It is located in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe and is known as Great Britain. It is the biggest of the British Isles, the largest European island, and the ninth-largest island in the globe, with an area of 209,331 km2 (80,823 sq mi). On the whole, the island has a marine climate, with very little temperature variations between seasons. The island of Ireland, which is 60 percent smaller than the larger island of Great Britain, lies to the west, and the two islands, together with over 1,000 smaller surrounding islands and numerous significant rocks, make up the British Isles archipelago.
Great Britain has been inhabited by modern humans for about 30,000 years, and it was connected to continental Europe until 8,000 years ago. After Jakarta in Indonesia and Honshu in Japan, the island has a population of about 61 million people in 2011, making it the world's third-most-populous island after both countries.
The phrase "Great Britain" is often used to refer to the countries of England, Scotland, and Wales, as well as the islands that form part of each of these countries. The United Kingdom is made up of the former British colonies of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. During the 1707 Acts of Union, the kingdoms of England (which at the time included Wales) and Scotland joined together to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain.