Donald Trump on Thursday night demonstrated that he fails to understand basic geography, confusing England, the United Kingdom, and Great Britain before an audience at a campaign rally.
As Huffington Post reports, Trump was at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on Thursday night when he made the confusing gaffe.
“I have great respect for the U.K. United Kingdom. Great respect. People call it Britain. They call it Great Britain. They used to call it England, different parts.”
As usually happens with these sorts of things, Twitter was quick to correct him. Some users were kinder than others.
To be fair to the president, the situation is rather complicated and involves politics, history, geography, geology, and language, and there’s a lot going on to sort out. The Inquisitr is here to help you make sense of it all.
Islands In The North Sea
In the North Sea, north of mainland Europe, are two large islands and hundreds of smaller ones. The two biggest islands are Great Britain, the larger one to the east, and Ireland, the smaller one to the west. Collectively, these islands are referred to as “The British Isles.”
Keep in mind that here, “Great Britain” refers to an island – not a country. There is no country called “Great Britain.” “Ireland,” however, refers to an island and the country that sits upon it, in much the same way that “Greenland” refers to both the arctic island and the country that sits upon it.
Countries On Those Islands
On the island of Ireland sits one country, the Republic of Ireland, and part of another. The southern and western three-quarters of the island of Ireland belong to the Republic of Ireland, an independent country with no connection to any other country. The northeastern quarter of the island of Ireland belongs to Northern Ireland, which is at once a country and a part of another country (more on that in two paragraphs).
Over on Great Britain are three countries: England, Scotland, and Wales. On the map below, England is in red, Scotland is in blue, Wales is in green, and Northern Ireland – on that other island – is in yellow.
England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are all their own countries and are simultaneously part of another country: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Or, colloquially, the United Kingdom or just the U.K.
Wait, They’re Their Own Countries But Part Of Another Country?
Yes. It’s complicated, and to fully explain it would take paragraph upon paragraph of exposition that would take into account history, religion, and a whole host of other issues. Just take my word for it.
Colloquialisms Make Everything Even More Complicated
The problem is, language (especially English) is imprecise and depends a lot on context. Someone from the United Kingdom might say which country, specifically, they’re from (“I’m from Scotland!”), or they may say they’re from the U.K. Or, they may say they’re from “Britain” or “Great Britain,” even though politically those terms are meaningless. It’s like saying you’re from America even though, politically, there isn’t such a place (there is, however, the United States of America, or the U.S., or the U.S.A., or “the States,” or whatever – you get it).
So the bottom line is that understanding the geography and politics of that region is indeed a rather complicated affair. Whether or not a President of the United States should have a full grasp of it, however, we will leave to the reader.