Is England a state or a country?

Poster: STANCOBRIDGE | Date: 4:31pm, 1st Mar 2018. | Views: 85 | 1 Replies
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STANCOBRIDGE. Jalingo, Taraba
4:31pm, 1st Mar 2018.

Mark Jeffrey

British citizen, lived 38 years there in total. Now in Switzerland.

England is most definitely a country, one of four in the UK. Each of the four countries has its own very strong identity, historic ethnicity (now long since blended to irrelevance), language, traditions, history, folklore, flag, and (more or less) government.

Three of them have their own unique legal systems (England and Wales share theirs). Not just different laws, whole systems of law.

That makes the different countries far more distinct than any “states” within a Federation, or the Swiss “cantons” could ever be.

Remember, they were all independent countries at one time, often going to war with one another. They were eventually united, but none of them were annexed by one of the others. Annexation is the only way for one country (or part of one) to become part of another. It didn’t happen in the UK. If Scotland had been annexed by England it would all be called England. But it isn’t.

The UK was unified under a single crown, then separately and some years later under a single Parliament. But that union did not abolish the individual countries, in fact it solidified their specific identities.

Devolution has since returned a greater or lesser degree of autonomy to each country to manage their own affairs. Effectively, Parliament has delegated much of it’s authority back to the member countries.

The United Kingdom is the “state” with respect to all external relationships. There are various other ways the Union is sometimes described, and as a country is one of them though it doesn’t really stand up to close scrutiny. For example, the European Union, the United Nations, and most other bodies refer to their members as Member States. Even the USA does this; that’s why you have a (Federal) State Department concerned with external relations; the name has nothing to do with the individual states of the USA.

Yes, I know the UK is the inverse of America, where they have multiple states within a single country, but we long ago gave up trying to get the Americans to do anything correctly.

Any attempt to describe the UK as if it were some kind of Federation or Confederation structure is doomed to failure. Just because you have a model you understand doesn’t mean it can always be applied everywhere. The UK has an unusual history of how it came to be, and the terminology we use reflects that.

Laurence Boore

The following might help you make sense of this England/GB/UK/British Isles mess (and yes, it is a mess).

Confused? You won’t be after this episode of “Countries”.

England, Scotland and Wales are all countries, as was the island of Ireland when the UK ruled all of it. Yes the three share a monarch and all follow the direction of the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, except in those areas where they have been given autonomy, but they are different countries.

A couple of points.

"Ireland (state)" is also known as "The Republic of Ireland" and "Eire", whilst "Ireland (North)" is also called "Ulster".

Jersey and Guernsey (along with Alderney, Sark, Herm, Jethou, and Brecqhou) are "The Channel Islands" (which are physically closer to France than England, and were the only bits of the UK that came under Nazi control) and along with the Isle of Man are Crown Dependencies.

Confused? You won’t be after the next episode of “Countries”.

Jd Morgan

works at Retirement

England is neither.

The UK is both a state and a country.

Politically it is a State

geographically it is a country.

England is a region within the UK, alongside Wales and Scotland.

Samuel Raynes

lives in Manchester, UK

England is a country within a sovereign state, though it lacks its own devolved administration.

Kelvin Hard

former Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (1985-2002)

A country. The state (as recognised by the UN and in internationally) is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Alan Mark Foster


The dominant part of the country known as the UK


lives in England

It's a country, you twit!

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