The British Isles: a Land of Diversity

Outsiders often associate images such as the Houses of Parliament and the Tower of London with Britain or the UK. A lot may assume that the words “British” and “English” are of the same cultural, historical or even political origin. Others may additionally think that the British are a homogeneous society with a single identity. In the British Isles, the existence of regional divisions makes it hard to vividly describe what exactly Britain is. The United Kingdom is an area of notable diversity, in its racial origins, its regional dialects and its physical backgrounds. 

It is common that nothing angers the Scots more than calling them English or referring to all Britain as England. Actually, England is only one region with its own character and structure. Special identities tend to be stronger the further one travels from metropolitan areas to the south east. Actually, community loyalties began to weaken as the society in many cities become more individualistic. Yet, it is possible to blur racial or regional offenses considering two distinct perspectives.

Cultural Differences in the British Isles

Divisions in the British Isles seem comprehensible if both geographical and political limits are identified. Geographically speaking, there are two large islands in the north west of Europe. The largest one is Great Britain, which is the product of a long process that dates back to 1603. The other large island is Ireland. Politically speaking, the British Isles are two states. The first one is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This country has a total authority over England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Island. The second one is the Republic of Ireland, and it is both politically and economically independent though part of the British Isles.

In brief, we use the words “Britain”, “British Isles” or “British”, however, to refer to everyone in the UK. In fact, there are several islands which are closely linked with the UK but are not part of it, namely the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. These isles have their own governments and are called “Crown dependencies”.

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