History of UK
It is said that the island we know as the UK, today came into existence around 6,500 BC, when it was separated from the rest of Europe by the formation of the English Channel.
In the Roman Britain period, from 43 to 1065 AD, Roman rule covered much of England and Wales.
In the Anglo-Norman period and the Middle Ages, from 1066 to 1347, Duke William of Normandy, known as William the Conqueror, defeated King Harold of England and ruled over England and Scotland. In 1215 the Magna Carta (a royal charter of political rights) was signed and is considered to be the foundation of the parliamentary system of government.
In the Late Medieval period, from 1348 to 1484, the bubonic plague, also called the Black Death, spread through England, Wales, and Scotland and killed almost one-third of the entire population.
In the period of the Tudors from 1485 to 1713, Henry Tudor, also known as Henry VIII, defeated Richard III, and assumed sovereignty of England, and in 1534 he became the head of the Church of England after separating the English Church from Rome. In 1588 the colonization of territories by Britain began with the Virginia colonies. In 1603 Queen Elizabeth I, also known as the Virgin Queen, died without leaving a successor, and then the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, who was King James VI of Scotland, succeeded as James I, King of England - the first King of Great Britain.
In the period of the Georgians, from 1714 to 1836, during the reign of King George I, a role similar to that of the present day prime minister was assumed by Sir Robert Walpole. In 1801, by an act of the Union, Ireland was brought into the UK and the country became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In the Victorian period from 1837 to 1900, Queen Victoria, the longest-reigning British monarch introduced a number of constitutional changes. The People's Charter was based on these changes and though it was rejected many times in the parliament, eventually five out of the original six demands in the Charter became part of the Constitution of Britain. This was also the period of the Industrial Revolution which led to the domination of Britain over a large part of the world.
The early 20th Century from 1901 to 1945, saw the start and end of the two world wars which took their toll on the economy of the UK. In 1936 Edward VIII abdicated as king in order to marry Mrs. Wallis Simpson, as the Church of England would not permit him to marry a divorcee. His younger brother came to the throne as King George VI.
The Post World War II period started in 1946 and continues into the 21st century. In 1952 Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne after the death of her father King George VI. The economy was nationalized when the Labour Party came to power after World War II. When the Conservative government was in power during the years of Margaret Thatcher, the national industries were privatized. These were also the years in which Britain let go of most of its colonies and dismantled the 'empire,' which at its peak had covered nearly one-fourth of the world.
Geography of UK
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or the United Kingdom (UK) is part of the European continent. It is bound in the north and west by the North Atlantic Ocean, in the south by the English Channel and in the east by the North Sea. It is linked to France, which is only 22 miles (35 km) across the English Channel by a tunnel under the sea, and shares an international boundary with Ireland.
The geographic coordinates of the country are 54 degrees 00 minutes north and 2 degrees 00 minutes west. The northernmost point of the country is Out Stack on Shetland Island, while the southernmost point is Western Rocks on the Isles of Scilly, and the easternmost point is Lowestoft Ness in Suffolk, while the westernmost point is Soay on the archipelago of St. Kilda. The entire mainland part of the country lies between the 49 degrees north and 59 degrees north latitude, and 8 degrees west to 2 degrees east longitudes.
The prime meridian which is also called the Greenwich Meridian, or the International Meridian, passes through the UK. The standard time zone in the country thus has no offset from the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The entire country follows one time zone in the winter, the WET-Western European Time (UTC +0).
However in summer, daylight saving time sets the clock forward by 1 hour, and the time zone is then called BST - British Summer Time (UTC +1). This time zone is the same as WEST - Western European Summer Time (UTC +1). In the UK daylight saving time begins on the last Sunday of March, and ends on the last Sunday in October each year. Note, this clock forwarding does not apply to the overseas or dependent territories of the UK.
The total area of the UK is 93,627.8 sq mi (243,610 sq km), of which the land area is 93,638 sq mi (241,930 sq km), while the remaining is covered by water.
The UK is an island nation made up of a single large island, and numerous smaller islands. The entire coastline is heavily indented. The main island is covered with rugged hills and low mountains especially in the west. Parts of northwest England, Wales, and Scotland are also quite mountainous. As you leave the northwest, level rolling plains are found in the east and southeast. Living up to its island status, no location in the country is more than 78 mi (125 km) from tidal waters.
The highest point in the country is Ben Nevis which is 4,406 ft (1,343 m) high while the lowest point is The Fens which lies at -13 ft (-4 m).
The largely temperate climate of the UK has a maritime influence due to it being an island nation. The Gulf Stream, which is a warm ocean current from the Atlantic Ocean, helps to make winters relatively mild for the UK despite its latitude. The main influences on temperature in the country are latitude and altitude, with an increase in either of the two, the mean temperature decreases. The warmest place in the UK is London with temperatures ranging from 41 degrees F (5 degrees centigrade) in January to 64.4 degrees F (18 degrees centigrade) in July; with an annual mean of 52 degrees F (11 degrees centigrade).
English weather and its unpredictability are quite well known. This comes from the fact that the weather in the UK is quite erratic, and cloud & rain occurs frequently throughout the year. But since the heaviest rainfall comes from frontal systems, autumn and winter are the wettest seasons. In the summer, the rainfall comes mostly from convective activity. The wettest places in the UK with an average rainfall of over 118 inches (3,000 mm) are in western Scotland, northwest England, and north Wales.
In general terms four seasons can be distinguished in the UK, they are Spring (March to May), Summer (June to August), Autumn (September to November) and Winter (December to February).
The rivers in the UK are not very long since the country is an island. Important east-flowing rivers the flow into the North Sea are The Thames, Great Ouse, Trent, Ouse, Tyne and Tweed. With the Severn and the Wye rivers flowing westwards into the Atlantic Ocean. Technically the longest river in the UK is the Severn, while the deepest is the Thames, and is navigable as far inland as London.
Among the largest lakes in the UK, are the Windermere and Rutland Water in England; Llyn Trawsfynydd and Lake Vyrnwy in Wales; Loch Lomond and Loch Ness in Scotland, and Lough Neagh and Lower Lough Erne in Northern Ireland. Lough Neagh is the largest lake in the UK, and Loch Ness is famous for its sightings of the mythical creature 'Nessie.'
Demography of UK
The total estimated population of UK for the year 2013 is about 63 million.
For the year 2013, the estimated birth rate is 12.26 births per 1,000, and the death rate is 9.33 deaths per 1,000 members of the population, with an infant mortality rate of 4.5 deaths per 1,000 live births. The sex ratio is estimated to be 1.05 males for every female, and the growth rate of the population is estimated at 0.55%.
The distribution of population in the UK is uneven, with a majority of the population concentrated in England while the remaining three constituent parts - Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, are relatively sparsely populated. In England too, almost one-third of the population lives in the southeastern portion centered around London. The estimated population density for the country for the year 2016 is 650 persons per sq mi.
The estimated figures for the year 2013, for age structure in the UK show that 17.3% of the population consists of children between 0-14 years, 12.8% of the population is in the early working age between 15-24 years, 41.1% of the population is in the prime working age between 25-54 years, 11.5% of the population is in the mature working age between 55-64 years, and 17.3% of the population is in the elderly age of 65 years and over.
As per the 2010 census, 80% of the total population in the UK is classified as urban while the remaining 20% is classified as rural population.
The main religion in the UK is Christianity, comprising of Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, and Methodist sects, however the country also has Muslims, Hindus, and those following other religions.
The official language of the UK is English. Other recognized regional languages of the country include Welsh, Scots, Scottish Gaelic, Irish, and Cornish.
The UK is home to four nationalities: the English, the Welsh, the Scottish, and the Irish. While the ethnic groups living in the UK include Europeans, people of African and Caribbean origin, Indians, Pakistanis, and others.
Culture of United Kingdom
Traditional food in the UK has been facing competition from recipes brought into the country from around the world, to the extent that today it is said that curry is the most popular dish in England. Most of the traditional dishes in the UK are based on meat, fish, potatoes, butter, and eggs.
Interesting fact about meal times in the UK, is that the three meals of the day were traditionally called breakfast, eaten in the morning; dinner, which was the main meal in the afternoon; and tea, which was the evening meal. Today they are referred to as breakfast, lunch, and supper.
In the early 1960's the Beatles arrived on the UK music scene, and since then Pop music has been an integral part of British culture. Given the multi-cultural composition of the UK today, there are several other genres of music that are popular in the country. In alphabetical order they include Bhangra, BritPop, Garage, Glam Rock, Goth, Grunge, Hip Hop, Indie, Madchester, Mods, Northern Soul, Progressive Rock, Punk, Rockers, Ska, Soca, and Techno.
The UK is home to some of the biggest legends of the music world, including: Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Cliff Richard, Sir Eric Clapton, David Bowie, Sir Elton John, and Pete Townsend. Many world-renowned bands hail from the UK, some are: The Beatles, Queen, The Rolling Stones, The Smiths, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, The Who, The Clash, and the genre-defining, Led Zeppelin.
Art in the UK has been greatly impacted by European traditions and a classification of British art separate from the European styles is extremely difficult. Thus, the art movements of Europe which have also had an influence on British
art are Medieval and Gothic Art, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neo-Classical, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Symbolism, Art Nouveau, Fauvism, Cubism, Dadaism, Bauhaus, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism and Post-Modernism which is continuing till today.
However three British art movements which began in the UK are: the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (1848-1854), the Arts and Crafts Movement (1861-1914), and Pop Art (1955-1985).
Some of the most renowned British painters are: William Hogarth (1697-1764), Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), George Stubbs (1724-1806), Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788), Joseph Wright of Derby (1734-1797), Sir Henry Raeburn (1756-1823), John Constable (1776-1837), J.W.M. Turner (1775-1851), John Sell Cotman (1782-1842), Samuel Palmer (1805-1881), Sir Stanley Spencer (1891-1959), Richard Hamilton (1922-2011) and David Hockney (1937- ).
Some of oldest sculptures found in the UK are the massive stone crosses believed to have been carved between 500 and 1000 AD. Stone, marble, bronze, wood, ceramic, and metal are among the mediums that have been commonly used for sculpting in the UK.
Some of the finest British sculptors are Nicholas Stone (1586-1647), John Bushnell (1630-1701), Grinling Gibbons (1648-1721), Joseph Wilton (1722-1803), Joseph Nollekens (1737-1823), John Bacon (1740-1799), John Flaxman (1755-1826),Sir Richard Westmacott (1775-1856), Matthew Cotes Wyatt (1777-1862), Sir Francis Legatt Chantrey (1781-1841), John Gibson (1790-1866), Samuel Joseph (1791-1850), Alfred Stevens (1817-1875), George Frederick Watts (1817-1904), Alexander Munro (1825-1871), Jacob Epstein (1880-1959), Henry Moore (1898-1986), Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975), Sir Anthony Caro (1924-2013 ), Antony Gormley (1950- ) and Anish Kapoor (1954- )..
Like many aspects of its culture, British architecture has been influenced by the nation's long and diverse history. Broadly the architectural styles in the UK correspond to its historical periods, and are classified as Pre-Roman, of which Stonehenge is the most famous example; Roman, of which the Hadrian's wall is an example; Anglo-Saxon, characterized by high and narrow structures; Norman, characterized by rounded arches; Gothic, which was influenced by France; Vernacular, which was constructed in wood; Tudor, in which the focus shifted from defense to entertainment structures; Stuart, which was influenced by the Palladian style of Italy; Georgian, which was influenced by the European Palladianism; Victorian, in which steel was introduced; 20th Century, characterized by non-symmetrical designs; Modernism, in which reinforced concrete frames were introduced; High-Tech, which was used for commercial buildings; Post Modern, which led the construction boom of the shopping malls and office complexes; and current, which focuses on building sustainable structures.
Some of the well-known British architects are Inigo Jones (1573-1652), Christopher Wren (1632-1723), Nicholas Hawksmoor (1661-1736), Thomas Archer (1668-1743), Colen Campbell (1676-1729), William Kent (1685-1748), Lancelot 'Capability' Brown (1716-1783), Robert Adam (1728-1792), James Wyatt (1746-1813), Humphrey Repton (1752-1818), Charles Barry (1795-1860), Sir George Gilbert Scott (1811-1878), A.W. Pugin (1812-1852), William Butterfield (1814-1900), G.E. Street (1824-1881), Sir Richard Rogers (1933- ), Sir Norman Foster (1935- ), Sir Terry Farrel (1938- ), Will Alsop (1947- ), Zaha Hadid (1950-2016 ), Eric Parry (1952- ), David Chipperfield (1953- ) and Sunand Prasad (1962- ).
In the UK the eras of literature can be classified into Gothic, Medieval, Renaissance, Restoration, Romantic, Victorian, and the Modern period.
It is contended that some of the world's greatest writers and poets have come from the UK. This claim is difficult to refute with names like: Geoffrey Chaucer (1342/43-1400), William Shakespeare (1564-1616), John Milton (1608-1674), Daniel Defoe (1660-1731), William Wordsworth (1770-1850), Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), Jane Austen (1775-1817), Lord Byron (1788-1824), Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), John Keats (1795-1821), Charles Dickens (1812-1870), Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855), Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1895), H.G. Wells (1866-1946), William Somerset Maugham (1874-1965), E.M. Forster (1879-1970), Sir P.G. Wodehouse (1881-1975), Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930), Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), George Orwell (1903-1950), Graham Greene (1904-1991) and Dylan Thomas (1914-1953).
And added to the list are Nobel Prize winners in Literature from the UK: Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), John Galsworthy (1867-1933), T.S. Eliot (1888-1965), Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965), Patrick White (1912-1990), Elias Canetti (1905-1994), Sir William Golding (1911-1993), Sir V.S. Naipaul (1932- ), Harold Pinter (1930-2008), and Doris Lessing (1919-2013).
From the spangled silk gowns of the days of yore, to the style of the swinging sixties and Punk style, the fashion scene in the UK has seen it all. Some of the most famous fashion designers and brands from the UK are Vivienne Westwood, Zandra Rhodes, Paul Smith, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Burberry, Christopher Kane, Mary Quant, Matthew Williamson, Katharine Hamnett, Jonathan Saunders, and Paul Smith.
While some well-known fashion boutiques for women in the UK are: A La Mode, Bernard, Celestine Eleven, Feathers, Genevieve, Mechant Archive, Mooi, Rewind Vintage Affairs, The Gathering Goddess, and Twentyone St. Johns Wood, all in London; Changing Room, in Tunbridge Wells; and Please Don't Tell, in Belfast. Two boutiques which cater to men are Shefton Men in London, and Zoo in Ilford.
Some of the famous boutiques for both men and women's fashion are: the Box Boutique, Browns, B Store, Diverse, Hostem, House of Liza, Labour of Love, Larizia, Layers, Old Curiosity Shop, Press, Primitive London Ltd, Start, The Library, The Old Shoreditch Station, Ursa Loves all in London; Autograp in Birmingham; Pollyanna in Barnsley; Seasons in Sheffield; Giulio in Cambridge, and The Editeur in Chester.
Due to the influence of its history and the rich tradition of literature, cinema in the UK has favored some genres over others. Broadly, the British films can be classified into Action, Adventure, Drama, Animation, Biopic, Documentary, Fantasy, Romance, Comedy (including romantic comedy), Family, Crime, Horror, Science, Thriller and Musical.
One of the iconic characters of British cinema is the world’s most well known MI6 spy, Secret Agent, James Bond, code named '007.'
Other famous film actors from the UK are: Sir Lawrence Olivier, Anthony Jeremy Brett, Sir Kenneth Branagh, Roger Moore, Dame Judy Dench, Dame Maggie Smith, Vanessa Redgrave, Jeremy Irons, Micheal Caine, Emma Thomson, Kate Winslet, Emma Watson, Rowan Atkinson, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Hugh Grant, Daniel Radcliffe and Benedict Cumberbatch. Sir Sean Connery is a well-known Scottish actor. Two well-known Welsh actors are Sir Anthony Hopkins and Katherine Zeta-Jones.
Some famous British film directors are: Alfred Hitchcock, Charlie Chaplin, Richard Attenborough, David Lean, Ridley Scott, Danny Boyle, Mike Leigh, and Ken Russell.
Sports are very popular in the UK. Some of the most popular are; football (soccer), rugby, cricket, tennis, squash, golf, horse racing, motor sports, darts, boxing, athletics, and chess.
Some of the UK's best-known sporting icons are: Sir David Beckham and Sir Bobby Charlton (football), Sir Stephen Redgrave (rowing), Lester Piggott (horse racing), Ian Botham (cricket), Sir Sebastian Coe and Paula Radcliffe (middle-distance and long-distance running), Lennox Lewis (boxing), Daley Thomson (decathlon), Mo Farrah (middle-distance running), Nick Faldo (golf), Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean (ice-skating), and Fred Perry and Andy Murray (tennis).
10 Britons who are considered most influential by the British public are: Sir Winston Churchill, a politician, soldier, artist and former Prime Minister; Isambard Kingdom Brunel, an extraordinary Victorian engineer; Diana, Princess of Wales; Charles Darwin, a naturalist; William Shakespeare, a playwright and poet; Sir Isaac Newton, a mathematician and scientist; Queen Elizabeth I who reigned over England from 1558-1603; John Lennon, a musician and composer; Horatio Nelson, a British naval hero; and Oliver Cromwell, a military, political, and religious figure.
The fiscal year in the UK is from April, 6th, to April, 5th (of the next year).
As per the year 2012, agriculture contributed 0.7 %, industry contributed 21% and the services sector contributed 78.3% to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country.
As per the year 2006 data, 1.4% of the labor force in the UK was engaged in agriculture; 18.2% in industry and 80.4% in services.
Agricultural products include; cereals, oilseed, potatoes, and vegetables, cattle, sheep, poultry, and fish.
Industries in the UK include; shipbuilding, aircraft manufacturing, electronics and communications equipment, railroad equipment, electric power equipment, motor vehicles and parts, automation equipment, machine tools, petroleum, coal mining, chemicals, metals, consumer goods industries, food processing, paper and paper products, clothing, textiles, and others.
Natural resources found in the UK are; coal, petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, lead, zinc, gold, tin, limestone, salt, clay, chalk, gypsum, potash, silica sand, slate, and arable land.
Total exports for the UK were $474.6 billion in the year 2012. The UK exports manufactured goods, fuels, chemicals, food, beverages, and tobacco. Its main export partners are United States of America, Ireland, Germany, France, Belgium, and Netherlands.
Total imports into the UK were $642.6 billion in the year 2012. The country top imports are; manufactured goods, machinery, fuels and foodstuffs. Its main import partners are Germany, Netherlands, China, USA, France, and Belgium.
With its four constituent parts, the UK is a rich mixture of customs, cultures, and traditions. The country also has over 25 United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) classified cultural and natural World Heritage Sites as well as seven Heritage Cities.
The UK is thus a treasure trove for any traveler. Some of the most visited places in the country are; London, Oxford, Bath, Stratford-upon-Avon, Canterbury, Chester, Durham, York, Windsor, Manchester, Cambridge, Brighton, Liverpool, St. Ives, Wells, Newcastle, Stonehenge, and the English Lake District, in England; Cardiff and St. David's, in Wales, the land of castles; Edinburgh, Glasgow, and the Scottish Highlands in Scotland, and the Causeway Coast, in Northern Ireland.
Transport and Communication
With about 245,800 miles of roads, the UK has the sixteenth-largest road network in the world. The country has a system of trunk roads which are maintained by the highway authority, and non-trunk roads which are maintained by the local authorities. Based on their grading, the roads are classified into three categories; motorways, A-roads, and B-roads.
UK Road Map...
The UK The UK is ranked seventeenth in the world, with its 11,018 miles of railway tracks. The main railway stations in the country are; Paddington Station, Waterloo Station, London Bridge Station, King's Cross Station, Liverpool Street Station, Victoria Station, Euston Station, and Charing Cross Station, in London; Glasgow Central Station in Glasgow; Birmingham New Street, in Birmingham, and Leeds City Station, in Leeds.
UK Rail Map...
With 462 airports, as per the year 2012 data, the UK is ranked at number 19 in the world. Twenty four of the airports are international commercial airports, and based on the volume of passengers, the largest are; London Heathrow, London; London Gatwick, London; Manchester, Manchester; London Stansted, London; London Luton, Luton, Bedfordshire; Edinburgh, Edinburgh; Birmingham International, Birmingham; Glasgow International, Glasgow; Bristol International, Bristol and Liverpool John Lennon, Liverpool.
As an island nation, the UK has about 7,723 miles (12,429 km) of coastline, and over 1,988 miles (3,200 km) of waterways, however only about 385 miles (620 km) of the waterways in the country are used for commercial activities. Some of the country's well-known ports are; Dover, Felixstowe, Immingham, Liverpool, London, Southampton, and Teesport in England; Milford Haven in Wales, and Forth Ports in Scotland.
The UK has several oil terminals, including; Fawley Marine terminal, and Liverpool Bay terminal in England, Braefoot Bay terminal, Finnart oil terminal, and Hound Point terminal in Scotland.
Per 2013, the UK has 25 operating satellites. With 15 being commercial satellites, two are government satellites, and eight are military satellites.
Telephone/ Mobile network
The international country code for the UK is 44. There were 33.2 million telephone lines in use, and 81.6 million mobile cellular connections in the country according to 2012 data.
The internet country code for the UK is '.uk,' and as per 2013 data, 43.6 million people used the internet in the country.
In the UK there are no specific criteria to define a city, and even today city status is granted by the British Monarch. Thus, many cities included in the official list of 66 UK cities would be considered ‘towns or villages,’ by the rest of the world. For example, St. David's, in Wales, with a population of just 2,000, is the smallest city in the UK.
By global standards, some of the largest cities in the UK are; London, Birmingham, Manchester, West Yorkshire, Bristol, Liverpool/ Merseyside, Leicester, Edinburgh, and Glasgow.
Interestingly, not classified as cities in the UK, are; Reading, Berkshire, Dudley, West Midlands, Northampton, East Midlands, Luton, Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, Bournemouth, Dorset, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, Swindon, Wiltshire, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, Poole, Dorset, Middlesbrough, and North Yorkshire, yet nearly anywhere else in the world they would be considered cities.
Despite its relatively small size, the UK is home to a number of different habitats, which include coastal habitats like sand dunes and salt marshes; lowland grassland and lowland heathland habitats; freshwater and lowland habitats like rivers, lakes, fens, and raised bogs, upland habitats like blanket bog, limestone pavements, and woodland habitats like mixed deciduous, native pinewood, and wood pastures. These habitats are home to thousands of species of flora and fauna.
Iconic flora of the UK is oak, elm, ash, beech, pine, and birch trees. The iconic fauna is; fox, deer, hare, hedgehog, rabbit, weasel, stoat, shrew, rat, and mice. Larger animals like wolf, bear, boar, and reindeer, have become extinct from the country. Among the declining bird species, the pheasant, partridge, and red grouse are protected as game birds even today.
There are 15 National Parks in the UK, 10 are in England, three in Wales, and two in Scotland. The National Parks in England see a great many visitors each year.
The popular national parks are; the Yorkshire Dales, the Lake District, the North York Moors, the South Downs, Dartmoor, Northumberland, the Broads, the New Forest, the Peak District, and Exmoor. The Welsh National Parks are; The Brecon Beacons, the Pembrokeshire Coast, and Snowdonia. The two National Parks in Scotland are, the Cairngorms National Park and Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park.
State and Polity
The Great Britain part of the UK includes England, Wales, and Scotland, while the Northern Ireland part includes one-sixth of the island of Ireland. The capital of England is London; the capital of Wales is Cardiff; the capital of Scotland is Edinburg, and the capital of Northern Ireland is Belfast.
Administratively, each of the four constituent parts of the UK are further divided into counties, boroughs, metropolitan districts, unitary authorities, district council areas, and council areas.
The dependent areas of the UK include the Akrotiri and Dhekelia, which are overseas territories of the UK on Cyprus; Anguilla, Bermuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena, and the Turks and Caicos Islands are overseas territories of the UK; Guernsey and Jersey in the Channel Islands, and Isle of Man, are Crown Dependencies; British Virgin Islands (BVI) is an internal self-governing overseas territory of the UK; The Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) and South Georgia, and the South Sandwich Islands are overseas territories of the UK that also claimed by Argentina; and Gibraltar is an overseas territory of the UK also claimed by Spain.
The UK is a constitutional monarchy and a Commonwealth realm. The constitution is unwritten and consists partly of statutes and partly of common law and practice.
Everyone over 18 years of age is eligible to vote. The leader of the majority party, or the leader of the majority coalition, usually becomes the prime minister following legislative elections. But the monarchy is strictly hereditary. Queen Elizabeth II has been the monarch and head of state since February 6th, 1952, and her heir apparent is Prince Charles.
Everyone over 18 years of age is eligible to vote. The leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition usually becomes the prime minister following legislative elections; however the monarchy is hereditary. Since May 11, 2010, Prime Minister David Cameron has been the head of the government, while Queen Elizabeth II has been the monarch and head of state since February 6, 1952 and her Heir Apparent is Prince Charles.
Human Development Index (HDI)
The main branches of the UK military are the Army, the Royal Navy, including the Royal Marines, and the Royal Air Force. The estimated expenditure on defense for the 2013 was 2.6% of the gross domestic product (GDP).
As per the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UK is ranked twenty-sixth in the world with an HDI of 0.909 in 2016.
The life expectancy at birth in the UK is 80.3 years. Estimated expenditure on health care for the year 2014 is 9.1% of the gross domestic product (GDP).
Any person above the age of 15 who has completed 5 or more years of schooling is considered literate in the UK. The literacy rate in the country is 99% (2003 estimate). The estimated expenditure on education for the year 2013 is 5.5% of the GDP.
Per Capita National Income
Gross National Income per capita in purchasing power parity terms was USD 43,340 as estimated for the year 2015.
Interesting Facts about the UK
- Windsor Castle is one of the most prominent tourist attractions in the United Kingdom. It is also the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world.
- The ravens are the most celebrated residents of the Tower of London.
- English physician and scientist Christopher Merret is said to have invented Champagne.
- The British Library in London is among the largest in the world.
- The United Kingdom does not have a written constitution.
- One of the most developed countries of the world, the United Kingdom was once famous for controlling a quarter of the earth's land area.
- Chicken Tikka Masala, an Indian delicacy, has been named as the new national dish of the United Kingdom.
Have a look at some of the other interesting facts about UK
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Last Updated on: July 26th, 2017