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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 country in Northwestern Europe, off the coast of the continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The UK includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and most of the 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, the North Sea, the English Channel, the Celtic Sea, and the Irish Sea. The total area of the United Kingdom is 94,354 square miles (244,376 km2), with an estimated population of nearly 67.6 million people in 2022.

In 1707, the Kingdom of England (which included Wales) and the Kingdom of Scotland united under the Treaty of Union to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. The Acts of Union 1800 incorporated the Kingdom of Ireland to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801. Most of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922 as the Irish Free State, and the Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927 created the present name, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The UK became the first industrialised country and was the world's foremost power for the majority of the 19th and early 20th centuries, particularly during the "Pax Britannica" between 1815 and 1914. At its height in the 1920s, the British Empire encompassed almost a quarter of the world's landmass and population, and was the largest empire in history. However, its involvement in the First World War and the Second World War damaged Britain's economic power and a global wave of decolonisation led to the independence of most British colonies. British influence can be observed in the legal and political systems of many of its former colonies, and British culture remains globally influential, particularly in language, literature, music and sport. English is the world's most widely spoken language and the third-most spoken native language.

The UK is a developed country and has the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal gross domestic product (GDP). It is a recognised nuclear state, and is ranked fourth globally in military expenditure. The UK has been a permanent member of the UN Security Council since its first session in 1946. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the OECD, NATO, the Five Eyes, AUKUS and the CPTPP. (Full article...)

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Brick Lane
Brick Lane

The East End of London is the area of London, England, east of the medieval walled City of London and north of the River Thames. Starting in the 19th century, the area experienced extreme overcrowding and a concentration of poor people and immigrants. Successive waves of immigration began with Huguenot refugees creating a new extramural suburb in Spitalfields in the 17th century. They were followed by Irish weavers, Ashkenazi Jews and, in the 20th century, Bangladeshis. Many of these immigrants worked in the clothing industry. The abundance of semi- and unskilled labour led to low wages and poor conditions throughout the East End. This brought the attentions of social reformers during the mid-18th century and led to the formation of unions and workers associations at the end of the century. The radicalism of the East End contributed to the formation of the Labour Party and demands for the enfranchisement of women. Official attempts to address the overcrowded housing began at the beginning of the 20th century under the London County Council. World War II devastated much of the East End, with its docks, railways and industry forming a continual target, leading to dispersal of the population to new suburbs, and new housing being built in the 1950s. The final closure of the London docks in 1980 created further challenges and led to attempts at regeneration and the formation of the London Docklands Development Corporation. The Canary Wharf development, improved infrastructure, and the Olympic Park mean that the East End is undergoing further change, but some of its parts continue to contain some of the worst poverty in Britain. (Full article...)

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Thomas of Bayeux was Archbishop of York from 1070 until 1100. A native of Bayeux, he was educated at Liège and became a royal chaplain to Duke William of Normandy, later King William I of England. After the Norman Conquest, the King nominated Thomas to succeed Ealdred as Archbishop of York. After Thomas' election, Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, demanded an oath from Thomas to obey him and any future Archbishops of Canterbury; this was part of Lanfranc's claim that Canterbury was the primary bishopric, and its holder the head of the English Church. Thomas countered that York had never made such an oath, which resulted in Lanfranc's refusal to consecrate him. The King eventually persuaded Thomas to submit, but Thomas and Lanfranc continued to clash over ecclesiastical and various other issues. After William I's death, Thomas served his successor William II, and helped to put down a rebellion led by Thomas' old mentor Odo of Bayeux. During William II's reign, Thomas again became involved in the dispute with Canterbury over the primacy when he refused to consecrate the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Anselm, if Anselm was named the Primate of England in the consecration service. After William II's sudden death in 1100, Thomas arrived too late to crown King Henry I, and died soon after the coronation. (Full article...)

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United Kingdom

UK geography · UK politics · UK subdivisions
Selected area-based projects
England (London) · Scotland · Northern Ireland · Wales (Cardiff)
Subject-specific projects
Baronetcies · Clans of Scotland · Cricket · Terry Pratchett's Discworld · Football clubs · Sherlock Holmes · British military history · Peerage

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In the news

Wikinews UK

12 July 2024 –
Metropolitan Police seek 24-year-old Colombian Yostin Andres Mosquera after human remains of two men are found in two suitcases in Bristol and more remains today in Shepherd's Bush, West London, United Kingdom. (Evening Standard)
10 July 2024 – Killings of Carol, Hannah and Louise Hunt
Louise's ex-boyfriend Kyle Clifford, wanted for the crossbow attack in Bushey, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, is arrested in Enfield, London. (USA Today)
9 July 2024 – Killings of Carol, Hannah and Louise Hunt
Three women are killed during a crossbow attack at a house in Bushey, United Kingdom. A 26-year-old man is wanted. (AP)
6 July 2024 –
British Prime Minister Keir Starmer officially cancels the Rwanda asylum plan, proposed by former prime ministers Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak. (Reuters)
5 July 2024 – 2024 United Kingdom general election
Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak concedes defeat to Labour Party leader Keir Starmer, ending 14 years of Conservative government. (Sky News) (BBC News)
Keir Starmer formally becomes Prime Minister after accepting an invitation from King Charles III to form a majority government. (Mirror) (BBC News)


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This page was last updated at 2024-07-13 11:47 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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