Otázka: The UK
Geography The United Kingdom is an island country. The full name of the country is The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It consists of four parts: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The area of the UK is almost 250,000 square kilometres. The population of the UK is about 65 million. The United Kingdom is divided into areas called counties (hrabství). The capital of the UK is London.
- The Great Britain is located in north-west of Europe. It lies on the British Isles separated from the European mainland. The British Isles are formed of two major islands of Great Britain and Ireland and more than 5 000 small ones. The islands off Northern Scotland include f.e. the Shetlands or the Hebrides. It is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, The North Sea in the north and east. In the south there is the English Channel (La Manche Channel), which is between Southern England and Northern France.
- The island of Great Britain can be divided into two regions: Lowland Britain and Highland Britain. Lowland covers midland, southern and eastern England part of Great Britain, while Highland Britain comprises Scotland and Wales. In the South-west shore there are many cliffs, heath and swamps. Highland isn´t continuous but it is interrupted with valleys and plains.
- The highest peak Ben Nevis (1,343m) is part of Grampians. In England there is mountain range called the Peninnes which is the backbone of England.
- The longest river is the Severn. Other rivers of Britain Islands are the Thames (Flows through London, second longest), the Avon, the Mersey (Flows through Liverpool) and others.
- Lake District is the biggest National Park of England. It is located on the border of England & Scotland. The bigger British lake is Lought Neagh in Northern Ireland.
- The famous lake there is Loch Ness, which is famous for a monster called “Nessie” – this lake is attractive for tourist.
Climate in Britain:
- The climate in the U.K. is influenced by the Gulf Stream, so it is quite warm in England but it rains fairly often. There are mild summers, cold winters, generally rainy weather (that is why the grass is so green there). Very often drizzle there, or there is heavy rain and storm. The weather is unpredictable and people always have an umbrella.
- The original inhabitants were the Celtic tribes. They came to GB circa 3000 years BC.
- In 55BC the Romans came to Britain, they were led by Julius Caesar and Britain became Roman province. They built roads and forts throughout the land, for ex. Hadrian´s wall against the invasion of Celtic. They called the country Britannia.
- In the 5th century the Germanic tribes of the Angles, Saxons and Jutes came and settled in the south. One of the most important kings was William the Conqueror (Vilém Dobyvatel). He crossed the Channel and won the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and was crowned King of England.
- Between 1338 and 1453 there was the Hundred Years´ War against France, because English rules wanted to conquer France.
- The War of Roses was a civil war between the House of Lancaster (red rose) and the House of York (white rose) from 1455-1485. Yorks won and earned the crown.
- The other famous sovereign is Henry VIII. He was intellectual but proud and brutal. [He established the Church of England and had six wives, but some of them were executed (for example Anne Boleyn because she didn’t give him a son).] He connected Wales with England.
- Marie I (Henry´s daughter) was the first Queen Regnant. She had a nickname ‘’Bloody Mary’’, because during her governance was executed about 300 church rebels.
- Elizabeth I. (17th century) was daughter of Henry too. She was called “Virgin Queen”, because she refused to marry. [In 1588 Britain defeated the Spanish Armada and Sir Walter Raleigh founded the first England colony in North America, called it Virginia in honour of Queen. And also the Elizabeth age is called after her.]
- In 1603, James VI, the Scottish king became King James I of England and linked Scotland and England. From 1642 to 1649 there was a Civil Was, and Oliver Cromwell declared England a republic.
- The Napoleonic Wars were a series of war conflicts between 1803 and 1815. At the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 was defeated French-Spanish fleet by Admiral Nelson. Napoleon was finally defeated in Waterloo in 1815 and Britain continued her colonial expansion.
- Queen Victoria (19th century) she became the symbol of the continuity and stability of the British life. Since 1856, the sovereign has awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest award for courage.
- Britain involved to the 1. and 2. World Wars. In both wars was Britain on the winning side.
- Winston Churchill was a member of the British Parliament and the Prime minister of the UK during 2.WW.
- The Battle of Britain was an air campaign fought during the 2.WW. in 1940 in which the British Royal Air Force beat the German Air Force.
- Elisabeth II. Nowadays Queen has been the Longest ruling monarch of British history.
- The UK is a constitutional monarchy with parlament democracy. The Queen is Elizabeth II, but the main power has the Prime Minister. (Boris Johnson) The Parliament includes the sovereign, The Houses of Lords (which is the Upper House) with hereditary (dědičný) members and The House of Commons with 650 elected and paid members. The main role of the Upper House is to adopt laws. (the head is Lord Chancellor) UK’s Parliament is in Palace of Westminster.
- There are two main political parties: the Conservative Party (right) and the Labour Party (left).
- Commonwealth of Nations is a voluntary (dobrovolný) association of Great Britain it was founded (založena) in 1931 and now there are 53 countries. For example it consists of Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
- The UK leave the EU. Designation (označení) for it is Brexit.
- UK is multicultural country with almost 60 milion ihabitants. Its Capital is London. It is also the capital of England. London is the 2. largest city in Europe. The official language is English.
- A symbol of the country is Great Britain’s flag or the Union Jack. It consists of the red cross of St. (Saint) George (He is a patron saint of England), the cross of St. Patrick (patron saint of Ireland) and the white cross of St. Andrew (patron saint of Scotland). Wales and Norther Ireland have their own flags.
- The nation anthem is God Save the Queen!
- Isaac Newton was one of the most famous scientists of all time. He was a physicist and a mathematician. He discovered the law of gravity and developed the calculus
- Winston Churchill was a British politician. He was the British Prime Minister during World War II and he led Britain to the victory over Nazi Germany.
- Alexander Fleming was a Scottish doctor and scientist. He is famous for discovering penicillin. This drug can treat many bacterial diseases, from pneumonia to syphilis
- Stephen Hawking was a British physicist who studied black holes and other things. He became seriously ill and disabled when he was very young but he continued his research.
- John Lennon was a musician and composer who was a member of the Beatles, the biggest rock band of the 1960s.
- William Shakespeare was a playwright and poet whose body of works is considered the greatest in English literature. He wrote dozens of plays which continue to dominate world theater 400 years later.
Some other parts of UK are:
- Wales: The capital of Wales is Cardiff and St David is the patron saint of the country. The national instrument is the harp and symbol is daffodil. On the flag there is a dragon. Eisteddfods (meeting in England) are welsh festivals of music and dancing.
- Scotland: The biggest city is Glasgow but the capital is the historical town of Edinburg. There is Edinburgh Castle that was the home of Scotland´s royal family until 1603. The symbol of the country is thistle that, according to a legend, saved the Scots from their enemies.
- Ireland: Ireland is dived into the Northern Ireland (or Ulster), and the Republic of Ireland called Eire. The capital of Ulster is Belfast. The symbol of the country is a green clover symbolizing the Holy Trinity (Svatá Trojice).
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