Great Britain, also known as Britain, is an island in the North Atlantic off the north-west coast of continental Europe. The island has an area of 229,848 km2, and is the largest island of the British Isles, the largest island in Europe and the ninth-largest in the world. It is surrounded by over 1,000 smaller islands. The island of Ireland lies to its west.
The island was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, constituting most of its territory: most of England, Scotland, and Wales are on the island, with their respective capital cities, London, Edinburgh, and Cardiff. Politically, Great Britain commonly refers to the island together with a number of surrounding islands, which constitute the territory of England, Scotland, and Wales.
The Kingdom of Great Britain resulted from the Union of Scotland and England (which already comprised the present-day England and Wales) in 1707. More than a hundred years before, in 1603, King James VI, King of Scots, had inherited the throne of England, but it was not until 1707 that the Parliaments of the two countries agreed to form a single kingdom.