The British Isles – maturitní otázka

Charles Dickens


Otázka: The British Isles

Jazyk: Angličtina

Přidal(a): Gabriela H



The British Isles

  • The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, The Republic of Ireland
  • Area: 240 000 km2
  • Population: 66 million
  • Head: Elisabeth II. (longest monarch on the throne)
  • Form: constitutional monarchy
  • Goverment: unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
  • Prime minister: Theresa May
  • Capital: London
  • Flower: Rose
  • Patron: St George



Great Britain is formed of

  • England – London
  • Scotland – Edinburgh
  • Wales – Cardiff



The UK occupies major part of the British Isles. It is separated from the continent by the North Sea and the English Channel, which, at its narrowest point, the Strait of Dover, is only 34 km wide. The largest island Great Britain (also the largest one in Europe) is separated by the Irish Sea from the second largest island Ireland, the northern part of which belongs to the UK.

Besides these large parts there are about 5,000 smaller islands belonging to the UK: the Hebrides, the Orkney Islands, the Shetlands, the Isle of Wight, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands (the last 2 have their own parliaments).

The main mountain regions are the Cambrians in Wales, the Pennines, which make the backbone of England.

The highest mountains are the Highlands of Scotland with the highest peak Ben Nevis that is

1,343 m high. The highest mountain of Wales is Snowdon.

Rivers in the UK are quite short – the longest rivers are the Severn (354 km) and the Thames (346 km).

The UK is locally divided into counties.



– a long underwater tunnel between England and France that runs under the English Channel at the Strait of Dover.
– only for trains, opened in 1994,
– 50 km (31 miles) long and its deepest point is 75 m (250 feet) beneath the surface.
– It connects Folkestone, Kent to Calais in France.



The population is about 60 million inhabitants, of which England has 50 mil.

  • Scotland         5 mil.
  • Wales              2.9 mil.
  • N.I.                 1.7 mil.

The population density is 1 of the highest in the world – 232 people/1 km2. But they are distributed very unevenly.

About 93% inhabitants live in urban areas.

British society is multicultural, there are many ethnic groups.



The flag is officially called the Union Flag. It is also commonly known as the Union Jack. It is made up of the crosses of the patron saints of England (St George), Ireland (St Patrick) and Scotland (St Andrew) and has existed in its present form since 1801. Wales is not represented because when the flag first appeared (1801) it was already united with England.

The British national anthem „God Save the Queen“ was first performed as „God Save the King“ in London in 1745. Only the first verse of the traditional version is usually sung.



1 pound = 100 pence (1 penny)



The UK is a producer of oil and natural gas.

Britain was the first country in the world to have a public supply of electricity.

There is a decline in heavy industry but the rapid development of electronic and microelectronic technologies and a rise in the service industries (e.g. tourism).



The UK is a constitutional monarchy. The present monarch is Queen Elizabeth II from the House of Windsor, the 7th woman-ruler. Her husband is Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

The oldest son Charles, the Prince of Wales, is the heir to the throne. (When a monarch dies, the oldest son, or if there is no son, the oldest daughter, inherits the throne and gets it at the age of 21.)


The Queen represents the state. She is:

1) the head of judiciary

2) the commander-in-chief of all the armed forces (the army, navy and air force)

3) the temporal governor of the established Church of England


The monarch, of course, does not really rule. She is only a formal, symbolic head of the state. She holds receptions, dinner parties, garden parties, she visits various parts of the UK every year, attends various national and charitable events and she appoints the Prime Minister.

She has to read and sign a large number of documents and she must be continually informed and consulted. However, she can act only on the advice of her ministers and for every act of the Queen one of the ministers must be responsible.

The country is in fact governed by Her Majesty’s Government in the name of the Queen. The Government is formed by the political party (either the Conservative Party or the Labour Party) which has the majority in Parliament. He appoints a team of 20 leading ministers as Cabinet, which is the executive organ (most important part) of the Government.


The residence of the Queen in London is Buckingham Palace, British Prime Ministers always live at 10, Downing Street.

The supreme law-making body of the state is Parliament that is a very old institution. It consists of the House of Lords (older of the 2 Houses, the head is the Queen) and the House of Commons.

The Lords shares the task of making and shaping laws and checking and challenging the work of the government. There are currently 791 lords (peers). Spiritual (archbishops) and Temporal. They need to be appointed.


In the House of Commons there are 650 members of Parliament (MP) elected every 5th year and paid a salary.



– 2 invasions:

  • 1st by Romans (43 AD)
  • 2nd by William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy (1066), he beat the English King Harold at Hastings

– Under Queen Elisabeth I. Britain become a major sea power (colonial power)

– During reign of Queen Victoria large parts of Asia and Africa added to the Empire



Capital: Belfast

Area: 14 000 km2

Patron: St. Patrick

Flower: clover


1921 – the greater part of the population in this region wanted to be connected with Great


– NI was made due to the conflict between 2 communities in Northern Ireland,

Catholics and Protestants

– Northern Irish Protestants (about 60% of the population) did not want to be included in self-governing Ireland dominated by Catholics

– Ireland was divided into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland

It offers many attractions for tourists (7 areas of outstanding natural beauty, 5 national forest parks).

In these parks there are the largest lakes in the UK – Lake Neagh and Lake Erne


Belfast – one of the youngest capital cities in the world

400,000 inhabitants

. it used to be a village

– well-known for shipbuilding (the Titanic was built there)

Londonderry – the 2nd most important city


The Giant’s Causeway         – the 8th wonder of the world

– a mass of stone columns standing very near together

The Glens (Valleys) of Antrim – 9 glens, together they form a romantic area of rivers,

waterfalls, wild flowers and birds

– according to a legend there live fairies who take terrible

revenge on anyone who cuts down a thorn tree



  • Flower: Thistle 
  • Patron: St. Andrew



  • Flower: Leek
  • Patron: St. David



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