United Kingdom

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Anthem: "God Save the King"[a]
Royal coat of arms in Scotland:
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (Scotland).svg
Europe-UK (orthographic projection).svg
United Kingdom (+overseas territories and crown dependencies) in the World (+Antarctica claims).svg
Location of the United Kingdom (dark green)

in Europe (dark grey)

and largest city
51°30′N 0°7′W / 51.500°N 0.117°W / 51.500; -0.117
Official language
and national language
English (de facto)
Regional and minority languages[b]
Ethnic groups
Constituent countries
GovernmentUnitary[e] parliamentary
constitutional monarchy
• Monarch
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
• Total
242,495 km2 (93,628 sq mi)[9] (78th)
• Water (%)
1.51 (2015)[10]
• 2023 estimate
Neutral increase 68,138,484[11] (21st)
• 2011 census
63,182,178[12] (22nd)
• Density
270.7/km2 (701.1/sq mi) (50th)
GDP (PPP)2022 estimate
• Total
Increase $3.776 trillion[13] (9th)
• Per capita
Increase $55,862[13] (26th)
GDP (nominal)2022 estimate
• Total
Increase $3.198 trillion[13] (6th)
• Per capita
Increase $47,318[13] (22nd)
Gini (2019)Negative increase 36.6[14]
HDI (2021)Increase 0.929[15]
very high · 18th
CurrencyPound sterling[f] (GBP)
Time zoneUTC+0 (Greenwich Mean Time, WET)
• Summer (DST)
UTC+1 (British Summer Time, WEST)
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy
yyyy-mm-dd (AD)
Driving sideleft[h]
Calling code+44[i]
ISO 3166 codeGB
Internet TLD.uk[j]

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,[k][16] is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the continental mainland.[17] It comprises England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.[18] 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.[19] 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 242,495 square kilometres (93,628 sq mi), with an estimated 2023 population of over 68 million people.

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.[l] 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.[20] There are also 14 British Overseas Territories,[21] the last remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed almost a quarter of the world's landmass and population, and was the largest empire in history. 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.[22][23]

The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy.[m][25] Its capital and largest city is London, the capital of England, a global city and financial centre with a population of over 14 million people. Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast are the national capitals of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively. Other major cities include Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow and Liverpool.[26] Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers.[27] The UK became the world's first industrialised country and was the foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries, a period of unchallenged global hegemony known as "Pax Britannica".[28][29][30][31] In the 21st century, the UK remains a great power[32][33][34][35] and has significant economic, cultural, military, scientific, technological and political influence.[36] The UK has the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal gross domestic product (GDP), and the eighth-largest by purchasing power parity. It is a recognised nuclear state and is ranked fourth globally in military expenditure.[37] 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, Five Eyes, the United Nations (UN), NATO, AUKUS, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Interpol, and the World Trade Organization (WTO). The UK is also considered a part of the "Big Four", or G4, an unofficial group of four European nations.[38] 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.

  1. ^ Berry, Ciara (15 January 2016). "National Anthem". The Royal Family. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  2. ^ "List of declarations made with respect to treaty No. 148". Council of Europe. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  3. ^ "Welsh language on GOV.UK – Content design: planning, writing and managing content – Guidance". www.gov.uk. Retrieved 3 August 2018.; "Welsh language scheme". GOV.UK. Retrieved 3 August 2018.; "Welsh language scheme". GOV.UK. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  4. ^ Weller, Paul (2016). "Balancing within Three Dimensions: Christianity, Secularity, and Religious Plurality in Social Policy and Theology". Studies in Interreligious Dialogue. 26 (2): 131–146. doi:10.2143/SID.26.2.3200411.
  5. ^ Cusick, Edmund; Storry, Mike (2017). "Religion". In Storry, Mike; Childs, Peter (eds.). British Cultural Identities (5th ed.). London: Routledge. pp. 239–266. ISBN 9781315440590.
  6. ^ Bradbury, Jonathan (2021). Constitutional Policy and Territorial Politics in the UK: Volume 1: Union and Devolution 1997–2012. Policy Press. pp. 19–20. ISBN 978-1-5292-0588-6.
  7. ^ Leith, Murray Stewart (2012). Political Discourse and National Identity in Scotland. Edinburgh University Press. p. 39. ISBN 978-0-7486-8862-3.
  8. ^ Gagnon, Alain-G.; Tully, James (2001). Multinational Democracies. Cambridge University Press. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-521-80473-8.; Bogdanor, Vernon (1998). "Devolution: the Constitutional Aspects". In Beatson, Jack (ed.). Constitutional Reform in the United Kingdom: Practice and Principles. Oxford: Hart Publishing. p. 18. ISBN 978-1-901362-84-8.
  9. ^ Demographic Yearbook – Table 3: Population by sex, rate of population increase, surface area and density (PDF) (Report). United Nations Statistics Division. 2012. Retrieved 9 August 2015.
  10. ^ "Surface water and surface water change". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  11. ^ "United Kingdom". The World Factbook (2023 ed.). Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 21 March 2023.
  12. ^ "2011 UK censuses". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
  13. ^ a b c d "World Economic Outlook database: October 2022". International Monetary Fund. October 2022.
  14. ^ "Inequality – Income inequality". us.oecd.org. OECD. Retrieved 25 July 2021.
  15. ^ "Human Development Report 2021/2022" (PDF). United Nations Development Programme. 8 September 2022. Retrieved 8 September 2022.
  16. ^ "Great Britain | island, Europe". Encyclopedia Britannica.
  17. ^ United Kingdom Permanent Committee on Geographical Names (May 2017). "Toponymic guidelines for the United Kingdom". GOV.UK. 10.2 Definitions. usually shortened to United Kingdom ... The abbreviation is UK or U.K.; "United Kingdom". Encyclopedia Britannica.
  18. ^ "Countries within a country". Prime Minister's Office. 10 January 2003. Archived from the original on 9 September 2008. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  19. ^ "Definition of Great Britain in English". Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2014. Great Britain is the name for the island that comprises England, Scotland and Wales, although the term is also used loosely to refer to the United Kingdom.
  20. ^ "Key facts about the United Kingdom". Directgov. Archived from the original on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2015. The full title of this country is 'the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland'. Great Britain is made up of England, Scotland and Wales. The United Kingdom (UK) is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 'Britain' is used informally, usually meaning the United Kingdom.
    The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not part of the UK.
  21. ^ "Supporting the Overseas Territories". Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  22. ^ Julian Go (2007). "A Globalizing Constitutionalism?, Views from the Postcolony, 1945–2000". In Arjomand, Saïd Amir (ed.). Constitutionalism and political reconstruction. Brill. pp. 92–94. ISBN 978-90-04-15174-1.
  23. ^ Ferguson 2004, p. 307.
  24. ^ What is the UK Constitution?, The Constitution Unit of UCL, 9 August 2018, retrieved 6 February 2020
  25. ^ The British Monarchy, "What is constitutional monarchy?". Retrieved 17 July 2013; "United Kingdom" CIA The World Factbook. Retrieved 17 July 2013
  26. ^ "Population of Cities in United Kingdom 2023". World Population Review. Retrieved 21 February 2023.
  27. ^ "Devolution of powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland". United Kingdom Government. Retrieved 17 April 2013. In a similar way to how the government is formed from members from the two Houses of Parliament, members of the devolved legislatures nominate ministers from among themselves to comprise executives, known as the devolved administrations...; "Country Overviews: United Kingdom". Transport Research Knowledge Centre. Archived from the original on 4 April 2010. Retrieved 28 March 2010.
  28. ^ "Britain's Imperial Century: What Was the Pax Britannica?". History Hit. Retrieved 15 January 2023.
  29. ^ Mathias, P. (2001). The First Industrial Nation: the Economic History of Britain, 1700–1914. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-26672-7.; Ferguson, Niall (2004). Empire: The rise and demise of the British world order and the lessons for global power. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-02328-8.
  30. ^ "20th-century international relations". www.britannica.com. Retrieved 15 January 2023.
  31. ^ "Pax Britannica | Encyclopedia.com". www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 15 January 2023.
  32. ^ Allison, George (18 May 2018). "Study ranks Britain 'second most powerful country in the world'". Retrieved 15 January 2023.
  33. ^ Thorp, James; James (26 March 2021). "Size does not matter: the UK's continuing great power status » Wavell Room". Wavell Room. Retrieved 15 January 2023.
  34. ^ Tombs, Robert (13 May 2022). "Britain's future is to be Europe's only great power, not a satellite of Macron's continental empire". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 15 January 2023.
  35. ^ "European researchers determine UK is second most powerful country in the world". Conservative Post. 24 March 2022. Retrieved 15 January 2023.
  36. ^ T.V. Paul; James J. Wirtz; Michel Fortmann (2005). "Great+power"&pg=PA59 Balance of Power. State University of New York Press. pp. 59, 282. ISBN 978-0-7914-6401-4. Accordingly, the great powers after the Cold War are Britain, China, France, Germany, Japan, Russia and the United States p. 59; McCourt, David (2014). Britain and World Power Since 1945: Constructing a Nation's Role in International Politics. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-472-07221-7.
  37. ^ "IISS Military Balance 2021". The Military Balance. 121 (1): 23–29. January 2021. doi:10.1080/04597222.2021.1868791. S2CID 232050862. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  38. ^ "EU's 'big four' speak as one ahead of G7 in Tokyo". POLITICO. 30 January 2008. Retrieved 15 January 2023.

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