is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west and the North Sea to the east, with the English Channel to the south separating it from continental Europe. The mainland of England consists of the central and southern part of the island of Great Britain in the North Atlantic, but England also includes over 100 smaller islands such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.
The area now called England has been settled by people of various cultures for about 35,000 years, but it takes its name from the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in AD 927, and since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world.The English language, the Anglican Church, and English law—the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world—developed in England, and the country's parliamentary system of government has been widely adopted by other nations. The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming the country into the world's first industrialised nation, and its Royal Society laid the foundations of modern experimental science.
Most of England is lowland, but there are upland regions in the north (for example, the Lake District, Pennines, and Yorkshire Moors) and in the south and south west (for example, Dartmoor, the Cotswolds, and the North and South Downs). London, England's capital, is the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. England's population is about 51 million, around 84% of the population of the United Kingdom, and is largely concentrated in London, the South East and conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East and Yorkshire, which developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century.
The Kingdom of England—which included Wales—was a sovereign state until 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the new Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1800, Great Britain was united with Ireland through another Act of Union to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1922 the Irish Free State was established as a separate dominion, but the Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act in 1927 reincorporated into the kingdom six Irish counties to officially create the current United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The name "England" is derived from the Old English word Englaland, which means "land of the Angles". The Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in England during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Angeln peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first known use of "England" to refer to the southern part of the island of Great Britain occurs in 897, and its modern spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested mention of the name occurs in the 1st century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used. The etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars; it has been suggested that it derives from the shape of the Angeln peninsula, an angular shape.
The name Albion originally referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus, specifically the 4th century De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth. In it are two very large islands called Britannia; these are Albion and Ierne". The word Albion (Ἀλβίων) or insula Albionum has two possible origins. It either derives from the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover, which is the first view of Britain from the European Continent. An alternative origin is suggested by the ancient merchant's handbook Massaliote Periplus which mentions an "island of the Albiones". Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh Lloegr, which is derived from Arthurian legend.