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British influence can be observed in the language, culture and legal systems of many of its former colonies.
The UK is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity.
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.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed almost a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history.
The nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation.
The creation of the UK resulted from the medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
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".
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 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.