About United Kingdom

The United Kingdom or United Kingdom (abbreviated: UK), the full official form — the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern France — is an island nation northwest of mainland Europe.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain was formed in 1707 as a result of the political unification of the kingdoms of Scotland and England; but even earlier, in 1603, the king of Scotland, James VI, inherited the thrones of England and Ireland as a personal union (James I). In 1800, the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland united to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, which, after its separation from it in 1922, became the Irish Free State of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Great Britain - one of the largest states in Europe, a nuclear power since 1952 (recognized in accordance with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of 1968), a permanent member of the UN Security Council, the former metropolis of the British Empire; The British monarch is also the head of 15 other independent states and the head of the Commonwealth.

The former center of the world empire, the UK and now plays an important role in international affairs. English has become the second language in many countries of the world; it prevails on the Internet and other international means of communication. The UK economy is the ninth largest in the world; The country military budget is one of the highest in the world.

Form of government - parliamentary monarchy. The form of government is a quasi-unitary state, where, from the end of the 20th century, three of the four constituent countries (Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales) have limited autonomy rights.

The capital is London, one of the largest European cities and financial and economic centers of the world.

Official languages: English (de facto), in Wales - Welsh.


The state is located on the British Isles (the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, as well as a large number of smaller islands and archipelagoes, including the Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland Islands, Anglesey, Arran, White) in the Atlantic Ocean. It is washed by the Northern, Irish, Celtic and Hebrides seas. The south-east coast is located just 35 km from the northern coast of France, which are separated by the English Channel.

The area of Great Britain is 243,809 km², of which land is 240,579 km², and inland waters are 3,230 km². According to the data of 1993, 10% of the land was covered with forest, 46% were used for pastures, and another 25% was used in agriculture.

The coastline is 17 820 km long.

The southern coast is connected to continental Europe through a 50-km eurotunnel (of which 38 km is under water). This is the longest underwater tunnel in the world.

Northern Ireland has a 360 km land border with the Republic of Ireland, and it is the only land border of Great Britain.

The Greenwich Observatory in London is the passage point of the prime meridian. In general, the UK is located between the northern latitudes of 49 ° and 61 ° and between 9 ° west longitude and 2 ° east longitude.

England occupies a little more than half of the whole of Great Britain, covering 130,395 km².

Most of it consists of lowlands. The hills are concentrated in the north (Pennine Mountains) and north-west (Cumberland Mountains). Among the latter, the highest peak of England is Skofel Pike (978 m).

The longest rivers are the Thames, the Severn and the Humber.

Scotland occupies slightly less than a third of the whole of the UK, covering 78,772 km². It includes about eight hundred islands - mainly in the west and north of the main territory. Among them it is worth mentioning the Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland Islands. The topography of Scotland is largely determined by the Highland Fault, which crosses Scotland from the Isle of Arran in the west to Stonehaven in the east. The fault line divides two completely different regions: the North Scottish Highlands (Highland, Highland Highlands) in the north-west and Lowland in the south-east. Severe Highland contains almost all the mountains of Scotland, including Ben Nevis, which with a height of 1343 m is the highest point of the British Isles.

Lowland (Lowland "lowland"), especially the Lowlands between the Firth of Clyde and the Firth of Fort, also known as the "Central Belt", is much smoother; Most of the population lives here, including the largest cities of Scotland, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Wales occupies just less than one tenth of the whole of the UK, covering 20,779 km² . Wales is mostly a mountainous country, although South Wales is less mountainous than the rest. The main population and industrial zones are located precisely in South Wales, including the coastal cities of Cardiff, Swansea and Newport. The highest mountains of Wales are located in Snowdonia (including Mount Snowdon 1085 m high). The coastline of Wales has a length of 1200 km.

The largest island is Anglesey in the northwest.

Northern Ireland is only 13 843 km² and is mostly hilly. Here is the lake Loch Ney, the largest in area lake of the British Isles (388 km²).

Northern Ireland’s highest point is Slive-Donard in the Mountains of Mourne with an elevation of 852 m.


The UK has a temperate oceanic climate with high rainfall throughout the year. Temperatures vary with the season, but rarely fall below -12° C or rise above 35° C. The main winds come from the south-west and often bring cold and wet weather from the Atlantic Ocean, but the eastern parts of the country are mostly protected from these winds, and since most of the precipitation falls in the western regions, the eastern ones are the driest. The Atlantic currents, heated by the Gulf Stream, bring mild winters, sometimes in winter and early spring there are snowfalls, although the snow usually lasts a short time.

Administrative division

Regional and local government

Each administrative part of the United Kingdom has its own system of administrative and geographical division, which often emanates from the time before the emergence of the state of Great Britain. Accordingly, "there is no standard level of administrative unit connecting the whole of the UK." Until the XIX century, virtually no changes in the old divisions occurred, but then began a constant evolution of roles and functions. However, these changes were not universal, and the further transfer of powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland means that they are unlikely to be universal in the future.

The organization of local self-government in England is very complex, with the distribution of functions depending on local orders. The legislative framework for the self-government of England is established by the Parliament and the British Government, since England does not have its own parliament. The highest level of division of England is nine government regions or government regions of the European Union. One region, Greater London, has its elected assembly and mayor since 2000, after supporting this issue in a referendum in 1998. It was assumed that other regions will also receive their regional assemblies, but the refusal of that in the North-East of England in a referendum in 2004 stopped this idea . Below the regional level, there is either a county council, and then district councils, or unitary councils, while London has its own system of 32 Boroughs in London. Board members are selected by the majority system.

Scotland is administratively divided into 32 districts with a large difference in size and population among them. The cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee have the status of separate districts, as well as Highland, which includes the territory of a third of Scotland, but has a population of just over 200,000 people. The rights of local government are exercised by elected deputies, who are now 1222 and are paid part-time. Elections are held according to the system of a single intransitive vote and elect three or four deputies, who then elect a chairman who chairs the meetings and speaks on behalf of the entire region.

Wales administratively consists of 22 unitary entities, including Cardiff, Swansea and Newport, each of which has the status of a separate entity. Elections are held every 4 years by the majority system. Northern Ireland since 1973 has been divided into 26 districts. Their rights are limited only to service functions, such as garbage collection, pet control and caring for parks. On March 13, 2008, it was decided to create 11 new districts and replace the existing system. The next local elections were canceled until 2011 to organize the new system.

British territories outside the United Kingdom

Britain extends its sovereignty to seventeen territories that are not part of the United Kingdom: 14 British Overseas Territories and three Crown Lands.

Fourteen Overseas Territories: Anguilla (capital of the Valley), Bermuda (capital of Hamilton), British Antarctic Territory (capital of Rothera), British Indian Ocean Territory (capital of Diego Garcia), British Virgin Islands (capital of Rod Town), Gibraltar (capital of Gibraltar ), Cayman Islands (capital Georgetown), Montserrat Island (capital of Plymouth), Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha (capital of Jamestown), Pitcairn Island (capital of Adamstown), Turks and Caicos (capital of Coburn Town), Falklands islands (capital stanl i) South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (the capital of Grytviken) and Sovereign Military Bases in Cyprus (the capital of Episkopi). British claims in the Antarctic are not universally recognized, the presence of military bases in Cyprus is disputed by the Republic of Cyprus, and the rights to the Falkland Islands are claimed by Argentina. Together, the overseas territories occupy 1,727,527 km² (without the British Antarctic Territory - 18,127 km²), and their population is 260,000. These territories are the heritage of the British Empire and independently made the choice to preserve British sovereignty.

Crown lands - possessions of the Crown, in contrast to overseas territories. These include the Bouleys of the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey in the English Channel and the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. The area of all three Crown lands is 766 km², and the population is 235,000. As self-governing jurisdictions, they, like the Overseas Territories, are not part of the United Kingdom or the European Union, although the United Kingdom government is responsible for foreign policy and defense issues, and the British Parliament has the right to legislate on behalf of territories. The right to legislate on the island coexists with its own legislative assemblies of the territories with the consent of the Privy Council of the Crown. The heads of government of the Crown lands are the respective Prime Ministers (in Maine from 1986, Guernsey from 2004, Jersey from 2005).

Source: Wikipedia