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 93,628 square miles (242,500 km2).

The United Kingdom is a unitary parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since 1952. The capital and largest city 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. Other than England, the constituent countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers.

The United Kingdom has evolved from a series of annexations, unions and separations of constituent countries over several hundred years. The Treaty of Union between the Kingdom of England (which included Wales, annexed in 1542) and the Kingdom of Scotland in 1707 formed the Kingdom of Great Britain. Its union in 1801 with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Most of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which formally adopted that name in 1927.

The nearby Isle of Man, Guernsey and 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 a third of the world's population, and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language, culture and the legal 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 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 Group of Ten, the G20, the United Nations, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Interpol, and the World Trade Organization (WTO). It was a member state of the European Communities (EC) and its successor, the European Union (EU), from its accession in 1973 until its withdrawal in 2020 following a referendum held in 2016. (Full article...)

Featured article

Farming activity at Carrington Moss, with the Shell facility in the background

Carrington Moss is a large area of peat bog near Carrington in Greater Manchester, England. It is south of the River Mersey, approximately 10 miles (16 km) south-west of Manchester, and occupies an area of about 1,100 acres (445 hectares). The depth of peat varies between 17 feet (5 m) and 20 feet (6 m). Originally an unused area of grouse moorland, the Moss was reclaimed in the latter half of the 19th century for farming and the disposal of nearby Manchester's waste. A system of tramways was built to connect the Moss with the Manchester Ship Canal and a nearby railway line. During World War II the land was used as a Starfish site, and in the latter half of the 20th century a large industrial complex was built along its northern edge. More recently several sporting facilities have been built on Carrington Moss. Today, the land is still used for farming, and several nature reserves have been established within its bounds. Parts of the Moss are accessible to the public over several rights of way. (Full article...)

Featured biography

Colley Cibber

Colley Cibber was an English actor-manager, playwright, and Poet Laureate. His colorful Apology for the Life of Colley Cibber (1740) started a British tradition of personal, anecdotal, and even rambling autobiography. He wrote some plays for performance by his own company at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and adapted many more from various sources, receiving frequent criticism for "miserable mutilation" of dramatists like Shakespeare and Molière. He regarded himself as first and foremost an actor and had great popular success in comical fop parts. Cibber's brash, extroverted personality did not sit well with his contemporaries, and he was frequently accused of tasteless theatrical productions, social and political opportunism, and shady business methods. He rose to herostratic fame when he became the chief target, the head Dunce, of Alexander Pope's satirical poem The Dunciad. Cibber's importance in British theatre history rests on his being the first in a long line of actor-managers, and on the value of his autobiography as a source for our knowledge of the 18th-century London stage. (Full article...)

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Salvage of the Mary Rose in October 1982

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Wikinews UK

20 September 2021 - COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom
COVID-19 pandemic in England, COVID-19 pandemic in Scotland, COVID-19 vaccination in the United Kingdom
17 September 2021 - AUKUS
France recalls its ambassadors from the United States and Australia in protest of the security pact, which also includes the United Kingdom. The French Foreign Ministry says that the "exceptional decision" was justified by the seriousness of the pact, which has replaced its own security agreement with Australia. (BBC)
16 September 2021 - AUKUS
China condemns yesterday's formation of a new security alliance between the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian saying that the alliance risks "severely damaging regional peace... and intensifying the arms race". (BBC)
15 September 2021 -
U.S. president Joe Biden, U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson, and Australian prime minister Scott Morrison announce the formation of a new security alliance, named AUKUS, aimed at countering China's growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region. They also announce, as part of the alliance's first initiative, the Royal Australian Navy will be acquiring nuclear-powered submarines. (BBC)
14 September 2021 - China-United Kingdom relations
Chinese ambassador Zheng Zeguang is banned from entering the Parliament of the United Kingdom while sanctions remain in place on a number of British MPs and officials. Zheng was due to attend a Commons reception on Wednesday. China says that this was a "despicable and cowardly" decision. (BBC)

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