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The United Kingdom Portaledit
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.
The M62 motorway is a west-east trans-Pennine motorway in northern England, connecting the cities of Liverpool and Hull. The road also forms part of the unsigned Euroroutes E20 (Shannon to Saint Petersburg) and E22 (Holyhead to Ishim). The road is 107 miles (172 km) long; however, for seven miles, it shares its route with the M60 motorway around Manchester. The motorway, which was first proposed in the 1930s, and originally conceived as two separate routes, was built in stages between 1971 and 1976, with construction beginning at Pole Moor and finishing in Tarbock. The motorway also absorbed the northern end of the Stretford-Eccles bypass, which was built between 1957 and 1960. Adjusted for inflation to 2007, the motorway cost approximately GB£765 million to build. The motorway is relatively busy, with an average daily traffic flow of 100,000 cars in Yorkshire, and has several areas prone to gridlock, in particular, between Leeds and Halifax in West Yorkshire. Since the Stretford-Eccles bypass was opened, the motorway's history beyond construction has included a coach bombing on 4 February 1974, and a rail crash on 28 February 2001. (more...)
Mary Wollstonecraft was a British writer, philosopher, and early feminist. During her brief career, she wrote novels, treatises, a travel narrative, a history of the French Revolution, a conduct book, and a children's book. Wollstonecraft is best known for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in which she argued that women are not naturally inferior to men, but only appeared to be because they lacked education. She suggested that both men and women should be treated as rational beings and imagined a social order founded on reason. Among both the general public and feminists, Wollstonecraft's life has often received as much, if not more, interest than her writing because of her unconventional, and often tumultuous, relationships. After two unsuccessful affairs with Henry Fuseli and Gilbert Imlay, Wollstonecraft married the philosopher William Godwin, one of the forefathers of the anarchist movement. She was also the mother of Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein. Wollstonecraft died at the age of thirty-eight due to complications from childbirth, leaving behind several unfinished manuscripts. Today, Wollstonecraft is considered a foundational thinker in feminist philosophy. Her early advocacy of women's equality and her attacks on conventional femininity and the degradation of women presaged the later emergence of the feminist political movement. (more...)
Photo credit: Jürgen Matern
Panoramic view of the geodesic dome structures of the Eden Project. The Eden Project is a large-scale environmental complex near St Austell, Cornwall. The project was conceived by Tim Smit and has quickly become one of the most popular visitor attractions in the United Kingdom. The complex includes two giant, transparent domes made of ETFE cushions, each emulating a natural biome, that house plant species from around the world. The first emulates a tropical environment, the other a warm temperate, Mediterranean environment. The project took 2½ years to construct and opened to the public in March 2001.
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