Saint George's flag
(formerly the Kingdom of England
up to its merger with Scotland in 1707
, which created the Kingdom of Great Britain
) is the largest and most densely populated of the nations that make up the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
. It is often incorrectly used as a synomym for Great Britain
or the United Kingdom by some, which offends the Scottish
, and Northern Irish
. The name "England" derived from "Engla-lond," or "land of the Angles," referring to the Angles
who settled on the island in the 5th century
The English flag, known as the Cross of St George is a red cross on a white background. See: Flag of the United Kingdom.
England comprises most of the southern half of the island of Great Britain, bordered to the north by Scotland and to the west by Wales. According to the 2001 census the population of England was 49,138,831.
The UK government resides in England's capital city, London. The British royal family also maintains their primary residence in London, at Buckingham Palace.
Blighty is an affectionate, if rarely heard, term for England, having fallen from use in recent years. It was a slang term used by English soldiers in India, derived from a Hindustani phrase, bila yati, meaning "foreign" (especially European).
England is also sometimes referred to by its inhabitants as "this Green and Pleasant Land", after William Blake's poem Jerusalem.
The name "Albion," in reference to the white cliffs (Latin alba means "white"), was used by Pliny the Elder, Ptolemy, and other writers of the first century AD. The Marquis de XimenÚs, an 18th century diplomat, is credited with coining the phrase La perfide Albion, or "perfidious Albion", which is still heard from the French -- also an affectionate term, in its own way. It is also used by the Irish about the English but in a less affectionate manner, suggesting a degree of untrustworthyness.
See also: List of monarchs of England, List of English people