UK - Reino Unido
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland |
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
| Motto : Dieu et mon droit [ 1 ]|
(in French : 'God and my right')
| Hymn : God Save the Queen [ 2 ]|
(in English : 'God save the Queen')
| Capital |
(and most populous city)
| London |
|Official languages||English (de facto) [ 3 ] [ 7 ]|
|Form of government||Unitary Parliamentary Monarchy|
|• Reina||Isabel II|
|• Prime Minister||Boris Johnson|
|Legislative body||Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Training |
• Act of Union
• Act of Union
• Anglo-Irish Treaty
As maypole 1 as 1707
1 as January as 1801
December as April as 1922
|• Total||242 495 km²|
|• Water (%)||1,34 %|
|Borders||443 km |
|Coast line||12 429 km |
|Highest point||Ben Nevis|
|Total population||22nd position|
|• Estimate (2020)||67 747 826 [ 2 ] hab.|
|• Census (2011)||63 182 178 [ 3 ] hab.|
|• Density (est.)||270,7 hab./km²|
|Start ( PPA )||Position 9|
|• Total (2019)||3.222 trillion US $ [ 4 ]|
|• Per capita||47 068 US$|
|START (nominal)||6th position|
|• Total (2019)||2,978 billion US $ . [ 4 ]|
|• Per capita||44 563 US$|
|IDH (2020)||0.932 [ 5 ] ( 13th ) - Very high|
|Currency||Pound sterling (£, GBP )|
|Time zone||GMT (UTC +0)|
|• In summer||BST (UTC +1)|
|ISO code||826 / GBR / GB|
|Internet domain|| |
|Telephone prefix|| |
|Radio prefix|| |
|Country acronym for aircraft||G|
|Country acronym for automobiles||GB |
The United Kingdom (in English , United Kingdom ), [ note 1 ] officially United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (in English , United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland ) [ note 2 ] or in abbreviated form RU ( in English , UK ), is a sovereign and insular country located northwest of continental Europe . Its territory is geographically formed by the island of Great Britain , the northeast of theisland of Ireland and small adjacent islands. Since the independence of the Republic of Ireland , Northern Ireland has been the only part of the country with a land border, until the inauguration of the Eurotunnel that connects the island of Great Britain with France and the European mainland by land. Great Britain borders the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west , the North Sea to the east , the English Channel to the south and the Irish Sea to the west .
The United Kingdom is a unitary state comprised of four constituent nations : Scotland , Wales , England and Northern Ireland . [ 8 ] It is governed by a parliamentary system with the seat of government and capital in London , but with three decentralized national administrations in Edinburgh , Cardiff and Belfast , the capitals of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, respectively. It is a parliamentary monarchy , being Elizabeth IIthe head of state . Colloquially and erroneously it is called Great Britain and England , a consequence of the greater weight of both (territory and kingdom, respectively) within the State. The Crown Dependencies of the islands of the Channel - Jersey and Guernsey - and the Isle of Man are not part of the UK, although the UK Government is responsible for its defense and international relations. [ 9 ]
The United Kingdom has fourteen overseas territories , all of them vestiges of what was the British Empire , which in its international territory came to reach and encompass close to a fifth of the world's land surface. Elizabeth II continues to be the head of the Commonwealth of Nations and head of state of each of the Kingdoms of the Commonwealth .
It is a developed country that by its net volume of gross domestic product is the sixth world economy (by its nominal GDP ) and ninth by its PPP GDP . It was the first industrialized country in the world [ 10 ] and the main world power during the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century [ 11 ] (1815-1945), but the economic cost of the two world wars and the decline of its empire in the second part of the twentieth century diminished its role in international relations. However, it still maintains significant economic, cultural, military and political influence, and is anuclear power . He was a member of the European Union between 1973 and 2020. [ note 3 ] He is one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the right to veto, a member of the G7 , the G-20 , NATO , the OECD , the UKUSA , the Commonwealth of Nations and the Common Travel Area .
The official name of the country is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (in English: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), with the United Kingdom or UK being the most used abbreviated forms. The name was proposed for the first time in the Act of Union of 1707 , in which the kingdoms of England and Wales decided to constitute a new kingdom together with Scotland , that would have the name of United Kingdom of Great Britain. [ 13 ] Later, with the Act of Union of 1800 the island of Ireland became part of the country, so the name changed to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1927, when theRepublic of Ireland gained its independence, the country got its current name United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
It is frequently referred to by the name of the island that comprises most of its territory, Great Britain , or also, by extension, by the name of one of its constituent countries, England . Gentilicio of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain is British , but also, by extension, is often used in everyday speech Gentilicio English . [ 14 ] [ 15 ]
Although the United Kingdom, as a sovereign state , is a country, England, Scotland, Wales, and to a lesser extent Northern Ireland, are also considered as "the countries", even though they are not sovereign states. [ 16 ] The British Prime Minister's website has used the expression "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom. [ 17 ]
Some statistical summaries also refer to the countries of England, Scotland and Wales as "regions", while Northern Ireland is referred to as "province".
The first anatomically modern human settlements in present-day UK territory occurred in waves about 30,000 years ago. [ 18 ] It is believed that, towards the end of the prehistoric period of the region , the population belonged to the culture of the Insular Celts , which includes the British and Gaelic Ireland . [ 19 ] The Roman conquest , begun in the year 43, subjected the south of the island to be a province of the empire for four centuries. This was followed by a series of invasions led by differentGermanic peoples - Angles , Saxons and Jutes -, which reduced the British area to what was to become the current territory of Wales , Cornwall and the historic Kingdom of Strathclyde . [ 20 ] Most of the region colonized by the Anglo-Saxons was unified into the Kingdom of England in the 10th century . [ 21 ] At the same time, Gaelic-speakers in northwestern Brittany-With connections to the northeast of Ireland and traditionally supposed to have migrated from there in the century V - [ 22 ] [ 23 ] joined with the Picts to create the so - called Kingdom of Scotland in the century IX . [ 24 ]
In 1066, the Normans invaded England from France and after their conquest , they seized power over large parts of Wales, Ireland and were invited to settle in Scotland , introducing the northern-French model and Norman culture to the feudalism of each country. [ 25 ] The Norman elite greatly influenced, but was assimilated with, each of the local cultures. [ 26 ] Consequently, medieval English kings conquered Wales and made an unsuccessful attempt to annex Scotland.to its territory. Following the Declaration of Arbroath, Scotland maintained its sovereign status, despite constant tensions with England. The English monarchs, due to the inheritance they possessed over vast territories in France and due to claims to the French crown, maintained several conflicts in France, the most notable of which was the Hundred Years War . In it, Scotland allied with France and ended in 1453, with the English withdrawal from French lands. [ 27 ]
The Modern Age was marked by religious conflicts around the Protestant Reformation , where the introduction of state Protestant churches in each country took place from there. [ 28 ] Wales was fully incorporated into the Kingdom of England, [ 29 ] and Ireland was constituted as a kingdom in personal union with the English crown. [ 30 ] Within present-day Northern Irish territory, the lands of the independent Gaelic Catholic nobility were confiscated and given to Protestant settlers from England and Scotland. [ 31 ]
In 1603, James VI of Scotland inherited the crown of England and Ireland, which united the three kingdoms and moved his court from Edinburgh to London ; however, each country remained an independent political entity, while retaining its separate political, legal and religious institutions. [ 32 ] [ 33 ]
In the mid-17th century , the three kingdoms were involved in a series of wars - including the English Civil War - that led to the temporary overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of a unitary republic of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland . [ 34 ] [ 35 ] During the centuries XVII and XVIII , they reported acts of piracy ( privateer ) of the British fleet, attacking and robbing ships of European and Caribbean coasts. [ 36 ]
Despite the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, the interregnum ensured, after the glorious Revolution (1688) and the Bill of Rights of 1689 (in English, Bill of Rights ) and the Law of Law, that unlike other European countries, the royal absolutism would not prevail, and that a professed as a Catholic could never access the throne. The British constitution would develop on the basis of a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary system . [ 37 ] With the founding of the Royal Societyin 1660, the study of science increased markedly. During this period, particularly in England, the development of the English navy - within the context of the so-called " Age of Discovery " - led to the acquisition and liquidation of overseas colonies , particularly in North America. [ 38 ] [ 39 ]
After the Act of Union of 1707
On May 1, 1707, created the Kingdom of Great Britain [ 40 ] [ 41 ] through political union held between the Kingdom of England (which was part of Wales ) and the Kingdom of Scotland . This event was the result of the Treaty of Union signed on July 22, 1706 [ 42 ] and ratified by the English and Scottish Parliaments to create the Act of Union of 1707 . Almost a century later, the Kingdom of Ireland , under English rule since 1691, joined with the Kingdom of Great Britain to form theUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland , as stipulated in the Act of Union of 1800 . [ 43 ] Although England and Scotland had been separate states prior to 1707, they had remained in a personal union since 1603, when the Union of the Crowns took place . [ 44 ] [ 45 ]
In its first century of existence, the country played an important role in the development of Western ideas about the parliamentary system , in addition to making significant contributions to literature, the arts, and science. [ 46 ] The Industrial Revolution , led by the United Kingdom, transformed the country and sustained the growing British Empire . During this time, like other powers , it was involved in colonial exploitation, including the slave trade in the Atlantic, although with the passage of the Slave Law in 1807, the country was one of the pioneers in the fight against the slavery .
Peak of the British Empire
After Napoleon Bonaparte's defeat in the Napoleonic Wars , the nation emerged as the leading naval and economic power of the 19th century and continued to be an eminent power until the 20th century . The capital, London , was the largest city in the world from 1831 to 1925. [ 48 ] The British Empire reached its maximum extent in 1921, when after World War I , the League of Nations gave it the mandate over the ancient German colonies and Ottoman possessions , the latter as part of thepartition of the Ottoman Empire . A year later, the British Broadcasting Company was created, [ 49 ] which later became the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), [ 49 ] the world's first large-scale broadcaster. [ 50 ]
In 1921, internal conflicts in Ireland over demands for an Irish self-government finally led to the partition of the island . [ 51 ] At the same time, the victory of the Sinn Féin party in the 1918 general elections, followed by a war of independence , led to the creation of the Irish Free State ; Northern Ireland chose to remain part of the United Kingdom. [ 52 ] As a result, in 1927 the formal name of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland changed to its current name, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. TheGreat Depression , erupted at a time when the country was still far from recovering from the effects of the First World War.
The United Kingdom was part with the United States, the Soviet Union and France among the allies of World War II . Following the defeat of its European allies in the first year of the war, the British Army continued the fight against Germany in an air campaign known as the Battle of Britain . After the victory, the country was one of the three great powers that came together to plan the postwar world. The Second World War left the damaged national economy. However, thanks to the help of the Marshall plan and expensive loans obtained from the United States and Canada, the nation began the road of recovery. [ 53 ]
The immediate postwar years saw the establishment of the welfare state , including one of the world's first and largest public health services. Changes in government policy also attracted people from across the Commonwealth , creating a multicultural state . Although the new limits of the British political role were confirmed by the Suez Crisis of 1956, the international spread of the English language meant the permanent influence of its literature and its culture, while since the 1960s, its popular culture also began to have great influence abroad.
After a period of global economic slowdown and industrial strife in the 1970s, the next decade saw a substantial influx of income from the sale of the oil from the sea of the North and economic growth. Margaret Thatcher's tenure marked a significant change in the direction of the postwar political and economic consensus; a path followed since 1997 by the Labor governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown . In 1982, there was a brief war against Argentina in the Falklandswhich ended in British victory. In the 80s there were several tragedies in football stadiums caused, among other reasons because the height of the phenomenon hooligan , as the tragedy of Heysel , the Bradford City stadium fire and Tragedy of Hillsborough . In 1988, the Piper Alpha oil platform , located in the North Sea, exploded, killing 167 people. That same year, the bloodiest terrorist attack in Europe took place, when a bomb exploded inside Pan Am Flight 103, killing 270 people. [ 54 ]
The United Kingdom was one of the twelve founding members of the European Union at its inception in 1992 with the signing of the Maastricht Treaty . Previously, since 1973 it had been a member of the forerunner of the European Union, the European Economic Community (EEC). The end of the 20th century saw major changes in British rule, with the establishment of decentralized administrations vested in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. [ 55 ]
On September 16, 1992 there was the episode called " black Wednesday " when some financial speculators, among others, George Soros , bet against the British pound causing a multibillion - dollar losses to the English state, [ 56 ] [ 57 ] the collapse of the Bank of England and forcing it to withdraw from the European Foreign Exchange Mechanism .
In 1997, the United Kingdom transferred sovereignty from Hong Kong to China . That same year the death of Diana of Wales in a car accident shocked the entire country. In 1998, after almost two years of negotiations, the Good Friday agreement was signed. [ 58 ] The then US President Bill Clinton acted as mediator for this agreement , [ 59 ] consummating the peace process in Northern Ireland and halting the fire of the terrorist group IRA , ending the conflict in Northern Ireland (called by the EnglishThe Troubles ie [ The Problems ]).
Foreign policy during the Tony Blair government (1997-2007) was closely aligned with the United States. Following the UK's participation in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan that began in 2001, Blair took part in the 2003 Azores summit where the decision was made to issue a 24-hour ultimatum to the Iraqi regime led by Saddam Hussein for disarmament. . [ 60 ] This ultimatum eventually led to the invasion of Iraq ( Operation Iraqi Freedom ) in 2003.
The 2008 financial crisis severely affected the British economy. Two years later, Gordon Brown's Labor loses the election and the Conservative government led by David Cameron rises , introducing new austerity measures aimed at tackling the substantial public deficits that occurred during the crisis period. [ 61 ] In 2014, the Scottish Government held a referendum for Scottish independence in September of that year, the independence proposal being rejected with 55% of the vote. [ 62 ] [ 63 ]On 9 September 2015, Queen Elizabeth II became the monarch longest reign in the country, having thus surpassed his own great great grandmother, the Queen Victoria .
In June 2016 one was held referendum on the permanence of the UK in the European Union with 51.9% of votes in favor of leaving the European entity, a process that could take up to two years [ 64 ] [ 65 ] and began officially on March 29, 2017. As part of the anti-jihadist coalition in the war against the Islamic State , the UK was again hit by terrorism that year in cities like London and Manchester .
On January 1, 2020, Brexit , the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union , became effective .
government and politics
The United Kingdom is a parliamentary monarchy whose head of state is Elizabeth II . Likewise, she is the head of state of the fifteen countries that, within the framework of the Commonwealth of Nations , constitute independent monarchies , placing the United Kingdom in a personal union with those nations. The Queen has sovereignty over the Crown Dependencies , the Isle of Man and the Bailiwick of Jersey and Guernsey. These are not part of the United Kingdom, although the British Government manages its foreign relations and defense, and Parliament has the authority to legislate on its behalf.
The United Kingdom does not have a document that serves as a fully defined constitution , [ 66 ] something that only occurs in two other countries in the world, Israel and New Zealand . [ 67 ] The UK constitution , therefore, consists primarily of a collection of different written sources, including laws , statutes , jurisprudence, and international treaties . As there is no technical difference between ordinary statutes and "constitutional law", the parliament can carry out a " constitutional reform"by the simple act of passing a law, and consequently, it has the power to change or suppress almost any written or unwritten element of the constitution. However, there are certain limitations on passing laws, for example, no legislature you can create laws that can not be changed in the future. [ 68 ]
The United Kingdom has a parliamentary government , based on the Westminster system , which has been emulated around the world, one of the legacies of the British Empire. The UK Parliament , which meets in the Palace of Westminster, has two houses : the House of Commons (elected by the people) and the House of Lords . Any law passed by parliament requires consentreal to become law. The fact that the decentralized parliament in Scotland and the assemblies in Northern Ireland and Wales are not sovereign bodies and can be abolished by the British parliament, makes the latter the most important legislative body in the country.
The post of the UK head of government , the Prime Minister , [ 69 ] is held by the Member of Parliament who gets the most votes in the House of Commons, usually the leader of the political party with the most seats in said camera. The prime minister and the cabinet are appointed by the monarch to form the "Government of His Majesty", although the prime minister elects the Council of Ministers , and by convention, the monarch respects his choice. [ 70 ]
Traditionally, the cabinet is made up of members of the same party as the prime minister of both legislative houses, mostly from the House of Commons. The executive power is exercised by the prime minister and the cabinet, who take their oath before the king, to form part of the Privy Council , in such a way that they become Ministers of the Crown. In the 2010 elections , the leader of the Conservative Party , David Cameron , ended the thirteen-year term of Labor and assumed the role of prime minister. [ 71 ] Cameron was able to repeat this success in thegeneral elections of 2015 , where the Conservative Party obtained an absolute majority. [ 72 ]
General elections are called by the monarch. Although there is no minimum term to occupy a seat in parliament, the Parliament Act of 1911 requires that a new election must be called within five years after the previous elections. Previously, for elections to the House of Commons, the national territory was divided into 646 electoral districts , with 529 in England, 18 in Northern Ireland, 59 in Scotland and 40 in Wales; [ 73 ] this number increased to 650 in the 2010 general elections . Each electoral district elects a member of parliament by simple majority .
The Conservative Party , the Labor Party and the Scottish National Party (which occurs only in Scotland ), are the main political parties; in the 2015 general election they won 619 of the 650 available seats in the House of Commons. Most of the remaining seats were won by parties that, like the Scottish National Party, only compete in part of the country, such as the Party of Wales (in Wales only), the Democratic Unionist Party , the Social Democratic Party and Labor , the Ulster Unionist Party and Sinn Féin(Northern Ireland only, although Sinn Féin also competes in Irish elections ), [ 74 ] in addition to the Liberal Democrats (who run nationally and won 8 seats). For the European Parliament elections , the UK currently has 72 MEPs elected by block vote . [ 75 ] Doubts about the true sovereignty of each constituent nation arose after the UK's accession to the European Union. [ 76 ]
The country does not have a single legal system, as it was created by the political union of the formerly independent countries and Article 19 of the Treaty of the Union of 1707 guarantees the separate existence of the Scottish legal system. [ 77 ] Today, the country has three different legal systems : the law of England , the law of Northern Ireland, and Scottish law. In October 2009, recent constitutional changes resulted in the creation of a new Supreme Court to take over the appellate functions of the House of Lords Appeal Commission. [ 78 ] [ 79 ]The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is the highest court of appeal for several independent Commonwealth countries, the Overseas Territories and the British Crown Dependencies.
The United Kingdom belongs to several international organizations such as the United Nations , the Commonwealth of Nations , the G-8 , the G-7 , the G-20 , the North Atlantic Treaty Organization , the Organization for the Economic Cooperation and Development , the World Trade Organization , the Council of Europe , the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe . He is also one of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.with the right of veto. This definitively left the European Union on January 31, 2020, which made it its external border. This process, popularly known as Brexit , was scheduled to culminate in May 2019. However, due to successive extensions throughout the year, due to lack of agreement in the British Parliament, it was effective at the beginning of 2020.
The most notable alliance between the United Kingdom and another country is its "special relationship" with the United States , although it also maintains close relations with various members of the European Union, NATO, the Commonwealth, and other powerful countries such as Japan . Britain's global presence and influence are further amplified through its trade relations, its official development aid and its armed forces, which maintain nearly eighty military installations and other deployments around the world. [ 80 ]
The British Army , Royal Navy and Royal Air Force are collectively known as the British Armed Forces . The three forces are administered by the Ministry of Defense and controlled by the Defense Council , chaired by the Secretary of State for Defense.. British troops are among those with the best training, as well as being the most technologically advanced. According to various sources, including the Ministry of Defense, the UK has the third or fourth highest budget for military spending internationally, despite having only the 25th largest army in terms of personnel. Currently, total defense spending represents 2.5% of GDP. [ 81 ]
Marina Real is a fleet of blue water , one of three survivors, along with the National Marine French and United States Navy . [ 82 ] On 3 July 2008, the Defense Ministry signed several agreements worth £ 3.2 million to build two new aircraft carriers . [ 83 ] The United Kingdom is one of five countries (along with the United States, China, Russia, and France) that may be in possession of nuclear weapons, [ 84 ] using a Vanguard-class submarine., which features the Trident II D5 ballistic missile system .
Among the main functions of the British Armed Forces are the protection and defense of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories , the promotion of global security interests and the support of international efforts to maintain peace. In addition, they are active and regular participants in NATO, the UN and other international organizations that seek the peaceful resolution of conflicts. There are several overseas garrisons and British Army installations around the world, mainly on Ascension Island , Belize , Brunei , Canada , Diego Garcia , the Falkland / Malvinas Islands , Germany ,Gibraltar , Kenya , Cyprus and Qatar . [ 85 ]
In 2010, the British Army reported that it had 197,840 militants. [ 86 ] Aside, there are the UK Special Forces, Reserve Forces and Royal Aid Forces. With this, the number of soldiers rises to 435,500, including active and reserve personnel. Despite the UK's military capabilities, a recent policy on defense issues assumes that "the most demanding operations" could be carried out as part of a coalition. [ 87 ] Leaving aside the intervention in Sierra Leone , the operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina , Kosovo , Afghanistan and Iraqcan be taken as precedents of this policy. In fact, the last war in which the British Army fought on its own account was during the Falklands War in 1982, in which it defeated the Argentine Army .
Regarding human rights , regarding membership of the seven bodies of the International Bill of Human Rights , which include the Human Rights Committee (HRC), the United Kingdom has signed or ratified:
|CESCR||CCPR [ 90 ]||CERD [ 91 ]||CED||CEDAW [ 93 ]||CAT||CRC||MWC||EARL [ 97 ]|
|Signed and ratified, signed, but not ratified, neither signed nor ratified, No information, has agreed to sign and ratify the body in question, but also recognizes the competence to receive and process individual communications from the competent bodies.|
The territorial organization of the United Kingdom is complex and highly varied, since each constituent country has its own system of geographical and administrative demarcation with origins prior to the union between them. As a result, there is "no common administrative unit among the United Kingdom". [ 98 ] Until the 19th century , few changes were made to these administrations, but since then there has been a constant evolution of their role and function. [ 99 ]The change did not occur uniformly across the constituent nations, and the return of power over local administration to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland makes it unlikely that future administrative changes will be uniform.
The organization of local government in England is complex, because the distribution of functions varies according to local regulations. Local legislation is carried out by the British Parliament and the UK government , because England does not have a decentralized parliament. The top tier of subdivisions in England are the nine regional government offices . [ 100 ] Since 2000, the London region has had an elected assembly and a mayor, after the great support given to this proposal in the 1998 London referendum . [ 101] [ 102 ] It was intended that other regionsalso have its own regional assembly, but the rejection of this idea in a referendum in 2004 in the regionNorth East Englandstopped the reform. [ 103 ] Below the regional level, London is made up of 32municipalitiesand the rest of England has district councils and county councils or unitary authorities. The councilors are elected bydirect suffrage, by simple vote or byblock. [ 104 ]
The local government in Scotland is divided into 32 areas of tips, which have a wide variation in both size and population. The cities of Glasgow , Edinburgh , Aberdeen and Dundee are special council areas, as is the Highland council area , which includes a third of the land area of Scotland, but only just over 200,000 people. The power conferred on the local authorities is administered by the elected councilors, who are currently 1,222. [ 105 ]Elections are carried out by single transferable vote, through block elections of three or four councilors. Each Council elects an Administrator or General Coordinator to preside over the Council meetings and to act as the representative of the zone. The councilors are subject to a code of conduct imposed by the Standards Commission for Scotland. [ 106 ] The representative organization for local officials is the Scottish Local Authorities Convention (COSLA). [ 107 ]
Since 1973, local government in Northern Ireland has been organized into 26 district councils, where single transferable vote elections are held, to elect representatives with powers limited to services, such as waste collection and maintenance of parks and sites. public. [ 108 ] However, on March 13, 2008, the executive branch proposed the creation of eleven new councils to replace the current system [ 109 ] and the next local elections will be postponed until 2011 to facilitate this process. [ 110 ]
Finally, local government in Wales consists of 22 unitary authorities, including the cities of Cardiff , Swansea and Newport , which are independent unitary authorities. [ 111 ] Elections are held every four years by direct suffrage. [ 112 ] The Welsh Local Government Association represents the interests of Welsh local authorities. [ 113 ]
Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies
The British Overseas Territories are fourteen territories dependent on, but not part of, the United Kingdom. Mainly, they are small sparsely populated islands that represent the vestiges of the old British Empire . Together, they represent an area of more than 1,728,000 km² and a population of approximately 260,000 people. [ 114 ] However, the largest of them (1,709,400 km² , equivalent to 98.9% of overseas territories) is the British Antarctic Territory , which is only recognized by four other countries, while the majority of the signatories of the Antarctic Treaty . [ 115 ]They do not recognize British sovereignty over that territory and treat it only as a British claim, while two other signatory countries, Chile and Argentina , have their own claims. The Antarctic territory claimed by the United Kingdom overlaps partially with the area claimed by Chile ( Territorio Chileno Antártico ) and totally with that claimed by Argentina ( Antarctica Argentina ), to the point that this disagreement led to diplomatic tensions, pressures and incidents (such as that of Isla Decepisión or Bahía Esperanza ) in years prior to the signing of the treaty, which postpones the resolution of the matter.
The dependencies of the British Crown are three semi-dependent territories of the monarch of the United Kingdom, but they are not part of the country either. Unlike overseas territories, legislation and other matters of local concern correspond to a local legislative assembly ; furthermore, international treaties and national standards are only applied if this assembly approves them. [ 116 ] These dependencies occupy about 779 km² and have a population of more than 235,700 inhabitants. [ 115 ]
- Acrotiri y Dhekelia
- Cayman Islands
- Islas Pitcairn
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- British Virgin Islands
- Santa Elena, Ascensión and Tristán de Acuña
- British Antarctic Territory
- British Indian Ocean Territory
- British Overseas Territory of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
- Falkland Islands (British Overseas Territory)
The United Kingdom has an area of 244 820 km². [ 1 ] [ 117 ] comprising the island of Great Britain and the northeastern part of the island of Ireland (Northern Ireland) and smaller islands. [ 117 ] The country is located between the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea , 35 kilometers from the northwestern coast of France , from which it is separated by the English Channel . [ 117 ]
Great Britain is located between latitudes 49 ° and 59 ° N (the Shetland Islands stretch almost to 61 ° N) and longitudes 8 ° W to 2 ° E. The Greenwich Observatory in London is the defining point for the Greenwich meridian . When measured directly from north to south, Britain measures just over 1,100 kilometers in length and just under 500 kilometers at its widest. However, the greatest distance between two points on the island is 1350 kilometers between the end of the land in Cornwall (near Penzance ) and John o 'Groats in Caithness (near Thurso ). North Irelandit shares a 443 km land border with the Republic of Ireland . [ 1 ]
England accounts for just over half of the total area of the United Kingdom, with an area of 130,410 square kilometers. Most of the country consists of lowlands, with some mountainous terrain in the northwest, where the Tees-Exe line lies between the Cumbrian Mountains and the Pennine Mountains . The highest mountain in the region is Scafell Pike (978 m asl ) and is located within this area. The main rivers and estuaries in England are the Thames , the Severn and the Humber .
Scotland accounts for less than a third of the total area of the United Kingdom, covering 78,772 square kilometers; [ 118 ] This figure includes the almost eight hundred islands, [ 119 ] most of which are to the west and north of Great Britain, with the Hebrides , Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands standing out . Scotland's topography is distinguished by the Highland fault, which runs through Scottish territory from Helensburgh to Stonehaven. The fault separates the two main Scottish regions: the northern and western highlands and the southern and eastern lowlands. The mountainous region contains most of the Scottish Highlands, including Ben Nevis , which at 1,343 m asl is the highest point in the British Isles . [ 120 ] The lowlands, especially the narrow strip of land between the Clyde Fjord and the Firth of Forth known as the "Central Belt", is flatter and contains most of the Scottish communities, including Glasgow , the largest city in the region, andEdinburgh , the capital and political center of the country.
Wales occupies less than a tenth of the total area of the United Kingdom, covering only 20,758 square kilometers. Wales is primarily mountainous, although the southern area is less mountainous than the north and center. For this reason, the main industrial areas are in South Wales , made up of the coastal cities of Cardiff , Swansea and Newport . The highest mountains are Snowdonia , where the highest peak in the region is located: Snowdon at 1,085 m asl. The fourteen (or fifteen) tallest mountains in Wales exceed 3,000 feet (914.4 meters) and are commonly referred to as the "Wales 3000's". [ 121 ]There are several islands that stretch in front of the more than 1200 km of coastline, the largest of which is Anglesey (Ynys Môn), located in the northwest of the country.
Northern Ireland covers only 14,160 square kilometers and its territory is mostly mountainous. It is separated from the British island by the Irish Sea and the North Channel . The highest peak in this region is the Slieve Donard at 849 m asl, located in the Morne Mountains . In Northern Ireland is Lough Neagh , which at about 388 square kilometers is the largest body of water in the United Kingdom. [ 122 ]
The UK has a temperate climate and an oceanic climate with abundant rainfall throughout the year. [ 117 ] The temperature varies with the seasons, but rarely falls below -10 ° C, or rises above 35 ° C. The prevailing wind comes from the southwest, bringing with it the humid and warm weather from the Atlantic Ocean. [ 117 ] The eastern part is more protected from this wind and therefore has a drier climate. The Atlantic currents, warmed by the Gulf Stream, make winters less severe, especially in the west, where winters are humid. Summers are warmer in the southeast of England, being the part closest to the European continent, and cooler as you move north. Snowfall occurs during winter and spring, although heavy snowfall rarely falls in the lowlands.
|London average climatic parameters|
|Temp. max. media (° C)||6.7||7.1||9.9||12.6||16.3||19.6||21.7||21.4||18.8||15||10.1||7.7||13.9|
|Temp. min media (° C)||0.4||0.5||1.5||3.4||6.3||9.3||11.3||10.9||8.8||6.4||2.8||1.3||5.2|
|Total precipitation (mm)||78||51||61||54||55||57||45||56||68||73||77||79||754|
|Hours of sun||279||280||372||420||465||510||496||465||390||341||270||248||4536|
|Relative humidity (%)||81||76||69||64||62||60||60||62||67||73||78||82||69.5|
|[ citation required ]|
Effects of climate change
In the UK, as a result of climate change, there is a trend towards warmer winters and warmer summers, the sea level off the British coast rises by about 3mm each year and there are signs of a change in precipitation patterns. [ 123 ] Climate scientists expect heat waves, such as those in 2003, to become the norm in the 2040s as a result of the climate crisis . [ 123 ] The 2019 model calculations show that London would be relocated to another climate zone if the RCP4.5 scenario occurs . [ 124 ]The weather in London in 2050 looks more like the old weather in Barcelona than the weather before it in London. [ 124 ] Even extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and intense. [ 125 ] The floods in England 2013-2014 have been shown to date back to man-made climate change. [ 125 ]
Flora and fauna
In most of Great Britain there is a temperate climate that receives high levels of precipitation and average levels of insolation. To the north, the climate becomes colder and coniferous forests largely replace the deciduous species of the southern forests.
There are some variations in the British climate, with some areas having sub-arctic conditions such as in the Scottish Highlands and Teesdale , and even subtropical in the Isles of Scilly . The seasonal changes that occur throughout the archipelago condition plants that have to cope with changes in the levels of sunlight, precipitation and temperature, as well as the risk of snow and frost during winter.
Within the island there are several ecosystems such as temperate forests , swamps , marshes , etc. The oak , the elm , the has , the ash , the pine and birch are some of the most common trees in British forests. [ 126 ] Previously, the British Isles were full of deciduous and coniferous forests.But by the 2000s, only about 10% of the national territory was covered by forests, concentrated in the northeast of Scotland and in the southeast of England, due in large part to uncontrolled logging and urban growth . [ 127 ] The area surrounding urban areas is covered mainly by grasses and flowering plants [ 126 ]
The island of Great Britain, along with the rest of the archipelago known as the British Isles , is home to a typical fauna of a temperate oceanic climate, little diverse when compared worldwide and similar to that of other Northern European countries .
The most abundant mammals in the country include foxes , rabbits , deer , hedgehogs , mice , weasels, and shrews . [ 126 ] Like other islands located at similar latitudes, reptiles and amphibians are rare . [ 128 ] Throughout the national territory, more than 21,000 species of insects and about 230 species of birds have been discovered, some of which are threatened by hunting and the destruction of their habitat. [ 126] Major British rivers, such as theRiver Thames, are the main source of water for wildlife in local ecosystems, as well as the habitat of various species offishandwaterfowl. [ 129 ]
Man has persecuted the larger species that interfered with his activities (the wolf , [ 130 ] the brown bear and the wild boar ) until causing their extinction on the island, although of course domesticated forms such as the dog and the pig. The wild boar was subsequently reintroduced. [ 131 ]
Since the mid-18th century , Britain has undergone great industrialization and increased urbanization . A DEFRA study published in 2006 suggested that 100 species of animals have become extinct in the UK during the 20th century , which is about 100 times the background extinction rate . [ 132 ] This has had a great impact on indigenous animal populations, particularly passerines , which have become increasingly rare. The loss of habitat has affected mainly species of mammalslarger. However, some species have adapted to the sprawling urban environment, notably the fox , the rat , and other animals such as the wood pigeon .
The UK economy is made up (in descending order of size) of the economies of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Based on exchange rates in the market , the UK is the fifth largest economy in the world and the second largest in Europe after Germany , ahead of France . [ 134 ]
The Industrial Revolution began in the United Kingdom, in a process where there was a great concentration of heavy industries throughout the country, such as shipbuilding , coal mining , steel production and the textile industry . The expansion of the Empire created a huge foreign market for British goods, allowing the nation to dominate international trade in the 19th century.. Later, as happened to other industrialized economies, along with the economic decline after the two world wars, the United Kingdom began to lose its competitive advantage and heavy industry declined. Although manufacturing remains an important part of the economy, in 2003 it only accounted for one sixth of the country's income. [ 135 ]
The automotive industry is an important part of the manufacturing sector , although it has declined with the collapse of the MG Rover Group and most of the industry is now foreign-owned. The production of civil and defense aircraft is led by BAE Systems , the world's largest defense contractor , [ 136 ] and by the European firm EADS , the owner of Airbus . Rolls-Royce has a significant share of the global aerospace engine market . The chemical industry andPharmaceuticals are important in the UK, as the British companies GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca are the second and sixth largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, respectively. [ 137 ]
However, during the last decades the tertiary sector has grown considerably and now produces about 73% of GDP . [ 138 ] The service sector is dominated by financial services , especially banks and insurance companies . This makes London the largest financial center in the world, [ 139 ] as the headquarters of the London Stock Exchange , the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange and the Lloyd's of London are located here.; in addition to being the leader of the three "command centers" of the world economy (along with New York and Tokyo ). [ 140 ] In addition, it has the highest concentration of foreign bank branches in the world. In the last decade, a rival financial center in London has grown in the Docklands , where the HSBC , the largest bank in the world, [ 141 ] [ 142 ] and Barclaysthey relocated their headquarters. Many multinational companies that are not British-owned have chosen London as the location for their European or foreign headquarters: one example is the US financial services firm Citigroup . The capital of Scotland, Edinburgh , is also one of the great financial centers of Europe [ 143 ] and is the headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group , one of the most important banks in the world.
The tourism is very important for the British economy. With the more than 27 million tourists who arrived in the country in 2004, the UK is ranked as the sixth most important tourist destination in the world. [ 144 ] London, by a considerable margin, is the most visited city in the world with 15.6 million visitors in 2006, ahead of Bangkok (10.4 million visitors) and Paris (9.7 million). . [ 145 ] The creative industries accounted for 7% of GDP in 2005 and grew at an annual average rate of 6% between 1997 and 2005. [ 146 ]
In July 2007, the UK had a public debt of 35.5% of GDP. [ 147 ] This figure increased to 56.8% of GDP in July 2009. [ 148 ] The national currency is the British pound , represented by the symbol £ . The Bank of England is the central bank , responsible for issuing currency, although banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland have the right to issue their own banknotes . The pound sterling is also used as a reserve currency by other governments and institutions and is the third currency with the largest amount of reserves, after theUS dollar and euro . [ 149 ] The United Kingdom decided not to participate in the launch of the euro as a currency, and former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has ruled out adopting the euro in the near future, arguing that the decision not to join the project had been the best option for the country and for Europe. [ 150 ] The previous Tony Blair administration promised to hold a public referendum to decide whether the country would carry out the "five economic tests." In 2005, more than half of British people (55%) were against the adoption of the euro as a currency, while only 30% were in favor.
On January 23, 2009, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that the British economy was officially in recession for the first time since 1991. [ 152 ] It was reported that it was in the last quarter of 2008 that the economy fell into a recession. which was accompanied by growing unemployment , which increased from 5.2% in May 2008 to 7.6% in May 2009. The unemployment rate for adults between 18 and 24 years of age increased from 11.9% to 17 , 3% in the same period. [ 153 ]
The relative poverty line in the UK is commonly defined below 60% of median income. Between 2007 and 2008, 13.5 million people, that is, 22% of the population, lived below this line. It is one of the highest relative poverty levels among the members of the European Union. [ 154 ] After taking into account housing costs, it was shown that in the same period 4 million children, 31% of the total, lived in households that were below the poverty line. This represents a decrease by 400 000 compared to the period between 1998 and 1999. [ 155 ]
Between 2007 and 2015, the UK recorded the largest decline in real wages (adjusted for inflation) of all advanced countries, at the same level as Greece (-10.4%). The UK has the highest income inequality among OECD countries and the largest regional disparities in Europe. The share of revenue captured by the top 1% has doubled in the last 30 years, from about 4% to more than 8.5% of the gross national product (GNP) in 2018. [ 156 ]
The main British roads form a network of 46,904 kilometers, of which more than 3,520 kilometers are motorways. In addition, there are about 213,750 kilometers of paved roads. [ 117 ] The rail network , with 16,116 kilometers and 303 kilometers Britain in Northern Ireland, [ 117 ] daily transports more than 18,000 passenger trains and 1,000 freight trains. Urban rail networks are well developed in London and other major cities. More than 48,000 km of railroad came into existence throughout the country, however, most were reduced between 1955 and 1975, largely after a report by government adviser Richard Beeching.in the mid-1960s (known as the Beeching ax). Currently considered new plans to build new high speed lines by 2025. [ 157 ]
The Roads Agency is the executive agency responsible for roads and motorways in England, apart from the private company M6 Toll . [ 160 ] The Department for Transport states that traffic congestion is one of the most serious transport problems and that if left unchecked it could cost England more than £ 22 billion by 2025. [ 161 ] According to the Eddington Report2006 by the British government, congestion is in danger of damaging the economy, unless it is counteracted with the collection of tolls and the expansion of the transport network. [ 162 ] [ 163 ]
Scotland's roads and means of transport are the responsibility of the local government Department of Transport, with Scotland Transport being the government agency in charge of maintaining the country's roads and rail networks. [ 164 ] Scotland's rail network has around 340 stations and 3,000 kilometers of track and carries more than 62 million passengers each year. [ 165 ] In 2008, the Scottish government established investment plans for the next 20 years, with priorities to include a new bridge on the Forth road and electrification of the rail network. [ 166 ]
The Heathrow Airport , located 24 km to the west of the capital, is the busiest airport in the UK and has the highest level of international passenger traffic in the world. [ 158 ] [ 159 ] Between October 2009 and September 2010, the British airports received 211.4 million passengers. It is also the base of operations for airlines such as British Airways , Virgin Atlantic and bmi . [ 167 ]
The BBC is the UK's leading public broadcaster and the oldest and largest broadcaster in the world. [ 169 ] It operates several television channels and radio stations in the country and abroad. The BBC's international television service, BBC World News , is broadcast around the world and the international radio service, BBC World Service , broadcasts in thirty-three languages.
As for radio , the main service is BBC Radio, which has ten national stations, among which are the two most popular: BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 2 ; and about forty regional stations. There are also services in other languages within the British borders, such as BBC Radio Cymru in Welsh and BBC Radio nan Gàidheal in Scottish Gaelic ; some BBC Radio Ulster programs are broadcast in Irish to the Northern Irish population. There are also hundreds of private local stations.
Internet is another of the most important means of communication in the country, in addition to having had a great increase since the last decade, in such a way that with 41,817,847 users, it is the seventh country with the largest number of Internet users in the world. [ 170 ] The Internet domain for the United Kingdom is .uk . The most popular website ending in ".uk" is the UK version of Google , followed by the BBC page. [ 171 ]
The Sun is the newspaper with the largest national circulation, with 3.1 million copies a day, accounting for approximately a quarter of the market. [ 172 ] Its sister publication, News of the World, was the largest-circulation weekly newspaper, canceled following a wiretapping scandal, which typically focused on celebrity stories. [ 173 ] The Daily Telegraph , a newspaper right, is considered the newspaper of "quality" bestselling country. [ 172 ] The Guardian is another newspaper "quality", although more liberal trend; Financial times is the main financial newspaper in the country, characterized by being printed on salmon-colored sheets.
Printed from 1737, The News Letter from Belfast , is the oldest English newspaper still in circulation. One of its Northern Irish competitors, The Irish News , has been rated the UK's best regional newspaper on several occasions. [ 174 ] In addition to newspapers, some British publications have international circulation, among which are the magazines The Economist and Nature .
Electricity consumption in the country amounts to 345,800 million kWh per year, making it the 12th country with the highest electricity consumption in the world. [ 117 ] However, it produces 1.54 million barrels of oil per day and 69.9 million m³ of natural gas per year. [ 117 ] Currently, most of the electrical energy comes from non-renewable sources, mainly coal and oil. This has prompted the government to begin implementing measures to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.in terms of energy production and it is intended that by 2020 40% of electricity will come from alternative energy sources such as solar , wind and tidal power . [ 175 ]
The UK has a small reserve of coal , along with significant but continually diminishing reserves of natural gas and oil . [ 176 ] Some 400 million tons of coal have been identified in the country. [ 177 ] In 2004, total coal consumption (including imports) was 61 million tons, [ 178 ] allowing the country to be self-sufficient in coal for just 6.5 years, although with current extraction levels , the period increases to 20 years. [ 177 ] An alternative to generating electricitywith coal is the gasification of underground coal (GCS). GCS is a system that injects steam and oxygen into a well, where gas is extracted from the coal and pushes the gas mixture to the surface (a method of coal extraction with potentially low carbon emissions). Following the identification of land areas that have the potential for GCS, gas reserves are estimated to be between 7 billion and 16 billion tons. [ 179 ] Based on current coal consumption in the country, these volumes represent reserves that could last between 200 and 400 years. [ 180 ]
Education in the UK is a decentralized matter, as each constituent nation has its own education system. Education in England is the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, although the administration and funding of state schools is the responsibility of local authorities. [ 181 ] Universality of education in England and Wales was introduced in 1870 for primary education and in 1900 for secondary education . [ 182 ]Currently, education is compulsory for ages five to eighteen. Most of the children are educated in state sector schools, only a small portion study in special schools, mainly for reasons of academic skills. State schools that are allowed to select students according to their intelligence and academic ability can achieve results comparable to the more selective private schools: in 2006, of the ten best-performing schools, two were state grammar schools. Despite a drop in actual numbers, the proportion of children in England attending private schools has risen by more than 7%. [ 183 ] However, more than half of the students at the main universities,Cambridge and Oxford , attended state schools. [ 184 ] England has some of the best universities internationally; the University of Cambridge , the University of Oxford , the Imperial College London and University College London are ranked within the top ten of the world. [ 185 ] According to the TIMSS(Trends in the International Study of Mathematics and Science), pupils in England are seventh best in mathematics and sixth best in science. The results place English students ahead of other European countries, including Germany and the Scandinavian countries . [ 186 ]
Education in Scotland is the responsibility of the Secretary for Education and Learning, with the administration and funding of state schools by local authorities. Two non-departmental public bodies play a key role in Scottish education: the Scottish Qualifications Authority [ 187 ] and Scottish Teaching and Learning. [ 188 ] Education became compulsory in Scotland in 1496. [ 189 ] The proportion of children attending private schools is just 4%, although it has been increasing slowly in recent years. [ 190 ]Scottish students who attend Scottish universities do not pay tuition or courses to undertake postgraduate studies, since all these fees were abolished in 2001. The monetary contribution to universities by graduate students was abolished in 2008. [ 191 ]
Education in Northern Ireland is administered by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Employment and Learning, although at the local level it is the responsibility of five boards of education, covering specific geographical areas. The Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessments (CCEA) is the body charged with advising the government on what should be taught in Northern Irish schools, following standards and awarding degrees. [ 192 ]
The National Assembly for Wales has responsibility for education in this country. A significant number of Welsh students learn, either fully or largely, in the Welsh language ; lessons in Welsh are compulsory for all pupils up to the age of 16. [ 193 ] There are plans to increase the number of secondary schools that teach in Welsh, as part of the policy to achieve fully bilingual Wales .
A study published in December 2019 by The Equality Trust association reveals that adding the fortunes of the five richest families in the United Kingdom - for a total of 46,000 million euros - we obtain the sum owned by the 13 million poorest people in the world. country. More generally, the richest 1% of Britons alone own as much money as 80% of the total population. [ 194 ]
Between 2017 and 2018, the poverty rate in the country increased from 22.1% to 23.2%, the largest increase since 1988. It is believed that the increase in inflation and the budget cuts of the Conservative government for 2015, in particular when it comes to family allowances and housing allowances, they are the main causes. Four million Britons live with less than half the poverty line and 1.5 million cannot meet their basic needs. [ 195 ]
Every ten years a census is taken simultaneously in all regions of the United Kingdom. [ 197 ] The Office for National Statistics is responsible for data collection for England and Wales, while in Scotland and Northern Ireland censuses are responsible for the General Register Office and the Agency for Statistics and Research, respectively. [ 198 ]
In the most recent census carried out in 2001, the total population of the United Kingdom was 58 789 194 people, the third largest in the European Union, the fifth largest in the Commonwealth and the twenty-first in the world . By mid-2008, it was estimated to have grown to 61,383,000 inhabitants. [ 199 ] In 2008, natural population growth exceeded net migration as the main contributor to population growth, the first time that has occurred since 1998. [ 199 ] Between 2001 and 2008, population increased at a rate annual average of 0.5%. This compares with 0.3% per year in the period from 1991 to 2001 and 0.2% in the decade from 1981 to 1991. [ 199 ]Released in 2008, the 2007 population estimate revealed that, for the first time, the UK was home to more people of retirement age than children under 16 years of age. [ 200 ]
In mid-2008, out of a total of some 61 million Britons, England's population was estimated at 51,383,000. [ 199 ] Thus, England is one of the most densely populated countries in the world with 383 inhabitants per square kilometer, [ 201 ] with a particular concentration in London and the south-east of the country. [ 202 ] Estimates for the same period put the population of Scotland at 5.17 million, Wales at 2.99 million and Northern Ireland at 1.78 million, [ 199 ]Much less densely populated than England. Compared with 383 English inhabitants per square kilometer, the corresponding figures were 142 h / km² for Wales, 125 h / km² for Northern Ireland and only 65 h / km² for Scotland. [ 201 ] Northern Ireland had the fastest growing population in percentage terms of all four constituent countries of the United Kingdom. [ 199 ]
That same year, the average fertility rate across the UK was 1.96 children per woman. [ 203 ] While a rising birth rate contributes to current population growth, it still remains considerably below the 1964 baby boom , where each woman had an average of 2.95 children, [ 204 ] but higher than the record for most. low in 2001, of 1.63 children per woman. [ 203 ] In 2008, Scotland had the lowest fertility rate with only 1.8 children per woman, while Northern Ireland had the highest with 2.11 children. [ 203 ]
The United Kingdom does not have an official language , but the most predominant is English , a West Germanic language descended from Anglo - Saxon , which has a large number of loanwords from Old Norse , Norman French and Latin . Due in large part to the expansion of the British Empire, the English language spread throughout the world and became the international language of business, as well as the second most popular language in the world. [ 205 ]
The Scottish ( Lallans ) , a language cognate with English also descends from the Middle English spoken in northeast England, is recognized at European level. [ 206 ] There are also four Celtic languages in use: Welsh , Irish , Scottish Gaelic, and Cornish . In the 2001 census, more than one fifth of the population of Wales said he knew speak Welsh (21%), [ 207 ] [ 208 ] In addition, it is estimated that about 200,000 Welsh speakers live in England. 
The 2001 census in Northern Ireland showed that 167,487 people (10.4% of the population) had "some knowledge of Irish", almost exclusively in the country's Catholic and nationalist population. More than 92,000 people in Scotland (just under 2% of the population) had some understanding of the Gaelic language, including 72% of the inhabitants of the Outer Hebrides . [ 210 ] The number of schools teaching in Welsh, Scottish Gaelic and Irish is increasing. [ 211 ] These languages are also spoken by small groups around the world; in Nova Scotia , CanadaIrish is spoken, while there is a population that speaks Welsh in Argentine Patagonia . [ 212 ]
It is generally compulsory for British pupils to study a second language at some point in their school career: at the age of 14 in England, [ 213 ] and up to the age of 16 in Scotland. The French and German are the two most studied languages in England and Scotland. In Wales, all 16-year-olds must have learned Welsh as a second language. [ 214 ]
|Religion in the United Kingdom (2011) [ citation needed ] [ 215 ] [ 216 ] [ 217 ] [ 216 ]|
|Christianity 59.5% Irreligion 25.7% Undeclared 7.2% Islam 4,4% Hinduism 1.3% Other 1.1% Judaism 0.4% Buddhism 0.4%|
In the Act of Union of 1707 , which led to the formation of the United Kingdom, it was ensured that Protestantism would continue to exist, as well as a link between Church and State that remains until the 21st century . Thus, the Christianity is the religion with the most followers, followed by Islam , the Hinduism , the Sikhism and Judaism , according to data from the 2001 census [ 117 ]
In the same census, 71.6% of those surveyed said that Christianity was their religion, [ 218 ] although surveys using a "more specific" question tend to find lower proportions; such is the case of the 2007 Tearfund Study , which revealed that 53% identified themselves as Christian, [ 219 ] and the 2007 British Study of Social Attitudes , which found it to be almost 47.5%. [ 220 ] However, the Tearfund Study showed that only one in ten Britons actually attended church on a weekly basis. [ 221 ]
The 2007 British Study of Social Attitudes , covering England, Wales and Scotland, but not Northern Ireland, indicated that 20.87% of the population were part of the Church of England , 10.25% non-denominational Christians, 9.01% Catholic , 2.81% Presbyterian ( Church of Scotland ), 1.88% Methodist , 0.88% Baptist, and 2.11% Christian of other types. Among other religions, Muslims occupied 3.30%, Hindus 1.37%, Jews 0.43%, Sikhs 0.37% and adherents of other religions 0.35%. A large proportion claimed not to have any religion (45.67%). [ 220 ]
In the 2001 census, 9.1 million people (15% of the population) claimed to be atheists , with more than 4.3 million people (7%) indicating no specific religious preference. [ 222 ] There is a disparity between the figures for those who identify with a particular religion and for those who proclaim belief in a god: a 2005 Eurobarometer survey showed that 38% of respondents believe that "there is a god ", 40% believe that" there is some type of spirit or vital force "and 20% said that" I do not believe that there is some type of spirit, god or vital force ". [ 223 ]Druidism is since 2010 recognized as one of the official religions of the United Kingdom and as one of the oldest in the country. [ 224 ]
Like education, healthcare is a decentralized affair, with England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales having their own health care systems, along with complementary, holistic and alternative therapies . The National Health Service (NHS) is the body responsible for providing medical care to all permanent residents of the UK free of charge. In 2000, the World Health Organization ranked the National Health Service as the 15th best in Europe and 18th in the world. [ 226 ] [ 227 ]
In addition to the National Health Service, there are several agencies in charge of health care that are administered by the government, such as the General Medical Council and the Council of Obstetrics and Nursing, while others correspond to private initiative, such as the Royal Colleges. However, the policy and administration of the National Health Service correspond to each constituent nation. Each National Health Service has different policies and priorities, resulting in stark contrasts from one to the other. [ 228 ] [ 229 ]
Since 1979, medical service expenditures have increased significantly, approaching the average expenditure in the European Union. [ 230 ] The UK spends around 8.4% of its GDP on health care, which is 0.5% below the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development average and around 1% below the European Union average. [ 231 ]
|Major cities of the United Kingdom|
| ||N.º||Town||Administrative division||Have||N.º||Town||Administrative division||Have|| |
|2||Birmingham||Midlands del Oeste||942.766||12||Bradford||Yorkshire y Humber||278.984|
|3||Glasgow||Glasgow||578.776||13||Coventry||Midlands del Oeste||267.775|
|4||Liverpool||North West England||452.773||14||Kingston upon Hull||Yorkshire y Humber||265.615|
|6||Leeds||Yorkshire y Humber||440.954||16||Plymouth||South West England||253.188|
|7||Sheffield||Yorkshire y Humber||415.175||17||Stoke-on-Trent||Midlands del Oeste||249.086|
|8||Manchester||North West England||396.322||18||Derby||East midlands||247.530|
|9||Bristol||South West England||372.985||19||Wolverhampton||Midlands del Oeste||246.236|
|10||Cardiff||South wales||316.793||20||Nottingham||East midlands||240.373|
|Estimate for 2010 [ 232 ]|
The culture of the United Kingdom , also called "British culture", can be described as the legacy of the history of a developed island country, a great power and also as the result of the political union of four countries, each retaining its distinctive elements. of traditions, customs and symbolisms. As a result of the dominance of the British Empire , the influence of British culture can be seen in the language, traditions, customs, and legal systems of many of its former colonies, including Canada , Australia , New Zealand , India, and the United States. .
The art and culture have historically been influenced by Western ideology. [ 233 ] Since the expansion of the British Empire, the experience of military, political and economic power led to the unique technique, taste and sensibilities of UK artists. [ 234 ] The British used their art "to illustrate their knowledge and lead the natural world," while settlers from North America , Australasia, and South Africa "embarked on a search for a distinctive artistic expression appropriate to their national identity. ". [ 234 ]The empire was "at the center, rather than the margins, of British art history", and the visual arts of the Victorian era have been central to the construction, celebration and expression of British identity. [ 235 ]
The art of the United Kingdom encompasses all artistic manifestations made from the founding of the country to the present day. However, much of the so-called British art comes from before 1707, with Stonehenge being the oldest artistic manifestation in the country, dating back to 2500 BC. C. [ 236 ] Since then, art in the territory comprised by the United Kingdom has developed over the centuries, and by the time of the union of the four nations, each one already had a defined artistic tradition .
The period of greatest growth for British arts was during the Empire , when the United Kingdom was at the forefront of various artistic movements in which, in addition to representing historical, biblical and mythological moments, they captured moments of daily life that could transcend in the art. [ 237 ] Furthermore, thanks to imperial expansion, artists were able to take influences from the cultures of countries under British rule, such as India , the United States , etc., at the same time that British works left their mark and legacy within of the artists of the colonies. During the 20th century , British art began to expand into the currents of theModern and contemporary art , such as Post-Impressionism , Cubism, and Impressionism . [ 238 ]
Currently, there are a number of arts institutions in the UK, from which a number of art movements and prominent artists within their field have emerged. These include the Royal Academy , the Royal College of Art , the Royal Society of Arts and the Tate Gallery . In addition, within its borders there are also several museums and galleries of international prestige, such as the British Museum , the National Gallery in London , the National Gallery of Scotland , the Science Museum in London or the Yorkshire Museum , among others. [ 239 ]
British architecture is characterized by the eclectic combination of different architectural styles , ranging from those that were found before the creation of the country, such as Roman architecture , to contemporary architecture of the 21st century . [ 240 ] Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales developed unique architectural styles and played important roles in the history of world architecture . [ 240 ] Although prehistoric and classical structures exist in the British Isles, the history of British architecture begins with the earliest churches.Anglo-Saxon , built shortly after Augustine of Canterbury's arrival in Britain in 597. [ 240 ] From the 12th century , Norman architecture spread across Britain and Ireland, in the form of castles and churches to help impose Norman authority in his domain. [ 240 ] The gothic architecture English, which flourished between 1189 and 1520, was brought from France, but quickly developed its own characteristics. [ 240 ]
Across the country, secular medieval architecture developed in the form of castles , most of them located near the border between England and Scotland, dating back to the 16th century , the time of Scotland's wars for independence . [ 241 ] The invention of firearms and the cannon rendered castles useless, and the English Renaissance gave way to the development of new artistic styles for national architecture: the Tudor style , English Baroque, and Palladianism . [ 241 ] Georgian architecture andNeoclassical advanced after the Scottish Enlightenment and from the 1930s onwards, various modernist styles appeared . However, the fight for the preservation of the old structures and the resistance of the traditionalist movements has gained strength, in addition to being supported by public figures such as Carlos de Gales . [ 242 ]
The UK was a strong influence on the development of cinema, with Ealing Studios claiming the title of being the oldest studios in the world. Despite a history of major and successful productions, this industry is characterized by an ongoing debate about its identity and the influences of American and European cinema. The British market is too small for the British film industry to successfully produce Hollywood-style blockbusters for a sustained period. [ 243 ] Compared to the United States, the British film industry has not been able to produce commercial successes internationally; so it maintains a complex and divided attitude towardsHollywood . However, it should be noted that eight of the ten highest grossing films of all time have some British dimension, be it historical, cultural or creative: Titanic , two episodes of The Lord of the Rings , two of the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy and three films in the Harry Potter saga . [ 244 ]
The British literature refers to literature associated with the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands as well as to the literature of England , Wales and Scotland prior to the formation of the country. Most of the works of British literature were written in the English language . The UK publishes about 206,000 books each year, making it the largest book publisher in the world. [ 245 ] The capital of Scotland, Edinburgh , was declared a "City of Literature" by UNESCO . [ 246 ]
The English poet and playwright William Shakespeare is widely regarded as the greatest playwright of all time. [ 247 ] [ 248 ] [ 249 ] Among the most renowned English writers are Geoffrey Chaucer (century XIV ), Thomas Malory (century XV ), Thomas More (century XVI ) and John Milton (century XVII ). A Samuel Richardson , writer of the century XVIII , is credited with the invention of theepistolary novel , in addition to Daniel Defoe the creator of Robinson Crusoe . In the 19th century , more representatives of British literature followed: the innovative Jane Austen , the Gothic novelist Mary Shelley , the children's story writer Lewis Carroll , the sisters Emily , Charlotte and Anne Brontë , the social activist Charles Dickens , the naturalist Thomas Hardy , the visionary poet William Blake , the romantic poet William Wordsworth and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle creator of Sherlock Holmes .
The most famous writers of the 20th century include the science fiction novelist HG Wells , the writers of children's classics Rudyard Kipling and AA Milne , the controversial DH Lawrence , the modernist Virginia Woolf , the satirist Evelyn Waugh , the novelist George Orwell , the popular novelist Graham Greene , crime novelist Agatha Christie , James Bond creator Ian Fleming , fantasy writers JRR Tolkien , CS Lewis and most recently JK Rowling; as well as the poets Ted Hughes and John Betjeman .
Science and Technology
Since its founding, the UK has been at the forefront of scientific and technological advancements, as well as research and development . The Royal Society is the oldest scientific society in the United Kingdom, and one of the oldest in the world. During its more than 300 years of history, it has been in charge of promoting, protecting and disseminating knowledge and science in the country and throughout the world. [ 250 ] Within this society, several scientists participated who contributed to the advancement of their respective areas of knowledge; These include: Robert Boyle , John Wallis , Isaac Newton , Robert Hooke ,Thomas Willis , among others. [ 251 ] The Council of Facilities for Science and Technology is another of the bodies in charge of promoting and supporting scientific research in the country. During 2008 and 2009, this council invested more than US $ 1.2 billion to provide resources to various British scientific institutes and societies. [ 252 ] With regard to biomedical research , one of the great advances in this country has been the genome sequencing of 10,000 British people to understand the rare and low-frequency genetic variants implicated in health and disease. [ 253 ]
As the leading country of the Industrial Revolution , UK inventors brought various innovations to the world, primarily in the fields of textiles , steam machinery , railways and engineering . Within this period, the inventors George Stephenson , James Watt and Robert Stephenson stand out . Since then, British inventions and inventors have been prominent and numerous. These new innovators include Alan Turing , Alexander Graham Bell , John Logie Baird , Frank Whittle ,Charles Babbage , Alexander Fleming , among many others. [ 254 ] In 2007, the UK had 79,855 patents in force, the seventh country with the highest number of them. [ 255 ] Investment by UK companies in science and technology was USD 9.7 billion between 2010-2015. [ 256 ]
The United Kingdom is famous for the tradition of " British empiricism ", a branch of the philosophy of knowledge that indicates that the only valid knowledge is that which is proven by experience; and from "Scottish Philosophy", which is sometimes referred to as the "Scottish school of common sense". The most famous philosophers of British empiricism are: John Locke , George Berkeley and David Hume , while Dugald Stewart , Thomas Reid and William Hamilton were the main exponents of the Scottish school of common sense. Britain is also notable for a theory of moral philosophy, utilitarianism, first used by Jeremy Bentham and later by John Stuart Mill , in his homonymous work Utilitarianism . Other eminent philosophers of the United Kingdom and the states that preceded it include Duns Scoto , John Lilburne , Mary Wollstonecraft , Francis Bacon , Adam Smith , Thomas Hobbes , William of Ockham , Bertrand Russell, and Alfred Jules Ayer .
There are several quite popular styles of music in the UK, from the folk music of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales to heavy metal . Notable British classical music composers include: William Byrd , Henry Purcell , Edward Elgar , Gustav Holst , Arthur Sullivan (best known for working with the librettist WS Gilbert ), Ralph Vaughan Williams and Benjamin Britten , pioneer of modern opera British. Peter maxwell davieshe is one of the most prominent living composers in the country and the current Queen's music teacher. Also here are several internationally renowned symphony orchestras and choirs, such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony Choir . The Baroque composer Georg Friedrich Händel , although born in Germany, obtained British citizenship [ 260 ] and some of his best works, such as The Messiah , were written in English. [ 261 ]
The most prominent Brits who have influenced popular music of the last fifty years include The Beatles , Queen , Elton John , David Bowie , Bee Gees , Led Zeppelin , Oasis , Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones , all with sales topping above. two hundred million records worldwide. [ 262 ] [ 263 ] [ 264 ] [ 265 ] [ 266 ] [267 ] [ 268 ] Furthermore, The Beatles have sales record music, with more thanbillion records sold worldwide. [ 257 ] [ 258 ] [ 259 ] A large number of British cities are known for its music scene: Statistically, artists Liverpool are the ones who are most successful in the list UK Singles Chart . [ 269 ]For its part, Glasgow's contribution to the music scene was recognized in 2008, when it was named by UNESCO as the "City of Music", a title it shares with Bologna , Seville and Ghent . [ 270 ]
Historically, UK cuisine has been labeled as "bland dishes made with low-quality ingredients, mixed with simple sauces to accentuate the flavor rather than disguise it." [ 271 ] However, British cuisine has absorbed the cultural influence of established immigrants in the country, producing several hybrid dishes, such as chicken tikka masala , considered "the true British national dish." [ 272 ]
Traditional dishes in British cuisine include fish and chips , Sunday roast , steak and kidney pie, and bangers and mash . The gastronomy of the United Kingdom has multiple national and regional variants, such as the gastronomies of England , Scotland and Wales , which have developed their own regional dishes, such as Cheshire cheese , Yorkshire pudding and Welsh cake . As in other western countries, the consumption of fast foodIt is very broad, which has caused a public health problem as serious as the one suffered by the United States. [ 273 ]
The tea is the most popular drink in the country and indeed is also one of the best known kitchen the UK gastronomic traditions. [ 274 ] Originated during the nineteenth century , the tea time (literally, "tea time", but better translated as "snack time"), is not exclusively to consume tea, but is one of the meals Central British, similar to a high tea or even dinner . [ 275 ] The tea break and the tea sandwich are two variations of this meal. [ 276 ]
The sport is a key element of British culture. Many sports were created in the UK, including football , rugby , tennis and golf , the former being the most popular sport in the country. Internationally, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland compete separately in most team sports (although Northern Ireland in many sports, such as rugby or golf, continues to be linked to the rest of the island of Ireland ), as well as in the Games of the Commonwealth . However, in some sports the UK participates as a single team, such as basketball .
In the Olympic Games , the United Kingdom also participates as a single team , represented by the United Kingdom's national Olympic committee , the British Olympic Association . The country has participated in each of the editions of the Olympic Games of the modern era and has hosted three, of the 1908 editions , where it ranked first in the medal table, of 1948 , of 2012 , held in London . [ 278 ]
Cricket is claimed to have been invented in England (although recent research suggests it actually originated in Belgium ) [ 279 ] and the England team, controlled by the Cricket Board of England and Wales, [ 280 ] is the only national team from the UK with cricket test status . The members of the team are of Welsh and English nationality, unlike the teams of other sports such as football and rugby. Some Northern Irish and Scots have played for the English team, as their respective teams do not have test cricket status. All constituent nations have competed in theCricket World Cup , with England reaching the final more than three times.
As in other team sports, in rugby England , Scotland , Wales and Northern Ireland compete as separate countries in the various international competitions, but with the difference that Northern Ireland does so in conjunction with the Republic of Ireland , so there is an Irish rugby team representing the entire island . However, every four years the British-Irish Lions , a team made up of players from across the UK plus Ireland, tour different parts of the world. While the England rugby team won the Rugby World Cup championship inIn 2003 , Wales' best performance was third place, Scotland fourth place and Ireland reached the quarter-finals.
A variant of rugby, rugby league , also known as rugby a 13, is practiced throughout the country, but in the north of England (the place where it originated) it is the most important sport in many areas, especially in Yorkshire , Cumbria and Lancashire , although it also has a presence in London and South Wales. Previously a UK team represented the country in international competitions, but since 2008 each nation has had its own rugby league team. [ 281 ] In 2013, the UK will host the Rugby League World Cup for the fifth time. [ 282 ] 
The tennis was invented in the city of Birmingham between 1859 and 1865 . Since 1877 , the Wimbledon Championship , which is the third Grand Slam of the year , has been held every summer in Wimbledon ( London ) . In terms of achievements, the United Kingdom has reached the Davis Cup 10 times, the last being the one reached in 2015, and has reached the Fed Cup runner-up on four occasions. [ 284 ]
The Golf is the sixth most popular sport in the country in terms of participation. Although The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews in Scotland is the birthplace of the sport, the oldest golf course in the world is the Musselburgh Links' Old Golf Course. [ 285 ] The shinty (or camanachd ) is a very popular sport in the Scottish Highlands region, sometimes attracting thousands of spectators from across the nation, especially to see the end of the main tournament, the Camanachd Cup . [ 286 ]
When it comes to motorsports , the UK is one of the countries with the highest participation in the sport, as the majority of Formula 1 teams are based in the country and British drivers have won more titles together than any other. [ 287 ] At the Silverstone Circuit, the Great Britain Grand Prix is organized annually , valid for Formula 1. Other motoring events that are organized in the country are the British Touring Car Championship and a date of the World Rally Championship . In addition, the United Kingdom is home to several of the leading Formula 1 teams .Standing out among them are the multiple drivers 'and constructors' champions McLaren , Williams F1 , Team Lotus and Red Bull Racing . In the case of the latter, despite the Austrian origin of the beverage brand that owns the team, it has its headquarters in the United Kingdom, due to the acquisition it made of the franchise of the former Jaguar F1 team to be able to enter the World Championship of Formula 1.