Portal:United Kingdom

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The United Kingdom Portal

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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 U.K.) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north­western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north­eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. 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 southwest, 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 94,000 square miles (240,000 km2).

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

The United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution. 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 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 created 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. The UK's current name was adopted in 1927 to reflect the change. 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 landmass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language, culture and political systems of many of its former colonies.

The United Kingdom has the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal gross domestic product (GDP), and the ninth-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). It has a high-income economy and a very high human development index rating, ranking 14th in the world. It was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK 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.

The United Kingdom is a leading 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). It was a member of the European Union (EU) and its predecessor, the European Economic Community (EEC) for 47 years, between 1 January 1973 and withdrawal on 31 January 2020.

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Wembley Stadium

The 1956 FA Cup Final was the final match of the 1955–56 staging of English football's primary cup competition, the Football Association Challenge Cup, better known as the FA Cup. The showpiece event was contested between Manchester City and Birmingham City at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday 5 May 1956. Manchester City's victories were close affairs, each settled by the odd goal, and they needed a replay to defeat fifth-round opponents Liverpool. Birmingham City made more comfortable progress: they scored eighteen goals while conceding only two, and won each match at the first attempt despite being drawn to play on their opponents' ground in every round. They became the first team to reach an FA Cup final without playing at home. Birmingham entered the match as favourites, in a contest billed as a contrast of styles. Watched by a crowd of 100,000 and a television audience of five million, Manchester City took an early lead through Joe Hayes, but Noel Kinsey equalised midway through the first half. Second half goals from Jack Dyson and Bobby Johnstone gave Manchester City a 3–1 victory. The match is best remembered for the heroics of Manchester City goalkeeper, Bert Trautmann, who continued playing despite breaking a bone in his neck in a collision with Birmingham's Peter Murphy. (more...)

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Constantine II of Scotland

Constantine II of Scotland was an early King of Scotland, known then by the Gaelic name Alba. His reign, like those of his predecessors, was dominated by the actions of Viking rulers in Britain and Ireland, particularly the Uí Ímair. During Constantine's reign, the rulers of the southern kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia, later the kingdom of England, extended their authority northwards into the disputed kingdoms of Northumbria. At first allied with the southern rulers against the Vikings, Constantine in time came into conflict with them. King Æthelstan secured Constantine's submission in 927 and 934, but the two again fought when Constantine, allied with the Strathclyde Britons and the Viking king of Dublin, invaded Æthelstan's kingdom in 937, only to be defeated at the great battle of Brunanburh. In 943 Constantine abdicated the throne and retired to the Céli Dé monastery of St Andrews where he died in 952. His reign of 43 years, exceeded in Scotland only by that of King William the Lion before the Union of the Crowns in 1603, is believed to have played a defining part in the gaelicisation of Pictland in which his patronage of the Irish Céli Dé monastic reformers was a significant factor. During his reign the words "Scots" and "Scotland" (Old English: Scottas, Scotland) were first used to mean part of what is now Scotland. (more...)

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Salvage of the Mary Rose in October 1982

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A panorama showing an almost 180-degree view of the interior of the Reading Room
Photo credit: Diliff

The British Museum Reading Room, situated in the centre of the Great Court of the British Museum, used to be the main reading room of the British Library. In 1997 this function moved to the new British Library building at St Pancras, London, but the Reading Room remains in its original form. Designed by Sydney Smirke on a suggestion by the Library's Chief Librarian Anthony Panizzi, following an earlier competition idea by William Hosking, the Reading Room was in continual use from 1857 until its temporary closure in 1997.

In the news

7 April 2020 – 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic
2020 coronavirus pandemic in the United Kingdom
6 April 2020 – Socio-economic impact of the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic; 2020 coronavirus pandemic in the United Kingdom
British department store retailer Debenhams files for administration due to "unprecedented" circumstances caused by the UK's coronavirus lockdown. (BBC)
6 April 2020 – 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic
2020 coronavirus pandemic in the United Kingdom
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is admitted to intensive care at St Thomas' Hospital in London as his COVID-19 symptoms worsen. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, as First Secretary of State, will assume Johnson's duties while he remains in the ICU. (ITV)
Barbados reports its first death from COVID-19, an 81-year-old man with diabetes who recently travelled to the United Kingdom. (Voice Online)
5 April 2020 – 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic
2020 coronavirus pandemic in the United Kingdom
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Wicipedia yn GymraegScots WikipaediaWikipedia ann an Gàidhlig na h-Alba
Vicipéid i nGaeilge na hÉireannWikipedia GaelgWikipedia KernowekEnglisc Wicipædia

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