ABOUT United Kingdom
Country Briefs: Known for its enchanting natural beauty (peaceful lakes, wild moors and mountains, stark beaches), vibrant cities, busy towns, quaint villages, castles, cathedrals, mansions, abbeys, and nightlife and countless other lure, United Kingdom is a distinguished country that is perhaps unknown to none. Spreading over an area of 244,820 square kilometers from Stonehenge and Tower Bridge to Eton and Oxford, UK is brimming with exclusive icons of the past era.
United Kingdom is one of the two sovereign states occupying the British Isles in the northwestern Europe and the Republic of Ireland. Most of the UK is nestled on the island of Great Britain and it shares its borders with the Republic of Ireland, the North Sea, the English Channel, the Celtic Sea, the Irish Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
The approximate population of UK is 59,834,300 out of which around 860,000 people reside in its largest and capital city, London. At present London is the most populous city in the European Union. London is also one of the hottest vacation destinations in the entire world. Though London is a timeless tourist center, few of its attractions close or reduce their opening hours in winter.
Besides its wonderful cities, towns and other pulls, one of the most outstanding aspects of United Kingdom is its history. According to historians the foremost settlers in the region were small bands of hunters. Around 4000 BC the Stone Age immigrants arrived here and farmed the chalk hills of Salisbury Plain, constructing the mystifying stone circles at Stonehenge and Averbury. Around 800 BC the Bronze Age Celts arrived in this region.
In AD 43 Romans invaded England and occupied most of its region. During the Roman period Christianity fused in the region and England witnessed great development in every sphere. But Romans faced constant attacks from the Brits, as a consequence of which the Roman Empire lost power and declined around AD 410.
Over the years the Celts were replaced by various tribes such as Angles, Jutes and Saxons. These tribes developed their local fiefdoms and were classified as English collectively. By the 7th century these fiefdoms transformed in to a series of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Around 9th century the Vikings attempted to invade the eastern part of England. However the English managed to tackle the Vikings? military.
In 1066 the William of Normandy came to prominence as he endeavored to invade the south coast. William emerged victorious at the Battle of Hastings and so replaced the English aristocrats with the French-speaking Normans. In 16th century Henry made himself the head of the Church of England.
In mid-17th century the power struggle between monarchy and parliament led to the Civil War between the royalists and Protestant parliamentarians. The Protestants emerged victorious but due to the atrocities of Cromwell, monarchy was abolished in the region in 1660.
Soon England adopted the policy of expansionism as a result of which it made almost half of the entire world its colony. But the English received a setback in 1781 when the American colonies won their war of independence.
By 1837 the Kingdom of Britain had become the world?s greatest power. However the first half of the 20th century saw UK?s strength gravely wrecked by the effects of first and second world war. During the second half the Empire was dismantled and the UK did rebuild itself into a modern and prosperous nation.
At present United Kingdom is a member of European Union, a highly developed economy, and the fourth largest in the world. It is also a partner of both UN and NATO.
United Kingdom Divisions
- Name: Short name of division.
- HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
- ISO: District
codes from ISO 3166-2. For full identification in a global
context, prefix "
GB-" to the code (ex:
GB-WRLrepresents Wirral). The source for the three-letter codes is a British Standard named "BS 6879: Codes for the representation of names of counties and similar areas". This standard includes two- and three-letter and four-digit codes for each current county name, and a three-letter code for each historic county name. The codes in this document stand for names, not areas. For example, Warwickshire has one code of each type (
WK, WAR, 3700),
even though its area was substantially different before the 1974 local government reform. On the other hand, there are different codes for Western Isles (
WIS) and Eilean Siar (
ELS), which is just a change of name. The three-letter codes are based on the older Chapman County Codes, devised by genealogist Colin R. Chapman.
- NUTS: Nomenclature of territorial units for statistics level-three
codes, with some exceptions, as described above.
First three characters indicate the NUTS-1 region.
- Pop-2001: Population according to the 2001-04-29 census. Source: National Statistics Website. Figures for Channel Islands and Isle of Man taken from their government Websites.
- Pop-1991: Population according to the University of Leeds study cited above, except for Channel Islands and Isle of Man. Figures represent the census of 1991-04-21, adjusted for the reorganization of 1995-1998. Area and population for Isles of Scilly are included in Cornwall. National Statistics says, "The Isles of Scilly, which are separately administered by an Isles of Scilly Council, do not form part of the county of Cornwall but are usually associated with the county."
- Area: Data contributed by Karem Abdalla.
- Capital: Site of the administrative headquarters of the subdivision. When blank, usually the subdivision only contains one town. The concept of capital is rather hazy in the United Kingdom. Ceredigion county council has offices in both Aberaeron and Aberystwyth. Argyll and Bute has offices in Kilmory Castle in Lochgilphead, and its capital is sometimes cited as Kilmory, sometimes Lochgilphead.
- Old County: For administrative counties and unitary authorities in England, this is the ceremonial county (pre-1974, except Cumbria). For London boroughs and metropolitan boroughs, it is the metropolitan county (1974-1995). For Wales, it is the shire county (pre-1974); for Scotland, the region (1975-1996); for Northern Ireland, the county (pre-1973).