Ang United Kingdom ng Great Britain at Northern Ireland [tandaan 5] (karaniwang kilala bilang ng United Kingdom, ang UK o Britain) ay isang pinakamataas na puno ng estado na matatagpuan off sa hilaga-kanlurang baybayin ng kontinental Europa . Ang bansa kabilang sa isla ng Great Britain , sa hilaga-silangang bahagi ng isla ng Ireland at maraming mas maliit na isla. Northern Ireland ay ang tanging bahagi ng UK na may isang lupa hangganan sa isa pang pinakamataas na puno ng estado-ang Republic of Ireland . Bukod sa ito sa hangganan ng lupa sa UK ay napapaligiran ng Karagatang Atlantiko , ang North Sea , ang Ingles Channel at ang Irish Sea .
Ang United Kingdom ay isang tangi estado pinamamahalaan sa ilalim ng isang paglalakbay sa ikalulusog ng katawan monarkiya at isang parlyamentaryo sistema , na may nito upuan ng pamahalaan sa kabisera ng lungsod ng London . Ito ay isang bansa sa sarili nitong karapatan   at binubuo ng apat na bansa : England , Northern Ireland , Scotland at Wales .  May tatlong devolved pambansang administrations, bawat isa ay may iba't ibang kapangyarihan,   nakatayo sa Belfast , Cardiff at Edinburgh ; ang capitals ng Northern Ireland, Wales at Scotland ayon sa pagkakabanggit. Nauugnay sa UK, ngunit hindi constitutionally bahagi nito, tatlong Crown Dependencies  at labing-apat sa ibang bansa teritoryo .  Ang mga ito ay mga labi ng British Empire kung saan, sa kanyang taas sa 1922, encompassed halos minutos ng lupa sa mundo ibabaw at ay ang pinakamalaking imperyo sa kasaysayan . British impluwensiya maaari pa ring mai-obserbahan sa wika , kultura at sistemang legal ng marami sa kanyang dating teritoryo.
Ang UK ay isang binuo bansa at sa mundo pang-anim-pinakamalaking ekonomiya sa pamamagitan ng nominal GDP at ikapitong-pinakamalaking ekonomiya sa pamamagitan ng pagbili ng kapangyarihan pagkakapare-pareho. Ito ay unang sa mundo industrialized bansa  at ang mundo nangunguna sa lahat ng kapangyarihan sa panahon ng ika-19 at maagang ika-20 siglo.  Ang UK ay nananatiling isang malaking kapangyarihan sa mga nangungunang ekonomiya, kultura, militar, pang-agham at pampulitikang impluwensiya.  Ito ay isang kinikilalang nuclear armas ng estado at ang mga militar paggasta ranks third o ika-apat na sa mundo.  Ito ay isang estadong kasapi ng European Union , ang isang permanenteng miyembro ng United Nations Security Council , at isang kasapi ng Komonwelt ng Nations , ang G8 , ang G20 , ang OECD , ang Konseho ng Europa , ang World Trade Organization at NATO .
Pinagmulan ng salita at terminolohiya
Ang pangalan na "United Kingdom ng Great Britain at Northern Ireland" ay ipinakilala sa 1927 sa pamamagitan ng Royal at parlyamentaryo Act Pamagat . Ang Mga Gawa ng Union , uniting ang Kaharian ng Great Britain at ang Kaharian ng Ireland sa 1801, ay binigyan ng bagong estado ang pangalan ng United Kingdom ng Great Britain at Ireland . Ang 1927 na batas ay nagbago ang pangalan upang ipakita ang pagbibigay ng kalayaan sa Irish Libreng Estado sa 1922, nag-iiwan lamang ng Northern Ireland sa loob ng UK.  Great Britain bago ang 1801 ay paminsan-minsan tinutukoy bilang ang "United Kingdom ng Great Britain".  Gayunpaman, seksyon 1 ng parehong mga 1707 Gawa ng Union ipinahayag na ang England at Scotland ay "United sa Isang Kaharian sa pamamagitan ng Pangalan ng Great Britain".  [tandaan 6]
Kahit na ang United Kingdom, bilang isang pinakamataas na puno ng estado , ay isang bansa, England , Scotland , Wales at Northern Ireland ding tinutukoy bilang mga bansa, hindi isinasaalang-alang ng kanilang paglalakbay sa ikalulusog ng katawan kaayusan.   Ang British Punong Ministro ng website ay may ginagamit ang pariralang "mga bansa sa loob ng isang bansa" upang ilarawan ang United Kingdom.  Sa pagsasaalang-alang sa Northern Ireland , ang mga naglalarawang pangalan na ginamit "maaaring pinagtatalunan, na may pagpipilian ang madalas na nagpapakita ng isa ang politikal na mga kagustuhan."  Iba pang mga terminong ginamit para sa Northern Ireland isama "rehiyon" at "lalawigan".  
Ang United Kingdom ay madalas na tinutukoy sa pamamagitan ng maikling-form na pangalan ng Britain. Great Britain ay tumutukoy lamang sa England, Scotland at Wales, at, lalo na sa UK, ay hindi pinapaboran bilang isang alternatibong pangalan para sa United Kingdom.  [ 30] Gayunman, ang ilang mga banyagang paggamit, lalo na sa Estados Unidos, ay gumagamit ng Great Britain bilang isang maluwag na kasingkahulugan para sa United Kingdom.   Sa karagdagan, sa UK at sa ibang dako, Britain ay din paminsan-minsan na ginamit bilang isang pagpapaikli para sa Great Britain, ibig sabihin lamang England, Scotland at Wales. 
Ang pang-uri British ay karaniwang ginagamit upang sumangguni sa mga bagay na may kaugnayan sa United Kingdom. Kahit na kataga ay walang tiyak na mga legal na kahulugan, ito ay ginagamit sa batas upang sumangguni sa United Kingdom pagkamamamayan .  Gayunpaman, ang British tao gumamit ng isang bilang ng mga iba't-ibang mga tuntunin upang ilarawan ang kanilang mga pambansang pagkakakilanlan. Ang ilan ay maaaring kilalanin ang sarili bilang British lamang, o British at Ingles, Scottish, Welsh, o Northern Irish. Iba ay maaaring kilalanin ang sarili bilang lamang ang Ingles, Scottish, Welsh o Northern Irish at hindi British. Sa Northern Ireland, ang ilang naglalarawan sa kanilang mga sarili bilang lamang Irish.   
Settlement sa pamamagitan ng anatomically modernong tao ng kung ano ay upang maging ang United Kingdom naganap sa waves simula sa pamamagitan ng tungkol sa 30,000 taon na ang nakakaraan .  Sa pamamagitan ng dulo ng sinaunang-panahon panahon ng rehiyon ng , populasyong ay naisip na belonged, sa pangunahing, upang ang isang kultura termed tagapulo Celtic , na binubuo ng Brythonic Britain at Gaelic Ireland .  Ang pananakop Roman , simula sa 43AD, at ang 400 taon ng trabaho mula sa timog Britain ay sinusundan ng isang imbasyon sa pamamagitan ng malaaleman Anglo-Sahon settlers, pagbabawas ng Brythonic lugar higit sa lahat sa kung ano ang upang maging Wales .  Ang mga rehiyon sa pamamagitan ng husay ang mga Anglo-Saxons naging pinag-bilang Kaharian ng England sa ika-10 siglo.  Samantala, Gaelic-speaker sa hilaga kanluran Britain (na may koneksyon sa hilaga-silangan ng Ireland at ayon sa kaugalian dapat na magkaroon ng mailipat mula doon sa ika-5 siglo   ) nagkakaisa sa Picts upang lumikha ng Kaharian ng Scotland sa ika-9 siglo. 
Sa 1066, ang Normans invaded England at pagkatapos nito panunupil , seized malaking bahagi ng Wales , conquered karami ng Ireland at husay sa Scotland nagdadala sa bawat bansa pyudalismo sa Northern Pranses modelo at Norman-Pranses kultura.  Ang Norman elites lubhang naaapektuhan , ngunit sa paglaon assimilated sa, bawat isa sa mga lokal na kultura.  kasunod na medyebal Ingles hari nakumpleto ang pagsakop ng Wales at ginawa ng isang ganap na matagumpay na mga pagtatangka upang isanib Scotland . Pagkatapos noon, Scotland pinananatili nito pagsasarili, kahit na sa malapit sa pare-pareho ang sumasalungat sa England . Ang Ingles monarchs, sa pamamagitan ng mana ng malaking teritoryo sa Pransya at pag-angkin sa Pranses korona, ay din sa mabigat na kasangkot sa kontrahan sa Pransya, karamihan sa kapansin-pansin ang daang Digmaan Taon . 
Ang unang bahagi ng modernong panahon Nakita relihiyon kontrahan na nagreresulta mula sa repormasyon at ang pagpapakilala ng Protestante simbahan estado sa bawat bansa.  Wales ay ganap na inkorporada papunta sa Kaharian ng England  at Ireland ay constituted bilang isang kaharian sa personal na unyon sa Ingles korona .  Sa anong ay upang maging Northern Ireland, ang lupain ng malayang Katoliko Gaelic pagkamahal na tao ay hamig at lupa na ibinigay sa Protestante settlers mula sa England at Scotland.  Sa 1603, ang kingdoms ng England, Scotland at Ireland, ay nagkakaisa sa isang personal na unyon kapag James VI, Hari ng Scots , minana ng crowns ng England at Ireland at inilipat ang kanyang mga hukuman mula sa Edinburgh sa London; bansa bawat gayon pa man nanatiling isang hiwalay na pampulitika entity at pinanatili nito hiwalay pampulitikang institusyon.   Sa kalagitnaan ng ika-17 siglo, lahat ng tatlong kingdoms ay kasangkot sa isang serye ng mga konektado wars (kabilang ang Ingles Civil War ) kung saan ang humantong sa pansamantalang ibagsak ng monarkiya at ang pagtatatag ng maikli ang buhay tangi republika ng Komonwelt ng England, Scotland at Ireland .   Bagaman monarkiya ay naibalik, ito natiyak (na may tinatawag na maluwalhati Revolution ng 1688) na, hindi katulad ng karamihan sa natitirang bahagi ng Europa, hari o reyna absolutismo ay hindi mangingibabaw. Ang British saligang batas ay bumuo sa batayan ng konstitusyon monarkiya at ang parlyamentaryo sistema .  Sa panahong ito, lalo na sa England, ang pagbuo ng hukbong-dagat kapangyarihan (at ang interes sa voyages ng pagkatuklas ) ang humantong sa pagkuha at pag-areglo ng mga ibang bansa colonies , lalo na sa North America .  
Dahil ang paglikha ng Great Britain
Sa 1707, ang Kaharian ng Great Britain ay nilikha sa pamamagitan ng pampulitikang unyon ng Kaharian ng Inglatera at ang Kaharian ng Scotland alinsunod sa Treaty ng Union na ay negotiated sa nakaraang taon at ratified sa pamamagitan ng sa Ingles at Scottish Parliaments pagpasa Gawa ng Union .   
Sa ika-18 siglo, ang bansa ang nilalaro ng isang mahalagang papel sa pagbuo ng Western mga ideya ng parlyamentaryo sistema pati na rin ang paggawa ng makabuluhang mga ambag sa panitikan, ang mga sining, at agham.  Ang British-humantong Revolution Industrial transformed ang bansa at fueled sa lumalaking British Empire . Sa panahong ito Britain, tulad ng iba pang mga dakilang kapangyarihan , ay kasangkot sa kolonyal na pagsasamantala, kabilang ang kalakalan Atlantic alipin , bagaman sa pagpasa ng Batas pangangalakal ng mga alipin sa 1807 sa UK kinuha ng isang nangungunang papel sa paglaban sa kalakalan sa mga alipin .  Ang colonies sa North America ay ang pangunahing pokus ng British kolonyal na aktibidad. Gayunpaman, sa kanilang kawalan ng pagsunod sa mga Amerikano Digmaan ng Kalayaan , imperyal ambisyon ay sumangguni sa iba pang bahagi ng mundo, lalo na Indya . 
Sa 1800, ang Parliaments ng Great Britain at Ireland ng bawat lumipas Gawa ng Union , uniting ang dalawang kingdoms at paglikha ng United Kingdom ng Great Britain at Ireland , na kung saan ay dumating sa pagiging sa Enero 1, 1801. 
Matapos ang pagkatalo ng Pransya sa rebolusyonaryo at Napoleonik Wars (1792-1815), ang UK bilang lumitaw sa punong-guro ng hukbong-dagat at pang-ekonomiyang kapangyarihan ng ika-19 siglo (sa London ang pinakamalaking lungsod sa mundo mula sa tungkol sa 1830-1930)  at nanatiling isang nangunguna sa lahat ng kapangyarihan sa kalagitnaan ng ika-20 siglo.  Unchallenged sa dagat , Britain pinagtibay ang papel ng global alat, ang isang kalagayan mamaya na kilala bilang ang pax Britannica .  Ito ay din ng isang panahon ng mabilis na ekonomiya, kolonyal, at pang-industriya paglago. Britain ay inilarawan bilang ang "gawaan ng mundo"  at ang British Empire ay lumago upang isama ang Indya , malaking bahagi ng Africa , pati na rin ang maraming iba pang mga teritoryo sa buong mundo. Sa tabi ng pormal na kontrol ito exerted sa ibabaw ng kanyang sariling colonies, nangingibabaw na posisyon Britain ay sa mundo trade nilalayong na ito epektibong kinokontrol ang ekonomiya ng maraming bansa, tulad ng Tsina , Argentina at Siyam .   Domestically, nagkaroon ng shift sa libreng trade at laissez-faire mga patakaran at isang napaka-makabuluhang pagpapalapad ng franchise pagboto. Ang bansa Nakita isang malaking pagtaas ng populasyon sa panahon ng siglo sinamahan ng mabilis na urbanisasyon, na nagreresulta sa makabuluhang panlipunan at pang-ekonomiyang stresses.  Sa pamamagitan ng dulo ng siglo, ang ibang mga estado ay nagsimula na hamunin ang pang-industriyang pangingibabaw Britain ay. 
Ang UK, kasama ang Russia, Pransya at (matapos ang 1917) sa Estados Unidos, ay isa sa mga pangunahing kapangyarihan laban Alemanya at ang kanyang allies sa Unang Digmaang Pandaigdig (1914-1918).  Ang UK armadong pwersa lumago sa higit sa 5,000,000 mga tao  nakatuon sa kabuuan magkano ng kanyang imperyo, may ilang mga rehiyon sa Europa at increasingly kinuha ng isang pangunahing papel sa Western harap . Bansa ang pinagdudusahan ang isang natantyang dalawa at kalahating milyong casualties at natapos ang digmaan sa isang malaking pambansang utang.  Pagkatapos ng digmaan ang United Kingdom natanggap ang Liga ng mga Nations mandate sa paglipas ng dating Aleman at Ottoman colonies at ang British Empire ay pinalawak na sa kanyang pinakadakilang lawak, na sumasakop sa ikalimang ng lupa ibabaw ng mundo at isang kapat ng populasyon nito.  Gayunpaman, ang mga mag-alsa ng Irish nasyonalismo at mga alitan sa loob ng Ireland sa paglipas ng mga tuntunin ng Irish Home Rule humantong sa huli sa pagkahati ng isla sa 1921,  na may Irish Libreng Estado pagiging malayang na may kapangyarihan status sa 1922 at Northern Ireland natitirang bahagi ng United Kingdom.  Ang Mahusay depression (1929-1932) na naganap sa isang panahon kapag ang UK ay pa rin malayo mula sa pagkakaroon ng nakuhang muli mula sa ang mga epekto ng digmaan at humantong sa hirap pati na rin pampulitika at panlipunang kabagabagan. 
Ang United Kingdom ay isa sa mga tatlong pangunahing mga Allies ng World War II . Kasunod ng pagkatalo ng kanyang European allies sa unang taon ng digmaan, ang United Kingdom ang patuloy na paglaban laban sa Alemanya, kapansin-pansin sa Labanan ng Britain at ang Labanan ng Atlantic . Pagkatapos ng tagumpay, ang UK ay isa sa mga Big Tatlong kapangyarihan na nagkakilala sa plano ng post-digmaan mundo. Digmaan sa kaliwa ang United Kingdom financially nasira. Gayunpaman, Marshall Aid at mga pautang mula sa parehong sa Estados Unidos at Canada nakatulong ang UK sa ang kalye papunta sa pagbawi. 
Ang Labour pamahalaan sa agarang post-digmaan taon na pinasimulan ng isang radikal na programa ng pagbabago nagkakaroon ng isang makabuluhang epekto sa British lipunan para sa sumusunod na mga dekada.  Domestically, pangunahing industriya at public utilities ay nationalized , isang Welfare Estado ay itinatag, at isang komprehensibong publicly-pinondohan ng healthcare system, ang Pambansang Serbisyo sa Kalusugan , ay nilikha.  Bilang tugon sa ang mag-alsa ng mga lokal na nasyonalismo, nagmamay-ari ng Labour pamahalaan ang ideological sympathies at Britain ay ngayon pinaliit pang-ekonomiyang posisyon, ng isang patakaran ng decolonization ay pinasimulan sa pagbibigay ng kalayaan sa Indya at Pakistan sa 1947.  Sa paglipas ng susunod na tatlong dekada pinaka teritoryo ng Empire nagkamit pagsasarili at naging reyna kasapi ng Komonwelt ng Nations .
Kahit na ang mga bagong post-digmaan mga limitasyon ng pampulitikang papel Britain ay ay isinalarawan ng Suez Crisis ng 1956, ang UK gayon pa man ay naging isa sa limang permanenteng kasapi ng United Nations Security Council at ng ikatlong bansa upang bumuo ng isang nuclear armas 'arsenal (na may nito unang atomic bomba pagsubok sa 1952). Ang pang-internasyonal na paglaganap ng wikang Ingles din natiyak ang patuloy na pang-internasyonal na impluwensiya ng kanyang panitikan at kultura , habang mula sa 1960s nito popular na kultura din nahanap impluwensiya sa ibang bansa. Bilang isang resulta ng isang kakulangan ng mga manggagawa sa 1950s, ang mga British Gobyerno hinihikayat imigrasyon mula sa Commonwealth bansa, sa gayong paraan pagbabago ng Britain sa isang multi-etniko lipunan sa mga sumusunod na mga dekada.  Sa 1973, ang United Kingdom ay sumali sa European Economic Community ( EEC), at kapag ito ay naging ang European Union (EU) sa 1992, ang UK ay isa sa mga 12 founding mga kasapi. Mula sa huli 1960s Northern Ireland pinagdudusahan ng komunidad at paramilitar karahasan (minsan nakakaapekto sa ibang lugar sa UK at din ang Republic of Ireland ) na kung saan ay conventionally na kilala bilang ang Troubles . Karaniwang ito ay itinuturing na may natapos na sa Belfast "Biyernes Santo" Kasunduan ng 1998.   
Sumusunod sa isang panahon ng pandaigdigang pang-ekonomiyang paghina at pang-industriyang pag-aawayan sa 1970s, ang konserbatibo Gobyerno ng 1980s na pinasimulan ng isang radikal patakaran ng deregulation, lalo na ng mga pinansiyal na sektor, nababaluktot labor merkado, ang pagbebenta ng estado-aari kumpanya ( privatization ), at ang withdrawal ng subsidies sa iba.  Aided, mula 1984, na may pag-agos ng malaking North Sea ng langis kita, ang UK Nakita ng isang panahon ng makabuluhang pang-ekonomiyang paglago.  Ang katapusan ng ika-20 siglo Nakita malakihang pagbabago sa pamamahala ng ang UK sa pagtatatag ng devolved pambansang administrations para sa Northern Ireland, Scotland, at Wales sumusunod na pre-pambatasan referendums ,  at ang ayon sa batas pagsasama ng European convention sa Human Rights . Domestic makipagtalo pinapalibutan ang ilan sa Britain ay sa ibang bansa militar deployments sa unang dekada ng ika-21 siglo, lalo na sa Iraq at Afghanistan . 
Ang kabuuang lugar ng United Kingdom ay humigit-kumulang sa 243,610 square kilometro (94,060 sq mi). Ang bansa ang sumasakop sa mga pangunahing bahagi ng British Isles  kapuluan at kabilang sa isla ng Great Britain, sa hilaga-silangang isa-ikaanim ng isla ng Ireland at ang ilang mga mas maliit na nakapaligid sa isla. Ito ay nakasalalay sa pagitan ng North Atlantic Ocean at ang North Sea sa timog-silangan baybayin pagdating sa loob ng 35 kilometro (22 mi) ng baybayin ng hilagang France, mula sa kung saan ito ay pinaghihiwalay sa pamamagitan ng Ingles Channel .  Bilang ng 1993 10% ng UK ay forested, 46% na ginagamit para sa pastures at 25% na ginagamit para sa agrikultura.  Ang Royal Observatory Greenwich sa London ay ang pagtukoy sa punto ng Prime Meridian .
Ang United Kingdom ay namamalagi sa pagitan ng latitude 49 ° sa 61 ° N , at longitudes 9 ° W sa 2 ° E . Northern Ireland namamahagi ng isang 360-kilometro (224 mi) ang lupa hangganan sa Republic of Ireland.  Ang baybayin ng Great Britain ay 17,820 kilometro (11,073 mi) ang haba.  Ito ay konektado sa kontinental Europa sa pamamagitan ng Channel tunel , na sa 50 kilometro (31 mi) (38 kilometro (24 mi) sa ilalim ng dagat) ay ang pinakamahabang tunnel sa ilalim ng dagat sa mundo. [ 94]
England account para lamang sa paglipas ng kalahati ng kabuuang lugar ng UK, na sumasaklaw sa 130,395 square kilometro (50,350 sq mi).  Karamihan ng bansa ay binubuo ng mga kapatagan lupain,  sa mabundok na lupain sa hilaga-kanluran ng Tees-exe linya ; kabilang ang Bulubunduking Kambryan ng Lake Distrito, ang Pennines at apog Hills ng Distrito tugatog , Exmoor at Dartmoor . Ang pangunahing ilog at estuaries ay ang Thames , Severn at ang Humber . Pinakamataas na bundok England ay Scafell Pike (978 metro (3209 piye)) sa Distrito Lake . Punong-guro nito ilog ay ang Severn, Thames, Humber, Tees, Tyne, Tweed, Avon, exe at Mersey. 
Scotland account para lamang sa ilalim ng isang ikatlo ng ang kabuuang lugar ng UK, na sumasakop sa 78,772 square kilometro (30,410 sq mi)  at kabilang ang halos 800 na isla ,  nakararami kanluran at hilaga ng Mainland; kapansin-pansin ang Hebrides , Orkney Islands at Shetland Islands . Ang topographiya ng Scotland ay nakikilala sa pamamagitan ng kasalanan Highland hangganan - isang geological bali rock - na traverses Scotland mula Arran sa kanluran sa Stonehaven . sa silangan  faultline Ang naghihiwalay sa dalawang distinctively iba't ibang mga rehiyon; katulad ng Highlands sa hilaga at kanluran at ang lowlands sa timog at silangan. Ang mas malakas na rehiyon Highland ay naglalaman ng karamihan ng mga bulubunduking lupain Scotland, kabilang ang Ben Nevis kung saan sa 1343 metro (4406 piye) ay ang pinakamataas na punto sa British Isles .  libis lugar, lalo na ang makipot na baywang ng lupa sa pagitan ng Firth ng Clyde at ang Firth ng balik na kilala bilang ang Central sinturon , ay langisan at home sa karamihan ng populasyon kabilang ang Glasgow , pinakamalaking lungsod Scotland, at Edinburgh , ang capital at pampulitika center.
Wales mga account para sa mas mababa sa 1 / 10 ng kabuuang lugar ng UK, na sumasakop sa 20,779 square kilometers (8020 sq mi).  Wales ay kadalasang mabundok, bagaman South Wales ay mas mababa kaysa sa bulubundukin North at kalagitnaan ng Wales . Ang pangunahing populasyon at pang-industriyang lugar ay sa South Wales, na binubuo ng baybay-dagat lungsod ng Cardiff, Swansea at Newport, at ang South Wales lambak sa kanilang mga hilaga. Ang pinakamataas na bundok sa Wales ay sa Snowdonia at isama Snowdon ( Welsh : taon Wyddfa). kung saan, sa 1085 metro (3560 piye), ay ang pinakamataas na tuktok sa Wales  Ang 14, o marahil 15, Welsh bundok sa paglipas ng 3000 talampakan ( 914 m) mataas na ay kilala bilang sama-sama ang mga Welsh 3000s . Wales ay may higit sa 1,200 km (750 milya) ng baybay-dagat. Mayroong ilang mga isla off the Welsh Mainland, ang pinakamalaking na kung saan ay Anglesey (Ynys Lunes) sa hilagang-kanluran.
Northern Ireland account para lang 14,160 square kilometro (5470 sq mi) at karamihan ay maburol. Kabilang dito ang Lough Neagh kung saan, sa 388 square kilometers (150 sq mi), ang pinakamalaking lake sa British Isles sa pamamagitan ng lugar.  Ang pinakamataas na tugatog sa Northern Ireland ay Slieve Donard sa Mourne Mountains sa 852 metro (2795 piye) . 
Ang United Kingdom ay isang katamtaman klima , na may likas-ulan ang lahat ng taon-ikot.  Ang temperatura ay nag-iiba sa panahon bihira bumababa sa ibaba -11 ° C (12 ° F ) o umaangat sa itaas 35 ° C (95 ° F). [102 ] Ang nangingibabaw na hangin ay mula sa timog-kanluran at bear madalas spells ng banayad at wet taya ng panahon mula sa Atlantic Ocean,  bagaman ang eastern bahagi ay halos lukob mula sa hangin - bilang ang karamihan ng ulan talon sa ibabaw ng kanluranin rehiyon ang eastern bahagi ay samakatuwid ay ang driest. Atlantic na alon, warmed ng Gulf Stream , dalhin mild Winters; lalo na sa kanluran kung saan Winters ay basa at kahit na higit pa kaya sa paglipas ng mataas na lupa. Summers ay warmest sa timog-silangan ng England, na pinakamalapit sa ang European Mainland, at coolest sa hilaga. Ulan ng niyebe ay maaaring mangyari sa taglamig at unang bahagi ng tagsibol, bagaman ito ay bihirang settles sa mahusay na depth ang layo mula sa mataas na lupa.
Bawat bansa ng United Kingdom ay may sariling sistema ng administrative at geographic paghihiwalay, na madalas ay may mga pinagmulan na pre-petsa ng pagbuo ng United Kingdom mismo. Dahil diyan may "no karaniwang sapin ng administrative unit encompassing ang United Kingdom".  Hanggang sa ika-19 siglo nagkaroon maliit na pagbabago sa mga kaayusan, ngunit may ay dahil naging isang pare-pareho ang paglaki ng papel at pag-andar.  Baguhin ay hindi magaganap sa isang pare-parehong paraan at ang pag-aabot ng mga tungkulin ng kapangyarihan higit sa mga lokal na pamahalaan sa Scotland, Wales at Northern Ireland ay nangangahulugan na ang mga pagbabago sa hinaharap ay malamang na maging pare-pareho ang alinman sa.
Ang organisasyon ng mga lokal na pamahalaan sa England ay kumplikado, sa pamamahagi ng mga function-iiba-iba ayon sa mga lokal na kaayusan. Batas ukol sa lokal na pamahalaan sa England ay nagpasya sa pamamagitan ng ang UK ng parliyamento at ang Pamahalaan ng United Kingdom , pati na England ay hindi magkaroon ng isang devolved parliyamento. Ang itaas na-baitang subdivision ng England ay ang siyam Gobyerno opisina rehiyon o European Union pamahalaan tanggapan ng rehiyon.  Isa rehiyon, Kalakhang London , ay nagkaroon ng isang direktang inihalal pagpupulong at alkalde dahil 2000 mga sumusunod na popular na suporta para sa mga panukala sa isang reperendum . [ 106] Ito ay inilaan na ang ibang rehiyon ay din ay bibigyan ng kanilang sariling mga inihalal na rehiyon assemblies ngunit ang pagtanggi ng isang ipinanukalang assembly sa North East rehiyon, sa pamamagitan ng isang reperendum noong 2004 , tumigil na ito ideya sa kanyang mga track.  Sa ibaba ng antas ng rehiyon England ay alinman sa konseho ng county at distrito ng konseho o tangi awtoridad at London kung saan ay binubuo ng 32 boroughs London . Councillors ay inihalal ng unang-nakaraang-the-post system sa single-miyembro wards o sa pamamagitan ng multi-miyembro sistema ng mayorya sa multi-miyembro wards. 
Lokal na pamahalaan sa Scotland ay nahahati sa isang batayan ng 32 mga lugar na konseho , na may malawak na pagkakaiba-iba sa parehong sukat at populasyon. Ang lungsod ng Glasgow , Edinburgh, Aberdeen at Dundee ay hiwalay na konseho lugar bilang ay ang Highland Konseho na kung saan ay nagsasama ng isang ikatlo ng Scotland ang lugar ngunit lamang sa paglipas ng 200,000 tao. The power invested in local authorities is administered by elected councillors, of which there are currently 1,222 [ 109 ] and are each paid a part-time salary. Elections are conducted by single transferable vote in multi-member wards that elect either three or four councillors. Each council elects a Provost , or Convenor , to chair meetings of the council and to act as a figurehead for the area. Councillors are subject to a code of conduct enforced by the Standards Commission for Scotland . [ 110 ] The representative association of Scotland's local authorities is the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA). [ 111 ]
Local government in Wales consists of 22 unitary authorities. These include the cities of Cardiff , Swansea and Newport which are unitary authorities in their own right. [ 112 ] Elections are held every four years under the first-past-the-post system. [ 113 ] The most recent elections were held in May 2008. The Welsh Local Government Association represents the interests of local authorities in Wales. [ 114 ]
Local government in Northern Ireland has, since 1973, been organised into 26 district councils, each elected by single transferable vote . Their powers are limited to services such as collecting waste, controlling dogs, and maintaining parks and cemeteries. [ 115 ] On 13 March 2008 the executive agreed on proposals to create 11 new councils and replace the present system. [ 116 ] The next local elections were postponed until 2011 to facilitate this. [ 117 ]
The United Kingdom has sovereignty over seventeen territories which do not form part of the United Kingdom itself: 14 British Overseas Territories [ 118 ] and three Crown Dependencies.
The fourteen British Overseas Territories are: Anguilla ; Bermuda ; the British Antarctic Territory ; the British Indian Ocean Territory ; the British Virgin Islands ; the Cayman Islands ; the Falkland Islands ; Gibraltar ; Montserrat ; Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha ; the Turks and Caicos Islands ; the Pitcairn Islands ; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands ; and the Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus . [ 119 ] British claims in Antarctica are not universally recognised. [ 120 ] Collectively Britain's overseas territories encompass an approximate land area of 667,018 square miles (1,727,570 km 2 ) and a population of approximately 260,000 people. [ 121 ] They are the remnants of the British Empire and several have specifically voted to remain British territories.
The Crown Dependencies are British possessions of the Crown , as opposed to overseas territories of the UK. [ 122 ] They comprise the Channel Island Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey in the English Channel and the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea . Being independently administered jurisdictions they do not form part of the United Kingdom or of the European Union , although the UK government manages their foreign affairs and defence and the UK Parliament has the authority to legislate on their behalf. The power to pass legislation affecting the islands ultimately rests with their own respective legislative assemblies, with the assent of the Crown ( Privy Council or, in the case of the Isle of Man, in certain circumstances the Lieutenant-Governor). [ 123 ] Since 2005 each Crown dependency has had a Chief Minister as its head of government .
The United Kingdom is a unitary state under a constitutional monarchy . Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state of the UK as well as of fifteen other independent Commonwealth countries . The United Kingdom has an uncodified constitution , [ 124 ] as do only three other countries in the world. [ note 7 ] The Constitution of the United Kingdom thus consists mostly of a collection of disparate written sources, including statutes , judge-made case law and international treaties, together with constitutional conventions . As there is no technical difference between ordinary statutes and "constitutional law" the UK Parliament can perform "constitutional reform" simply by passing Acts of Parliament and thus has the political power to change or abolish almost any written or unwritten element of the constitution. However, no Parliament can pass laws that future Parliaments cannot change. [ 125 ]
The UK has a parliamentary government based on the Westminster system that has been emulated around the world—a legacy of the British Empire . The parliament of the United Kingdom that meets in the Palace of Westminster has two houses; an elected House of Commons and an appointed House of Lords . Any bill passed requires Royal Assent to become law. It is the ultimate legislative authority in the United Kingdom since the devolved parliament in Scotland as well as the devolved assemblies in Northern Ireland and Wales are not sovereign bodies and could, theoretically, be abolished by the UK parliament.
The position of prime minister , the UK's head of government , [ 126 ] belongs to the member of parliament who can obtain the confidence of a majority in the House of Commons, usually the current leader of the largest political party in that chamber. The prime minister and cabinet are formally appointed by the monarch to form Her Majesty's Government , though the prime minister chooses the cabinet and, by convention, HM The Queen respects the prime minister's choices. [ 127 ]
The cabinet is traditionally drawn from members of the Prime Minister's party in both legislative houses, and mostly from the House of Commons, to which they are responsible . Executive power is exercised by the prime minister and cabinet, all of whom are sworn into the Privy Council of the United Kingdom , and become Ministers of the Crown . The Rt. Hon. David Cameron , leader of the Conservative Party , has been Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service since 11 May 2010. [ 128 ] For elections to the House of Commons, the UK is currently divided into 650 constituencies [ 129 ] with each electing a single member of parliament by simple plurality . General elections are called by the monarch when the prime minister so advises. The Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 require that a new election must be called within five years of the previous general election. [ 130 ]
The UK's three major political parties are the Conservative Party , the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats . During the 2010 general election these three parties won 622 out of 650 seats available in the House of Commons; 621 seats at the 2010 general election [ 131 ] and 1 more at the delayed by-election in Thirsk and Malton. [ 132 ] Most of the remaining seats were won by minor parties that only contest elections in one part of the UK: the Scottish National Party (Scotland only); Plaid Cymru (Wales only); and the Democratic Unionist Party , Social Democratic and Labour Party , Ulster Unionist Party , and Sinn Féin (Northern Ireland only, though Sinn Féin also contests elections in the Republic of Ireland). In accordance with party policy no elected Sinn Féin member of parliament has ever attended the House of Commons to speak on behalf of their constituents – this is because members of parliament are required to take an oath of allegiance to the monarch. The current five Sinn Féin MPs have however, since 2002, made use of the offices and other facilities available at Westminster. [ 133 ] For elections to the European Parliament the UK currently has 72 MEPs , elected in 12 multi-member constituencies. [ 134 ]
Devolved national administrations
Scotland , Wales and Northern Ireland each have their own government or executive , led by a First Minister , and a devolved unicameral legislature. England, the largest country of the United Kingdom, has no devolved executive or legislature and is administered and legislated for directly by the UK government and parliament on all issues. This situation has given rise to the so-called West Lothian question which concerns the fact that MPs from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can vote, sometimes decisively, [ 135 ] on matters affecting England that are handled by devolved legislatures for their own constituencies. [ 136 ]
The Scottish Government and Parliament have wide ranging powers over any matter that has not been specifically 'reserved' to the UK parliament, including education , healthcare , Scots law and local government . [ 137 ] Following its victory at the 2007 elections the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) formed a minority government with its leader, Alex Salmond , becoming First Minister of Scotland . [ 138 ] The pro-union parties responded to the electoral success of the SNP by creating a Commission on Scottish Devolution [ 139 ] which reported in 2009 and recommended that additional powers should be devolved, including control of half the income tax raised in Scotland. [ 140 ] At the 2011 elections the SNP won re-election and achieved an overall majority in the Scottish parliament. [ 141 ]
The Welsh Government and the National Assembly for Wales have more limited powers than those devolved to Scotland,. [ 142 ] Following the passing of the Government of Wales Act 2006 the assembly was able to legislate in devolved areas through Assembly Measures once permission to legislate on that specific matter had been granted by Westminster through a Legislative Competence Order ; [ 143 ] but since May 2011 the Assembly has been able to legislate on devolved matters through Acts of the Assembly , which require no prior consent. The current Welsh Government was formed after the 2011 elections , and is a minority Labour administration lead by Carwyn Jones , who had been First Minister of a Labour / Plaid Cymru administration since December 2009. [ 144 ]
The Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly have powers closer to those already devolved to Scotland. The Northern Ireland Executive is led by a diarchy , currently First Minister Peter Robinson ( Democratic Unionist Party ) and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness ( Sinn Féin ). [ 145 ]
Law and criminal justice
The United Kingdom does not have a single legal system since it was created by the political union of previously independent countries, with Article 19 of the Treaty of Union guaranteeing the continued existence of Scotland's separate legal system. [ 146 ] Today the UK has three distinct systems of law ; English law , Northern Ireland law and Scots law . Recent constitutional changes saw a new Supreme Court of the United Kingdom come into being in October 2009 to replace the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords . [ 147 ] [ 148 ] The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council , including the same members as the Supreme Court, is the highest court of appeal for several independent Commonwealth countries, the UK overseas territories and the British crown dependencies.
Both English law , which applies in England and Wales , and Northern Ireland law are based on common-law principles. [ 149 ] The essence of common law is that, subject to statute, the law is developed by judges in courts , applying statute, precedent and common sense to the facts before them to give explanatory judgements of the relevant legal principles, which are reported and binding in future similar cases ( stare decisis ). [ 150 ] The courts of England and Wales are headed by the Senior Courts of England and Wales , consisting of the Court of Appeal , the High Court of Justice (for civil cases) and the Crown Court (for criminal cases). The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land for both criminal and civil appeal cases in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland and any decision it makes is binding on every other court in the same jurisdiction, often having a persuasive effect in other jurisdictions. [ 151 ]
Scots law applies in Scotland , a hybrid system based on both common-law and civil-law principles. The chief courts are the Court of Session , for civil cases, [ 152 ] and the High Court of Justiciary , for criminal cases. [ 153 ] The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom serves as the highest court of appeal for civil cases under Scots law. [ 154 ] Sheriff courts deal with most civil and criminal cases including conducting criminal trials with a jury, known as sheriff solemn court, or with a sheriff and no jury, known as sheriff summary Court. [ 155 ] The Scots legal system is unique in having three possible verdicts for a criminal trial: " guilty ", " not guilty " and " not proven ". Both "not guilty" and "not proven" result in an acquittal with no possibility of retrial. [ 156 ]
Crime in England and Wales increased in the period between 1981 and 1995, though since that peak there has been an overall fall of 48% in crime from 1995 to 2007/08, [ 157 ] according to crime statistics . The prison population of England and Wales has almost doubled over the same period, to over 80,000, giving England and Wales the highest rate of incarceration in Western Europe at 147 per 100,000. [ 158 ] Her Majesty's Prison Service , which reports to the Ministry of Justice , manages most of the prisons within England and Wales. Crime in Scotland fell to its lowest recorded level for 32 years in 2009/10, falling by ten percent. [ 159 ] At the same time Scotland's prison population, at over 8,000, [ 160 ] is hitting record levels and is well above design capacity. [ 161 ] The Scottish Prison Service , which reports to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice , manages Scotland's prisons. In 2006 a report by the Surveillance Studies Network found that the UK had the highest level of mass surveillance among industrialised western nations. [ 162 ]
The United Kingdom is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council , a member of the Commonwealth of Nations , G7 , G8 , G20 , NATO , the OECD , the WTO , the Council of Europe , the OSCE , and is a member state of the European Union . The UK has a " Special Relationship " with the United States [ 163 ] [ 164 ] and a close partnership with France – the " Entente cordiale " – and shares nuclear weapons technology with both countries. Other close allies include other European Union and NATO members, Commonwealth nations, and Japan. Britain's global presence and influence is further amplified through its trading relations, foreign investments, official development assistance and armed forces. [ 165 ]
The United Kingdom fields one of the most technologically advanced and best trained armed forces in the world and as of 2008 maintained at least 20 military deployments around the globe. [ 166 ] [ 167 ] [ 168 ] According to various sources, including the Ministry of Defence , the UK has the third- or fourth-highest military expenditure in the world, despite only having the 25th largest military in terms of manpower . Total defence spending currently accounts for 2.5% of total national GDP. [ 169 ] The British Army , Royal Air Force and Royal Navy are collectively known as the British Armed Forces and officially as HM Armed Forces . The three forces are managed by the Ministry of Defence and controlled by the Defence Council , chaired by the Secretary of State for Defence .
The UK maintains the largest air force and navy in the EU and second-largest in NATO. The Royal Navy is a blue-water navy , currently one of only three (with the French Navy and the United States Navy ). [ 170 ] The Ministry of Defence signed contracts worth £3.2bn to build two new supercarrier -sized aircraft carriers on 3 July 2008. [ 171 ] In early 2009 the British Army had a reported strength of 105,750, the Royal Air Force had 43,300 personnel and the Navy 38,160. [ 172 ] The United Kingdom Special Forces , such as the Special Air Service and Special Boat Service , provide troops trained for quick, mobile, military responses in counter-terrorism , land, maritime and amphibious operations , often where secrecy or covert tactics are required. There are reserve forces supporting the active military. These include the Territorial Army , the Royal Naval Reserve , Royal Marines Reserve and the Royal Auxiliary Air Force . Active and reserve duty military personnel total approximately 404,090. [ 172 ]
The British Armed Forces are charged with protecting the UK and its overseas territories, promoting the UK's global security interests and supporting international peacekeeping efforts. They are active and regular participants in NATO , including the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps , as well as the Five Power Defence Arrangements , RIMPAC and other worldwide coalition operations. Overseas garrisons and facilities are maintained in Ascension Island , Belize , Brunei , Canada , Cyprus , Diego Garcia , the Falkland Islands , Germany , Gibraltar , Kenya and Qatar . [ 173 ]
Despite the United Kingdom's military capabilities, recent defence policy has a stated assumption that "the most demanding operations" will be undertaken as part of a coalition. [ 174 ] Setting aside the intervention in Sierra Leone their operations in Bosnia , Kosovo , Afghanistan and Iraq may all be taken as precedent. The last war in which the British military fought alone was the Falklands War of 1982, in which they were victorious.
The UK has a partially regulated market economy . [ 178 ] Based on market exchange rates the UK is today the sixth-largest economy in the world and the third-largest in Europe after Germany and France, having fallen behind France for the first time in over a decade in 2008. [ 179 ] HM Treasury , led by the Chancellor of the Exchequer , is responsible for developing and executing the British government's public finance policy and economic policy . The Bank of England is the UK's central bank and is responsible for issuing the nation's currency, the pound sterling . Banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland retain the right to issue their own notes, subject to retaining enough Bank of England notes in reserve to cover their issue. Pound sterling is the world's third-largest reserve currency (after the US Dollar and the Euro). [ 180 ] Since 1997 the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee , headed by the Governor of the Bank of England , has been responsible for setting interest rates at the level necessary to achieve the overall inflation target for the economy that is set by the Chancellor each year. [ 181 ]
In the final quarter of 2008 the UK economy officially entered recession for the first time since 1991. [ 182 ] Unemployment increased from 5.2% in May 2008 to 7.6% in May 2009 and by January 2011 the unemployment rate among 18 to 24-year-olds had risen from 11.9% to 20.3%, the highest since current records began in 1992. [ 183 ] Total UK government debt rose from 44.5% of GDP in December 2007 to 76.1% of GDP in December 2010. [ 184 ] [ 185 ]
The UK service sector makes up around 73% of GDP. [ 186 ] London is one of the three "command centres" of the the global economy (alongside New York City and Tokyo), [ 187 ] is the world's largest financial centre alongside New York, [ 175 ] [ 177 ] [ 188 ] and has the largest city GDP in Europe. [ 189 ] Edinburgh is also one of the largest financial centres in Europe. [ 190 ] Tourism is very important to the British economy and, with over 27 million tourists arriving in 2004, the United Kingdom is ranked as the sixth major tourist destination in the world [ 191 ] and London has the most international visitors of any city in the world. [ 192 ] The creative industries accounted for 7% GVA in 2005 and grew at an average of 6% per annum between 1997 and 2005. [ 193 ]
The Industrial Revolution started in the UK [ 194 ] with an initial concentration on the textile industry, followed by other heavy industries such as shipbuilding , coal mining, and Steelmaking . [ 195 ] [ 196 ] The empire created an overseas market for British products, allowing the UK to dominate international trade in the 19th century. As other nations industrialised, coupled with economic decline after two world wars, the United Kingdom began to lose its competitive advantage and heavy industry declined, by degrees, throughout the 20th century. Manufacturing remains a significant part of the economy but accounted for only one-sixth of national output in 2003. [ 197 ]
The automotive industry is a significant part of the UK manufacturing sector and in 2008 employed around 180,000 people, had a turnover of £52.5 billion and generated £26.6 billion of exports. [ 198 ] The aerospace industry of the UK is the second- or third-largest national aerospace industry depending upon the method of measurement and has an annual turnover of around £20 billion. [ 199 ] [ 200 ] [ 201 ] The pharmaceutical industry plays an important role in the UK economy and the country has the third-highest share of global pharmaceutical R&D expenditures (after the United States and Japan ). [ 202 ] [ 203 ]
The poverty line in the UK is commonly defined as being 60% of the median household income. [ note 8 ] In 2007–2008 13.5 million people, or 22% of the population, lived below this line. This is a higher level of relative poverty than all but four other EU members. [ 204 ] In the same year 4.0 million children, 31% of the total, lived in households below the poverty line after housing costs were taken into account. This is a decrease of 400,000 children since 1998–1999. [ 205 ] The UK imports 40% of its food supplies. [ 206 ]
Science and technology
England and Scotland were leading centres of the Scientific Revolution from the 17th century [ 207 ] and the United Kingdom led the Industrial Revolution from the 18th century, [ 194 ] and has continued to produce scientists and engineers credited with important advances. [ 208 ] Major theorists include Isaac Newton (1643–1727), whose laws of motion and illumination of gravity have been seen as a keystone of modern science, [ 209 ] Charles Darwin (1809–82), whose theory of evolution by natural selection was fundamental to the development of modern biology, James Clerk Maxwell (1831–79), who formulated classical electromagnetic theory , and more recently Stephen Hawking (1942–), who has advanced major theories in the fields of cosmology , quantum gravity and the investigation of black holes . [ 210 ] Major scientific discoveries include hydrogen by Henry Cavendish (1731–1810), [ 211 ] penicillin by Alexander Fleming (1881–1955), [ 212 ] and the structure of DNA , by Francis Crick (1916–2004) and others. [ 213 ] Major engineering projects and applications by people from the UK include the steam locomotive , developed by Richard Trevithick (1771–1833) and Andrew Vivian (1759–1842), [ 214 ] the electric motor by Michael Faraday (1771–1867), the incandescent light bulb by Joseph Swan (1826–1914), [ 215 ] the first practical telephone, patented by Alexander Graham Bell (1847–1922), [ 216 ] the world's first working television system by John Logie Baird (1888–1946), [ 217 ] the jet engine by Frank Whittle (1907–96), the basis of the modern computer by Alan Turing (1912–54) and the World Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee (1955–). [ 218 ]
The modern UK plays a leading part in the aerospace industry, with companies including Rolls-Royce playing a leading role in the aero-engine market; BAE Systems acting as Britain's largest and the Pentagon's sixth largest defence supplier, and large companies including GKN acting as major suppliers to the Airbus project. [ 219 ] Two British-based companies, GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca , ranked in the top five pharmaceutical companies in the world by sales in 2009 [ 220 ] and UK companies have discovered and developed more leading medicines than any other country apart from the US. [ 221 ] The UK remains a leading centre of automotive design and production, particularly of engines, and has around 2,600 component manufacturers. [ 222 ] Scientific research and development remains important in British universities, with many establishing science parks to facilitate production and co-operation with industry. [ 223 ] Between 2004 and 2008 the UK produced 7% of the world's scientific research papers and had an 8% share of scientific citations, the third- and second-highest in the world (after the United States and China and the United States respectively). [ 224 ] Scientific journals produced in the UK include Nature , the British Medical Journal and The Lancet . [ 225 ]
A radial road network totals 29,145 miles (46,904 km) of main roads, 2,173 miles (3,497 km) of motorways and 213,750 miles (344,000 km) of paved roads. [ 91 ] In 2009 there were a total of 34 million licensed vehicles in Great Britain. [ 228 ] The National Rail network of 10,072 route miles (16,116 km) in Great Britain and 189 route miles (303 route km) in Northern Ireland carries over 18,000 passenger and 1,000 freight trains daily. [ 91 ] Plans are now being considered to build new high-speed railway lines by 2025. [ 229 ]
In the year from October 2009 to September 2010 UK airports handled a total of 211.4 million passengers. [ 230 ] In that period the three largest airports were London Heathrow Airport (65.6 million passengers), Gatwick Airport (31.5 million passengers) and London Stansted Airport (18.9 million passengers). [ 230 ] London Heathrow Airport, located 24 kilometres (15 mi) west of the capital, has the most international passenger traffic of any airport in the world [ 226 ] [ 227 ] and is the hub for the UK flag carrier British Airways , as well as BMI and Virgin Atlantic . [ 231 ]
In 2006 the UK was the world's ninth-largest consumer of energy and the 15th largest producer. [ 232 ] In 2007 the UK had a total energy output of 9.5 quadrillion Btus , of which the composition was oil (38%), natural gas (36%), coal (13%), nuclear (11%) and other renewables (2%). [ 233 ] In 2009 the UK produced 1.5 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of oil and consumed 1.7 million bbl/d. [ 234 ] Production is now in decline and the UK has been a net importer of oil since 2005. [ 234 ] As of 2010 the UK has around 3.1 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserves, the largest of any EU member state. [ 234 ]
In 2009 the UK was the 13th largest producer of natural gas in the world and the largest producer in the EU. [ 235 ] Production is now in decline and the UK has been a net importer of natural gas since 2004. [ 235 ] In 2009 the UK produced 19.7 million tons of coal and consumed 60.2 million tons. [ 233 ] In 2005 it had proven recoverable coal reserves of 171 million tons. [ 233 ] It has been estimated that identified onshore areas have the potential to produce between 7 billion tonnes and 16 billion tonnes of coal through underground coal gasification (UCG) . [ 236 ] Based on current UK coal consumption, these volumes represent reserves that could last the UK between 200 and 400 years. [ 237 ] The UK is home to a number of large energy companies, including two of the six oil and gas " supermajors " – BP and Royal Dutch Shell – and BG Group . [ 238 ] [ 239 ]
A Census occurs simultaneously in all parts of the UK every ten years. [ 240 ] The Office for National Statistics is responsible for collecting data for England and Wales with the General Register Office for Scotland and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency each being responsible for censuses in their respective countries. [ 241 ] In the 2001 census the total population of the United Kingdom was 58,789,194, the third largest in the European Union , the fifth largest in the Commonwealth and the twenty-first largest in the world. By mid-2009 this was estimated to have grown to 61,792,000. [ 242 ] In 2008 natural population growth overtook net migration as the main contributor to population growth for the first time since 1998. [ 243 ] Between 2001 and 2008 the population increased by an average annual rate of 0.5 per cent. This compares to 0.3 per cent per year in the period 1991 to 2001 and 0.2 per cent in the decade 1981 to 1991. [ 243 ] Published in 2008 the mid-2007 population estimates revealed that, for the first time, the UK was home to more people of pensionable age than children under the age of 16. [ 244 ] It has been estimated that the number of people aged 100 or over will rise steeply to reach over 626,000 by 2080. [ 245 ]
England's population in mid-2008 was estimated to be 51.44 million. [ 243 ] It is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, with 383 people resident per square kilometre in mid-2003, [ 246 ] with a particular concentration in London and the south east. [ 247 ] The mid-2008 estimates put Scotland's population at 5.17 million, Wales at 2.99 million and Northern Ireland at 1.78 million, [ 243 ] with much lower population densities than England. Compared to England's 383 inhabitants per square kilometre (990 /sq mi) the corresponding figures were 142 /km 2 (370 /sq mi) for Wales, 125 /km 2 (320 /sq mi) for Northern Ireland and just 65 /km 2 (170 /sq mi) for Scotland in mid-2003. [ 246 ] In percentage terms Northern Ireland has had the fastest growing population of any country of the UK in each of the four years to mid-2008. [ 243 ]
In 2008 the average total fertility rate (TFR) across the UK was 1.96 children per woman. [ 248 ] Whilst a rising birth rate is contributing to current population growth it remains considerably below the 'baby boom' peak of 2.95 children per woman in 1964, [ 249 ] below the replacement rate of 2.1, but higher than the 2001 record low of 1.63. [ 248 ] Scotland had the lowest fertility at only 1.8 children per woman, while Northern Ireland had the highest at 2.11 children in 2008. [ 248 ]
| Largest cities of United Kingdom |
|Rank||City Name||English Region/Country||Pop.||Rank||City Name||English Region/Country||Pop.|| |
|1||London||Greater London||7,172,091||11||Coventry||West Midlands||303,475|
|2||Birmingham||West Midlands||970,892||12||Kingston upon Hull||Yorkshire and the Humber||301,416|
|3||Glasgow||Eskosya||629,501||13||Bradford||Yorkshire and the Humber||293,717|
|4||Liverpool||North West England||469,017||14||Cardiff||Wales||292,150|
|5||Leeds||Yorkshire and the Humber||443,247||15||Belfast||Northern Ireland||276,459|
|6||Sheffield||Yorkshire and the Humber||439,866||16||Stoke-on-Trent||West Midlands||259,252|
|7||Edinburgh||Eskosya||430,082||17||Newcastle-upon-Tyne||North East England||259,000|
|8||Bristol||South West England||420,556||18||Wolverhampton||West Midlands||251,462|
|9||Manchester||North West England||394,269||19||Nottingham||East Midlands||249,584|
|10||Leicester||East Midlands||330,574||20||Plymouth||South West England||243,795|
|Ethnic group||Populasyon||% of total*|
|Other Asian (non-Chinese)||247,644||0.4%|
|* Percentage of total UK population, according to the 2001 Census|
Historically, indigenous British people were thought to be descended from the various ethnic groups that settled there before the 11th century: the Celts , Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Norse and the Normans . Recent genetic studies have shown that more than 50 percent of England's gene pool contains Germanic Y chromosomes, [ 250 ] though other recent genetic analysis indicates that "about 75 per cent of the traceable ancestors of the modern British population had arrived in the British isles by about 6,200 years ago, at the start of the British Neolithic or Stone Age", and that the British broadly share a common ancestry with the Basque people . [ 251 ] [ 252 ] [ 253 ]
The UK has a history of small-scale non-white immigration, with Liverpool having the oldest Black population in the country dating back to at least the 1730s, [ 254 ] and the oldest Chinese community in Europe, dating to the arrival of Chinese seamen in the 19th century. [ 255 ] In 1950 there were probably less than 20,000 non-white residents in Britain, almost all born overseas. [ 256 ]
Since 1945 substantial immigration from Africa, the Caribbean and South Asia has been a legacy of ties forged by the British Empire . Migration from new EU member states in Central and Eastern Europe since 2004 has resulted in growth in these population groups but, as of 2008, the trend is reversing and many of these migrants are returning home, leaving the size of these groups unknown. [ 257 ] As of 2001 92.1% of the population identified themselves as White, leaving 7.9% [ 258 ] of the UK population identifying themselves as mixed race or of an ethnic minority .
Ethnic diversity varies significantly across the UK. 30.4% of London's population [ 259 ] and 37.4% of Leicester 's [ 260 ] was estimated to be non-white as of June 2005, whereas less than 5% of the populations of North East England , Wales and the South West were from ethnic minorities according to the 2001 census. [ 261 ] As of 2011, 26.5% of primary and 22.2% of secondary pupils at state schools in England are members of an ethnic minority. [ 262 ]
The UK's official language is English , [ 1 ] [ 2 ] a West Germanic language descended from Old English which features a large number of borrowings from Old Norse , Norman French and Latin . The English language has spread across the world, largely because of the British Empire, and has become the international language of business as well as the most widely taught second language . [ 265 ]
Scots , a language descended from early northern Middle English , is recognised at European level, as is its regional variant in the northern counties of Ireland, Ulster Scots . [ 266 ] There are also four Celtic languages in use in the UK: Welsh , Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Cornish . In the 2001 Census over a fifth (21%) of the population of Wales said they could speak Welsh, [ 267 ] an increase from the 1991 Census (18%). [ 268 ] In addition it is estimated that about 200,000 Welsh speakers live in England. [ 269 ]
The 2001 census in Northern Ireland showed that 167,487 (10.4%) people "had some knowledge of Irish" (see Irish language in Northern Ireland ), almost exclusively in the Catholic/nationalist population. Over 92,000 people in Scotland (just under 2% of the population) had some Gaelic language ability, including 72% of those living in the Outer Hebrides . [ 270 ] The number of schoolchildren being taught in Welsh, Gaelic and Irish is increasing. [ 271 ] Welsh and Scottish Gaelic are also spoken by small groups around the globe with some Gaelic still spoken in Nova Scotia , Canada (especially Cape Breton Island ), [ 272 ] and Welsh in Patagonia , Argentina. [ 273 ]
Across the United Kingdom it is generally compulsory for pupils to study a second language to some extent: up to the age of 14 in England, [ 274 ] and up to age 16 in Scotland. French and German are the two most commonly taught second languages in England and Scotland. In Wales, all pupils up to age 16 are either taught in Welsh or taught Welsh as a second language. [ 275 ]
Forms of Christianity have dominated religious life in what is now the United Kingdom for over 1,400 years. [ 276 ] 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, [ 277 ] while immigration and demographic change have contributed to the growth of other faiths, most notably Islam. [ 278 ] This has led some commentators to variously describe the UK as a multi-faith, [ 279 ] secularised , [ 280 ] or post-Christian society. [ 281 ] In the 2001 census 71.6% of all respondents indicated that they were Christians, with the next largest faiths (by number of adherents) being Islam (2.8%), Hinduism (1.0%), Sikhism (0.6%), Judaism (0.5%), Buddhism (0.3%) and all other religions (0.3%). [ 282 ] 15% of respondents stated that they had no religion , with a further 7% not stating a religious preference. [ 283 ] A Tearfund survey in 2007 showed only one in ten Britons actually attend church weekly. [ 284 ]
The ( Anglican ) Church of England is the established church in England. [ 285 ] It retains a representation in the UK Parliament and the British monarch is its Supreme Governor . [ 286 ] In Scotland the Presbyterian Church of Scotland is recognised as the national church . It is not subject to state control and the British monarch is an ordinary member, required to swear an oath to "maintain and preserve the Protestant Religion and Presbyterian Church Government" upon his or her accession. [ 287 ] [ 288 ] The Church in Wales was disestablished in 1920 and there is no established church in Northern Ireland. [ 289 ] Although there is no UK-wide data in the 2001 census on adherence to individual Christian denominations, Ceri Peach has estimated that 62% of Christians are Anglican, 13.5% Roman Catholic , 6% Presbyterian , 3.4% Methodist with small numbers of other Protestant denominations and the Orthodox church. [ 290 ]
The United Kingdom has experienced successive waves of migration. The Great Famine brought a large influx of Irish immigrants. [ 291 ] Over 120,000 Polish veterans settled in Britain after World War II, unable to return home. [ 292 ] In the 20th century there was significant immigration from the British Empire, driven largely by post-World War II labour shortages. Many of these migrants came from the Caribbean and the Indian subcontinent . [ 293 ]
The proportion of foreign-born people in the UK remains slightly below that of some other European countries, [ 294 ] although immigration is now contributing to a rising population, [ 295 ] accounting for about half of the population increase between 1991 and 2001. Analysis of Office for National Statistics data shows that 2.3 million net migrants moved to the UK in the period 1991 to 2006. [ 296 ] [ 297 ] In 2008 it was predicted that migration would add 7 million to the UK population by 2031, [ 298 ] though these figures are disputed. [ 299 ] The latest provisional official figures show that, in 2010, 586,000 people arrived to live in the UK while 344,000 left, meaning that net inward migration was 242,000. [ 300 ] [ 301 ]
A record 203,790 foreign nationals became British citizens in 2009. [ 302 ] 194,780 people were granted permanent settlement rights in 2009, of whom people from the Indian subcontinent accounted for 34 per cent, 25 per cent were from Africa and 21 per cent from elsewhere in Asia. [ 303 ] [ 304 ] 24.7 per cent of babies born in England and Wales in 2009 were born to mothers born outside the UK, according to official statistics released in 2010. [ 305 ]
At least 5.5 million British-born people are living abroad, [ 306 ] [ 307 ] [ 308 ] the top four destinations being Australia, Spain, the United States and Canada. [ 306 ] [ 309 ] Emigration was an important feature of British society in the 19th century. Between 1815 and 1930 around 11.4 million people emigrated from Britain and 7.3 million from Ireland. Estimates show that by the end of the 20th century some 300 million people of British and Irish descent were permanently settled around the globe. [ 310 ]
Citizens of the European Union have the right to live and work in any member state, including the UK. [ 311 ] Transitional arrangements apply to Romanians and Bulgarians whose countries joined the EU in January 2007. [ 312 ] Research conducted by the Migration Policy Institute for the Equality and Human Rights Commission suggests that, between May 2004 and September 2009, 1.5 million workers migrated from the new EU member states to the UK, two thirds of them Polish, but that many have since returned home, resulting in a net increase in the number of nationals of the new member states in the UK of some 700,000 over that period. [ 313 ] [ 314 ] The late-2000s recession in the UK reduced the economic incentive for Poles to migrate to the UK, [ 315 ] with the migration becoming temporary and circular. [ 316 ] In 2009, for the first time since enlargement, more nationals of the eight central and eastern European states that had joined the EU in 2004 left the UK than arrived. [ 317 ]
The UK government is currently introducing a points-based immigration system for immigration from outside the European Economic Area that will replace existing schemes, including the Scottish Government's Fresh Talent Initiative . [ 318 ] In June 2010 the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government introduced a temporary cap on immigration of those entering the UK from outside the EU, with the limit set at 24,100, in order to stop an expected rush of applications before a permanent cap is imposed in April 2011. [ 319 ] The cap has caused tension within the coalition: business secretary Vince Cable has argued that it is harming British businesses. [ 320 ]
Education in the United Kingdom is a devolved matter, with each country having a separate education system.
Education in England is the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Education , though the day-to-day administration and funding of state schools is the responsibility of local authorities . [ 321 ] Universally free of charge state education was introduced piecemeal between 1870 and 1944, with education becoming compulsory for all 5 to 14 year-olds in 1921. [ 322 ] [ 323 ] Education is now mandatory from ages five to sixteen (15 if born in late July or August). The majority of children are educated in state-sector schools, only a small proportion of which select on the grounds of academic ability. State schools which are allowed to select pupils according to intelligence and academic ability can achieve comparable results to the most selective private schools: out of the top ten performing schools in terms of GCSE results in 2006 two were state-run grammar schools . Despite a fall in actual numbers the proportion of children in England attending private schools has risen to over 7%. [ 324 ] Over half of students at the leading universities of Cambridge and Oxford had attended state schools. [ 325 ] The universities of England include some of the top universities in the world; the University of Cambridge, University College London , the University of Oxford and Imperial College London are all ranked in the global top 10 in the 2010 QS World University Rankings , with Cambridge ranked first. [ 326 ] Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) rated pupils in England 7th in the world for maths and 6th for science. The results put England's pupils ahead of other European countries, including Germany and the Scandinavian countries. [ 327 ]
Education in Scotland is the responsibility of the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning , with day-to-day administration and funding of state schools the responsibility of Local Authorities. Two non-departmental public bodies have key roles in Scottish education: the Scottish Qualifications Authority is responsible for the development, accreditation, assessment and certification of qualifications other than degrees which are delivered at secondary schools, post-secondary colleges of further education and other centres; [ 329 ] and Learning and Teaching Scotland provides advice, resources and staff development to the education community to promote curriculum development and create a culture of innovation, ambition and excellence. [ 330 ] Scotland first legislated for compulsory education in 1496. [ 331 ] The proportion of children in Scotland attending private schools is just over 4%, although it has been rising slowly in recent years. [ 332 ] Scottish students who attend Scottish universities pay neither tuition fees nor graduate endowment charges, as fees were abolished in 2001 and the graduate endowment scheme was abolished in 2008. [ 333 ]
Education in Northern Ireland is the responsibility of the Minister of Education and the Minister for Employment and Learning , although responsibility at a local level is administered by five education and library boards covering different geographical areas. The Council for the Curriculum, Examinations & Assessment (CCEA) is the body responsible for advising the government on what should be taught in Northern Ireland's schools, monitoring standards and awarding qualifications. [ 334 ] The Welsh Government has responsibility for education in Wales . A significant number of Welsh students are taught either wholly or largely in the Welsh language ; lessons in Welsh are compulsory for all until the age of 16. [ 335 ] There are plans to increase the provision of Welsh-medium schools as part of the policy of creating a fully bilingual Wales.
Healthcare in the United Kingdom is a devolved matter and each country has its own system of private and publicly funded health care , together with alternative , holistic and complementary treatments. Public healthcare is provided to all UK permanent residents and is free at the point of need, being paid for from general taxation. The World Health Organization , in 2000, ranked the provision of healthcare in the United Kingdom as fifteenth best in Europe and eighteenth in the world. [ 336 ] [ 337 ]
Regulatory bodies are organised on a UK-wide basis such as the General Medical Council , the Nursing and Midwifery Council and non-governmental-based, such as the Royal Colleges . However, political and operational responsibility for healthcare lies with four national executives ; healthcare in England is the responsibility of the UK Government; healthcare in Northern Ireland is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Executive ; healthcare in Scotland is the responsibility of the Scottish Government ; and healthcare in Wales is the responsibility of the Welsh Assembly Government . Each National Health Service has different policies and priorities, resulting in contrasts. [ 338 ] [ 339 ]
Since 1979 expenditure on healthcare has been increased significantly to bring it closer to the European Union average. [ 340 ] The UK spends around 8.4 per cent of its gross domestic product on healthcare, which is 0.5 percentage points below the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average and about one percentage point below the average of the European Union. [ 341 ]
The culture of the United Kingdom has been influenced by many factors including: the nation's island status; its history as a western liberal democracy and a major power; as well as being a political union of four countries with each preserving elements of distinctive traditions, customs and symbolism. As a result of the British Empire , British influence can be observed in the language , culture and legal systems of many of its former colonies; including Australia, Canada, India , South Africa and the United States.
The United Kingdom has had a considerable influence on the history of the cinema. The British directors Alfred Hitchcock and David Lean are among the most critically acclaimed of all-time, [ 342 ] with other important directors including Charlie Chaplin , Michael Powell , Carol Reed and Ridley Scott . [ 343 ] [ 344 ] [ 345 ] [ 346 ] Many British actors have achieved international fame and critical success, including: Julie Andrews , Richard Burton , Michael Caine , Charlie Chaplin, Sean Connery , Vivien Leigh , David Niven , Laurence Olivier , Peter Sellers and Kate Winslet . [ 347 ] [ 348 ] [ 349 ] [ 350 ] [ 351 ] [ 352 ] [ 353 ] [ 354 ] [ 355 ] [ 356 ] Some of the most commercially successful films of all time have been produced in the United Kingdom, including the two highest-grossing film franchises ( Harry Potter and James Bond ). [ 357 ] Ealing Studios has a claim to being the oldest continuously working film studio in the world. [ 358 ]
Despite a history of important and successful productions, the industry has often been characterised by a debate about its identity and the level of American and European influence. Many British films are co-productions with American producers, often using both British and American actors, and British actors feature regularly in Hollywood films. Many successful Hollywood films have been based on British people, stories or events, including Titanic , The Lord of the Rings , Pirates of the Caribbean and the 'English Cycle' of Disney animated films. [ 359 ]
In 2009 British films grossed around $2 billion worldwide and achieved a market share of around 7% globally and 17% in the United Kingdom. [ 360 ] UK box-office takings totalled £944 million in 2009, with around 173 million admissions. [ 360 ] The British Film Institute has produced a poll ranking of what it considers to be the 100 greatest British films of all time, the BFI Top 100 British films . [ 361 ] The annual British Academy Film Awards , hosted by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts , are the British equivalent of the Oscars . [ 362 ]
'British literature' refers to literature associated with the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands as well as to literature from England, Wales and Scotland prior to the formation of the UK. Most British literature is in the English language. In 2005, some 206,000 books were published in the United Kingdom and in 2006 it was the largest publisher of books in the world. [ 363 ]
The English playwright and poet William Shakespeare is widely regarded as the greatest dramatist of all time. [ 364 ] [ 365 ] [ 366 ] Shakespeare's contemporaries Christopher Marlowe and Ben Jonson added depth. More recently the playwrights Alan Ayckbourn , Harold Pinter , Michael Frayn , Tom Stoppard and David Edgar have combined elements of surrealism, realism and radicalism.
Notable pre-modern and early-modern English writers include Geoffrey Chaucer (14th century), Thomas Malory (15th century), Sir Thomas More (16th century), and John Milton (17th century). In the 18th century Daniel Defoe (author of Robinson Crusoe ) and Samuel Richardson were pioneers of the modern novel . In the 19th century there followed further innovation by Jane Austen , the gothic novelist Mary Shelley , children's writer Lewis Carroll , the Brontë sisters , the social campaigner Charles Dickens , the naturalist Thomas Hardy , the realist George Eliot , the visionary poet William Blake and romantic poet William Wordsworth . Twentieth century English writers include: science-fiction novelist HG Wells ; the writers of children's classics Rudyard Kipling , AA Milne (the creator of Winnie-the-Pooh ) and Enid Blyton ; the controversial DH Lawrence ; modernist Virginia Woolf ; the satirist Evelyn Waugh ; the prophetic novelist George Orwell ; the popular novelists W. Somerset Maugham and Graham Greene ; the crime writer Agatha Christie (the best-selling novelist of all time); [ 367 ] Ian Fleming (the creator of James Bond ); the poets TS Eliot , Philip Larkin and Ted Hughes ; and the fantasy writers JRR Tolkien , CS Lewis and JK Rowling .
Scotland's contributions include the detective writer Arthur Conan Doyle (the creator of Sherlock Holmes ), romantic literature by Sir Walter Scott , children's writer JM Barrie , the epic adventures of Robert Louis Stevenson and the celebrated poet Robert Burns . More recently the modernist and nationalist Hugh MacDiarmid and Neil M. Gunn contributed to the Scottish Renaissance . A more grim outlook is found in Ian Rankin 's stories and the psychological horror-comedy of Iain Banks . Scotland's capital, Edinburgh, was UNESCO's first worldwide City of Literature . [ 368 ]
Britain's oldest known poem, Y Gododdin , was probably composed in Cumbric or Old Welsh in the late 6th century and contains the earliest known reference to King Arthur . [ 369 ] Geoffrey of Monmouth developed the Arthurian legend with his pseudohistorical account of British history, the Historia Regum Britanniae . [ 370 ] Wales' most celebrated medieval poet, Dafydd ap Gwilym (fl 1320–1370), composed Welsh language poetry on themes including nature, religion and especially love. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest European poets of his age. [ 371 ] Until the late 19th century the majority of Welsh literature was in Welsh and much of the prose was religious in character. Daniel Owen is credited as the first Welsh-language novelist, publishing Rhys Lewis in 1885. The best-known of the Anglo-Welsh poets are both Thomases. Dylan Thomas became famous on both sides of the Atlantic in the mid 20th century. The Swansea writer is remembered for his poetry – his " Do not go gentle into that good night ; Rage, rage against the dying of the light." is one of the most quoted couplets of English language verse – and for his 'play for voices', Under Milk Wood . Influential Church in Wales 'poet-priest' and Welsh nationalist , RS Thomas , was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1996. Leading Welsh novelists include Richard Llewellyn and Kate Roberts .
Authors of other nationalities, particularly from Commonwealth countries, the Republic of Ireland and the United States, have lived and worked in the UK. Significant examples through the centuries include Jonathan Swift , Oscar Wilde , Bram Stoker , George Bernard Shaw , Joseph Conrad , TS Eliot , Ezra Pound and more recently British authors born abroad such as Kazuo Ishiguro and Sir Salman Rushdie . [ 372 ] [ 373 ]
The BBC, founded in 1922, is the UK's publicly funded radio, television and Internet broadcasting corporation, and is the oldest and largest broadcaster in the world. It operates numerous television and radio stations in the UK and abroad and its domestic services are funded by the television licence . [ 374 ] [ 375 ] Other major players in the UK media include ITV plc , which operates 11 of the 15 regional television broadcasters that make up the ITV Network , [ 376 ] and News Corporation , which owns a number of national newspapers through News International such as the most popular tabloid The Sun and the longest-established daily " broadsheet " The Times , [ 377 ] as well as holding a large stake in satellite broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting . [ 378 ] London dominates the media sector in the UK: national newspapers and television and radio are largely based there, although Manchester is also a significant national media centre. Edinburgh and Glasgow, and Cardiff, are important centres of newspaper and broadcasting production in Scotland and Wales respectively. [ 379 ] The UK publishing sector, including books, directories and databases, journals, magazines and business media, newspapers and news agencies, has a combined turnover of around £20 billion and employs around 167,000 people. [ 380 ]
In 2009 it was estimated that individuals viewed a mean of 3.75 hours of television per day and 2.81 hours of radio. In that year the main BBC public service broadcasting channels accounted for an estimated 28.4% of all television viewing; the three main independent channels accounted for 29.5% and the increasingly important other satellite and digital channels for the remaining 42.1%. [ 381 ] Sales of newspapers have fallen since the 1970s and in 2009 42% of people reported reading a daily national newspaper. [ 382 ] In 2010 82.5% of the UK population were Internet users, the highest proportion amongst the 20 countries with the largest total number of users in that year. [ 383 ]
Various styles of music are popular in the UK from the indigenous folk music of England , Wales , Scotland and Northern Ireland to heavy metal . Notable composers of classical music from the United Kingdom and the countries that preceded it include William Byrd , Henry Purcell , Sir Edward Elgar , Gustav Holst , Sir Arthur Sullivan (most famous for working with librettist Sir WS Gilbert ), Ralph Vaughan Williams and Benjamin Britten , pioneer of modern British opera. Sir Peter Maxwell Davies is one of the foremost living composers and current Master of the Queen's Music . The UK is also home to world-renowned symphonic orchestras and choruses such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony Chorus . Notable conductors include Sir Simon Rattle , John Barbirolli and Sir Malcolm Sargent . Some of the notable film score composers include John Barry , Clint Mansell , Mike Oldfield , John Powell , Craig Armstrong , David Arnold , John Murphy , Monty Norman and Harry Gregson-Williams . George Frideric Handel , although born German, was a naturalised British citizen [ 387 ] and some of his best works, such as Messiah , were written in the English language. [ 388 ] Andrew Lloyd Webber has achieved enormous worldwide commercial success and is a prolific composer of musical theatre, works which have dominated London's West End for a number of years and have travelled to Broadway in New York. [ 389 ]
The Beatles have international sales of over one billion units and are the biggest-selling and most influential act in the history of popular music. [ 384 ] [ 385 ] [ 386 ] [ 390 ] Other prominent British contributors to have influenced popular music over the last 50 years include Queen , Cliff Richard , the Bee Gees , Elton John , Led Zeppelin , Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones ; all of whom have world wide record sales of 200 million or more . [ 391 ] [ 392 ] [ 393 ] [ 394 ] [ 395 ] [ 396 ] [ 397 ] According to research by Guinness World Records eight of the ten acts with the most UK chart singles are British: Status Quo , Queen , The Rolling Stones , UB40 , Depeche Mode , the Bee Gees , the Pet Shop Boys and the Manic Street Preachers . [ 398 ] [ 399 ] More recent UK music acts that have had international success include Coldplay , Radiohead , Oasis , Spice Girls , Amy Winehouse , Muse , Adele and Gorillaz .
A number of UK cities are known for their music. Acts from Liverpool have had more UK chart number one hit singles per capita (54) than any other city worldwide. [ 400 ] Glasgow 's contribution to music was recognised in 2008 when it was named a UNESCO City of Music , one of only three cities in the world to have this honour. [ 401 ]
The United Kingdom is famous for the tradition of 'British Empiricism', a branch of the philosophy of knowledge that states that only knowledge verified by experience is valid, and 'Scottish Philosophy', sometimes referred to as the ' Scottish School of Common Sense '. [ 402 ] The most famous philosophers of British Empiricism are John Locke , George Berkeley and David Hume ; while Dugald Stewart , Thomas Reid and William Hamilton were major exponents of the Scottish "common sense" school. Two Britons are also notable for a theory of moral philosophy utilitarianism , first used by Jeremy Bentham and later by John Stuart Mill in his short work Utilitarianism . [ 403 ] [ 404 ] Other eminent philosophers from the UK and the unions and countries that preceded it include Duns Scotus , John Lilburne , Mary Wollstonecraft , Sir Francis Bacon , Adam Smith , Thomas Hobbes , William of Ockham , Bertrand Russell and AJ "Freddie" Ayer . Foreign-born philosophers who settled in the UK include Isaiah Berlin , Karl Marx , Karl Popper and Ludwig Wittgenstein .
The history of British visual art forms part of western art history . Major British artists include: the Romantics William Blake , John Constable , Samuel Palmer and JMW Turner ; the portrait painters Sir Joshua Reynolds and Lucian Freud ; the landscape artists Thomas Gainsborough and LS Lowry ; the pioneer of the Arts and Crafts Movement William Morris ; the figurative painter Francis Bacon ; the Pop artists Peter Blake , Richard Hamilton and David Hockney ; the collaborative duo Gilbert and George ; the abstract artist Howard Hodgkin ; and the sculptors Antony Gormley , Anish Kapoor and Henry Moore . During the late 1980s and 1990s the Saatchi Gallery in London helped to bring to public attention a group of multi-genre artists who would become known as the " Young British Artists ": Damien Hirst , Chris Ofili , Rachel Whiteread , Tracey Emin , Mark Wallinger , Steve McQueen , Sam Taylor-Wood and the Chapman Brothers are among the better-known members of this loosely affiliated movement.
The Royal Academy in London is a key organisation for the promotion of the visual arts in the United Kingdom. Major schools of art in the UK include: the six-school University of the Arts London , which includes the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and Chelsea College of Art and Design ; Goldsmiths, University of London ; the Slade School of Fine Art (part of University College London ); the Glasgow School of Art ; the Royal College of Art ; and The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art (part of the University of Oxford). The Courtauld Institute of Art is a leading centre for the teaching of the history of art . Important art galleries in the United Kingdom include the National Gallery , National Portrait Gallery , Tate Britain and Tate Modern (the most-visited modern art gallery in the world, with around 4.7 million visitors per year). [ 405 ]
Major sports, including association football, rugby league , rugby union , rowing , boxing , badminton, cricket , tennis, darts and golf, originated or were substantially developed in the United Kingdom and the states that preceded it. A 2003 poll found that football is the most popular sport in the United Kingdom . [ 407 ] In most international competitions, separate teams represent England, Scotland, Wales , and Northern Ireland , including at the Commonwealth Games . (In sporting contexts, these teams can be referred to collectively as the Home Nations ). However there are occasions where a single sports team represents the United Kingdom, including at the Olympics where the UK is represented by the Great Britain team . London was the site of the 1908 and 1948 Olympic Games, and in 2012 will become the first city to play host for a third time.
Each of the Home Nations has its own football association, national team and league system , though a few clubs play outside their country's respective systems for a variety of historical and logistical reasons. England , Scotland , Wales and Northern Ireland compete as separate countries in international competition and, as a consequence, the UK does not compete as a team in football events at the Olympic Games. [ 408 ] There are proposals to have a UK team take part in the 2012 Summer Olympics but the Scottish , Welsh and Northern Irish football associations have declined to participate, fearing that it would undermine their independent status – a fear confirmed by FIFA president Sepp Blatter. [ 409 ] England has been the most successful of the home nations winning the World Cup on home soil in 1966 , although there has historically been a close-fought rivalry between England and Scotland .
Cricket was invented in England. The England cricket team , controlled by the England and Wales Cricket Board , [ 410 ] is the only national team in the UK with Test status . Team members are drawn from the main county sides, and include both English and Welsh players. Cricket is distinct from football and rugby where Wales and England field separate national teams, although Wales had fielded its own team in the past. Irish and Scottish players have played for England because neither Scotland nor Ireland have Test status and have only recently started to play in One Day Internationals . [ 411 ] [ 412 ] Scotland, England (and Wales), and Ireland (including Northern Ireland) have competed at the Cricket World Cup , with England reaching the finals on three occasions. There is a professional league championship in which clubs representing 17 English counties and 1 Welsh county compete. [ 413 ] Rugby league is a popular sport in some areas of the UK. It originates in Huddersfield and is generally played in Northern England . [ 414 ] A single 'Great Britain Lions' team had competed in the Rugby League World Cup and Test match games, but this changed in 2008 when England , Scotland and Ireland competed as separate nations. [ 415 ] Great Britain is still being retained as the full national team for Ashes tours against Australia, New Zealand and France. The highest form of professional rugby league in the UK and Europe is Super League where there are 11 teams from Northern England, 1 from London, 1 from Wales and 1 from France. Rugby union is organised on a separate basis for England , Scotland , Wales and Ireland , each has a top-ranked international team and were collectively known as the Home Nations . The Six Nations Championship , played between the Home Nations as well as Italy and France, is the premier international tournament in the northern hemisphere. [ 416 ] The Triple Crown is awarded to any of the Home Nations who beats the other three in that tournament. [ 417 ]
The game of lawn tennis first originated in the city of Birmingham between 1859 and 1865. [ 418 ] The Championships, Wimbledon are international tennis events held in Wimbledon in south London every summer and are regarded as the most prestigious event of the global tennis calendar. Snooker is one of the UK's popular sporting exports, with the world championships held annually in Sheffield . [ 419 ] In Northern Ireland Gaelic football and hurling are popular team sports, both in terms of participation and spectating, and Irish expatriates throughout the UK and the US also play them. [ 420 ] Shinty (or camanachd ) is popular in the Scottish Highlands . [ 421 ]
Thoroughbred racing , which originated under Charles II of England as the "sport of kings", is popular throughout the UK with world-famous races including the Grand National , the Epsom Derby and Royal Ascot . The UK has proved successful in the international sporting arena in rowing . Golf is the sixth most popular sport, by participation, in the UK. Although The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews in Scotland is the sport's home course, [ 422 ] the world's oldest golf course is actually Musselburgh Links' Old Golf Course. [ 423 ]
The UK is closely associated with motorsport . Many teams and drivers in Formula One (F1) are based in the UK, and drivers from Britain have won more world titles than any other country. The UK hosted the very first F1 Grand Prix in 1950 at Silverstone , the current location of the British Grand Prix held each year in July. The country also hosts legs of the World Rally Championship and has its own touring car racing championship, the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC). [ 424 ]
The flag of the United Kingdom is the Union Flag (also referred to as the Union Jack). It was first created in 1606 by the superimposition of the Flag of England on the Flag of Scotland and updated in 1801 with the addition of Saint Patrick's Flag . Wales is not represented in the Union Flag as Wales had been conquered and annexed to England prior to the formation of the United Kingdom; the possibility of redesigning the Union Flag to include representation of Wales has not been completely ruled out. [ 425 ] The national anthem of the United Kingdom is " God Save the King ", with "King" replaced with "Queen" in the lyrics whenever the monarch is a woman.
Britannia is a national personification of the United Kingdom, originating from Roman Britain . [ 426 ] Britannia is symbolised as a young woman with brown or golden hair wearing a Corinthian helmet and white robes. She holds Poseidon 's three-pronged trident and a shield , bearing the Union Flag. Sometimes she is depicted as riding on the back of a lion. At and since the height of the British Empire, Britannia has often associated with maritime dominance, as in the patriotic song Rule, Britannia! . The lion symbol is depicted behind Britannia on the British fifty pence coin and one is shown crowned on the back of the British ten pence coin . It is also used as a symbol on the non-ceremonial flag of the British Army . The bulldog is sometimes used as a symbol of the United Kingdom and has been associated with Winston Churchill 's defiance of Nazi Germany. [ 427 ]
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- ^ No law was passed making God Save the Queen the official anthem. In the British tradition, such laws are not necessary; proclamation and usage are sufficient to make it the official national anthem. God Save the Queen also serves as the Royal anthem for several other countries.
- ^ Under the Council of Europe 's European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages , the Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Cornish , Irish, Scots and its regional variant Ulster Scots are officially recognised as Regional or Minority languages by the UK Government for the purposes of the Charter. [ 3 ] See also Languages of the United Kingdom .
- ^ British dependencies drive on the left except for BIOT and Gibraltar .
- ^ ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 states that this should be GB and .gb was initially used by the Government, but registration has been suppressed in favour of .uk . The .eu domain is shared with other European Union member states.
- ^ In the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous (regional) languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages . In each of these, the UK's official name is as follows:
- Cornish : Rywvaneth Unys Breten Veur ha Kledhbarth Iwerdhon ;
- Irish : Ríocht Aontaithe na Breataine Móire agus Thuaisceart Éireann ;
- Scots : Unitit Kinrick o Great Breetain an Northren Irland (or Norlin Airlann in Ulster Scots );
- Scottish Gaelic : Rìoghachd Aonaichte na Breatainne Mòire is Èireann a Tuath ;
- Welsh : Teyrnas Unedig Prydain Fawr a Gogledd Iwerddon
- ^ Compare to section 1 of both of the 1800 Acts of Union which reads: the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland shall...be united into one Kingdom, by the Name of "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland"
- ^ New Zealand, Israel and San Marino
- ^ In 2007–2008, this was calculated to be £115 per week for single adults with no dependent children; £199 per week for couples with no dependent children; £195 per week for single adults with two dependent children under 14; and £279 per week for couples with two dependent children under 14
- ^ a b English language : Directgov – Government, citizens and rights
- ^ a b Commonwealth Secretariat – UK
- ^ "European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages" . Scottish Government . http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/ArtsCulture/gaelic/gaelic-english/17910/europeancharter . Retrieved 11 December 2010 .
- ^ "United Kingdom population by ethnic group" (XLS). United Kingdom Census 2001 . Office for National Statistics. 1 April 2001 . http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Expodata/Spreadsheets/D6588.xls . Retrieved 15 April 2009 .
- ^ http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=950
- ^ "Census 2001: Population estimates" . Office for National Statistics . http://www.statistics.gov.uk/census2001/pop2001/united_kingdom.asp . Retrieved 21 April 2011 .
- ^ a b c d "United Kingdom" . International Monetary Fund. April 2011 . http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2011/01/weodata/weorept.aspx?sy=2007&ey=2010&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&c=112&s=NGDPD%2CNGDPDPC%2CPPPGDP%2CPPPPC%2CLP&grp=0&a=&pr.x=25&pr.y=6 . Retrieved 8 May 2011 .
- ^ "Income inequalities" . The Poverty Site . http://www.poverty.org.uk/09/index.shtml . Retrieved 21 April 2011 .
- ^ "Human Development Report 2010" . United Nations. p. 143 ff . http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_2010_EN_Table1.pdf . Retrieved 21 April 2011 .
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