United Kingdom and Dependencies


The Block

A team of skilled needleworkers, including Lady Veronica Goodenough, Annie Williams, Helene Kelly, Christine Pearson, Christine Welsh, Rose Sisty, Hazel Campbell, Sue Leeson, Esther Bryan, and Rachel Bryan, combined their talents to make this block. It features a meticulously detailed floral tribute to the United Kingdom and Dependencies embroidered on fine English wool. The four points display the rose for England, the thistle for Scotland, the shamrock for Northern Ireland and the daffodil for Wales. Ragwort, for the Isle of Man and a Guernsey lily for the Channel Islands are stitched at the base of a finely wrought crown, which is worked in gold thread at the block’s centre.

The wreath surrounding the crown is comprised of an array of flowers, each officially representing a specific Dependency. Beginning at the bottom right and moving anti-clockwise is: the pale maiden (Falkland Islands), the Turk’s head cactus (the Turks and Caicos Islands), the white cedar (Aguilla and also the British Virgin Islands), helleconia (Montserrat), the high white (Pitcairn Island), the oleander (Bermuda), the snowflake (the British Antarctic Territory), the campion (Gibraltar), the wild banana orchid (the Cayman Islands), the Ascension lily (Ascension Island), the flower of the rose tree (the British Indian Ocean Territory), the diddle-dee-berry (Tristan da Cunha) and the arum lily (St. Helena).

Tristan Da Cuhna
Jamestown, St Helena
Ash and Steam Plume, Soufriere Hills Volcano, Montserrat
Montserrat and its volcano
Gombey dancers from Bermuda2001
Gombey dancers of Bermuda
Goose Green, Falkland Islands wide
The Falklands
Turks & Caicos (12122034006)
Turks and Caicos
Halley VI poised for a busy construction season.
Aurora over British Antarctic Territory
Gibraltar 10000m

Cultural Profile

The United Kingdom (UK) is situated just off the north-western coast of mainland Europe and surrounded by the North Sea, the English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean. It is comprised of Great Britain (the largest island in Europe and the collective name for England, Scotland and Wales) and Northern Ireland. The Crown Dependencies of the Channel Islands, Jersey and Guernsey, and the Isle of Man, though not part of the United Kingdom itself, are also under the sovereignty of the United Kingdom as are the following Overseas Territories: Anguilla, Ascension Island, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn Island, Saint Helena, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Tristan da Cunha, Turks and Caicos Islands.

These territories are remnants of the British Empire, which, at its peak in 1920, covered one quarter of the Earth’s landmass. They range from the extremely remote Tristan Da Cunha known as the most isolated inhabited place on earth to Gibraltar which has one of the highest population densities in the world. Some were at the center of geopolitics at one time: Napoleon Bonaparte died on St. Helena in 1821 and Gibraltar played a central role during the Second World War.  Others have garnered fame in less tangible ways: the Pitcairn Islands is known for being the HMS Bounty mutineers’ last refuge while Bermuda lies in a treacherous region of the Atlantic known as The Bermuda Triangle, or Devil’s Triangle, noted for the mysterious disappearance of ships and aircraft there.

The United Kingdom and its Dependencies possess an overall culture as diverse as its inhabitants. The language spoken is mainly English although each area has its own dialects and some have native tongues. Each region has its own individual customs and crafts throughout the world, which has resulted in the creation of a truly global Commonwealth.

People have been coming to Canada from the United Kingdom and many of its Dependencies for hundreds of years, although early arrivals were listed under the blanket heading of ‘British’ or ‘Oceania and Other Islands.’ They have made significant contributions to the Canadian fabric in a multitude of areas.

Sponsor: High Commission of Great Britain and Northern Ireland | Photos courtesy Wikimedia Commons