Great Britain

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Great Britain is the island to the west of Europe (or part of it depending on your point of view) that consist of England, Scotland and Wales (but not Ireland). It is part of the United Kingdom but is commonly called Britain.

The term was first formally used by James VI on 20 October 1604 to title himself as King of Great Britain but there were earlier usages. Bretayne the grete has been dated to 1338. In 1707 the Act of Union merged the kingdoms of Scotland and England into the kingdom of Great Britain.

The term is also used in English and French to differentiate between the island Britain and the area of Britain in France.

English: Great Britain vs Brittany
French: Grande Bretagne vs Bretagne

Geoffrey of Monmouth referred to them in his Historia Regum Britanniae as Britannia major and Britannia minor.

This information was extracted from the Wikipedia entry at Wikipedia:Great Britain.