Area Studies (the UK)

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Area Studies (the UK)
   National Symbols and Flags of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland ∙ Physicalgeography ∙ Human Geography ∙ emographics ∙ !limate ∙ "and and settlement ∙ #heen$ironment and pollution% United Kingdom is a country in north-western Europe. It is made up of: Great &ritain  (theformerly separate realms of England and Scotland, and the principality of  Wales, NorthernIreland  (which occupies the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, also !nown as Ulster and numerous smaller islands  including the Isle of Wight, "nglesey, and the Scilly, #r!ney, Shetland,and $e%ridean archipelagos.   &he official name of the country is &he United Kingdom of 'reat ritain and )orthernIreland although it is usually !nown %y a shorter name. In the European parliament, at the United )ations and at the Euro*ision Song +ontest, for instance, it is referred to as &he United Kingdom.In e*eryday speech this is often shortened to the UK. In other contets it is referred to as 'reatritain. In writing and spea!ing that is not especially formal or informal, the name ritain isused. &he use of the *ery name (ritain dates %ac! to the time of "ristotle, howe*er the term 'reatritain was not officially used until /010 when a marriage proposal %etween Edward I2 of England3s daughter, +ecily, and 4ames I2 of Scotland was written. &he normal ad5ecti*e, whental!ing a%out something to do with the UK, is ritish.&he United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy. 6ueen Eli7a%eth II is the head of state %ut a ca%inet of senior politicians called ministers  actually go*erns the country8 the Prime'inister  is the head of the go*ernment. Parliament  is the chief lawma!ing %ody. It consists of themonarch, the House of !ommons  and the House of "ords . 9oyal arms date from /;1 in their present form. &he shield %ears the sym%ols of England,Ireland and Scotland. Flag of (nited )ingdom *()+ . &he flag of the United Kingdom has a %lue field with a redcross of Saint 'eorge (patron saint of England edged in white superimposed on the diagonal redcross of Saint <atric! (patron saint of Ireland, which is superimposed on the diagonal white crossof Saint "ndrew (patron saint of Scotland. United Kingdom=s flag is !nown as the ritish Union>lag or the Union 4ac!. It was officially adopted in -. . It is called the Union >lag %ecause itsym%olises the administrati*e union of the countries of the United Kingdom. It is made up of theindi*idual >lags of three of the Kingdom3s countries all united under one So*ereign - the countriesof 3England, of  3Scotland3 and of 3 Northern Ireland 3 (since /?@/ only )orthern Ireland has %een part of the United Kingdom. "s Wales was not a Kingdom %ut a <rincipality it could not %eincluded on the flag. In //?0 ".A., 9ichard I of England introduced the +ross of St. 'eorge, a redcross on a white ground, as the )ational >lag of England.In /B;C, under  $enry 2III, an "ct of Union was passed ma!ing Wales, in effect a pro*inceof England. "fter 6ueen Eli7a%eth I of England died in /CD;, King 4ames 2I of Scotland inheritedthe English throne and %ecame King 4ames I of England. It was a Union of the +rowns, %ut not yetof the nations. Each country still !ept their own parliaments. Early in his reign 4ames attempted tocom%ine England and Scotland in a united !ingdom of 3'reat ritain3. &his was the policy he presented to his first <arliament, called on @@ arch /CD0. &he union was resisted. 4ames defiedthem. #n @D #cto%er /CD0 he proclaimed a new title for himself as 3 )ing of Great &ritain 3.ut what flag should %e usedF " pro%lem arose, which flag should %e hoisted on the !ing3sships. English sailors resented the Scottish colours and the Scots scorned the cross of St. 'eorge.#n /@ "pril /./ , the )ational >lags of Scotland and England were united for use at sea, thusma!ing the first Union 34ac!3. "shore howe*er, the old flags of England and Scotland continued to %e used %y their respecti*e countries. " royal decree declared that the ships of the Kingdom of 'reat ritain G  shall bear on their maintops the red cross, commonly called St. George's cross, and the white cross, commonly called St. Andrew's cross .G When the red cross of England was put ontothe flag of Scotland, a white %order was added around the red cross for reasons of heraldry. (&herules of heraldry demanded that two colours must ne*er touch each other. #n @th 4uly, /1D1,during the reign of 6ueen "nne, this flag was %y royal proclamation made the )ational flag of /  'reat ritain, for use ashore   and afloat % &he "ct of Union of /1D1, 5oined England and Scotlandtogether, creating a single !ingdom with a single <arliament called 3United Kingdom of 'reatritain3. England Wales and Scotland were now united together under one monarch and one parliament. &he 9oyal )a*y christened the ritish flag G &he UnionG. #n / 4anuary /D/, Irelandwas united with 'reat ritain and it %ecame necessary to ha*e a new )ational >lag in which Irelandwas represented. &he cross St <atric! was com%ined with the Union >lag of St 'eorge and St"ndrew, to create the (nion Flag  that has %een flown e*er since. &he cross of St. <atric! wasinserted so the position gi*en to St. "ndrew3s +ross in one Huarter was the same as that gi*en to theIrish one in the diagonally opposite Huarter in heraldry this is !nown as GcounterchangingG. &he3new3 ritish flag is not symmetrical %ecause of the counterchange. "s Scotland 5oined the Unionnearly two hundred years %efore Ireland, St "ndrew3s +ross was placed uppermost in the top Huarter nearest the flagstaff, this %eing the most honoura%le position according to heraldry, while the Irish+ross was gi*en the second most honoura%le position, the top Huarter of the fly. In order to a*oidha*ing the red of the Irish +ross directly upon the %lue field of the Scottish one an edging of thewhite field of the Irish +ross is used. &he sym%ols of Scotland and Ireland are placed side %y sideon the Union >lag.   England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland were now all 5oined together and calledthe United Kingdom of 'reat ritain and Ireland. &he name was later changed to United Kingdomof 'reat ritain and )orthern Ireland when the greater part of Ireland left the United Kingdom in/?@/. N&%  &he St. <atric!3s +ross remains in the flag e*en though today only )orthern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom.EJES #> 9I&"I). Each country in ritain has its own patron saint and floral em%lem:England - St. 'eorge and the 9ose Scotland - St. "ndrew - the &histle and Scottish lue%ell, the national flower of Scotland is the thistle Wales - St. Aa*id and the Aaffodil )orthern Ireland - St. <atric!  and the Shamroc!.  Great Britain - Physical geography. &he UK has a total area of ?0,DB sHuare miles(@0;,C/D sH !m and a coastline of 1,1@; miles (/@,0@? m. &he population of the UK is C@,C?,;C@ people (4uly @D// estimate and a population density of 1/1 persons per sHuare mile (@11 persons per sHuare !ilometer. &he main ethnic group of 'reat ritain is ritish - particularly those who are+ornish, English, Scottish or Welsh.&he UK lies %etween the )orth "tlantic #cean and the )orth Sea, and comes within ;B !m(@@ miles of the northwest coast of >rance, from which it is separated %y the English +hannel. )orthern Ireland shares a ;CD !m international land %oundary with the 9epu%lic of Ireland. &he+hannel &unnel %ored %eneath the English +hannel, now lin!s the UK with >rance. #he "and . ritain can %e de*ided into eight main land regions. Se*en of these regionsoccupy the island of 'reat ritain. &hey are (/ the Scottish $ighlands, (@ the +entral Jowlands,(; the Southern Uplands, (0 the <ennines, (B Wales, (C the Southwest <eninsula and (1 theEnglish Jowlands. )orthern Ireland ma!es up the eighth region. #he Scottish Highlands  co*er the northern half of Scotland. &hey are a region of mountainranges, plateaus and deep *alleys. &he highest point in the ritish Isles /,;0;-meter (0,0DC-footen )e*is, rises in the $ighlands. any %ays cut into the region=s "tlantic #cean and )orth Seacoasts. Some narrow %ays, called sea lochs, are flan!ed %y steep mountain slopes and reach far inland. ost of the $ighlands is a moor  an area of coarse grasses, a few small trees and lowe*ergreen shru%s called heather. >ew people li*e there. ost of them raise sheep or they fish in theseas. #he !entral "o0lands  lie south of the Scottish $ighlands, in the *alleys of the 9i*ers+lyde, >orth and &ay. It has Scotland=s %est farmland and its richest coal deposits. ost of theScottish people li*e there and most of Scotland=s industry is in the Jowlands. #he Southern (plands  rise gently south of the +entral Jowlands. In the south, the Uplandsrise to the +he*iot $ills, which form the %order %etween Scotland and England. @  #he Pennines  are a region of rounded uplands that etend from the Scottish %order a%outhalfway down the length of England. &hey are also !nown as the <ennine +hain or <ennine $illsand they are often called the %ac!%one of England. &heir flan!s are rich in coal. &he Ja!e Aistrict isone of England=s most famous recreation areas. Wales  lies southwest of the <ennines. It is separated from the <ennines %y a narrow strip of the English lowlands. &he +am%rian ountains co*er most of Wales. Southern Wales is largely a plateau deeply cut %y ri*er *alleys. ost of the people li*e on the narrow coastal plains or in thedeep, green ri*er *alleys. &hese are the %est areas for crop farming and raising dairy cattle. &he restof the land is too steep for raising crops and is used mostly for gra7ing sheep and some %eef cattle.Wales has large deposits of coal in the south, though most of its mines ha*e %een closed. uch of the country=s industry is centered in the large coastal towns. #he South0est Peninsula  lies south of Wales, across the ristol +hannel. >armers grow*egeta%les and raise dairy cattle. &he peninsula was once famous for its tin and copper mines, %utmost of these metals ha*e %een wor!ed out. ore important today is the region=s fine white chinaclay, used to ma!e pottery. #he English "o0lands  co*er all England south of <ennines and east of Wales and theSouthwest <eninsula. &his region has most of the United Kingdom=s farma%le land, industry and people. " grassy plain called the idlands lies in the center of the English Jowlands, 5ust south of the <ennines. &he idlands are the industrial heart of the United Kingdom. ost of the land northof the &hames and up to %ay of the )orth Sea called &he Wash is low and flat. &his area has someof the country=s richest farmland. " great plain called &he >ens %orders &he Wash. In the >ens, near Ely, is the lowest point on the island of 'reat ritain. It ranges from sea le*el to 0.C meters (/B feet %elow sea le*el, depending on the tide of the )orth Sea. Northern Ireland  is a region of low mountains, deep *alleys and fertile lowlands. &he chief natural resources are rich fields and pastures and most of the land is used for crop farming or gra7ing. &he UK is made up of se*eral islands. &he only land %order connecting the UK to another country is %etween )orthern Ireland and the 9epu%lic of Ireland. &he UK is %ordered %y four seas: • to the south %y the English +hannel, which separates it from continental Europe • to the east %y the )orth Sea • to the west %y the Irish Sea and the "tlantic #cean %1i$ers and la2es . eing a relati*ely small Island, the UK3s ri*ers are not *ery long. &he Se*ern,its longest ri*er, is 5ust ;B0 !m (@@D miles in length, %eginning in Wales and entering the "tlantic#cean near ristol in England. #ther ma5or ri*ers include the &hames  ;0C !m (@/B miles, whichseeps out of the earth in a 'loucestershire field near +irencester and flows through #ford andJondon. any ritish ri*ers ha*e drowned or sun!en, mouths called estuaries, up which the oceantides flow. &hese ri*ers include the +lyde and >orth of Scotland the $um%er, ersey and &hamesof England the Se*ern of England and Wales.  )orthern Ireland is also home to the UK3s largest la!e, Jough )eagh, which co*ers an areaof ;?CsH.!m (/B; sH miles. #ther ma5or la!es include Windermere in the English Ja!e Aistrict(/C!m8/D miles long and up to /.C!m8/ mile wide and Joch Jomond in Scotland (;1 !m8@; mileslong and  !m8B miles wide at its widest point. "nother of Scotland3s la!es, Joch )ess is famousfor sightings of 3)essie3, a mythical monsterL !limate . &he UK3s climate *aries greatly according to season and location, %ut on the wholecan %e descri%ed as mild with few etremes. &he climate of 'reat ritain is temperate and it ismoderated %y the 'ulf Stream. &he region is !nown for %eing cool and cloudy during the winter and the western parts of the island are windy and rainy %ecause they are more influenced %y theocean. &he eastern parts are drier and less windy. &emperatures are ordinarily around /BM+ in summer and around BM+ in winter and in rarecases eceed ;@M+ or drop %elow -/DM+. >rosts, when the temperature dips %elow DM+, are also arare phenomenon. &he sea winds also %ring plentiful rains. &he hea*iest rains fall in the highlandareas of western Scotland. &he United Kingdom has rain throughout the year and rarely is anysection of the country dry for as long as three wee!s. ;  #he en$ironment and pollution . ild fogs hang o*er parts of the country from time to time.ut the famous pea soup fogs of Jondon and other %ig cities seldom occur any more. &hese sic!,hea*y fogs were caused chiefly %y smo!e and other pollution released into the air %y factories,automo%iles and homes where coal was %urned for heat. &he situation with smog in Jondon reachedits worst point in /?B@. Water pollution was also a pro%lem. In the /? th  century it was once suggested that the $ouseof <arliament should %e wrapped in enormous wet sheets to protect those inside from the awfulsmell of the 9i*er &hames. y the end of the /?1Ds it was said to %e possi%le to catch fish in the&hames outside <arliament.&here are se*eral large cities on the island of 'reat ritain %ut the largest is Jondon, the capitalof England and the United Kingdom. #ther large cities include irmingham, ristol, 'lasgow,Edin%urgh, Jeeds, Ji*erpool and anchester.Jondon (the largest city in Europe the ? th  largest city in the world dominates ritain. It ishome for the headHuarters of all go*ernment departments, parliament, the ma5or legal institutionsand the monarch. It is the country=s %usiness and %an!ing centre and the centre of its transportnetwor!. It contains the headHuarters of the national tele*ision networ!s and of all the nationalnewspapers. Jondon was nearly destroyed twice, %y fire in /CCC and %y 'erman air raids duringWorld War II. "lthough each disaster wiped out much of Jondon, many old landmar!s were re%uilt.&he old +ity of Jondon and the communities surrounding it form one political unit withdefinite %oundaries. &his area is called 'reater Jondon or simply Jondon. Jondon is di*ided into ;@ %oroughs (local units of go*ernment plus the old +ity of Jondon,often simply called the +ity.+entral Jondon can %e di*ided into three main sections. &hey are: (/ the +ity, (@ the WestEnd and (; the South an!. &he +ity and the West End lie on the north side of the &hames. &heSouth an! lies across the ri*er from these areas. " num%er of great %ridges lin! the South an! with the +ity and West End. &hese %ridges include the new Jondon ridge, &ower ridge andWestminster ridge. The City  forms Jondon=s famous financial district. It co*ers a%out @.C sHuare !ilometers (/sHuare mile at the eastern edge of central Jondon. It is the oldest part of Jondon. It consists largelyof modern %an!  office %uildings dome of St. <aul=s +athedral the 'uildhall ansion $ouse, thehome of the +ity=s lord mayor a C@-meter (@D@-foot stone column called the onument standsnear the spot in the +ity where the 'reat >ire started in /CCC. The West End   is the center of ritain=s go*ernment and Jondon=s retail trade and night life.It is also Jondon=s most fashiona%le residential area. &he West End co*ers a%out / sH.!m. (1sH.miles 5ust west of the +ity: ritain=s chief go*ernment %uildings are in the +ity of Westminster&he $ouses of <arliament, the go*ernment %uildings )um%er /D Aowning Street uc!inghamJondon=s main shopping and entertainment districts &rafalgar SHuare <iccadilly +ircus, a districtcrowded with restaurants and nightclu%s. East End : this area includes most of the %orough of &ower $amlets, 5ust east of the +ity,and the southern part of the %orough of $ac!ney." %road %and of countryside, called the 'reen elt, surrounds 'reater Jondon. Southern England . &he area surrounding the outer su%ur%s of Jondon has the reputation of  %eing Ncommuter land=. &his is the most densely populated area in the UK which does not include alarge city and millions of its inha%itants tra*el into Jondon to wor! e*ery day. &here is little hea*yindustry. &he region !nown as Nthe West +ountry= has an attracti*e image of rural %eauty in ritish people=s minds. &here is some industry and one large city %ut farming is more widespread than it isin most other regions. East "nglia, to the north-east of Jondon, is also comparati*ely rural. It is the only region inritain where there are large epanses of uniformly flat land. &he )orfol! roads, for eample, arecriss-crossed %y hundreds of waterways %ut there are no towns here, so this is a popular area for  %oating holidays. #he 'idlands . irmingham is ritain=s second largest city. Aespite the decline of hea*yindustry in modern times, factories in this area still con*ert iron and steel into a *ast *ariety of 0  goods. &here are other industrial areas in the idlands, nota%ly the towns %etween the Westidlands and anchester !nown as &he <otteries (famous for producing china such as that made atthe factories of Wedgewood, Spode and inton and se*eral town in the East idlands, such asAer%y, Jeicester and )ottingham. #n the east coast 'rims%y is one of ritain=s most importantfishing ports. Northern England . &he <ennine mountains run up the middle of northern England li!e aspine. #n either side, the large deposits of coal (used to pro*ide power and iron one (used to ma!emachinery ena%led these areas to lead the Industrial 9e*olution in the eighteenth century. #n thewestern side the anchester area %ecame in the nineteenth century, the world=s leading producer of cotton goods on the eastern side, towns such as radford and Jeeds %ecame the world=s leading producers of woolen goods. >urther south, Sheffield %ecame a centre for the production of steelgoods. >urther north, around )ewcastle, ship%uilding was the ma5or industry. &he 9omantic <oetsof the nineteenth century, Wordsworth, +oleridge and Southey (the NJa!e <oets= li*ed here andwrote a%out its %eauty. Scotland  has three fairly clearly-mar!ed regions. &here are the highlands, consisting of mountains and deep *alleys and including numerous small islands off the west coast. &ourism isimportant in the local economy, and so is the production of whic!y. 'lasgow is the third largest cityin ritain. 'lasgow has a strong artistic heritage. " hundred years ago the wor! of the 'lasgowSchool (led %y ac!intosh put the city at the forefront of European design and architecture. In/??D it was the European +ity of +ulture. Edin%urgh, which is half the si7e of 'lasgow, has a comparati*ely middle-class image. It isthe capital of Scotland and has %een important as a cultural and educational center for centuries. &heUni*ersity of Edin%urg and the 9oyal $igh School were founded in the /BDD=s. &he "d*ocate=sJi%rary, where the philosopher Aa*id $ume was once li%rarian, was founded in /C@. Important artcollections are housed in the 9oyal Scottish "cademy, the 9oyal Scottish useum and the )ational'allery of Scotland. &he Edin%urg International >esti*al of the "rts, a festi*al of musical anddramatic productions, is held annually. Wales . "s in Scotland most people in Wales li*e in one small part of it. In the Welsh case, itis the south-east of the country that is most hea*ily populated. Aespite its industry, no really largecities ha*e grown up in this area. +oal mining in south Wales has now ceased. ost of the rest of Wales is mountainous. &he Welsh ta!e great pride in their heritage. "lthough Wales has %een unitedwith England for more than 0DD years, the Welsh ha*e !ept ali*e their own language, literature andtraditions. &he Welsh name for Wales is +umru. &he capital and the largest city of Wales is +ardiff  the country=s chief economic, industrialand cultural center. +ardiff lies on the southeast coast of Wales. &hree ri*ers  the &aff, the Ely andthe 9hymney  flow through +ardiff into the ristol +hannel. &he +i*ic center includes the Jaw+ourts, +ity $all, )ational useum of Wales and the Uni*ersity +olege. )ear%y are the )ationalSports +enter, )ational School of medicine and +ardiff +astle (%uilt in /D?D. +ardiff is also thehome of the medie*al Jlandaff +athedral, the Welsh Industrial and aritime useum and theWelsh >ol! useum. Northern Ireland . With the eception of elfast, which is famous for the manufacture of linen (and which is still a ship%uilding city, this region is, li!e the rest of Ireland, largelyagricultural. )orthern Ireland is often called Ulster  that was the name of a large pro*ince of Ireland until /?@D, when )orthern Ireland was separated from the rest of Ireland. ore than /,Bmillion people li*e in )orthern Ireland a%out two-thirds of them li*e in ur%un areas. &he largestcities are elfast (the capital and Jondonderry. >or many years ship%uilding and tetilemanufacturing pro*ided most of the 5o%s in elfast. &etile factories in elfast produce delicateIrish linen that is famous throughout the world. Since the /?;Ds, the construction of aircraft has %ecome an important part of elfast=s economy. #ther ma5or products include clothing, machinery,nonalcoholic %e*erages, processed foods, rope, soap and to%acco. English and Scottish settlersesta%lished elfast as a trading center in /C/;. Auring the /DDs, elfast %ecame an industrial cityand ma5or port. >rom /D/ until /?@D, what are now )orthern Ireland and Ireland formed one political de*ision of the United Kingdom. In /?@D, Ireland %ecame independent. )orthern IrelandB
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