Portal:United Kingdom

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The United Kingdom Portaledit
Flag of the United Kingdom
Coat of Arms for the United Kingdom
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 United Kingdom 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. The United Kingdom 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 an EMDC and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and seventh-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It was the world's first industrialised state 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 European Union, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G8, the G20, NATO, the OECD and the World Trade Organization.

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Obverse of the Victoria Cross medal and ribbon

The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the armed forces of some Commonwealth countries and previous British Empire territories. It takes precedence over all other orders, decorations, medals and postnominals. It may be awarded to a person of any rank in any service and civilians under military command, and is presented to the recipient by the British monarch during an investiture held at Buckingham Palace. It is the joint highest award for bravery in the United Kingdom with the George Cross, which is the equivalent honour for valour not "in the face of the enemy". The VC was introduced on 29 January 1856 by Queen Victoria to reward acts of valour during the Crimean War. Since then the medal has been awarded 1,356 times to 1,353 individual recipients. Only 14 medals have been awarded since the end of the Second World War. Due to its rarity, the VC is highly prized and the medal can reach over £200,000 at auction. There are a number of public and private collections devoted to it, most notably that of Lord Ashcroft, which contains over one-tenth of the total VCs awarded. (more...)

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Bobby Robson

Bobby Robson is a former English football manager and former international football player. As an inside-forward, his professional playing career spanned nearly 20 years during which he played for just three clubs, Fulham, West Bromwich Albion and Vancouver Royals. He also made 20 appearances for England, scoring four goals. He was most recently a mentor to the manager of the Irish national football team. He achieved success as both a club and international manager, having won league championships in both the Netherlands and Portugal, earning trophies in England and Spain, and taking England to the semi-final of the 1990 World Cup. Robson was knighted in 2002, is a member of the English Football Hall of Fame and is the honorary president of Ipswich Town. He has, since 1991, had recurrent medical problems with cancer, and in May 2007 revealed that he had cancerous nodules in his lungs: he vowed to "battle as I've always done" against the illness. (more...)

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Salvage of the Mary Rose in October 1982

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England Northern
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The Chandos portrait of William Shakespeare, attributed to John Taylor. National Portrait Gallery, London.

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