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The United Kingdom of Great Britain

2.06.2010

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland since 1922 includes England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and a lot of smaller islands. British Isles are a group of islands lying off the north-west of Europe. England, Wales and Scotland are in Great Britain. Northern Ireland is situated in the north-eastern part of Ireland. The larger part of Ireland is the Irish Republic.


“Britania” is the ancient name of Britain.


The United Kingdom is washed by the North Sea in the east, the English Channel and the Strait of Dover in the south, the Atlantic Ocean in the north. In the west the United Kingdom is separated from the Irish Republic by the Irish Sea and the North Channel. The total area of the country is 94,249 square miles, and its population is 57 million people. The UK is an island state: it is composed of 5,500 islands, large and small. The two main islands are Great Britain (in which are England, Wales and Scotland )to the east and Ireland (in which are Northern Ireland and the independent Irish Republic) to the west.


English is the official language of the United Kingdom.


The inhabitants of the country are the English, the Welsh, the Scots and the Irish; these four nationalities have their own language and culture.


The capital of the whole country is London (7 mln); the capital of Wales is Cardiff (284 th); the capital of Scotland is Edinburgh (470 th); the capital of Northern Ireland is Belfast (440 th). There are 46 universities in Britain. The oldest and best known are located in Oxford, Cambridge, London, Edinburgh.


The climate of the United Kingdom is classified as temperate, cool. All parts of the British Isles get a lot of rains in all seasons. It is not very cold in winter and never very hot in summer. The average temperature in winter is +5C° and in summer is +20°C.


The chief rivers of the country are: the Severn (the longest), the Thames, the Trent, the Clyde and the Mersey. The seas around the country provide good fishing grounds. There are 6 beautiful lakes in England, this part is called “Lake District”. Windermere is the largest among them. Scotland also has a lot of lakes which are called “lochs” there. The largest lake in the whole country is situated in Northern Island, it is Loch Neagh. One of the most attractive lake in Wales is Vyrnwy. These admirable places attract tourists from different countries.


The surface of England and Northern Ireland is flat, but Scotland and Wales are mountainous. The Pennine Range in northern England and the Cambrian Mountains in Wales are rather low. Lowland Britain is a rich plain with chalk and limestone hills. The highest mountain top in the country is Ben Nevis in Highlands of Scotland, it is 1343 metres. The second highest mountain is in Wales, it is Snowdon, it is 1085 metres high. Many parts of the country have beautiful green meadows and hills.


The fauna of the British Isles is similar to that of Europe. The number of such large animals as bear, reindeer is very small. Here one finds foxes, hares, red deer, badgers, wild cats in most rural areas. Otters and seals may be seen on various parts of the coast. There are about 430 kinds of birds on the territory of the British Isles. Characteristic of the birds are sea gull, duck, goose, red grouse, dove, black cock, mountain eagle and others. The most numerous are blackbird, sparrow and starling. Robin redbreast is the national bird of the country.


There are three kinds of snakes of which only one is venomous. Sea and river fish are-trout, salmon, pike, grayling and so on. Fish fanning production is centered mainly on salmon and trout.


As for the. flora of the British Isles it is relatively poor comparing with that of many other countries. The most common trees are oak, beech, pine, birch, alder, maple, elm. Heather and moss dominate in the damp soils.


The United Kingdom has few mineral resources, of which the most important are coal and oil. The largest


coal fields are in England and Wales. The Welsh coal is considered to be the hst m *k* world—__   


The oil fieids are situated in the North Sea, along the coast of Scotland and England Othpr minerals are natural gas, iron ore, lead, zinc, siate, lime sjonechalk, copper. Metallurgy, chiefly iron and steel, is vital to other key industries such as shipbuilding, ship-repairing, automobile and aircraft industries, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering. Electronics, printing, pharmaceutics are the largest of all manufacturing sectors.


Production of textiles is spread throughout the country and British wool is well-known in the world. At the same time the textile machinery industry is an important sector of British industry. The United Kingdom now is one of the largest exporter of manufactured goods. Though the United Kingdom is a highly developed industrial country, agriculture remains the major sector of economy. The chief agricultural products of Britain are wheat, barley, oats, potatoes, sugar-beet, milk, beef, mutton and lamb. Britain has a long tradition of sheep production. Sheep can be seen in many parts of England and Scotland, Now the country can boast of more than 40 breeds . British poultry industry is growing quickly, and pig production is to be found in most parts of Britain.


The horticultural industry produces a lot of fruit, vegetables and flowers. Scotland is known for its large raspberry plantations in the world. Strawberry is widely grown in England. Black currants is grown in all parts of the country. The raising of flowers is very popular now. In England you can see fields of tulips stretched for miles. Mushrooms are also grown in specially constructed sheds in many parts of the country.


The head of the country is the Queen. The official residence of Queen Elizabeth the II is Buckingham Palace. The Royal Standard flying over the Buckingham Palace is the sign that the Queen is in the residence ; the absence of the Royal Standard means that the Queen is absent. Every year 6 million pounds is spent for keeping on monarchy. Everything in the country officially-is done in the name of the Queen. The Queen’s image appears on stamps, notes and coins.


British Parliament sits in the Palace of Westminster in the centre of London. There are two towers in the Palace of Westminster: the Victoria Tower and The Clock Tower (called Big Ben). The British Flag (called the Union Jack) flying from the Victoria Tower shows that Parliament is in session. The light in the Clock Tower also indicates that Parliament is in session.


The Queen’s power is limited by Parliament, which consists of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The Queen enters the Palace of Westminster only on the day of the opening of Parliament at the beginning of a session. She makes her speech from the Throne in the House of Lords.


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