The Unitit Kinrick o Great Breetain an Northren Ireland (Inglis: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), commonly kent as the Unitit Kinrick (Inglis: United Kingdom; UK) or Breetain (Inglis: Britain), is a sovereign kintra in waster Europe. Lyin aff the north-wastren coast o the European mainland, the UK includes the iland o Great Breetain, the north-eastren pairt o the island o Ireland an mony smawer islands. Northren Ireland is the anly pairt o the Unitit Kinrick that shares a laund mairch wi anither sovereign state—the Republic o Ireland.[note 5] Apairt frae this laund mairch, the UK is surroondit bi the Atlantic Ocean, wi the North Sea tae its east, the Inglis Channel tae its sooth an the Celtic Sea tae its sooth-sooth-wast, giein it the 12t-langest coastline in the warld. The Erse Sea lies atween Great Breetain an Ireland. Wi an aurie o 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the UK is the 78t-lairgest sovereign state in the warld an the 11t-lairgest in Europe. It is an aa the 21st-maist populous kintra, wi an estimatit 65.5 million indwallers. Thegither, this maks it the fowert-maist densely populatit kintra in the European Union (EU).[note 6]
and largest city
an national leid
|Ethnic groups (2011)|
|Govrenment||Unitary pairlamentary constitutional monarchy|
|Hoose o Lords|
|Hoose o Commons|
|1 May 1707|
|1 January 1801|
|5 December 1922|
|1 January 1973|
|243,610 km2 (94,060 sq mi) (80t)|
• Water (%)
• 2014 estimate
• 2011 census
|255.6/km2 (662.0/sq mi) (51st)|
|GDP (PPP)||2014 estimate|
|$2.549 trillion (10t)|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2014 estimate|
|$2.945 trillion (5t)|
• Per capita
medium · 33rd
verra heich · 14t
|Currency||Poond sterling (£) (GBP)|
|Time zone||UTC (GMT)|
• Summer (DST)
|Date format||dd/mm/yyyy (AD)|
|ISO 3166 code||GB|
The UK is a constitutional monarchy wi a pairliamentar democracy. The monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, that haes ringed syne 6 Februar 1952, makkin her the langest-servin current heid o state. The UK's caipital an lairgest ceety is Lunnon, a global ceety an financial centre wi an urban aurie population o 10.3 million, the fowert-lairgest in Europe an seicont-lairgest in the European Union. Ither major urban auries in the UK include the conurbations centred on Birmingham, Leeds, Glesga, Liverpuil an Manchester. The UK consists o fower kintras—Ingland, Scotland, Wales an Northren Ireland. Aw but Ingland hae devolved admeenistrations, ilk wi varyin pouers, based in thair caipitals Edinburgh, Cairdiff an Belfast, respectively. The nearbi Isle o Man, Bailiwick o Guernsey an Bailiwick o Jersey are nae pairt o the UK, bein Croun dependencies wit the Breetish Govrenment responsible for defence an internaitional representation.
Prior tae the creaution o the UK, Wales haed been conquered an annexed bi the Kinrick o Ingland. This meant that the unitit kinrick creautit in 1707 bi the Treaty o Union atween Ingland an Scotland encompassed aw o Great Breetain. The Kinrick o Ireland merged wi this state in 1801 tae form the Unitit Kinrick o Great Breetain an Ireland. Five-saxts o Ireland secedit frae the UK in 1922, leavin the present formulation o the Unitit Kinrick o Great Breetain and Northren Ireland.[note 7] Thare are fowerteen Breetish Owerseas Territories, the remnants o the Breetish Empire that, at its hicht in the 1920s, encompassed awmaist a quarter o the warld's land mass an wis the lairgest empire in history. Breetish influence can be observed in the leid, cultur an legal seestems o mony o its umwhile colonies.
The UK is a developit kintra an haes the warld's saxt-lairgest economy bi nominal GDP  an ninth-lairgest economy bi purchasin pouer parity. It haes a heich-income economy an haes a "verra heich" Human Development Index, rankin 16t in the warld. It wis the first industrialised kintra an the warld's foremaist pouer in the 19t an early 20t centuries. The UK remeens a great pouer wi conseederable economic, cultural, militar, scienteefic an poleetical influence internaitionally. It is a recognised nuclear wappens state an is seivent in militar expenditur in the warld. It haes been a permanent member o the Unitit Naitions Security Cooncil syne its first session in 1946. It haes been a leadin member state o the EU an its predecessor, the European Economic Commonty (EEC), syne 1973; houiver, on 23 Juin 2016, a non-bindin referendum on the UK's membership o the EU resultit wi 51.9% o UK voters favourin a leave, an the kintra's prospective exit frae the EU is bein negotiatit. The UK is an aa a member o the Commonweel o Naitions, the Cooncil o Europe, the G7 finance meenisters, the G7 forum, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation an Development (OECD), an the Warld Trade Organisation (WTO).
Table o contents
Historie o tha Unitit KinrickEedit
Settlement bi anatomically modren humans o whit wis tae acome the Unitit Kinrick occurred in waves beginnin bi aboot 30,000 years agae. Bi the end o the region's prehistoric period, the population is thocht tae hae belanged, in the main, tae a cultur termed Insular Celtic, comprisin Brythonic Breetain an Gaelic Ireland. The Roman conquest, beginnin in 43 AD, an the 400-year rule o soothren Breetain, wis follaed bi an invasion bi Germanic Anglo-Saxon settlers, reducin the Brythonic area mainly tae whit wis tae acome Wales, Cornwall an the historic Kinrick o Strathclyde. Maist o the region settled bi the Anglo-Saxons becam unifee'd as the Kinrick o Ingland in the 10t century. Meanwhile, Gaelic-speakers in north-wast Britain (wi connections tae the north-east o Ireland an tradeetionally supposed tae hae migratit frae thare in the 5t century) unitit wi the Picts tae creaut the Kinrick o Scotland in the 9t century.
The early modren period saw releegious conflict resultin frae the Reformation an the introduction o Protestant state kirks in ilk kintra. Wales wis fully incorporatit intae the Kinrick o Ingland, an Ireland wis constitutit as a kinrick in personal union wi the Inglis croun.
In 1603, Elizabeth I o Ingland deed an Jamie the Saxt o Scotland becam James the First o Ingland an aa. Tha Acts o Union 1707 makkit tha Kinrick o Great Breetain an tha Scots Pairlament wis unitit wi tha Inglis pairlament in Lunnon.
In the mid-17t century, aw three kinricks war involved in a series o connectit wars (includin the Inglis Ceevil War) that led tae the temporar owerthraw o the monarchy an the establishment o the short-leeved unitar republic o the Commonweel o Ingland, Scotland an Ireland. Awtho the monarchy wis restored, the Interregnum ensured (alang wi the Glorious Revolution o 1688 an the subsequent Bill of Rights 1689, an the Claim of Right Act 1689) that, unlik muckle o the rest o Europe, ryal absolutism wad nae prevail, an a professed Catholic coud niver accede tae the thrane. The Breetish constitution wad develop on the basis o constitutional monarchy an the pairlamentar seestem.
Treaty o UnionEedit
Tho previous attempts at unitin the twa kinricks within Great Breetain in 1606, 1667, an 1689 haed pruived unsuccessfu, the attempt initiatit in 1705 led tae the Treaty o Union o 1706 bein agreed an ratified bi baith pairlaments.
On 1 Mey 1707, the unitit Kinrick o Great Breetain came intae bein, the result o Acts o Union bein passed bi the pairlaments o Ingland an Scotland tae ratify the 1706 Treaty o Union an sae unite the twa kinricks.
In the 18t century, cabinet govrenment developed unner Robert Walpole, in practice the first prime meenister (1721–1742). A series o Jacobite Uprisins socht tae remuive the Protestant Hoose o Hanover frae the Breetish thrane an restore the Catholic Hoose o Stuart. The Jacobites war feenally defeatit at the Battle o Culloden in 1746, efter that the Scots Hielanders war brutally suppressed. The Breetish colonies in North Americae that brak awey frae Britain in the American War o Unthirldom becam the Unitit States o Americae, recognised bi Britain in 1783. Breetish imperial ambition turned taewart Asie, pairteecularly tae Indie.
Efter the defeat o Fraunce at the end o the Revolutionary an Napoleonic Wars (1792–1815), Great Breetain emerged as the principal naval an imperial pouer o the 19t century (wi Lunnon the lairgest ceety in the warld frae aboot 1830). Unchallenged at sea, Breetish dominance wis later descrived as Pax Britannica ("Breetish Peace"), a period o relative peace amang the Great Pouers (1815–1914) in that the Breetish Empire becam the global hegemon an adoptit the role o global polisman.
Breetain focht alangside Fraunce, Roushie an (efter 1917) the Unitit States, against Germany an its allies in the First Warld War (1914–1918). Breetish airmed forces war engaged athort muckle o the Breetish Empire an in several regions o Europe, pairteecularly on the Wastren front. The heich fatalities o trench warfare caused the loss o muckle o a generation o men, wi lastin social effects in the naition an a great disruption in the social order.
The rise o Erse naitionalism, an disputes within Ireland ower the terms o Erse Hame Rule, led eventually tae the pairteetion o the island in 1921. The Erse Free State becam independent wi Dominion status in 1922. Northren Ireland remeened pairt o the Unitit Kinrick. A wave o strikes in the mid-1920s culminatit in the General Strike o 1926. Britain haed still nae recuivered frae the effects o the war whan the Great Depression (1929–1932) occurred. This led tae conseederable unemployment an haurdship in the auld industrial auries, as weel as poleetical an social unrest in the 1930s, wi risin membership in communist an socialist pairties. A coaleetion govrenment wis formed in 1931.
Breetain entered the Seicont Warld War bi declarin war on Nazi Germany in 1939, efter Germany haed invadit Poland. Winston Churchill becam prime meenister an heid o a coaleetion govrenment in 1940. Despite the defeat o its European allies in the first year o the war, Breetain an its Empire conteena'd the ficht alane against Germany. In 1940, the Ryal Air Force defeatit the German Luftwaffe in a struggle for control o the skies in the Battle o Breetain. Urban auries suffered hivy bombin in the Blitz. Thare war an aa eventual haurd-focht veectories in the Battle o the Atlantic, the North Africae campaign an the Burma campaign. Breetish forces played an important role in the Normandy laundins o 1944, achieved wi its Unitit States ally.
Syne Warld War IIEedit
Efter the end o the Seicont Warld War in 1945, the UK wis ane o the Big Fower pouers (alang wi the U.S., the Soviet Union, an Cheenae) that met tae plan the post-war warld; it wis an oreeginal seegnatory tae the Declaration o the Unitit Naitions. The UK wis the third kintrea tae develop a nuclear wappens airsenal (wi its first atomic bomb test in 1952), but the new post-war leemits o Breetain's internaitional role war illustratit bi the Suez Creesis o 1956.
In the decade-lang process o European integration, the UK wis a foondin member o the alliance cried the Wastren European Union, established wi the Lunnon an Paris Conferences in 1954. In 1960 the UK wis ane o the seiven foondin members o the European Free Tred Association (EFTA), but in 1973 it left tae jyne the European Commonties (EC). Whan the EC becam the European Union (EU) in 1992, the UK wis ane o the 12 foondin members.
Frae the late 1960s, Northren Ireland suffered communal an paramilitar veeolence (whiles affectin ither pairts o the UK) conventionally kent as the Tribbles. It is uisually conseedert tae hae endit wi the Belfast "Guid Fryday" Agreement o 1998.
In 2016, the Unitit Kinrick votit tae leave the European Union. The legal process o leavin the EU begoud on 29 Mairch 2017, wi the UK's invocation o Airticle 50 o the Treaty o Lisbon, formally notifyin the EU o the UK's intention tae leave. The airticle stipulates that the negotiations tae leave will last at least twa years. The UK remeens a full member o the EU in this time.
The tot aurie o the Unitit Kinrick is approximately 243,610 square kilometres (94,060 sq mi). The kintra occupies the major pairt o the Breetish Isles airchipelago an includes the island o Great Breetain, the north-eastren ane-saxt o the island o Ireland an some smawer surroondin islands. It lies atween the North Atlantic Ocean an the North Sea wi the sooth-east coast comin within 22 miles (35 km) o the coast o northren Fraunce, frae that it is separatit bi the Inglis Channel. In 1993 10% o the UK wis forestit, 46% uised for pastures an 25% cultivatit for agricultur. The Ryal Greenwich Observatory in Lunnon is the definin pynt o the Prime Meridian.
The Unitit Kinrick lies atween latitudes 49° tae 61° N, an longitudes 9° W tae 2° E. Northren Ireland shares a 224-mile (360 km) laund boondary wi the Republic o Ireland. The coastline o Great Breetain is 11,073 miles (17,820 km) lang. It is connectit tae continental Europe bi the Channel Tunnel, that at 31 miles (50 km) (24 miles (38 km) unnerwatter) is the langest unnerwatter tunnel in the warld.
Ingland accoonts for juist ower hauf o the tot aurie o the UK, cuiverin 130,395 square kilometres (50,350 sq mi). Maist o the kintra consists o lawland terrain, wi moontainous terrain north-wast o the Tees-Exe line; includin the Cumbrian Moontains o the Loch Destrict, the Pennines, Exmoor an Dartmoor. The main rivers an estuaries are the Thames, Severn an the Humber. Ingland's heichest moontain is Scafell Pike (978 metres (3,209 ft)) in the Loch Destrict. Its principal rivers are the Severn, Thames, Humber, Tees, Tyne, Tweed, Avon, Exe an Mersey.
Scotland accoonts for juist unner a third o the tot aurie o the UK, cuiverin 78,772 square kilometres (30,410 sq mi) an includin nearly aicht hunder islands, predominantly wast an north o the mainland; notably the Hebrides, Orkney Islands an Shetland Islands. Scotland is the maist moontainous kintra in the UK an its topografie is distinguished bi the Hieland Boondary Faut—a geological rock fractur—that traverses Scotland frae Arran in the wast tae Stanehyve in the east. The faut separates twa distinctively different regions; namely the Hielands tae the north an wast an the lawlands tae the sooth an east. The mair rugged Hieland region conteens the majority o Scotland's moontainous laund, includin Ben Nevis that at 1,343 metres (4,406 ft) is the heichest pynt in the Breetish Isles. Lawland auries—especially the narrae waist o laund atween the Firth o Clyde an the Firth o Forth kent as the Central Belt—are flatter an hame tae maist o the population includin Glesga, Scotland's lairgest ceety, an Edinburgh, its caipital an poleetical centre, awtho upland an moontainous terrain lies within the Soothren Uplands.
Wales accoonts for less nor a tent o the tot aurie o the UK, cuiverin 20,779 square kilometres (8,020 sq mi). Wales is maistly moontainous, tho Sooth Wales is less moontainous nor North an mid Wales. The main population an industrial auries are in Sooth Wales, consistin o the coastal ceeties o Cairdiff, Swansea an Newport, an the Sooth Wales Valleys tae their north. The heichest moontains in Wales are in Snowdonie an include Snowdon (Welsh: Yr Wyddfa) that, at 1,085 metres (3,560 ft), is the heichest peak in Wales. The 14, or possibly 15, Welsh moontains ower 3,000 feet (910 metres) heich are kent collectively as the Welsh 3000s. Wales haes ower 2,704 kilometres (1,680 miles) o coastline. Several islands lie aff the Welsh mainland, the lairgest o that is Anglesey (Ynys Môn) in the north-wast.
Northren Ireland, separatit frae Great Breetain bi the Erse Sea an North Channel, haes an aurie o 14,160 square kilometres (5,470 sq mi) an is maistly hilly. It includes Lough Neagh that, at 388 square kilometres (150 sq mi), is the lairgest loch in the Breetish Isles bi aurie. The heichest peak in Northren Ireland is Slieve Donard in the Mourne Moontains at 852 metres (2,795 ft).
The Unitit Kinrick haes a temperate climate, wi plentifu rainfaw aw year roond. The temperatur varies wi the saisons seendle drappin ablo −11 °C (12 °F) or risin abuin 35 °C (95 °F). The prevailin wind is frae the sooth-wast an beirs frequent spells o mild an wet wather frae the Atlantic Ocean, awtho the eastren pairts are maistly sheltered frae this wind syne the majority o the rain faws ower the wastren regions the eastren pairts are tharefore the driest. Atlantic currents, wairmed bi the Gulf Stream, bring mild winters; especially in the wast whaur winters are wet an iven mair sae ower heich grund. Simmers are wairmest in the sooth-east o Ingland, bein closest tae the European mainland, an cuilest in the north. Hivy snawfaw can occur in winter an early ware on heich grund, an occasionally settles tae great deepth awey frae the hills.
The UK haes a pairtially regulatit mercat economy. Based on mercat exchynge rates, the UK is theday the fift-lairgest economy in the warld an the seicont-lairgest in Europe efter Germany. HM Thesaury, led bi the Chancellor o the Exchequer, is responsible for developin an executin the govrenment's public finance policy an economic policy. The Bank o Ingland is the UK's central bank an is responsible for issuin notes an cunyies in the naition's siller, the poond sterling. Banks in Scotland an Northren Ireland reteen the richt tae issue thair awn notes, subject tae reteenin eneuch Bank o Ingland notes in reserve tae cuiver their issue. The poond sterling is the warld's third-lairgest reserve siller (efter the US dollar an the euro). Syne 1997 the Bank o Ingland's Monetary Policy Committee, heidit bi the Govrenor o the Bank o Ingland, haes been responsible for settin interest rates at the level necessar tae achieve the oweraw inflation target for the economy that is set bi the Chancellor ilk year.
The native leids can be spleet inti twa groups:
In the 2001 census 71.6% o aw respondents indicatit that thay war Christians, wi the next lairgest faiths bein Islam (2.8%), Hinduism (1.0%), Sikhism (0.6%), Judaism (0.5%), Buddhism (0.3%) an aw ither releegions (0.3%). 15% o respondents statit that thay haed na releegion, wi a forder 7% nae statin a releegious preference.
The Unitit Kinrick is a unitar state unner a constitutional monarchy. Queen Elizabeth II haes been the monarch an heid o state o the UK, as weel as Queen o fifteen ither independent Commonweel kintras. The monarch haes "the richt tae be consultit, the richt tae encourage, an the richt tae wairn". The Constitution o the Unitit Kinrick is uncodified an consists maistly o a collection o disparate written soorces, includin statutes, juidge-made case law an internaitional treaties, thegither wi constitutional conventions. As thare is na technical difference atween ordinar statutes an "constitutional law", the UK Pairlament can perform "constitutional reform" semply bi passin Acts o Pairlament, an sicweys haes the poleetical pouer tae cheenge or abolish awmaist ony written or unwritten element o the constitution. Houiver, na Pairlament can pass laws that futur Pairlaments canna cheenge.
The UK haes a pairlamentar govrenment based on the Wastmeenster seestem that haes been emulatit aroond the warld: a legacy o the Breetish Empire. The pairlament o the Unitit Kinrick meets in the Palace o Wastmeenster an haes twa houses: an electit Hoose o Commons an appointit Hoose o Lairds. Aw bills passed are gien Ryal Assent afore acomin law.
The Beatles hae internaitional sales o ower ane billion units an are the biggest-sellin an maist influential baund in the history o popular muisic. Ither prominent Breetish contreibutors tae hae influenced popular muisic ower the last 50 years include The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Queen, Led Zeppelin, the Bee Gees, an Elton John, aw o that hae warldwide record sales o 200 million or mair.
The Unitit Kinrick haes haed a conseederable influence on the history o the cinema. The Breetish directors Alfred Hitchcock, that's film Vertigo is conseedert bi some creetics as the best film o aw time, an David Lean are amang the maist critically acclaimed o aw-time. ither important directors includin Charlie Chaplin, Michael Powell, Carol Reed, Edgar Wright, Christopher Nolan, an Ridley Scott. Mony Breetish actors hae achieved internaitional fame an creetical success, includin: Julie Andrews, Richard Burton, Michael Caine, Colin Firth, Gary Oldman, Ben Kingsley, Ian McKellen, Liam Neeson, Charlie Chaplin, Sean Connery, Vivien Leigh, David Niven, Laurence Olivier, Peter Sellers, Kate Winslet, Anthony Hopkins, an Daniel Day-Lewis.
Major sports, includin association fitbaa, tennis, rugby union, rugby league, gowf, boxin, netbaw, rowin an cricket, oreeginatoy or war substantially developed in the UK an the states that precedit it. Wi the rules an codes o mony modren sports inventit an codifee'd in late 19t century Victorian Breetain, in 2012, the Preses o the IOC, Jacques Rogge, statit; "This great, sports-loving country is widely recognised as the birthplace of modern sport. It was here that the concepts of sportsmanship and fair play were first codified into clear rules and regulations. It was here that sport was included as an educational tool in the school curriculum".
- The Ryal coat o airms uised in Scotland:
- Thare is no authorised version o the naitional anthem as the wirds are a matter o tradeetion; anly the first verse is uisually sung. No law wis passed makin "God Save the Queen" the offeecial anthem. In the Inglis tradeetion, such laws are nae necessary; proclamation an uisage are sufficient tae mak it the naitional anthem. "God Save the Queen" an aa serves as the Ryal anthem for certain Commonweel realms.
- Unner the Cooncil o Europe's European Charter for Regional or Minority Leids, Scots, Ulster-Scots, Welsh, Cornish, Erse an Scots Gaelic, are offeecially recognised as regional or minority leids bi the Breetish govrenment for the purposes o the Charter. See an aa Leids o the Unitit Kinrick.
- European Union syne 1993.
- Awtho Northren Ireland is the anly pairt o the UK that shares a laund mairch wi anither sovereign state, twa o its Owerseas Territories an aa share laund mairches wi ither sovereign kintras. Gibraltar shares a mairch wi Spain, while the Sovereign Base Auries o Akrotiri an Dhekelia share borders wit the Republic o Cyprus, the Turkis Republic o Northren Cyprus an the UN buffer zone separatin the twa Cypriot polities.
- In the referendum o 23 Juin 2016, a majority votit for the Unitit Kinrick tae widraw frae the European Union, but the process an date for Brexit hae yet tae be determined.
- The Anglo-Erse Treaty wis signed on 6 December 1921 tae resolve the Erse War o Unthirldom. Whan it teuk effect ane year later, it established the Erse Free State as a separate dominion within the Commonweel. The UK's current name wis adoptit tae reflect the cheenge.
- Syne the early twentiet century the prime meenister haes held the office o First Laird o the Thesaury, an in recent decades haes an aa held the office o Meenister for the Ceevil Service.
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