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 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 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 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 United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

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 and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major cities include Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds and Liverpool.

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. 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 political systems of many of its former colonies.

The United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's sixth-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 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. It has been a leading member state of the European Union (EU) and its predecessor, the European Economic Community (EEC), since 1973. A referendum in 2016 resulted in 51.9% of the turnout being in favour of leaving the EU, which is currently scheduled to take place on or before 31 January 2020. 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

For most of World War I, Allied and German Forces were stalled in trench warfare

The western front of World War I opened in 1914, with the German army invading first Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne. Both sides then dug in along a meandering line of fortified trenches, stretching from the North Sea to the Swiss frontier with France. This line remained essentially unchanged for most of the war. Between 1915 and 1917 a series of major offensives took place along this front. The attacks employed massive artillery bombardments and massed infantry advances. However, a combination of entrenchments, machine gun nests, barbed wire, and other defenses, repeatedly inflicted severe casualties on the attackers. As a result, no significant advances were made during these assaults. In an effort to break the deadlock, this front saw the introduction of new military technology, including poison gas and tanks. But it was only after the adoption of improved tactics that some degree of mobility was restored. In spite of the generally stagnant nature of this front, this theater would prove decisive. The inexorable advance of the Allied armies in 1918 persuaded the German commanders that defeat was unavoidable, and the government was forced to sue for conditions of surrender. (More...)

Featured biography

Anna Laetitia Barbauld

Anna Laetitia Barbauld (1743–1825) was a prominent eighteenth-century English poet, essayist, and children's author. A "woman of letters" who published in multiple genres, Barbauld had a successful writing career at a time when female professional writers were rare. She was a noted teacher at the celebrated Palgrave Academy and an innovative children's writer; her famous primers provided a model for pedagogy for more than a century. Her essays demonstrated that it was possible for a woman to be publicly engaged in politics, and other women authors emulated her. Even more importantly, her poetry was foundational to the development of Romanticism in England. Barbauld was also a literary critic, and her anthology of eighteenth-century British novels helped establish the canon as we know it today. Barbauld's literary career ended abruptly in 1812 with the publication of her poem Eighteen Hundred and Eleven, which criticized Britain's participation in the Napoleonic Wars. The vicious reviews shocked Barbauld and she published nothing else within her lifetime. Her reputation was further damaged when many of the Romantic poets she had inspired in the heyday of the French Revolution turned against her in their later, more conservative, years. Barbauld was remembered only as a pedantic children's writer during the nineteenth century, and largely forgotten during the twentieth century, but the rise of feminist literary criticism in the 1980s renewed interest in her works and restored her place in literary history. (more...)

Did you know...

Salvage of the Mary Rose in October 1982

Subportals

Related portals

Featured picture

The Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster, colloquially known as "Big Ben", in Westminster, London.
Photo credit: Diliff

The Clock Tower is a turret clock structure at the north-eastern end of the Houses of Parliament building in Westminster, London. It is popularly known as Big Ben, but this name actually belongs to the clock's main bell. The tower has also been referred to as St. Stephen's Tower or The Tower of Big Ben, in reference to its bell.

In the news

Wikinews UK

3 December 2019 –
Pakistani business tycoon Malik Riaz agrees to surrender £190 million in cash and assets to the United Kingdom's National Crime Agency, including his Grade II listed-London home in One Hyde Park. The NCA accuse the tycoon of acquiring his wealth and property through crime. (Sky News)
2 December 2019 –
A 12-year-old boy is killed and five other people are injured in a deliberate hit-and-run crash near a school in Loughton, Essex, United Kingdom. (BBC)
29 November 2019 – 2019 London Bridge stabbing
A terrorist mass stabbing at London Bridge kills two civilians and injures three others. The attacker, Usman Khan, wearing a fake explosive belt, is shot dead by police on the bridge. Khan was a former prisoner convicted of terrorism offences, and had links to Islamist terrorist groups. (BBC)
28 November 2019 – 2019 Hong Kong protests, Hong Kong–United Kingdom relations
Following the U.S. legislation regarding Hong Kong, pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong urges Western nations, especially the United Kingdom, to "stand with Hong Kong" and calls for the penalization of leader Carrie Lam. (Federal News Network)
22 November 2019 – Chagos Archipelago sovereignty dispute
The United Kingdom misses a United Nations deadline to return control of the disputed Chagos Archipelago to Mauritius, prompting the government of Mauritius to call the UK an "illegal colonial occupier". (BBC)
21 November 2019 – 2019 Hong Kong protests
The Hong Kong High Court denies the lift of a travel ban imposed on pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong, who was scheduled to travel to the United Kingdom to receive a human rights award from the two houses of the British Parliament. The judge cites the risk of absconding and says he can remain in the city to help restore peace. (The Independent)

Categories

WikiProjects

Things you can do

Visit the British Wikipedians' notice board.

The noticeboard is the central forum for information and discussion on editing related to the United Kingdom.

Comment at the British deletion sorting page.

This page lists deletion discussions on topics relating to the United Kingdom.

Other UK-connected Wikipedias

Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:

Wikibooks
Books

Commons
Media

Wikinews 
News

Wikiquote 
Quotations

Wikisource 
Texts

Wikiversity
Learning resources

Wikivoyage 
Travel guides

Wiktionary 
Definitions

Wikidata 
Database

Portals

Purge server cache