Portal:United Kingdom

The United Kingdom Portal

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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 (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country in north-western Europe, 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 within the British Isles. 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 2020 population of more than 67 million people.

The United Kingdom is a unitary parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since 1952. The capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with a metropolitan area population of over 14 million. Other major cities include Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool and Leeds. The United Kingdom consists of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Other than England, the constituent countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers.

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.

The United Kingdom has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal gross domestic product (GDP), and the eighth-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. Today the UK remains one of the world's great powers, with considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific, technological and political influence internationally. It is a recognised nuclear state and is ranked fourth globally in military expenditure. 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. (Full article...)

Featured article

A picture of a City & South London Railway train from the Illustrated London News, 1890

The City and South London Railway was the first deep-level underground "tube" railway in the world, and the first major railway to use electric traction. Originally intended for cable-hauled trains, the collapse of the cable contractor while the railway was under construction forced a change to electric traction, an experimental technology at the time, before the line opened. When opened in 1890, it had six stations and ran for 3.2 miles (5.1 km) in a pair of tunnels between the City of London and Stockwell, passing under the River Thames. The diameter of the tunnels restricted the size of the trains and the small carriages with their high-backed seating were nicknamed padded cells. The railway was extended several times north and south; eventually serving 22 stations over a distance of 13.5 miles (21.7 km) from Camden Town in north London to Morden in Surrey. Although the C&SLR was well used, low ticket prices and the construction cost of the extensions placed a strain on the company's finances. In 1913, the C&SLR became part of the Underground Group of railways and, in the 1920s, it underwent major reconstruction works before its merger with another of the Group's railways. In 1933, the C&SLR and the rest of the Underground Group was taken into public ownership. Today, its tunnels and stations form the Bank branch and Kennington to Morden section of the London Underground's Northern Line. (Full article...)

Featured biography

Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley (1797–1851) was a British novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer, best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus. She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, the Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley. Her father was the political philosopher William Godwin, and her mother was the philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. In 1814, Mary Godwin fell in love with one of her father's political followers, the married Percy Bysshe Shelley. Together with Mary's stepsister, Claire Clairmont, they left for France and travelled through Europe; upon their return to England, Mary was pregnant. Over the next two years, she and Percy faced ostracism, constant debt, and the death of their prematurely born daughter. In 1822, her husband drowned when his sailing boat sank during a storm in the Bay of La Spezia. A year later, Mary Shelley returned to England and from then on devoted herself to the upbringing of her son and a career as a professional author. The last decade of her life was dogged by illness, probably caused by the brain tumour that was to kill her at the age of 53. (Full article...)

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Wikinews UK

11 May 2022 – Finland–United Kingdom relations, Sweden–United Kingdom relations
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson signs security agreements with Finland and Sweden, pledging British military assistance to both Scandinavian countries should they come under attack. (Reuters)
29 April 2022 –
British MP Neil Parish is being investigated by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards after two MPs allegedly claimed that Parish was watching pornography in the House of Commons. (The Guardian)
28 April 2022 – 2022 Bermondsey stabbing
Joshua Jacques, who is suspected of committing a mass stabbing in Bermondsey, London, United Kingdom, on Monday, is charged with four counts of murder. (The Guardian)
27 April 2022 – Russo-Ukrainian War
Russia–United Kingdom relations
British Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab says that Russian threats to target Britain are "unlawful" and are only adding to the "pariah status" of Vladimir Putin's regime. (Sky News)
Russia–United Kingdom relations

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