The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a sovereign state located off the north-western coast of continental Europe.
Map of United Kingdom:
Energy in the United Kingdom
In 2006 the UK was the world’s ninth-largest consumer of energy and the 15th largest producer.In 2007 the UK had a total energy output of 9.5 quadrillion Btus, of which the composition was oil (38%), natural gas (36%), coal (13%), nuclear (11%) and other renewables (2%). In 2009 the UK produced 1.5 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of oil and consumed 1.7 million bbl/d. Production is now in decline and the UK has been a net importer of oil since 2005. As of 2010 the UK has around 3.1 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserves, the largest of any EU member state.
History of the formation of the United Kingdom
Settlement by anatomically modern humans of what was to become the United Kingdom occurred in waves beginning by about 30,000 years ago. By the end of the region’s prehistoric period, the population is thought to have belonged, in the main, to a culture termed Insular Celtic, comprising Brythonic Britain and Gaelic Ireland.
Geography of the United Kingdom
The total area of the United Kingdom is approximately 243,610 square kilometres (94,060 sq mi). The country occupies the major part of the British Isles archipelago and includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern one-sixth of the island of Ireland and some smaller surrounding islands.
Politics of the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom is a unitary state under a constitutional monarchy. Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state of the UK as well as of fifteen other independent Commonwealth countries. The United Kingdom has an uncodified constitution, as do only three other countries in the world.
British Armed Forces
The United Kingdom fields one of the most technologically advanced and best trained armed forces in the world and as of 2008 maintained at least 20 military deployments around the globe. According to various sources, including the Ministry of Defence, the UK has the third- or fourth-highest military expenditure in the world, despite only having the 25th largest military in terms of manpower.
Religion in the United Kingdom
Forms of Christianity have dominated religious life in what is now the United Kingdom for over 1,400 years. Although a majority of citizens still identify with Christianity in many surveys, regular church attendance has fallen dramatically since the middle of the 20th century, while immigration and demographic change have contributed to the growth of other faiths, most notably Islam.
Education in the United Kingdom
Education in the United Kingdom is a devolved matter, with each country having a separate education system.
Education in England is the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Education, though the day-to-day administration and funding of state schools is the responsibility of local authorities. Universally free of charge state education was introduced piecemeal between 1870 and 1944, with education becoming compulsory for all 5 to 14 year-olds in 1921.
Music of the United Kingdom
The UK is also home to world-renowned symphonic orchestras and choruses such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony Chorus. Notable conductors include Sir Simon Rattle, John Barbirolli and Sir Malcolm Sargent. Some of the notable film score composers include John Barry, Clint Mansell, Mike Oldfield, John Powell, Craig Armstrong, David Arnold, John Murphy, Monty Norman and Harry Gregson-Williams. George Frideric Handel, although born German, was a naturalised British citizen and some of his best works, such as Messiah, were written in the English language. Andrew Lloyd Webber has achieved enormous worldwide commercial success and is a prolific composer of musical theatre, works which have dominated London’s West End for a number of years and have travelled to Broadway in New York.
The Beatles have international sales of over one billion units and are the biggest-selling and most influential act in the history of popular music. Other prominent British contributors to have influenced popular music over the last 50 years include Queen, Cliff Richard, the Bee Gees, Elton John, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones; all of whom have world wide record sales of 200 million or more. According to research by Guinness World Records eight of the ten acts with the most UK chart singles are British: Status Quo, Queen, The Rolling Stones, UB40, Depeche Mode, the Bee Gees, the Pet Shop Boys and the Manic Street Preachers.More recent UK music acts that have had international success include Coldplay, Radiohead, Oasis, Spice Girls, Amy Winehouse, Muse, Adele and Gorillaz.
Sport in the United Kingdom
Major sports, including association football, rugby league, rugby union, rowing, boxing, badminton, cricket, tennis, darts and golf, originated or were substantially developed in the United Kingdom and the states that preceded it. A 2003 poll found that football is the most popular sport in the United Kingdom. In most international competitions, separate teams represent England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, including at the Commonwealth Games.