Portal:United Kingdom

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Map of the United Kingdom in the British Isles.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain) is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of continental Europe. 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 UK that shares a land border with another sovereign state—the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border the UK is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, the English Channel and the Irish Sea.

The United Kingdom is a unitary state governed under a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary system, with its seat of government in the capital city of London. The United Kingdom consists of four countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. There are three devolved national administrations, each with varying powers, based in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh, the capitals of Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland respectively. Associated with the UK, but not constitutionally part of it, are three Crown Dependencies. The United Kingdom has fourteen overseas territories. These are remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in 1922, encompassed almost a third of the world's land surface and was the largest empire in history. British influence can still be observed in the language, culture and legal systems of many of its former territories.

The UK is an EMDC and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and seventh-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It was the world's first industrialised state and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power with leading economic, cultural, military, scientific and political influence. It is a recognised nuclear weapons state and its military expenditure ranks third or fourth in the world. The UK has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946; it is also a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the European Union, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G8, the G20, NATO, the OECD and the World Trade Organization.

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Gilwell Park (2006)

Gilwell Park is a campsite and activity centre for Scouting groups, as well as a training and conference centre for Scout Leaders. The 44 hectares (110 acres) site is located in Sewardstonebury, Epping Forest close to Chingford, London. In the late Middle Ages, it started as a farm, growing to a wealthy estate that fell into disrepair towards 1900. It was given in 1919 by Scout Commissioner William De Bois Maclaren to The Scout Association of the United Kingdom to provide camping facilities to London Scouts, and training facilities for Scouters. As Scout Leaders from all countries of the world have come to Gilwell Park for their Wood Badge training, it is one of the great landmarks of the world Scouting movement. The site contains campfields for a small patrol up to a 1200 people camp, indoor accommodations, historical sites, monuments of Scouting, and activities suitable for all sections of the Scouting Movement. It can accommodate events for up to 10,000 people. Accommodation of Gilwell Park can also be hired for non-Scout activities such as school group camping, wedding receptions and conferences. (more...)

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Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom

Victoria was a Queen of the United Kingdom, reigning from 20 June 1837 until her death. Her reign lasted more than sixty-three years—longer than any other British monarch. As well as being Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, she was also the first monarch to use the title Empress of India. The reign of Victoria was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire. The Victorian Era was at the height of the Industrial Revolution, a period of great social, economic, and technological change in the United Kingdom. Victoria was the last monarch of the House of Hanover; her successor belonged to the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. (more...)

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Salvage of the Mary Rose in October 1982

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Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVI NR.jpg
Photo credit: Chowells

The Supermarine Spitfire was an iconic British single-seat fighter used by the RAF and many Allied countries in the Second World War.

In the newsedit

  • September 26: British actor Tony Booth dies at 85
  • August 18: New South Wales police extradict 'self-healer' Hongchi Xiao from London over death of six-year-old boy at conference
  • August 4: Prince Philip of UK makes last solo public engagement after 65 years
  • July 29: British dancer and talent show winner Robert Anker dies in car accident aged 27
  • June 30: Thousands gather in Jantar Mantar and other cities to protest against mob violence
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