Complete Beginner’s Guide to Great Britain

The area known today as Great Britain was first established, formally, by the Treaty of Union drafted in 1707 by England and Scotland.

The kingdom of Great Britain spans an area off the coast of mainland Europe which includes the countries known as Wales and Northern Ireland in addition to the original parties, England and Scotland. These countries have their own, individual capitals: Cardiff, Belfast, London, and Edinburgh, respectfully. However, of these British Isles, it is England that is most often associated with the United Kingdom possibly a result of the country’s relative size in comparison to the other, relatively small countries. The United Kingdom also possesses a number of small islands throughout the world keeping the region’s tradition of empire building alive. The region has attempted and succeeded at colonising vast areas of land all over the world on virtually every continent. Of those regions that have not been directly colonised, there are a number of localities that can charge the British with exerting their influence in the realms of economy, religion, and culture.

Queen Elizabeth & Avoiding Spanish Armada

As an area made up of island nations, the UK enjoys a colder, damp climate but sometimes sporadic weather patterns. The area is characterized by its frequent rain and mild summers. The infamous fog of the island region has even been credited with turning the tide of British history through the avoidance of war. During the first Queen Elizabeth’s rein, with the Spanish armada closing in, it was this act of nature the thick fog rolling into the shore that led the Spanish to retreat before the invaders could reach British soil. By avoiding battle with this powerful enemy, the Spanish, the British were allowed to flourish under the famous queen.

Economy Recovery after World War II

The economy of Great Britain is one of the largest in the world. Manufacturing is the largest money-making venture within the region with the aerospace and pharmaceuticals manufacturing sectors making up the two largest areas, today. It was the United Kingdom’s involvement in World War II that is one of the few declines in an otherwise steady economic growth. The destruction of London and the dismemberment of Swansea, Wales that handicapped the previously healthy economy. It was not until the war’s end that the UK was able to even consider rebuilding the crippled manufacturing sector. However, as we can see, the region has more than bounced back as a major leader in the world’s economy.

Population of People

The entire area of Great Britain claims a population exceeding 62 million people. Of these millions, there is a strong homogeneous leaning in terms of ethnic diversity. In the area of demographics, the region is over 90 percent Caucasian. The largest minority group represented in the UK is Indian-British, a group that can claim less than 2 percent of the total 62 million inhabitants. This is most likely the result of British involvement in India. The East India Company, originally based in London but later expanded to include all of Great Britain, is infamous for taking a strong-arm approach to trading within India. London’s involvement in India may explain why it boasts the most diversity of all cities in the UK. The influence of the British on other areas around the world is a common theme throughout the region’s history. The shadow cast can be seen throughout the literature of British writers such as Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad as well as the work of non-British authors such as Nigeria’s Chinua Achebe.

Past Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom

The collective unit known as Great Britain is governed by a House of Lords as well as a House of Commons. They are led by a prime minister who is elected by members of government. Between an impressive list of prime ministers, the UK can boast one of the first and most powerful female leaders in the world: the recently deceased Margaret Thatcher. She reined for over ten years and confronted several major hurdles, including the Iranian Embassy Siege. Her handling of the situation has been largely viewed as deserving of praise despite the deaths of two of the 26 hostages. It was not until feuding within her own party broke out that her otherwise stellar career was put into question. Other famous prime ministers include Winston Churchill a man almost universally respected and regarded favourably for his strength and guidance throughout the Second World War.

British Royal Family

While the region is led by a prime minister, the countries are home to a monarchy as well; within Great Britain, there is a rich tradition of monarchy. Royalty is a respected and long-standing history in the United Kingdom and has a strong claim to international interest if no real power in government. In recent history, the funeral of Princess Diana of Wales and the wedding of her son William have been media events that have attracted global attention and even televised coverage around the world. With the much-anticipated arrival of another monarch, the world is focused on Great Britain, as they so often have been in the long history of this world power.

Photo – http://www.flickr.com/photos/80497449@N04/

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