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Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to its east, the English Channel to its south and the Celtic Sea to its south-south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world.
The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland.
The term "United Kingdom" is found in informal use during the 18th century and the country was also occasionally referred to as the "United Kingdom of Great Britain" though its full official name, from 1707 to 1800, was merely "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.
Wales was annexed by the Kingdom of England under the Laws in Wales Acts 15.
In 1066, the Normans and their Breton allies invaded England from northern France and after its conquest, seized large parts of Wales, conquered much of Ireland and were invited to settle in Scotland, bringing to each country feudalism on the Northern French model and Norman-French culture.
Subsequent medieval English kings completed the conquest of Wales and made an unsuccessful attempt to annex Scotland.
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" 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 "Great Britain", by contrast, refers conventionally to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England, Scotland and Wales in combination.
GB and GBR are the standard country codes for the United Kingdom (see ISO 3166-2 and ISO 3166-1 alpha-3) and are consequently used by international organisations to refer to the United Kingdom.