Key-facts Official name: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Parts: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 244,820 sq km 56 million people the Atlantic Ocean, the Irish Sea, the North Sea, the English Channel London London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Coventry, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Cardiff English, Welsh (about 26% of the population of Wales), Scottish (as a form of Gaelic, about 60,000 in Scotland) the Thames, the Severn, the Trent, the Tyne, the Tweed, the Clyde Ben Nevis (1,343m, Scotland) mild, humid coal, copper, natural gas, tin, silver, iron , salt, clay, chalk, lead Area: Population: Is washed by: Capital: Largest cities: Official languages: Main rivers: The highest mountain: Climate: Natural resources: Geographical position The British Isles lie to the north-west of Europe. They consist of two large islands (Great Britain and Ireland) and many smaller ones. Great Britain is the largest island in Europe. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland consists of 4 parts (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland). Great Britain includes England, Scotland and Wales. England is in the south-eastern part of GB. Scotland is in the north of the island and Wales is in the west. The total area of the UK is 244,820 sq km. Great Britain is washed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea in the west, the North Sea in the east and the English Channel in the south. There is no place in the country which is more than 120 km from the sea. The main rivers of the country are the Thames, the Severn, the Trent, the Tyne, the Tweed, the Clyde. The surface of England and Northern Ireland is flat, and the surface of Scotland and Wales is mountainous. The highest mountain is Ben Nevis in Scotland (1,343m). The flag The flag of the United Kingdom is called the Union Flag or the Union Jack. In fact it consists of three flags: the English, the Scottish and the Irish. The white diagonal cross on blue background is the Scottish flag (the cross of St. Andrew). The red diagonal cross on white background is the Irish flag (the cross of St. Patric). The thick red vertical cross on white background is the English flag (the cross of St. George). If to combine all these flags it will be the flag of Great Britain. The capital of Great Britain is London which is the largest city of the country and one of the largest cities in the world. It is situated on both banks of the river Thames. Its population is more than 9 million people. London is an old city. Its history counts more than two thousand years. London consists of four main parts: the City, Westminster, the West End, the East End. The sights of London. London’s most famous sights are the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square and St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey. The cities of Great Britain Manchester is a leading manufacturing centre. It is located in the northern part of England. The population of Manchester is 438,000. Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland, its political and cultural centre. It is famous for its University (one of the best and the oldest in Britain) and the ancient castle which stands on the hill in the middle of the city. Oxford and Cambridge are famous university cities. British aristocrats study there. The largest ports of Great Britain are London, Liverpool, Manchester, Hull and Glasgow. The political system Great Britain is a parliamentary monarchy. Officially the head of the state is the King (or the Queen). But in fact the country is ruled by the Parliament which is one of the oldest in the world. It consists of two Houses: the House of Lords (1,000 peers) and the House of Commons (630 members). The British government consists of PrimeMinister and other Ministers. The official residence of Prime-Minister is Downing Street,10. Climate The climate of Great Britain is mild, humid and very changeable, without striking difference between seasons. The winters are not severely cold, while summers are rarely hot. The grass remains green all the year round. Rivers are not frozen throughout the year. It rains very often in all seasons. Autumn and winter are the wettest. Britain has more than 200 rainy days a year. The weather on the British Isles has a bad reputation. That’s why the British say that there is a climate in other countries, but we have just weather.