Commander is a common naval and air force officer rank. Commander is used as a rank or title in other formal organisations, including several police forces. Commander is a generic term for an officer commanding any armed forces unit, for example "platoon commander", "brigade commander" and "squadron commander". In the police, terms such as "borough commander" and "incident commander" are used. Commander is a rank used in navies but is rarely used as a rank in armies; the title "master and commander," originated in the 18th century to describe naval officers who commanded ships of war too large to be commanded by a lieutenant but too small to warrant the assignment of a post-captain and a sailing-master. In practice, these were unrated sloops-of-war of no more than 20 guns; the Royal Navy shortened "master and commander" to "commander" in 1794. The equivalent American rank master commandant remained in use until changed to commander in 1838. A corresponding rank in some navies is frigate captain.
In the 20th and 21st centuries, the rank has been assigned the NATO rank code of OF-4. Various functions of commanding officers were styled commandeur. In the navy of the Dutch Republic, anyone who commanded a ship or a fleet without having an appropriate rank to do so, could be called a Commandeur; this included acting captains. In the fleet of the Admiralty of Zealand however, commandeur was a formal rank, the equivalent of Schout-bij-nacht in the other Dutch admiralties; the Dutch use of the title as a rank lives on in the Royal Netherlands Navy, as the equivalent of commodore. In the Royal Netherlands Air Force, this rank is known by the English spelling of commodore, the Dutch equivalent of the British air commodore; the rank of commander in the Royal Australian Navy is identical in description to that of a commander in the British Royal Navy. RAN chaplains who are in sivisions 1, 2 or 3 have the equivalent rank standing of commanders; this means that to officers and NCOs below the rank of commander, lieutenant colonel, or wing commander, the chaplain is a superior.
To those officers ranked higher than commander, the chaplain is subordinate. Although this equivalency exists, RAN chaplains who are in divisions 1, 2 or 3 do not wear the rank of commander, they hold no command privilege. In Denmark, the rank of commander exists as kommandørkaptajn, senior to kaptajn and kommandør ("commander", senior to kommandørkaptajn. In France, the rank of commander exists as capitaine de frégate, it is senior to capitaine de corvette, junior to capitaine de vaisseau. The rank of commander was used in the Imperial Japanese Navy, continues to be used in the modern Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force. Though the modern rank is translated as "commander" in English, its literal translation is "captain second rank"; the rank is equivalent to that of a commander in the U. S. Navy. Commander is a rank in the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem, is denoted by the post-nominal letters CLJ; the corresponding rank in the Polish Navy is komandor porucznik. In the Russian Navy the equivalent rank to commander is "captain of the second rank".
The rank was introduced in Russia by Peter the Great in 1722. From the introduction of the Russian Table of Ranks to its abolition in 1917, "captain of the second rank" was equal to a court councillor, at the sixth level out of 14 ranks; until 1856 it was conferred hereditary nobility on the holder. The equivalent rank in the Soviet Navy from 1918 to 1935 was "first mate"; the rank returned to the Imperial Russian Navy form of "captain 2nd rank" in 1935. Commander is a naval rank in Scandinavia equivalent to the Anglo-American naval rank of captain; the Scandinavian the rank of commander is above "commander-captain", equivalent to the Anglo-American naval rank of commander. In the Spanish Navy the equivalent rank to commander is capitán de fragata. A commander in the Royal Navy is above the rank of lieutenant commander, below the rank of captain, is equivalent in rank to a lieutenant colonel in the army. A commander may command a frigate, submarine, aviation squadron or shore installation, or may serve on a staff.
Since the British Royal Air Force's mid-rank officers' ranks are modelled on those of the Royal Navy, the term wing commander is used as a rank, this is the equivalent of a lieutenant colonel in the army or a commander in the navy. The rank of wing commander is below that of group captain. In the former Royal Naval Air Service, merged with the Royal Flying Corps to form the Royal Air Force in 1918, the pilots held appointments as well as their normal ranks in the Royal Navy, they wore insignia appropriate to the appointment instead of the rank. A flight commander wore a star above a lieutenant's two rank stripes, squadron commander wore two stars above two rank stripes or two-and-a-half rank stripes, wing commander wore three rank stripes; the rank stripes had the usual Royal Navy curl, they were surmounted by an eagle. Commander is a two-star field grade officer of Vietnam People's Navy For instance, as
London Fire Brigade
The London Fire Brigade is the statutory fire and rescue service for London. It was formed by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade Act of 1865, under the leadership of superintendent Eyre Massey Shaw; the LFB is the busiest of all the fire services in the United Kingdom. It is the second largest in size, after the national Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, has the largest number of wholetime firefighters, it has 5,992 staff, including 5,096 operational firefighters and officers based at 102 fire stations. The LFB is led by the Commissioner for Fire and Emergency Planning, with the post being held by Dany Cotton since January 2017; the brigade and Commissioner are overseen by the Greater London Authority, which in April 2018 took over these responsibilities from the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority. In the 2015-16 financial year the LFB received 171,488 emergency calls; these consisted of: 48,696 false alarms of fire and 30,066 other calls for service. As well as firefighting, the LFB responds to road traffic collisions, trapped-in-lift releases, other incidents such as those involving hazardous materials or major transport accidents.
It conducts emergency planning and performs fire safety inspections and education. It does not provide an ambulance service as this function is performed by the London Ambulance Service as an independent NHS trust, although all LFB firefighters are trained in first aid and all of its fire engines carry first aid equipment. Since 2016, the LFB has provided first aid for some life-threatening medical emergencies. Following a multitude of ad-hoc firefighting arrangements and the Great Fire of London, various insurance companies established firefighting units to tackle fires that occurred in buildings that their respective companies insured; as demands grew on the primitive firefighting units they began to coordinate and co-operate with each other until, on 1 January 1833, the London Fire Engine Establishment was formed under the leadership of James Braidwood, who had founded the first professional, municipal fire brigade in Edinburgh. He introduced a uniform that, for the first time, included personal protection from the hazards of firefighting.
With 80 firefighters and 13 fire stations, the unit was still a private enterprise, funded by the insurance companies and as such was responsible for saving material goods from fire. Several large fires, most notably at the Palace of Westminster in 1834 and the 1861 Tooley Street fire, spurred the insurance companies to lobby the British government to provide the brigade at public expense and management. After due consideration, in 1865 the Metropolitan Fire Brigade Act was passed, creating the Metropolitan Fire Brigade under the leadership of Eyre Massey Shaw, a former head of police and fire services in Belfast. In 1904 it was renamed as the London Fire Brigade; the LFB moved into a new headquarters built by Higgs and Hill on the Albert Embankment in Lambeth in 1937, where it remained until 2007. During the Second World War the country's brigades were amalgamated into a single National Fire Service; the separate London Fire Brigade for the County of London was re-established in 1948. With the formation of Greater London in 1965, this absorbed most of the Middlesex Fire Brigade, the borough brigades for West Ham, East Ham and Croydon and parts of the Essex, Hertfordshire and Kent brigades.
In 1986 the Greater London Council was disbanded and a new statutory authority, the London Fire and Civil Defence Authority, was formed to take responsibility for the LFB. The LFCDA was replaced in 2000 by the London Emergency Planning Authority. At the same time, the Greater London Authority was established to administer the LFEPA and coordinate emergency planning for London. Consisting of the Mayor of London and other elected members, the GLA takes responsibility for the Metropolitan Police Service, Transport for London and other functions. In 2007 the LFB moved to a site in Union Street, Southwark. In the same year, the Department for Communities and Local Government announced that LFB Commissioner Ken Knight had been appointed as the first Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser to the government. Knight was succeeded as Commissioner at that time by Ron Dobson, who served for ten years. Dany Cotton took over in 2017. Dany Cotton is the current commissioner, having taken up the role in January 2017, she holds the Queen's Fire Service Medal.
Ron Dobson was the prior commissioner and served in the LFB from 1979. 1833 to 1861: James Braidwood 1861 to 1891: Capt. Eyre Massey Shaw 1891 to 1896: James Sexton Simmonds 1896 to 1903: Capt. Lionel de Latour Wells 1903 to 1909: RAdm. James de Courcy Hamilton 1909 to 1918: Lt. Cdr. Sir Sampson Sladen 1918 to 1933: Arthur Reginald Dyer, KPM 1933 to 1938: Maj. Cyril Morris, MC 1938 to 1941: Cdr. Sir Aylmer Firebrace, CBE 1939 to 1941: Maj. Frank Jackson, CBE 1941 to 1948: all fire brigades nationalised 1948 to 1962: Sir Frederick Delve, CBE 1962 to 1970: Leslie Leete, CBE 1970 to 1976: Joseph Milner 1976 to 1980: Peter Darby 1980 to 1987: Ronald Bullers 1987 to 1991: Gerald Clarkson 1991 to 2003: Brian Robinson, CBE 2003 to 2007: Sir Ken Knight, CBE 2007 to 2016: Ron Dobson, CBE 2017 to present: Dany Cotton Historically, the London Fire Brigade was organised into two divisions: Northern and Southern, divided in most places by the River Thames
The Liverpool Blitz was the heavy and sustained bombing of the English city of Liverpool and its surrounding area, during the Second World War by the German Luftwaffe. Liverpool was the most bombed area of the country, outside London, due to the city having, along with Birkenhead, the largest port on the west coast and was of significant importance to the British war effort; the government hoped to hide from the Germans just how much damage had been inflicted upon the docks, so reports on the bombing were kept low-key. Around 4,000 people were killed in the Merseyside area during the Blitz; this death toll was second only to London. Liverpool and the Wallasey Pool complex were strategically important locations during the Second World War; the Port of Liverpool had for many years been the United Kingdom's main link with North America, would prove to be a key part in the British participation in the Battle of the Atlantic. As well as providing anchorage for naval ships from many nations, the port's quays and dockers would handle over 90 per cent of all the war material brought into Britain from abroad with some 75 million tons passing through its 11 miles of quays.
Liverpool was the eastern end of a Transatlantic chain of supplies from North America, without which Britain could not have pursued the war. The evacuation of children at the start of the war, in September 1939, was a pre-emptive measure to save the population of urban or military areas from German aerial bombing. Between 1-6 September the evacuations, organised by Liverpool Corporation, saw 8,500 children and teachers moved from the city to rural areas and small towns in Lancashire, Cheshire and Shropshire; as months went by with no signs of an air-raid by the Luftwaffe, many parents brought their children back to Liverpool and by January 1940 40% of the evacuated children were back in the city. The first major air raid on Liverpool took place in August 1940, when 160 bombers attacked the city on the night of 28 August; this assault continued over the next three nights regularly for the rest of the year. There were 50 raids on the city during this three-month period; some of these were minor, comprising a few aircraft, lasting a few minutes, with others comprising up to 300 aircraft and lasting over ten hours.
On 18 September, 22 inmates at Walton Gaol were killed when high-explosive bombs demolished a wing of the prison.28 November saw a heavy raid on the city, the most serious single incident, when a hit on an air-raid shelter in Durning Road caused 166 fatalities. Winston Churchill described it as the "single worst incident of the war"; the air assault in 1940 came to a peak with the Christmas blitz, a three-night bombardment towards the end of December. A series of heavy raids took place in December 1940, referred to as the Christmas blitz, when 365 people were killed between 20 – 22 December; the raids saw several instances of direct hits on air raid shelters. On 21 December another hit on a shelter killed 74 people; the bombing decreased in severity after the new year. May 1941 saw a renewal of the air assault on the region; the first bomb landed upon Seacombe, Wirral, at 22:15 on 1 May. The peak of the bombing occurred from 1 – 7 May 1941, it involved 681 Luftwaffe bombers. The raids put 69 out of 144 cargo berths out of action and inflicted 2,895 casualtiesLiverpool Cathedral was hit by a high explosive bomb which pierced the roof of the south-east transept before being deflected by an inner brick wall and exploding mid-air, damaging many stained glass windows.
Another landed on the front steps without exploding but incendiaries destroyed equipment in the contractor's yard at the west end. One incident on 3 May involved the SS Malakand, a ship carrying munitions, berthed in the Huskisson Dock. Although its eventual explosion is attributed to a burning barrage balloon, this fire was put out; however flames from dock sheds, bombed spread to the Malakand, this fire could not be contained. Despite valiant efforts by the fire brigade to extinguish the flames, they spread to the ship's cargo of 1,000 tons of bombs, which exploded a few hours after the raid had ended; the entire Huskisson No. 2 dock and the surrounding quays were destroyed and four people were killed. The explosion was so violent that some pieces of the ship's hull plating were blasted into a park over 1 mile away, it took seventy-four hours for the fire to burn out. The seven night bombardment resulted in Over 6,500 homes being demolished by aerial bombing and a further 190,000 damaged leaving 70,000 people homeless.
500 roads were closed to traffic as well as railways and tram lines being destroyed. 700 water mains and 80 sewers were damaged alongside gas and telephone services. 9,000 workers from outside the city and 2,700 troops helped to remove debris from streets. On the night of the 3rd and 4th of may alone, 400 fires were attended to by the fire brigade Bootle, to the north of the city, suffered heavy damage and loss of life. One notable incident here was a direct hit on a Co-op air raid shelter on the corner of Ash Street and Stanley Road; the exact total of casualties is unclear, though dozens of bodies were recovered and placed in a temporary mortuary which itself was destroyed by incendiaries with over 180 corpses inside. The Times stated that between the 31st March until April 13, 1941" The Germans stated that The attack on
The Cardiff Blitz. Between 1940 and the final raid on the city in March 1944 2,100 bombs fell, killing 355 people. Cardiff Docks became a strategic bombing target for German Luftwaffe as it was one of the biggest coal ports in the world, it and the surrounding area were bombed. Llandaff Cathedral, amongst many other civilian buildings caught in the raids, was damaged by the bombing in 1941. During 1940 the Luftwaffe targeted Cardiff on 3, 10 and 12 7 August; this was followed in 1941 with raids on 3 and 10 January. Over 100 bombers attacked the city over a 10-hour period beginning at 6.37 pm on the night of 2 January 1941. Dropping high explosive bombs, incendiary bombs and parachute mines, the Riverside area was the first to be bombed. In Grangetown, the Hollyman Brothers bakery was hit by a parachute mine and 32 people who were using the basement as a shelter were killed; when the raid was over 165 people had been killed and 427 more injured, while nearly 350 homes were destroyed or had to be demolished.
Chapels and the nave of Llandaff Cathedral were damaged. Western Cardiff was the worst hit area Canton and Riverside, where 116 people were killed, an estimated 50 of which were killed in one street in Riverside, De Burgh Street; the 10-hour air raid had started at 18:37 and Grangetown was the first area to be hit by 100 German aircraft. Further raids followed on 27 February, through 1, 4, 12, 20 March and 3, 12, 29, 30 April and 4 to 11 May; the raid of 29 April 1941 did not have the usual precursory flares or incendiaries and instead four land mines intended for the Civic Centre, were parachuted without warning soon after the siren sounded. One landed harmlessly in the Castle grounds, narrowly missing the Civic shelter, but the other three had tragic consequences. Ten died in Lewis Street in Riverside from one mine; the other two fell in Cathays on Wyverne Road, killing 23 people. This included ten members of the Palmer family who had taken cover in the Anderson Shelter in their back garden The adjoining parish hall on Wyverne Road was destroyed, but remarkably the 4th Cardiff Scout flag, carried to the Antarctic on Scott's fateful expedition, was recovered from the rubble undamaged.
In 1942 fewer raids occurred 2 July. In 1943 some of the last raids occurred on 7 May and 17–18 May, the raid on 17 May believed by the British press to be in retaliation for the Dambusters' raid hit the railway station, a 1,200-pound unexploded bomb threatened to stop rail traffic. On the final raid, one of the bombers mistook the Irish Sea for the River Severn and bombed Cork in Ireland. Timeline of World War II Time Capsule Stories: The Blitz in Cardiff 1940s List of Cardiff based ships lost during the war World War II Timeline BBC World War II People's War BBC World War II People's War Luftwaffe Air raid Attacks on South Wales Roy Noble narrates a documentary on the Cardiff Blitz and war effort
Belfast is a city in the United Kingdom, the capital city of Northern Ireland, standing on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast of Ireland. It is second-largest on the island of Ireland, it had a population of 333,871 as of 2015. By the early 19th century, Belfast became a major port, it played a key role in the Industrial Revolution, becoming the biggest linen-producer in the world, earning it the nickname "Linenopolis". By the time it was granted city status in 1888, it was a major centre of Irish linen production, tobacco-processing and rope-making. Shipbuilding was a key industry. Belfast as of 2019 has a major aerospace and missiles industry. Industrialisation and the inward migration it brought made Belfast Ireland's biggest city and it became the capital of Northern Ireland following the Partition of Ireland in 1922, its status as a global industrial centre ended in the decades after the Second World War of 1939–1945. Belfast suffered in the Troubles: in the 1970s and 1980s it was one of the world's most dangerous cities.
However, a survey conducted by a finance company and published in 2016 rated the city as one of the safest within the United Kingdom. Throughout the 21st century, the city has seen a sustained period of calm, free from the intense political violence of former years, has benefitted from substantial economic and commercial growth. Belfast remains a centre for industry, as well as for the arts, higher education and law, is the economic engine of Northern Ireland. Belfast is still a major port, with commercial and industrial docks, including the Harland and Wolff shipyard, dominating the Belfast Lough shoreline, it is served by two airports: George Best Belfast City Airport and Belfast International Airport 15 miles west of the city. The Globalization and World Cities Research Network listed Belfast as a Gamma global city in 2018; the name Belfast is derived from the Irish Béal Feirsde, spelt Béal Feirste. The word béal means "mouth" or "rivermouth" while feirsde/feirste is the genitive singular of fearsaid and refers to a sandbar or tidal ford across a river's mouth.
The name would thus translate as " mouth of the sandbar" or " mouth of the ford". This sandbar was formed at the confluence of two rivers at what is now Donegall Quay: the Lagan, which flows into Belfast Lough, its tributary the Farset; this area was the hub. The Irish name Béal Feirste is shared by a townland in County Mayo, whose name has been anglicised as Belfarsad. An alternative interpretation of the name is "mouth of of the sandbar", an allusion to the River Farset, which flows into the Lagan where the sandbar was located; this interpretation was favoured by John O'Donovan. It seems clear, that the river itself was named after the tidal crossing. In Ulster-Scots, the name of the city has been variously translated as Bilfawst, Bilfaust or Baelfawst, although "Belfast" is used. Although the county borough of Belfast was created when it was granted city status by Queen Victoria in 1888, the city continues to be viewed as straddling County Antrim and County Down; the site of Belfast has been occupied since the Bronze Age.
The Giant's Ring, a 5,000-year-old henge, is located near the city, the remains of Iron Age hill forts can still be seen in the surrounding hills. Belfast remained a small settlement of little importance during the Middle Ages. John de Courcy built a castle on what is now Castle Street in the city centre in the 12th century, but this was on a lesser scale and not as strategically important as Carrickfergus Castle to the north, built by de Courcy in 1177; the O'Neill clan had a presence in the area. In the 14th century, Cloinne Aodha Buidhe, descendants of Aodh Buidhe O'Neill, built Grey Castle at Castlereagh, now in the east of the city. Conn O'Neill of the Clannaboy O'Neills owned vast lands in the area and was the last inhabitant of Grey Castle, one remaining link being the Conn's Water river flowing through east Belfast. Belfast became a substantial settlement in the 17th century after being established as a town by Sir Arthur Chichester, it was settled by Protestant English and Scottish migrants at the time of the Plantation of Ulster.
In 1791, the Society of United Irishmen was founded in Belfast, after Henry Joy McCracken and other prominent Presbyterians from the city invited Theobald Wolfe Tone and Thomas Russell to a meeting, after having read Tone's "Argument on Behalf of the Catholics of Ireland". Evidence of this period of Belfast's growth can still be seen in the oldest areas of the city, known as the Entries. Belfast blossomed as a commercial and industrial centre in the 18th and 19th centuries and became Ireland's pre-eminent industrial city. Industries thrived, including linen, rope-making, heavy engineering and shipbuilding, at the end of the 19th century, Belfast overtook Dublin as the largest city in Ireland; the Harland and Wolff shipyards became one of the largest shipbuilders in the world, employing up to 35,000 workers. In 1886 the city suffered intense riots over the issue of home rule. In 1920–22, Belfast became the capital of the new entity of Northern Ireland as the island of Ireland was partitioned.
The accompanying conflict cost up to 500 lives in Belfast, the bloodiest sectarian strife in the city until the Troubles of the late 1960s onwards. Belfas
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of 209,331 km2, it is the largest of the British Isles, the largest European island, the ninth-largest island in the world. In 2011, Great Britain had a population of about 61 million people, making it the world's third-most populous island after Java in Indonesia and Honshu in Japan; the island of Ireland is situated to the west of Great Britain, together these islands, along with over 1,000 smaller surrounding islands, form the British Isles archipelago. The island is dominated by a maritime climate with quite narrow temperature differences between seasons. Politically, Great Britain is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, constitutes most of its territory. Most of England and Wales are on the island; the term "Great Britain" is used to include the whole of England and Wales including their component adjoining islands. A single Kingdom of Great Britain resulted from the union of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland by the 1707 Acts of Union.
In 1801, Great Britain united with the neighbouring Kingdom of Ireland, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, renamed the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" after the Irish Free State seceded in 1922. The archipelago has been referred to by a single name for over 2000 years: the term'British Isles' derives from terms used by classical geographers to describe this island group. By 50 BC Greek geographers were using equivalents of Prettanikē as a collective name for the British Isles. However, with the Roman conquest of Britain the Latin term Britannia was used for the island of Great Britain, Roman-occupied Britain south of Caledonia; the earliest known name for Great Britain is Albion or insula Albionum, from either the Latin albus meaning "white" or the "island of the Albiones". The oldest mention of terms related to Great Britain was by Aristotle, or by Pseudo-Aristotle, in his text On the Universe, Vol. III. To quote his works, "There are two large islands in it, called the British Isles and Ierne".
Pliny the Elder in his Natural History records of Great Britain: "Its former name was Albion. Old French Bretaigne and Middle English Bretayne, Breteyne; the French form replaced the Old English Breoton, Bryten, Breten. Britannia was used by the Romans from the 1st century BC for the British Isles taken together, it is derived from the travel writings of the Pytheas around 320 BC, which described various islands in the North Atlantic as far north as Thule. Marcian of Heraclea, in his Periplus maris exteri, described the island group as αἱ Πρεττανικαὶ νῆσοι; the peoples of these islands of Prettanike were called the Priteni or Pretani. Priteni is the source of the Welsh language term Prydain, which has the same source as the Goidelic term Cruithne used to refer to the early Brythonic-speaking inhabitants of Ireland; the latter were called Picts or Caledonians by the Romans. Greek historians Diodorus of Sicily and Strabo preserved variants of Prettanike from the work of Greek explorer Pytheas of Massalia, who travelled from his home in Hellenistic southern Gaul to Britain in the 4th century BC.
The term used by Pytheas may derive from a Celtic word meaning "the painted ones" or "the tattooed folk" in reference to body decorations. The Greco-Egyptian scientist 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 the islands the names Alwion and Mona, suggesting these may have been the 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 Britain, after which Britain became the more commonplace name for the island. After the Anglo-Saxon period, Britain was used as a historical term only. Geoffrey of Monmouth in his pseudohistorical Historia Regum Britanniae refers to the island as Britannia major, to distinguish it from Britannia minor, the continental region which approximates to modern Brittany, settled in the fifth and sixth centuries by migrants from Britain; the term Great Britain was first used in 1474, in the instrument drawing up the proposal for a marriage between Cecily the daughter of Edward IV of England, James the son of James III of Scotland, which described it as "this Nobill Isle, callit Gret Britanee".
It was used again in 1604, when King James VI and I styled himself "King of Great Brittaine and Ireland". Great Britain refers geographically to the island of Great Britain, it is often used to refer politically to the whole of England and Wales, including their smaller off shore islands. While it is sometimes used to refer to the whole of the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, this is not correct. Britain can refer to either all island