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Great Britain

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The two min islnds re Gret Britin in which re Scotlnd Wles nd Englnd to the est nd Irelnd in which re Northern Irelnd nd the independent Irish Republish to the west. In everydy speech “Gret Britin†is used to men the United Kingdom. Gret Britin is mde up Scotlnd Wles nd Englnd; it does not include Northern Irelnd.

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2013-11-14

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Great Britain

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the UK) is the official name of the state which is sometimes referred to as Great Britain or Britain (after its major isle), England (after its major historic part) or the British Isles.

The United Kingdom occupies most of the territory of the British Isles. It consists of four main parts which are: Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. Their capitals are Belfast, Edinburgh, Cardiff and London. The capital of the UK is London too.

The UK is an island state: it is composed of some five thousand five hundred islands, large and small. The two main islands are Great Britain (in which are Scotland, Wales and England) to the east and Ireland (in which are Northern Ireland and the independent Irish Republish) to the west. They are separated by the Irish Sea.

The United Kingdom is one of the world`s smaller countries (it is twice smaller than France or Spain), with an area of some two hundred and forty-four thousand one hundred square kilometers. The UK is situated off the west coast of Europe between the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea on the Northwest and the North Sea on the east and is separated from the European continent by the English Channel (or La Manche) and the Strait of Dover (or Pas de Calais).

In everyday speech “Great Britain” is used to mean the United Kingdom. Great Britain is made up Scotland, Wales and England; it does not include Northern Ireland. Geographically, the island of Great Britain is subdivided into two main regions – Lowland Britain comprises southern and eastern England and Highland Britain consists of Scotland, most of Wales, the Pennines, and Lake District. The Pennine Chain extends southward from the Cheviot Hills into the Midlands, a plains region with low hills and valleys.

England is separated from Scotland by the Cheviot Hills running from east to west. The mountains in Great Britain are not very high; the highest mountain is Ben Nevis in Scotland.

The chief rivers of Great Britain are: the Thames< which flows eastward to the port of London; the Severn, flowing along the border between England and Wales, tributaries of which include the Avon, famed by Shakespeare; the Mersey and some others. The Thames is the deepest and the longest of the British rivers. The swiftest flowing river in the British Isles is the Spey. Part of the border between Scotland and England is along the lower reaches of the Tweed, near which is made the woolen fabric that bears its name.

There are many lakes in Great Britain. On the northwest side of the Pennine system lies the Lake District, containing the beautiful lakes which give it its name. This district its widely known for its association with the history of English literature and especially with the name of William Wordsworth, the founder of the Lake School of poets.

The climate of the United Kingdom is generally mild, damp and temperate due to the influence of the Gulf Stream. The southwestern winds carry the warmth and moisture into Britain. The climate in Britain is usually described as cool, temperate and humid. The weather is so changeable that the English often say that they have no climate but only weather. Therefore it is natural for them to use the comparison “as changeable as the weather” of a person who often changes his mood or opinion about something. The English also say that they have three variants of weather: when it rains in the morning, when it rains in the afternoon or when it rains all day long. Sometimes it rains so heavily that they sad “It`s raining cats and dogs”. Winter temperatures below 10 degrees are rare. It seldom snows heavily in winter, frost the rare. January and February are usually the coldest months, July and August the warmest. During a normal summer the temperature sometimes rises above 30 degrees in the south. Still the wind may bring winter cold in spring or summer days. Sometimes it brings whirlwinds or hurricanes. Droughts are rare. So, we may say that the British climate has three main features: it is mild, humid and changeable. That means that it is never too hot or too cold. Winters are extremely mild. Snow may come but it melts quickly. In winter the colt is a humid cold, not dry. This humid and mild climate is good for plants. Trees and flowers begin the blossom early in spring.

Great Britain is rich in coal, iron ores, tin and copper. Coal mining is one of the most developed industries in Britain. Great Britain is a highly industrialized country. New industries have  been developed in the last three decades. Such towns as Birmingham, Coventry and Sheffield produce heavy machines, railway carriages and Moto-cars. Ship-building industry is concentrated in London, Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool and Belfast. New branches of industry have appeared: electronics, radio, chemical industry and others. The largest cities of Great Britain are: London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Bristol, Leeds, Edinburgh. The most important ports are: London, Liverpool, Southampton, Belfast, Glasgow and Cardiff. The educational centers in Great Britain are Oxford and Cambridge with the world famous oldest Universities.

The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy. This means that it has a monarch (a king or a queen) as its Head of State. The present British monarch is Queen Elisabeth II, who succeeded to the throne in 1952. The monarch reigns with the support of Parliament. The powers of the monarch are not defined precisely. Everything today is done in the Queen`s name. It is her government, her armed forces, her law courts and so on. She appoints all the Ministers, including the Prime Minister. Everything is done however on the advice of the elected Government, and the monarch takes no part in the decision-making progress.  Parliament consists of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Parliament and the monarch have different roles in the government of the country, and they only meet together on symbolic occasions such as coronation of a new monarch or the opening of Parliament.

The House of Commons is made up of 650 elected members, known as Members of Parliament (or MPs). The House of Commons is presided over by the Speaker, a member acceptable to the whole House. The House of Lords consists of more than 1,000members, although only about 250 take an active part in the work of the House. It has very little power. In reality, the House of Commons is the only that has rue power: it introduces new bills. Then they go to the House of Lords for approval, and finally the monarch sings them. Only then they can become laws. The party, which wins the majority of seats in the House of Commons, forms the Government and its leader usually becomes Prime Minister. The largest minority party becomes the Opposition (or the “Shadow Cabinet”). The Prime Minister chooses 20 MPs from his or her party and forms his or her Cabinet Ministers.

The two main political parties in Great Britain are the Conservative party (the Tory) and the Labour party. Other political parties are the Liberal: The Social-Democratic and the Communist parties. The Conservative party (the Tory) is one of those which can trace its roots back to this early period. Now the Conservative party (the Tory) is in power. At present David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative party, is Britain’s Prime Minister.

The flag of the UK, known as the Union Jack, is made up of three crosses The upright red cross is the cross of St. George, the patron saint of England. The white diagonal cross is the cross of St. Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland. The red diagonal cross is the cross of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. They symbolize England, Scotland and Ireland respectively.


 

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