Is Great Britain the same thing as the British Isles, and what about U.K?

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For those cruising around the British Isles and wondering what exactly is the difference between the British Isles, Great Britain and the UK; and where do the Isles of Mann and the Channel Isles fit in, this page is for you.   If you do not have a UK passport, then you have every right to be confused.   Most Brits only have a vague idea, and if questioned couldn't give a clear answer.   Like everything to do with us, it is complicated and bound up in history.   Hopefully the articles linked below will help and put you in a good position for trivia quizes.

There are lots of minor islands within the British Isles, which are included within counties of the other countries, or sometimes are counties in their own right.   Some considerations are given below.

  • Isle of Wight is a county of England.
  • Isles of Scilly part of Cornwall but a separate local authority.
  • Lundy part of Devon but with their own stamps.
  • Hebrides part of Scotland.
  • Orkney or The Orkney Islands but never the Orknies, also part of Scotland.
  • Shetland orginally Nordic but annexed by Scotland in 1471.   If Scotland cedes from England, Shetland could cede from Scotland, although UK are unlikely to let go while the oil lasts.
  • Fair Isle part of Shetland between Shetland and Orkney.
  • Rockall just a rock, home to seabirds, but important for teritorrial waters.
  • St_Kilda part of the Hebrides, inhabited until 1930, it is the home of the St Kilda Wren.

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