England has existed as a
unified entity since the 10th century. The Union between England and Wales was
enacted under the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284. In the Act of Union of 1707,
England and Scotland agreed to permanent union as Great Britain; the
legislative union of Great Britain and Ireland was implemented in 1801, with
the adoption of the name the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, but
in 1921, the Anglo-Irish treaty formalized a partition of Ireland, although six
northern Irish counties remained part of the United Kingdom and became known as
Northern Ireland and the current name of the country is the United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It was adopted in 1927.
Great Britain was the dominant
industrial and maritime power of the 19th century. It played a leading role in
developing parliamentary democracy and in advancing literature and science. At
its zenith, the British Empire stretched over one-fourth of the earth's
United Kingdom is one of five
permanent members of the UN Security Council, a founding member of NATO, and of
the Commonwealth, a member of the EU, but still remains outside the European
Monetary Union. In 1999 the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly of
Wales, and the Northern Ireland Assembly were established. And it is a
significant issue in the UK.
United Kingdom is located in
the Western Europe, on the British Islands, including the northern one-sixth of
the island of Ireland, between the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea,
northwest of France. Total territory is 244,820 sq km. It has a border with
Ireland. Its climate is temperate, moderated by prevailing southwest winds over
the North Atlantic Current. The landscape of UK is mostly rugged hills and low
mountains. Nowadays United Kingdom lies near vital North Atlantic sea lanes,
only 35 km from France and linked by tunnel under the English Channel.
The lowest point is Fenland —
4 m; the highest one is Ben Nevis 1,343 m. Its natural resources are coal,
petroleum, natural gas, tin, limestone, iron ore, salt, clay, chalk, gypsum,
Official languages are
English, Welsh (about 26 % of the population of Wales) and Scottish, as a form
of Gaelic (about 60,000 in Scotland).
Government type is
constitutional monarchy. Administrative divisions of UK are the following:
England is divided into 47 boroughs, 36 counties, 10 districts;
North Ireland is divided into 24 districts, 2 cities, 6 counties;
Scotland is divided into 32 council areas;
Wales is divided into 11 county boroughs, 9 counties and dependent areas.
The Chief of the state is
Queen Elizabeth П since 6 February 1952; the Heir of the Crown is Prince Charles, the son of
the queen. He was born on 14 November 1948.
The Head of government is
Prime Minister Tony BLAIR since 2 May 1997.