- Stephen Banfield
- and Ian Russell
Country on the north-western periphery of Europe. Although its borders and some of its institutions have changed little in a millennium, England nevertheless finds its identity, cultural as much as political, subject to an ever-shifting network of contributing peoples and governances. Some consideration to the terms and relationships that define England within Britain are given here.
Geographically, England is the largest, southernmost part of Great Britain, itself the larger of the two main land masses constituting the British Isles. Wales and Scotland are the other units of Great Britain, together with certain offshore islands long incorporated, namely the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, both Crown dependencies of largely English culture, although they have their own laws, coins and assemblies. Politically, Britain – the United Kingdom, a democratic constitutional monarchy – has since 1922 included Ulster (Northern Ireland) and excluded Eire (southern Ireland), which became independent at that date; previously, the whole of Ireland was a possession of the British crown, colonial until political union in ...