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Common Information About a Country


The official and full name of the country is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. But it is usually known by a shorter name – "The United Kingdom". The "United Kingdom" consists of England, Scotland, Wales and North Ireland. Their total area is over 244, 000 square km. The capital of Great Britain is London. The population of country is over 59 million. The British Isles are the home of four nations: English – 81. 5 %, Scottish – 9.6 %, Welsh – 1.9 % and Irish – 2.4 %. The population is divided into two groups: 47% - the Anglycane, 16% - the Catholics.

The state is situated on the north-west of Europe. Consists of island Great Britain, on which is located England, Scotland, Wales and parts of the island Ireland, which is occupied by North Ireland. The island Maine and Norman islands are dominions of the United Kingdom, but are not his member. Great Britain is separated from the continent by the English Channel. The country is washed by the waters of the Atlantic ocean. Great Britain is separated from Belgium and Holland by the North Sea, and from Ireland – by the Irish Sea.

The state language is English. The United Kingdom consists of four history regions (England, Scotland, Wales, North Ireland), which are divided in the administrative relation on the numerous counties.

There are 39 counties in England, 6 metropolytenskyh counties and the special administrative unit is Large London (an administrative center – London). There are 8 counties in Wales (administrative center – Cardiff). There are 12 regions and 186 islands in Scotland (an administrative center is Edinburgh). There are 26 districts In North Ireland (an administrative center is Belfast). The island Maine and Norman islands have the special status.

The large cities of Great Britain are Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast.

The form of the rule is Limited monarchy. The Queens is officially head of all the branches of government, but she has little direct power in the country. The constitution has three branches: Parliament, the government and the courts. Parliament has two parts: the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The Prime Minister, or leader of the Government, is usually the leader of the political party. The Prime Minister chooses a committee of ministers called the Cabinet.

The Great Britain is named the country of fogs and rains. It is washed by seas from all sides. That’s why the climate of Great Britain is very specific. It is changes depending on a region. In England the climate is soft and moist. Scotland is the most cold region of Great Britain. The climate of Wales and North Ireland is soft and moist too.

The vegetation of Great Britain is coniferous and leafy forests. In forests is more widespread oak, birch, ash, pine-tree.

In the United Kingdom dwell deers, foxes, rabbits, badgers, hares, roe deers, martens, wild cats. A salmon, trout of crack, herring, haddock is led in rivers and lakes. Partridges, wild-ducks, pigeons prevail in Great Britain.

The main rivers of Great Britain are Thames, Severn, Clide, Force, Usk, Foyle. Between numerous lakes exude Loch-Ness, Loch-Tey, Loch-Catrine. The lake Loch-Nei is the greatest lake the British islands.


England


England is the largest and the richest country of Great Britain. The capital of England is London but there are other large industrial cities, such as Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and other famous and interesting cities such as York, Chester, Oxford and Cambridge.

Stonehenge is one of the most famous prehistoric places in the world. This ancient circle of stones stands in Southwest England. It measures 80 metres across and made with massive blocks of stone up to four metres high. Why it was built is a mystery. Not far from Stonehenge stands Salisbury Cathedral. It is a splendid example of an English Gothic Cathedral; inside there is one of four copies of Magna Charta and the oldest clock in England.

Chester is very important town in the north-west of England. In the past it used to be a Roman fort; its name comes from the Latin word castra, meaning "fortified camp". In Chester there is a famous museum which contains over 5000 ancient and modern toys.

Oxford is the home of the oldest university of England. The most famous college is Christ Church. It has a great hall which was built during the reign of Henry VIII and its chapel has become the Cathedral of Oxford.

Cambridge is the home of Britain’s second oldest university.

York was the capital of Northern England. It is one of the best preserved medieval cities of Europe. It was built by Romans, conquered by Anglo-Saxons and ruled by the Vikings.

Birmingham is often called the "City of 1500 trades" because of the great variety of its industries.


Scotland


Scotland is the north part of Great Britain. Five million people live in Scotland. Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland. There are two large cities here: Glasgow and Aberdeen. Scotland is full of mountains and lakes. The highest mountain is Ben Nevis. There are a lot of rivers. The sea nearly cuts the mountains into parts.

The Scottish flag is a white cross on a blue background. The cross is the cross of Saint Andrew. Saint Andrew was a disciple of Jesus.

A long time ago the Scots built many large churches beside the river. These churches were called Abbeys. The Scots built Melrose Abbey in 1136 but the English destroyed it in 1544. In the days of the Abbeys, the hills and farms were full of sheep and they still are.

Some people go to Scotland by plane. Some people go there by ship. There are trains and buses to Glasgow and Edinburgh from London every day.

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and the third largest in the United Kingdom. Before 1750 Glasgow was a small town. It had a cathedral and a university but it was not a rich town. After 1707 Scottish ships could go to the English colonies in America. Ships brought tobacco to Glasgow and took back Scottish goods. In 1776, the American colonies became independent and the tobacco trade stopped. Heavy industry began to develop. It used coal and iron from the Clyde valley. Glasgow became rich but very dirty.

Glasgow is famous for football teams: Rangers and Celtic. Most people in Glasgow are fans of one of teams. When they play against each other, thousands of fans go to watch. Rangers and Celtic have won more football competitions in Scotland than all the other Scottish teams.

Glasgow has a busy cultural life. A lot of musicians, actors and singers come to Glasgow to give concerts. It the evenings the opera house, the cinemas and the concert halls are full. In cafes and pubs small groups sing, act, read poetry.


Wales


Wales is the country in the west of Great Britain. It is mainly a mountainous land with a chiefly agricultural economy and an industrial and coal-mining area in the south. The landscape is beautiful. Many English people move to Wales when they retire.

Cardiff, a large city in the south, was chosen as the capital of Wales in 1955, mainly because of its size. Since 1536, Wales has been governed by England and the heir to the throne of England has the title of Prince of Wales, but Welsh people have strong sense of identity. There is a Welsh National party which wants independence from the United Kingdom and the Welsh language is still used in certain parts of the country.

Welsh is an ancient Celtic language, similar to Breton, spoken in Brittany, France. In the 60’s Welsh was given equal status with English as an official language and is used in the law courts. It is taught in school and some TV program are broadcast in Welsh. However, only about 20% of the population speaks Welsh.


Northern Ireland


Northern Ireland, also known as Ulster, is still a part of the United Kingdom. It is made up of six countries: Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry, Tyrone. One third of the population lives in and around the capital, Belfast. Belfast is also the most important port and commercial and industrial centre. Some parts of the territory, those that are not close to the capital, have remained mainly rural.

The Irish population is divided into two groups: the Protestants and the Catholics, The Protestants are of British origin. They are descendants of British settlers who came to Ireland in the XVI-th centuries XVII-th centuries, during and after the Reformation. The Catholics are mostly, natives of Ireland.

The Protestants were the majority and dominated the Catholics with strong discrimination. In 1968 the Catholics began the movement for equal civil rights.

The fightings between the two groups of the population continue to this day.

Northern Ireland has a strong cultural tradition songs, dances, literature and festivals.

It has its own Art Council and there are orchestras, theatres, ballet and opera companies.



Questions


  1. What city is the capital of Great Britain?

  2. What is the total area of Great Britain?

  3. What is the official name of this country?

  4. What is the population of Great Britain?

  5. How many nations live in the Great Britain? What are they?

  6. Where is Great Britain situated?

  7. Is Great Britain a mountainous country?

  8. Why is the climate and the nature of Great Britain very specific?

  9. Who is the head of government in Britain?

  10. How many parts does Parliament in Britain?

  11. Who is the leader of political party?

  12. What cities of Great Britain do you know?

  13. Where are the oldest clock in England and a copy of Magna Charta now?

  14. What is Chester interesting for?


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