Portal:United Kingdom
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Portal:United Kingdom

The United Kingdom Portal

Flag of the United Kingdom
Coat of Arms for the United Kingdom
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 Britain, is a sovereign country in north-western Europe, off the north-­western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-­eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands within the British Isles. 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 south-west, 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. 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. Other than England, the constituent countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers.

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 their union in 1801 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.

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. There are also 14 British Overseas Territories, the last 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 tenth-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). It has a high-income economy and a very high human development index rating, ranking 13th in the world. The UK became the world's first industrialised country and was the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Today the UK remains one of the world's great powers, with considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific, technological and political influence internationally. It is a recognised nuclear weapon state and is ranked sixth globally in military expenditure. 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 1973 until withdrawing in 2020. (Full article...)

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The LSWR N15 class was a British 2-cylinder 4-6-0 express passenger steam locomotive designed by Robert W. Urie. The class has a complex build history spanning several years of construction from 1919 to 1926. The first examples were constructed for the London and South Western Railway, where they hauled heavy express trains to the south coast ports and further west to Exeter. Following the Grouping of railway companies in 1923, the LSWR became part of the Southern Railway and its publicity department gave the locomotives names associated with Arthurian legend. The Chief Mechanical Engineer of the newly-formed company, Richard Maunsell, increased the King Arthur class strength to 74 locomotives. Maunsell incorporated several improvements, notably to the steam circuit. The new locomotives were built in batches at Eastleigh and Glasgow. Maunsell's successor, Oliver Bulleid, further improved performance by altering exhaust arrangements. The locomotives continued operating with British Railways (BR) until the end of 1962. One example, 30777 Sir Lamiel, is preserved as part of the National Collection and can be seen on mainline railtours. (Full article...)

Featured biography

Francis Harvey

Francis Harvey (1873-1916) was an officer of the British Royal Marine Light Infantry during the First World War. Harvey was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest award for valour available to British military personnel, for his actions at the height of the Battle of Jutland. A long serving Royal Marine officer descended of a military family, during his career Harvey became a specialist in naval artillery, serving on many large warships as gunnery training officer and gun commander. Specially requested for HMS Lion, the flagship of the British battlecruiser fleet, Harvey turned the ship into one of the very best ships for gunnery in the Royal Navy. At Jutland Harvey, although mortally wounded by German shellfire, ordered the blazing magazine of Q turret on the battlecruiser Lion to be flooded. This action prevented the hundreds of shells stored there from catastrophically detonating in an explosion that would have destroyed the vessel and all aboard her. Although he succumbed to his injuries seconds later, his dying act saved over a thousand lives and prompted Winston Churchill to later comment: "In the long, rough, glorious history of the Royal Marines there is no name and no deed which in its character and consequences ranks above this". (Full article...)

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Salvage of the Mary Rose in October 1982

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Wikinews UK

7 May 2021 -
A tower block at New Providence Wharf, London, United Kingdom, catches fire. The block is clad in the same material as that which was on Grenfell Tower, which caught fire in 2017. More than 100 firefighters and 20 fire engines were sent to the scene. (Metro)
7 May 2021 - COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom, Travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic
The United Kingdom adds Turkey, the Maldives and Nepal to its "red list" of countries, where travellers will be required to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days upon their return to the UK at their own expense. Twelve countries are also added to the government's "green list", including Portugal and Israel. This new "traffic light system" will take effect on May 17, when international travel is no longer illegal. (BBC)
7 May 2021 - Elections in the United Kingdom
2021 Senedd election
With 52 out of 60 seats declared, the Welsh Labour Party has won 30 seats in the Senedd, reaching a working majority and equalling their best performance. (BBC)
2021 Scottish Parliament election

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