billion. A proposal in 2007, estimated the cost of building a bridge from County Antrim in Northern Ireland to Galloway in Scotland at £3.5bn (€5bn).when it was first investigated. Several potential Irish Sea tunnel projects have been proposed, most recently the Tusker Tunnel between the ports of Rosslare and Fishguard proposed by The Institute of Engineers of Ireland in 2004. A rail tunnel was proposed in 1997 on a different route, between Dublin and Holyhead, by British engineering firm Symonds. Either tunnel, at
The Goidelic or Gaelic languages form one of the two groups of Insular Celtic languages, the other being the Brittonic languages.
The Isle of Man, often referred to simply as Mann, is a self-governing British Crown dependency in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the title of Lord of Mann and is represented by a lieutenant governor. Defence is the responsibility of the United Kingdom.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. The UK's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.
The United Kingdom is a sovereign state located off the north-western coast of continental Europe. With a total area of approximately 248,532 square kilometres (95,960 sq mi), the UK occupies the major part of the British Isles archipelago and includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern one-sixth of the island of Ireland and many smaller surrounding islands. The mainland areas lie between latitudes 49°N and 59°N, and longitudes 8°W to 2°E. The Royal Greenwich Observatory, in South East London, is the defining point of the Prime Meridian.
English, in various dialects, is the most widely spoken language of the United Kingdom, however there are a number of regional languages also spoken. There are 14 indigenous languages used across the British Isles: 5 Celtic, 3 Germanic, 3 Romance, and 3 sign languages. There are also many immigrant languages spoken in the British Isles, mainly within inner city areas; these languages are mainly from South Asia and Eastern Europe.
The English language in Europe, as a native language, is mainly spoken in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Outside of these states, it has a special status in the Crown dependencies, Gibraltar and Malta. In the Kingdom of the Netherlands, English has an official status as a regional language on the isles of Saba and Sint Eustatius. In other parts of Europe, English is spoken mainly by those who have learnt it as a second language, but also, to a lesser extent, natively by some expatriates from some countries in the English-speaking world.
The Britons, also known as Celtic Britons or Ancient Britons, were Celtic people who inhabited Great Britain from the British Iron Age into the Middle Ages, at which point their culture and language diverged into the modern Welsh, Cornish and Bretons. They spoke the Common Brittonic language, the ancestor to the modern Brittonic languages.
The terminology of the British Isles refers to the various words and phrases that are used to describe the different geographical and political areas of the islands of Great Britain, Ireland, and the smaller islands which surround them. The terminology is often a source of confusion, partly owing to the similarity between some of the actual words used, but also because they are often used loosely. In addition, many of the words carry both geographical and political connotations which are affected by the history of the islands.
The Manx are Celtic people originating in the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea in northern Europe. Their native culture has significant Norse and English influences.
The Celtic nations are territories in western Europe where Celtic languages or cultural traits have survived. The term "nation" is used in its original sense to mean a people who share a common identity and culture and are identified with a traditional territory.
Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of 209,331 km2 (80,823 sq mi), it is the largest of the British Isles, the largest European island, and the ninth-largest island in the world. In 2011, Great Britain had a population of about 61 million people, making it the world's third-most populous island after Java in Indonesia and Honshu in Japan. The island of Ireland is situated to the west of Great Britain, and together these islands, along with over 1,000 smaller surrounding islands, form the British Isles archipelago.
The formation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has involved personal and political union across Great Britain and the wider British Isles. The United Kingdom is the most recent of a number of sovereign states that have been established in Great Britain at different periods in history, in different combinations and under a variety of polities. Norman Davies has counted sixteen different states over the past 2,000 years.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; a sovereign state in Europe, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK), or Britain. Lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland, it includes the island of Great Britain—a term also applied loosely to refer to the whole country—the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands
The United Kingdom (UK) comprises four countries: England, Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland.
The British people, or the Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the British Overseas Territories, and the Crown dependencies. British nationality law governs modern British citizenship and nationality, which can be acquired, for instance, by descent from British nationals. When used in a historical context, "British" or "Britons" can refer to the Celtic Britons, the indigenous inhabitants of Great Britain and Brittany, whose surviving members are the modern Welsh people, Cornish people, and Bretons. It may also refer to citizens of the former British Empire.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to England:
The following is an alphabetical list of articles related to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The British Isles comprise two sovereign states, Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom, and three dependencies of the British Crown, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.
the British Isles spl (Tíreolaíocht · Geography; Polaitíocht · Politics; Stair · History; Logainmneacha » Ceantar/Réigiún · Placenames » Area/Region) Na hOileáin bhriontanacha
The British Isles comprise more than 6,000 islands off the northwest coast of continental Europe, including the countries of the United Kingdom of Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland. The group also includes the United Kingdom crown dependencies of the Isle of Man, and by tradition, the Channel Islands (the Bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey), even though these islands are strictly speaking an archipelago immediately off the coast of Normandy (France) rather than part of the British Isles.
Some of the Irish dislike the 'British' in 'British Isles', while a minority of the Welsh and Scottish are not keen on 'Great Britain'. ... In response to these difficulties, 'Britain and Ireland' is becoming preferred official usage if not in the vernacular, although there is a growing trend amongst some critics to refer to Britain and Ireland as 'the archipelago'.
A spokesman for the Irish Embassy in London said: “The British Isles has a dated ring to it, as if we are still part of the Empire. We are independent, we are not part of Britain, not even in geographical terms. We would discourage its usage [ sic ].”
At the outset, it should be stated that while the expression 'The British Isles' is evidently still commonly employed, its intermittent use throughout this work is only in the geographic sense, in so far as that is acceptable. Since the early twentieth century, that nomenclature has been regarded by some as increasingly less usable. It has been perceived as cloaking the idea of a 'greater England', or an extended south-eastern English imperium, under a common Crown since 1603 onwards. ... Nowadays, however, 'Britain and Ireland' is the more favoured expression, though there are problems with that too. ... There is no consensus on the matter, inevitably. It is unlikely that the ultimate in non-partisanship that has recently appeared the (East) 'Atlantic Archipelago' will have any appeal beyond captious scholars.
A geographical term taken to mean Great Britain, Ireland and some or all of the adjacent islands such as Orkney, Shetland and the Isle of Man. The phrase is best avoided, given its (understandable) unpopularity in the Irish Republic. The plate in the National Geographic Atlas of the World once titled British Isles now reads Britain and Ireland.
The term we favour here—Atlantic Archipelago—may prove to be of no greater use in the long run, but at this stage it does at least have the merit of questioning the ideology underpinning more established nomenclature.
In some ways 'Atlantic Archipelago' is intended to do the work of including without excluding, and while it seems to have taken root in terms of academic conferences and publishing, I don't see it catching on in popular discourse or official political circles, at least not in a hurry.
Some scholars, seeking to avoid the political and ethnic connotations of 'the British Isles', have proposed the 'Atlantic Archipelago' or even 'the East Atlantic Archipelago' (see, e.g. Pocock 1975a: 606; 1995: 292n; Tompson, 1986) Not surprisingly this does not seem to have caught on with the general public, though it has found increasing favour with scholars promoting the new 'British History'.
British and Irish historians increasingly use 'Atlantic archipelago' as a less metro-centric term for what is popularly known as the British Isles.
The geographical term British Isles is not generally acceptable in Ireland, the term these islands being widely used instead. I prefer the Anglo-Celtic Isles, or the North-West European Archipelago.
There is mug to be said for considering the archipelago as a whole, for a history of the British or Anglo-Celtic isles or 'these islands'.
British-Irish Isles, the (geography) see British Isles
British Isles, the (geography) A geographical (not political or constitutional) term for Engliand, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland (including the Republic of Ireland), together with all offshore islands. A more accurate (and politically acceptable) term today is the British-Irish Isles.
The nomenclature of Great Britain and Ireland and the status of the different parts of the archipelago are often confused by people in other parts of the world. The name British Isles is commonly used by geographers for the archipelago; in the Republic of Ireland, however, this name is considered to be exclusionary. In the Republic of Ireland, the name British-Irish Isles is occasionally used. However, the term British-Irish Isles is not recognized by international geographers. In all documents jointly drawn up by the British and Irish governments, the archipelago is simply referred to as "these islands". The name British Isles remains the only generally accepted terms for the archipelago off the northwestern coast of mainland Europe.
An introduction to the rich linguistic heritage of Great Britain and Ireland.
Continental Celtic includes Gaulish, Lepontic, Hispano-Celtic (or Celtiberian) and Galatian. All were extinct by the seventh century AD.
Shelta does in fact exist as a secret language as is used to conceal meaning from outsiders, used primarily in Gypsy business or negotiations or when speaking around the police.
Thus, apart from the very young, there are virtually no monoglot speakers of Irish, Scots Gaelic, or Welsh.
Three indigenous languages have died in the British Isles since around 1780: Cornish (traditionally in 1777), Norn (the Norse language of Shetland: c. 1880), Manx (1974).
Not only are the English Channel and the Southern North Sea, in particular, the busiest shipping clearways in the world, but the seas are also sources of the European community's industrial wealth (fisheries, petroleum, aggregates, and power) and sinks for the disposal of refuse from its intensely urbanized and industrialized coats.
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