|See also Great Britain UK a kingdom of NW Europe, consisting chiefly of the island of Great Britain together with Northern Ireland: became the world's leading colonial power in the 18th century; the first country to undergo the Industrial Revolution. It became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 1921, after the rest of Ireland became autonomous as the Irish Free State. Primarily it is a trading nation, the chief exports being manufactured goods; joined the Common Market (now the European Union) in January 1973. Official language: English; Gaelic, Welsh, and other minority languages. Religion: Christian majority. Currency: pound sterling. Capital: London. Pop: 59 428 000 (2004 est). Area: 244 110 sq km (94 251 sq miles)|
Part of the official name of the British nation; the full name is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It includes England, Scotland, Wales, and six counties of Ireland, ruled by the king or queen of England, and represented in the nation's parliament.