Portal:United Kingdom

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Map of the United Kingdom in the British Isles.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain) is a sovereign state located off the north-western coast of continental Europe. The country includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that shares a land border with another sovereign state—the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border the UK is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, the English Channel and the Irish Sea.

The United Kingdom is a unitary state governed under a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary system, with its seat of government in the capital city of London. It is a country in its own right and consists of four countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. There are three devolved national administrations, each with varying powers, based in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh, the capitals of Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland respectively. Associated with the UK, but not constitutionally part of it, are three Crown Dependencies. The United Kingdom has fourteen overseas territories. These are remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in 1922, encompassed almost a third of the world's land surface and was the largest empire in history. British influence can still be observed in the language, culture and legal systems of many of its former territories.

The UK is a developed country and has the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP and seventh-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power with leading economic, cultural, military, scientific and political influence. It is a recognised nuclear weapons state and its military expenditure ranks third or fourth in the world. The UK has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946; it is also a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G8, the G20, NATO, the OECD and the World Trade Organization.

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Gerry Anderson

Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons is a 1960s British science-fiction television series created by Gerry Anderson (pictured) and produced by Century 21 Productions for Associated Television. In keeping with Anderson's earlier productions such as Thunderbirds, it mixes marionette puppet characters and scale-model special effects in a filming technique dubbed "Supermarionation". The plot of the 32-episode series, set in 2068, centres on an interplanetary war between Earth and a race of Martians known as the Mysterons. Captain Scarlet, top agent of Spectrum, an international security organisation, acquires "retro-metabolism" (a Mysteron healing power that enables him to recover from normally fatal injuries), making him Earth's "indestructible" ultimate weapon against the threat from Mars. Reception to the series has acknowledged a "dark" tone and a large amount of depicted violence, although the programme has a target audience of children. A computer-animated reboot series, Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet, commenced broadcast in 2005. (more...)

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Alice, circa 1906

Princess Alice of Battenberg (1885–1969) was the mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (consort of Queen Elizabeth II). Congenitally deaf, she grew up in Germany, England and the Mediterranean. After marrying Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark in 1903, she lived in Greece until the exile of most of the Greek Royal Family in 1917. On returning to Greece a few years later, her husband was blamed in part for the defeat of Greece in the Greco–Turkish War of 1919–1922, and the family were once again forced into exile until the restoration of the Greek monarchy in 1935. In 1930, she was diagnosed with schizophrenia and committed to a sanatorium; thereafter, she lived separately from her husband. After her recovery, she devoted most of her remaining years to charity work in Greece. She stayed in Athens during the Second World War, sheltering Jewish refugees, for which she is recognised as "Righteous Among the Nations" at Yad Vashem. After the war, she stayed in Greece and founded an Orthodox nursing order of nuns known as the Christian Sisterhood of Martha and Mary. After the fall of King Constantine II of Greece and the imposition of military rule in Greece in 1967, she was invited by her son and daughter-in-law to live at Buckingham Palace in London, where she died two years later. (more...)

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Salvage of the Mary Rose in October 1982

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Keswick Panorama - Oct 2009.jpg
Photo credit: David Iliff

The town of Keswick is nestled between the fells of Skiddaw and Derwent Water in the Lake District, Cumbria, England. It is shown here from about ¾ of the way to the summit of Walla Crag.

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