How is the UK a country if it is a collection of other countries?

24 views

Google gave me a few different answers when I googled “is the UK a country”. It said that the UK is:
1. A country
2. An island country
3. A unique country
4. A sovereign state

When I googled if England was a country, most answers said yes, but some said no because it fails to meet all the criteria of an independent country. One source said, “*Although England operates as a semi-autonomous region, it is not officially an independent country and instead is part of the **country** known as the United Kingdom*”

If England isn’t a country, then what is it?

If the UK isn’t a country, then what is it?

If they are both countries, how is it possible to have a country of countries?

In: 0

UK is a country. England is part of that country, like California or Texas are part of the US. England is larger than other parts of UK (Scotland, Wales and N.Ireland), but that does not change its legal status.

Calling England “country” is informal, it is like calling Texas a “cowboy country”.

Historically, England was the original kingdom, which then conquered Scotland and Wales and Ireland. Those territories were given some limited autonomy and special status to keep them from revolting, and they kept their identity since then.

The same way America is a federation of states.

>The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country in Europe, off the north-­western coast of the continental mainland.

>The United Kingdom has evolved from a series of annexations, unions and separations of constituent countries over several hundred years. The Treaty of Union between the Kingdom of England (which included Wales, annexed in 1542) and the Kingdom of Scotland in 1707 formed the Kingdom of Great Britain. Its union in 1801 with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Most of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which formally adopted that name in 1927.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom

Country according to whom? According to the UN, the UK is a country and England is a province in the UK. According to UK politicians, England is historically a separate country which has been “united” in the UK with recognition of its historical status.

England has less autonomy and sovereignty than an American state, and nobody thinks of Nebraska as a country.

Regardless of confusing nomenclature (people do like to refer to England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland as “countries”), they’re not sovereign countries in the way the term is typically used.

The definition of a country is : ”a nation with its own government, occupying a particular territory.” By that definition, a country doesn’t need to be independent. And so when you googled : yes England is a country, but it’s not a independent country. Both statement are true.

England is a country, the UK is an independent country.

Why would it be a problem to have a country of countries?

I think people expect that terms like “country” and “nation” will be neatly defined. They aren’t. We have broad criteria for things we generally consider to be countries but those don’t encapsulate every situation given the variety across the globe and through time of what constitutes these things.

England is a country in the sense it has a nation which occupies a particular territory and a government that enforces laws within its borders. That’s not the neatest definition, but the more tightly you attempt to find it the more you’ll find places we’d consider countries but don’t quite fit the bill.

Say a country breaks out into civil war and there’s no clear ruling government. Is it not a country during that period? Is it two countries? Certainly, countries that have had civil wars have ended up as two countries.

Or let’s say a country is invaded and controlled by a foreign government. Is it a country possessed by another one, or is it now part of the ruling country?

There aren’t clear answers to these questions. There’s general concepts of what we think a “country” is and we broadly apply.

UK is a sovereign, independent country and subject of international laws. Constituent countries of a unitary UK have less autonomy than federal states in a federation like Germany, the US or Canada. While the UK chose to devolve some responsibilities to The Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly etc; it does so at the will of Westminster, and can withdraw them just like it did in NI.

When people say “country” they’re referring to a sovereign state. “Sovereign” means possessing ultimate power, such that the government of that state answers to no higher authority.

For example, if the U.K. passes a law that says you can’t restrict abortion access, Scotland couldn’t pass a law restricting abortion access because the U.K. parliament is the ultimate authority. Therefore, Scotland is not a sovereign state and is not considered a country.

While not perfectly analogous, it’s similar to states in the U.S. Yes, the states have control over certain aspects of how state governments are run (e.g., criminal laws, police, state taxation, etc.), but the U.S. federal government has ultimate authority (constrained only in certain circumstances by the Constitution). That’s why California is a “state” and not a “country,” despite the fact that it has a larger population and economy than most countries.

A counter example is the European Union. While the European Union has certain rules that member countries must abide by if they want to remain in the EU, those member countries are still sovereign states because at any time they can choose to simply leave the EU if they don’t like the EU rules (*e.g.*, Brexit). A U.S. state, or Scotland, England, Wales, etc., can’t just *choose* to leave the U.S. or U.K. For example, if Texas had a state referendum and voted to secede from the U.S., the federal government would basically say “that’s cute, you’re still a U.S. state and if you don’t abide by our rules we will send the army in and force you to.” That’s basically what happened with the Confederacy in the U.S. Civil War–the confederates said “we’re seceding” and the union (*i.e.,* the U.S. government) said “no you’re not.”

Okay, the U.K. is a country that rules over the Kingdoms of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland with some crown colonies. England is not a country as Wales is not a country. The United States is a government ruling over state governments which rule over county governments. Michigan isn’t a country in another country, it’s a part of a country.