Great Britain

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is situated on the British Isles. The British Isles consist of two large islands, Great Britain and Ireland, and about five thousand small islands. Their total area is over 244,000 square kilometers.

The United Kingdom is made up of four countries: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast respectively. Great Britain consists of England, Scotland and Wales and does not include Northern Ireland. But in everyday speech ‘Great Britain’ is used to mean the United Kingdom. The capital of the UK is London. The British Isles are separated from the European continent by the North Sea and the English Channel. The western coast of Great Britain is washed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea. The surface of the British Isles varies very much. The north of Scotland is mountainous and is called the Highlands, while the south, which has beautiful valleys and plains, is called the Lowlands.

The north and west of England are mountainous, but all the rest - east, center and south-east - is a vast plain. Mountains are not very high. Ben Nevis in Scotland is the highest mountain (1343m). There are a lot of rivers in Great Britain, but they are not very long. The Severn is the longest river, while the Thames is the deepest and the most important one. The mountains, the Atlantic Ocean and the warm waters of Gulf Stream influence the climate of the British Isles. It is mild the whole year round. The UK is one of the world’s smaller countries.

Its population is over 58 million. About 80% of the population is urban. The UK is a highly developed industrial country. It is known as one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of machinery, electronics, textile, aircraft and navigation equipment. One of the chief industries of the country is shipbuilding. The UK is a constitutional monarchy. In law, the Head of State is the Queen. In practice, the Queen reigns, but does not rule. The country is ruled by the elected government with the Prime Minister at the House of Commons. There are three main political parties in Great Britain: the Labour, the Conservativeand theLiberal parties. The Labour party is the ruling party nowadays and the Prime Minister is Tony Blaire.

The official name – the United Kingdom of the Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Other names: Great Britain (Britain) /after its major isle/ England /after its major historic part/ The British Isles /it occupies the territory of the British Isles/ Albion /the ancient name of the British Isles given by Romans. From Latin “alba” = “white”. Romans were impressed by the white chalk cliffs/ 2. A constitutional monarchy The head of State is the Queen or a King. She or he inherits the title, and so is not elected by people. The government is made up of Members of Parliament (Mps) who are elected British Parliament consists of 2 Houses: the House of lords and the House Commons. The Prime minister is the head of Government. The main political parties are the Labour, the Conservative and the Liberal. 3. Occupies the territory of the British Isles. The UK is an island state, is composed of 5,500 large and small islands. The 2 main islands are:

1. Great Britain /in which are England, Scotland and Wales/ 2. Ireland /in which are Northern Ireland and independent Irish Republic/ Some other islands: The Orkney and the Shetland Islands in the North The Hebrides in the North – West Anglesey – lies close to North Wales The Scilly Island [‘sili] – off the South – West coast of England, near the Land`s End. The Isle of Wight – in the South 4. The UK is one of the world`s smaller countries (twice smaller than France or Spain) – with an area of 244,1002 km. Great Britain is just under 1,000 km from the South coast to the extreme {крайний} North of Scotland. It is just under 500 km across in the widest part. UK ~ 244,5002 km. Great Britain ~ 228,4002 km. England ~ 131,8 thousand sq. km. Wales ~ 20,8 thousand sq. km. Scotland ~ 77 thousand sq. km. Northern Ireland ~ 14 thousand sq. km. 5. Is situated off the North – West coast of Europe. The seas around Britain provide exceptionally good fishing grounds.

Is washed by the atlantic Ocean in the N – W. the North Sea in the East Is separated from Ireland by the Irish Sea from the European continent by the English Channel (La Manche) and its narrowest part the Strait of Dover (Pas de Calais) which is only 32 km wide. 6. The official language is English, but there are some other languages spoken too. The Gaelic language (Scottish) is still used in parts of the Scottish Highlands and islands. Wales is officially bilingual {двуязычен} /Welsh and English/ Irish (form of the Gaelic language) English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish. 7. Stonehedge is situated in the South – Westen part of England near the city of Salisbury. It is one of the most famous prehistoric monuments in Europe. It was built over 4000 years ago on Salisbury plain in Wiltshire. The largest stones reach about 7 metres above ground and 3 metres below ground. On the 21 of June it is the longest day in the year, the sun rises over the heelstone and shines into the center of the circle.

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Great Britain.