The United Kingdom of Great Britain
The United Kingdom
of Great Britain
The United Kingdom of Great Britain
and Northern Ireland consists of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
All these parts of the country are represented in Parliament in London. England
is noted for its "high-tech" and car industries. Scotland is a land
of mountains, lakes and romantic castles. Wales is famous for its high
mountains and pretty valleys, factories and coal mines, music and myths.
Northern Island, with farming land, is beautiful too.
The UK lies on the British Isles.
The English Channel and the Strait of Dover separate Britain from the
continent. The climate on the British Isles is temperate. The Gulf Stream makes
the climate warmer in winter and cooler in summer. There is much humidity in
the air of England. Britain is known as a foggy country. Geographically Great
Britain is divided into Lowlands, Midlands, and Highlands.
The history of the UK dates back to
the ancient times. From the sixth to the third centuries BC, the British Isles
were invaded by Celtic tribes. They came from central Europe, and settled in
southern England. The Celts were pagans. Their priests, known as Druids, had
all education in their hands. They administered justice, and made a disobedient
layman an outlaw.
In AD 43, the Romans invaded
southern Britain. It became a Roman colony called Britannia. The Romans set up
their capital in London and built such cities as Bath, Chester and York. The
Roman invasion was not peaceful. In AD 60, the Iceni, a tribe led by Queen
Boadicea, destroyed three cities, including London. In AD 122, Emperor Hadrian
built a long wall to defend the border between England and Scotland. In the
fourth century the Roman Empire was collapsing and the Roman legions left
From about AD 350 the Saxons, Jutes
and Angles began invading south-east England. The native people could not stop
the new enemy. The Celts fled north and west taking their ancient arts and
languages with them. Celtic languages have disappeared from most of Europe, but
are still spoken in parts of Wales, Ireland and Scotland. The Anglo-Saxons were
converted to Christianity by Saint Augustine of Rome in AD 597. As Christianity
spread, churches and monasteries were built in England.
About AD 790, the Vikings started to
invade England. The north and east of England were settled by the Danes. The
Vikings were excellent traders and navigators. They traded in silk and furs as
far as Russia. In 1016, England became part of the Scandinavian empire under
king Cnut. In 1066 England was conquered by the Normans. William Duke of Normandy,
known as William the Conqueror, won the battle of Hastings and became King of
England. William I established a strong, centralised country under military
rule. The Normans built castles all over England to control England better.
Norman power was absolute, and the language of the new rulers, Norman French,
had a lasting effect on English. Since 1066, England has never been invaded.
For many centuries this country was
known simply as England. It had a strong army and navy. It waged numerous
Great Britain is a constitutional
monarchy. The Queen is the head of State, but her power is limited by
Parliament. The branches of government are: the legislative, the executive and
the judiciary. The legislature is the supreme authority. It comprises two
chambers - the House of Lords and the House of Commons - together with the
Queen in her constitutional role. The executive consists of the central
Government - that is the Prime Minister, Cabinet, and other ministers. The
judiciary determines common law and interprets statutes and is independent of
both the legislature and the executive.
The Government derives its authority
from the elected House of Commons. The Government is formed by the political
party in power. The second largest party becomes Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition
with its own leader and 'Shadow Cabinet'. In Great Britain there is no written
constitution, only customs, traditions and precedents.
London is the capital of the UK. It
was founded by the Romans in the 1st century AD. In the 11-th century it became
the capital of England. In 1215 its citizens won the right to elect their Lord
Mayor. The town experienced tremendous growth in trade and population during
the late 16th and early 17th centuries. After the Great Fire of 1666 which destroyed
three-quarters of London, the town began its extensive building. London became
the main centre not only of the country but of the growing British Empire.
During the 19-th century London expanded into the suburbs. As a result of it
new forms of transport were developed, including the underground railway
system. During World War II London was heavily bombed. The reconstruction that
followed was of mixed quality. Replacement of industrial enterprises and docks
made London a centre of international trade, finance and tourism.
Today Greater London consists of 33
separate boroughs, including the City, the West End, and the East End. The City
is the financial centre of the UK. The Bank of England, the Royal Exchange, and
the Stock Exchange are located here.
The West End is noted for its
historical places and parks. These are Westminster Abbey and Westminster
Cathedral, Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, the principal government
offices, New Scotland Yard, the Tate Gallery, and the National Gallery. The most
celebrated parks are Kensington Gardens with the Victorian Gothic Albert
Memorial; Hyde Park, with its famous Speakers' Corner; and Regent's Park, home
of the Zoological Gardens and Regent's Canal. The West End is the area of
wealth and goods of high quality.
London's East End is historically
associated with the Cockney dialect. It was an infamous slum during the 19th
century. The port of London until recently was in the East End. The area of
docks played an important part in the country's commerce.
London's major cultural institutions
also include the British Museum, which houses collections of antiquities,
prints, and manuscripts and the national library; the Victoria and Albert
Museum of decorative arts; and the music and arts complex located on the South
Bank of the Thames.
Westminster is now the political
centre of London, but originally it was a sacred place. King Edward the
Confessor built a great abbey church here. It was consecrated in 1065. In 1245
Henry III replaced it with the present abbey church in the pointed Gothic style
of the period. Since William the Conqueror, every British sovereign has been
crowned in the abbey. Many kings and queens are buried here. There are
memorials to eminent men and women. But the most popular ones are those to writers,
actors and musicians in Poets' Corner. The grave of the "Unknown
Warrior", whose remains were brought from Flanders in 1920, is in the
centre of the west nave.
Alongside the Abbey Edward the
Confessor ordered to construct a palace. The Palace of Westminster was the
royal residence and also the country's main court of law. Parliament met here
since the 16-th century until the 19-th century. The present Houses of
Parliament, the seat of the legislative body of the United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Northern Ireland, were built after the old palace burnt down in
1834. On the corner next to Westminster Bridge stands St. Stephen's Tower,
which houses the famous tower clock. A light at the top of the tower at night
indicates that parliament is sitting.
Saint Paul's Cathedral was designed
in a classical Baroque style by Sir Christopher Wren. It was constructed
between 1675 and 1710. Many famous persons are buried in the Cathedral.
Trafalgar Square was named for Lord
Nelson's naval victory in the Battle of Trafalgar. In the centre of the square
is Nelson's Column that includes his high statue. At the corners of the column
are four sculptured lions. Trafalgar Square is the site of the National
Gallery. Traditionally political meetings are held here. Each December a large
Christmas tree sent from Norway is erected in Trafalgar Square.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain
and Northern Ireland has always played an important role in world politics.
- What is the name of the Queen of
- The name of the British Queen is
Elizabeth II. She ascended the British throne in 1953.
- What parties are there in Great
- In Great Britain there are two
major political parties - the Conservative party and the Labour party. The
Labour party is in power now in Great Britain. Anthony Charles Lynton Blair who
is usually called simply Tony Blair is the Prime Minister. He became Prime
Minister as a result of the May 1, 1997 elections.
- Can you name the capitals of the
parts of Great Britain?
- London is the capital of England.
The centre of government of Scotland is Edinburgh. It is large and busy. The
principal city of Wales is Cardiff. It has plenty of industry. Belfast is the
seat of government of Northern Ireland. It is a large industrial city with many
fine buildings and a big port.
- What do you know about Big Ben?
- Big Ben is a tower clock. It is
famous for its accuracy and for its 13-ton bell, designed by Edmund Beckett,
Baron Grimthorpe. Big Ben is housed in the tower at the eastern end of the
Houses of Parliament. The clock was named after Sir Benjamin Hall, commissioner
of works at the time of its installation in 1859. Originally applied only to
the bell, eventually it came to indicate the clock itself.
- What is the Tower of London
- Many important events in the
history of Great Britain are connected with the Tower of London. It has served
as citadel, palace, prison, mint, and menagerie. Now it is a museum. In 1078
William the Conqueror built the White Tower to defend the city. The Tower is
famous for its illustrious prisoners. Many great people lost their heads on the
executioner's block. The Yeoman Warders known as 'Beefeaters' guard the Tower.
They wear traditional Tudor costumes.
- What are the principal rivers in
- The Thames and Severn are the
principal rivers in England. The Severn is the longest river. The Thames is the
most important one. It should be said that a hundred years ago, the Thames was
crowded with ships, leaving for Java, New Zealand and New York, but now people
travel by air, and Heathrow, London's main airport, is one of the busiest in
- What are the main rivers in other
parts of the UK?
- The Clyde, Spey, and Tweed are the
main rivers in Scotland. The major rivers in Northern Ireland are the Barm,
Erne, and Foyle. The Dee, Tywi, and Teifi are the main rivers in Wales.
- What is the highest mountain in
the United Kingdom?
- Ben Nevis is the highest point in
the United Kingdom. It is located in the Northern Highlands in Scotland.
- Is the United Kingdom rich in
- The United Kingdom has very few
mineral resources. The ancient tin mines of Cornwall and the iron-ore deposits
of north-central England, which helped to build the Industrial Revolution, were
exhausted or uneconomical to work by the late 20th century. Since the early
1950s the output of coal steadily declined. Recently deposits of oil and
natural-gas have been found in the British sector of the North Sea.
- What ethnic groups constitute the
population of Great Britain?
- The English, Scots, Irish, and
Welsh constitute the population of Great Britain. Since the early 1950s
Commonwealth immigrants, particularly from India, the West Indies, Pakistan,
and Bangladesh have increased the population of the country.
- What do you know about the
educational system in Britain?
- In Great Britain education is
compulsory and free, in state-supported schools, between the ages of 5 and 16.
General education may lead to technical or commercial study or to higher
education. Internationally prominent universities include those of Oxford,
which was founded in the 12-th century, and Cambridge, which was founded in the
13-th century. Today the educational system is primarily administered by
elected local education officials.
подготовки данной работы были использованы материалы с сайта http://nota.triwe.net