Great Britain: General Facts
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) is located 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, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are, respectively, London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. Great Britain itself consists of England, Scotland and Wales and does not include Northern Ireland. The capital of UK is London.
London is political, economic, culture and commercial center of the country. It’s one of the largest cities in the world and in Europe. The population of London is estimated to be over 8 million inhabitants.
There are a lot of rivers in GB, but they are not very long. The Severn is the longest river, while the Thames is the deepest and – economically – the most important one.
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 landscape of the British Isles varies from plains to mountains. The north of Scotland is mountainous and is called Highlands, while the south, which has beautiful valleys and plains, is called Lowlands. The north and west of England are mountainous, but all the rest – east, center and southeast – is a vast plain.
Politically, the UK is a constitutional monarchy. In law, the Head of State is the Queen, but in practice, the Queen reigns but does not possess real power. The country is ruled by the elected government with the Primer Minister at the head, while the necessary legislative background is provided by the British Parliament which consists of two chambers: the House of Lords and the House of Commons.
The total population of the UK is over 57 million and about 80% of it is urban. The UK is highly developed country in both industrial and economical aspects. It’s known as one of world’s largest producers and exporters of machinery, electronics, textile, aircraft and navigation equipment.