United Kingdom

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Anthem: "God Save the Queen"[a]
Royal coat of arms in Scotland:
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (Scotland).svg
Europe-UK (orthographic projection).svg
Europe-UK.svg
United Kingdom (+overseas territories and crown dependencies) in the World (+Antarctica claims).svg
Location of the United Kingdom (dark green)

in Europe (dark grey)

Capital
and largest city
London
51°30′N 0°7′W / 51.500°N 0.117°W / 51.500; -0.117
Official language
and national language
English
Regional and minority languages[b]
Ethnic groups
(2011)
Religion
Demonym(s)
Constituent countries
GovernmentUnitary[e] parliamentary
constitutional monarchy
• Monarch
Elizabeth II
Boris Johnson
LegislatureParliament
House of Lords
House of Commons
Formation
1535 and 1542
24 March 1603
1 May 1707
1 January 1801
5 December 1922
Area
• Total
242,495 km2 (93,628 sq mi)[12] (78th)
• Water (%)
1.51 (2015)[13]
Population
• 2020 estimate
Neutral increase 67,081,000[14] (21st)
• 2011 census
63,182,178[15] (22nd)
• Density
270.7/km2 (701.1/sq mi) (50th)
GDP (PPP)2021 estimate
• Total
Increase $3.276 trillion[16] (10th)
• Per capita
Increase $48,693[16] (28th)
GDP (nominal)2021 estimate
• Total
Increase $3.108 trillion[16] (5th)
• Per capita
Increase $46,200[16] (22nd)
Gini (2019)Negative increase 36.6[17]
medium · 33rd
HDI (2019)Increase 0.932[18]
very high · 13th
CurrencyPound sterling[f] (GBP)
Time zoneUTC (Greenwich Mean Time, WET)
• Summer (DST)
UTC+1 (British Summer Time, WEST)
[g]
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy
yyyy-mm-dd (AD)
Mains electricity230 V–50 Hz
Driving sideleft[h]
Calling code+44[i]
ISO 3166 codeGB
Internet TLD.uk[j]
Preceded by
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,[note 1][19] is a sovereign country in north-western Europe, off the north-­western coast of the European mainland.[20][21] The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-­eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands within the British Isles.[22] Northern Ireland shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland. Otherwise, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The total area of the United Kingdom is 93,628 square miles (242,500 km2), with an estimated population in 2020 of 67 million.[14]

The United Kingdom is a unitary parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy.[note 2][23][24] The monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since 1952.[25] The capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with a metropolitan area population of 14 million.[26][27] The United Kingdom consists of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.[28] Other than England, the constituent countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers.[29][30]

The United Kingdom has evolved from a series of annexations, unions and separations of constituent countries over several hundred years. The Treaty of Union between the Kingdom of England (which included Wales, annexed in 1542) and the Kingdom of Scotland in 1707 formed the Kingdom of Great Britain. Its union in 1801 with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Most of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which formally adopted that name in 1927.[note 3]

The nearby Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown Dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation.[31] There are also 14 British Overseas Territories,[32] the last remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed almost a quarter of the world's landmass and a third of the world's population, and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language, culture and the legal and political systems of many of its former colonies.[33][34]

The United Kingdom has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal gross domestic product (GDP), and the tenth-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). It has a high-income economy and a very high human development index rating, ranking 13th in the world. The UK became the world's first industrialised country and was the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries.[35][36] Today the UK remains one of the world's great powers, with considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific, technological and political influence internationally.[37][38] It is a recognised nuclear state and is ranked fourth globally in military expenditure.[39] It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.

The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the Group of Ten, the G20, the United Nations, NATO, AUKUS, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Interpol, and the World Trade Organization (WTO). It was a member state of the European Communities (EC) and its successor, the European Union (EU), from its accession in 1973 until its withdrawal in 2020 following a referendum held in 2016.

  1. ^ "National Anthem". Official web site of the British Royal Family. 15 January 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  2. ^ "List of declarations made with respect to treaty No. 148". Council of Europe. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  3. ^ "Welsh language on GOV.UK – Content design: planning, writing and managing content – Guidance". www.gov.uk. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  4. ^ "Welsh language scheme". GOV.UK. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  5. ^ "Welsh language scheme". GOV.UK. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  6. ^ "UNdata | record view | Population by religion, sex and urban/rural residence". data.un.org. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  7. ^ Philby, Charlotte (12 December 2012). "Less religious and more ethnically diverse: Census reveals a picture of Britain today". The Independent. London.
  8. ^ Bradbury, Jonathan (2021). Constitutional Policy and Territorial Politics in the UK: Volume 1: Union and Devolution 1997-2012. Policy Press. pp. 19–20. ISBN 978-1-5292-0588-6.
  9. ^ Leith, Murray Stewart (2012). Political Discourse and National Identity in Scotland. Edinburgh University Press. p. 39. ISBN 978-0-7486-8862-3.
  10. ^ Gagnon, Alain-G.; Tully, James (2001). Multinational Democracies. Cambridge University Press. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-521-80473-8.
  11. ^ Bogdanor, Vernon (1998). "Devolution: the Constitutional Aspects". In Beatson, Jack (ed.). Constitutional Reform in the United Kingdom: Practice and Principles. Oxford: Hart Publishing. p. 18. ISBN 978-1-901362-84-8.
  12. ^ Demographic Yearbook – Table 3: Population by sex, rate of population increase, surface area and density (PDF) (Report). United Nations Statistics Division. 2012. Retrieved 9 August 2015.
  13. ^ "Surface water and surface water change". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  14. ^ a b "Office for National Statistics". ons.gov.uk.
  15. ^ "2011 UK censuses". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
  16. ^ a b c d "World Economic Outlook database: April 2021". International Monetary Fund. October 2021.
  17. ^ "Inequality - Income inequality". us.oecd.org. OECD. Retrieved 25 July 2021.
  18. ^ "Human Development Report 2020" (PDF). United Nations Development Programme. 15 December 2020. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
  19. ^ "Great Britain | island, Europe". Encyclopedia Britannica.
  20. ^ United Kingdom Permanent Committee on Geographical Names (May 2017). "Toponymic guidelines for the United Kingdom". GOV.UK. 10.2 Definitions. usually shortened to United Kingdom ... The abbreviation is UK or U.K.
  21. ^ "United Kingdom". Encyclopedia Britannica.
  22. ^ "Definition of Great Britain in English". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 29 October 2014. Great Britain is the name for the island that comprises England, Scotland and Wales, although the term is also used loosely to refer to the United Kingdom.
  23. ^ The British Monarchy, "What is constitutional monarchy?". Retrieved 17 July 2013
  24. ^ "United Kingdom" CIA The World Factbook]. Retrieved 17 July 2013
  25. ^ "Queen takes over longest reign mantle after Thailand's King Bhumibol dies". AOL (UK). Press Association. 13 October 2016. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  26. ^ "Summary Table for the 20 largest cities and urban areas in the EU, 2014". Eurostat. 2014. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  27. ^ The 30 Largest Urban Agglomerations Ranked by Population Size at Each Point in Time, 1950–2030, World Urbanization Prospects, the 2014 revision Archived 18 February 2015 at the Wayback Machine, Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  28. ^ "Countries within a country". Prime Minister's Office. 10 January 2003. Archived from the original on 9 September 2008. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  29. ^ "Devolution of powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland". United Kingdom Government. Retrieved 17 April 2013. In a similar way to how the government is formed from members from the two Houses of Parliament, members of the devolved legislatures nominate ministers from among themselves to comprise executives, known as the devolved administrations...
  30. ^ "Country Overviews: United Kingdom". Transport Research Knowledge Centre. Archived from the original on 4 April 2010. Retrieved 28 March 2010.
  31. ^ "Key facts about the United Kingdom". Directgov. Archived from the original on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2015. The full title of this country is 'the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland'. Great Britain is made up of England, Scotland and Wales. The United Kingdom (UK) is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 'Britain' is used informally, usually meaning the United Kingdom.
    The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not part of the UK.
  32. ^ "Supporting the Overseas Territories". Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  33. ^ Julian Go (2007). "A Globalizing Constitutionalism?, Views from the Postcolony, 1945-2000". In Arjomand, Saïd Amir (ed.). Constitutionalism and political reconstruction. Brill. pp. 92–94. ISBN 978-90-04-15174-1.
  34. ^ Ferguson 2004, p. 307.
  35. ^ Mathias, P. (2001). The First Industrial Nation: the Economic History of Britain, 1700–1914. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-26672-7.
  36. ^ Ferguson, Niall (2004). Empire: The rise and demise of the British world order and the lessons for global power. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-02328-8.
  37. ^ T.V. Paul; James J. Wirtz; Michel Fortmann (2005). "Great+power" Balance of Power. State University of New York Press. pp. 59, 282. ISBN 978-0-7914-6401-4. Accordingly, the great powers after the Cold War are Britain, China, France, Germany, Japan, Russia and the United States p. 59
  38. ^ McCourt, David (2014). Britain and World Power Since 1945: Constructing a Nation's Role in International Politics. United States: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-472-07221-7.
  39. ^ "IISS Military Balance 2021". The Military Balance. 121 (1): 23–29. January 2021. doi:10.1080/04597222.2021.1868791. S2CID 232050862. Retrieved 1 October 2021.


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