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United Kingdom

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK or U.K.) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north­western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north­eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland. Otherwise, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the southwest, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The total area of the United Kingdom is 94,000 square miles (240,000 km2). The United Kingdom is a unitary parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the world's longest-serving current head of state. The United Kingdom's capital is London , a global city and financial center with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major cities include Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, and Manchester. The United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution. The nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defense and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The UK's current name was adopted in 1927 to reflect the change. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed almost a quarter of the world's landmass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language, culture and political systems of many of its former colonies

Structure

House of Lords
  • Government: Labor Party
  • Opposition Party: Conservative (Torries)
House of Commons
  • Government: Labor Party (402)
  • Official Opposition: Conservative (171)
  • Other Opposition:
    • Liberal Democrats (55)
    • SNP (7)
    • Ulster Unionist Party (6)
    • DUP (5)
    • Sinn Féin (4)
Government
Hierarchy Position Holder
Great Offices Prime Minister
Chancellor of the Exchequer
Foreign Secretary
Home Secretary
Henry Owen
Jamie Hall
Rachel Perry
David Rogers
Ministries

Attorney General's Office
HM Treasury
Home Office
And others

Assets

Geological: coal, petroleum, natural gas, limestone, chalk, gypsum, silica, rock salt, china clay, iron ore, tin, silver, gold, lead.
Agricultural: arable land, wheat, barley, sheep

History

The rise of Irish nationalism, and disputes within Ireland over the terms of Irish Home Rule, led eventually to the partition of the island in 1921. The Irish Free State became independent, initially with Dominion status in 1922, and unambiguously independent in 1931. Northern Ireland remained part of the United Kingdom. The 1928 Act widened suffrage by giving women electoral equality with men. A wave of strikes in the mid-1920s culminated in the General Strike of 1926. Britain had still not recovered from the effects of the war when the Great Depression (1929–1932) occurred. This led to considerable unemployment and hardship in the old industrial areas, as well as political and social unrest in the 1930s, with rising membership in communist and socialist parties. A coalition government was formed in 1931. Britain entered the Second World War by declaring war on Nazi Germany in 1939 after Germany had invaded Poland. Winston Churchill became prime minister and head of a coalition government in 1940. Despite the defeat of its European allies in the first year of the war, Britain and its Empire continued the fight alone against Germany. In 1940, the Royal Air Force defeated the German Luftwaffe in a struggle for control of the skies in the Battle of Britain. Urban areas suffered heavy bombing during the Blitz. There were also eventual hard-fought victories in the Battle of the Atlantic, the North Africa campaign and the Burma campaign. British forces played an important role in the Normandy landings of 1944, achieved with its United States ally.

Demography and Population

Part Population
(mid-2018)
Percentage of
total
population
(%)
Area
(km2)
Percentage of
total
area (%)
Population
Density
England 55,977,178 84.3 130,309 54 430/km²
Scotland 5,438,100 8.2 77,911 32 70/km²
Wales 3,138,631 4.7 20,736 9 151/km²
Northern
Ireland
1,881,641 2.8 13,793 6 136/km²

By Country of Birth
Country 2014
United
Kingdom
54,786,000
Poland 790,000
India 793,000
Pakistan 523,000
Ireland 383,000

Territories

The total area of the United Kingdom is approximately 244,820 square kilometers (94,530 sq mi). The country occupies the major part of the British Isles archipelago and includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern one-sixth of the island of Ireland and some smaller surrounding islands. It lies between the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea with the south-east coast coming within 22 miles (35 km) of the coast of northern France, from which it is separated by the English Channel. In 1993 10 percent of the UK was forested, 46 percent used for pastures and 25 percent cultivated for agriculture. The Royal Greenwich Observatory in London was chosen as the defining point of the Prime Meridian in Washington in 1884, though it no longer is. The United Kingdom lies between latitudes 49° and 61° N, and longitudes 9° W and 2° E. Northern Ireland shares a 224-mile (360 km) land boundary with the Republic of Ireland. The coastline of Great Britain is 11,073 miles (17,820 km) long. It is connected to continental Europe by the Channel Tunnel, which at 31 miles (50 km) (24 miles (38 km) underwater) is the longest underwater tunnel in the world. England accounts for just over half (53 percent) of the total area of the UK, covering 130,395 square kilometers (50,350 sq mi). Most of the country consists of lowland terrain, with mountainous terrain north-west of the Tees-Exe line; including the Cumbrian Mountains of the Lake District, the Pennines, Exmoor, and Dartmoor. The main rivers and estuaries are the Thames, Severn and the Humber. England's highest mountain is Scafell Pike (978 meters (3,209 ft)) in the Lake District.

Religion

Forms of Christianity have dominated religious life in what is now the United Kingdom for over 1400 years. Although a majority of citizens still identify with Christianity in many surveys, regular church attendance has fallen dramatically since the middle of the 20th century, while immigration and demographic change have contributed to the growth of other faiths, most notably Islam. This has led some commentators to variously describe the UK as a multi-faith, secularised, or post-Christian society. In the 2001 census 71.6 per cent of all respondents indicated that they were Christians, with the next largest faiths being Islam (2.8 per cent), Hinduism (1.0 per cent), Sikhism (0.6 per cent), Judaism (0.5 per cent), Buddhism (0.3 per cent) and all other religions (0.3 per cent). 15 per cent of respondents stated that they had no religion, with a further 7 per cent not stating a religious preference. A Tearfund survey in 2007 showed only one in ten Britons actually attend church weekly. Between the 2001 and 2011 census there was a decrease in the number of people who identified as Christian by 12 per cent, whilst the percentage of those reporting no religious affiliation doubled. This contrasted with growth in the other main religious group categories, with the number of Muslims increasing by the most substantial margin to a total of about 5 per cent. The Muslim population has increased from 1.6 million in 2001 to 2.7 million in 2011, making it the second-largest religious group in the United Kingdom.

Foreign Relations

Britain was the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries, most notably during the so-called "Pax Britannica"—a period of totally unrivaled supremacy and unprecedented international peace during the mid-to-late 1800s. The country continued to be widely considered a superpower until the Suez crisis of 1956, and this embarrassing incident coupled with the loss of the empire left the UK's dominant role in global affairs to be gradually diminished. Nevertheless, the United Kingdom remains a great power and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, a founding member of the G7, G8, G20, NATO, OECD, WTO, Council of Europe, OSCE, and the Commonwealth of Nations, which is a legacy of the British Empire. The UK had been a member state of the European Union (and a member of its predecessors) since 1973. However, due to the outcome of a 2016 membership referendum, proceedings to withdraw from the EU began in 2017 and concluded when the UK formally left the EU on 31 January 2020. Since the vote, policymakers have begun pursuing new trade agreements with other global partners.

Dieu et mon droit

Founding Date
6 December 1922
Type
Geopolitical, Kingdom
Capital
Demonym
British,Briton
Government System
Monarchy, Constitutional
Power Structure
Unitary state
Economic System
Market economy
Currency
Pound sterling (GBP)
Legislative Body
Legislature: Parliament
Upper House: House of Lords
Lower House: House of Commons

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