Is England a country, then? Of course it is. So are the other three. I'm still a little hazy about your dependencies or protectorates or whatever you call them. The islands. Anyway, I speak of this subject today because it is somewhat confusing to Americans. First of all, Americans know that your country is called The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland., or U.K. for short. Some of them do, anyway.
So.... if the name of your country is the United Kingdom, then how does England (and the others) get to be a country too? The answer, I think, lies in a history of distinct identities and cultures, the things that make up the definition of a country. Somewhere in my reading I have seen them called "home countries," but that doesn't really enlighten me. I am willing to accept that they all have their own unique identities which make them countries in their own right, not to mention they all were, at one time, in fact, separate countries. That makes the U.K. a Union of countries. E pluribus unum. Pluribus being four in this case.
I'm not trying to draw comparisons to the U.S. and the several states. I know better than to do that. Your countries have preserved their unique identities much more than the states have. So I would no more do that than I would compare cricket to... well, you know.
What I really wanted to talk about, though, and will do so in the next post on this blog, are the distinct regions of England. There are eight commonly-recognized regions in England, and I want to find out more about them and report back next time. These regions are not political entities, but rather areas which cling to their own customs and cultures (and sometimes languages.) They are mostly identified by the points of the compass, though different sources sometimes give the regions different names. More on this interesting subject next time.