United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is an island country in Western Europe. sIt has an area of 243,920 sq.km. Its territory is mostly covered with low mountains and hilly rocky plains. Thanks to the very chopped coastline there is no point of land that is distant from the sea more than 75 miles ( 120 km ). UK includes 5100 small islands that form the largest archipelago in the continent.
While until XV century, Britain was on the periphery of the then known world in the era of great geographical discoveries, it became а starting point. Bourgeois revolution makes it the first capitalist and industrialized country, it became the first power in the world and has the largest fleet, despite its proximity to such powers as France, Germany, Portugal, Holland and Spain. After the Norman invasion in 1066 not a single international armed conflict is managed within its territory.
Sometimes it is difficult to make difference between the names England, Great Britain and the United Kingdom. Britain includes England, Scotland and Wales, together with the Isle of Man and Channel Islands ( Jersey , Guernsey, Alderney and Sark). When you add Northern Ireland than you get the UK.
The political division in Britain reflected in national flag – Union Jack: red cross for St. George / England / white diagonal cross for St. Andrew / Scotland / and red diagonal cross for Ireland on a blue background. Wales is a principality, a country without a government.
The language of Britain and the royal family has a German origin, although lately it has been quite popular and influential than the Windsor dynasty. English was influenced by Celtic, taroscandinavian, Anglo-Saxon, Latin and normand French – the language spoken by the northern tribes who invaded northern France and during the XI century England, also.
Modern English pronunciation is a relatively new addition. In the beginning, in the XVII – XVIII century it was used by the upper classes to distinguish themselves from the crowd. / It is assumed that before the British spoke roughly as North Americans today /. Gradually, what started as an act of snobbery, was adopted by all sections of society.
Until recently, the pronunciation of the upper class in London / known as Standard English or BBC English / is considered a sign of good manners and university education. For every British is necessary to acquire it. But recently the particular regional accent is quite acceptable and in some professions / media, marketing, entertainment / even very modern.
There are regional differences In the UK- Scottish, Welsh, Irish and Northern Irish and English (Londoners).
Large number of people, Europeans, Asians and Africans (mainly former British possessions), come to the UK to study and work.
The climate is humid and mild, with small temperature changes. At this latitude, it should be cold and raw, but the sea surroundings and particularly beneficial influence of the warm Gulf Stream makes the winter a soft, humid, foggy and almost snowless. In the summer and during the transitional seasons, fall much rain which are the reason the UK to be so humid country. Winters are mild (average January temperature is 3-5 °), and the summer is cool (average July temperature is 16-17 °).
Some of the world’s leading universities are in Great Britain – University of Cambridge, Oxford and London. There are two types of schools – public and government. Public are financed of those who attend them and are more popular among the wealthy citizens. Government schools are funded by the state through taxes.
Isaac NewtonThe country is home to many great scientists, researchers and engineers: Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Adam Smith, James Clerk Maxwell, Lord Kelvin. Here are invented the steam locomotive, vaccination, television, railways, internal combustion engine and gas turbine engine.
There is a left-hand traffic in UK, contrary to most of the countries in Europe.
According to a report in 2006 Britain had the most productive research after the United States.
William Shakespeare is undoubtedly the most popular writer in the history of English literature. Other well known names are Bronte sisters (Charlotte, Emily and Annie), William Thackeray, John Milton, Oscar Wilde, HG Wells, Charles Dikins, Robert Louis Stevenson, Walter Scott, Arthur Conan Doyle, George Orwell. Major poets are Lord Byron, Robert Burns.
Great Britain is the homeland of some of the most famous stars of rock and roll: The Beatles, Black Sabbath, David Bowie, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones and many others.
United Kingdom is a member of the European Union, but in terms of the visa regime there is a separate policy. The country is outside the Schengen arrangements.
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