United Kingdom

Two islands to the north-west of continental Europe. Highlighted are the larger island and the north-eastern fifth of the smaller island to the west.
Location of the  United Kingdom  (dark green)

– in Europe  (green & dark grey)
– in the European Union  (green)

Capital
and largest city
London
51°30′N 0°7′W / 51.500°N 0.117°W / 51.500; -0.117
Official language
and national language
English
Recognised regional languages[note 3]
Ethnic groups (2011)
Religion (2011)
Demonym
  • British
  • Briton
Countries of the United Kingdom
Government Unitary parliamentary
constitutional monarchy
• Monarch
Elizabeth II
Theresa May
Legislature Parliament
House of Lords
House of Commons
Formation
1535 and 1542
24 March 1603
1 May 1707
1 January 1801
5 December 1922
1 January 1973
Area
• Total
242,495 km2 (93,628 sq mi)[4] (78th)
• Water (%)
1.34
Population
• 2016 estimate
Increase 65,648,100[5] (22nd)
• 2011 census
63,181,775[6] (22nd)
• Density
270.7/km2 (701.1/sq mi) (50th)
GDP (PPP) 2017 estimate
• Total
$2.880 trillion[7] (9th)
• Per capita
$43,620[7] (25th)
GDP (nominal) 2017 estimate
• Total
$2.565 trillion[7] (6th)
• Per capita
$38,847[7] (19th)
Gini (2014) Positive decrease 31.6[8]
medium · 33rd
HDI (2015) Increase 0.909[9]
very high · 16th
Currency Pound sterling[note 5] (GBP£)
Time zone Greenwich Mean Time[note 6] (UTC⁠)
• Summer (DST)
British Summer Time (UTC+1)
Date format dd/mm/yyyy (AD)
Drives on the left
Calling code +44[note 7]
ISO 3166 code GB
Internet TLD .uk[note 8]

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country in western Europe. Lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland, the UK includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands.[10] Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state‍—‌the Republic of Ireland.[note 9] Apart from this land border, the UK is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to its east, the English Channel to its south and the Celtic Sea to its south-south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the UK is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 21st-most populous country, with an estimated 65.5 million inhabitants in 2016.

The UK is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy.[11][12] The monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.[13] The UK's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million.[14] Other major urban areas in the UK include the conurbations centred on Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow and Liverpool. The UK consists of four countriesEngland, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.[15] All but England have devolved administrations,[16] each with varying powers,[17][18] based in their capitals Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, respectively. 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.[19]

Prior to the creation of the UK, Wales had been conquered and annexed by the Kingdom of England. This meant that the United Kingdom created in 1707 by the Treaty of Union between England and Scotland encompassed all of Great Britain. The Kingdom of Ireland merged with this state in 1801 to form 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.[note 10] There are fourteen British Overseas Territories,[20] the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed almost a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language, culture and legal systems of many of its former colonies.

The UK is a developed country and has the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP[21] and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a "very high" Human Development Index, ranking 16th in the world. It was the first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries.[22][23] The UK remains a great power with considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific and political influence internationally.[24][25] It is a recognised nuclear weapons state and is seventh in military expenditure in the world.[26] It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946. It has been a leading member state of the European Union (EU) and its predecessor, the European Economic Community (EEC), since 1973; however, a referendum in 2016 resulted in 51.9% of UK voters favouring leaving the EU, and the country's exit is being negotiated. The UK is also a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7 finance ministers, the G7 forum, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Cite error: There are <ref group=note> tags on this page, but the references will not show without a {{reflist|group=note}} template (see the help page).

  1. ^ "National Anthem". Official web site of the British Royal Family. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 
  2. ^ "List of declarations made with respect to treaty No. 148". Council of Europe. Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  3. ^ Philby, Charlotte (12 December 2012). "Less religious and more ethnically diverse: Census reveals a picture of Britain today". The Independent. London. 
  4. ^ "Demographic Yearbook – Table 3: Population by sex, rate of population increase, surface area and density" (PDF). United Nations Statistics Division. 2012. Retrieved 9 August 2015. 
  5. ^ "Population estimates – Office for National Statistics U.K." www.ons.gov.uk. 
  6. ^ "2011 UK censuses". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Report for Selected Countries and Subjects – United Kingdom". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 6 January 2018. 
  8. ^ "Gini coefficient of equivalised disposable income (source: SILC)". Eurostat Data Explorer. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  9. ^ "2016 Human Development Report" (PDF). United Nations Development Programme. 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  10. ^ "Definition of Great Britain in English". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 29 October 2014. Great Britain is the name for the island that comprises England, Scotland and Wales, although the term is also used loosely to refer to the United Kingdom. 
  11. ^ The British Monarchy, What is constitutional monarchy?. Retrieved 17 July 2013
  12. ^ CIA, The World Factbook. Retrieved 17 July 2013
  13. ^ PA (13 October 2016). "Queen takes over longest reign mantle after Thailand's King Bhumibol dies". AOL (UK). Retrieved 13 October 2016. 
  14. ^ The 30 Largest Urban Agglomerations Ranked by Population Size at Each Point in Time, 1950-2030, World Urbanization Prospects, the 2014 revision, Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  15. ^ "Countries within a country". Prime Minister's Office. 10 January 2003. Archived from the original on 9 September 2008. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  16. ^ "Devolution of powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland". United Kingdom Government. Retrieved 17 April 2013. In a similar way to how the government is formed from members from the two Houses of Parliament, members of the devolved legislatures nominate ministers from among themselves to comprise executives, known as the devolved administrations... 
  17. ^ "Fall in UK university students". BBC News. 29 January 2009. 
  18. ^ "Country Overviews: United Kingdom". Transport Research Knowledge Centre. Archived from the original on 4 April 2010. Retrieved 28 March 2010. 
  19. ^ "Key facts about the United Kingdom". Directgov. Archived from the original on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2015.

    The full title of this country is 'the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland'. Great Britain is made up of England, Scotland and Wales. The United Kingdom (UK) is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 'Britain' is used informally, usually meaning the United Kingdom.
    The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not part of the UK.

     
  20. ^ "Supporting the Overseas Territories". Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Retrieved 9 March 2015. 
  21. ^ "Britain crashes out of world's top 5 economies". CNN. .
  22. ^ Mathias, P. (2001). The First Industrial Nation: the Economic History of Britain, 1700–1914. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-26672-6. 
  23. ^ Ferguson, Niall (2004). Empire: The rise and demise of the British world order and the lessons for global power. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-02328-2. 
  24. ^ T. V. Paul; James J. Wirtz; Michel Fortmann (2005). "Great+power" Balance of Power. State University of New York Press, 2005. pp. 59, 282. ISBN 0791464016.  Accordingly, the great powers after the Cold War are Britain, China, France, Germany, Japan, Russia and the United States p.59
  25. ^ McCourt, David (28 May 2014). Britain and World Power Since 1945: Constructing a Nation's Role in International Politics. United States of America: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0472072218. 
  26. ^ "Trends in World Military Expenditure, 2016" (PDF). Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Retrieved 26 April 2017. 

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