Otázka: The UK – Geography, places of interest, selected history
The United Kingdom
- Official name: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
- Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, the English Channel and the Celtic Sea (12th longest coastline)
- Has 240 000 km2
- 66 mil people
- Capital city: London
- Consists of 4 constituent countries: England (London), Scotland (Edinburgh), Wales (Cardiff), Northern Ireland (Belfast)
- Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy (Elizabeth II., Boris Johnson – prime minister)
- 6th largest economy
- 2016 referendum – leave EU
- Currency: Pound Sterling
- Flag: Union Jack
The United Kingdom is situated in the British Isles. It consists of four parts: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Britain consists of two large islands (Great Britain and Ireland). Its neighbours are Southern Ireland and France. The British Isles are situated in the northeast of the Atlantic Ocean. From Europa they are divided by the English Channel. In May 1994 was the Channel Tunnel opened.
A climate there is variable and humid. The winters are mild, and the summers aren’t very hot, and it also rains a lot. The average temperature ranges from 4 C in winter to 16 C in summer, extremes are quite rare.
British rivers aren’t very long, but deep. The largest river is Thames. Lakes are to be found in the Lake District in north-east England (Lake Windermere) and in the Highlands of Scotland (Loch Lomond, Loch Ness). The largest lake in the Britain Isles is Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland.
In Britain there are only few forests, but there is Moorland, which is type of habitant found in upland with area of temperate grassland, savannas and shrublands. Moorland is in northeast and southwest England.
The highest mountain in the British Isles is Ben Nevis (1343m) in the Scottish Highlands. In Wales is the highest mountain Snowdon and in England Scafell Pike.
The population of the UK is about 66 million people. In Britain can we find following ethnic groups: English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh. The majority of people speak English.
PLACES OF INTEREST:
- Canterbury: the spiritual centre of the Church of England
- Stonehenge: prehistoric monuments erected more than 3500 y. a.
- Bath: a health spa with warm springs used since Roman times
- Stanford-upon-Avon: birth and burial place of W. Shakespeare
- Liverpool: major seaport and industrial city
- Edinburgh: the annual Edinburgh International Festival
- Lake District, Scottish Highlands, …
The first people to inhabit the British Isles were settlers from Europe. The arrived in about 3500 b. C. Other settlers were the Celts. They started to invade Britain from the 10th century b. C. as one called the Britons (Celtic Britons). As second was named Britannia (with Londinium as settlement) by the romans who occupied the country from 55 b. C. to the 5th century A.D. The Vikings arrived from Scandinavia throughout the 9th century and in 1066 the Normans invaded from France. In the 1066 led William Duke of Normandy, also known as William the Conqueror, French army to England through Channel La Manche. This event is known as the Battle of Hastings. When Harold, the king of England was killed, William became the king of England.
In 1215 King John signed the Magna Charta, which restricted the power of the king and recognized the rights and privileges of the barons. The ‘Great Charter’ survived many difficult times and became an essential part of law. Centuries later it formed the basis of the American Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.
The war of the Roses started in 1455, when the Lancastrians (Red rose) and the Yorkists (White rose) fought about the crown. By marrying the Yorkist princess Elizabeth, brought Henry Tudor in 1485 the families together. This battle lasted 30 years.
The English Reformation began, when Henry VIII. Wanted to divorce his wife Catherine. She didn’t give him a son, only a daughter Mary. The pope didn’t agree, so Henry founded the in 1534 Church of England (he as a head). He had 6 wives (divorced – beheaded – died – divorced – beheaded – survived). Another child was Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth I.
After the Civil War (1640) between the king’s army and the parliamentary forces (led by Oliver Cromwell), the monarchy was restored and Charles II. won the throne over.