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The United Kingdom

The UK | England | Scotland | Wales | Northern Ireland | Pocket History

With dictionary look up - Double click on any word for its definition.
This section is in advanced English and is only intended to be a guide, not to be taken too seriously!

The United Kingdom

United Kingdom

General - comprises of England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands
· includes 4 nationalities: English (England), Welsh (Wales), Scottish (Scotland) and Irish (Ireland)
· the largest cities are London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Bristol, Leeds and Edinburgh
Geography – The UK is situated off the northwest coast of Europe bordered by the Atlantic ocean and from Europe separated by the North Sea and the English Channel. The Irish Sea and the North Channel separate Great Britain from Ireland.
Size - 244,820 sq km
Climate – mild & rainy (Gulf Stream)
Population – 56 million people (dense population)
Industries – highly industrialised – iron & steel engineering, motor vehicles, aircraft, textil, plastic, cotton, wool, chemicals, electronics, shipbuilding, food products (incl. fishing)
Mineral resources – coal, natural gas (North Sea), oil
Agriculture – wheat, barley, oats, potatoes, sugar beet, milk, meat, sheep

Government system:

The United Kingdom = Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is a constitutional monarchy, the present sovereign is Queen Elizabeth II., she has no real political power.
Great Britain (Britain) refers to England, Scotland and Wales.
The UK is governed by the Cabinet ( 20 leading ministers + the Prime Minister). The supreme legislative body is the Parliament, this is split into two houses - The lower house is The House of Commons – 5 years (elected). The Upper house is The House of Lords which currently has hereditiary and life peerage members, although this is under review.
There is no written constitution in the UK (common law, conventions)
There are 3 main partiesConservative (Tories) (right wing), Labour (left wing) and the Liberal Democrats (middle of the road).

EnglandEngland

Capital - London
Geography – situated in Britain
Size - 132,589 sq km

WalesWales

Capital - Cardiff
Geography - West, mountains and moorland
Size - 21,588 sq km
Climate - rainy
Industry – tourism, mining, manufacturing
Other - The oldest son of the English Monarch is given the title “Prince of Wales”. In 1999 Wales was granted devolution, this allows them to have their own elected parliament.

More on Wales
A quiz on Wales


ScotlandScotland

Capital - Edinburgh
Geography - North, hills, lakes (lochs – Lochness: where the mythical monster lives), mountains
Size - 80 234 sq km
Climate
- cold and windy
Industry - tourism, oil, shipbuilding
Other - The Scotttish have their own traditions & way of life, they are very independent and have a special folklore and dress - kilts. In 1999 Scotland was granted devolution, this allows them to have their own elected parliament.


St Andrew's Day

Hogmanay (New Year)
Edinburgh festival

!Note - On Thursday 18 September 2014, a referendum will be held to decide whether Scotland should be an independent country . I'm not sure what we will do with this page if they leave. ;)

Northern IrelandNorthern Ireland (Ulster)

Capital - Belfast
Geography - The Irish Sea and the North Channel separate Great Britain from Ireland.
Size - 10,409 sq km
Climate
- rainy
Industry - service, shipping, agriculture
Other - There are still many problems between the two main religions in Northern Ireland (Roman Catholic and Protestant)

Now test your knowledge and learn a bit more about the geography of the UK here.

Pocket History:

The first inhabitants; the Celts, came from North Europe before 6th century B. C.

The Roman Empire

AD 43 - The Roman invasion starts (they built towns, roads and centralised administration)
AD 450 - 550 germanic tribes invaded – Angles, Saxons, Jutes (Romans home, Celts in the mountains)
800 - 1000 - Vikings invade and raid coastal towns
1066 the Normans - William the Conqueror became King of England – hegemony of Normans

The Middle Ages

1170 - Thomas Becket murdered in Canterbury Cathedral
1172 - Henry II conquers Ireland
1215 – the Magna Carta was signed, this lay out the Supremacy of Law over the King and was the foundation of a parliamentary government
1283 - Wales conquered by Edward I
1314 - Robert Bruce defeats the English at Bannockburn
1327 - 1377 - Edward III reigned
1377 - 1399 - Richard II reigned
1399 - 1413 - Henry IV reigned
1413 - 22 - Henry V reigned
1337 – 1453 – the Hundred Years War (England vs. France)
1422 - 61 - Henry VI reigned
1461 - 83 - Edward IV reigned
1455 - 85 - War of the Roses - war between Yorks and Lancaster
1483 - 85 - Richard III reigned
1485 - 1509 - Henry VII reigned

House of Tudor

1509 - Henry Tudor (Henry VIII) established the Tudor dynasty
1534 - Henry VIII separated the English Church from Rome and became the head of Church of England
1547 - Death of Henry VIII
1547 - 1553 - Edward VI reigned
1553 - 1558 - Mary Queen of Scots reigned

The Elizabethan Age

1558 - The reign of Elisabeth I began. – England became a world power
1588 - British defeated the Spanish Armada. British colonization began with Virginia colonies.
1603 - Death of Elizabeth I

House of Stuart

1603 - 1625 - James I reigned, King of England and Scotland; union of Scottish and English crowns
1616 - Death of Shakespeare (the true end of the Elizabethan age)
1625 - 1649 - Charles I reigned
1642 – 1649 – Civil War – The King, Charles I. vs. Parliament, T Oliver Cromwell (puritan republic) – Oliver Cromwell won but became unpopular.
1660 monarchy restored (Charles II.)1688 - "Glorious Revolution" brings William and Mary to the throne
1660 - 1685 - Charles II reigned
1689 - 1702 - William III reigned
1702 - 1714 - Anne reigned

The Georgians (The house of Hannover)

1714 - 1727 George I reigned
1721 - 42 - Sir Robert Walpole serves as first Prime Minister
1727 - 1760 - George II reigned
1745 - Bonnie Prince Charlie led the Jacobite Rebellion (failed)
1761 - 1820 - George III reigned
1756 - 63 - Seven years' war with France
1801 - Ireland brought into the UK by act of union; becomes United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
1805 - Lord nelson defeats the combined French and Spanish fleets at Trafalgar
1815 - Wellington defeats Napoleon at Waterloo
1820 - 1830 - George IV reigned
1830 - 1847 - William IV reigned
1837 - 1901 - Queen Victoria reigned
1837 – 1901 - The Industrial Revolution – Britain dominated world industry, commerce and the military

Modern Times

1901 - 1910 - Edward VII reigned
1910 - 1936 - George V reigned
1914 - 1918 - WW I
1936 - Edward VIII Adbdication
1936 - 1952 - George VI reigned
1939 - 1945 - WW II
1952 - onward - Elizabeth II reigns
Post War- Labour government – economy was nationalized, free health care and education
1979 Conservative government - privatised national industries, reduced welfare (the Thatcher years)
1996 - Labour (New Labour) comes to power under the leadership of Tony Blair..

For a chronological (802 - the present day) guide to the Kings and Queens of England and the UK see here.

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