Why Britain called 'Great'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 April, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 April, 1994, 12:00am

JONATHAN Wall (South China Morning Post, April 21) is on the right track when he states that the ''Great'' in Great Britain refers to physical size rather than a value judgment, but his explanation is not entirely accurate.

The original name of the island of Great Britain was, in its Latin form, Britannia. Subsequently a number of its inhabitants crossed the English Channel and settled in what is now the French province of Brittany, which they named after their original homeland. It then became necessary to distinguish between the two and so the ''Great'' was added to Great Britain to differentiate it from its smaller offshoot. The distinction is clear in present-day French, where Brittany is Bretagne and Great Britain Grande-Bretagne.



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Why Britain called 'Great'

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