England is the largest and most densely populated part of the United Kingdom in North West Europe.
England comprises most of the southern portion of the island of Great Britain, bordered by Scotland to the north and Wales and the Irish Sea to the west. The country borders the North Sea in the east, the English Channel in the south and the Atlantic Ocean in the south-west.
London is the capital of England and the entire United Kingdom. Measured by the number of its inhabitants, it is also the third largest city in Europe (after Moscow and Istanbul). England’s population of over 55 million people comprises almost 85% of the UK’s population.
The country’s geography is characterized by low hills and plains, particularly in central and southern England. However, there are also highlands in the north and southwest.
In many European languages (e.g. German, Dutch, French, etc.) the name England is also used synecdochically for the entire United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The name England derives from the Old English word Engaland, which means land of the Angles. The Angles were a Germanic tribe that settled the country in the early Middle Ages. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first written record of the name as Engla lande was in 1014. The modern spelling England (also Engelland in medieval texts) was first recorded for the year 1658.
An alternative name for England is Albion. It originally referred to the whole island of Great Britain. The term is also used in modern times, especially poetically, for England. The nominally earliest record of this name was probably in the 4th century BC. found in the Corpus Aristotelicum. It says something like: “Beyond the Pillars of Heracles there are two very large islands called Britannia; these are Albion and Ierne”. The word Albion (Ἀλβίων) may derive from the Latin word albus (white), a reference to the white cliffs of Dover (between England and France).