The United Kingdom 


The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland comprises Britain (England and Wales and Scotland) and Northern Ireland. The state has existed in this form since 1922 when the southern part of Ireland became the Irish Free State, later Eire. The abbreviation United Kingdom and the acronym UK are standard, although the country is often referred to as Britain or even England after its most populous constituent.  The islands of Britain and Ireland and a host of smaller ones make up the British Isles. For more see Michael Quinion.