Terminology of the British Isles
The terminology of the British Isles refers to the various words and phrases that are used to describe the different geographical and political areas of the islands of Great Britain and the smaller islands which surround them. The terminology is a source of confusion owing to the similarity between some of the actual words used, but because they are used loosely. In addition, many of the words carry both geographical and political connotations which are affected by the history of the islands; the purpose of this article is to explain relationships among the terms in use. The use of terminology depends on context. In brief, the main terms and their simple explanations are as follows: Geographical terms: The British Isles is a group of islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Continental Europe, it includes Ireland, Great Britain, the Isle of Man, Shetland and thousands of smaller islands. Traditionally the Channel Islands are included, though these specific islands are geographically closer to mainland continental Europe, being positioned off the French coast of Normandy.
This, in part, has resulted in the term being disputed. Great Britain is the largest island of the archipelago. Ireland is the second largest island of the archipelago and lies directly to the west of Great Britain; the island of Ireland itself has its own list of Irish Isles. The full list of islands of the British Isles includes over 6,000 islands, of which 51 have an area larger than 20 km2. Political terms: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the constitutional monarchy occupying the island of Great Britain, the small nearby islands, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, it is shortened to United Kingdom or the UK, though Britain is an recognised short form. "Great Britain" is sometimes used as a short form, is the name used by the UK in some international organisations. The abbreviation GB is used for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in international agreements, e.g. Universal Postal Union and Road Traffic Convention, as well as in the ISO 3166 country codes.
"England" was formerly used synecdochically to refer to the whole United Kingdom, but this usage became rare early in the 20th century. Ireland is the sovereign republic occupying the larger portion of the island of Ireland. However, to distinguish the state from the island, or to distinguish either of these from Northern Ireland, it is called "the Republic of Ireland" or "the Republic", its Irish-language name, Éire, will be used in an English-language context to distinguish it from "Northern Ireland" though the word Éire directly translates as "Ireland". England, Scotland and Northern Ireland are the four countries of the United Kingdom, though they are referred to in sporting contexts, as the home nations of the United Kingdom. England and Wales and Northern Ireland are legal jurisdictions within the United Kingdom. Great Britain means the countries of England and Scotland considered as a unit. British Islands consists of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man; these are the polities within the British Isles.
Linguistic terms: The two sovereign states in the region, the United Kingdom and Ireland, are referred to as countries. So too are England, Scotland and, to a lesser extent, Northern Ireland. British is an adjective pertaining to the United Kingdom. Anglo- is used as an adjectival prefix referring to the United Kingdom in the field of diplomatic relations, it can refer to the English language, to anglophone peoples and can have a variety of other shades of meaning. Wales is sometimes called the Principality of Wales, although this has no modern constitutional basis. Northern Ireland is referred to as a province or called Ulster, after the traditional Irish province of Ulster within which it is located. Sport Forms of national representation vary from sport to sport. England and Wales compete separately as nations. In some sports—such as rugby and cricket—the island of Ireland competes as a nation. In these contexts England, Scotland and Ireland/Northern Ireland are sometimes described as the home nations.
Rugby union players from both Ireland and Great Britain play for British and Irish Lions representing the four "Home Unions" of England, Ireland and Wales. Great Britain is sometimes used to mean United Kingdom. For example, at the Olympic Games, the team called "Great Britain" represents Great Britain and Northern Ireland. However, athletes from Northern Ireland have, by virtue of their entitlement to dual nationality, the choice of participating in either the Great Britain team or the Republic of Ireland team. In the majority of individual sports, at international level competitors are identified as GB if they are from Great Britain or Northern Ireland. A small number of sports (e.g. golf, darts, sn
The States Assembly is the parliament of the British Crown dependency of Jersey. The origins of the legislature of Jersey lie in the system of self-government according to Norman law guaranteed to the Channel Islands by King John following the division of Normandy in 1204; the States Assembly has exercised uncontested legislative powers since 1771, when the concurrent law-making power of the Royal Court of Jersey was abolished. The Assembly amends laws and regulations. Members are able to ask questions to find out information and to hold ministers to account. Executive powers are exercised by a Chief Minister and nine ministers, elected from among the members of the Assembly and known collectively as the Council of Ministers. Ministers are accountable to the assembly for the conduct of their departments; the constitution of the States is set out in the States of Jersey Law 2005. It is a unicameral parliament. In the current assembly, elected voting members comprise eight Senators, twenty-nine Deputies, twelve Connétables.
In previous assemblies, the number of Senators was ten. The reduction in the number of Senators was politically controversial and attempts were made, unsuccessfully, to prevent the Privy Council from approving the proposal. There are five non-voting members appointed by the Crown: the Bailiff–who is the President; the clerk of the Assembly is known as the Greffier of the States. The Viscount is the executive officer of the States. Under the States of Jersey Act 2005, 22 of the 51 members form the executive: ten as ministers in the Council of Ministers and twelve as assistant ministers. During the 2008–2011 assembly, 17 members sat on scrutiny panels, six sit only on the Planning Applications panel or the Privileges and Procedures Committee. Following widespread criticisms of the system of ministerial government introduced in December 2005, the assembly of the States of Jersey agreed in March 2011 to establish an independent electoral commission to review the make-up of the Assembly and government.
Elections are held every three years, with the most recent being in 2014. In the 2008–2011 assembly, four members were affiliated to the Jersey Democratic Alliance, but three of them subsequently left the party and continued to sit as independents. In the 2011 elections, all candidates stood as independents. In the 2014 elections, candidates stood for the newly formed Reform Jersey for the first time, with 3 being elected as Deputies. A main type of legislation made by the States is known in English as a'Law', in French as a Loi. After a Law is adopted by the States it must receive Royal Assent and be registered with the Royal Court of Jersey before it is'passed'. Members of the Assembly are responsible for scrutinizing the work of the Council of Ministers and their departments. Scrutiny panels of backbench members of the assembly have been established to examine economic affairs, environment and infrastructure corporate services and home affairs and health, social security and housing. A Public Accounts Committee scrutinizes the spending of public finances.
The real utility of the panels is said to be "that of independent critique which holds ministers to account and constructively engages with policy, deficient". The legislature derives its name from the estates of the Crown, the Church and the people from whom the assembly was summoned. Jersey's political history begins as part of the Duchy of Normandy; however when the King of France stripped King John of England of the title ‘Duke of Normandy’ the people of Jersey and the other Channel Islands rebelled against the French King maintaining the sovereignty of the'rightful' Duke. In 1259 Henry III signed the Treaty of Paris resigning his claim to the Duchy of Normandy except the Channel Islands; the Channel Islands were not absorbed into the Kingdom of England but two offices were appointed. The Royal Court had legislative power but by the sixteenth century a legislative assembly within the Royal Court was convened; the Royal Court and the States both legislated until with the fixing in 1771 of the Code des Lois it was established that the States had a legislative monopoly.
The earliest extant Act of the States dates from 1524. The States are mentioned in a document of 1497 regarding the endowments of the grammar schools.
"Alba" is the Scottish Gaelic name for Scotland. It is cognate with the Irish term Alba and the Manx term Nalbin, the two other Goidelic Insular Celtic languages, as well as contemporary words used in Cornish and Welsh, both of which are Brythonic Insular Celtic languages. In the past these terms were names for Great Britain as a whole, related to the Brythonic name Albion; the term first appears in classical texts as Ἀλβίων Albíon or Ἀλουΐων Alouíon, as Albion in Latin documents. The term refers to Britain as a whole and is based on the Indo-European root for "white", it came to be used by Gaelic speakers in the form of Alba as the name given to the former kingdom of the Picts which when first used in this sense had expanded. The region Breadalbane takes its name from it as well; the Pictish, Scottish, Kings were crowned at the seat on Moot Hill Scone. It was this stone, taken to Westminster Abbey and used in Coronations for the monarchs of the United Kingdom; as time passed that kingdom incorporated others to the southern territories.
It became re-Latinized in the High Medieval period as "Albania". This latter word was employed by Celto-Latin writers, most famously by Geoffrey of Monmouth, it was this word which passed into Middle English as Albany, although rarely was this used for the Kingdom of Scotland, but rather for the notional Duchy of Albany. It is from the latter that Albany, the capital of the US state of New York, Albany, Western Australia take their names, it appears in the anglicised literary form of Albyn, as in Byron's Childe Harold: And wild and high the'Cameron's gathering' rose, The war-note of Lochiel, which Albyn's hills Have heard, heard, have her Saxon foes Belgian Michel Roger Lafosse, who claims the Scottish throne, has styled himself as "HRH Prince Michael James Alexander Stewart, 7th Count of Albany" since 1978. BBC Alba, a television channel broadcasting in Scottish Gaelic, was launched in September 2008 as a joint venture between MG Alba and the BBC. A new version of Runrig's song Alba was featured on the channel's launch.
In the mid-1990s, the Celtic League started a campaign to have the word "Alba" on the Scottish football and rugby tops. Since 2005, the SFA have supported the use of Scottish Gaelic by adding Alba on the back of the official team strip. However, the SRU is still being lobbied to have Alba added to the national rugby union strip. In 2007, the Scottish Executive re-branded itself as "The Scottish Government" and started to use a bilingual logo with the Gaelic name Riaghaltas na h-Alba. However, the Gaelic version from the outset had always been Riaghaltas na h-Alba; the Scottish Parliament uses the Gaelic name Pàrlamaid na h-Alba. A new welcome sign on the historic A7 route into Scotland was erected in 2009, with the text Fàilte gu Alba. Phrases such as Alba gu bràth may be used as a rallying cry, it was used in the movie Braveheart as William Wallace encouraged the troops at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. Albanactus Caledonia Kingdom of Alba Scotia
The Hebrides comprise a widespread and diverse archipelago off the west coast of mainland Scotland. There are two main groups: the Outer Hebrides; these islands have a long history of occupation dating back to the Mesolithic, the culture of the residents has been affected by the successive influences of Celtic and English-speaking peoples. This diversity is reflected in the names given to the islands, which are derived from the languages that have been spoken there in historic and prehistoric times; the Hebrides are the source of much of Gaelic music. Today the economy of the islands is dependent on crofting, tourism, the oil industry, renewable energy; the Hebrides have lower biodiversity than mainland Scotland, but there is a significant presence of seals and seabirds. The earliest written references that have survived relating to the islands were made circa 77 AD by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History, where he states that there are 30 Hebudes, makes a separate reference to Dumna, which Watson concludes is unequivocally the Outer Hebrides.
Writing about 80 years in 140-150 AD, drawing on the earlier naval expeditions of Agricola, writes that there are five Ebudes and Dumna. Texts in classical Latin, by writers such as Solinus, use the forms Hebudes and Hæbudes; the name Ebudes recorded by Ptolemy may be pre-Celtic. Islay is Ptolemy's Epidion, the use of the "p" hinting at a Brythonic or Pictish tribal name, although the root is not Gaelic. Woolf has suggested that Ebudes may be "an Irish attempt to reproduce the word Epidii phonetically rather than by translating it" and that the tribe's name may come from the root epos meaning "horse". Watson notes the possible relationship between Ebudes and the ancient Irish Ulaid tribal name Ibdaig and the personal name of a king Iubdán recorded in the Silva Gadelica; the names of other individual islands reflect their complex linguistic history. The majority are Norse or Gaelic but the roots of several other Hebrides may have a pre-Celtic origin. Adomnán, the 7th century abbot of Iona, records Colonsay as Colosus and Tiree as Ethica, both of which may be pre-Celtic names.
The etymology of Skye is complex and may include a pre-Celtic root. Lewis is Ljoðhús in Old Norse and although various suggestions have been made as to a Norse meaning the name is not of Gaelic origin and the Norse credentials are questionable; the earliest comprehensive written list of Hebridean island names was undertaken by Donald Monro in 1549, which in some cases provides the earliest written form of the island name. The derivations of all of the inhabited islands of the Hebrides and some of the larger uninhabited ones are listed below. Lewis and Harris is the largest island in Scotland and the third largest in the British Isles, after Great Britain and Ireland, it incorporates Lewis in the north and Harris in the south, both of which are referred to as individual islands, although they are joined by a land border. Remarkably, the island does not have a common name in either English or Gaelic and is referred to as "Lewis and Harris", "Lewis with Harris", "Harris with Lewis" etc. For this reason it is treated as two separate islands below.
The derivation of Lewis may be pre-Celtic and the origin of Harris is no less problematic. In the Ravenna Cosmography, Erimon may refer to Harris; this word may derive from the Ancient Greek: ἐρῆμος (erimos "desert". The origin of Uist is unclear. There are various examples of Inner Hebridean island names that were Gaelic but have become replaced. For example, Adomnán records Sainea, Elena and Oideacha in the Inner Hebrides, which names must have passed out of usage in the Norse era and whose locations are not clear. One of the complexities is that an island may have had a Celtic name, replaced by a similar-sounding Norse name, but reverted to an Gaelic name with a Norse "øy" or "ey" ending. See for example Rona below; the names of uninhabited islands follow the same general patterns as the inhabited islands. The following are the ten largest in their outliers; the etymology of St Kilda, a small archipelago west of the Outer Hebrides, its main island Hirta, is complex. No saint is known by the name of Kilda, various theories have been proposed for the word's origin, which dates from the late 16th century.
Haswell-Smith notes that the full name "St Kilda" first appears on a Dutch map dated 1666, that it may have been derived from Norse sunt kelda or from a mistaken Dutch assumption that the spring Tobar Childa was dedicated to a saint. The origin of the Gaelic for "Hirta"—Hiort, Hirt, or Irt—which long pre-dates the use of "St Kilda", is open to interpretation. Watson offers the Old Irish hirt, a word meaning "death" relating to the dangerous seas. Maclean, drawing on an Icelandic saga describing an early 13th-century voyage to Ireland that mentions a visit to the islands of Hirtir, speculates that the shape of Hirta resembles a stag, hirtir being "stags" in Norse; the etymology of small islands may be no less complex. In relation to Dubh Artach, R. L. Stevenson believed that "black and dismal" was a translation of the name, noting that "as usual, in Gaelic, it is not the only one." The Hebrides were settled during the Mesolithic era around 6500 BC or earlier, after the climatic conditions improved enough
Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom in the north-east of the island of Ireland, variously described as a country, province or region. Northern Ireland shares a border to the west with the Republic of Ireland. In 2011, its population was 1,810,863, constituting about 30% of the island's total population and about 3% of the UK's population. Established by the Northern Ireland Act 1998 as part of the Good Friday Agreement, the Northern Ireland Assembly holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters, while other areas are reserved for the British government. Northern Ireland co-operates with the Republic of Ireland in some areas, the Agreement granted the Republic the ability to "put forward views and proposals" with "determined efforts to resolve disagreements between the two governments". Northern Ireland was created in 1921, when Ireland was partitioned between Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland by the Government of Ireland Act 1920. Unlike Southern Ireland, which would become the Irish Free State in 1922, the majority of Northern Ireland's population were unionists, who wanted to remain within the United Kingdom.
Most of these were the Protestant descendants of colonists from Great Britain. However, a significant minority Catholics, were nationalists who wanted a united Ireland independent of British rule. Today, the former see themselves as British and the latter see themselves as Irish, while a distinct Northern Irish or Ulster identity is claimed both by a large minority of Catholics and Protestants and by many of those who are non-aligned. For most of the 20th century, when it came into existence, Northern Ireland was marked by discrimination and hostility between these two sides in what First Minister of Northern Ireland, David Trimble, called a "cold house" for Catholics. In the late 1960s, conflict between state forces and chiefly Protestant unionists on the one hand, chiefly Catholic nationalists on the other, erupted into three decades of violence known as the Troubles, which claimed over 3,500 lives and caused over 50,000 casualties; the 1998 Good Friday Agreement was a major step in the peace process, including the decommissioning of weapons, although sectarianism and religious segregation still remain major social problems, sporadic violence has continued.
Northern Ireland has been the most industrialised region of Ireland. After declining as a result of the political and social turmoil of the Troubles, its economy has grown since the late 1990s; the initial growth came from the "peace dividend" and the links which increased trade with the Republic of Ireland, continuing with a significant increase in tourism and business from around the world. Unemployment in Northern Ireland peaked at 17.2% in 1986, dropping to 6.1% for June–August 2014 and down by 1.2 percentage points over the year, similar to the UK figure of 6.2%. 58.2% of those unemployed had been unemployed for over a year. Prominent artists and sportspeople from Northern Ireland include Van Morrison, Rory McIlroy, Joey Dunlop, Wayne McCullough and George Best; some people from Northern Ireland prefer to identify as Irish while others prefer to identify as British. Cultural links between Northern Ireland, the rest of Ireland, the rest of the UK are complex, with Northern Ireland sharing both the culture of Ireland and the culture of the United Kingdom.
In many sports, the island of Ireland fields a single team, a notable exception being association football. Northern Ireland competes separately at the Commonwealth Games, people from Northern Ireland may compete for either Great Britain or Ireland at the Olympic Games; the region, now Northern Ireland was the bedrock of the Irish war of resistance against English programmes of colonialism in the late 16th century. The English-controlled Kingdom of Ireland had been declared by the English king Henry VIII in 1542, but Irish resistance made English control fragmentary. Following Irish defeat at the Battle of Kinsale, the region's Gaelic, Roman Catholic aristocracy fled to continental Europe in 1607 and the region became subject to major programmes of colonialism by Protestant English and Scottish settlers. A rebellion in 1641 by Irish aristocrats against English rule resulted in a massacre of settlers in Ulster in the context of a war breaking out between England and Ireland fuelled by religious intolerance in government.
Victories by English forces in that war and further Protestant victories in the Williamite War in Ireland toward the close of the 17th century solidified Anglican rule in Ireland. In Northern Ireland, the victories of the Siege of Derry and the Battle of the Boyne in this latter war are still celebrated by some Protestants. Popes Innocent XI and Alexander VIII had supported William of Orange instead of his maternal uncle and father-in-law James II, despite William being Protestant and James a Catholic, due to William's participation in alliance with both Protesant and Catholic powers in Europe in wars against Louis XIV, the powerful King of France, in conflict with the papacy for decades. In 1693, Pope Innocent XII recognised James as continuing King of Great Britain and Ireland in place of William, after reconciliation with Louis. In 1695, contrary to the terms of the Treaty of Limerick, a series of penal laws were passed by the Anglican ruling class in Ireland in intense anger at the Pope's recognition of James over William, felt to be a betrayal.
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Republic of Ireland
Ireland known as the Republic of Ireland, is a country in north-western Europe occupying 26 of 32 counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, located on the eastern part of the island, whose metropolitan area is home to around a third of the country's over 4.8 million inhabitants. The sovereign state shares its only land border with a part of the United Kingdom, it is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Celtic Sea to the south, St George's Channel to the south-east, the Irish Sea to the east. It is a parliamentary republic; the legislature, the Oireachtas, consists of a lower house, Dáil Éireann, an upper house, Seanad Éireann, an elected President who serves as the ceremonial head of state, but with some important powers and duties. The head of government is the Taoiseach, elected by the Dáil and appointed by the President; the state was created as the Irish Free State in 1922 as a result of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. It had the status of Dominion until 1937 when a new constitution was adopted, in which the state was named "Ireland" and became a republic, with an elected non-executive president as head of state.
It was declared a republic in 1949, following the Republic of Ireland Act 1948. Ireland became a member of the United Nations in December 1955, it joined the European Economic Community, the predecessor of the European Union, in 1973. The state had no formal relations with Northern Ireland for most of the twentieth century, but during the 1980s and 1990s the British and Irish governments worked with the Northern Ireland parties towards a resolution to "the Troubles". Since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, the Irish government and Northern Ireland Executive have co-operated on a number of policy areas under the North-South Ministerial Council created by the Agreement. Ireland ranks among the top twenty-five wealthiest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita, as the tenth most prosperous country in the world according to The Legatum Prosperity Index 2015. After joining the EEC, Ireland enacted a series of liberal economic policies that resulted in rapid economic growth.
The country achieved considerable prosperity between the years of 1995 and 2007, which became known as the Celtic Tiger period. This was halted by an unprecedented financial crisis that began in 2008, in conjunction with the concurrent global economic crash. However, as the Irish economy was the fastest growing in the EU in 2015, Ireland is again ascending league tables comparing wealth and prosperity internationally. For example, in 2015, Ireland was ranked as the joint sixth most developed country in the world by the United Nations Human Development Index, it performs well in several national performance metrics, including freedom of the press, economic freedom and civil liberties. Ireland is a member of the European Union and is a founding member of the Council of Europe and the OECD; the Irish government has followed a policy of military neutrality through non-alignment since prior to World War II and the country is not a member of NATO, although it is a member of Partnership for Peace. The 1922 state, comprising 26 of the 32 counties of Ireland, was "styled and known as the Irish Free State".
The Constitution of Ireland, adopted in 1937, provides that "the name of the State is Éire, or, in the English language, Ireland". Section 2 of the Republic of Ireland Act 1948 states, "It is hereby declared that the description of the State shall be the Republic of Ireland." The 1948 Act does not name the state as "Republic of Ireland", because to have done so would have put it in conflict with the Constitution. The government of the United Kingdom used the name "Eire" and, from 1949, "Republic of Ireland", for the state; as well as "Ireland", "Éire" or "the Republic of Ireland", the state is referred to as "the Republic", "Southern Ireland" or "the South". In an Irish republican context it is referred to as "the Free State" or "the 26 Counties". From the Act of Union on 1 January 1801, until 6 December 1922, the island of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. During the Great Famine, from 1845 to 1849, the island's population of over 8 million fell by 30%. One million Irish died of starvation and/or disease and another 1.5 million emigrated to the United States.
This set the pattern of emigration for the century to come, resulting in constant population decline up to the 1960s. From 1874, under Charles Stewart Parnell from 1880, the Irish Parliamentary Party gained prominence; this was firstly through widespread agrarian agitation via the Irish Land League, that won land reforms for tenants in the form of the Irish Land Acts, secondly through its attempts to achieve Home Rule, via two unsuccessful bills which would have granted Ireland limited national autonomy. These led to "grass-roots" control of national affairs, under the Local Government Act 1898, in the hands of landlord-dominated grand juries of the Protestant Ascendancy. Home Rule seemed certain when the Parliament Act 1911 abolished the veto of the House of Lords, John Redmond secured the Third Home Rule Act in 1914. However, the Unionist movement had been growing since 1886 among Irish Protestants after the introduction of the first home rule bill, fearing discrimination and loss of economic and social privileges if Irish Catholics achieved real political power
The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic off the north-western coast of continental Europe that consist of the islands of Great Britain, the Isle of Man, the Hebrides and over six thousand smaller isles. They have a total area of about 315,159 km2 and a combined population of 72 million, include two sovereign states, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; the islands of Alderney, Jersey and Sark, their neighbouring smaller islands, are sometimes taken to be part of the British Isles though, as islands off the coast of France, they do not form part of the archipelago. The oldest rocks in the group are in the north west of Scotland and North Wales and are 2.7 billion years old. During the Silurian period, the north-western regions collided with the south-east, part of a separate continental landmass; the topography of the islands is modest in scale by global standards. Ben Nevis rises to an elevation of only 1,345 metres, Lough Neagh, notably larger than other lakes in the island group, covers 390 square kilometres.
The climate is temperate marine, with warm summers. The North Atlantic drift brings significant moisture and raises temperatures 11 °C above the global average for the latitude; this led to a landscape, long dominated by temperate rainforest, although human activity has since cleared the vast majority of forest cover. The region was re-inhabited after the last glacial period of Quaternary glaciation, by 12,000 BC, when Great Britain was still part of a peninsula of the European continent. Ireland, which became an island by 12,000 BC, was not inhabited until after 8000 BC. Great Britain became an island by 5600 BC. Hiberni and Britons tribes, all speaking Insular Celtic, inhabited the islands at the beginning of the 1st millennium AD. Much of Brittonic-occupied Britain was conquered by the Roman Empire from AD 43; the first Anglo-Saxons arrived as Roman power waned in the 5th century, dominated the bulk of what is now England. Viking invasions began in the 9th century, followed by more permanent settlements and political change in England.
The Norman conquest of England in 1066 and the Angevin partial conquest of Ireland from 1169 led to the imposition of a new Norman ruling elite across much of Britain and parts of Ireland. By the Late Middle Ages, Great Britain was separated into the Kingdoms of England and Kingdom of Scotland, while control in Ireland fluxed between Gaelic kingdoms, Hiberno-Norman lords and the English-dominated Lordship of Ireland, soon restricted only to The Pale; the 1603 Union of the Crowns, Acts of Union 1707 and Acts of Union 1800 attempted to consolidate Britain and Ireland into a single political unit, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, with the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands remaining as Crown Dependencies. The expansion of the British Empire and migrations following the Irish Famine and Highland Clearances resulted in the dispersal of some of the islands' population and culture throughout the world, a rapid depopulation of Ireland in the second half of the 19th century. Most of Ireland seceded from the United Kingdom after the Irish War of Independence and the subsequent Anglo-Irish Treaty, with six counties remaining in the UK as Northern Ireland.
The term "British Isles" is controversial in Ireland, where there are nationalist objections to its usage. The Government of Ireland does not recognise the term, its embassy in London discourages its use. Britain and Ireland is used as an alternative description, Atlantic Archipelago has seen limited use in academia; the earliest known references to the islands as a group appeared in the writings of sea-farers from the ancient Greek colony of Massalia. The original records have been lost. In the 1st century BC, Diodorus Siculus has Prettanikē nēsos, "the British Island", Prettanoi, "the Britons". Strabo used Βρεττανική, Marcian of Heraclea, in his Periplus maris exteri, used αἱ Πρεττανικαί νῆσοι to refer to the islands. Historians today, though not in absolute agreement agree that these Greek and Latin names were drawn from native Celtic-language names for the archipelago. Along these lines, the inhabitants of the islands were called the Πρεττανοί; the shift from the "P" of Pretannia to the "B" of Britannia by the Romans occurred during the time of Julius Caesar.
The Greco-Egyptian scientist Claudius Ptolemy referred to the larger island as great Britain and to Ireland as little Britain in his work Almagest. In his work, Geography, he gave these islands the names Alwion and Mona, suggesting these may have been names of the individual islands not known to him at the time of writing Almagest; the name Albion appears to have fallen out of use sometime after the Roman conquest of Great Britain, after which Britain became the more commonplace name for the island called Great Britain. The earliest known use of the phrase Brytish Iles in the English language is dated 1577 in a work by John Dee. Today, this name is seen by some as carrying imperialist overtones although it is still used. Other names used to describe the islands include the Anglo-Celtic Isles, Atlantic archipelago, British-Irish Isles and Ireland, UK