UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND

Date of establishment: May 1, 1707

Brief history:

  • 43-410: Roman occupation of Britain.
  • 410: End of Roman rule in Britain, followed by Anglo-Saxon and Viking invasions.
  • 1066: The Battle of Hastings and Norman conquest of England by William the Conqueror.
  • 1215: Signing of the Magna Carta, limiting royal power.
  • 1534: Henry VIII establishes the Anglican Church after conflict with the Roman Catholic Church.
  • 1603: Unification of England and Scotland under James VI and I, following the death of Elizabeth I.
  • 1642-1651: The English Civil War and subsequent interregnum (period without a monarch).
  • 1660: Restoration of the monarchy under Charles II after the interregnum.
  • 1688: Glorious Revolution – William III and Mary II come to power, strengthening parliamentary monarchy.
  • 1707: Union of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain.
  • 1801: Union of Great Britain and Ireland into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
  • 1837-1901: Reign of Queen Victoria, the era of the British Empire.
  • 1914-1918: World War I.
  • 1922: Formation of the Irish Free State; remainder of the island remains in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • 1939-1945: World War II.
  • 1947: Decolonization of India and Pakistan.
  • 1949: Joining NATO.
  • 1973: United Kingdom’s entry into the European Community (later the European Union).
  • 1997: Establishment of the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly.
  • 2016: Referendum on the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU (Brexit).
  • 2020: Formal departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

 

International abbreviation: UK

 

Currency: Pound Sterling (GBP)

The pound is divided into 100 smaller units called pence. Coins are available in various denominations, from 1 penny to 2 pounds. Banknotes are issued in values of 5, 10, 20, and 50 pounds, with higher values (e.g., 100 pounds) being less common. It became the official currency of England in the 8th century.

 

Internet domain: .uk

 

Dialing code: +44

 

Time zone: GMT

 

Geography:

The United Kingdom is composed of several countries: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The major part of the state is formed by the island of Great Britain. The West Coast features numerous fjords, bays, and cliffs.

Northern Ireland constitutes the northern part of the island of Ireland and is part of the United Kingdom, but it has a certain degree of self-governance.

Rivers like the Thames, Severn, and Tay are significant hydrographic features that flow through the country. Scotland is known for its lochs (lakes), with Loch Ness being the most famous.

The UK has an extensive coastline with diverse characteristics, ranging from cliffs and bays to sandy beaches. The iconic White Cliffs of Dover are located on the southeastern coast.

 

Highest peak: Ben Nevis at 1 345 meters (4 413 feet) above sea level.

Located in the Highlands of Scotland. It has a popular hiking trail known as the “Ben Nevis Path” leading to the summit.

The mountain has a rich history associated with mountaineering and tourism, with the first documented summit ascent taking place in 1771.

 

Climate:

The climate of the UK is moderate and humid. The weather is known for its variability throughout the day. Western winds bring moisture from the Atlantic, leading to damp and cloudy conditions. Rainy periods are typical in the fall and winter.

Temperatures are moderate. Winters are generally mild, with temperatures around 2-7°C (36-45°F), and summers are relatively cool, ranging from 15 to 25°C (59-77°F). Scotland and mountainous regions can experience snowfall in winter.

 

Fauna and flora:

The UK’s flora reflects its diverse environments. Historical woodland cover is still evident in the country. Pine forests, oak forests, and mixed forests are common habitats.

Flowery meadows are another characteristic of the British landscape. Various flowering plants like dandelions, poppies, and bluebells contribute to the aesthetic richness.

Shrubs and herbs, including azaleas and rhododendrons, grow in different parts of the country.

The fauna of the UK includes a wide range of animals adapted to the local environment. Birds are a significant part of this fauna. Species like the skylark, barn owl, and carrion crow are common.

Countryside areas and the Scottish Highlands host various species of deer, roe deer, and hares. Animals like foxes, badgers, and hedgehogs are widespread.

Due to its numerous rivers and lakes, fish are a significant part of the fauna. Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout are well-known fish in British waters. Marine life is essential in coastal areas. Grey seals and common seals are characteristic species.

In addition, insects and invertebrates like butterflies, bees, and spiders play a crucial role in ecosystems.

 

Agriculture:

British agriculture includes the cultivation of crops such as wheat, barley, oats, various vegetables, and fruits like apples, pears, potatoes, and carrots.

Livestock farming, including cattle, sheep, and pigs, plays a vital role in British agriculture. Meat, dairy, and wool production are significant sectors.

The British countryside’s diversity is reflected in its agriculture, encompassing rural areas, pastures, as well as mountainous regions and coastal islands, offering various opportunities for farming.

Modern technologies, such as precision farming and automation, are becoming increasingly important for more efficient farm operations.

 

Resource extraction:

During the 18th and 19th centuries, coal mining played a key role in the Industrial Revolution. Britain was one of the world’s largest coal producers, using coal as fuel for machinery and production processes.

The country was also known for mining metal ores. Copper, lead, tin, and iron ores were mined and used for industry, tool production, construction materials, and weaponry. Construction materials such as stone, sand, and gravel are also extracted.

 

Industry:

The UK played a significant role in the Industrial Revolution, which began in the 18th century. Innovations in textiles, engineering, and metallurgy changed the way goods were produced and led to rapid economic growth.

The country has a long tradition in the automotive industry. Brands like Rolls-Royce, Jaguar, and Mini are iconic and play an important role in the global market.

The British aerospace industry includes aircraft, aircraft engines, and space technologies.

London is one of the world’s leading financial centers. The city is known for its banks, stock exchanges, and financial institutions.

The British engineering industry spans a wide range of sectors, from machinery and equipment production to engineering and research.

 

Services and other economic areas: Information technology, banking, insurance, science, research, education, healthcare, transportation.

 

Waterparks in UK:

 

Form of government: unitary constitutional parliamentary monarchy

The monarch, who can be a king or queen, is the head of state. However, his or her powers are severely limited by the constitution and parliament. The monarch primarily fulfills a representative and symbolic role, while t practical decision-making and the exercise of power falls to the democratic system.

Parliamentary democracy is at the head of the democratic system. The British parliament consists of two chambers: the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The lower house, elected by citizens, has key legislative powers. Its members, known as MPs, represent individual constituencies and have the right to pass laws and approve the budget.

The upper house, known as the House of Lords, has a more advisory and revision function. It is made up of hereditary lords, bishops of the Church of England and installed members. Although it does not have as many powers as the House of Commons, it can propose changes to legislation and review laws.

The prime minister, the head of government, is a member of the House of Commons. The government is responsible for executive power and the exercise of state administration. All these elements are set in the context of a constitution, which is based on fundamental legal norms, traditions and precedents, although there is no single written constitutional document.

Such a polity enables the linking of monarchical traditions with modern democracy, where citizens and elected representatives can influence political decisions and the direction of the country.

 

Capital city: London

It is home to buildings such as the British Parliament (Palace of Westminster), the Royal Palace (Buckingham Palace) and Westminster Abbey.

The South Bank is located along the south bank of the Thames and is famous for its cultural institutions such as Shakespeare’s Globe, the Tate Modern and the Design Museum.

Kensington and Chelsea is home to many beautiful residences, museums and gardens. Here, for example, the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and Kensington Palace are located.

Greenwich is the place known as the home of the prime meridian, from which the world’s time zones are derived.

The East End is a part of the city that has transformed into a trendy district full of art, creativity, markets and cafes. Brick Lane is famous for its markets, and Columbia Road has a famous flower market.

It should be noted that London is not only the capital of Great Britain, but also of England itself.

The other capital cities are Edinburgh (Scotland), Cardiff (Wales), and Belfast (Northern Ireland).

 

Area: 243 610 km2 (94 058 square miles)

 

Population: 67 350 000 (2022)

There are many ethnic groups and nationalities in the UK, including British, Afro-Caribbean, Asian, Arab and many others.

The country has a long history of migration and immigration. Many people come to Britain to work, study or for political reasons.

Great Britain has a diverse religious base. Christianity has a significant influence, but there are also many people following Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and other religions.

The official language is English, which is spoken by the majority of the population.

As in many other developed countries, the UK is facing a growing proportion of its elderly population.

 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites: 33

 

  1. Gwynedd (Wales) (1986) – The Castles and Fortifications of King Edward I of the 13th century as an example of defensive architecture.
  2. Durham (1986) – 11th and 12th century castle and cathedral as an example of Norman architecture.
  3. Ironbridge Gorge (1986) – The world’s first cast-iron bridge, located in the Severn River valley.
  4. Stonehenge and Avebury (1986) – Sites of Monuments of the Megalithic Culture.
  5. Studley Royal Park (1986) – An extensive 18th-century park which includes a castle and the remains of Fountains Abbey.
  6. Giant’s Causeway (Northern Ireland) (1986) – Basalt formations and rocky coast in the vicinity.
  7. St Kilda (Scotland) (1986) – An archipelago of volcanic origin with rocky cliffs and nesting sites for endangered bird species.
  8. Bath (1987) – A city founded by the Romans with a spa complex and elegant neoclassical architecture.
  9. Blenheim Palace (1987) – An 18th-century castle as a typical example of a princely residence.
  10. Hadrian’s Wall (1987) – The remains of a defensive wall built by the Romans between England and Scotland in the 2nd century.
  11. Westminster in London (1987) – The original royal residence (today’s seat of parliament) rebuilt in neo-Gothic style, an abbey and a church from the 11th century (Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey and St Margaret’s Church).
  12. Canterbury (1988) – Cathedral, Church of St. Martin and the former abbey of St. Augustine.
  13. The Tower of London (1988) – A historic castle with a rich past, serving as a fortress, royal residence and prison.
  14. Henderson Island (1988) – An island in the South Pacific that recreates nature untouched by man.
  15. Edinburgh (1995) – Historic core of the city with a fortress.
  16. Gough Island and Inaccessible (1995) – Islands in the South Atlantic with a nature reserve and bird nesting area.
  17. Maritime Greenwich (1997) – Greenwich buildings and park which houses buildings (symbols) of English artistic and scientific endeavors in the 17th and 18th centuries.
  18. The Heart of Neolithic Orkney (1999) – Neolithic sites in the Orkney Islands which provide exceptional evidence of ancient societies and religious rituals.
  19. Blaenavon – industrial landscape in the vicinity (2000) – The county of the world’s largest iron and coal exporters in the 19th century.
  20. George and adjacent forts, Bermuda (2000) – An example of the earliest English urban colonies in the New World.
  21. Spinning Mills in the Derwent Valley (Derbyshire) (2001) – An industrial landscape of great historical importance.
  22. New Lanark (2001) – The Scottish village in which the utopian Robert Owen created his model of industrial society.
  23. Saltaire (2001) – A preserved industrial town from the 2nd half of the 19th century.
  24. Coast of Dorset and East Devon (2001) – Cliffs capturing 185 million years of Earth’s history.
  25. Royal Botanic Gardens Kew Gardens (2003) – Documenting the development of garden architecture from the 18th to the 20th century.
  26. Mining Area in the Counties of Cornwall and West Devon (2006) – Industrial buildings and mine workings following intensive copper and tin mining.
  27. Pontcysyllte Aqueduct (2009) – 18 km long canal without locks or gates built during the Industrial Revolution.
  28. The Forth Rail Bridge (2015) – Rail bridge across the Firth of Forth.
  29. Gorham’s Cave Complex (Gibraltar) (2016) – Caves with remains of habitation up to 12 500 years old.
  30. The Lake District (2017) – National Park in Northwest England.
  31. Jodrell Bank Observatory (2019) – Observatory with the world’s first fully steerable radio telescope.
  32. Famous Spa Cities of Europe (2021) – 11 cities that bear witness to the international European spa culture that developed from the beginning of the 18th century to the 1930s.
  33. The Slate Landscape of North West Wales (2021) – A landscape transformed by slate mining including quarries, mines, archaeological sites, historic settlements, railways and roads.

 

National parks: 15

 

  1. The Broads National Park
  2. Dartmoor National Park
  3. Exmoor National Park
  4. Lake District National Park
  5. New Forest National Park
  6. North York Moors National Park
  7. Northumberland National Park
  8. Peak District National Park
  9. South Downs National Park
  10. Yorkshire Dales National Park
  11. Brecon Beacons National Park
  12. Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
  13. Snowdonia National Park
  14. Cairngorms National Park
  15. Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park