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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is situated on the British Isles. The British Isles consist of two large islands, Great Britain and Ireland, and about five thousand small islands. Their total area is over 244,000 square kilometres.
The United Kingdom is made up of four countries: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast respectively. Great Britain consists of England, Scotland and Wales and does not include Northern Ireland. But in everyday speech "Great Britain" is used to mean the United Kingdom. The capital of the UK is London.
The British Isles are separated from the continent by the North Sea and the English Channel. The western coast of Great Britain is washed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea.
Shakespeare called Britain a "precious stone set in the silver sea" because of its natural beauty. It has a varied countryside where you can find mountains, plains, valleys and sandy beaches. Ben Nevis in Scotland is the highest mountain, but it is only 1343 metres high.
There are a lot of rivers in Great Britain, 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.
The UK is one of the world's smaller countries. Its population is over 58 million. About 80% of the population live in cities.
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 Queen reigns, but does not 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.
There are three main political parties in Great Britain: the Labour, the Conservative and the Liberal parties.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandСоединенное Королевство Великобритании и Северной Ирландии
the British Isles Британские острова
the North Sea Северное море
the English Channel Английский канал (принятое в Великобритании название пролива Ла-Манш)
the Atlantic Ocean Атлантический океан
the Irish Sea Ирландское море
Ben Nevis Бен Невис
the Severn Северн
the Thames Темза
Gulf Stream Гольфстрим
the House of Lords палата лордов
the House of Commons палата общин
the Labour, the Conservative and the Liberal parties Лейбористская, Консервативная и Либеральная партии