<ul><li>The name Britain is very old, but history can explain where it comes from. Around 3000 years BC many parts of Europe including the British Isles, were inhabited by the Iberians. About 500 BC Celtic tribes settled in Britain. One of the tribes called “Britons”, held most of the country and the country was named Britain after them. In 43 AD the country was conquered by the Romans. In 400 AD the Romans left Britain and in the 5th century it was occupied by Germanic tribes: the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes. They became the forefathers of the people of England and part of Scotland. Several states were formed: one of them was East Anglia, the land where the Angles lived. Some time later the Land of the Angles (Angle Land) was called England. </li></ul><ul><li>In 789 the Vikings began to attack the British Isles. They came from Norway, Sweden and Denmark. They settled in England and mix with Anglo-Saxons. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1066 William the Conqueror and his people came to England from Normandy in France. </li></ul><ul><li>Little by little England became the strongest of all the states on the British Isles and began to spread its power on Wales, Scotland and Ireland. In 1707 England and Scotland were united under one king. The country became known as Great Britain. </li></ul>
Statue of William the Conqueror, holding Domesday Book on the West Front of Lichfield Cathedral.
The first coat of arms for Great Britain, as used in the Kingdom of England, from 1603
James VI and I was King of Scotland as James VI, and King of England and King of Ireland as James I.
In 1837—1901 Queen Victoria ruled in Britain. She rejected the amusements and life of the aristocracy. Her death coincided with the beginning of the decline in the power of the Empire.
By 1921 British Empire became the largest empire in the world
The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as head of state
The UK parliament is made up of the Queen and two houses: an elected House of Commons and an appointed House of Lords. For elections to the House of Commons, the UK is divided into 646 constituencies, with 529 in England, 59 in Scotland, 40 in Wales and 18 in Northern Ireland.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin
The UK's three major political parties are the Labour Party, the Conservative Party, and the Liberal Democrats.
The Middlesex Guildhall will be home to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom has three distinct systems of law. English law and Northern Ireland law are based on common-law principles. Scots law, is a hybrid system based on both common-law and civil-law principles.
Distinctive flora such as the oak tree and the rose, have long been a widely used proxy for the visual representation of English identity. The red rose is the emblem of the Labour Party, the England national rugby union team, the Rugby Football Union and Lancashire.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is situated on the British Isles. The British Isles consist of two large islands, Great Britain and Ireland and about five thousand small islands. Their total area is over 244 000 square kilometres.
The United Kingdom is made up of four countries: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast respectively. But in everyday speech «Great Britain» is used to mean the United Kingdom. The British Isles are separated from the continent by the North Sea and the English Channel.
Ben Nevis in Scotland is the highest mountain, but it is only 1343 metres high.
The Severn is the longest river in Great Britain .
T he Thames is the deepest river in Great Britain .
Though the UK does not have an official language, the predominant spoken language is English, a West Germanic language descended from Old English featuring a large number of borrowings from Old Norse and Norman.
While the United Kingdom has a long tradition of Christianity and a link between church and state still remains in England, in practice the UK is a predominantly secular society with only 38% proclaiming a belief in a God. Christianity has the largest number of adherents followed by Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Judaism. Iona Abbey arguably the birthplace of Scottish Christianity
The Bank of England; the central bank of the United Kingdom. The UK economy is made up (in descending order of size) of the economies of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Tourism is very important to the British economy. With over 27 million tourists a year, the United Kingdom is ranked as the sixth major tourist destination in the world.
The HSBC bank headquarters 8 Canada Square in Canary Wharf. HSBC is one of the largest companies in the world.
The currency of the UK is the pound sterling, represented by the symbol £. The Bank of England is the central bank, responsible for issuing currency. British ten pence coin
The United Kingdom fields one of the most technologically advanced and best trained armed forces in the world. Total defence spending currently accounts for 2.2% of total national GDP, compared to 4.4% at the end of the Cold War. It is the second largest spender on military science, engineering and technology. A Trident II SLBM being launched from one of the Royal Navy's 4 Vanguard class submarines as a test launch.
HMS Illustrious. Two Invisible class aircraft carriers and a helicopter carrier are currently in service with a third Invincible carrier in reserve.
The Royal Air Force Typhoon is an advanced fighter aircraft and second most expensive fighter aircraft after the F-22.
The Englishmen love sports, they are called sports-lovers in spite of that fact, that some of them neither play games nor even watch them. They only like to speak about sports. Some kinds of sport are professional in England. Popular and famous players have a lot of money. The new Wembley Stadium is the most expensive stadium ever built costing £793 million ($1.6 billion).
Many traditional sporting contests take place in England, for example, cricket . It is played from May till September. This game is associated with England. There are many cricket clubs in this country. English people like to play cricket. Cricketer W.G. Grace was the most celebrated British sportsman of the 19th century
Rugby football . You can see a ball in this game, but it is not round. It is oval. This is a team game. There are fifteen players in each team. It is a popular game in England. There are many amateur rugby football teams.
Twickenham Rugby Ground. The small South Stand has been demolished and the construction of a replacement stand the same height as the other three stands began in 2005
Many people like to play table tennis . This game is played by men and women too. The Wimbledon Championships, a Grand Slam tournament, is held in Wimbledon, London every July.
Among the earliest British writers are Geoffrey of Monmouth (12th century), Geoffrey Chaucer (14th century) , and Thomas Malory (15th century). Charles Dickens is acclaimed as one of history's greatest novelists
Significant examples through the centuries include Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, George Bernard Shaw, Joseph Conrad, T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, and more recently British authors born abroad such as Kazuo Ishiguro and Sir Salman Rushdie. Oscar Wilde
In theatre, Shakespeare's contemporaries Christopher Marlowe and Ben Jonson added depth. The Chandos portrait, believed to depict William Shakespeare.
Classical music: Notable composers from the United Kingdom have included William Byrd, Henry Purcell, Sir Edward Elgar, Sir Arthur Sullivan, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Benjamin Britten, pioneer of modern British opera. William Byrd Henry Purcell
Popular music: Prominent among the UK contributors to the development of rock music in the 1960s and 1970s were The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Queen, and Black Sabbath. The Beatles Eric Clapton
The statue of Freddie Mercury in Montreux that is also featured on the cover of the album Made in Heaven (1995).
The Rolling Stones in the 1960s. From left: Jagger, Jones, Richards, Wyman, and Watts.
The Royal Academy is located in London. Other major schools of art include the Slade School of Art; the six-school University of the Arts, London, which includes the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and Chelsea College of Art and Design; the Glasgow School of Art, and Goldsmiths, University of London. School of Art (Glasgow)
School of Art, Central Saint Martins (ex-St Martins) in Charing Cross Road
The British Media consists of the press and radio and TV broadcasting. As far as broadcasting and telecasting are concerned there are two radio and TV stations. The first one — well-known BBC — British Broadcasting Corporation, and the second — IBA — Independent Broadcasting Authorities BBC Television Centre
In Britain there are 12 national daily newspapers and most people read one of them every day. Daily newspapers are published on every day of the week except Sunday. Sunday newspapers are larger than daily newspapers. The popular newspapers or «tabloids», so called because of their smaller size are «The Daily Mail», «The Daily Express», «The Daily Mirror», «The Sun» and «The Daily Star».
Imagine you are in a medium-sized English town. It is Saturday morning in April and the market place is full of noise. You hear the sound of music, at least one accordion, a drum, tin whistle and fiddle. Morris dancing on May Day
British Day, The Queen's Golden Jubilee being celebrated outside Buckingham Palace
Most people have only three weeks paid holiday per year, and the bank holidays put Britain at the bottom of the list of Common Market countries as far as public holidays are concerned. British 'bank holidays are New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, May Day, Spring Bank Holiday, Summer Bank Holiday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Only when the UK joined the E.E.C. did New Year's Day become a public holiday. A Punch and Judy show attracts a family audience
Red rose, symbol of England The national flag of England Location of England (red) in the United Kingdom (light yellow) England is the largest and the richest country of Great Britain. There are three parts in England: Northern England, Midlands and Southern England. Each part is different in its way. Over 46 million people of the population of the United Kingdom live in England.
There is a favourite holiday area in Northern England, — it is the Lake District with its lakes, mountains and valleys.
Hadrian's Wall is a stone and turf fortification built by the Roman Empire across the width of modern-day England. It was the second of three such fortifications built across Great Britain, the first being Gask Ridge and the last the Antonine Wall.
One of the main attractions of Southern England is Stonehenge, one of the most famous prehistoric places in the world. This ancient circle of stones stands in Southwest England. It measures 80 metres across and is made with massive blocks of stone up to four metres high. Why it was built is a mystery.
Not far from Stonehenge stands Salisbury Cathedral. It is a splendid example of an English Gothic Cathedral; inside there is one of four copies of Magna Charta and the oldest clock in England.
The capital of England is London. The oldest part of London is Lud Hill, where the city is originated. About a mile west of it there is Westminster Palace, where the king lived and the Parliament met, and there is also Westminster Abbey, the coronation church. Palace of Westminster
The Tower was built by William the Conqueror who conquered England in 1066. He was crowned at Westminster Abbey. Westminster Abbey
Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of the British monarch. The palace is a setting for state occasions and royal entertaining, and a major tourist attraction. It has been a rallying point for the British people at times of national rejoicing and crisis. Buckingham Palace finally became the official royal palace of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837.
The Floral Hall, now part of the Royal Opera House
The British Museum is the largest and richest museum in the world. It was founded in 1753 and contains one of the world's richest collections of antiquities.
Madam Tussaud's Museum is an exhibition of hundreds of life-size wax models of famous people of yesterday and today. The collection was started by Madam Tussaud, a French modeller in wax, in the 18th century.
Windsor is a suburban town and tourist destination in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire, England. It is best known as the site of Windsor Castle.
Birmingham Canal Navigations at Brindleyplace. Birmingham has more canals than either Venice or Amsterdam.
Liverpool , the «city of ships», is England's second greatest port, ranking after London.
Manchester is a city of ancient origin. By the 17th century it was a great commercial city, a centre of textile industry.
Stratford-on-Avon lies 93 miles north-west of London. Shakespeare was born here in 1564, and here he died in 1616.
York was the capital of Northern England. It is one of the best preserved medieval cities of Europe.
Chester is very important town in the north-west of England. In Chester there is a famous museum which contains over 5000 ancient and modern toys. Chester Town Hall
Oxford is the home of the oldest university of England. The most famous college is Christ Church. It has a great hall which was built during the reign of Henry VIII and its chapel has become the Cathedral of Oxford. The University of Oxford , located in the city of Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, is the oldest university in the English-speaking world. It is also regarded as one of the world's leading academic institutions. The university has 35 independent Colleges and Halls.
Cambridge is also best known for its ancient university. Its industries are mostly concerned with electronics which has an international reputation. Cambridge is a collegiate university, with its main functions divided between the central departments of the university and 31 colleges.
King's College, part of the University of Cambridge, England.
Sheffield , situated in South Yorkshire, produces almost two-thirds of the country's alloy steel, it is famous for its tools and cutlery.
Bristol dominates South-west England, both as the region's largest seaport and as its largest city. It is a major centre of metallurgy, aircraft and chemical industries.
Wales is a part of Great Britain. It is the country of lakes and mountains. It is about a half size of Switzerland and it has the population more than three million inhabitants. In 1292, the English king, Edward, invaded Wales and built fourteen huge castles to control the Welsh. His son became the first Prince of Wales, since then all the kings and queens of England have given their eldest sons the title, Prince of Wales. Location of Wales (orange) in the United Kingdom (camel)
The national flag of Wales The national symbol of Wales Prince Charles became the twenty-first Prince of Wales. Having been ruled by Britain for many centuries, Wales still has its own flag, culture and its own language. In the towns and villages of North Wales, many people speak English only as a second language. Their first language is Welsh. At the local primary schools children have nearly all their lessons in Welsh. So, the population is bilingual. It is not a problem for children to learn two languages at the same time. Now, only twenty per cent of all Welsh people speak Welsh. The reason is that in the nineteenth century people thought that Welsh language was an uncivilized language and if you wanted to be successful in life, you had to learn English, the language of the British Empire. In the 1960s and 1970s many English people bought cottages and estate houses in villages in Wales. Most of them did not speak Welsh. Also, English comes into every Welsh home through the television.
One of the Seven Wonders of Wales, St Winefride's Well
Wales is a highland country of old, hard rocks. North Wales is a country of mountains and deep valleys. South Wales is a land of high hills and wide valleys. Snowdonia is a picturesque region in Wales. Snowdon is the highest mountain in England and Wales.
One of the cultural capitals of Wales, Aberystwyth
The capital of Wales is Cardiff, the largest city of Wales. Cardiff is situated near the mouth of the Taff River. It is an important industrial city and a port. It is also an administrative and educational centre.
Scotland's location within the United Kingdom
The national flag of Scotland Thistle, symbol of Scotland Scotland is a country in the north of Great Britain. It is a part of the United Kingdom. It is important to mention that Scotland has not always been a part of the United Kingdom. The Scottish people had their own royal family and fought the English for centuries. In 1603, King James VI of Scotland became King James Tof England and Scotland. When he moved to London, Scottish independence ended. Scotland is divided into three natural regions: the Southern Uplands, the Central Lowlands and the Highlands and islands. A lot of places in Scotland are a natural paradise, still untouched by man.
The river Clyde is Scotland's most important river. Ships from the Atlantic Ocean can sail up the Clyde to Glasgow.
Scottish Parliament is the national legislature of Scotland Scotland is an integral part of Great Britain. It is represented by 72 members in the House of Commons and by 16 Scottish peers in the House of Lords.
Scottish affairs are administered by a British cabinet ministry, headed by the secretary of state for Scotland. Parliament House, Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. From the street in the centre of the city you can see ships coming to Edinburgh from different countries of the world.
Princes Street, one of the main thoroughfares in the City of Edinburgh.
The Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh is another official residence of the Queen besides Buckingham Palace.
The national flag of Northern Ireland Shamrock, symbol of the country Northern Ireland, also known as Ulster, is still a part of the United Kingdom. It is made up of six countries: Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry, Tyrone. The population of Northern Ireland is about 1,5 million people. 53 percent of the total population live in urban areas. The whole economy of Northern Ireland is closely integrated with that of Great Britain. The largest industry is agriculture, it occupies about 72 percent of the land area. Map of Northern Ireland
Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland, it is situated at the head of the wide Belfast Lough, the inlet of the North Channel on the eastern coast of the island, where the river Lagan reaches the shore.
The Lanyon Building of Queens University in south Belfast
The Palm House in Botanic Gardens. The Palm House was designed by Charles Lanyon, and built in 1840 by Richard Turner.
Belfast is also important for Northern Ireland as a port. Belfast City Hall and the Big Wheel