The UK is divided into four partial states or the countries of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Isle of Man
and the Channel Islands fall under the sovereignty of The Crown but remaining
independant of this political union (though the UK government manages their
foreign affairs and defence and the UK Parliament has the authority to legislate
on their behalf). Each country within the union is split into
counties that are
governed by a county council.
The present head of state or constitutional monarch is Elizabeth II who is also Queen of 15 Commonwealth realm countries throughout the world which are the remnants of the British Empire. The monarchy of today has no political powers.
These were reduced considerably by the
in 1215 and finally limited
by the Bill of Rights of 1689.
The UK still has possession of and rules over 14 overseas territories including Bermuda, the Falkland Islands and Gibraltar:
Strangely enough the UK does not have an official
language but obviously English is by far predominant. Apart from this there are
Gaelic languages that are also recognised. Hence you may find other names for
this state as follows:
• Unitit Kinrick o Great Breetain an Northren
• Teyrnas Unedig Prydain Fawr a Gogledd Iwerddon
• An Rìoghachd Aonaichte na Breatainn Mhòr agus Eirinn a Tuath
• Ríocht Aontaithe na Breataine Móire agus Thuaisceart
• An Rywvaneth Unys a Vreten Veur hag Iwerdhon Glédh
The British Isles
The British Isles is a term used to signify the
set of islands consisting of Great Britain, Ireland, the Hebridies, the Shetland
Islands, the Orkneys, the Isle of Man, the Scilly Isles, the Isle of Wight and
the Channel Islands.
The Channel Islands are just off the Normandy coast of France. The largest of these are Guernsey and Jersey together with Alderney, not to mention the much smaller islands of Sark and Herm all of which are inhabited. There are three other small islands that are inhabited and six others that are not. Then we have the Chaucey islands that are generally referrred to as the French Channel Islands and are not
part of the British Isles.
Although Ireland is politically divided into the Irish Republic (Eire) in the south and Northern Ireland the geographical
situation is generally accepted as being part of the British Isles.
The British Isles is not to be confused with the term
British Islands which excludes the Republic of Ireland.