The United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland is situated 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 kilometres.
Kingdom is made up of four countries: England, Wales,
Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Their capitals are London, Cardiff,
Edinburgh and Belfast respectively. Great Britain consists of England, Scotland
and Wales and does not
include Northern Ireland.
But in everyday speech 'Great Britain'
is used to mean the United
Kingdom. The capital of the UK is London.
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 surface of the British
Isles varies very much. The north of Scotland
is mountainous and is called the Highlands, while the south, which has
beautiful valleys and plains, is called the Lowlands.
The north and west of England
are mountainous, but all the rest — east, centre and south-east — is a vast
plain. Mountains are not very high. Ben Nevis in Scotland is the highest mountain
There are a lot of rivers in Great Britain,
but they are not very long. The Severn is the longest river, while the Thames is the deepest and the most important one.
mountains, the Atlantic Ocean and the warm waters of Gulf Stream influence the
climate of the British Isles. It is mild the
whole year round.
The UK is one of the world's smaller
countries. Its population is over 57 million. About 80% of the population is
The UK is a highly developed industrial
country. It is known as one of the world's largest producers and exporters of
machinery, electronics, textile, aircraft and navigation equipment. One of the
chief industries of the country is shipbuilding.
The UK is a constitutional monarchy. In
law, the Head of State is the Queen. In practice, the Queen reigns, but does
not rule. The country is ruled by the elected government with the Prime
Minister at the head. The British Parliament consists of two chambers: the
House of Lords and the House of Commons.
There are three main
political parties in Great
Britain: the Labour, the Conservative and
the Liberal parties.