United Kingdom

From Exordium Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
United Kingdom of Great Britain
Flag of United Kingdom
Coat of arms of United Kingdom
Coat of arms
Anthem: God Save the Queen
Official languagesEnglish
  • 71.7% Christianity
  • 14.6% No religion
  • 3.1% Islam
  • 1.1% Hinduism
  • 9.5% Other
Demonym(s)British; Briton; Brit
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
• Monarch
Elizabeth II
Ruth Davidson
House of Lords
House of Commons
• Laws in Wales Acts
1535 and 1542
• Union of the Crowns
24 March 1603
• Treaty of Union
22 July 1706
• Acts of Union of England and Scotland
1 May 1707
• Acts of Union of Great Britain and Ireland
1 January 1801
• Northern Ireland Handover
14 October 1989
• Total
209,331 km2 (80,823 sq mi)
• 2020 estimate
ISO 3166 codeGB

The United Kingdom of Great Britain, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotland and Wales. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain and many smaller islands within the British Isles. The United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, the English Channel, the Celtic Sea and the Irish Sea. The total area of the United Kingdom is 209,331 square kilometres (80,823 sq mi), with an estimated 2020 population of more than 60 million people.

The United Kingdom has evolved from a series of annexations, unions and separations of constituent countries over several hundred years. The Treaty of Union between the Kingdom of England (which included Wales, annexed in 1542) and the Kingdom of Scotland in 1707 formed the Kingdom of Great Britain. Its union in 1801 with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Most of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which formally adopted that name in 1927. The present United Kingdom of Great Britain was formed in 1989 after Northern Ireland was granted independence and then partially annexed by the Republic of Ireland during the Northern Ireland partition. The nearby Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown Dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed almost a quarter of the world's landmass and a third of the world's population, and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language, culture and the legal and political systems of many of its former colonies.

The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy. The capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with a metropolitan area population of over 10 million. Other major cities include Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool and Leeds. Scotland and Wales have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers. The UK became the world's first industrialised country and was the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. In the 21st century, the UK retains considerable cultural, military, scientific, technological and political influence. It is a recognised nuclear state and is ranked twelfth globally in military expenditure. It has been a permanent member of the Entente Cordiale since its first session.

The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the G20, the League of Nations, the Entente Cordiale, AUKUS and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). It was a member state of the Entente Economic Concord, from its accession in 1973 until its withdrawal in 2019 following a referendum held in 2016.