Portal:United Kingdom
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Portal:United Kingdom

The United Kingdom Portal

Flag of the United Kingdom
Coat of Arms for the United Kingdom
Map of the United Kingdom in the British Isles.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country in western Europe. Lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland, the United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state‍—‌the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to its east, the English Channel to its south and the Celtic Sea to its south-south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 21st-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy. The monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state. The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include the conurbations centred on Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow and Liverpool.

The United Kingdom consists of four countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Their capitals are London, Belfast, Edinburgh, and Cardiff respectively. Apart from England, the countries have devolved administrations, each with varying powers. The nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The creation of the UK resulted from the medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed almost a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language, culture and legal systems of many of its former colonies.

The United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a "very high" Human Development Index, ranking 16th in the world. It was the first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The United Kingdom remains a great power with considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific and political influence internationally. It is a recognised nuclear weapons state and is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946. It has been a leading member state of the European Union (EU) and its predecessor, the European Economic Community (EEC), since 1973; however, a referendum in 2016 resulted in 51.9% of UK voters favouring leaving the European Union, and the country's exit is being negotiated. The United Kingdom is also a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Interpol and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Featured article

Norwich City players celebrate promotion to the FA Premiership

Norwich City Football Club is an English professional football club based in Norwich, Norfolk. As of the 2011-12 season Norwich play in the Premier League. Norwich have won the League Cup twice, in 1962 and 1985. The club was founded in 1902. Since 1935, Norwich have played their home games at Carrow Road and have a long-standing and fierce rivalry with East Anglian rivals Ipswich Town, with whom they have contested the East Anglian Derby 138 times since 1902. The fans' song "On The Ball, City" is regarded as being the oldest football song in the world. (more...)

Featured biography

Elaine Paige

Elaine Paige (born 1948) is an English singer and actress, best known for her work in musical theatre. Raised in Barnet, North London, Paige attended the Aida Foster stage school and made her first professional appearance on stage in 1964. Her appearance in the 1968 production of Hair marked her West End debut. Following a number of roles over the next decade, Paige was selected to play Eva Perón in the first production of Evita in 1978, which brought her to the attention of the broader public. The role won her the Laurence Olivier Award for Performance of the Year in a Musical. She went on to originate the role of Grizabella in Cats and had a Top 10 hit with "Memory", a song from the show. In 1985, Paige released "I Know Him So Well" with Barbara Dickson from the musical Chess, which remains the biggest-selling record by a female duo, according to the Guinness Book of Records. She has also worked in film and television. In addition to being nominated for five Laurence Olivier Awards, Paige has won many other awards for her theatre roles and has been called the First Lady of British Musical Theatre. She has released 20 solo albums, of which eight were consecutively certified gold and another four multi-platinum. Since 2004 she has hosted her own show on BBC Radio 2 called Elaine Paige on Sunday. (more...)

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Salvage of the Mary Rose in October 1982

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Edward as Prince of Wales, Flemish School
Artist: Unknown

Edward VI (12 October 1537 – 6 July 1553) became King of England, King of France (in practice only the town and surrounding district of Calais) and Edward I of Ireland on 28 January 1547, and was crowned on 20 February, at nine years of age. Edward, the son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, was the third monarch of the Tudor dynasty and England's first ruler who was Protestant at the time of his ascension to the throne. Edward's entire rule was mediated through a council of regency as he never reached maturity.

In the news

Wikinews UK

18 July 2018 - Terrorism in the United Kingdom
Naa'imur Zakariyah Rahman, 20, is convicted of terror offences after attempting to kill guards, attack Theresa May, and blow himself up on Downing Street using fake explosives provided to him in a sting operation. (The Independent)
Far-right terrorism in the United Kingdom
The leader of the banned British far-right designated terrorist group National Action, Christopher Lythgoe, is jailed for eight years for being a member. (Sky News)
12 July 2018 - International presidential visits made by Donald Trump, United Kingdom-United States relations
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives in the UK for his presidential trip to the country amid widespread protests. (BBC)
9 July 2018 - Politics of the United Kingdom
Boris Johnson resigns as the United Kingdom's Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs amid disagreements with Prime Minister Theresa May over Brexit negotiations. Johnson is the second member of May's cabinet to resign in two days. (BBC)
8 July 2018 - Politics of the United Kingdom
David Davis resigns as the United Kingdom's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union amid disagreements with Prime Minister Theresa May over Brexit negotiations. (BBC)

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