Great Britain, the dominant industrial and maritime power of the 19th century, played a leading role in developing parliamentary democracy and in advancing literature and science. At its zenith, the British Empire stretched over one-fourth of the earth's surface. The first half of the 20th century saw the UK's strength seriously depleted in two World Wars. The second half witnessed the dismantling of the Empire and the UK rebuilding itself into a modern and prosperous European nation. As one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council, a founding member of NATO, and of the Commonwealth, the UK pursues a global approach to foreign policy; it currently is weighing the degree of its integration with continental Europe. A member of the EU, it chose to remain outside the European Monetary Union for the time being. Constitutional reform is also a significant issue in the UK. The Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, and the Northern Ireland Assembly were established in 1999.
Britain is made up of three countries: England, Scotland, and Wales. These together with Northern Ireland make up the United Kingdom. Each country has its own distinctive landscapes, traditions, history, architecture and people.
From the Channel Islands to London to the tip of Scotland, you'll have a wonderful time exploring Britain.
| N. Ireland
| Channel Islands
Full Name: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Area: 244,820 sq km (land: 241,590 sq km, water: 3,230 sq km) - note: includes Rockall and Shetland Islands
Population: 64,430,428 (July 2016 est.)
Capital City: London
People: White 87.2%, black/African/Caribbean/black British 3%, Asian/Asian British: Indian 2.3%, Asian/Asian British: Pakistani 1.9%, mixed 2%, other 3.7% (2011 est.)
note: the following are recognized regional languages: Scots (about 30% of the population of Scotland), Scottish Gaelic (about 60,000 in Scotland), Welsh (about 20% of the population of Wales),
Irish (about 10% of the population of Northern Ireland), Cornish (some 2,000 to 3,000 in Cornwall) (2012)
Religion: Christian (includes Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist) 59.5%, Muslim 4.4%, Hindu 1.3%, other 2%, none 25.7%, unspecified 7.2% (2011 est.)
Government Type: Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy
Chief of State Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); Heir Apparent Prince CHARLES (son of the queen, born 14 November 1948)
Head of Government: Prime Minister Theresa MAY (since 13 July 2016)
GDP: $US 2.788 trillion (2016 est.)
GDP per Capita: $US 42,500 (2016 est.)
Inflation: 0.5% (2016 est.)
Unemployment: 5.1% (2016 est.)
Industries: Machine tools, electric power equipment, automation equipment, railroad equipment, shipbuilding, aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, electronics and communications equipment, metals, chemicals, coal, petroleum, paper and paper products, food processing, textiles, clothing, and other consumer goods
Currency: British pound (GBP)
Member of EU: Yes