Portal:United Kingdom

The United Kingdom Portal

Flag of the United Kingdom
Coat of Arms for the United Kingdom
Map of the United Kingdom in the British Isles.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK or U.K.) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north­western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north­eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland. Otherwise, the United Kingdom 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, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The total area of the United Kingdom is 94,000 square miles (240,000 km2).

The United Kingdom is a unitary parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the world's longest-serving current head of state. The United Kingdom's capital is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. The United Kingdom consists of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers. Other major cities include Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, and Manchester.

The nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The union between the Kingdom of England (which included Wales) and the Kingdom of Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, followed by the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The UK's name was adopted in 1927 to reflect the change. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed almost a quarter 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. The United Kingdom has the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal gross domestic product (GDP), and the ninth-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). It has a high-income economy and a very high human development index rating, ranking 15th in the world. It was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific and political influence internationally. It is a recognised nuclear weapons state and is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.

The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Interpol and the World Trade Organization (WTO). It was a member of the European Union (EU) and its predecessor, the European Economic Community (EEC) from 1 January 1973 until withdrawing on 31 January 2020.

Featured article

Bramall Hall from the west

Bramall Hall is a Tudor mansion in Bramhall, within the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport, Greater Manchester, England. Dating to Saxon times, the manor of Bramall was first described in the Domesday Book in 1086. It was first held by the Masseys, then from the late 14th century by the Davenports, a wealthy family and a significant landowner in the north-west of England. The Davenports built the present house, and remained lords of the manor for about 500 years before selling the house to the Nevill family. It was subsequently purchased by John Henry Davies, and then acquired by the local council. Bramall Hall is owned by the Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council, who describe it as "the most prestigious and historically significant building in the Conservation Area". It is a timber-framed manor house surrounded by 70 acres (28 ha) of landscaped parkland featuring lakes, woodland, and gardens; its oak timber framing was originally infilled by wattle and daub. The oldest parts of the house date from the 14th century, with later additions from the 16th and 19th centuries. The house and grounds are open to the public, and the house functions as a museum where special events are held throughout the year. (more...)

Featured biography

Portrait of Daniel Lambert by Benjamin Marshall, 1807

Daniel Lambert (1770–1809) was a gaol keeper and animal breeder from Leicester, England, famous for his unusually large size. He was a keen sportsman and extremely strong, on one occasion fighting a bear in the streets of Leicester. He was an expert in sporting animals, widely respected for his expertise on dogs, horses and fighting cocks. In 1805 the gaol of which Lambert was keeper closed. By this time he weighed 50 stone (700 lb; 320 kg), and had become the heaviest authenticated person in recorded history up to that time. Unemployed and sensitive about his bulk, he became a recluse. Poverty forced Lambert to put himself on exhibition to raise money, and in April 1806 he moved to London, charging spectators to enter his apartments to meet him. Visitors were impressed by his intelligence and personality, and visiting him became highly fashionable. After a few months, Lambert returned wealthy to Leicester and soon began making short fundraising tours. In June 1809 he died suddenly in Stamford. At the time of his death he weighed 52 stone 11 lb (739 lb; 335 kg). It took 20 men almost half an hour to drag his casket into the trench in the burial ground at St Martin's Church. Though no longer the heaviest person in history, Lambert remains a popular character in Leicester. (more...)

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Salvage of the Mary Rose in October 1982


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Featured picture

John Everett Millais - Ophelia - Google Art Project.jpg

Ophelia is a painting of 1851–2 by the Pre-Raphaelite artist Sir John Everett Millais in Tate Britain, London. It depicts Ophelia, a character from Shakespeare's play Hamlet, singing before she drowns in a river.

In the news

Wikinews UK

26 September 2020 – COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom
24 September 2020 – COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom sees new cases rise by 6,634 in the last 24 hours, the highest figure ever reported by the Department for Health and Social Care since the beginning of the outbreak. The new record tally brings the total number of cases reported in the country to 416,363. (The Independent)
21 September 2020 – COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom
The government raises its alert level from 3 to 4, meaning transmission is "high or rising exponentially." It comes after the government's scientific adviser warned that there could be 50,000 new cases a day by mid-October without further action. (BBC)
19 September 2020 – United States sanctions against Iran
The United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declares the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran as no longer in force. He also warns that the United States "is prepared to use our domestic authorities to impose consequences" for other countries that do not enforce the sanctions. Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia oppose the snapback sanctions. (The New York Times) (Al Jazeera)



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