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Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" was adopted.
Although the United Kingdom, as a sovereign state, is a country, England, Scotland, Wales and, to a lesser degree, Northern Ireland are also regarded as countries, though they are not sovereign states.
The UK is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy.
Other major urban areas in the UK include the conurbations centred on Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow and Liverpool.
With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the UK is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world.
It is also the 21st-most populous country, with an estimated 65.5 million inhabitants in 2016.
The UK is also a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Interpol and the World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as being a member of the UN Security Council.
The 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain", though the new state is also described in the Acts as the "Kingdom of Great Britain", "United Kingdom of Great Britain" and "One Kingdom".
Lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland, the UK includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands.The Roman conquest, beginning in 43 AD, and the 400-year rule of southern Britain, was followed by an invasion by Germanic Anglo-Saxon settlers, reducing the Brittonic area mainly to what was to become Wales, Cornwall and, until the latter stages of the Anglo-Saxon settlement, the Hen Ogledd (northern England and parts of southern Scotland).In 1066, the Normans and their Breton allies invaded England from northern France and after its conquest, seized large parts of Wales, conquered much of Ireland and were invited to settle in Scotland, bringing to each country feudalism on the Northern French model and Norman-French culture.The term "United Kingdom" is found in use as a description, but not a name, during the 18th century, and the country has occasionally been referred to in later centuries as the "United Kingdom of Great Britain" although its full official name, from 1707 to 1800, was simply "Great Britain", without a "long form".The Acts of Union 1800 united the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
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The adjective "British" is commonly used to refer to matters relating to the United Kingdom.