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United Kingdom

Country in Northwestern Europe / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,[lower-alpha 11][14] is an island country in Northwestern Europe, off the north-western coast of the continental mainland.[15] It comprises England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.[lower-alpha 12][16] It includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and most of the smaller islands within the British Isles.[17] Northern Ireland shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland; otherwise, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, the English Channel, the Celtic Sea and the Irish Sea. The total area of the United Kingdom is 93,628 square miles (242,495 km2), with an estimated 2023 population of over 68 million people.

Quick facts: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern ...
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Anthem: "God Save the King"[lower-alpha 1]
Royal coat of arms in Scotland:
Location of the United Kingdom (dark green)

in Europe (dark grey)

and largest city
51°30′N 0°7′W
Official language
and national language
Regional and minority languages[lower-alpha 2]
Ethnic groups
Constituent countries
GovernmentUnitary[lower-alpha 5] parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Charles III
Rishi Sunak
House of Lords
House of Commons
1535 and 1542
24 March 1603
22 July 1706
1 May 1707
1 January 1801
5 December 1922
242,495 km2 (93,628 sq mi)[7] (78th)
 Water (%)
1.51 (2015)[8]
 2022 estimate
Neutral decrease 66,971,411[9] (22nd)
 2011 census
63,182,178[10] (22nd)
270.7/km2 (701.1/sq mi) (50th)
GDP (PPP)2023 estimate
Increase $3.847 trillion[11] (10th)
 Per capita
Increase $56,471[11] (28th)
GDP (nominal)2023 estimate
Increase $3.159 trillion[11] (6th)
 Per capita
Increase $46,371[11] (22nd)
Gini (2020)Positive decrease 35.5[12]
HDI (2021)Increase 0.929[13]
very high · 18th
CurrencyPound sterling[lower-alpha 6] (GBP)
Time zoneUTC+0 (Greenwich Mean Time, WET)
 Summer (DST)
UTC+1 (British Summer Time, WEST)
[lower-alpha 7]
Date format
  • dd/mm/yyyy
  • yyyy-mm-dd (AD)
Driving sideleft[lower-alpha 8]
Calling code+44[lower-alpha 9]
ISO 3166 codeGB
Internet[lower-alpha 10]

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 also included Wales) and the Kingdom of Scotland in 1707 resulted in their unification to become 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 its name in 1927.[lower-alpha 13] The nearby Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown Dependencies, but the British government is responsible for their defence and international representation.[18] The UK became the first industrialised country and was the world's foremost power for the majority of the 19th and early 20th centuries, particularly during the "Pax Britannica" between 1815 and 1914.[19][20] The British Empire, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed almost a quarter of the world's landmass and population, and was the largest empire in history; however, its involvement in the First World War and the Second World War, the cumulative crisis and the loss of prestige led to the decolonization of most of the British colonies and the eventual end of the Empire.[21][22][23] A part of the core Anglophonic world, British influence can be observed in the language, culture, legal and political systems of many of its former colonies. The UK's culture remains globally influential, particularly in literature, music and sport.

The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy.[lower-alpha 14][25] The capital and largest city of the United Kingdom (as well as the capital of England) is London, a megacity which, alongside New York City, is one of the world's two leading financial centres. The cities of Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Belfast are respectively the national capitals of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Other major cities include Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, and Leeds.[26] The UK consists of three distinct legal jurisdictions: England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. This is due to these areas retaining their existing legal systems even after joining the UK.[27] Since 1998, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland also have their own devolved governments and legislatures, each with varying powers.[28]

The UK has the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal gross domestic product (GDP), and the tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. It is a recognised nuclear state and is ranked fourth globally in military expenditure.[29][30] The UK has been a permanent member of the UN Security Council since its first session in 1946. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the OECD, NATO, the Five Eyes, AUKUS and the CPTPP.