The United Kingdom has always benefited from being a mix of different cultures, but in recent years, it has become even more of a multicultural society. People from all over the world have moved to the UK to set up home, meaning that the culture here is always evolving and changing.
History of the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom did not exist until the Act of Union in 1707, which united England and Scotland. A subsequent act in 1800 meant that Ireland also became part of the UK. This changed in 1922 when the creation of the Irish Free State meant that only Northern Ireland remained part of the union.
It is common for travellers to become confused by the terms used to refer to these areas but the easiest way to break it down would be to say:
- Great Britain refers to England, Scotland, and Wales.
- The United Kingdom refers to England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
- The British Isles refers to Great Britain and the island of Ireland (although many Irish people prefer to use the name ‘the Isles’).
Language of the United Kingdom
The official language of the United Kingdom is English, but it is certainly not the only language. Even in England, other languages that have been spoken by the local people – a good example of this is Cornish, which is a type of Gaelic. The official language of Wales is Welsh, and in many parts of Scotland Scot’s Gaelic is spoken. Most surprising of all is that Polish is now the third most spoken language in the UK. There are also significant differences between the regional accents, and it is usually possible to tell where somebody comes from just by listening to them speak.