United Kingdom

United Kingdom (in English : United Kingdom – UK), officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (in English : United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), is an island nation sovereign [6] [7] located in northwestern coast of continental Europe . The UK includes the island of Great Britain , the northeastern part of the island of Ireland , and many other smaller islands. The Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK with a land border, and the same with the Republic of Ireland . [8] Apart from this land border, the UK is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean , the North Sea , the Channel English Channel and the Irish Sea . The largest island, Great Britain, is connected to France by Eurotunnel .

The United Kingdom is a political union [9] [10] of four constituent nations : Scotland , England , Northern Ireland and Wales . The nation is governed by a parliamentary system with the seat of government in London , the capital , and it is a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state . The Crown Dependencies of the Channel Islands (or the Channel Islands ) and the Isle of Man , formally possessions of the Crown , are not part of the UK but form a confederation with him. [11] The UK has fourteen overseas territories , [12] all remnants of the British Empire , which at its peak had nearly a quarter of the world’s land surface, making this the largest empire in history . As a result of the empire, British influence can be seen in the language, culture and legal systems of many of its former colonies like Canada , Australia , India and the United States . Queen Elizabeth II remains the head of the Commonwealth of Nations (Commonwealth) and head of state of each of the monarchies in the Commonwealth .

The UK is a developed country with the sixth ( GDP nominal) or seventh ( PPP ) largest economy in the world. He was the first country industrialized world [13] and the main power world during the nineteenth and early twentieth century, [14] but the economic cost of two world wars and the decline of its empire in the latter half of the twentieth century reduced its leading role in global affairs. The UK, however, remained a major power with strong influence economic, cultural, military and political, being a nuclear power , with the third or fourth (depending on calculation method) increased defense spending in the world. It is a member state of the European Union , has a permanent seat on the Security Council of the United Nations , and a member of the G8 , NATO , WTO and the Commonwealth of Nations.

History
Before 1707
Main articles: Prehistoric Britain , History of England , History of Wales , History of Scotland and Ireland’s History
Stonehenge in Wiltshire , built c. 2500 BC

The first settlements of humans anatomically modern in what would become the United Kingdom formed in immigration wave that began about 30,000 years. [15] At the end of the prehistoric period in the region , it is believed that the local population has belonged mainly to a culture termed Insular Celtic, comprising Britain-Bretônica and Gaelic Ireland . [16] The Roman conquest , beginning in 43 AD, and its occupation of southern Britain for 400 years was followed by an invasion by settlers Germanic Anglo-Saxons , reducing bretônica area mainly to what later became the Welsh . [17] The region occupied by the Anglo-Saxons became unified as the Kingdom of England in the tenth century. [18] Meanwhile, Gaelic-speakers in north west Britain (with connections to the north-east of Ireland and traditionally migrated from there in the fifth century [19] [20] ), teamed up with the Picts to create the Kingdom of Scotland in the ninth century. [21]
The Bayeux Tapestry depicts the Battle of Hastings and the events leading up to it.

In 1066 , the Normans invaded and conquered England , and much of Wales, from Ireland and Scotland . In these countries, the established feudalism , then according to the model prevailing in northern France , and introduced the culture -Norman French . [22] The Norman elites greatly influenced the area, but eventually assimilated each of the local cultures. [23] Medieval Kings English later completed the conquest of Wales and made ​​an unsuccessful attempt to annex Scotland . Thereafter, Scotland maintained its independence, albeit in constant conflict with England. The English monarchs, through inheritance of substantial territories in France and claims to the French crown, were also heavily involved in conflicts in France, most notably the Hundred Years War . [24]

At the beginning of the modern age has seen religious conflict resulting from the Reformation and the introduction of state churches Protestants in each country . [25] Wales was fully incorporated into the Kingdom of England [26] and Ireland was constituted as a kingdom in personal union with the English crown . [27] In the territory that would become Northern Ireland, the lands of the Gaelic nobility Catholic independent were confiscated and given to Protestant settlers from England and Scotland. [28] In 1603 , the kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland were united in a personal union when James VI, King of Scots , inherited the crowns of England and Ireland and moved his court from Edinburgh to London; each country, however, remained as a separate political entity and retained its separate political institutions. [29] [30] In mid-seventeenth century, all three kingdoms were involved in a series of connected wars (including the English Civil War ) which led to the temporary overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment a unitary republic short called Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland . [31] [32] Although the monarchy was restored, guaranteed (with the so-called Glorious Revolution of 1688) that, unlike much of the rest of Europe , the royal absolutism would not prevail. The British constitution would develop on the basis of constitutional monarchy and parliamentary system . [33] During this period, particularly in England, the development of naval power (and the interest in discoveries around the world ) led to the acquisition and establishment of colonies overseas , particularly in North America . [34] [35]
Since the creation of the United Kingdom
Main article: History of UK
The Treaty of Union led to a single kingdom encompassing all Great Britain .

On May 1st of 1707 created the United Kingdom of Great Britain , [36] commonly referred to later by the Kingdom of Great Britain, created by the political union of the Kingdom of England (which included the once independent Principality of Wales ) and the United Scotland . This was the result of the union treaty signed on July 22 of 1706 , [37] and then ratified by the parliament of England and Scotland by passing an Act of Union in 1707. Almost a century later, the Kingdom of Ireland, which was under English control between 1541 and 1691 , joined the Kingdom of Great Britain in the Act of Union of 1800 . [38] Although England and Scotland had been separate countries before 1707 they had a personal union since 1603, when James VI, King of Scots , inherited the throne of the Kingdom of England and became King James I of England, and swapped Edinburgh for London . [39]

In its first century, the United Kingdom actively participated in the development of ideas Westerners about the parliamentary system as well as produced significant contributions to literature , the arts and science . [40] The Industrial Revolution transformed the country and drove the British Empire. During this time, like other great powers , the United Kingdom has been involved with the exploration colonial , including the slave trade in the Atlantic , although the Act against the Slave Trade, 1807 made ​​the UK being the first country to ban trafficking slaves.
The Battle of Waterloo marked the end of the Napoleonic Wars .

After the defeat of Napoleon in the Napoleonic Wars , Britain became the leading naval power in the nineteenth century. The UK remained an eminent power until the mid-twentieth century, and his empire reached its maximum in 1921, winning the League of Nations dominion over former German and Ottoman colonies after the First World War .

A long tension in Ireland led to the partition of the island in 1920, continuing to independence for an Irish Free State in 1922. Six of the nine counties of the province of Ulster remained in the UK, who then formally changed its name in 1927 to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. [41]

After the First World War, created the first large worldwide network of television and radio, the BBC . Britain was a major Allied powers in World War II , and during the war leader Winston Churchill and his successor Clement Attlee helped plan the postwar world as part of the “Big Three.” The Second World War left the United Kingdom financially shaky. The credit provided by the United States and Canada during and after the war was economically costly to the country, but then along the Marshall Plan , the United Kingdom began to recover.
Map of the territories that at some point were part of the British Empire . The British Overseas Territories (excluding the British Antarctic Territory ) are underlined with red. In 1920, the British Empire became the largest empire in history .

The first years after the war noted the establishment of the state of social welfare British, including one of the first and most comprehensive public health services in the world, while demand from a recovering economy brought immigrants from across the Commonwealth to create a multiethnic Britain . Although the new limits of the role politics in Britain were confirmed in the Suez Crisis of 1956, the international spread of the English language confirmed the impact of its literature and culture around the world at the same time, from the 1960s to popular culture Britain also gained influence abroad. Following a period of global economic recession and industrial competition in the 1970s, the following decade has seen substantial profits stemming from oil from the North Sea and strong economic growth. The passing of Margaret Thatcher as prime minister marked a significant shift toward political and economic decision postwar, a path that has been followed by the government of Labour of Tony Blair in 1997.

The United Kingdom was one of the twelve founding members of the European Union (EU) in its launch in 1992 with the signing of the Maastricht Treaty . Before that, he had been a member of the EU’s forerunner, the European Economic Community (EEC), from 1973. The attitude of this government labor towards greater integration with the organization is confusing, [42] with the official opposition, the Conservative Party , favoring the return of some powers and responsibilities to the State. [43]

The late twentieth century saw a major change for the UK government with the creation of a Scottish Parliament returned and the National Assembly for Wales following the approval in a popular referendum pre-legislative. This produced a perspective of a legal way for the independence of Scotland , where the Scottish National Party won the 2007 elections and formed a minority government in Scotland, with a mandate to hold a referendum in 2011 to determine if he should negotiate Scottish independence .
Geography
Main article: Geography of the UK
Topographical map of the UK.

The total area of the UK is about 245 000 square kilometers comprising most of the British Isles , [44] including the island of Great Britain , the northeastern island of Ireland ( Northern Ireland ) and other minor islands. It is bordered by the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea and is 35 km from the northwest coast of France, separated by the English Channel . [45] Britain lies between latitudes 49 ° and 59 ° N (Islands Shetland are around 61 ° N) and longitudes 8 ° and 2 ° e w [45]

The UK accounts for almost half of the total area of the UK, covering 130,410 km ². [46] Most of the country is consisted of plains [47] and in the northwest highlands of Tees-Exe line. Mountain ranges are found in the northwest (Mountains Cumbrianas the Lake District ), north (the swamp of Pennine hills and limestone of the Peak District ) and Southwest (Exmoor and Dartmoor ). Locations include the lower limestone hills of the Isle of Purbeck, and Costwolds Lincolshire Worlds, and Cres Cres training in southern England. The main rivers and estuaries are the Thames , the Severn and the Humber Estuary. The country’s highest mountain is Scafell Peak , located in the Lake District with 978 meters. [47]
Ben Nevis , in Scotland , is the highest point in the British Isles .

The Scotland account for one third of the entire area of the UK, covering 78,772 km ². [48] The topography of Scotland is distinguished by the Highland Fault – a geological fault – which runs through the Scottish lowlands of Helensburgh to Stonehaven. [49 ] The fracture separates two different regions, the Highlands (Highlands) in the north and west and the Lowlands (the Lowlands) in the south and east. The region contains the most rocky Highlands most mountainous terrain of Scotland, including the highest peak, Ben Nevis , with 1344 meters. [50] It is in the Lowlands (Lowlands), in southern Scotland, where the majority of population, especially in the narrow belt of land between the Firth of Clyde and the Firth of Forth known as the Central Belt. Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, although Edinburgh is the capital and political center of the country. Scotland also has around eight hundred islands, mostly in the west and north, notably the Hebrides , the Orkneys and Shetland . [51]

The Wales accounts for less than one tenth of the total area of the UK, covering only 20,758 km square. [52] The country is mostly mountainous although the south is less mountainous north. The main population and industrial areas are in South Wales , as the cities of Cardiff , Swansea and Newport and surrounding Valleys of South Wales The highest mountains in Wales are in Snowdonia and include Snowdon (Wydfa in Welsh ) which, with 1085 meters, is the highest peak in Wales. [47] The 14 Welsh mountains over 3,000 feet (914 meters) high are known collectively as the 3000 Welsh. Wales is bordered by England to the east and the sea in the other three directions: the Bristol Channel in the south, the St. George’s Channel in the west and the Irish Sea in the north. Wales has over 1,200 km of coastline. And, moreover, has several islands, the largest of which Anglesey (‘Ynys Môn’) in the northwest. [47]

The Northern Ireland account for only 14 160 square kilometers and is mostly hilly. It includes Lough Neagh , with 388 square kilometers, the largest lake in the United Kingdom and Ireland. [53] The highest point is 849 meters with Slieve Donard in the Mourne Mountains province. [47]
Climate

The United Kingdom has a temperate climate with long periods of rain the whole year. The temperature varies with the seasons but seldom drops below 10 ° C or above 35 ° C. [54] The wind blows mostly from the southwest, with frequent discontinuous breezes that bring wet weather from the Atlantic Ocean. [45] The east is most affected by this wind and is often the driest. Atlantic currents, esquentadas by the Gulf Stream , causing mild winters, especially in the west where winters are wet, especially in the highlands. Summers are hot in southeast England, and is close to present in Continental Europe, and colder in the north. The occurrence of snow can occur in winter and early spring, but is rarely seen with large magnitude away from the highlands. [55]

Demographics

In April 2001 census, the total population of the United Kingdom was 58,789,194, the third largest in the European Union (behind Germany and France ), the fifth largest in the Commonwealth and the 21 th largest in the world. In mid-2006, it was estimated that the population increased to 60,587,300. [56] Much of this increase is mainly due to immigration but also to increase the birth rate and increased life expectancy. [57]

England’s population in mid-2006 was estimated at 50,762,900, making it one of the most populous countries in the world with 383 residents per square kilometer. [58] About a quarter of the UK population lives in Southeast England and is predominantly urban and suburban, [59] with an estimated population of 7,517,700 living in the capital London. [60]

The 2006 estimates put Scotland’s population at 5,116,900, Wales 2,965,900 and in Northern Ireland in 1,741,600 [61] with a much lower population densities than England. Compared the rate of 383 people per square kilometer in England, the order is in 142 inhab. / Km ² for Wales, 125 inhab. / Km ² for Northern Ireland and just 65 inhab. / Km ² for Scotland.

In 2006, the average fertility rate across the UK was 1.84 children per woman, [62] below the replacement rate of 2.1, but higher than the 2001 record low of just 1.63. Among the UK, England and Wales, with 1.86, were the closest to the average total UK, but Scotland was the lowest with only 1.67. The British fertility rate has been high during the ‘baby boom’ of the 60s, reaching 2.95 children per woman in 1964.

Ethnic Groups
Main article: Ethnic groups in the UK
Ethnicity Population % Of total *
Caucasian 54,153,898 92.1%
Multiracial 1.2%
Indians 1,053,411 1.8%
Pakistanis 1.3%
Bengalis 0.5%
Other people Asians (excluding Chinese) 0.4%
Black Caribbean 1.0%
Black Africans 0.8%
Black (other) 97,585 0.2%
Chinese 0.4%
Other 0.4%
* Percentage of total UK population.

Today the population of the UK is descended from various ethnicities, among which: pre-Celtic , Celtic , Roman , Anglo-Saxon and Norman . Since 1945, bonds created during the time of the British Empire has contributed a substantial immigration, especially from Africa , the Caribbean and Southeast Asia .

Since EU citizens are free to live and work in other EU member states, access to new states of Central and Eastern Europe as EU members in 2004, resulted in an increase in immigration from these countries. But since 2008, the trend is reversing and many Poles are returning to Poland . [64] In 2001, 92.1% of the population identified themselves as White, and 7.9% [65] of the population of the United Kingdom identified themselves as mixed race or of any ethnic minority .

Ethnic diversity varies significantly across the UK. 30.4% of London’s population [66] and 37.4% of Leicester [67] was estimated to be non-white in June 2005, whereas less than 5% of the populations of North East , the South West of England and Wales were from ethnic minorities according to the 2001 census. [68]

In 2007, 22% of primary school children and 17.7% of children of secondary schools in England were from ethnic minority families. [69] The immigrant population of Britain will almost double in the next two decades to 9, 1 million, according to a report by January 31, 2008. [70]

Migration
People who live in the UK by place of birth.

In contrast to some other European countries, the high immigration of foreign-born is contributing to the increase in population, [71] counting for nearly half of the population growth between 1991 and 2001. The latest official figures (2006) show that immigration ‘s net UK was 191,000 (591,000 immigrants and 400,000 emigrants) against 185 000 in 2005 (ie, a loss of 126,000 British and 316,000 foreign citizens gain ). [72] [73] [74] One in six were from countries of Eastern Europe , with large numbers from the countries of the New Commonwealth . [75] Immigration from the Indian subcontinent , mostly due to family reunion, counted by 2 / 3 of net immigration. [76] In contrast, at least 5.5 million British-born people were living outside the UK. [77] [78] [79] The most popular destinations for emigration were the Australia , Spain , France , New Zealand and the United States . [80] [81] [82]

A study by an analyst of the city, however, disputes the numbers of immigration and says that net immigration in 2005 was about 400,000. [83] However, the proportion of people born outside the UK population remains slightly lower than the other European countries.

In 2004, the number of people who became British citizens broke the record of 140,795 – an increase of 12% from the previous year. That number has grown considerably since 2000. The overwhelming majority of new citizens come from Africa (32%) and Asia (40%), the largest three groups of people are emanating from Pakistan , India and Somalia . [85] In 2006, 149,035 applications had British citizenship, 32% less than in 2005. The number of people who obtained citizenship during 2006 was 154 095, 5% less than in 2005. The largest group of people who managed to British citizenship were from India, Pakistan, Somalia and the Philippines . [86] 21.9% of babies born in England and Wales in 2006 had mothers born outside the UK, according to to official statistics released in 2007 which also show the highest fertility rates in 26 years. [87] As in the rest of the European Union, the birth rate remains below the replacement rate of the population.

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