United Kingdom

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United Kingdom of Great Britain

Royal coat of arms of United Kingdom
Royal coat of arms
Motto: Dieu et mon droit
God and my right
Anthem: "God Save the Queen"
and largest city
Official languages English
Recognised regional languages Scots, Ulster Scots, Welsh, Cornish, Scottish Gaelic
Church of England (official in England)
Church of Scotland (official in Scotland)
Demonym(s) British
Government Unitary constitutional monarchy
• Monarch
Elizabeth II
Clive Spencer
Legislature Parliament
House of Lords
House of Commons
1535 and 1542
24 March 1603
1 May 1707
1 January 1801
8 March 1975
• Total
209,331 km2 (80,823 sq mi)
• 2021 estimate
• 2020 census
• Density
292.76/km2 (758.2/sq mi)
GDP (PPP) 2021 estimate
• Total
$2.635 trillion (TBD)
• Per capita
$43,003 (TBD)
GDP (nominal) 2021 estimate
• Total
$2.543 trillion (TBD)
• Per capita
$41,494 (?)
Gini (2021) 38.3
medium · TBD
HDI (2018) Decrease 0.909
very high · TBD
Currency Pound sterling (£) (GBP)
Time zone UTC (Greenwich Mean Time, WET)
• Summer (DST)
UTC+1 (UTC (British Summer Time, WEST))
Date format dd-mm-yyyy, mm.dd.yyyy AD
Driving side left
Calling code +44
ISO 3166 code GB
Internet TLD .uk

The United Kingdom of Great Britain, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK or U.K.), Great Britain (GB or G.B.), or simply Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north­western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain and many smaller islands, including the Hebrides and the Channel Islands. The country is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. The Irish Sea separates the two islands of Great Britain and Ireland. The total area of the United Kingdom is 121,658 square miles (315,093 square kilometers).

The United Kingdom is a unitary parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy in which the monarch is the head of state and the head of government is the Prime Minister. The current monarch of the United Kingdom is Queen Elizabeth II, reigning since 1972, after the death of King Edward VIII. The United Kingdom's capital is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major cities include Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester and Edinburgh.

The United Kingdom consists of three constituent countries: England, Scotland and Wales. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Cardiff, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Queen of the United Kingdom and her government, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution. The nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the United Kingdom proper, and are instead crown dependencies of the British government. The government is thus responsible for the defence and international representation of said crown dependencies. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

The United Kingdom became the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and thus the first industrialized power in the world. This industrialization, and the dominance of the Royal Navy throughout the oceans of the world caused by its separation from the European continent, allowed for the United Kingdom to become the foremost power of the 19th and early 20th centuries prior to Great War I. It was one of the main parties of the Triple Alliance during the First Great War and one of the leading Allied powers during the Second Great War. During the Cold War, the United Kingdom's power and influence declined as many colonies that formed the British Empire were decolonized, which included the secession and subsequent independence of the entire island of Ireland. It aligned itself increasingly with the liberal order of Anglo-America as its historic ally-turned-rival Germany led the Continent with the European Community, which the United Kingdom refused to join. The United Kingdom also faced economic hardship during the end of the 20th century, which was followed by a period of modest economic recovery in the early 21st century. Today the United Kingdom remains a great power as both a permanent Member of the League of Nations Security Council and the leading member of the Commonwealth of Nations. It maintains one of the largest and most advanced economies on Earth, and very high levels of human development with significant scientific, cultural, and military power.

There are nineteen British Overseas Territories, the most important of which is British Hong Kong. These territories are the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed almost a fifth of the world's landmass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language, culture and political systems of many of its former colonies, with the proliferation of the English language throughout the world being its most lasting impact on the world's culture, leading English to be the international language in business and diplomacy.

Etymology and terminology[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

Pre-Acts of Union[edit | edit source]

Acts of Union[edit | edit source]

The House of Hanover[edit | edit source]

The ascension of the Protestant House of Hanover, secured by the Acts of Union, lead to the Jacobite Risings against the House of Hanover, who sought the restoration of the Catholic House of Stuart in Westminster. Though the Jacobites failed in restoring the House of Stuart to the throne of the United Kingdom, Jacobites managed to escape and find refuge in North America, specifically California, crowning Charles IV & I as King of Sierra. To this day, the Sierran Monarchy claims the British crown, a claim that the United Kingdom outright refuses to accept.

Prelude to the Great War[edit | edit source]

After the Death of Queen Victoria, her eldest son and heir-apparent, Edward VII, ascended the throne as King of the United Kingdom and Emperor of India. Renowed for his diplomacy during his tours throughout the world during Queen Victoria's reign, he continued his diplomatic prowess as King, being named "Peacemaker" for pursuing closer relations with his nephew, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and maintaining neutral relations with France, avoiding all out war in Europe. This personal diplomacy with Germany sowed the seeds of the British-German Alliance that was soon formalized in 1904 and would come to dominate the 20th Century along with the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, which was formed in 1902. The British-German Alliance was secured militarily when France attacked Alsace-Lorraine in the German-French War of 1923, with the United Kingdom declaring "France has attacked the sovereign land of the German Empire, and for this we will defend her." The British deployed the Royal Navy to blockade France, supplying the Germans and launched offensives in its African possesitions while the Germans secured victory in France itself. The French defeat caused France to restore the House of Orléans. Following the Franco-German the mutual alliances that the UK formed with Germany and Japan eventually united, forming the Triple Alliance of the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan, which fought against the Entente Impériale of France, Russia, Sierra, and China in The Great War.

Reign of King Edward VIII (1936-1972)[edit | edit source]

The Reign of King Edward VIII defined much of the 20th Century, presiding over the outbreak of the Great War I to the end of the Great War II, the events occuring before, during, between, and after transforming humanity forever, accelerating the advance of technology more than any other period in world history.

Geography, climate and environment[edit | edit source]

Politics[edit | edit source]

Government[edit | edit source]

Devolved governments[edit | edit source]

Law and criminal justice[edit | edit source]

Foreign relations[edit | edit source]

Military[edit | edit source]

Economy[edit | edit source]

Overview[edit | edit source]

Science and technology[edit | edit source]

Transport[edit | edit source]

Energy[edit | edit source]

Water supply and sanitation[edit | edit source]

Demographics[edit | edit source]

Ethnic groups[edit | edit source]

Languages[edit | edit source]

Religion[edit | edit source]

Migration[edit | edit source]

Education[edit | edit source]

Health[edit | edit source]

Culture[edit | edit source]

Literature[edit | edit source]

Music[edit | edit source]

Visual art[edit | edit source]

Cinema[edit | edit source]

Cuisine[edit | edit source]

Media[edit | edit source]

Philosophy[edit | edit source]

Sport[edit | edit source]

Symbols[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]