England has been more and more dependent on its industry since the 15th century. The United Kingdom was the first country in the world to become highly industrialized, and today fourteen people work in mining, manufacturing and building for every one in agriculture. It is the world`s third largest exporter of manufactured goods. It has a very wide range of industrial manufactures, and is one of the most important workshops of the world.
The United Kingdom belongs among the top industrial countries. It is economically connected with the Commonwealth countries and since 1973 – when Britain joined the European Economic Community, popularly known as the Common Market – Britain has also worked very closely with Western Europe. It is also a member of G – 7 (The group of Seven leading industrialized countries).
Up to the beginning of the 18th century, Britain`s industry was mainly carried on in the home or in small factories where water-power from rivers was used to drive, for example, looms.
The process of smelting iron with coal was discovered in England in the 17th century.
Then came the industrial revolution with the discovery of steam-power, from coal. Coal and iron ore are both heavy and hard to transport. So industry grew up where they were available – in 25 of the 49 English counties, along the foothills of Highland Britain.
Major industries include iron and steel engineering (including motor vehicles and aircraft), textiles, plastics, cotton, chemicals, electronics, wool, shipbuilding and food products.
The agricultural system is very well developed but the agriculture provides only half the food it needs. The other half of its food have to be imported.
The main products are oats, hay, wheat, barley and sugar beets. Cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry are the most important farm animals in the United Kingdom.
The country`s role as a major world financial centre and its discovery of natural gas in 1965 and oil in 1969 in the North Sea and their commercial exploitation reduced the dependence on more traditional sources of energy and were major influences on the health of the internal economy and on national policies.
The range of mineral resources in the United Kingdom is limited. Metals of great importance are tin and zinc. Other adequate supplies of nonmetallic minerals are sand and gravel, limestone, dolomite, chalk, slate, barite, talc, clay, gypsum etc.
Sand, gravel, limestone, and other crushed rocks are quarried for use in construction.
Among the few natural resources still belong low-grade iron ore, some timber, hides and skins.
Most of the traditional raw materials for British industries have to be imported.
The United Kingdom has larger energy resources than any other European country, including oil, natural gas, and coal.
Coal has been worked in Britain , in fact, for over 700 years, and an organised coal-mining industry has existed for over 300 years. In 1946 the coal industry was nationalized. The National Coal Board is now responsible for the management of the industry. Its output is 200 million tons a year. One third of this is used by the electricity authority. This is used not only for lighting and cooking etc. in the home, but also for power, thus making it possible, through the National Grid, for new industries to be set up in places where no coal is at hand, for example in London.
Coal is Britain`s leading mineral resource and coal mining is the country`s most important extractive industry. The coal fields are concentrated in several areas – the Pennines, the Midlands and further, for example in Wales.
Ďaľšie referáty z kategórie
Economic Geography of The UK of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
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