Great Britain is an island that consists of three independent regions: England, Scotland and Wales. Great Britain is part of the country of the United Kingdom, along with Northern Ireland. The southern portion of Ireland is an independent country.
Big Ben was built as part of a design decision in 1844 that the new Houses of Parliament should include a tower and a clock. The rebuilding of the Houses of Parliament was necessary after a fire in 1834 destroyed the old Palace of Westminster.