Great Britain

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Great Britain[1] is a large island in the Atlantic Ocean, separated from continental Europe to the south by the English Channel and from Ireland to the west by the Irish Sea. It is the largest island in the archipelago known as the British Isles, with an area of 218,595 km² (93,282 square miles).[2] Politically, the island is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (of which the usual abbreviations are "Britain" and "the UK", not the overly formal "Great Britain"), and is made up of the constituent countries England, Scotland and Wales.


  1. The use of the adjective "Great" derives from the French Grande Bretagne, as distinct from Petite Bretagne (Brittany).
  2. Islands of the United Kingdom (UN System-Wide Earthwatch Web Site)