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Portal:United Kingdom

The United Kingdom Portal

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 U.K.) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north­western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north­eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. 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 southwest, 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 94,000 square miles (240,000 km2).

The United Kingdom is a unitary parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the world's longest-serving current head of state. The United Kingdom's capital is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. The United Kingdom consists of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers. Other major cities include Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, and Manchester.

The nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The union between the Kingdom of England (which included Wales) and the Kingdom of Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, followed by the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The UK's name was adopted in 1927 to reflect the change. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed almost a quarter of the world's landmass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language, culture and political systems of many of its former colonies. The United Kingdom has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal gross domestic product (GDP), and the ninth-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). It has a high-income economy and a very high human development index rating, ranking 15th in the world. It was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific and political influence internationally. It is a recognised nuclear weapons state and is sixth in military expenditure in the world. 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 G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Interpol and the World Trade Organization (WTO). It was a member of the European Union (EU) and its predecessor, the European Economic Community (EEC) from 1 January 1973 until withdrawing on 31 January 2020.

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Maria: or, The Wrongs of Woman is the unfinished novelistic sequel by Mary Wollstonecraft (pictured) to her revolutionary political treatise A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. The Wrongs of Woman was published posthumously in 1798 by her husband, William Godwin, and is often considered her most radical feminist work. Wollstonecraft's philosophical and gothic novel revolves around the story of a woman imprisoned in an insane asylum by her husband. It focuses on the societal rather than the individual "wrongs of woman" and criticizes what Wollstonecraft viewed as the patriarchal institution of marriage in eighteenth-century Britain and the legal system that protected it. The novel pioneered the celebration of female sexuality and cross-class identification between women. Such themes, coupled with the publication of Godwin's scandalous Memoirs of Wollstonecraft's life, made the novel unpopular at the time it was published. Twentieth-century feminist critics embraced the work, integrating it into the history of the novel and feminist discourse. (more...)

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James I of England was a King who ruled over England, Scotland, and Ireland, and was the first Sovereign to reign in the three realms simultaneously. He ruled in Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 until his death, and in England and Ireland as James I from 24 March 1603 until his death. James I was the first English monarch of the Stuart dynasty, succeeding the last Tudor monarch, Elizabeth I, who died unmarried and childless. James was a popular and successful monarch in Scotland, but the same was not true in England. He was unable to deal with a hostile English Parliament; the refusal on the part of the House of Commons to impose sufficiently high taxes crippled the royal finances. His taste for political absolutism, his mismanagement of the kingdom's funds and his cultivation of unpopular favourites established the foundation for the English Civil War, during which James's son and successor, Charles I, was tried and executed.

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The Clock Tower is a turret clock structure at the north-eastern end of the Houses of Parliament building in Westminster, London. It is popularly known as Big Ben, but this name actually belongs to the clock's main bell. The tower has also been referred to as St. Stephen's Tower or The Tower of Big Ben, in reference to its bell.

In the news

19 October 2020 – COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom
16 October 2020 –
Moody's downgrades the United Kingdom's debt rating to Aa3 with a stable outlook. (The Wall Street Journal)
16 October 2020 – COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom
15 October 2020 – COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom
14 October 2020 – COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom
The government announces a nationwide ban on visits to homes or gardens in almost all circumstances, except for providing care to children or elderly and vulnerable people. It also announces that Cavan, Monaghan, and Donegal, which border Northern Ireland, will move to Level 4 restrictions between midnight tomorrow until November 10, which means that non-essential retail stores will close and that all non-essential workers will work from home. (The Irish Times)

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