A wide variety of other Irish people spent periods in Britain, which had a more highly developed economy than Ireland.

From 1841 onward, the censuses of Scotland, England, and Wales have enumerated Irish-born people in every part of the country.

Support for soccer and rugby teams became significant during the twentieth century, and teams now command fierce local loyalties as sport has come to symbolize male pride and self-image in a society where mining and manufacturing have declined.

Forms of personal commitment that transcend locality include vegetarianism and environmentalism: the first is predominantly middle class and female, and the second is identified less with gender and socioeconomic status.

Except for some areas of barren upland and bog, most of the land is suitable for agriculture and has been grazed or cultivated since the Bronze Age.

The natural vegetation is mixed oak woodland, but most of the terrain has been cleared for agriculture or for shipbuilding and charcoal for smelting.

A separatist movement led to the dissolution of the Union of Great Britain and Ireland in 1920; twenty-six of Ireland's thirty-two counties became the independent Irish Free State (later the Republic of Ireland), with six of the nine counties of Ulster remaining within the United Kingdom.

The present-day nation also includes the Channel Islands off the coast of France and the Isle of Man between Britain and Ireland, which are substantially self-governing.

Any citizen of Great Britain may be referred to as a Briton. The land area of Great Britain is 89,000 square miles (230,500 square kilometers), with an additional 5,400 square miles (13,986 square kilometers) in Northern Ireland, giving it one of the highest population densities in the Western world.

Although the country lies mostly at the latitude of Labrador in the western Atlantic, the climate is tempered by the Gulf Stream and does not have extremes of summer heat or winter cold.

The earliest evidence of human settlement is at Boxgrove, Sussex, and the island may have been continuously occupied for 500,000 years. The population is approximately 55 million: 46 million in England, 5 million in Scotland, 2.5 million in Wales, and 1.5 million in Northern Ireland.