Great Britain , also known as Britain , is a large island in the north Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe . With an area of 209,331 km 2 (80,823 sq mi), Great Britain is the largest of the British Isles , the largest European island , and the ninth-largest island in the world .  [note 1] In 2011 the island 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 in the west of theisland, and together with theseislands , including the British Isles archipelago. 
The island is dominated by a maritime climate with quite narrow temperature differences between seasons. Politically, the island is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland , and most of its territory.  Most of England , Scotland , and Wales are on the island. The term “Great Britain” is often used in England, Scotland and Wales, and is also sometimes loosely applied to the UK as a whole.
A single Kingdom of Great Britain resulted from the union of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland by the 1707 Acts of Union . More than a hundred years before, in 1603, King James VI , King of Scots , had inherited the throne of England, but it was not until 1707 that the two countries’ parliaments agreed to form a political union. In 1801, Great Britain united with the neighboring Kingdom of Ireland , forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, which was renamed the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland” after the Irish Free State seceded in 1922.
The archipelago has been referred to by a single name for over 2000 years: the term ‘ British Isles ‘. By 50 BC Greek geographers were using equivalents of Prettanikē as a collective name for the British Isles.  However, with the Roman conquest of Britain the Latin term Britannia was used for the island of Great Britain, and later Roman-occupied Britain south of Caledonia .   
The earliest known name for Great Britain is Albion ( Greek : Ἀλβιών ) or insula Albionum , from which the Latin albus meaning “white” (referring to the white cliffs of Dover , the first view of Britain from the continent) or the “island of the Albiones “, first mentioned in the Massaliote Periplus in the 6th century BC, and by Pytheas . 
The oldest mention of terms related to Great Britain Was by Aristotle (c. 384-322 BC), gold Possibly by Pseudo-Aristotle , In His text is the Universe , Vol. III. To quote his works, “The British Isles, Albion and Ierne “. 
Pliny the Elder (AD 23-79) in his Natural History Records of Great Britain: “Its former name was Albion, but at a later period, all the islands, the name of ‘Britannia.’ ” 
The name Britain descends from the Latin name for Britain, Britannia or Brittania , the land of the Britons. Old French Bretaigne (whence also Modern French Brittany ) and Middle English Bretayne , Breteyne . The French form REPLACED the Old English Breoton, Breoten, Bryten, Breten (also Breoton-lond, Breten-lond ). Britannia was used by the Romans from the 1st century BC for the British Isles taken together. It is derived from the Pytheas around 320 BC, which describes various islands in the North Atlantic as far north as Thule(probably Norway ).
Marcian of Heraclea , in his Periplus maris exteri , described the island group as αἱ Πρεττανικαὶ νῆσοι (the Prettanic Isles). 
The peoples of these islands of Prettanike were called the Πρεττανοί, Priteni or Pretani .  Priteni is the source of the Welsh language term Prydain , Britain , which has the same source as the Goidelic term Cruithne used to refer to the early Brythonic -speaking inhabitants of Ireland.  The latter were later called Picts or Caledonians by the Romans .
Derivation of Great
The Greco-Egyptian scientist Ptolemy referred to the greater 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 the islands the names Alwion , Iwernia , and Mona (the Isle of Man ),  Suggesting thesis May Have Been the 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 after the Roman conquest of Britain , after which Britain became commonplace for the island. 
After the Anglo-Saxon period, Britain was used as a historical term only. Geoffrey of Monmouth In His pseudohistorical Historia Regum Britanniae ( c. 1136) Refers to the island as Britannia Staff ( “Greater Britain”) to Distinguish it from Britannia minor ( “Lesser Britain”), the continental area qui approximates to modern Brittany , which had been settled in the fifth and sixth centuries by migrants from Britain.  The term Great Britain was first used officially in 1474, in the instrument drawing up the proposal for a marriage between Cecily the daughter of Edward IV of England, and James the son of James III of Scotland, which described it as “this Nobill Isle, callit Gret Britanee”. It was used again in 1604, when King James VI and I styled himself “King of Great Brittaine, France and Ireland”.
Modern use of the term Great Britain
Great Britain refers geographically to the island of Great Britain, politically to England , Scotland and Wales in combination.  However, it is sometimes used loosely to refer to the whole of the United Kingdom . 
Similarly, Britain , the largest island, or the political grouping of counties.  There are no clear distinction, even in government documents: the UK government yearbooks have used both Britain  and United Kingdom . 
GB and GBR are used INSTEAD of UK in international codes to Some Refer to the United Kingdom, Including the Universal Postal Union , international sports teams, NATO , the International Organization for Standardizationcountry codes ISO 3166-2 and ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 , and international license plate codes .
On the Internet, .uk is the country’s top-level domain code for the United Kingdom. A .gb top-level domain was used for a limited extent, but is now obsolete because of the domain name registrar will not take new registrations.
In the Olympics, Team GB is used by the British Olympic Association to represent the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Olympic team .
Politically, Great Britain refers to England, Scotland and Wales in combination,  but not Northern Ireland ; it includes islands, such as the Isle of Wight , Anglesey , the Isles of Scilly , the Hebrides and the island groups of Orkney and Shetland , which are part of England, Wales, or Scotland. It does not include the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands , which are self-governing dependent territories .  
The political union of the united states of England and Scotland occurred in 1707 when the Acts of Union ratified the 1706 Treaty of the Union of the Parliaments of the Two Nations, forming the Kingdom of Great Britain , which covered the entire island. Before this, a personal union was born between these two countries 1603 Union of the Crowns under James VI of Scotland and I of England .
The island was first inhabited by people who crossed over from the European mainland . Human footprints have been found from over 800,000 years ago in Norfolk  and traces of early humans at Boxgrove Quarry , Sussex from some 500,000 years ago  and modern humans from about 30,000 years ago.
Until about 14,000 years ago, Great Britain was connected to Ireland , and it was 8,000 years ago, it was retained in the country, with an area of very low marshland joining Denmark and the Netherlands .  In Cheddar Gorge , near Bristol , the remains of animal species native to mainland Europe such as antelopes , brown bears , and wild horses have been found alongside a human skeleton, ‘ Cheddar Man’, dated to about 7150 BC. Thus, animals and humans must be moved between Europe and Great Britain via a crossing.  Great Britain became an island at the end of the last glacial period when sea levels rose due to the combination of melting glaciers and the subsequent isostatic rebound of the crust.
Great Britain’s Iron Age people are known as Britons ; they spoke Celtic languages .
Roman and medieval period
The Romans conquered most of the island (to Hadrian’s Wall , in northern England) and this became the Ancient Roman province of Britannia . In the race of the 500 years after the Roman Empire fell, the Britons of the south and east of the island were assimilated or displaced by invading Germanic tribes ( Angles , Saxons , and Jutes , often referred to collectively as Anglo-Saxons ). At about the same time, Gaelic tribes from Ireland invaded the north-west, absorbing both the Picts and Britonsof northern Britain, eventually forming the Kingdom of Scotland in the 9th century. The south-east of Scotland was colonized by the Angles and formed, until 1018, a part of the Kingdom of Northumbria . Ultimately, the population of south-east Britain came to be referred to as the English people , so-named after the Angles.
Germanic speakers referred to Britons as Welsh . This term is intended to be used exclusively in Wales, but also in Wallace and in the second syllable of Cornwall . Cymry , a name the Britons used to describe themselves, is similarly restricted in modern Welsh to people from Wales, but also survives in the place name of Cumbria . The Britons living in Wales, Cumbria and Cornwall were not assimilated by the Germanic tribes, a fact reflected in the survival of Celtic languages in these areas into more recent times. At the time of the Germanic invasion of Southern Britain, many Britons emigrated to the area known as Brittany , where Breton , a Celtic language closely related to Welsh and Cornish and descended from the language of the emigrants, is still spoken. In the 9th century, a series of Danish assaults are northern English kingdoms led to em coming under Danish control (an area Known as the Danelaw ). In the 10th century, however, the English kingdoms were unified under the rule of England when the last constituted kingdom, Northumbria, submitted to Edgar in 959. In 1066, England was conquered by the Normans , who introduced to Norman-speaking administration that was eventually assimilated. Wales came under Anglo-Norman control in 1282, and was officially annexed to England in the 16th century.
Early modern period
On October 20, 1604 King James , who had succeeded to the thrones of England and Scotland, proclaimed himself “King of Great Britain, France , and Ireland”.  When James died in 1625 and the Privy Council of England was drafting the proclamation of the new king, Charles I, a Scottish peer, Thomas Erskine, 1st Earl of Kellie , succeeded in insisting that he used the phrase “King of Great Britain “, which James had preferred, rather than King of Scotland and England (or vice versa). While That title Was aussi used by Reviews some of James’s Successors, England and Scotland Each Remained Legally separate countries contents, each with icts own parliament, until, in 1707, When Each parliament Passed an Act of Union to ratify the Treaty of Union That HAD beens Agreed the previous year. This treaty was created with a single parliament, with effect from May 1, 1707. The Treaty of the Union of the United States of America, describing it as “One Kingdom” and “Great Britain” “the United Kingdom”. To most historians, therefore, the all-island state that existed between 1707 and 1800 is “Great Britain” or the “Kingdom of Great Britain”.
Great Britain on the European continental shelf, part of the Eurasian Plate . Situated on the north-west coast of continental Europe , it is separated from the North Sea by the English Channel , which narrows to 34 km (18 mi, 21 mi) at the Straits of Dover .  It stretches over about ten degrees of latitude is icts along, north-south axis and Occupies an area of 209.331 km 2 (80.823 sq mi), excluding the smaller surrounding islands.  The North Channel , Irish Sea , St. George’s Channel andCeltic Sea separate from the island of Ireland to its west.  The island is PHYSICALLY connected with continental Europe via the Channel Tunnel , the longest undersea rail tunnel in the world, completed in 1993. The island is marked by the low, rolling countryside in the east and south, while hills and mountains predominate in the western and northern regions. It is surrounded by over 1,000 smaller islands and islets . The greatest distance entre two point is 968.0 km ( 601 1 / 2 mi) (between Land’s End , Cornwall and John o ‘Groats ,Caithness ), 838 miles (1.349 km) by road.
The English Channel is thought to have been created between 450,000 and 180,000 years ago by two catastrophic glacial lake outburst floods caused by the breaching of the Weald-Artois Anticline , a ridge that held back to a large proglacial lake , now submerged under the North Sea.  Around 10,000 years ago, DURING THE Devensian glaciation with icts lower sea level , Great Britain Was not an island, year goal upland area of northwestern continental Europe lying Partially underneath the Eurasian ice sheet. The sea level was about 120 meters (390 ft) lower than today, and the bed of the North Sea was dry andDoggerland , to the Continent. It has become more and more popular after the end of the last ice age, Doggerland became submerged beneath the North Sea. 
Great Britain has been subject to a variety of flat tectonic processes over a very extended period of time. Changing latitude and sea levels-have-been major factors in the kind of sedimentary sequences, Continental successive whilst collision-have affected icts geological structure with major faulting and folding being white has legacy of Each orogeny (mountain-building period) Often associated with volcanic activity and the metamorphism of existing rock sequences. As a result of this eventful geological history, the island shows a rich variety of landscapes .
The oldest rocks in Great Britain are the Lewisian gneisses , metamorphic rocks found in the far north of the island and in the Hebrides (with a few small outcrops elsewhere), which date from at least 2,700 Ma (Ma = million years ago). South of the gneisses are a complex mixture of rocks forming the North West Highlands and Grampian Highlands in Scotland. These Are Essentially the remains of folded sedimentary rocks That Were Deposited entre 1000 Ma and 670 Ma over the gneiss is what Was Then the floor of the Iapetus Ocean .
Devensian ice being lifted. Southern and eastern Britain is sinking, Generally Estimated at 1 mm (1/25 inch) per year, with the London area sinking at twice the speed Partly due to the continuing compaction of the recent clay deposits.
Animal diversity is a small, relatively small area of the world, the recent age of the habitats developed during the last glacial period and the European continent , and the effects of seasonal variability.  Great Britain also experienced early industrialization and is subject to continuing urbanization , which contributed to the overall loss of species.  A DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) study from 2006 suggests that 100 species have become extinct in the UK during the 20th century, about 100 timesbackground extinction rate . However, some species, such as the brown rat , red fox , and the gray squirrel , are being adapted to urban areas.
Rodents make up 40% of the mammal species . [ citation needed ] These include squirrels , mice , voles , rats and the recently reintroduced European beaver .  There is also an abundance of rabbits , hares , hedgehogs , shrews , moles and several species of bat .  carnivorous mammals include the fox , badger , otter , weasel, stoat and elusive wildcat .  Various species of seal , whale and dolphin are found around British shores and coastlines. The largest land-based wild animals today are deer . The red deer is the largest species, with roe deer and fallowalso prominent; the latter was introduced by the Normans .   Sika deer and two more species of smaller deer, muntjac and Chinese water deer, have been introduced, and have been widely circulated in England and Wales while Chinese water is restricted to East Anglia. Habitat loss has affected many species. Extinct wide mammals include the brown bear , gray wolf and wild boar ; the latter has had a limited reintroduction in recent times. 
There is a wealth of birdlife , 583 species in total,  of which 258 breed on the island or remain during winter.  Great Britain hosts important numbers of many wintering species, particularly ducks , geese and swans .  Other species include the golden eagle , gray heron , kingfisher , pigeon , sparrow , pheasant , partridge , and various species of crow , finch ,Gull , auk , grouse , owl and falcon .  There are six species of reptile on the island; three snakes and three lizards including the legless slowworm . One snake, the adder , is venomous but rarely deadly.  Amphibians present are frogs , toads and newts . 
In a similar sense to fauna, and for similar reasons, the flora is impoverished compared to that of continental Europe.  The flora included 3,354 vascular plant species, of which 2,297 are native and 1,057 have been introduced.  The island has a wide variety of trees , including native species of birch , beech , ash , hawthorn , elm , oak , yew , pine , cherry and apple . Other trees have been naturalized, especially in Europe (particularly Norway) and North America. Introduced trees include several varieties of pine, chestnut , maple , spruce , sycamoreand fir , as well as cherry plum and pear trees .  The tallest species are Douglas firs ; two specimens have been recorded measuring 65 meters or 212 feet.  The Fortingall Yew in Perthshire is the oldest tree in Europe. 
There are at least 1,500 different species of wildflowers .  Some 107 species are particularly rare or vulnerable and are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 . It’s illegal to uproot any wildflowers without the landowner’s permission.   A vote in 2002 nominated various wildflowers to represent specific counties.  These include red poppies , bluebells , daisies , daffodils , rosemary , gorse , iris , ivy , mint , orchids ,brambles , thistles , buttercups , primrose , thyme , tulips , violets , cowslip , heather and many more.    
There are many species of algae and mosses across the island.
There are many species of fungi including lichen -forming species, and the mycobiota is less poorly known than in many other parts of the world. The most recent checklist of Basidiomycota (fungi bracket, jelly fungi, mushrooms and toadstools, puffballs, rusts and smuts), published in 2005, accepts over 3600 species.  The most recent checklist of Ascomycota, published in 1985, accepts another 5100 species. These two lists did not include conidial fungi or other fungal groups (Chytridiomycota, Glomeromycota and Zygomycota). The number of fungal species known very probably exceeds 10,000. There are widespread agreements among mycologists that many others are yet to be discovered.
London is the capital of England and the whole of the United Kingdom , and is therefore the seat of the United Kingdom’s government . Edinburgh and Cardiff are the capitals of Scotland and Wales , respectively, and their devolved governments.
- Largest urban areas
|Rank||City-region||Built-up area ||Population (2011 Census)||Area (km²)||Density (people / km²)|
|1||London||Greater London Built-up area||9787426||1737.9||5,630|
|2||Manchester||Greater Manchester Built-up area||2553379||630.3||4,051|
|3||Birmingham – Wolverhampton||West Midlands Built-up area||2440986||598.9||4,076|
|4||Leeds – Bradford||West Yorkshire Built-up area||1777934||487.8||3,645|
|5||Glasgow||Greater Glasgow Built-up area||1209143||368.5||3,390|
|6||Liverpool||Liverpool Built-up area||864.122||199.6||4,329|
|7||Southampton – Portsmouth||South Hampshire Built-up area||855.569||192.0||4,455|
|8||Newcastle upon Tyne – Sunderland||Tyneside Built-up area||774.891||180.5||4,292|
|9||Nottingham||Nottingham Built-up area||729.977||176.4||4,139|
|10||Sheffield||Sheffield Built-up area||685.368||167.5||4,092|
In the Late Bronze Age, Britain was part of a culture called the Atlantic Bronze Age , held together by maritime trading, which also included Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal. In contrast to the generally accepted view  that Celtic originated in the context of the Hallstatt culture , since 2009, John T. Koch and others have proposed that the origins of the Celtic languages are to be sought in Bronze Age Western Europe, especially the Iberian Peninsula.     Koch et al.’s proposal has failed to find wide acceptance among experts on the Celtic languages. 
Brythonic languages (Brittany, Cornish, Welsh) Brittonic , British , Common Brythonic , Old Brythonic or Proto-Brythonic , which is thought to be developed from Proto-Celtic or early Insular Celtic by the 6th century AD. Brythonic languages Were probably spoken before the Roman invasion at least in the majorité of Great Britain south of the rivers Forth and Clyde , though the Isle of Man later Had a Goidelic language, Manx. Northern Scotland mainly spoke Pritennic , which became Pictish , which may have been a Brythonic language. During the Roman occupation of Southern Britain (AD 43 to c.410), Common Brythonic borrowed a large stock of Latin words. Approximately 800 of these Latin loans have survived in the modern Brythonic languages. Romano-British is the name for the Latinized form of the language used by Roman authors.
British English is spoken in the present day by the island, and developed from the English to the island by Anglo-Saxon settlers from the mid 5th century. Some 1.5 million people speak Scots -a variety of English which means a distinct language.   An estimated 700,000 people speak Welsh ,  an official language in Wales .  In parts of north west Scotland, Scottish Gaelic remains Widely spoken. There are various regional dialects of English, and many languages spoken by some immigrant populations.
Christianity has been the largest religion of the early Middle Ages : it was introduced under the ancient Romans, developing as Celtic Christianity . According to tradition, Christianity arrived in the 1st or 2nd century . The most popular form is Anglicanism (known as Episcopalism in Scotland). Dating from the 16th century Reformation , it looks at itself both Catholic and Reformed . The Head of the Church is the monarch of the United Kingdom, as the Supreme Governor . It has the status of established churchin England. There are just over 26 million adherents to England in Britain today,  although only one million are expecting services. The second largest Christian practice is the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church , which traces its history to the 6th century with Augustine’s mission and religion. There are over 5 million adherents today, 4.5 million in England and Wales  and 750,000 in Scotland ,  fewer than a million Catholics regularly expect mass . 
The Church of Scotland , a form of Protestantism with a Presbyterian System of Ecclesiastical Polity , is the third most numerous country in the world with 2.1 million members.  Introduced in Scotland by John Knox clergyman , it has the status of national church in Scotland. The monarch of the United Kingdom is represented by a Lord High Commissioner . Methodism is the fourth largest and growing out of Anglicanism through John Wesley .  It Gained popularity in the old mill towns of Lancashire and Yorkshire, also between tin miners in Cornwall .  The Presbyterian Church of Wales , which follows Calvinistic Methodism , is the largest denomination in Wales . There are other non-conformist minorities, such as Baptists , Quakers , the United Reformed Church (a union of Congregationalists and English Presbyterians ), Unitarians .  The first patron Saint of Great Britain was Saint Alban . He was the first Christian martyr dating from the Romano-British period, condemned to death for his faith and sacrificed to the pagan gods .  In recent times, some have suggested the adoption of St Aidanas another patron saint of Britain.  From Ireland, he worked at Iona among the Dalí Riata and then Lindisfarne where he restored Christianity to Northumbria . 
The three constitute countries of the United Kingdom have patron saints: St. George and St. Andrew are represented in the flags of England and Scotland respectively.  These two flags combined to form the basis of the Great Britain royal flag of 1604.  St. David is the patron saint of Wales.  There are many other British saints. Some of the best known are Cuthbert , Columba , Patrick , Margaret , Edward the Confessor , Mungo , Thomas More ,Petroc , Bede , and Thomas Becket . 
Numerous other religions are practiced.  Jews have inhabited Britain since 1070. Jews were expelled from England in 1290 but allowed to return in 1656.  There were also Jewish migrationsfrom Lithuania .  The 2001 census recorded that Islam had around 1.5 million adherents.  More than 1 million people practice Hinduism , Sikhism , or Buddhism -religions introduced from the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia .