Difference between England and Great Britain

Key Difference: England is a country that shares its borders with Scotland and Wales. Great Britain is an island comprising of Wales, England and Scotland.

EnglandEngland has been referred to with multiple names, including UK, Britain, Great Britain and England. These four terms continue to create confusion among people as many of them continue to use these terms interchangeably. However, these terms are different and refer to complete different areas in that area.

Let’s start from the beginning. England and Scotland had separate rulers until 1603, when Queen Elizabeth I died without any heirs. At this time James VI, King of Scots (in line for the throne of England) became King James I in England. He was also the King of Ireland and France at that time. In order to make his rule easier, he tried to unite England, Scotland and Wales into one region. He passed an Act of Union in 1707 and formed the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

England is a country that shares its borders with Scotland and Wales. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England, while the Celtic Sea lies to the south west. The North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separate it from continental Europe. The country also includes over 100 smaller islands such as the Isles of Scilly, and the Isle of Wight. England was inhibited by modern humans during the Upper Paleolithic period, but derives its name from the Germanic tribes who settled there during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in 927 AD and has played a huge role in the establishment and cultural development of the rest of the world.

Great Britain

Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic off the north-west coast of continental Europe, comprising of Wales, England and Scotland. It is the largest island of the British Isles and the largest island in Europe. Great Britain is part of the sovereign state of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, constituting most of its territory: most of England, Scotland and Wales are on the island of Great Britain, with their respective capital cities, London, Edinburgh and Cardiff. Scotland occupies the top portion of Great Britain, while Wales lies somewhere near the southwestern region of Great Britain and is separated from Ireland and Northern Ireland by the Irish Sea.

It can often become confusing referring to be people as British, as it has become synonymous with people from England. However, the term British refers to people that are from the Great Britain area, including the Scottish and people from Wales. It can be used as a general term when talking about the people together from that area, but when referring to people from Scotland, they should mostly be called as Scottish instead of British or English.

Comparison between England and Great Britain:



Great Britain


927 AD


Territories included


England, Wales and Scotland


Approximately 53 million people

Approximately 61 million people

Ethnic groups

85.4% White

7.8% Asian

3.5% Black

2.3% Mixed

0.4% Arab

0.6% Other

86.8% White

7.1% Asian

3.1% Black

2.0% Mixed

0.3% Arab

0.6% Other


English and Cornish

Scottish Gaelic, English and Welsh

Prominent Religion


Christianity, Catholicism, Protestanism

Image Courtesy: mapsofworld.himmera.com, picturesofengland.com

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