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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Irelands is situated on the British Isles. The British Isles consists of two large islands, Great Britain and Ireland, and five thousand small islands. Their total area is over 244,000 square kilometers.
The UK is made up of four countries: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Cardiff, Edinburg and Belfast respectively. Great Britain consists of England, Scotland and Wales and doesn't include Northern Ireland. But in everyday speech “Great Britain” is used to mean the United Kingdom. The capital of the UK is London.
The flag of Great Britain is known as the Union jack. The flag has red cross of St. George of England, the white cross of St. Andrew of Scotland, and the red cross of St. Patrick of Ireland, all on the blue background. The anthem of the country is “God Save the Queen/ King”. The currency of the country is the pound that consists of 100 pence.
The British Isles are separated from European continent by the North Sea and the English Channel. The western coast of GB is washed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea.
The surface of the British Isles varies very much. The north of Scotland is mountainous and is called the Highlands, while the south, which has beautiful valleys and plains, is called the Lowlands. The north and west of England are mountainous, but all the rest – east, centre and south-east – is vast plain. Mountains are not very high. Ben Nevis in Scotland is the highest mountain (1343m).
There are a lot of rivers in GB, but they are not very long. The Severn is the longest river, while the Thames is the deepest and the most important one.
The mountains, the Atlantic Ocean and the warm waters of Gulf Stream influence the climate of the British Isles. It is mild the whole year round.
Great Britain has a very good position as it lies on the crossways of the sea routes from Europe to other parts of the world. There are many countries which are connected with Great Britain by sea.
The UK is one of the world’s smallest countries. Its population is over 57 million. About 80% of the population lives in cities and towns.
Great Britain lives by manufacture and trade. Its agriculture provides only half the food it needs, the other half of its foods has to be important.
The UK is a highly developed industrial country. it is known as one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of machinery, electronics, textile, aircraft and navigation equipment. One of the chief industries of the country is shipbuilding.
The UK is a constitutional monarchy. In law, the Head of State is the Queen. In practice, the Sovereign reins, but doesn't rule. The country is ruled by the elected government with the Prime Minister at the head. The British parliament consists of two chambers: the House of Lords and the House of Commons.
And some words about British character. Englishmen are naturally polite and are never tired of saying “Thank you” and “I’m sorry”. They are generally disciplined: you will never hear a loud talk in the street. Englishmen do not show their emotions even in tragic situations.
The inhabitants of Great Britain are famous for their customs and traditions. “Custom is almost a second nature”, said Plutarch. It’s true as for Britain.