Otázka: The United Kingdom
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Irland
Area: cca 250 sq km
Population: cca 61 000 000
- Capital: London (one of the largest city of the world)
- Other towns: Birmingham, Glasgow (industry town), Sheffield, Liverpool (an old industry town with many factories and air pollution), Bradfort, Manchester (centre of textile industry), Edinburgh, Leeds, Edinburgh (capital of Scotland)
Languages: English (official), Welsh, Gaelic
Symbols of the country:
- Flag (1801) – the British Union = the Union Jack: The flag is made up of three crosses that represent the three patrons (one of England, one of Scotland, one of Ireland).
- National anthem – God Save the Queen!
- Great Britain is country of one nation, more then 90 percent of people are British origin. But in this time there live many immigrants from another countries. England has difficult political rules for immigrants.
- UK is situated on the north-west part of Europe. Great Britain is separated of continental Europe by English Channel (between UK and France). UK is divided into four parts: England, Scotland, Wales (3 historical parts) and Northern Ireland (connected to Great Britain later in 1921).
- UK is an island country – it consists of two large islands that are situated in the Atlantic Ocean – Great Britain and Ireland and about 5000 smaller ones (the Isle of Wight, the Isles of Scilly, the Isle of Man, Anglesey, the Hebrides, the Orkneys, the Shetlands and the Channel Islands).
- Its neighbours are Ireland (W) and France (S-E).
- The county can be divided into two parts: Highland and Lowland. England is mostly rolling land, rising to the Highlands of Scotland that are the highest mountains in Britain – the highest mountain is Ben Nevis (1342m). There are also another mountain areas such as the Pennines and the Lake District. The coast is heavily indented, especially on west.
- The largest rivers are the Severn and the Thames. There are beautiful lake areas, the best known lakes are those in the Lake district (Lake Windermere) and those in Scotland (Loch Lomond, Loch Ness) which are very attractive to tourists.
- UK has a mild climate due to the warm Gulf Stream that comes from the Gulf of Mexico to Western Europe. Rain is fairly common throughout the year.
Political system: Great Britain is constitution monarchy. Head of state is Queen Elizabeth II (from 1952), but she has not real power. In practise is it a parliamentary democracy. The Parliament consists of the House of Lords and the House of Commons. Seats in The House of Lords are hereditary. The House of Commons is the lawmaking body. The Government is formed by the party which has the majority in Parliament and the Queen appoints its leader as the Prime Minister. He appoints a team of main ministers as the Cabinet who take decisions on major policy. The second largest party forms the official Opposition with its own leader and shadow cabinet. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are united under one government. Each country has a local government as well.
- The Queen lives in Buckingham palace. The prime minister lives at 10 Downing Street. The House of Commons is elected, the House of Lords is unelected. The 2 main parties are the Labour and the Conservative Party. Every 5 years British people (over 18) vote in general election. The leader of the winning party automatically becomes prime minister.
- The currency is the British pound sterling (100 pence). Great Britain is one of the richest countries of the world and has very developed economy.
- The country has very well-developed agricultural system. British agriculture is able to feed three quarters of the people living there. The main agricultural products are cereals (wheat, corn, oats), potatoes, sugar beets and wool. The animals kept on British farms are cattle (dobytek), sheep, pigs and poultry (drůbež). Horse breeding is also important.
- Britain is traditionally rich in coal and metals such as iron, tin (Sn) and lead (Pb). The newly discovered deposits of oil and natural gas in the sea enabled Britain not only to be self-supporting, but also to export oil to other countries. Britain is one of the leading industrial countries in the world. During 20th century can we notice that British industry changed from heavy industry with traditional branches as shipbuilding, car and train building, engineering to chemical industry and production of consumable electronics or also clothes.
- The importance of services in Britain is growing rapidly (as in other developed countries). It is also important to know about the significance of Britain as a financial centre.
- Export: machines, petroleum, means of transport, chemicals, pharmaceuticals.
- Import: foodstuffs (tea, coffee, fruit, vegetables), metals, paper, machinery.
- Major partners for Great Britain are Germany, France, Netherlands and the others countries of European Union.
- G7 country
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