Portal:United Kingdom

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The United Kingdom Portal

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 (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country in north-western Europe, off the north-­western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-­eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands within the British Isles. Northern Ireland shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland. Otherwise, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The total area of the United Kingdom is 94,000 square miles (240,000 km2).

The United Kingdom is a unitary parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952. The United Kingdom's capital is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. The United Kingdom consists of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, respectively. Other than England, the constituent countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers.

The union between the Kingdom of England (which included Wales) and the Kingdom of Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, followed by the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The UK's name was adopted in 1927 to reflect the change.

The nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. There are also 14 British Overseas Territories, the last remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed almost a quarter of the world's landmass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language, culture and political systems of many of its former colonies.

The United Kingdom has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal gross domestic product (GDP), and the ninth-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). It has a high-income economy and a very high human development index rating, ranking 13th in the world. The UK became the world's first industrialised country and was the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Today the UK remains one of the great powers, with considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific, technological and political influence internationally. It is a recognised nuclear weapon state and is ranked sixth globally in military expenditure. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.

The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Interpol and the World Trade Organization (WTO). It was a member of the European Union (EU) and its predecessor, the European Economic Community (EEC), from 1973 until withdrawing in 2020. (Full article...)

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The first edition The Country Wife" (1675)

The Country Wife is a Restoration comedy from 1675 by William Wycherley. A product of the tolerant early Restoration period, the play reflects an aristocratic and anti-Puritan ideology, and was controversial for its sexual explicitness even in its own time. Even its title contains a lewd pun. Based on several plays by Molière, it turns on two indelicate plot devices: a rake's trick of pretending impotence in order to safely have clandestine affairs with married women, and the arrival in London of an inexperienced young "country wife", with her discovery of the joys of town life, especially the fascinating London men. The scandalous trick and the frank language have for much of the play's history kept it off the stage and out of print. Between 1753 and 1924, The Country Wife was considered too outrageous to be performed at all and was replaced on the stage by David Garrick's cleaned-up and bland version The Country Girl. The original play is again a stage favourite today, and is also acclaimed by academic critics, who praise its linguistic energy, sharp social satire, and openness to different interpretations. (Full article...)

Featured biography

The painted carving of the martyrdom of St Alphege, in Canterbury Cathedral

Ælfheah of Canterbury (954–1012) was an Anglo-Saxon Bishop of Winchester, later Archbishop of Canterbury. He became an anchorite before being elected abbot of Bath Abbey. His piety and sanctity led to his promotion to the episcopate, and eventually to his becoming archbishop. Ælfheah furthered the cult of St Dunstan and also encouraged learning. He was captured by Viking raiders in 1011 and killed by them the following year, after refusing to allow himself to be ransomed. Ælfheah was canonized as a saint in 1078. Saint Thomas Becket, a later Archbishop of Canterbury, prayed to him just before his own slaying in Canterbury Cathedral. Ælfheah became a monk early in life. He first entered the monastery of Deerhurst, but then moved to Bath, where he became an anchorite. He was noted for his piety and austerity, and rose to become abbot of Bath Abbey. Probably due to the influence of Dunstan, the Archbishop of Canterbury (959–988), Ælfheah was elected Bishop of Winchester in 984, and was consecrated on 19 October that year. (Full article...)

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Salvage of the Mary Rose in October 1982

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Wikinews UK

17 April 2021 – Death and funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
The official funeral service for Prince Philip, prince consort of the United Kingdom to Elizabeth II, commences. The Duke's body is led in a limited procession to St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, for internment in the Royal Vault. (AP on MSN)
16 April 2021 – COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom
15 April 2021 – COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom
14 April 2021 – Brexit
The United Kingdom says that it has requested to respond to a European Union notification of intent to start legal proceedings over the UK's alleged breaching of the Northern Ireland Protocol by mid-May. The UK says that its unilateral delay of the introduction of new Irish Sea border checks on food, parcels and pets is lawful. (Politico.eu)
13 April 2021 – War in Afghanistan
The United Kingdom announces that it will withdraw nearly all of its troops from Afghanistan, following the announcement of a U.S. withdrawal. There are around 750 British soldiers still stationed in Afghanistan, mostly in the capital Kabul. (Reuters)
13 April 2021 – COVID-19 pandemic in Scotland, Economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom
Talks between rail workers and ScotRail aimed at preventing a strike collapse, as the rail firm cites financial pressures caused by the ongoing pandemic to justify refusing a pay raise and revocation of some day-off entitlements. The Unite union rejects this explanation. The Scottish Government and Transport Scotland are appraised of the situation. (The Glasgow Times)

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