The United Kingdom, commonly known as Britain, is an independent island nation located in the north-western parts of Europe. The United Kingdom is made up England, Wales, and Scotland on the island of Great Britain, Northern Ireland on the north-eastern region of the neighboring island of Ireland, as well as other smaller islands.
History and Governance of the UK
The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy state which has a parliamentary democracy. The current monarch of Britain is Queen Elizabeth II, and she has been the ruler since 1952, and she is the longest-serving monarch in history. The United Kingdom was formed in 1707 when the treaty of union was signed. The kingdom of Ireland joined the United Kingdom later in 1801, but in 1922 about 83% of the Ireland kingdom seceded.
Geography of the UK
The UK is the eleventh biggest nation in Europe by size. Occupying an area of about 93,600 sq mi, it is the seventy-eighth largest nation in the world. With a population of about 65.5 million people as at 2016, the United Kingdom is the fifth most populous nation in Europe and twenty-first in the world. The Celtic Sea, the English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean surround the United Kingdom. It has one of the longest coastlines on earth. The Republic of Ireland is the only neighboring nation sharing a border with the United Kingdom (North Ireland).
Occupying an area of approximately 3,930,000 sq mi, Europe is the sixth largest continent in the world right behind Antarctica. It occupies about 6.8% of the earth’s land and 2% of the world’s surface. Europe is subdivided into 50 nations with Russia being the most populous and the largest. The Mediterranean surrounds Europe on the southern part, the Atlantic Ocean on the western side and the Arctic Ocean on the northern side. Asia and Europe are contiguous; therefore they have no defined boundary. The boundaries are cultural, political, and historical definition instead of geographical. All the larger islands located in the Mediterranean are historically considered to be part of Europe regardless of their closeness to the continent.
Europe’s economy is made up of fifty different nations with some being wealthier than others. The end of the Second World War brought the continent together resulting in the formation of the EU (European Union) and the adoption of a common currency known as the Euro in 1999. The United Kingdom has been the leading nation in the European Union since 1973, but the 2016 referendum resulted in about 51.9% of the casted votes favoring the United Kingdom leaving the EU.
Germany has the largest national economy in the continent and the fourth in the world. The United Kingdom has the second largest economy in Europe with their nominal GDP being ranked fifth globally followed by France. Europe’s economy accounts for over half of the top 10 wealthiest nations in the world. The European Union has the second largest economy in the world right behind the United States.
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