Great Britain

England as the largest and most densely populated part of the United Kingdom of great Britain. The location and the population of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The system of Government. The main branches of industry and agriculture in the state.

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Язык английский
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Great Britain

1. Location

Britain forms the greater part of the British Isles, which off the north-west coast of mainland Europe. Great Britain is separated from the Continent by the English Channel. "Great Britain" is a geographical expression but "The United Kingdom" is a political expression. The full name is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Great Britain comprises England, Wales and Scotland.

Great Britain is in fact the biggest of the group of islands which lies between the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The total area is 242,534 sq. km. Britain is just less than 1,000 km long from the south coast of England to the extreme north of Scotland, and just less than 500 km across in the widest part.

The population of the United Kingdom is 57 million people. The British Isles today are shared by two separate and independent states. The smaller of these is the Republic of Ireland, with its capital in Dublin, and the larger, with London as its capital, is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This long title is the result of a complicated history. The Island of Great Britain contains three "nations" which were separated at earlier stages of their history: England, Scotland and Wales. Wales had become part of the English administrative system by the 16th century. Scotland was not completely united with England until 1707. The United Kingdom is a name which was introduced in 1801 when! Great Britain became united with Ireland.

2. England

The largest and most densely populated part of the United Kingdom is England. The population of England is 47, 837 million people. England is washed by the North Sea, the Irish Sea, the English Channel and the Strait of Dover. The name "England" is derived from the Angles. Roman rule lasted for over 300 years from A. D. 43. The last invasion of England took place in 1066 when Duke William of Normandy defeated the English at the Battle of Hastings. At that time the English language was very much transformed.

The capital of England is London, which is the largest city in Britain. It is situated on the River Thames (the most important one). There are many rivers in England, the longest is the Severn. England is mostly a lowland country. Upland regions are in the north and the south-west. Northern England, Midland and South England -- each part is different but very picturesque.

The English like to spend their holiday in the Lake District, which is in the Northern England.

The main industries in England are the wool industry (with its centre in Leeds and Bradford), heavy machinery, shipbuilding, the cotton industry (the centre is Manchester).

3. Scotland

Scotland is the most northern part of the island of Great Britain. Its population is over 5 million people. Scotland was inhabited mainly by the Picts.

In the 6th century, the Scots from Ireland (or Scotia) settled in what is now Argyll, giving their name to the present-day Scotland. During the 9th century, the various parts of Scotland united in defense against the Vikings. The powerful monarchy which existed in England threatened Scottish independence throughout the Middle Ages. In 1603 James VI of Scotland became also James I of England when Queen Elizabeth I of England died without children. In 1651 Scotland was united with England, although Scotland kept its own parliament. In 1707, both countries, realizing the benefits of closer political and economic union, agreed on a single parliament for Great Britain.

The Cheviot Hills mark the boundary between England and Scotland. The greater part of Scotland is surrounded by sea. Scotland includes the Hebrides off the west coast and the Orkney and Shetland Islands off the north coast. It is bounded by the North Sea on the east.

Scotland is divided into three parts: the Highlands, the Lowlands and the Southern Uplands. The Highlands are among the oldest mountains in the world. There are a lot of valleys and lakes in this region; the best known lake is Loch Ness.

Most of the population of Scotland is concentrated in the Lowlands. The biggest city is Glasgow. It is an industrial city and an important port in the United Kingdom. Shipbuilding is the leading industry. But other industries such as iron and steel, engineering and coal-mining are highly developed too. The capital of Scotland is Edinburgh. It is the cultural centre of Scotland.

4. Wales

In 1301 after defeating the native princes of Wales, King Edward I of England named his son Prince of Wales. Since then the eldest son of the King or Queen of England has traditionally been given this title. In 1536 Wales was brought into the English system of national and local government by Act of Union.

Most of Britain was inhabited by Celts until the 4th century. Welsh and English are both official languages in Wales now.

The population of Wales is over 3 million people. About 75% of the people of Wales live in urban districts.

Wales is a highland country of old, hard rocks. North Wales is a country of mountains and deep valleys. South Wales is a land of high hills. The capital of Wales is Cardiff (an industrial city and a port). Cardiff is an administrative and educational centre. Such industries as coal-mining, steel production electronics, electrical engineering are developed in this part of the country.

The Welsh are fond of folk music, singing and poetry. Welsh literature is one of the oldest in Europe.

5. Northern Ireland

A number of kingdoms had emerged in Ireland before the Christian era. Ireland didn't escape the invasion of the Vikings, who dominated the country during the 10th century. In 1169 Henry II of England launched an invasion of Ireland. He had been granted its overlord ship by the English Pope Adrian IV who wanted to bring the Irish church into full obedience to Rome.

The English Civil Wars (1642--1651) led to uprisings in Ireland which were crushed by Cromwell. During the 18th century various efforts were made by British Government to achieve stability. In 1800 an Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland was signed.

The "Irish question" continued as one of the major problems of British politics during the 19th century. In 1985 the Angle-Irish Agreement was signed in Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland.

The population of Northern Ireland is about 1.5 million people. It occupies one-sixth of the territory of the United Kingdom. 53% of the population live in urban areas. The largest industry is agriculture. 1 main industrial centre and a large port is Belfast.

6. System of Government

Britain is a parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarch -- Queen Elizabeth II -- as a head of State.

Today the Queen is not only head of State but also an important symbol of national unity. The royal title in Britain is:

"Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith." In law the Queen is head of the executive, an integral part of the legislature, head of the judiciary, the Commander-in-chief of all the armed forces of the Crown and the Supreme Governor of the established Church of England.

The Queen and the royal family continue to take part in many traditional ceremonies. They visit different parts of Britain; they are involved in the work of many charities. In practice the monarch has no actual power: they say, the monarch reigns but doesn't rule. Queen's power is limited by the Parliament. Parliament is the supreme legislative authority in Britain and the Prime Minister is the virtual ruler of the country.

Parliament comprises the House of Commons, the House of Lords and the Queen in her constitutional role. The Queen summons prorogues and dissolves Parliament. She opens each session with a speech. It is her duty to make appointments to all important state offices. The Queen must see all Cabinet documents. She has the power to conclude treaties, to declare war and make peace.

The Commons has 651 elected Members of Parliament (MPs).

The Lords is made up of 1,185 hereditary and life peers, and the two archbishops and the 24 most senior bishops of the established Church of England. The centre of parliamentary power is the House of Commons. The leader of the party that obtains a majority in the House of Commons is the Prime Minister. The party which has majority of the seats in the House of Commons is called the Government, and the other is the Opposition. The Government may hold office for five years. england britain scotland industry

All the affairs of the State are conducted in the name of the Queen, but really the Prime Minister is responsible for every measure submitted to Parliament. As a head of the Government the Prime Minister appoints about 100 ministers, of whom about 20 are in the Cabinet (the senior group which takes major policy decisions). Ministers are responsible for government decisions and individually responsible for their own departments.

The Opposition has a duty to challenge government policies and to present an alternative programme.

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