Historical e-atlas United Kingdom

The United Kingdom in 49 historical maps: 150AD-2018 (144 pages).

The UK is a self-descriptive short-form name for “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”. * The name Great Britain or Larger Britain, from Mediaeval Latin Britannia Maior, was first recorded by Geoffrey of Monmouth, who used it to distinguish the island from Britannia Minor (Little Britain) or Brittany in modern France. In classical times, Ptolemy also called the island Megale Brettania, in contrast to the smaller island of Ireland, which he called Mikra Brettania (Little Britain). The name Britain (or Latin name Britannia) most likely originates - via French or Welsh (Prydain) - from pretani, meaning the “painted ones”. It refers to the use of body-paint and tattoos by early inhabitants of the islands. It may also be derived from the Celtic goddess Brigid. The British Isles were already described by Ptolemy in his Geographia (150AD). The accompanying maps were worked out again by European cartographers at the end of the 15th century. The first (printed) separate maps appeared in the 16th century.

*Before the independence of Ireland in 1916, the UK comprised present-day England (plus Wales), Scotland, Northern-Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The term British Isles is still used to identify these 5 entities.



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Created: Feb 11, 2019

Updated: Jan 7, 2020

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