England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south.
The country covers much of the central and southern part of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic; and includes over 100 smaller islands such as the Isles of Scilly, and the Isle of Wight.
It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west.
The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest.
The Kingdom of England—which after 1535 included Wales—ceased being a separate sovereign state on , when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain.
The English language, the Anglican Church, and English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, and the country's parliamentary system of government has been widely adopted by other nations.
England's terrain mostly comprises low hills and plains, especially in central and southern England.
The earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late ninth century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People.
However, there are uplands in the north (for example, the mountainous Lake District, and the Pennines) and in the south west (for example, Dartmoor and the Cotswolds).
The capital is London, which is the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union.