The official name of Great Britain is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the capital city is London. Great Britain is situated on the British Isles. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the west and is separated from Europe by the North Sea and the English Channel. The Irish Sea and the North Channel separate Great Britain from Ireland as Britain consists of two large islands - Great Britain and Ireland and about 5000 smaller islands e.g. the Isle of Man, the Shetlands, the Hebrides, the Channel Islands. The neighbouring countries of Britain are Ireland to the west and France to southwest. Britain covers the area of 245 000 square kilometres.
The poulation of Great Britain is more than 56 milion people. Most of them are of English nationality ( 81%), but there live also Scottish (9%), Irish (2%), Welch (2%) ethnic groups. The majority of people speaks English. There are also minority languages which are of Celtic origin- Welch, Scottish and Irish Gaelic. Great Britain consits of four smaller countries - England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Britain has a mild, rainy climate because of the Gulf Stream.
The main mountain regions are the Cornish Heights (SW England), The Cambrians (Wales), the Cumbrian Mountains ( in the Lake District), The Pennines. The Higlands of Scotland are the highest mountains in the Britain with the highest peak Ben Nevis. The longest rivers are the Severn and the Thames. The largest cities are London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and Edinburgh.
Industry and agriculture
Britain is an industrialized country. Major industries include iron, steel, textiles, plastics, cotton, chemicals, electronics, wool, shipbuilding. The major natural resources are coal, tin, oil, gas, limestone, iron, salt, chalk and lead. The main agricultural products are wheat, barley, oats, potatoes, sugar beet, milk and meat. Worldknown British cattle and sheep breeding earn lots of money.
The first inhabitants of Great Britain were Celts. They came from northern europe 2500-3000 years ago. Later the Roman occupation begun. England was added to the Roman Empire in 43 AD. Romans built towns, camps and roads throughout the land and also Hadrian´s Wall as the protection against the invasion of Celtic tribes. After the withdrawal of Roman legions the Jutes, The Anglons and the Saxons came. They drove Celtic peoples into the mountains of Scotland and Wales. The last succesful invasion was by French speaking Normans led by William, Duke of Normandy, who became William the Conqueror. An important document Magna Carta was sighned in 1215. It was a garantee of rights and the rule of law. In 1337 the war between England and france begun. It is known as The Hundred Years War.
It was followed by the war for English throne between the House of Lancaster ( their symbol was a white rose ) and the House of York ( whose symbol was a red rose ), known as the War of Roses. It ended with the establishment of powerful Tudor House. King Henry VIII from the Tudor House had six wives. He gained religious independence from Rome and became the head of the Church of England. Under Queen Elizabeth I ( 1558-1603 ) Britain became major sea power, founded new colonies and started the trade with Europe and orient. Large parts of Africa and Asia were added to to Britain during the reign of Queen Victoria. During the World War I and World War II England suffered from huge economic loses. But in the post war period the industrial growth increased.
System of government
Great Britain is a constitutional monarchy with the Queen as the head of the state. Britain is divided into four parts : England ( London capital ), Wales ( Cardiff ), Scotland ( Edinburgh ) and Northern Ireland ( Belfast ). Britain is also divided into counties.
The United Kingdom is governed by the Cabinet which consists of ministers and their leader is the Prime Minister. The official residence of the Prime Minister is 10 Downing Street. The legislative branch is Parliament. It consists of the House of Lords and the House of Commons. Members of the House of Commons are elected for maximally 5 years. The House of Lords ( it functions also as the highest court ) consits of about 1000 members who are either hereditary peers or life peers.
The constitution of Britain is not written. Britain´s most powerful political parties are the Conservative party and the Liberal party.
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