Country Information

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

UK flagRoyal coat of arms

Facts

  • Full name: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • Population: 62 million (UN, 2010)
  • Capital: London
  • Area: 243,614 sq km (94,063 sq miles)
  • Major language: English
  • Major religion: Christianity
  • Life expectancy: 78 years (men), 82 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: 1 pound sterling = 100 pence
  • Main exports: Manufactured goods, chemicals, foodstuffs
  • GNI per capita: US $41,520 (World Bank, 2011)
  • Internet domain: .uk
  • International dialing code: +44

The United Kingdom is made up of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Economy

The UK has a partially regulated economy. Based on market exchange rates, the UK is today the sixth largest economy in the world and the third largest in Europe after Germany and France, after having fallen behind France in 2008 for the first time in over a decade. The economy is based on services, Industry, agriculture, fishing, and mining.

Culture

The culture of the United Kingdom has been influenced by many factors including the nation’s island status and its history as a western liberal democracy, major power, and a political union of four countries, with each preserving elements of distinctive traditions, customs and symbolism. As a result of the British Empire, British influence can be observed in the language, culture and legal systems of many of its former colonies, including Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and the United States.

Climate

The United Kingdom has a temperate climate, with plentiful rainfall all year round. The temperature varies with the seasons seldom dropping below −10 °C (14.0 °F) or rising above 35 °C (95 °F). Atlantic currents, warmed by the Gulf Stream, bring mild winters. Summers are warmest in the south-east of England, being closest to the European mainland, and coolest in the north. Snowfall can occur in winter and early spring, though it rarely settles to great depth away from high ground.