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Date: 2015-5-4 16:17:50

Introduction to the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom (official name United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) is located in the western part of the European island as one of the world's economic powers, consists of four countries united under one monarch and government. The countries are England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.



The gross domestic product (GDP) of UK is at the forefront among western countries, and it is an important member of over 120 international organizations such as European Union, NATO, the Common wealth, the Western European Union etc.



London, the capital of UK, is one of the world's largest international foreign exchange market and an international insurance centre, as well as one of the largest financial and trade centre in the world.


England has traditionally been the dominant nation within the UK has over 80 percent of the share of the total population. People in Scotland and Wales have proud national traditions and languages.



Scottish Gaelic is mainly spoken in the north west of the country, by a small proportion of the population. Welsh has a much bigger number of people speaking the language and all public signs in Wales are displayed in both Welsh and English.

The United Kingdom has formed over many centuries through old alliances, conquests, and through royal marriages. 

History and Culture
There are many online sources of information relating to historic documents and the cultural heritage of the United Kingdom.

The Act of Union 1800 created the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland'. 'Home Rule' for Ireland became a major issue in the late nineteenth century. The Government of Ireland Act 1920 partitioned Ireland and created Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom


Key sources
The National Archives, the British Library and the Parliamentary Archives hold the key documents relating to UK history.

Magna Carta
Magna Carta is often thought of as the corner-stone of liberty and the chief defence against arbitrary and unjust rule in England. In fact it contains few sweeping statements of principle, but is a series of concessions wrung from the unwilling King John by his rebellious barons in 1215. However, Magna Carta established for the first time a very significant constitutional principle, namely that the power of the king could be limited by a written grant.

Four copies of this original grant survive. Two are held at the British Library while the others can be seen in the cathedral archives at Lincoln and Salisbury.

Bills of Rights 1689
After the short-lived constitutional experiments that followed the Civil War, the supremacy of Parliament was finally enshrined in the Bill of Rights passed in December 1689.

Union with Scotland 1707
In the 16th century, legislation had united England and Wales. The 1707 Acts of Union were passed by the Parliaments of England and Scotland, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain. These Acts abolished the Scottish Parliament and transferred the Scottish representatives to Westminster.