|United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
|Anthem: "God Save the Queen"[nb 2]
and largest city
|Recognised regional languages||Scots, Ulster-Scots, Welsh, Cornish, Irish, Scottish Gaelic[nb 3]|
|Ethnic groups (2011[nb 4])|
|Government||Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy|
|-||Monarch||Queen Elizabeth II|
|-||Prime Minister||David Cameron|
|-||Upper house||House of Lords|
|-||Lower house||House of Commons|
|-||Acts of Union 1707||1 May 1707|
|-||Acts of Union 1800||1 January 1801|
|-||Anglo-Irish Treaty||6 December 1922|
|-||Joined the EEC
(now the EU)
|1 January 1973|
|-||Total||243,610 km2 (80th)
94,060 sq mi
|-||2012 estimate||63,705,000 (22nd)|
|-||2011 census||63,181,775 (22nd)|
|GDP (PPP)||2013 estimate|
|-||Total||$2.378 trillion (8th)|
|-||Per capita||$38,309 (21st)|
|GDP (nominal)||2013 estimate|
|-||Total||$2.490 trillion (6th)|
|-||Per capita||$40,879 (24th)|
|Gini (2012)|| 32.8
medium · 33rd
|HDI (2013)|| 0.875
very high · 26th
|Currency||Pound sterling (
|Time zone||GMT (UTC±0)|
|-||Summer (DST)||BST (UTC+1)|
|Date format||dd/mm/yyyy (AD)|
|Drives on the||left|
|ISO 3166 code||GB|
|Internet TLD||.uk[nb 5]|
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,[nb 6] commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain (//), is a sovereign state located off the north-western coast of continental Europe. The country includes the island of Great Britain (a term sometimes loosely applied to the whole state), the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that shares a land border with another state: the Republic of Ireland.[nb 7] Apart from this land border, the UK is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea in the east, the English Channel in the south and the Irish Sea in the west.
The UK's form of government is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system, and its capital city is London. The current British monarch—since 6 February 1952—is Queen Elizabeth II. The United Kingdom consists of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The latter three have devolved administrations, each with varying powers, based in their capital cities, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, respectively. Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man are Crown dependencies and are not part of the UK. The United Kingdom has fourteen British Overseas Territories. These are remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, encompassed almost a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language, culture and legal systems of many of its former colonies.
The United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP and eighth-largest by purchasing power parity. It was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power with considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific and political influence internationally. It is a recognised nuclear weapons state and its military expenditure ranks fourth in the world.
The UK has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946. It has been a member of the European Union (EU) and its predecessor the European Economic Community (EEC) since 1973; it is also a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G8, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
- 1 Etymology and terminology
- 2 History
- 3 Geography
- 4 Politics
- 5 Economy
- 6 Demographics
- 7 Culture
- 8 See also
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
Etymology and terminology
The 1707 Acts of Union declared that the Kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain" though the new state is also referred to in the Acts as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and the United Kingdom.[nb 8] The term United Kingdom is found in informal use during the 18th century and the country was occasionally referred to as the "United Kingdom of Great Britain". The Acts of Union 1800 united the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland in 1801, and created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The name "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" was adopted by the Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927. It reflected the independence of the Irish Free State, and the partition of Ireland, in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the UK.
Although the United Kingdom, as a sovereign state, is a country, England, Scotland, Wales, and to a lesser degree, Northern Ireland, are also regarded as countries, though not sovereign states. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have devolved self-government. The British Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom. Some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the UK, also refer to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is also referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice often revealing one's political preferences."
The term Britain is often used as synonym for the United Kingdom. The term Great Britain, by contrast, refers geographically to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England, Scotland and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole. GB and GBR are the standard country codes for the United Kingdom (see ISO 3166-2 and ISO 3166-1 alpha-3) and are consequently used by international organisations to refer to the United Kingdom. Also, the United Kingdom's Olympic team competes under the name "Great Britain" or "Team GB".
The adjective British is commonly used to refer to matters relating to the United Kingdom. The term has no definite legal connotation, but is used in law to refer to UK citizenship and matters to do with nationality. British people use a number of different terms to describe their national identity and may identify themselves as being British; or as being English, Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish, or Irish; or as being both.
In 2006, a new design of British passport was introduced. Its first page shows the long form name of the state in English, Welsh and Scottish Gaelic. In Welsh, the long form name of the state is "Teyrnas Unedig Prydain Fawr a Gogledd Iwerddon" with "Teyrnas Unedig" being used as a short form name on government websites. In Scottish Gaelic, the long form is "Rìoghachd Aonaichte na Breatainne Mòire is Èireann a Tuath" and the short form "Rìoghachd Aonaichte".
Settlement by anatomically modern humans of what was to become the United Kingdom occurred in waves beginning by about 30,000 years ago. By the end of the region's prehistoric period, the population is thought to have belonged, in the main, to a culture termed Insular Celtic, comprising Brythonic Britain and Gaelic Ireland. The Roman conquest, beginning in 43 AD, and the 400-year rule of southern Britain, was followed by an invasion by Germanic Anglo-Saxon settlers, reducing the Brythonic area mainly to what was to become Wales and the historic Kingdom of Strathclyde. Most of the region settled by the Anglo-Saxons became unified as the Kingdom of England in the 10th century. Meanwhile, Gaelic-speakers in north west Britain (with connections to the north-east of Ireland and traditionally supposed to have migrated from there in the 5th century) united with the Picts to create the Kingdom of Scotland in the 9th century.
In 1066, the Normans invaded England from France and after its conquest, seized large parts of Wales, conquered much of Ireland and were invited to settle in Scotland, bringing to each country feudalism on the Northern French model and Norman-French culture. The Norman elites greatly influenced, but eventually assimilated with, each of the local cultures. Subsequent medieval English kings completed the conquest of Wales and made an unsuccessful attempt to annex Scotland. Thereafter, Scotland maintained its independence, albeit in near-constant conflict with England. The English monarchs, through inheritance of substantial territories in France and claims to the French crown, were also heavily involved in conflicts in France, most notably the Hundred Years War, while the Kings of Scots were in an alliance with the French during this period.
The early modern period saw religious conflict resulting from the Reformation and the introduction of Protestant state churches in each country. Wales was fully incorporated into the Kingdom of England, and Ireland was constituted as a kingdom in personal union with the English crown. In what was to become Northern Ireland, the lands of the independent Catholic Gaelic nobility were confiscated and given to Protestant settlers from England and Scotland.
In 1603, the kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland were united in a personal union when James VI, King of Scots, inherited the crowns of England and Ireland and moved his court from Edinburgh to London; each country nevertheless remained a separate political entity and retained its separate political, legal, and religious institutions.
In the mid-17th century, all three kingdoms were involved in a series of connected wars (including the English Civil War) which led to the temporary overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of the short-lived unitary republic of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland.
Although the monarchy was restored, it ensured (with the Glorious Revolution of 1688) that, unlike much of the rest of Europe, royal absolutism would not prevail, and a professed Catholic could never accede to the throne. The British constitution would develop on the basis of constitutional monarchy and the parliamentary system. During this period, particularly in England, the development of naval power (and the interest in voyages of discovery) led to the acquisition and settlement of overseas colonies, particularly in North America.
Since the Acts of Union of 1707
On 1 May 1707, the united kingdom of Great Britain came into being, the result of Acts of Union being passed by the parliaments of England and Scotland to ratify the 1706 Treaty of Union and so unite the two kingdoms.
In the 18th century, cabinet government developed under Robert Walpole, in practice the first prime minister (1721–1742). A series of Jacobite Uprisings sought to remove the Protestant House of Hanover from the British throne and restore the Catholic House of Stuart. The Jacobites were finally defeated at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, after which the Scottish Highlanders were brutally suppressed. The British colonies in North America that broke away from Britain in the American War of Independence became the United States of America in 1782. British imperial ambition turned elsewhere, particularly to India.
During the 18th century, Britain was involved in the Atlantic slave trade. Britain transported an estimated 2 million slaves from Africa to the West Indies before banning the trade in 1807. The term 'United Kingdom' became official in 1801 when the parliaments of Britain and Ireland each passed an Act of Union, uniting the two kingdoms and creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In the early 19th century, the British-led Industrial Revolution began to transform the country. It slowly led to a shift in political power away from the old Tory and Whig landowning classes towards the new industrialists. An alliance of merchants and industrialists with the Whigs would lead to a new party, the Liberals, with an ideology of free trade and laissez-faire. In 1832 Parliament passed the Great Reform Act, which began the transfer of political power from the aristocracy to the middle classes. In the countryside, enclosure of the land was driving small farmers out. Towns and cities began to swell with a new urban working class. Few ordinary workers had the vote, and they created their own organisations in the form of trade unions.
After the defeat of France in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (1792–1815), the UK emerged as the principal naval and imperial power of the 19th century (with London the largest city in the world from about 1830). Unchallenged at sea, British dominance was later described as Pax Britannica. By the time of the Great Exhibition of 1851, Britain was described as the "workshop of the world". The British Empire was expanded to include India, large parts of Africa and many other territories throughout the world. Alongside the formal control it exerted over its own colonies, British dominance of much of world trade meant that it effectively controlled the economies of many countries, such as China, Argentina and Siam. Domestically, political attitudes favoured free trade and laissez-faire policies and a gradual widening of the voting franchise. During the century, the population increased at a dramatic rate, accompanied by rapid urbanisation, causing significant social and economic stresses. After 1875, the UK's industrial monopoly was challenged by Germany and the USA. To seek new markets and sources of raw materials, the Conservative Party under Disraeli launched a period of imperialist expansion in Egypt, South Africa and elsewhere. Canada, Australia and New Zealand became self-governing dominions.
Social reform and home rule for Ireland were important domestic issues after 1900. The Labour Party emerged from an alliance of trade unions and small Socialist groups in 1900, and suffragettes campaigned for women's right to vote before 1914.
The UK fought with France, Russia and (after 1917) the US, against Germany and its allies in World War I (1914–18). The UK armed forces were engaged across much of the British Empire and in several regions of Europe, particularly on the Western front. The high fatalities of trench warfare caused the loss of much of a generation of men, with lasting social effects in the nation and a great disruption in the social order.
After the war, the UK received the League of Nations mandate over a number of former German and Ottoman colonies. The British Empire reached its greatest extent, covering a fifth of the world's land surface and a quarter of its population. However, the UK had suffered 2.5 million casualties and finished the war with a huge national debt. The rise of Irish Nationalism and disputes within Ireland over the terms of Irish Home Rule led eventually to the partition of the island in 1921, and the Irish Free State became independent with Dominion status in 1922. Northern Ireland remained part of the United Kingdom. A wave of strikes in the mid-1920s culminated in the UK General Strike of 1926. The UK had still not recovered from the effects of the war when the Great Depression (1929–32) occurred. This led to considerable unemployment and hardship in the old industrial areas, as well as political and social unrest in the 1930s. A coalition government was formed in 1931.
The UK entered World War II by declaring war on Germany in 1939, after it had invaded Poland and Czechoslovakia. In 1940, Winston Churchill became prime minister and head of a coalition government. Despite the defeat of its European allies in the first year of the war, the UK continued the fight alone against Germany. In 1940, the RAF defeated the German Luftwaffe in a struggle for control of the skies in the Battle of Britain. The UK suffered heavy bombing during the Blitz. There were also eventual hard-fought victories in the Battle of the Atlantic, the North Africa campaign and Burma campaign. UK forces played an important role in the Normandy landings of 1944, achieved with its ally the US. After Germany's defeat, the UK was one of the Big Three powers who met to plan the post-war world; it was an original signatory to the Declaration of the United Nations. The UK became one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. However, the war left the UK severely weakened and depending financially on Marshall Aid and loans from the United States.
In the immediate post-war years, the Labour government initiated a radical programme of reforms, which had a significant effect on British society in the following decades. Major industries and public utilities were nationalised, a Welfare State was established, and a comprehensive, publicly funded healthcare system, the National Health Service, was created. The rise of nationalism in the colonies coincided with Britain's now much-diminished economic position, so that a policy of decolonisation was unavoidable. Independence was granted to India and Pakistan in 1947. Over the next three decades, most colonies of the British Empire gained their independence. Many became members of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Although the UK was the third country to develop a nuclear weapons arsenal (with its first atomic bomb test in 1952), the new post-war limits of Britain's international role were illustrated by the Suez Crisis of 1956. The international spread of the English language ensured the continuing international influence of its literature and culture. From the 1960s onward, its popular culture was also influential abroad. As a result of a shortage of workers in the 1950s, the UK government encouraged immigration from Commonwealth countries. In the following decades, the UK became a multi-ethnic society. Despite rising living standards in the late 1950s and 1960s, the UK's economic performance was not as successful as many of its competitors, such as West Germany and Japan. In 1973, the UK joined the European Economic Community (EEC), and when the EEC became the European Union (EU) in 1992, it was one of the 12 founding members.
From the late 1960s, Northern Ireland suffered communal and paramilitary violence (sometimes affecting other parts of the UK) conventionally known as the Troubles. It is usually considered to have ended with the Belfast "Good Friday" Agreement of 1998.
Following a period of widespread economic slowdown and industrial strife in the 1970s, the Conservative Government of the 1980s initiated a radical policy of monetarism, deregulation, particularly of the financial sector (for example, Big Bang in 1986) and labour markets, the sale of state-owned companies (privatisation), and the withdrawal of subsidies to others. This resulted in high unemployment and social unrest, but ultimately also economic growth, particularly in the services sector. From 1984, the economy was helped by the inflow of substantial North Sea oil revenues.
Around the end of the 20th century there were major changes to the governance of the UK with the establishment of devolved administrations for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The statutory incorporation followed acceptance of the European Convention on Human Rights. The UK is still a key global player diplomatically and militarily. It plays leading roles in the EU, UN and NATO. However, controversy surrounds some of Britain's overseas military deployments, particularly in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In 2013, the UK is striving to recover from a slump that followed the 2008 global financial crisis. A coalition government has introduced austerity measures which aim to tackle a large budget deficit. Scottish Independence is back on the agenda. The Scottish Government will hold an independence referendum on 18 September 2014. If passed Scotland will become a sovereign state independent of the other nations within the current UK.
The total area of the United Kingdom is approximately 243,610 square kilometres (94,060 sq mi). The country occupies the major part of the British Isles archipelago and includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern one-sixth of the island of Ireland and some smaller surrounding islands. It lies between the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea with the south-east coast coming within 22 miles (35 km) of the coast of northern France, from which it is separated by the English Channel. In 1993 10% of the UK was forested, 46% used for pastures and 25% cultivated for agriculture. The Royal Greenwich Observatory in London is the defining point of the Prime Meridian.
The United Kingdom lies between latitudes 49° to 61° N, and longitudes 9° W to 2° E. Northern Ireland shares a 224-mile (360 km) land boundary with the Republic of Ireland. The coastline of Great Britain is 11,073 miles (17,820 km) long. It is connected to continental Europe by the Channel Tunnel, which at 31 miles (50 km) (24 miles (38 km) underwater) is the longest underwater tunnel in the world.
England accounts for just over half of the total area of the UK, covering 130,395 square kilometres (50,350 sq mi). Most of the country consists of lowland terrain, with mountainous terrain north-west of the Tees-Exe line; including the Cumbrian Mountains of the Lake District, the Pennines and limestone hills of the Peak District, Exmoor and Dartmoor. The main rivers and estuaries are the Thames, Severn and the Humber. England's highest mountain is Scafell Pike (978 metres (3,209 ft)) in the Lake District. Its principal rivers are the Severn, Thames, Humber, Tees, Tyne, Tweed, Avon, Exe and Mersey.
Scotland accounts for just under a third of the total area of the UK, covering 78,772 square kilometres (30,410 sq mi) and including nearly eight hundred islands, predominantly west and north of the mainland; notably the Hebrides, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands. The topography of Scotland is distinguished by the Highland Boundary Fault – a geological rock fracture – which traverses Scotland from Arran in the west to Stonehaven in the east. The faultline separates two distinctively different regions; namely the Highlands to the north and west and the lowlands to the south and east. The more rugged Highland region contains the majority of Scotland's mountainous land, including Ben Nevis which at 1,343 metres (4,406 ft) is the highest point in the British Isles. Lowland areas – especially the narrow waist of land between the Firth of Clyde and the Firth of Forth known as the Central Belt – are flatter and home to most of the population including Glasgow, Scotland's largest city, and Edinburgh, its capital and political centre.
Wales accounts for less than a tenth of the total area of the UK, covering 20,779 square kilometres (8,020 sq mi). Wales is mostly mountainous, though South Wales is less mountainous than North and mid Wales. The main population and industrial areas are in South Wales, consisting of the coastal cities of Cardiff, Swansea and Newport, and the South Wales Valleys to their north. The highest mountains in Wales are in Snowdonia and include Snowdon (Welsh: Yr Wyddfa) which, at 1,085 metres (3,560 ft), is the highest peak in Wales. The 14, or possibly 15, Welsh mountains over 3,000 feet (914 m) high are known collectively as the Welsh 3000s. Wales has over 746 miles (1,200 kilometres) of coastline. There are several islands off the Welsh mainland, the largest of which is Anglesey (Ynys Môn) in the northwest.
Northern Ireland accounts for just 14,160 square kilometres (5,470 sq mi) and is mostly hilly. It includes Lough Neagh which, at 388 square kilometres (150 sq mi), is the largest lake in the British Isles by area. The highest peak in Northern Ireland is Slieve Donard in the Mourne Mountains at 852 metres (2,795 ft).
The United Kingdom has a temperate climate, with plentiful rainfall all year round. The temperature varies with the seasons seldom dropping below −11 °C (12 °F) or rising above 35 °C (95 °F). The prevailing wind is from the south-west and bears frequent spells of mild and wet weather from the Atlantic Ocean, although the eastern parts are mostly sheltered from this wind since the majority of the rain falls over the western regions the eastern parts are therefore the driest. Atlantic currents, warmed by the Gulf Stream, bring mild winters; especially in the west where winters are wet and even more so over high ground. Summers are warmest in the south-east of England, being closest to the European mainland, and coolest in the north. Heavy snowfall can occur in winter and early spring on high ground, and occasionally settles to great depth away from the hills.
Each country of the United Kingdom has its own system of administrative and geographic demarcation, whose origins often pre-date the formation of the United Kingdom. Thus there is "no common stratum of administrative unit encompassing the United Kingdom". Until the 19th century there was little change to those arrangements, but there has since been a constant evolution of role and function. Change did not occur in a uniform manner and the devolution of power over local government to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland means that future changes are unlikely to be uniform either.
The organisation of local government in England is complex, with the distribution of functions varying according to local arrangements. Legislation concerning local government in England is the responsibility of the UK parliament and the Government of the United Kingdom, as England has no devolved parliament. The upper-tier subdivisions of England are the nine Government office regions or European Union government office regions. One region, Greater London, has had a directly elected assembly and mayor since 2000 following popular support for the proposal in a referendum. It was intended that other regions would also be given their own elected regional assemblies, but a proposed assembly in the North East region was rejected by a referendum in 2004. Below the regional tier, some parts of England have county councils and district councils and others have unitary authorities; while London consists of 32 London boroughs and the City of London. Councillors are elected by the first-past-the-post system in single-member wards or by the multi-member plurality system in multi-member wards.
For local government purposes, Scotland is divided into 32 council areas, with wide variation in both size and population. The cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee are separate council areas, as is the Highland Council which includes a third of Scotland's area but only just over 200,000 people. Local councils are made up of elected councillors, of whom there are currently 1,222; they are paid a part-time salary. Elections are conducted by single transferable vote in multi-member wards that elect either three or four councillors. Each council elects a Provost, or Convenor, to chair meetings of the council and to act as a figurehead for the area. Councillors are subject to a code of conduct enforced by the Standards Commission for Scotland. The representative association of Scotland's local authorities is the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).
Local government in Wales consists of 22 unitary authorities. These include the cities of Cardiff, Swansea and Newport which are unitary authorities in their own right. Elections are held every four years under the first-past-the-post system. The most recent elections were held in May 2012, except for the Isle of Anglesey. The Welsh Local Government Association represents the interests of local authorities in Wales.
Local government in Northern Ireland has since 1973 been organised into 26 district councils, each elected by single transferable vote. Their powers are limited to services such as collecting waste, controlling dogs and maintaining parks and cemeteries. On 13 March 2008 the executive agreed on proposals to create 11 new councils and replace the present system. The next local elections were postponed until 2016 to facilitate this.
The fourteen British Overseas Territories are: Anguilla; Bermuda; the British Antarctic Territory; the British Indian Ocean Territory; the British Virgin Islands; the Cayman Islands; the Falkland Islands; Gibraltar; Montserrat; Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; the Turks and Caicos Islands; the Pitcairn Islands; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; and the Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus. British claims in Antarctica are not universally recognised. Collectively Britain's overseas territories encompass an approximate land area of 1,727,570 square kilometres (667,018 sq mi) and a population of approximately 260,000 people. They are the remnants of the British Empire and several have specifically voted to remain British territories (Bermuda in 1995, Gibraltar in 2002 and the Falkland Islands in 2013).
The Crown Dependencies are British possessions of the Crown, as opposed to overseas territories of the UK. They comprise the Channel Island Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey in the English Channel and the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. Being independently administered jurisdictions they do not form part of the United Kingdom or of the European Union, although the UK government manages their foreign affairs and defence and the UK Parliament has the authority to legislate on their behalf. The power to pass legislation affecting the islands ultimately rests with their own respective legislative assemblies, with the assent of the Crown (Privy Council or, in the case of the Isle of Man, in certain circumstances the Lieutenant-Governor). Since 2005 each Crown dependency has had a Chief Minister as its head of government.
The United Kingdom is a unitary state under a constitutional monarchy. Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state of the UK as well as monarch of fifteen other independent Commonwealth countries. The monarch has "the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, and the right to warn". The United Kingdom is one of only four countries in the world to have an uncodified constitution.[nb 9] The Constitution of the United Kingdom thus consists mostly of a collection of disparate written sources, including statutes, judge-made case law and international treaties, together with constitutional conventions. As there is no technical difference between ordinary statutes and "constitutional law", the UK Parliament can perform "constitutional reform" simply by passing Acts of Parliament, and thus has the political power to change or abolish almost any written or unwritten element of the constitution. However, no Parliament can pass laws that future Parliaments cannot change.
The UK has a parliamentary government based on the Westminster system that has been emulated around the world: a legacy of the British Empire. The parliament of the United Kingdom that meets in the Palace of Westminster has two houses; an elected House of Commons and an appointed House of Lords. All bills passed are given Royal Assent before becoming law.
The position of prime minister, the UK's head of government, belongs to the member of parliament who can obtain the confidence of a majority in the House of Commons, usually the leader of the largest political party in that chamber. The prime minister chooses a cabinet and they are formally appointed by the monarch to form Her Majesty's Government. By convention, the Queen respects the prime minister's decisions of government.
The cabinet is traditionally drawn from members of the Prime Minister's party in both legislative houses, and mostly from the House of Commons, to which they are responsible. Executive power is exercised by the prime minister and cabinet, all of whom are sworn into the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, and become Ministers of the Crown. The Rt. Hon. David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party, heads a coalition with the UK's third party, the Liberal Democrats. Cameron has been Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service since 11 May 2010. For elections to the House of Commons, the UK is currently divided into 650 constituencies, each electing a single member of parliament by simple plurality. General elections are called by the monarch when the prime minister so advises. The Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 require that a new election must be called no later than five years after the previous general election.
The UK's three major political parties are the Conservative Party, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats. During the 2010 general election these three parties won 622 out of 650 seats available in the House of Commons. Most of the remaining seats were won by parties that contest elections only in one part of the UK: the Scottish National Party (Scotland only); Plaid Cymru (Wales only); and the Democratic Unionist Party, Social Democratic and Labour Party, Ulster Unionist Party and Sinn Féin (Northern Ireland only, though Sinn Féin also contests elections in the Republic of Ireland). In accordance with party policy, no elected Sinn Féin members of parliament have ever attended the House of Commons to speak on behalf of their constituents because of the requirement to take an oath of allegiance to the monarch. The current five Sinn Féin MPs have, however, made use of offices and other facilities available at Westminster. For elections to the European Parliament, the UK currently has 72 MEPs, elected in 12 multi-member constituencies.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each have their own devolved government or executive, led by a First Minister (or, in the case of Northern Ireland, a diarchal First Minister and deputy First Minister), and a devolved unicameral legislature. England, the largest country of the United Kingdom, has no such devolved executive or legislature and is administered and legislated for directly by the UK government and parliament on all issues. This situation has given rise to the so-called West Lothian question which concerns the fact that MPs from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can vote, sometimes decisively, on matters that only affect England. The McKay Commission reported on this matter in March 2013 recommending that laws affecting only England should need support from a majority of English MPs.
The Scottish Government and Parliament have wide-ranging powers over any matter that has not been specifically reserved to the UK parliament, including education, healthcare, Scots law and local government. At the 2011 elections the SNP won re-election and achieved an overall majority in the Scottish parliament, with its leader, Alex Salmond, as First Minister of Scotland. In 2012, the UK and Scottish governments signed the Edinburgh Agreement setting out the terms for a referendum on Scottish independence in 2014.
The Welsh Government and the National Assembly for Wales have more limited powers than those devolved to Scotland. The Assembly is able to legislate on devolved matters through Acts of the Assembly, which require no prior consent from Westminster. The 2011 elections resulted in a minority Labour administration led by Carwyn Jones.
The Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly have powers similar to those devolved to Scotland. The Executive is led by a diarchy representing unionist and nationalist members of the Assembly. Currently, Peter Robinson (Democratic Unionist Party) and Martin McGuinness (Sinn Féin) are First Minister and deputy First Minister respectively. Devolution to Northern Ireland is contingent on participation by the Northern Ireland administration in the North-South Ministerial Council, where the Northern Ireland Executive cooperates and develops joint and shared policies with the Government of Ireland. The British and Irish governments co-operate on non-devolved matters affecting Northern Ireland through the British–Irish Intergovernmental Conference, which assumes the responsibilities of the Northern Ireland administration in the event of its non-operation.
The UK does not have a codified constitution and constitutional matters are not among the powers devolved to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. Under the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty, the UK Parliament could, in theory, therefore, abolish the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly or Northern Ireland Assembly. Indeed, in 1972, the UK Parliament unilaterally prorogued the Parliament of Northern Ireland, setting a precedent relevant to contemporary devolved institutions. In practice, it would be politically difficult for the UK Parliament to abolish devolution to the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly, given the political entrenchment created by referendum decisions. The political constraints placed upon the UK Parliament's power to interfere with devolution in Northern Ireland are even greater than in relation to Scotland and Wales, given that devolution in Northern Ireland rests upon an international agreement with the Government of Ireland.
Law and criminal justice
The United Kingdom does not have a single legal system, as Article 19 of the 1706 Treaty of Union provided for the continuation of Scotland's separate legal system. Today the UK has three distinct systems of law: English law, Northern Ireland law and Scots law. A new Supreme Court of the United Kingdom came into being in October 2009 to replace the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, including the same members as the Supreme Court, is the highest court of appeal for several independent Commonwealth countries, the British Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies.
Both English law, which applies in England and Wales, and Northern Ireland law are based on common-law principles. The essence of common law is that, subject to statute, the law is developed by judges in courts, applying statute, precedent and common sense to the facts before them to give explanatory judgements of the relevant legal principles, which are reported and binding in future similar cases (stare decisis). The courts of England and Wales are headed by the Senior Courts of England and Wales, consisting of the Court of Appeal, the High Court of Justice (for civil cases) and the Crown Court (for criminal cases). The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land for both criminal and civil appeal cases in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and any decision it makes is binding on every other court in the same jurisdiction, often having a persuasive effect in other jurisdictions.
Scots law is a hybrid system based on both common-law and civil-law principles. The chief courts are the Court of Session, for civil cases, and the High Court of Justiciary, for criminal cases. The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom serves as the highest court of appeal for civil cases under Scots law. Sheriff courts deal with most civil and criminal cases including conducting criminal trials with a jury, known as sheriff solemn court, or with a sheriff and no jury, known as sheriff summary Court. The Scots legal system is unique in having three possible verdicts for a criminal trial: "guilty", "not guilty" and "not proven". Both "not guilty" and "not proven" result in an acquittal.
Crime in England and Wales increased in the period between 1981 and 1995, though since that peak there has been an overall fall of 48% in crime from 1995 to 2007/08, according to crime statistics. The prison population of England and Wales has almost doubled over the same period, to over 80,000, giving England and Wales the highest rate of incarceration in Western Europe at 147 per 100,000. Her Majesty's Prison Service, which reports to the Ministry of Justice, manages most of the prisons within England and Wales. Crime in Scotland fell to its lowest recorded level for 32 years in 2009/10, falling by ten per cent. At the same time Scotland's prison population, at over 8,000, is at record levels and well above design capacity. The Scottish Prison Service, which reports to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, manages Scotland's prisons. In 2006 a report by the Surveillance Studies Network found that the UK had the highest level of mass surveillance among industrialised western nations.
The UK is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, a member of NATO, the Commonwealth of Nations, G7, G8, G20, the OECD, the WTO, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, and is a member state of the European Union. The UK is said to have a "Special Relationship" with the United States and a close partnership with France—the "Entente cordiale"—and shares nuclear weapons technology with both countries. The UK is also closely linked with the Republic of Ireland; the two countries share a Common Travel Area and co-operate through the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference and the British-Irish Council. Britain's global presence and influence is further amplified through its trading relations, foreign investments, official development assistance and military engagements.
The armed forces of the United Kingdom – also known as Her Majesty's Armed Forces or the Armed Forces of the Crown. – consist of three professional service branches: the Naval Service (including the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Fleet Auxiliary), the British Army and the Royal Air Force. The forces are managed by the Ministry of Defence and controlled by the Defence Council, chaired by the Secretary of State for Defence. The Commander-in-Chief is the British monarch, Elizabeth II, to whom members of the forces swear an oath of allegiance.
According to various sources, including the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute and the Ministry of Defence, the United Kingdom has the fourth-highest military expenditure in the world. Total defence spending currently accounts for around 2.3 – 2.6% of total national GDP.
The Armed Forces are charged with protecting the UK and its overseas territories, promoting the UK's global security interests and supporting international peacekeeping efforts. They are active and regular participants in NATO, including the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, as well as the Five Power Defence Arrangements, RIMPAC and other worldwide coalition operations. Overseas garrisons and facilities are maintained in Ascension Island, Belize, Brunei, Canada, Cyprus, Diego Garcia, the Falkland Islands, Germany, Gibraltar, Kenya and Qatar.
The Royal Navy is a prominent blue-water navy, currently one of only three world wide, with the French Navy and the United States Navy being the other two. As well as being responsible for delivering the UK's nuclear deterrent via the UK Trident programme and four Vanguard class submarines, the Royal Navy operates a large operational fleet of ships, including an aircraft carrier, a helicopter carrier, landing platform docks, nuclear fleet submarines, guided missile destroyers, frigates, mine-countermeasure vessels and patrol vessels. In the near future two new aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales will enter service in the Royal Navy. The United Kingdom Special Forces, such as the Special Air Service and Special Boat Service, provide troops trained for quick, mobile, military responses in counter-terrorism, land, maritime and amphibious operations, often where secrecy or covert tactics are required.
Historically, the British armed forces played a key role in establishing the British Empire as the dominant world power in the 19th century. British forces have seen action in a number of major wars, such as the Seven Years' War, the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War, World War I and World War II—as well as many colonial conflicts. Through its military strength, Britain has often been able to decisively influence world events. Since the end of the British Empire, the UK has nonetheless remained a major military power. The British military is among the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the world. Recent defence policy has a stated assumption that "the most demanding operations" will be undertaken as part of a coalition. Setting aside the intervention in Sierra Leone, recent UK military operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and, most recently, Libya, have followed this approach. The last time the British military fought alone was the Falklands War of 1982.
The UK has a partially regulated market 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, having fallen behind France for the first time in over a decade in 2008. HM Treasury, led by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is responsible for developing and executing the British government's public finance policy and economic policy. The Bank of England is the UK's central bank and is responsible for issuing notes and coins in the nation's currency, the pound sterling. Banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland retain the right to issue their own notes, subject to retaining enough Bank of England notes in reserve to cover their issue. Pound sterling is the world's third-largest reserve currency (after the US Dollar and the Euro). Since 1997 the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, headed by the Governor of the Bank of England, has been responsible for setting interest rates at the level necessary to achieve the overall inflation target for the economy that is set by the Chancellor each year.
The UK service sector makes up around 73% of GDP. London is one of the three "command centres" of the global economy (alongside New York City and Tokyo), is the world's largest financial centre alongside New York, and has the largest city GDP in Europe. Edinburgh is also one of the largest financial centres in Europe. Tourism is very important to the British economy and, with over 27 million tourists arriving in 2004, the United Kingdom is ranked as the sixth major tourist destination in the world and London has the most international visitors of any city in the world. The creative industries accounted for 7% GVA in 2005 and grew at an average of 6% per annum between 1997 and 2005.
The Industrial Revolution started in the UK with an initial concentration on the textile industry, followed by other heavy industries such as shipbuilding, coal mining and steelmaking. The empire was exploited as an overseas market for British products, allowing the UK to dominate international trade in the 19th century. As other nations industrialised, coupled with economic decline after two world wars, the United Kingdom began to lose its competitive advantage and heavy industry declined, by degrees, throughout the 20th century. Manufacturing remains a significant part of the economy but accounted for only 16.7% of national output in 2003.
The automotive industry is a significant part of the UK manufacturing sector and employs over 800,000 people, with a turnover of some £52 billion, generating £26.6 billion of exports. The aerospace industry of the UK is the second- or third-largest national aerospace industry depending upon the method of measurement and has an annual turnover of around £20 billion. The pharmaceutical industry plays an important role in the UK economy and the country has the third highest share of global pharmaceutical R&D expenditures (after the United States and Japan).
Agriculture is intensive, highly mechanised and efficient by European standards, producing about 60% of food needs with less than 1.6% of the labour force (535,000 workers). Around two-thirds of production is devoted to livestock, one-third to arable crops. Farmers are subsidised by the EU's Common Agricultural Policy. The UK retains a significant, though much reduced fishing industry. It is also rich in a number of natural resources including coal, petroleum, natural gas, tin, limestone, iron ore, salt, clay, chalk, gypsum, lead, silica and an abundance of arable land.
In the final quarter of 2008 the UK economy officially entered recession for the first time since 1991. Unemployment increased from 5.2% in May 2008 to 7.6% in May 2009 and by January 2012 the unemployment rate among 18 to 24-year-olds had risen from 11.9% to 22.5%, the highest since current records began in 1992. Total UK government debt rose from 44.4% of GDP in 2007 to 82.9% of GDP in 2011. In February 2013, the UK lost its top AAA credit rating for the first time since 1978.
Inflation-adjusted wages in the UK fell by 3.2% between the third quarter of 2010 and the third quarter of 2012. Since the 1980s, economic inequality has grown faster in the UK than in any other developed country.
The poverty line in the UK is commonly defined as being 60% of the median household income.[nb 10] In 2007–2008 13.5 million people, or 22% of the population, lived below this line. This is a higher level of relative poverty than all but four other EU members. In the same year 4.0 million children, 31% of the total, lived in households below the poverty line after housing costs were taken into account. This is a decrease of 400,000 children since 1998–1999. The UK imports 40% of its food supplies. The Office for National Statistics has estimated that in 2011, 14 million people were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, and that one person in 20 (5.1%) was now experiencing "severe material depression," up from 3 million people in 1977.
Science and technology
England and Scotland were leading centres of the Scientific Revolution from the 17th century and the United Kingdom led the Industrial Revolution from the 18th century, and has continued to produce scientists and engineers credited with important advances. Major theorists from the 17th and 18th centuries include Isaac Newton, whose laws of motion and illumination of gravity have been seen as a keystone of modern science, from the 19th century Charles Darwin, whose theory of evolution by natural selection was fundamental to the development of modern biology, and James Clerk Maxwell, who formulated classical electromagnetic theory, and more recently Stephen Hawking, who has advanced major theories in the fields of cosmology, quantum gravity and the investigation of black holes. Major scientific discoveries from the 18th century include hydrogen by Henry Cavendish, from the 20th century penicillin by Alexander Fleming, and the structure of DNA, by Francis Crick and others. Major engineering projects and applications by people from the UK in the 18th century include the steam locomotive, developed by Richard Trevithick and Andrew Vivian, from the 19th century the electric motor by Michael Faraday, the incandescent light bulb by Joseph Swan, and the first practical telephone, patented by Alexander Graham Bell, and in the 20th century the world's first working television system by John Logie Baird and others, the jet engine by Frank Whittle, the basis of the modern computer by Alan Turing, and the World Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee. Scientific research and development remains important in British universities, with many establishing science parks to facilitate production and co-operation with industry. Between 2004 and 2008 the UK produced 7% of the world's scientific research papers and had an 8% share of scientific citations, the third and second highest in the world (after the United States and China, and the United States, respectively). Scientific journals produced in the UK include Nature, the British Medical Journal and The Lancet.
A radial road network totals 29,145 miles (46,904 km) of main roads, 2,173 miles (3,497 km) of motorways and 213,750 miles (344,000 km) of paved roads. In 2009 there were a total of 34 million licensed vehicles in Great Britain.
The UK has a railway network of 10,072 miles (16,209 km) in Great Britain and 189 miles (304 km) in Northern Ireland. Railways in Northern Ireland are operated by NI Railways, a subsidiary of state-owned Translink. In Great Britain, the British Rail network was privatised between 1994 and 1997. Network Rail owns and manages most of the fixed assets (tracks, signals etc.). About 20 privately owned Train Operating Companies (including state owned East Coast), operate passenger trains and carry over 18,000 passenger trains daily. There are also some 1,000 freight trains in daily operation. The UK government is to spend £30 billion on a new high-speed railway line, HS2, to be operational by 2025. Crossrail, under construction in London, Is Europe's largest construction project with a £15 billion projected cost.
In the year from October 2009 to September 2010 UK airports handled a total of 211.4 million passengers. In that period the three largest airports were London Heathrow Airport (65.6 million passengers), Gatwick Airport (31.5 million passengers) and London Stansted Airport (18.9 million passengers). London Heathrow Airport, located 15 miles (24 km) west of the capital, has the most international passenger traffic of any airport in the world and is the hub for the UK flag carrier British Airways, as well as for BMI and Virgin Atlantic.
In 2006, the UK was the world's ninth-largest consumer of energy and the 15th largest producer. The UK is home to a number of large energy companies, including two of the six oil and gas "supermajors" – BP and Royal Dutch Shell – and BG Group. In 2011, 40% of the UK's electricity was produced by gas, 30% by coal, 19% by nuclear power and 4.2% by wind, hydro, biofuels and wastes.
In 2009, the UK produced 1.5 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of oil and consumed 1.7 million bbl/d. Production is now in decline and the UK has been a net importer of oil since 2005. In 2010[update] the UK had around 3.1 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserves, the largest of any EU member state. In 2009, 66.5% of the UK's oil supply was imported.
In 2009, the UK was the 13th largest producer of natural gas in the world and the largest producer in the EU. Production is now in decline and the UK has been a net importer of natural gas since 2004. In 2009, half of British gas was supplied from imports and this is expected to increase to at least 75% by 2015, as domestic reserves are depleted.
Coal production played a key role in the UK economy in the 19th and 20th centuries. In the mid-1970s, 130 million tonnes of coal was being produced annually, not falling below 100 million tonnes until the early 1980s. During the 1980s and 1990s the industry was scaled back considerably. In 2011, the UK produced 18.3 million tonnes of coal. In 2005 it had proven recoverable coal reserves of 171 million tons. The UK Coal Authority has stated there is a potential to produce between 7 billion tonnes and 16 billion tonnes of coal through underground coal gasification (UCG) or 'fraking', and that, based on current UK coal consumption, such reserves could last between 200 and 400 years. However, environmental and social concerns have been raised over chemicals getting into the water table and minor earthquakes damaging homes.
In the late 1990s, nuclear power plants contributed around 25% of total annual electricity generation in the UK, but this has gradually declined as old plants have been shut down and ageing-related problems affect plant availability. In 2012, the UK had 16 reactors normally generating about 19% of its electricity. All but one of the reactors will be retired by 2023. Unlike Germany and Japan, the UK intends to build a new generation of nuclear plants from about 2018.
A census is taken simultaneously in all parts of the UK every ten years. The Office for National Statistics is responsible for collecting data for England and Wales, the General Register Office for Scotland and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency each being responsible for censuses in their respective countries. In the 2011 census the total population of the United Kingdom was 63,181,775. It is the third largest in the European Union, the fifth largest in the Commonwealth and the twenty-first largest in the world. 2010 was the third successive year in which natural change contributed more to population growth than net long-term international migration. Between 2001 and 2011 the population increased by an average annual rate of approximately 0.7 per cent. This compares to 0.3 per cent per year in the period 1991 to 2001 and 0.2 per cent in the decade 1981 to 1991. The 2011 census also confirmed that the proportion of the population aged 0–14 has nearly halved (31 per cent in 1911 compared to 18 in 2011) and the proportion of older people aged 65 and over has more than trebled (from 5 to 16 per cent). It has been estimated that the number of people aged 100 or over will rise steeply to reach over 626,000 by 2080.
England's population in 2011 was found to be 53 million. It is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, with 383 people resident per square kilometre in mid-2003, with a particular concentration in London and the south-east. The 2011 census put Scotland's population at 5.3 million, Wales at 3.06 million and Northern Ireland at 1.81 million. In percentage terms England has had the fastest growing population of any country of the UK in the period from 2001 to 2011, with an increase of 7.9%.
In 2009 the average total fertility rate (TFR) across the UK was 1.94 children per woman. While a rising birth rate is contributing to current population growth, it remains considerably below the 'baby boom' peak of 2.95 children per woman in 1964, below the replacement rate of 2.1, but higher than the 2001 record low of 1.63. In 2010, Scotland had the lowest TFR at only 1.75, followed by Wales at 1.98, England at 2.00, and Northern Ireland at 2.06. In 2011, 47.3% of births in the UK were to unmarried women. A government figure estimated that there are 3.6 million homosexual people in Britain comprising 6 per cent of the population.
|Ethnic group||Population||% of total*|
|Other Asian (non-Chinese)||247,644||0.4%|
|* Percentage of total UK population, according to the 2001 Census|
Historically, indigenous British people were thought to be descended from the various ethnic groups that settled there before the 11th century: the Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Norse and the Normans. Welsh people could be the oldest ethnic group in the UK. Recent genetic studies have shown that more than 50 per cent of England's gene pool contains Germanic Y chromosomes, though other recent genetic analysis indicates that "about 75 per cent of the traceable ancestors of the modern British population had arrived in the British isles by about 6,200 years ago, at the start of the British Neolithic or Stone Age", and that the British broadly share a common ancestry with the Basque people.
The UK has a history of small-scale non-white immigration, with Liverpool having the oldest Black population in the country dating back to at least the 1730s, and the oldest Chinese community in Europe, dating to the arrival of Chinese seamen in the 19th century. In 1950 there were probably fewer than 20,000 non-white residents in Britain, almost all born overseas.
Since 1948 substantial immigration from Africa, the Caribbean and South Asia has been a legacy of ties forged by the British Empire. Migration from new EU member states in Central and Eastern Europe since 2004 has resulted in growth in these population groups but, as of 2008[update], the trend is reversing and many of these migrants are returning home, leaving the size of these groups unknown. In 2001[update], 92.1% of the population identified themselves as White, leaving 7.9% of the UK population identifying themselves as of mixed ethnic minority.
Ethnic diversity varies significantly across the UK. 30.4% of London's population and 37.4% of Leicester's was estimated to be non-white in 2005[update], whereas less than 5% of the populations of North East England, Wales and the South West were from ethnic minorities according to the 2001 census. In 2011[update], 26.5% of primary and 22.2% of secondary pupils at state schools in England were members of an ethnic minority.
The non-white British population of England and Wales increased by 38% from 6.6 million in 2001 to 9.1 million in 2009. The fastest-growing group was the mixed-ethnicity population, which doubled from 672,000 in 2001 to 986,600 in 2009. Also in the same period, a decrease of 36,000 white British people was recorded.
The UK's de facto official language is English. It is estimated that 95% of the UK's population are monolingual English speakers. 5.5% of the population are estimated to speak languages brought to the UK as a result of relatively recent immigration. South Asian languages, including Bengali, Tamil, Punjabi, Hindi and Gujarati, are the largest grouping and are spoken by 2.7% of the UK population. According to the 2011 census, Polish has become the second largest language spoken in England and has 546,000 speakers.
Four Celtic languages are spoken in the UK: Welsh; Irish; Scottish Gaelic; and Cornish. The first three are recognised as regional or minority languages, subject to specific measures of protection and promotion under relevant European law. Cornish, although recognised, is not specifically protected. In the 2001 Census over a fifth (21%) of the population of Wales said they could speak Welsh, an increase from the 1991 Census (18%). In addition it is estimated that about 200,000 Welsh speakers live in England. In the same census in Northern Ireland 167,487 people (10.4%) stated that they had "some knowledge of Irish" (see Irish language in Northern Ireland), almost exclusively in the nationalist (mainly Catholic) population. Over 92,000 people in Scotland (just under 2% of the population) had some Gaelic language ability, including 72% of those living in the Outer Hebrides. The number of schoolchildren being taught through Welsh, Scottish Gaelic and Irish is increasing. Among emigrant-descended populations some Scottish Gaelic is still spoken in Canada (principally Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island), and Welsh in Patagonia, Argentina.
Scots, a language descended from early northern Middle English, has limited recognition alongside its regional variant, Ulster Scots in Northern Ireland, without specific commitments to protection and promotion.
It is compulsory for pupils to study a second language up to the age of 14 in England, and up to age 16 in Scotland. French and German are the two most commonly taught second languages in England and Scotland. All pupils in Wales are taught Welsh as a second language up to age 16, or are taught in Welsh.
Forms of Christianity have dominated religious life in what is now the United Kingdom for over 1,400 years. Although a majority of citizens still identify with Christianity in many surveys, regular church attendance has fallen dramatically since the middle of the 20th century, while immigration and demographic change have contributed to the growth of other faiths, most notably Islam. This has led some commentators to variously describe the UK as a multi-faith, secularised, or post-Christian society.
In the 2001 census 71.6% of all respondents indicated that they were Christians, with the next largest faiths (by number of adherents) being Islam (2.8%), Hinduism (1.0%), Sikhism (0.6%), Judaism (0.5%), Buddhism (0.3%) and all other religions (0.3%). 15% of respondents stated that they had no religion, with a further 7% not stating a religious preference. A Tearfund survey in 2007 showed only one in ten Britons actually attend church weekly.
The Church of England is the established church in England. It retains a representation in the UK Parliament and the British monarch is its Supreme Governor. In Scotland the Presbyterian Church of Scotland is recognised as the national church. It is not subject to state control, and the British monarch is an ordinary member, required to swear an oath to "maintain and preserve the Protestant Religion and Presbyterian Church Government" upon his or her accession. The (Anglican) Church in Wales was disestablished in 1920 and, as the (Anglican) Church of Ireland was disestablished in 1870 before the partition of Ireland, there is no established church in Northern Ireland. Although there are no UK-wide data in the 2001 census on adherence to individual Christian denominations, it has been estimated that 62% of Christians are Anglican, 13.5% Catholic, 6% Presbyterian, 3.4% Methodist with small numbers of other Protestant denominations such as Open Brethren, and Orthodox churches.
The United Kingdom has experienced successive waves of migration. The Great Famine in Ireland resulted in perhaps a million people migrating to the UK. Over 120,000 Polish veterans settled in Britain after World War II, unable to return home. After World War II, there was significant immigration from the colonies and newly independent former colonies, partly as a legacy of empire and partly driven by labour shortages. Many of these migrants came from the Caribbean and the Indian subcontinent. The British Asian population has increased from 2.2 million in 2001 to over 4.2 million in 2011.
One of the more recent trends in migration has been the arrival of workers from the new EU member states in Eastern Europe. In 2010, there were 7.0 million foreign-born residents in the UK, corresponding to 11.3% of the total population. Of these, 4.76 million (7.7%) were born outside the EU and 2.24 million (3.6%) were born in another EU Member State. The proportion of foreign-born people in the UK remains slightly below that of many other European countries. However, immigration is now contributing to a rising population with arrivals and UK-born children of migrants accounting for about half of the population increase between 1991 and 2001. Analysis of Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows that a net total of 2.3 million migrants moved to the UK in the 15 years from 1991 to 2006. In 2008 it was predicted that migration would add 7 million to the UK population by 2031, though these figures are disputed. The ONS reported that net migration rose from 2009 to 2010 by 21 per cent to 239,000. In 2011 the net increase was 251,000: immigration was 589,000, while the number of people emigrating (for more than 12 months) was 338,000.
195,046 foreign nationals became British citizens in 2010, compared to 54,902 in 1999. A record 241,192 people were granted permanent settlement rights in 2010, of whom 51 per cent were from Asia and 27 per cent from Africa. 25.5 per cent of babies born in England and Wales in 2011 were born to mothers born outside the UK, according to official statistics released in 2012.
Citizens of the European Union, including those of the UK, have the right to live and work in any EU member state. The UK applied temporary restrictions to citizens of Romania and Bulgaria, which joined the EU in January 2007. Research conducted by the Migration Policy Institute for the Equality and Human Rights Commission suggests that, between May 2004 and September 2009, 1.5 million workers migrated from the new EU member states to the UK, two-thirds of them Polish, but that many subsequently returned home, resulting in a net increase in the number of nationals of the new member states in the UK of some 700,000 over that period. The late-2000s recession in the UK reduced the economic incentive for Poles to migrate to the UK, the migration becoming temporary and circular. In 2009, for the first time since enlargement, more nationals of the eight central and eastern European states that had joined the EU in 2004 left the UK than arrived. In 2011, citizens of the new EU member states made up 13% of the immigrants entering the country.
The UK government has introduced a points-based immigration system for immigration from outside the European Economic Area to replace former schemes, including the Scottish Government's Fresh Talent Initiative. In June 2010 the UK government introduced a temporary limit of 24,000 on immigration from outside the EU, aiming to discourage applications before a permanent cap was imposed in April 2011. The cap has caused tension within the coalition: business secretary Vince Cable has argued that it is harming British businesses.
Emigration was an important feature of British society in the 19th century. Between 1815 and 1930 around 11.4 million people emigrated from Britain and 7.3 million from Ireland. Estimates show that by the end of the 20th century some 300 million people of British and Irish descent were permanently settled around the globe. Today, at least 5.5 million UK-born people live abroad, mainly in Australia, Spain, the United States and Canada.
Education in the United Kingdom is a devolved matter, with each country having a separate education system.
Whilst education in England is the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Education, the day-to-day administration and funding of state schools is the responsibility of local authorities. Universally free of charge state education was introduced piecemeal between 1870 and 1944. Education is now mandatory from ages five to sixteen (15 if born in late July or August). In 2011, the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) rated 13–14-year-old pupils in England and Wales 10th in the world for maths and 9th for science. The majority of children are educated in state-sector schools, a small proportion of which select on the grounds of academic ability. Two of the top ten performing schools in terms of GCSE results in 2006 were state-run grammar schools. Over half of students at the leading universities of Cambridge and Oxford had attended state schools. Despite a fall in actual numbers the proportion of children in England attending private schools has risen to over 7%. In 2010, more than 45% of places at the University of Oxford and 40% at the University of Cambridge were taken by students from private schools, even though they educate just 7% of the population. The universities of England are among some of the top universities in the world; the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, the University College London and Imperial College London are all ranked in the global top 10 in the 2010 QS World University Rankings, with Cambridge ranked first.
Education in Scotland is the responsibility of the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, with day-to-day administration and funding of state schools the responsibility of Local Authorities. Two non-departmental public bodies have key roles in Scottish education. The Scottish Qualifications Authority is responsible for the development, accreditation, assessment and certification of qualifications other than degrees which are delivered at secondary schools, post-secondary colleges of further education and other centres. The Learning and Teaching Scotland provides advice, resources and staff development to education professionals. Scotland first legislated for compulsory education in 1496. The proportion of children in Scotland attending private schools is just over 4%, and it has been rising slowly in recent years. Scottish students who attend Scottish universities pay neither tuition fees nor graduate endowment charges, as fees were abolished in 2001 and the graduate endowment scheme was abolished in 2008. The universities of Scotland are among some of the top universities in the world; the University of Edinburgh, the University of Glasgow and the University of St Andrews are all ranked in the global top 100 in the 2012 QS World University Rankings, with Edinburgh ranked 21st.
The Welsh Government has responsibility for education in Wales. A significant number of Welsh students are taught either wholly or largely in the Welsh language; lessons in Welsh are compulsory for all until the age of 16. There are plans to increase the provision of Welsh-medium schools as part of the policy of creating a fully bilingual Wales.
Education in Northern Ireland is the responsibility of the Minister of Education and the Minister for Employment and Learning, although responsibility at a local level is administered by five education and library boards covering different geographical areas. The Council for the Curriculum, Examinations & Assessment (CCEA) is the body responsible for advising the government on what should be taught in Northern Ireland's schools, monitoring standards and awarding qualifications.
Healthcare in the United Kingdom is a devolved matter and each country has its own system of private and publicly funded health care, together with alternative, holistic and complementary treatments. Public healthcare is provided to all UK permanent residents and is mostly free at the point of need, being paid for from general taxation. The World Health Organization, in 2000, ranked the provision of healthcare in the United Kingdom as fifteenth best in Europe and eighteenth in the world.
Regulatory bodies are organised on a UK-wide basis such as the General Medical Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Council and non-governmental-based, such as the Royal Colleges. However, political and operational responsibility for healthcare lies with four national executives; healthcare in England is the responsibility of the UK Government; healthcare in Northern Ireland is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Executive; healthcare in Scotland is the responsibility of the Scottish Government; and healthcare in Wales is the responsibility of the Welsh Assembly Government. Each National Health Service has different policies and priorities, resulting in contrasts.
Since 1979 expenditure on healthcare has been increased significantly to bring it closer to the European Union average. The UK spends around 8.4 per cent of its gross domestic product on healthcare, which is 0.5 percentage points below the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average and about one percentage point below the average of the European Union.
The culture of the United Kingdom has been influenced by many factors including: the nation's island status; its history as a western liberal democracy and a major power; as well as being 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, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States. The substantial cultural influence of the United Kingdom has led it to be described as a "cultural superpower."
'British literature' refers to literature associated with the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. Most British literature is in the English language. In 2005, some 206,000 books were published in the United Kingdom and in 2006 it was the largest publisher of books in the world.
The English playwright and poet William Shakespeare is widely regarded as the greatest dramatist of all time, and his contemporaries Christopher Marlowe and Ben Jonson have also been held in continuous high esteem. More recently the playwrights Alan Ayckbourn, Harold Pinter, Michael Frayn, Tom Stoppard and David Edgar have combined elements of surrealism, realism and radicalism.
Notable pre-modern and early-modern English writers include Geoffrey Chaucer (14th century), Thomas Malory (15th century), Sir Thomas More (16th century), John Bunyan (17th century) and John Milton (17th century). In the 18th century Daniel Defoe (author of Robinson Crusoe) and Samuel Richardson were pioneers of the modern novel. In the 19th century there followed further innovation by Jane Austen, the gothic novelist Mary Shelley, the children's writer Lewis Carroll, the Brontë sisters, the social campaigner Charles Dickens, the naturalist Thomas Hardy, the realist George Eliot, the visionary poet William Blake and romantic poet William Wordsworth. 20th-century English writers include the science-fiction novelist H. G. Wells; the writers of children's classics Rudyard Kipling, A. A. Milne (the creator of Winnie-the-Pooh), Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton; the controversial D. H. Lawrence; the modernist Virginia Woolf; the satirist Evelyn Waugh; the prophetic novelist George Orwell; the popular novelists W. Somerset Maugham and Graham Greene; the crime writer Agatha Christie (the best-selling novelist of all time); Ian Fleming (the creator of James Bond); the poets T.S. Eliot, Philip Larkin and Ted Hughes; the fantasy writers J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis and J. K. Rowling; the graphic novelist Alan Moore, whose novel Watchmen is often cited by critics as comic’s greatest series and graphic novel and one of the best-selling graphic novels ever published.
Scotland's contributions include the detective writer Arthur Conan Doyle (the creator of Sherlock Holmes), romantic literature by Sir Walter Scott, the children's writer J. M. Barrie, the epic adventures of Robert Louis Stevenson and the celebrated poet Robert Burns. More recently the modernist and nationalist Hugh MacDiarmid and Neil M. Gunn contributed to the Scottish Renaissance. A more grim outlook is found in Ian Rankin's stories and the psychological horror-comedy of Iain Banks. Scotland's capital, Edinburgh, was UNESCO's first worldwide City of Literature.
Britain's oldest known poem, Y Gododdin, was composed in Yr Hen Ogledd (The Old North), most likely in the late 6th century. It was written in Cumbric or Old Welsh and contains the earliest known reference to King Arthur. From around the seventh century, the connection between Wales and the Old North was lost, and the focus of Welsh-language culture shifted to Wales, where Arthurian legend was further developed by Geoffrey of Monmouth. Wales's most celebrated medieval poet, Dafydd ap Gwilym (fl.1320–1370), composed poetry on themes including nature, religion and especially love. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest European poets of his age. Until the late 19th century the majority of Welsh literature was in Welsh and much of the prose was religious in character. Daniel Owen is credited as the first Welsh-language novelist, publishing Rhys Lewis in 1885. The best-known of the Anglo-Welsh poets are both Thomases. Dylan Thomas became famous on both sides of the Atlantic in the mid-20th century. He is remembered for his poetry – his "Do not go gentle into that good night; Rage, rage against the dying of the light." is one of the most quoted couplets of English language verse – and for his 'play for voices', Under Milk Wood. The influential Church in Wales 'poet-priest' and Welsh nationalist R. S. Thomas was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1996. Leading Welsh novelists of the twentieth century include Richard Llewellyn and Kate Roberts.
Authors of other nationalities, particularly from Commonwealth countries, the Republic of Ireland and the United States, have lived and worked in the UK. Significant examples through the centuries include Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, George Bernard Shaw, Joseph Conrad, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound and more recently British authors born abroad such as Kazuo Ishiguro and Sir Salman Rushdie.
Various styles of music are popular in the UK from the indigenous folk music of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to heavy metal. Notable composers of classical music from the United Kingdom and the countries that preceded it include William Byrd, Henry Purcell, Sir Edward Elgar, Gustav Holst, Sir Arthur Sullivan (most famous for working with the librettist Sir W. S. Gilbert), Ralph Vaughan Williams and Benjamin Britten, pioneer of modern British opera. Sir Peter Maxwell Davies is one of the foremost living composers and current Master of the Queen's Music. The UK is also home to world-renowned symphonic orchestras and choruses such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony Chorus. Notable conductors include Sir Simon Rattle, John Barbirolli and Sir Malcolm Sargent. Some of the notable film score composers include John Barry, Clint Mansell, Mike Oldfield, John Powell, Craig Armstrong, David Arnold, John Murphy, Monty Norman and Harry Gregson-Williams. George Frideric Handel, although born German, was a naturalised British citizen and some of his best works, such as Messiah, were written in the English language. Andrew Lloyd Webber has achieved enormous worldwide commercial success and is a prolific composer of musical theatre, works which have dominated London's West End for a number of years and have travelled to Broadway in New York.
The Beatles have international sales of over one billion units and are the biggest-selling and most influential band in the history of popular music. Other prominent British contributors to have influenced popular music over the last 50 years include; The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Queen, the Bee Gees, and Elton John, all of whom have world wide record sales of 200 million or more. The Brit Awards are the BPI's annual music awards, and some of the British recipients of the Outstanding Contribution to Music award include; The Who, David Bowie, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart and The Police. More recent UK music acts that have had international success include Coldplay, Radiohead, Oasis, Spice Girls, Amy Winehouse and Adele.
A number of UK cities are known for their music. Acts from Liverpool have had more UK chart number one hit singles per capita (54) than any other city worldwide. Glasgow's contribution to music was recognised in 2008 when it was named a UNESCO City of Music, one of only three cities in the world to have this honour.
The history of British visual art forms part of western art history. Major British artists include: the Romantics William Blake, John Constable, Samuel Palmer and J.M.W. Turner; the portrait painters Sir Joshua Reynolds and Lucian Freud; the landscape artists Thomas Gainsborough and L. S. Lowry; the pioneer of the Arts and Crafts Movement William Morris; the figurative painter Francis Bacon; the Pop artists Peter Blake, Richard Hamilton and David Hockney; the collaborative duo Gilbert and George; the abstract artist Howard Hodgkin; and the sculptors Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor and Henry Moore. During the late 1980s and 1990s the Saatchi Gallery in London helped to bring to public attention a group of multi-genre artists who would become known as the "Young British Artists": Damien Hirst, Chris Ofili, Rachel Whiteread, Tracey Emin, Mark Wallinger, Steve McQueen, Sam Taylor-Wood and the Chapman Brothers are among the better-known members of this loosely affiliated movement.
The Royal Academy in London is a key organisation for the promotion of the visual arts in the United Kingdom. Major schools of art in the UK include: 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; Goldsmiths, University of London; the Slade School of Fine Art (part of University College London); the Glasgow School of Art; the Royal College of Art; and The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art (part of the University of Oxford). The Courtauld Institute of Art is a leading centre for the teaching of the history of art. Important art galleries in the United Kingdom include the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain and Tate Modern (the most-visited modern art gallery in the world, with around 4.7 million visitors per year).
The United Kingdom has had a considerable influence on the history of the cinema. The British directors Alfred Hitchcock, whose film Vertigo is considered by some critics as the best film of all time, and David Lean are among the most critically acclaimed of all-time. Other important directors including Charlie Chaplin, Michael Powell, Carol Reed and Ridley Scott. Many British actors have achieved international fame and critical success, including: Julie Andrews, Richard Burton, Michael Caine, Charlie Chaplin, Sean Connery, Vivien Leigh, David Niven, Laurence Olivier, Peter Sellers, Kate Winslet, and Daniel Day-Lewis, the only person to win an Oscar in the best actor category three times. Some of the most commercially successful films of all time have been produced in the United Kingdom, including the two highest-grossing film franchises (Harry Potter and James Bond). Ealing Studios has a claim to being the oldest continuously working film studio in the world.
Despite a history of important and successful productions, the industry has often been characterised by a debate about its identity and the level of American and European influence. British producers are active in international co-productions and British actors, directors and crew feature regularly in American films. Many successful Hollywood films have been based on British people, stories or events, including Titanic, The Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean.
In 2009, British films grossed around $2 billion worldwide and achieved a market share of around 7% globally and 17% in the United Kingdom. UK box-office takings totalled £944 million in 2009, with around 173 million admissions. The British Film Institute has produced a poll ranking of what it considers to be the 100 greatest British films of all time, the BFI Top 100 British films. The annual British Academy Film Awards, hosted by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, are the British equivalent of the Oscars.
The BBC, founded in 1922, is the UK's publicly funded radio, television and Internet broadcasting corporation, and is the oldest and largest broadcaster in the world. It operates numerous television and radio stations in the UK and abroad and its domestic services are funded by the television licence. Other major players in the UK media include ITV plc, which operates 11 of the 15 regional television broadcasters that make up the ITV Network, and News Corporation, which owns a number of national newspapers through News International such as the most popular tabloid The Sun and the longest-established daily "broadsheet" The Times, as well as holding a large stake in satellite broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting. London dominates the media sector in the UK: national newspapers and television and radio are largely based there, although Manchester is also a significant national media centre. Edinburgh and Glasgow, and Cardiff, are important centres of newspaper and broadcasting production in Scotland and Wales respectively. The UK publishing sector, including books, directories and databases, journals, magazines and business media, newspapers and news agencies, has a combined turnover of around £20 billion and employs around 167,000 people.
In 2009, it was estimated that individuals viewed a mean of 3.75 hours of television per day and 2.81 hours of radio. In that year the main BBC public service broadcasting channels accounted for an estimated 28.4% of all television viewing; the three main independent channels accounted for 29.5% and the increasingly important other satellite and digital channels for the remaining 42.1%. Sales of newspapers have fallen since the 1970s and in 2009 42% of people reported reading a daily national newspaper. In 2010 82.5% of the UK population were Internet users, the highest proportion amongst the 20 countries with the largest total number of users in that year.
The United Kingdom is famous for the tradition of 'British Empiricism', a branch of the philosophy of knowledge that states that only knowledge verified by experience is valid, and 'Scottish Philosophy', sometimes referred to as the 'Scottish School of Common Sense'. The most famous philosophers of British Empiricism are John Locke, George Berkeley and David Hume; while Dugald Stewart, Thomas Reid and William Hamilton were major exponents of the Scottish "common sense" school. Two Britons are also notable for a theory of moral philosophy utilitarianism, first used by Jeremy Bentham and later by John Stuart Mill in his short work Utilitarianism. Other eminent philosophers from the UK and the unions and countries that preceded it include Duns Scotus, John Lilburne, Mary Wollstonecraft, Sir Francis Bacon, Adam Smith, Thomas Hobbes, William of Ockham, Bertrand Russell and A.J. "Freddie" Ayer. Foreign-born philosophers who settled in the UK include Isaiah Berlin, Karl Marx, Karl Popper and Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Major sports, including association football, tennis, rugby union, rugby league, golf, boxing, rowing and cricket, originated or were substantially developed in the UK and the states that preceded it. With the rules and codes of many modern sports invented and codified in late 19th-century Victorian Britain, in 2012, the President of the IOC, Jacques Rogge, stated; "This great, sports-loving country is widely recognized as the birthplace of modern sport. It was here that the concepts of sportsmanship and fair play were first codified into clear rules and regulations. It was here that sport was included as an educational tool in the school curriculum".
In most international competitions, separate teams represent England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland usually field a single team representing all of Ireland, with notable exceptions being association football and the Commonwealth Games. In sporting contexts, the English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish / Northern Irish teams are often referred to collectively as the Home Nations. There are some sports in which a single team represents the whole of United Kingdom, including the Olympics, where the UK is represented by the Great Britain team. The 1908, 1948 Olympic Games and 2012 were held in London, making it the first city to play host for a third time.
A 2003 poll found that football is the most popular sport in the United Kingdom. Each of the Home Nations has its own football association, national team and league system. The English top division, the Premier League, is the most watched football league in the world. The first-ever international football match was contested by England and Scotland on 30 November 1872. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland compete as separate countries in international competitions. A Great Britain Olympic football team was assembled for the first time to compete in the London 2012 Olympic Games. However, the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish football associations declined to participate, fearing that it would undermine their independent status – a fear confirmed by FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
Cricket was invented in England. The England cricket team, controlled by the England and Wales Cricket Board, is the only national team in the UK with Test status. Team members are drawn from the main county sides, and include both English and Welsh players. Cricket is distinct from football and rugby where Wales and England field separate national teams, although Wales had fielded its own team in the past. Irish and Scottish players have played for England because neither Scotland nor Ireland have Test status and have only recently started to play in One Day Internationals. Scotland, England (and Wales), and Ireland (including Northern Ireland) have competed at the Cricket World Cup, with England reaching the finals on three occasions. There is a professional league championship in which clubs representing 17 English counties and 1 Welsh county compete.
Rugby league is a popular sport in some regions of the UK. It originated in Huddersfield and is generally played in Northern England. A single 'Great Britain Lions' team had competed in the Rugby League World Cup and Test match games, but this changed in 2008 when England, Scotland and Ireland competed as separate nations. Great Britain is still being retained as the full national team for Ashes tours against Australia, New Zealand and France. Super League is the highest level of professional rugby league in the UK and Europe. It consists of 11 teams from Northern England, 1 from London, 1 from Wales and 1 from France.
In rugby union, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and Italy compete in the Six Nations Championship; the premier international tournament in the northern hemisphere. Sport governing bodies in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland organise and regulate the game separately. If any of the British teams or the Irish team beat the other three in a tournament, then it is awarded the Triple Crown.
Thoroughbred racing, which originated under Charles II of England as the "sport of kings", is popular throughout the UK with world-famous races including the Grand National, the Epsom Derby, Royal Ascot and the Cheltenham National Hunt Festival (including the Cheltenham Gold Cup). The UK has proved successful in the international sporting arena in rowing.
The UK is closely associated with motorsport. Many teams and drivers in Formula One (F1) are based in the UK, and drivers from Britain have won more world titles than any other country. The UK hosted the very first F1 Grand Prix in 1950 at Silverstone, the current location of the British Grand Prix held each year in July. The country also hosts legs of the Grand Prix motorcycle racing, World Rally Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship. The premier national auto racing event is the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC). Motorcycle road racing has a long tradition with races such as the Isle of Man TT and the North West 200.
Golf is the sixth most popular sport, by participation, in the UK. Although The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews in Scotland is the sport's home course, the world's oldest golf course is actually Musselburgh Links' Old Golf Course.
Snooker is one of the UK's popular sporting exports, with the world championships held annually in Sheffield. The modern game of lawn tennis first originated in the city of Birmingham between 1859 and 1865. The Championships, Wimbledon are international tennis events held in Wimbledon in south London every summer and are regarded as the most prestigious event of the global tennis calendar. In Northern Ireland Gaelic football and hurling are popular team sports, both in terms of participation and spectating, and Irish expatriates in the UK and the US also play them. Shinty (or camanachd) is popular in the Scottish Highlands.
The flag of the United Kingdom is the Union Flag (also referred to as the Union Jack). It was created in 1606 by the superimposition of the Flag of England on the Flag of Scotland and updated in 1801 with the addition of Saint Patrick's Flag. Wales is not represented in the Union Flag, as Wales had been conquered and annexed to England prior to the formation of the United Kingdom. The possibility of redesigning the Union Flag to include representation of Wales has not been completely ruled out. The national anthem of the United Kingdom is "God Save the King", with "King" replaced with "Queen" in the lyrics whenever the monarch is a woman.
Britannia is a national personification of the United Kingdom, originating from Roman Britain. Britannia is symbolised as a young woman with brown or golden hair, wearing a Corinthian helmet and white robes. She holds Poseidon's three-pronged trident and a shield, bearing the Union Flag. Sometimes she is depicted as riding on the back of a lion. Since the height of the British Empire in the late 19th century, Britannia has often been associated with British maritime dominance, as in the patriotic song "Rule, Britannia!". Up until 2008, the lion symbol was depicted behind Britannia on the British fifty pence coin and on the back of the British ten pence coin. It is also used as a symbol on the non-ceremonial flag of the British Army. The bulldog is sometimes used as a symbol of the United Kingdom and has been associated with Winston Churchill's defiance of Nazi Germany.
- The Royal coat of arms used in Scotland:
- No law was passed making "God Save the Queen" the official anthem. In the English tradition, such laws are not necessary; proclamation and usage are sufficient to make it the national anthem. "God Save the Queen" also serves as the Royal anthem for several other countries, namely certain Commonwealth realms.
- Under the Council of Europe's European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, Scots, Ulster-Scots, Welsh, Cornish, Irish and Scottish Gaelic, are officially recognised as regional or minority languages by the British government for the purposes of the Charter. See also Languages of the United Kingdom.
- See also the 2011 UK ethnic groups list.
- .uk was allocated for the purpose of a top-level domain (ccTLD) for the United Kingdom before the standardisation of ccTLDs along the line of ISO 3166-1 alpha-2. .gb, which conforms with the ISO code for the United Kingdom, was introduced later, alongside .uk. However, .gb has since been deprecated in favour of .uk. The .eu domain is shared with other European Union member states.
- In the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous (regional) languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, the UK's official name is as follows:
- Cornish: Rywvaneth Unys Breten Veur ha Kledhbarth Iwerdhon;
- Irish: Ríocht Aontaithe na Breataine Móire agus Thuaisceart Éireann;
- Scots: Unitit Kinrick o Great Breetain an Northren Irland;
- Ulster-Scots: Claught Kängrick o Docht Brätain an Norlin Airlann
or Unitet Kängdom o Great Brittain an Norlin Airlann;
- Ulster-Scots: Claught Kängrick o Docht Brätain an Norlin Airlann
- Scottish Gaelic: Rìoghachd Aonaichte na Breatainne Mòire is Èireann a Tuath;
- Welsh: Teyrnas Unedig Prydain Fawr a Gogledd Iwerddon
- Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that shares a land border with another sovereign state, providing the dependencies of Gibraltar and Akrotiri and Dhekelia are excluded. Gibraltar shares a border with Spain, whereas Akrotiri and Dhekelia share borders with the Republic of Cyprus, with Dhekelia also sharing borders with the internationally unrecognised Turkish-administered Republic of Northern Cyprus and the UN buffer zone separating the two Cypriot polities.
- Compare to section 1 of both of the 1800 Acts of Union which reads: the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland shall...be united into one Kingdom, by the Name of "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland"
- New Zealand, Israel and San Marino are the other countries with uncodified constitutions.
- In 2007–2008, this was calculated to be £115 per week for single adults with no dependent children; £199 per week for couples with no dependent children; £195 per week for single adults with two dependent children under 14; and £279 per week for couples with two dependent children under 14.
- National Anthem, British Monarchy official website. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
- "English language – Government, citizens and rights". Directgov. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
- "Commonwealth Secretariat – UK". Commonwealth Secretariat. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
- "List of declarations made with respect to treaty No. 148". Council of Europe. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
- 2011 Census: KS201UK Ethnic group, local authorities in the United Kingdom ONS, Retrieved 21 October 2013
- "Annual Mid-year Population Estimates, 2011 and 2012". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
- "2011 UK censuses". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
- "United Kingdom". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
- "Gini coefficient of equivalised disposable income (source: SILC)". Eurostat Data Explorer. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
- "Human Development Report 2013". United Nations. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
- CIA, The World Factbook. Retrieved 17 July 2013
- The British Monarchy, What is constitutional monarchy?. Retrieved 17 July 2013
- "The World Factbook". Central Intelligence Agency. 1 February 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
- "Countries within a country". Prime Minister's Office. 10 January 2003.
- "Devolution of powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland". United Kingdom Government. Retrieved 17 April 2013. "In a similar way to how the government is formed from members from the 2 Houses of Parliament, members of the devolved legislatures nominate ministers from among themselves to comprise an executive, known as the devolved administrations..."
- "Fall in UK university students". BBC News. 29 January 2009.
- "Country Overviews: United Kingdom". Transport Research Knowledge Centre. Retrieved 28 March 2010.
- "Key facts about the United Kingdom". Directgov. Retrieved 3 May 2011. "The full title of this country is 'the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland'. 'The UK' is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 'Britain' is used informally, usually meaning the United Kingdom. 'Great Britain' is made up of England, Scotland and Wales. The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not part of the UK."[dead link]
- "Working with Overseas Territories". Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
- Mathias, P. (2001). The First Industrial Nation: the Economic History of Britain, 1700–1914. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-26672-6.
- Ferguson, Niall (2004). Empire: The rise and demise of the British world order and the lessons for global power. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-02328-2.
- Sheridan, Greg (15 May 2010). "Cameron has chance to make UK great again". The Australian (Sydney). Retrieved 23 May 2011.
- Dugan, Emily (18 November 2012). "Britain is now most powerful nation on earth". The Independent (London). Retrieved 18 November 2012.
- "The 15 Major Spender Countries in 2011". Military Expenditures. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
- "Treaty of Union, 1706". Scots History Online. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
- Barnett, Hilaire; Jago, Robert (2011). Constitutional & Administrative Law (8th ed.). Abingdon: Routledge. p. 165. ISBN 978-0-415-56301-7.
- Gascoigne, Bamber. "History of Great Britain (from 1707)". History World. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
- Cottrell, P. (2008). The Irish Civil War 1922–23. p. 85. ISBN 1-84603-270-9.
- S. Dunn; H. Dawson (2000), An Alphabetical Listing of Word, Name and Place in Northern Ireland and the Living Language of Conflict, Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press, "One specific problem - in both general and particular senses - is to know what to call Northern Ireland itself: in the general sense, it is not a country, or a province, or a state - although some refer to it contemptuously as a statelet: the least controversial word appears to be jurisdiction, but this might change."
- "Changes in the list of subdivision names and code elements". ISO 3166-2. International Organization for Standardization. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
- Population Trends, Issues 75–82, p.38, 1994, UK Office of Population Censuses and Surveys
- Life in the United Kingdom: a journey to citizenship, p. 7, United Kingdom Home Office, 2007, ISBN 978-0-11-341313-3.
- "Statistical bulletin: Regional Labour Market Statistics". Retrieved 5 March 2014.
- "13.4% Fall In Earnings Value During Recession". Retrieved 5 March 2014.
- Murphy, Dervla (1979). A Place Apart. London: Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-005030-1.
- Whyte, John; FitzGerald, Garret (1991). Interpreting Northern Ireland. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 978-0-19-827380-6.
- "Guardian Unlimited Style Guide". London: Guardian News and Media Limited. 19 December 2008. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
- "BBC style guide (Great Britain)". BBC News. 19 August 2002. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
- "Key facts about the United Kingdom". Government, citizens and rights. HM Government. Retrieved 24 August 2011.[dead link]
- "Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online Definition of ''Great Britain''". Merriam Webster. 31 August 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- New Oxford American Dictionary: "Great Britain: England, Wales, and Scotland considered as a unit. The name is also often used loosely to refer to the United Kingdom."
- "Great Britain". International Olympic Committee. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
- "Team GB – Our Greatest Team". British Olympic Association. Retrieved 10 May 2011.[dead link]
- Bradley, Anthony Wilfred; Ewing, Keith D. (2007). Constitutional and administrative law 1 (14th ed.). Harlow: Pearson Longman. p. 36. ISBN 978-1-4058-1207-8.
- "Which of these best describes the way you think of yourself?". Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey 2010. ARK – Access Research Knowledge. 2010. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- Schrijver, Frans (2006). Regionalism after regionalisation: Spain, France and the United Kingdom. Amsterdam University Press. pp. 275–277. ISBN 978-90-5629-428-1.
- Jack, Ian (11 December 2010). "Why I'm saddened by Scotland going Gaelic". The Guardian (London).
- Ffeithiau allweddol am y Deyrnas Unedig : Directgov – Llywodraeth, dinasyddion a hawliau[dead link]
- "Ancient skeleton was 'even older'". BBC News. 30 October 2007. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
- Koch, John T. (2006). Celtic culture: A historical encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 973. ISBN 978-1-85109-440-0.
- Davies, John; Jenkins, Nigel; Baines, Menna; Lynch, Peredur I., eds. (2008). The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. p. 915. ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6.
- "Short Athelstan biography". BBC History. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- Mackie, J.D. (1991). A History of Scotland. London: Penguin. pp. 18–19. ISBN 978-0-14-013649-4.
- Campbell, Ewan (1999). Saints and Sea-kings: The First Kingdom of the Scots. Edinburgh: Canongate. pp. 8–15. ISBN 0-86241-874-7.
- Haigh, Christopher (1990). The Cambridge Historical Encyclopedia of Great Britain and Ireland. Cambridge University Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-521-39552-6.
- Ganshof, F.L. (1996). Feudalism. University of Toronto. p. 165. ISBN 978-0-8020-7158-3.
- Chibnall, Marjorie (1999). The debate on the Norman Conquest. Manchester University Press. pp. 115–122. ISBN 978-0-7190-4913-2.
- Keen, Maurice. "The Hundred Years War". BBC History.
- The Reformation in England and Scotland and Ireland: The Reformation Period & Ireland under Elizabth I, Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
- "British History in Depth – Wales under the Tudors". BBC History. 5 November 2009. Retrieved 21 September 2010.
- Nicholls, Mark (1999). A history of the modern British Isles, 1529–1603: The two kingdoms. Oxford: Blackwell. pp. 171–172. ISBN 978-0-631-19334-0.
- Canny, Nicholas P. (2003). Making Ireland British, 1580–1650. Oxford University Press. pp. 189–200. ISBN 978-0-19-925905-2.
- Ross, D. (2002). Chronology of Scottish History. Glasgow: Geddes & Grosset. p. 56. ISBN 1-85534-380-0
- Hearn, J. (2002). Claiming Scotland: National Identity and Liberal Culture. Edinburgh University Press. p. 104. ISBN 1-902930-16-9
- "English Civil Wars". Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Scotland and the Commonwealth: 1651–1660". Archontology.org. 14 March 2010. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- Lodge, Richard (2007) . The History of England – From the Restoration to the Death of William III (1660–1702). Read Books. p. 8. ISBN 978-1-4067-0897-4.
- "Tudor Period and the Birth of a Regular Navy". Royal Navy History. Institute of Naval History. Retrieved 24 December 2010.[dead link]
- Canny, Nicholas (1998). The Origins of Empire, The Oxford History of the British Empire Volume I. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-924676-9.
- "Articles of Union with Scotland 1707". UK Parliament. Retrieved 19 October 2008.
- "Acts of Union 1707". UK Parliament. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- "Treaty (act) of Union 1706". Scottish History online. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
- Library of Congress, The Impact of the American Revolution Abroad, p. 73.
- Loosemore, Jo (2007). Sailing against slavery. BBC Devon. 2007.
- "The Act of Union". Act of Union Virtual Library. Retrieved 15 May 2006.
- Tellier, L.-N. (2009). Urban World History: an Economic and Geographical Perspective. Quebec: PUQ. p. 463. ISBN 2-7605-1588-5.
- Sondhaus, L. (2004). Navies in Modern World History. London: Reaktion Books. p. 9. ISBN 1-86189-202-0.
- Porter, Andrew (1998). The Nineteenth Century, The Oxford History of the British Empire Volume III. Oxford University Press. p. 332. ISBN 0-19-924678-5.
- "The Workshop of the World". BBC History. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- Porter, Andrew (1998). The Nineteenth Century, The Oxford History of the British Empire Volume III. Oxford University Press. p. 8. ISBN 0-19-924678-5.
- Marshall, P.J. (1996). The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire. Cambridge University Press. pp. 156–57. ISBN 0-521-00254-0.
- Tompson, Richard S. (2003). Great Britain: a reference guide from the Renaissance to the present. New York: Facts on File. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-8160-4474-0.
- Hosch, William L. (2009). World War I: People, Politics, and Power. America at War. New York: Britannica Educational Publishing. p. 21. ISBN 978-1-61530-048-8.
- Turner, John (1988). Britain and the First World War. London: Unwin Hyman. pp. 22–35. ISBN 978-0-04-445109-9.
- Westwell, I.; Cove, D. (eds) (2002). History of World War I, Volume 3. London: Marshall Cavendish. pp. 698 and 705. ISBN 0-7614-7231-2.
- Turner, J. (1988). Britain and the First World War. Abingdon: Routledge. p. 41. ISBN 0-04-445109-1.
- SR&O 1921, No. 533 of 3 May 1921.
- "The Anglo-Irish Treaty, 6 December 1921". CAIN. Retrieved 15 May 2006.
- Rubinstein, W. D. (2004). Capitalism, Culture, and Decline in Britain, 1750–1990. Abingdon: Routledge. p. 11. ISBN 0-415-03719-0.
- "Britain to make its final payment on World War II loan from U.S.". The New York Times. 28 December 2006. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
- Francis, Martin (1997). Ideas and policies under Labour, 1945–1951: Building a new Britain. Manchester University Press. pp. 225–233. ISBN 978-0-7190-4833-3.
- Lee, Stephen J. (1996). Aspects of British political history, 1914–1995. London; New York: Routledge. pp. 173–199. ISBN 978-0-415-13103-2.
- Larres, Klaus (2009). A companion to Europe since 1945. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. p. 118. ISBN 978-1-4051-0612-2.
- "Country List". Commonwealth Secretariat. 19 March 2009. Retrieved 11 September 2012.[dead link]
- Julios, Christina (2008). Contemporary British identity: English language, migrants, and public discourse. Studies in migration and diaspora. Aldershot: Ashgate. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-7546-7158-9.
- Aughey, Arthur (2005). The Politics of Northern Ireland: Beyond the Belfast Agreement. London: Routledge. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-415-32788-6.
- "The troubles were over, but the killing continued. Some of the heirs to Ireland's violent traditions refused to give up their inheritance." Holland, Jack (1999). Hope against History: The Course of Conflict in Northern Ireland. New York: Henry Holt. p. 221. ISBN 978-0-8050-6087-4.
- Elliot, Marianne (2007). The Long Road to Peace in Northern Ireland: Peace Lectures from the Institute of Irish Studies at Liverpool University. University of Liverpool Institute of Irish Studies, Liverpool University Press. p. 2. ISBN 1-84631-065-2.
- Dorey, Peter (1995). British politics since 1945. Making contemporary Britain. Oxford: Blackwell. pp. 164–223. ISBN 978-0-631-19075-2.
- Griffiths, Alan; Wall, Stuart (2007). Applied Economics (11th ed.). Harlow: Financial Times Press. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-273-70822-3. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
- Keating, Michael (1 January 1998). "Reforging the Union: Devolution and Constitutional Change in the United Kingdom". Publius: the Journal of Federalism 28 (1): 217. Retrieved 4 February 2009.
- Jackson, Mike (3 April 2011). "Military action alone will not save Libya". Financial Times (London).
- "United Kingdom country profile". BBC. 24 January 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- "Scotland to hold independence poll in 2014 – Salmond". BBC News. 10 January 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
- Oxford English Dictionary: "British Isles: a geographical term for the islands comprising Great Britain and Ireland with all their offshore islands including the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands."
- "United Kingdom". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 23 September 2008.
- Latimer Clarke Corporation Pty Ltd. "United Kingdom – Atlapedia Online". Atlapedia.com. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
- ROG Learing Team (23 August 2002). "The Prime Meridian at Greenwich". Royal Museums Greenwich. Royal Museums Greenwich. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- Neal, Clare. "How long is the UK coastline?". British Cartographic Society. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
- "The Channel Tunnel". Eurotunnel. Retrieved 29 November 2010.[dead link]
- "England – Profile". BBC News. 11 February 2010.
- "Scotland Facts". Scotland Online Gateway. Archived from the original on 21 June 2008. Retrieved 16 July 2008.
- Winter, Jon (19 May 2001). "The complete guide to Scottish Islands". The Independent (London).
- "Overview of Highland Boundary Fault". Gazetteer for Scotland. University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
- "Ben Nevis Weather". Ben Nevis Weather. Retrieved 26 October 2008.
- "Profile: Wales". BBC News. 9 June 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
- "Geography of Northern Ireland". University of Ulster. Retrieved 22 May 2006.
- "UK climate summaries". Met Office. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
- United Nations Economic and Social Council (August 2007). "Ninth UN Conference on the standardization of Geographical Names". UN Statistics Division. Archived from the original on 1 December 2009. Retrieved 21 October 2008.
- Barlow, I.M. (1991). Metropolitan Government. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-02099-2.
- "Welcome to the national site of the Government Office Network". Government Offices. Archived from the original on 15 June 2009. Retrieved 3 July 2008.
- "A short history of London government". Greater London Authority. Archived from the original on 21 April 2008. Retrieved 4 October 2008.
- Sherman, Jill; Norfolk, Andrew (5 November 2004). "Prescott's dream in tatters as North East rejects assembly". The Times (London). Retrieved 15 February 2008. "The Government is now expected to tear up its twelve-year-old plan to create eight or nine regional assemblies in England to mirror devolution in Scotland and Wales." (subscription required)
- "Local Authority Elections". Local Government Association. Retrieved 3 October 2008.[dead link]
- "STV in Scotland: Local Government Elections 2007". Political Studies Association. Archived from the original on 20 March 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2008.
- Ethical Standards in Public Life framework: "Ethical Standards in Public Life". The Scottish Government. Retrieved 3 October 2008.
- "Who we are". Convention of Scottish Local Authorities. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
- "Local Authorities". The Welsh Assembly Government. Retrieved 31 July 2008.
- "Local government elections in Wales". The Electoral Commission. 2008. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
- "Welsh Local Government Association". Welsh Local Government Association. Retrieved 20 March 2008.
- Devenport, Mark (18 November 2005). "NI local government set for shake-up". BBC News. Retrieved 15 November 2008.
- "Foster announces the future shape of local government" (Press release). Northern Ireland Executive. 13 March 2008. Retrieved 20 October 2008.
- "Local Government elections to be aligned with review of public administration" (Press release). Northern Ireland Office. 25 April 2008. Retrieved 2 August 2008.[dead link]
- "CIBC PWM Global – Introduction to The Cayman Islands". Cibc.com. 11 July 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
- Rappeport, Laurie. "Cayman Islands Tourism". Washington DC: USA Today Travel Tips. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- "Working with Overseas Territories". Foreign & Commonwealth Office. 6 October 2010. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
- "Overseas Territories". Foreign & Commonwealth Office. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
- "The World Factbook". CIA. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
- "Country profiles". Foreign & Commonwealth Office. 21 February 2008. Retrieved 6 September 2010.[dead link]
- Davison, Phil (18 August 1995). "Bermudians vote to stay British". The Independent (London). Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- The Committee Office, House of Commons. "House of Commons – Crown Dependencies – Justice Committee". Publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
- "Profile of Jersey". States of Jersey. Retrieved 31 July 2008. "The legislature passes primary legislation, which requires approval by The Queen in Council, and enacts subordinate legislation in many areas without any requirement for Royal Sanction and under powers conferred by primary legislation."
- "Chief Minister to meet Channel Islands counterparts – Isle of Man Public Services" (Press release). Isle of Man Government. 29 May 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2013.[dead link]
- Bagehot, Walter (1867). The English Constitution. London: Chapman and Hall. p. 103.
- Carter, Sarah. "A Guide To the UK Legal System". University of Kent at Canterbury. Retrieved 16 May 2006.
- "Parliamentary sovereignty". UK Parliament. No date. Archived from the original on 27 May 2012.
- "The Government, Prime Minister and Cabinet". Public services all in one place. Directgov. Retrieved 12 February 2010.
- "Brown is UK's new prime minister". BBC News. 27 June 2007. Retrieved 23 January 2008.
- "David Cameron is UK's new prime minister". BBC News. 11 May 2010. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
- November 2010 "Elections and voting". UK Parliament. Archived from the original on 14 November 2010. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
- November 2010 "The Parliament Acts". UK Parliament. Archived from the original on 14 November 2010.
- "United Kingdom". European Election Database. Norwegian Social Science Data Services. Retrieved 3 July 2010.
- Wainwright, Martin (28 May 2010). "Thirsk and Malton: Conservatives take final seat in parliament". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 3 July 2010.
- "Sinn Féin moves into Westminster". BBC News. 21 January 2002. Retrieved 17 October 2008.
- "European Election: United Kingdom Result". BBC News. 8 June 2009.
- "Scots MPs attacked over fees vote". BBC News. 27 January 2004. Retrieved 21 October 2008.
- Taylor, Brian (1 June 1998). "Talking Politics: The West Lothian Question". BBC News. Retrieved 21 October 2008.
- "England-only laws 'need majority from English MPs'". BBC News. 25 March 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Scotland's Parliament – powers and structures". BBC News. 8 April 1999. Retrieved 21 October 2008.
- "Salmond elected as first minister". BBC News. 16 May 2007. Retrieved 21 October 2008.
- "Scottish election: SNP wins election". BBC News. 6 May 2011.
- "Structure and powers of the Assembly". BBC News. 9 April 1999. Retrieved 21 October 2008.
- "Carwyn Jones clinches leadership in Wales". WalesOnline (Media Wales). 1 December 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2009.
- "Devolved Government – Ministers and their departments". Northern Ireland Executive. Archived from the original on 22 August 2007.
- Burrows, N. (1999). "Unfinished Business: The Scotland Act 1998". The Modern Law Review 62 (2): 241–60 [p. 249]. doi:10.1111/1468-2230.00203. "The UK Parliament is sovereign and the Scottish Parliament is subordinate. The White Paper had indicated that this was to be the approach taken in the legislation. The Scottish Parliament is not to be seen as a reflection of the settled will of the people of Scotland or of popular sovereignty but as a reflection of its subordination to a higher legal authority. Following the logic of this argument, the power of the Scottish Parliament to legislate can be withdrawn or overridden..."
- Elliot, M. (2004). "United Kingdom: Parliamentary sovereignty under pressure". International Journal of Constitutional Law 2 (3): 545–627 [pp. 553–554]. doi:10.1093/icon/2.3.545. "Notwithstanding substantial differences among the schemes, an important common factor is that the U.K. Parliament has not renounced legislative sovereignty in relation to the three nations concerned. For example, the Scottish Parliament is empowered to enact primary legislation on all matters, save those in relation to which competence is explicitly denied ... but this power to legislate on what may be termed "devolved matters" is concurrent with the Westminster Parliament's general power to legislate for Scotland on any matter at all, including devolved matters ... In theory, therefore, Westminster may legislate on Scottish devolved matters whenever it chooses..."
- Walker, G. (2010). "Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Devolution, 1945–1979". Journal of British Studies 39 (1): 124 & 133. doi:10.1086/644536.
- Gamble, A. "The Constitutional Revolution in the United Kingdom". Publius 36 (1): 19–35 [p. 29]. doi:10.1093/publius/pjj011. "The British parliament has the power to abolish the Scottish parliament and the Welsh assembly by a simple majority vote in both houses, but since both were sanctioned by referenda, it would be politically difficult to abolish them without the sanction of a further vote by the people. In this way several of the constitutional measures introduced by the Blair government appear to be entrenched and not subject to a simple exercise of parliamentary sovereignty at Westminster."
- Meehan, E. (1999). "The Belfast Agreement—Its Distinctiveness and Points of Cross-Fertilization in the UK's Devolution Programme". Parliamentary Affairs 52 (1): 19–31 [p. 23]. doi:10.1093/pa/52.1.19. "[T]he distinctive involvement of two governments in the Northern Irish problem means that Northern Ireland's new arrangements rest upon an intergovernmental agreement. If this can be equated with a treaty, it could be argued that the forthcoming distribution of power between Westminster and Belfast has similarities with divisions specified in the written constitutions of federal states... Although the Agreement makes the general proviso that Westminster's 'powers to make legislation for Northern Ireland' remains 'unaffected', without an explicit categorical reference to reserved matters, it may be more difficult than in Scotland or Wales for devolved powers to be repatriated. The retraction of devolved powers would not merely entail consultation in Northern Ireland backed implicitly by the absolute power of parliamentary sovereignty but also the renegotiation of an intergovernmental agreement."
- "The Treaty (act) of the Union of Parliament 1706". Scottish History Online. Retrieved 5 October 2008.
- "UK Supreme Court judges sworn in". BBC News. 1 October 2009.
- "Constitutional reform: A Supreme Court for the United Kingdom". Department for Constitutional Affairs. July 2003. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
- "Role of the JCPC". Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- Bainham, Andrew (1998). The international survey of family law: 1996. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff. p. 298. ISBN 978-90-411-0573-8.
- Adeleye, Gabriel; Acquah-Dadzie, Kofi; Sienkewicz, Thomas; McDonough, James (1999). World dictionary of foreign expressions. Waucojnda, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci. p. 371. ISBN 978-0-86516-423-9.
- "The Australian courts and comparative law". Australian Law Postgraduate Network. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
- "Court of Session – Introduction". Scottish Courts. Retrieved 5 October 2008.[dead link]
- "High Court of Justiciary – Introduction". Scottish Courts. Retrieved 5 October 2008.[dead link]
- "House of Lords – Practice Directions on Permission to Appeal". UK Parliament. Retrieved 22 June 2009.
- "Introduction". Scottish Courts. Retrieved 5 October 2008.[dead link]
- Samuel Bray (2005). "Not proven: introducing a third verdict". The University of Chicago Law Review 72 (4): 1299. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
- "Police-recorded crime down by 9%". BBC News. 17 July 2008. Retrieved 21 October 2008.
- "New record high prison population". BBC News. 8 February 2008. Retrieved 21 October 2008.
- "Crime falls to 32 year low" (Press release). Scottish Government. 7 September 2010. Retrieved 21 April 2011.
- "Prisoner Population at Friday 22 August 2008". Scottish Prison Service. Retrieved 28 August 2008.
- "Scots jail numbers at record high". BBC News. 29 August 2008. Retrieved 21 October 2008.
- "Britain is 'surveillance society'". BBC News. 2 November 2006. Retrieved 6 December 2010.
- Swaine, Jon (13 January 2009). "Barack Obama presidency will strengthen special relationship, says Gordon Brown". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 3 May 2011.
- Kirchner, E. J.; Sperling, J. (2007). Global Security Governance: Competing Perceptions of Security in the 21st Century. London: Taylor & Francis. p. 100. ISBN 0-415-39162-8
- The Committee Office, House of Commons (19 February 2009). "DFID's expenditure on development assistance". UK Parliament. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Armed Forces Act 1976, Arrangement of Sections". Royal Air Force. 27 January 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Ministry of Defence". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
- "Speaker addresses Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II". UK Parliament. 30 March 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Defence Spending". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 6 January 2008.
- "House of Commons Hansard". UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 October 2008.
- "The Royal Navy: Britain's Trident for a Global Agenda". Henry Jackson Society. Retrieved 17 October 2008.[dead link]
- UK 2005: The Official Yearbook of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Office for National Statistics. p. 89.
- "Principles for Economic Regulation". Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. April 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
- "United Kingdom". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 1 October 2009.
- Chavez-Dreyfuss, Gertrude (1 April 2008). "Global reserves, dollar share up at end of 2007-IMF". Reuters. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
- "More About the Bank". Bank of England. No date. Archived from the original on 12 March 2008.
- "Index of Services (experimental)". Office for National Statistics. 7 May 2006. Archived from the original on 7 May 2006.
- Sassen, Saskia (2001). The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo (2nd ed.). Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-07866-1.
- "Global Financial Centres 7". Z/Yen. 2010. Retrieved 21 April 2010.
- "Worldwide Centres of Commerce Index 2008". Mastercard. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
- ""World's Most Economically Powerful Cities".". Forbes (New York). 15 July 2008. Archived from the original on 19 May 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2010.
- "Global city GDP rankings 2008–2025". PricewaterhouseCoopers. Archived from the original on 19 May 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2010.
- Lazarowicz, Mark (Labour MP) (30 April 2003). "Financial Services Industry". UK Parliament. Retrieved 17 October 2008.
- International Tourism Receipts[dead link]. UNWTO Tourism Highlights, Edition 2005. page 12. World Tourism Organisation. Retrieved 24 May 2006.
- Bremner, Caroline (10 January 2010). "Euromonitor International's Top City Destination Ranking". Euromonitor International. Archived from the original on 19 May 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
- "From the Margins to the Mainstream – Government unveils new action plan for the creative industries". DCMS. 9 March 2007. Retrieved 9 March 2007.[dead link]
- "European Countries – United Kingdom". Europa (web portal). Retrieved 15 December 2010.
- Harrington, James W.; Warf, Barney (1995). Industrial location: Principles, practices, and policy. London: Routledge. p. 121. ISBN 978-0-415-10479-1.
- Spielvogel, Jackson J. (2008). Western Civilization: Alternative Volume: Since 1300. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth. ISBN 978-0-495-55528-5.
- Hewitt, Patricia (15 July 2004). "TUC Manufacturing Conference". Department of Trade and Industry. Retrieved 16 May 2006.
- "Industry topics". Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. 2011. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
- Robertson, David (9 January 2009). "The Aerospace industry has thousands of jobs in peril". The Times (London). Retrieved 9 June 2011. (subscription required)
- "Facts & Figures – 2009". Aerospace & Defence Association of Europe. Retrieved 9 June 2011.[dead link]
- "UK Aerospace Industry Survey – 2010". ADS Group. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
- "The Pharmaceutical sector in the UK". Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
- "Ministerial Industry Strategy Group – Pharmaceutical Industry: Competitiveness and Performance Indicators". Department of Health. Retrieved 9 June 2011.[dead link]
- [dead link]
- "UK in recession as economy slides". BBC News. 23 January 2009. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
- "UK youth unemployment at its highest in two decades: 22.5%". MercoPress. 15 April 2012.
- Groom, Brian (19 January 2011). "UK youth unemployment reaches record". Financial Times (London).
- "Release: EU Government Debt and Deficit returns". Office for National Statistics. March 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
- "UK loses top AAA credit rating for first time since 1978". BBC News. 23 February 2013. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
- "Britain sees real wages fall 3.2%". Daily Express (London). 2 March 2013.
- Beckford, Martin (5 December 2011). "Gap between rich and poor growing fastest in Britain". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- "United Kingdom: Numbers in low income". The Poverty Site. Retrieved 25 September 2009.
- "United Kingdom: Children in low income households". The Poverty Site. Retrieved 25 September 2009.
- "Warning of food price hike crisis". BBC News. 4 April 2009.
- Andrews, J. (16 January 2013). "How poor is Britain now". Yahoo! Finance UK
- Glynn, S.; Booth, A. (1996). Modern Britain: An Economic and Social History. London: Routledge.
- "Report highlights 'bleak' poverty levels in the UK" Phys.org, 29 March 2013
- Gascoin, J. "A reappraisal of the role of the universities in the Scientific Revolution", in Lindberg, David C. and Westman, Robert S., eds (1990), Reappraisals of the Scientific Revolution. Cambridge University Press. p. 248. ISBN 0-521-34804-8.
- Reynolds, E.E.; Brasher, N.H. (1966). Britain in the Twentieth Century, 1900–1964. Cambridge University Press. p. 336. OCLC 474197910
- Burtt, E.A. (2003) .The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Science. Mineola, NY: Courier Dover. p. 207. ISBN 0-486-42551-7.
- Hatt, C. (2006). Scientists and Their Discoveries. London: Evans Brothers. pp. 16, 30 and 46. ISBN 0-237-53195-X.
- Jungnickel, C.; McCormmach, R. (1996). Cavendish. American Philosophical Society. ISBN 0-87169-220-1.
- "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1945: Sir Alexander Fleming, Ernst B. Chain, Sir Howard Florey". The Nobel Foundation. Archived from the original on 21 June 2011.
- Hatt, C. (2006). Scientists and Their Discoveries. London: Evans Brothers. p. 56. ISBN 0-237-53195-X.
- James, I. (2010). Remarkable Engineers: From Riquet to Shannon. Cambridge University Press. pp. 33–6. ISBN 0-521-73165-8.
- Bova, Ben (2002) . The Story of Light. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks. p. 238. ISBN 978-1-4022-0009-0.
- "Alexander Graham Bell (1847–1922)". Scottish Science Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 21 June 2011.
- "John Logie Baird (1888–1946)". BBC History. Archived from the original on 21 June 2011.
- Cole, Jeffrey (2011). Ethnic Groups of Europe: An Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 121. ISBN 1-59884-302-8.
- Castells, M.; Hall, P.; Hall, P.G. (2004). Technopoles of the World: the Making of Twenty-First-Century Industrial Complexes. London: Routledge. pp. 98–100. ISBN 0-415-10015-1.
- "Knowledge, networks and nations: scientific collaborations in the twenty-first century". Royal Society. 2011. Archived from the original on 22 June 2011.
- McCook, Alison. "Is peer review broken?". Reprinted from the Scientist 20(2) 26, 2006. Archived from the original on 21 June 2011.
- "Heathrow 'needs a third runway'". BBC News. 25 June 2008. Retrieved 17 October 2008.
- "Statistics: Top 30 World airports" (Press release). Airports Council International. July 2008. Retrieved 15 October 2008.
- "Transport Statistics Great Britain: 2010". Department for Transport. Archived from the original on 16 December 2010.
- "Major new rail lines considered". BBC News. 21 June 2008. Archived from the original on 9 October 2010.
- "Crossrail's giant tunnelling machines unveiled". BBC News. 2 January 2012.
- Leftly, Mark (29 August 2010). "Crossrail delayed to save £1bn". The Independent on Sunday (London).
- "Size of Reporting Airports October 2009 – September 2010". Civil Aviation Authority. Retrieved 5 December 2010.
- "BMI being taken over by Lufthansa". BBC News. 29 October 2008. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
- "United Kingdom Energy Profile". U.S. Energy Information Administration. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
- Mason, Rowena (24 October 2009). "Let the battle begin over black gold". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 26 November 2010.
- Heath, Michael (26 November 2010). "RBA Says Currency Containing Prices, Rate Level 'Appropriate' in Near Term". Bloomberg (New York). Retrieved 26 November 2010.
- "Nuclear Power in the United Kingdom". World Nuclear Association. April 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- "United Kingdom – Oil". U.S. Energy Information Administration. Retrieved 4 November 2010.[dead link]
- "Diminishing domestic reserves, escalating imports". EDF Energy. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- "United Kingdom – Natural Gas". U.S. Energy Information Administration. Retrieved 4 November 2010.[dead link]
- "United Kingdom – Quick Facts Energy Overview". U.S. Energy Information Administration. Retrieved 4 November 2010.[dead link]
- The Coal Authority (10 April 2006). "Coal Reserves in the United Kingdom". The Coal Authority. Archived from the original on 4 January 2009. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
- "England Expert predicts 'coal revolution'". BBC News. 16 October 2007. Retrieved 23 September 2008.
- Watts, Susan (20 March 2012). "Fracking: Concerns over gas extraction regulations". BBC News. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- "Quit fracking aboot". Friends of the Earth Scotland. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- "Census Geography". Office for National Statistics. 30 October 2007. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- "Welcome to the 2011 Census for England and Wales". Office for National Statistics. No date. Retrieved 11 October 2008.
- "2011 Census: Population Estimates for the United Kingdom". Office for National Statistics. 27 March 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
- "Annual Mid-year Population Estimates, 2010". Office for National Statistics. 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- Batty, David (30 December 2010). "One in six people in the UK today will live to 100, study says". The Guardian (London).
- "2011 UK censuses". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
- "Population: UK population grows to 59.6 million" (Press release). Office for National Statistics. 24 June 2004. Archived from the original on 22 July 2004. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- Khan, Urmee (16 September 2008). "England is most crowded country in Europe". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 5 September 2009.
- Carrell, Severin (17 December 2012). "Scotland's population at record high". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
- "UK fertility remains high" (Press release). Office for National Statistics. 24 June 2010. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- Boseley, Sarah (14 July 2008). "The question: What's behind the baby boom?". The Guardian (London). p. 3. Retrieved 28 August 2009.
- "Fertility Summary – 2010". Office for National Statistics. 6 October 2011.
- Tables, Graphs and Maps Interface (TGM) table. Eurostat (26 February 2013). Retrieved 12 July 2013.
- Campbell, Denis (11 December 2005). "3.6m people in Britain are gay – official". The Observer (London). Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Population estimates". Office for National Statistics.
- Mid-2010 population estimates - Settlements in order of size General Register Office for Scotland
- "Belfast Metropolitan Urban Area NISRA 2005". Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Welsh people could be most ancient in UK, DNA suggests". BBC News. 19 June 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- Thomas, Mark G. et al. "Evidence for a segregated social structure in early Anglo-Saxon England". Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 273(1601): 2651–2657.
- Owen, James (19 July 2005). "Review of 'The Tribes of Britain'". National Geographic (Washington DC).
- Oppenheimer, Stephen (October 2006). "Myths of British ancestry". Prospect (London). Retrieved 5 November 2010.
- Henderson, Mark (23 October 2009). "Scientist – Griffin hijacked my work to make race claim about 'British aborigines'". The Times (London). Retrieved 26 October 2009. (subscription required)
- Costello, Ray (2001). Black Liverpool: The Early History of Britain's Oldest Black Community 1730–1918. Liverpool: Picton Press. ISBN 1-873245-07-6.
- "Culture and Ethnicity Differences in Liverpool – Chinese Community". Chambré Hardman Trust. Retrieved 26 October 2009.
- Coleman, David; Compton, Paul; Salt, John (2002). "The demographic characteristics of immigrant populations". Council of Europe. p.505. ISBN 92-871-4974-7.
- Mason, Chris (30 April 2008). "'Why I left UK to return to Poland'". BBC News.
- "Ethnicity: 7.9% from a non-White ethnic group". Office for National Statistics. 24 June 2004. Archived from the original on 5 July 2007. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- "Resident population estimates by ethnic group (percentages): London". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 23 April 2008.
- "Resident population estimates by ethnic group (percentages): Leicester". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 23 April 2008.
- "Census 2001 – Ethnicity and religion in England and Wales". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 23 April 2008.
- Loveys, Kate (22 June 2011). "One in four primary school pupils are from an ethnic minority and almost a million schoolchildren do not speak English as their first language". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 28 June 2011.
- Rogers, Simon (19 May 2011). "Non-white British population reaches 9.1 million". The Guardian (London).
- Wallop, Harry (18 May 2011). "Population growth of last decade driven by non-white British". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- "Official EU languages". European Commission. 8 May 2009. Retrieved 16 October 2009.
- "Language Courses in New York". United Nations. 2006. Retrieved 29 November 2010.
- "Languages across Europe: United Kingdom". BBC. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
- "Polish becomes England's second language". The Guardian. 30 January 2013. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
- National Statistics Online – Welsh Language[dead link]. National Statistics Office.
- "Differences in estimates of Welsh Language Skills". Office for National Statistics. Archived from the original on 12 January 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2008.
- Wynn Thomas, Peter (March 2007). "Welsh today". Voices. BBC. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
- "Scotland's Census 2001 – Gaelic Report". General Register Office for Scotland. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Local UK languages 'taking off'". BBC News. 12 February 2009.
- Edwards, John R. (2010). Minority languages and group identity: cases and categories. John Benjamins. pp. 150–158. ISBN 978-90-272-1866-7. Retrieved 12 March 2011.
- Koch, John T. (2006). Celtic culture: a historical encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 696. ISBN 978-1-85109-440-0.
- "Language Data – Scots". European Bureau for Lesser-Used Languages. Archived from the original on 23 June 2007. Retrieved 2 November 2008.
- "Fall in compulsory language lessons". BBC News. 4 November 2004.
- "The School Gate for parents in Wales". BBC. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- Cannon, John, ed. (2nd edn., 2009). A Dictionary of British History. Oxford University Press. p. 144. ISBN 0-19-955037-9.
- Field, Clive D. (November 2009). "British religion in numbers"[dead link]. BRIN Discussion Series on Religious Statistics, Discussion Paper 001. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- Yilmaz, Ihsan (2005). Muslim Laws, Politics and Society in Modern Nation States: Dynamic Legal Pluralisms in England, Turkey, and Pakistan. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing. pp. 55–6. ISBN 0-7546-4389-1.
- Brown, Callum G. (2006). Religion and Society in Twentieth-Century Britain. Harlow: Pearson Education. p. 291. ISBN 0-582-47289-X.
- Norris, Pippa; Inglehart, Ronald (2004). Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide. Cambridge University Press. p. 84. ISBN 0-521-83984-X.
- Fergusson, David (2004). Church, State and Civil Society. Cambridge University Press. p. 94. ISBN 0-521-52959-X.
- "UK Census 2001". National Office for Statistics. Archived from the original on 12 March 2007. Retrieved 22 April 2007.
- "Religious Populations". Office for National Statistics. 11 October 2004. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011.
- "United Kingdom: New Report Finds Only One in 10 Attend Church". News.adventist.org. 4 April 2007. Retrieved 12 September 2010.
- The History of the Church of England. The Church of England. Retrieved 23 November 2008.
- "Queen and Church of England". British Monarchy Media Centre. Archived from the original on 8 October 2006. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
- "Queen and the Church". The British Monarchy (Official Website). Archived from the original on 7 June 2011.
- "How we are organised". Church of Scotland. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011.
- Weller, Paul (2005). Time for a Change: Reconfiguring Religion, State, and Society. London: Continuum. pp. 79–80. ISBN 0567084876.
- Peach, Ceri, "United Kingdom, a major transformation of the religious landscape", in H. Knippenberg. ed. (2005). The Changing Religious Landscape of Europe. Amsterdam: Het Spinhuis. pp. 44–58. ISBN 90-5589-248-3.
- Richards, Eric (2004). Britannia's children: Emigration from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland since 1600. London: Hambledon, p. 143. ISBN 978-1-85285-441-6.
- Gibney, Matthew J.; Hansen, Randall (2005). Immigration and asylum: from 1900 to the present, ABC-CLIO, p. 630. ISBN 1-57607-796-9
- "Short history of immigration". BBC. 2005. Retrieved 28 August 2010.
- "Census 2011 mapped and charted: England & Wales in religion, immigration and race". Guardian. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
- 6.5% of the EU population are foreigners and 9.4% are born abroad, Eurostat, Katya Vasileva, 34/2011.
- Muenz, Rainer (June 2006). "Europe: Population and Migration in 2005". Migration Policy Institute. Retrieved 2 April 2007.
- "Immigration and births to non-British mothers pushes British population to record high". London Evening Standard. 21 August 2008.
- Doughty, Steve; Slack, James (3 June 2008). "Third World migrants behind our 2.3m population boom". Daily Mail (London).
- Bentham, Martin (20 October 2008). "Tories call for tougher control of immigration". London Evening Standard.
- "Minister rejects migrant cap plan". BBC News. 8 September 2008. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
- Johnston, Philip (5 January 2007). "Immigration 'far higher' than figures say". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 20 April 2007.
- Travis, Alan (25 August 2011). "UK net migration rises 21%". The Guardian (London).
- "Migration Statistics Quarterly Report May 2012". Office for National Statistics. 24 May 2012.
- "Migration to UK more than double government target". BBC News. 24 May 2012.
- "Citizenship". Home Office. August 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2011.[dead link]
- Bamber, David (20 December 2000). "Migrant squad to operate in France". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- "Settlement". Home Office. August 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2011.[dead link]
- "Births in England and Wales by parents' country of birth, 2011". Office for National Statistics. 30 August 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Right of Union citizens and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States". European Commission. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- Doward, Jamie; Temko, Ned (23 September 2007). "Home Office shuts the door on Bulgaria and Romania". The Observer (London). p. 2. Retrieved 23 August 2008.
- Sumption, Madeleine; Somerville, Will (January 2010). "The UK's new Europeans: Progress and challenges five years after accession". Policy Report (London: Equality and Human Rights Commission). p. 13. ISBN 978-1-84206-252-4. Retrieved 19 January 2010.
- Doward, Jamie; Rogers, Sam (17 January 2010). "Young, self-reliant, educated: portrait of UK's eastern European migrants". The Observer (London). Retrieved 19 January 2010.
- Hopkirk, Elizabeth (20 October 2008). "Packing up for home: Poles hit by UK's economic downturn". London Evening Standard.
- "Migrants to UK 'returning home'". BBC News. 8 September 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2009.
- "UK sees shift in migration trend". BBC News. 27 May 2010. Retrieved 28 May 2010.
- "Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland". London: UK Border Agency. Retrieved 30 October 2010.
- Boxell, James (28 June 2010). "Tories begin consultation on cap for migrants". Financial Times (London). Retrieved 17 September 2010.
- "Vince Cable: Migrant cap is hurting economy". The Guardian (London). Press Association. 17 September 2010. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
- Richards (2004), pp. 6–7.
- Sriskandarajah, Dhananjayan; Drew, Catherine (11 December 2006). "Brits Abroad: Mapping the scale and nature of British emigration". Institute for Public Policy Research. Retrieved 20 January 2007.
- "Brits Abroad: world overview". BBC. No date. Retrieved 20 April 2007.
- Casciani, Dominic (11 December 2006). "5.5 m Britons 'opt to live abroad'". BBC News. Retrieved 20 April 2007.
- "Brits Abroad: Country-by-country". BBC News. 11 December 2006.
- "Local Authorities". Department for Children, Schools and Families. Retrieved 21 December 2008.
- Gordon, J.C.B. (1981). Verbal Deficit: A Critique. London: Croom Helm. p. 44 note 18. ISBN 978-0-85664-990-5.
- Section 8 ('Duty of local education authorities to secure provision of primary and secondary schools'), Sections 35–40 ('Compulsory attendance at Primary and Secondary Schools') and Section 61 ('Prohibition of fees in schools maintained by local education authorities ...'), Education Act 1944.
- "England's pupils in global top 10". BBC News. 10 December 2008.
- "More state pupils in universities". BBC News. 19 July 2007.
- MacLeod, Donald (9 November 2007). "Private school pupil numbers in decline". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 31 March 2010.
- Frankel, Hannah (3 September 2010). "Is Oxbridge still a preserve of the posh?". TES (London). Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- "QS World University Rankings Results 2010". Quacquarelli Symonds. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
- Davenport, F.; Beech, C.; Downs, T.; Hannigan, D. (2006). Ireland. Lonely Planet, 7th edn. ISBN 1-74059-968-3. p. 564.
- "About SQA". Scottish Qualifications Authority. 10 April 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "About Learning and Teaching Scotland". Learning and Teaching Scotland. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Brain drain in reverse". Scotland Online Gateway. July 2002. Archived from the original on 4 December 2007.
- "Increase in private school intake". BBC News. 17 April 2007.
- "MSPs vote to scrap endowment fee". BBC News. 28 February 2008.
- "QS World University Rankings Results 2012". Quacquarelli Symonds. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
- What will your child learn?[dead link] The Welsh Assembly Government. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
- CCEA. "About Us – What we do". Council for the Curriculum Examinations & Assessment. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- Haden, Angela; Campanini, Barbara, eds. (2000). The world health report 2000 – Health systems: improving performance. Geneva: World Health Organisation. ISBN 92-4-156198-X. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
- World Health Organization. Measuring overall health system performance for 191 countries. New York University. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
- "'Huge contrasts' in devolved NHS". BBC News. 28 August 2008.
- Triggle, Nick (2 January 2008). "NHS now four different systems". BBC News.
- Fisher, Peter. "The NHS from Thatcher to Blair". NHS Consultants Association (International Association of Health Policy). "The Budget ... was even more generous to the NHS than had been expected amounting to an annual rise of 7.4% above the rate of inflation for the next 5 years. This would take us to 9.4% of GDP spent on health ie around EU average."
- "OECD Health Data 2009 – How Does the United Kingdom Compare". Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Retrieved 28 April 2013.[dead link]
- "The cultural superpower: British cultural projection abroad". Journal of the British Politics Society, Norway. Volume 6. No. 1. Winter 2011
- Sheridan, Greg (15 May 2010). "Cameron has chance to make UK great again". The Australian (Sydney). Retrieved 20 May 2012.
- Goldfarb, Jeffrey (10 May 2006). "Bookish Britain overtakes America as top publisher". RedOrbit (Texas). Reuters.
- "William Shakespeare (English author)". Britannica Online encyclopedia. Retrieved 26 February 2006.
- MSN Encarta Encyclopedia article on Shakespeare. Archived from the original on 9 February 2006. Retrieved 26 February 2006.
- William Shakespeare. Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia. Retrieved 26 February 2006.
- "Mystery of Christie's success is solved". The Daily Telegraph (London). 19 December 2005. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
- "All-Time Essential Comics". IGN. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
- Johnston, Rich."Before Watchmen To Double Up For Hardcover Collections". Bleeding Cool. 10 December 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
- "Edinburgh, UK appointed first UNESCO City of Literature". Unesco. 2004. Retrieved 28 April 2013.[dead link]
- "Early Welsh poetry". BBC Wales. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
- Lang, Andrew (2003) . History of English Literature from Beowulf to Swinburne. Holicong, PA: Wildside Press. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-8095-3229-2.
- "Dafydd ap Gwilym". Academi website. Academi. 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2011. "Dafydd ap Gwilym is widely regarded as one of the greatest Welsh poets of all time, and amongst the leading European poets of the Middle Ages."
- True birthplace of Wales's literary hero. BBC News. Retrieved 28 April 2012
- Kate Roberts: Biography. BBC Wales. Retrieved 28 April 2012
- Swift, Jonathan; Fox, Christopher (1995). Gulliver's travels: complete, authoritative text with biographical and historical contexts, critical history, and essays from five contemporary critical perspectives. Basingstoke: Macmillan. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-333-63438-7.
- "Bram Stoker." (PDF). The New York Times. 23 April 1912. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
- "1960–1969". EMI Group. Retrieved 31 May 2008.
- "Paul At Fifty". Time (New York). 8 June 1992.
- Most Successful Group The Guinness Book of Records 1999, p. 230. Retrieved 19 March 2011.
- "British Citizen by Act of Parliament: George Frideric Handel". UK Parliament. 20 July 2009. Retrieved 11 September 2009.[dead link]
- Andrews, John (14 April 2006). "Handel all'inglese". Playbill (New York). Retrieved 11 September 2009.
- Citron, Stephen (2001). Sondheim and Lloyd-Webber: The new musical. London: Chatto & Windus. ISBN 978-1-85619-273-6.
- "Beatles a big hit with downloads". Belfast Telegraph. 25 November 2010. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
- "British rock legends get their own music title for PlayStation3 and PlayStation2" (Press release). EMI. 2 February 2009.
- Khan, Urmee (17 July 2008). "Sir Elton John honoured in Ben and Jerry ice cream". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- Alleyne, Richard (19 April 2008). "Rock group Led Zeppelin to reunite". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 31 March 2010.
- Fresco, Adam (11 July 2006). "Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett dies at home". The Times (London). Retrieved 31 March 2010. (subscription required)
- Holton, Kate (17 January 2008). "Rolling Stones sign Universal album deal". Reuters. Retrieved 26 October 2008.
- Walker, Tim (12 May 2008). "Jive talkin': Why Robin Gibb wants more respect for the Bee Gees". The Independent (London). Retrieved 26 October 2008.
- "Brit awards winners list 2012: every winner since 1977". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 28 February 2012.
- Corner, Lewis (16 February 2012). "Adele, Coldplay biggest-selling UK artists worldwide in 2011". Digital Spy. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
- Hughes, Mark (14 January 2008). "A tale of two cities of culture: Liverpool vs Stavanger". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2 August 2009.
- "Glasgow gets city of music honour". BBC News. 20 August 2008. Retrieved 2 August 2009.
- Bayley, Stephen (24 April 2010). "The startling success of Tate Modern". The Times (London). Retrieved 19 January 2011. (subscription required)
- "Vertigo is named 'greatest film of all time'". BBC News. 2 August 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
- "The Directors' Top Ten Directors". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 27 May 2012.
- "Chaplin, Charles (1889–1977)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
- "Powell, Michael (1905–1990)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
- "Reed, Carol (1906–1976)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
- "Scott, Sir Ridley (1937–)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
- "Andrews, Julie (1935–)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
- "Burton, Richard (1925–1984)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
- "Caine, Michael (1933–)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
- "Chaplin, Charles (1889–1977)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
- "Connery, Sean (1930–)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
- "Leigh, Vivien (1913–1967)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
- "Niven, David (1910–1983)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
- "Olivier, Laurence (1907–1989)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
- "Sellers, Peter (1925–1980)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
- "Winslet, Kate (1975–)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
- "Daniel Day-Lewis makes Oscar history with third award"'. BBC News. Retrieved 15 August 2013
- "Harry Potter becomes highest-grossing film franchise". The Guardian (London). 11 September 2007. Retrieved 2 November 2010.
- "History of Ealing Studios". Ealing Studios. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
- "UK film – the vital statistics". UK Film Council. Retrieved 22 October 2010.[dead link]
- "The BFI 100". British Film Institute. 6 September 2006. Archived from the original on 1 April 2011.
- "Baftas fuel Oscars race". BBC News. 26 February 2001. Retrieved 14 February 2011.
- "BBC: World's largest broadcaster & Most trusted media brand". Media Newsline. Archived from the original on 5 October 2010. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
- "Digital licence". Prospect. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
- "About the BBC – What is the BBC". BBC Online. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
- Newswire7 (13 August 2009). "BBC: World's largest broadcaster & Most trusted media brand". Media Newsline. Archived from the original on 17 June 2011.
- "TV Licence Fee: facts & figures". BBC Press Office. April 2010. Archived from the original on 17 June 2011.
- "Publications & Policies: The History of ITV". ITV.com. Archived from the original on 17 June 2011.
- "Publishing". News Corporation. Archived from the original on 17 June 2011.
- "Direct Broadcast Satellite Television". News Corporation. Archived from the original on 17 June 2011.
- William, D. (2010). UK Cities: A Look at Life and Major Cities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Eastbourne: Gardners Books. ISBN 978-9987-16-021-1, pp. 22, 46, 109 and 145.
- "Publishing". Department of Culture, Media and Sport. Archived from the original on 17 June 2011.
- Ofcom "Communication Market Report 2010", 19 August 2010, pp. 97, 164 and 191
- "Social Trends: Lifestyles and social participation". Office for National Statistics. 16 February 2010. Archived from the original on 17 June 2011.
- "Top 20 countries with the highest number of Internet users". Internet World Stats. Archived from the original on 17 June 2011.
- Fieser, James, ed. (2000). A bibliography of Scottish common sense philosophy: Sources and origins. Bristol: Thoemmes Press. Retrieved 17 December 2010.
- Palmer, Michael (1999). Moral Problems in Medicine: A Practical Coursebook. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press. p. 66. ISBN 978-0-7188-2978-0.
- Scarre, Geoffrey (1995). Utilitarianism. London: Routledge. p. 82. ISBN 978-0-415-12197-2.
- Gysin, Christian (9 March 2007). "Wembley kick-off: Stadium is ready and England play first game in fortnight". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 19 March 2007.
- "Opening ceremony of the games of the XXX Olympiad". Olympic.org. Retrieved 30 November 2013
- "Unparalleled Sporting History" . Reuters. Retrieved 30 November 2013
- "Rugby Union 'Britain's Second Most Popular Sport'". Ipsos-Mori. 22 December 2003. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- Ebner, Sarah (2 July 2013). "History and time are key to power of football, says Premier League chief". The Times (London). Retrieved 30 November 2013.
- Mitchell, Paul (November 2005). "The first international football match". BBC Sport Scotland. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
- "Why is there no GB Olympics football team?". BBC Sport. 5 August 2008. Retrieved 31 December 2010.
- "Blatter against British 2012 team". BBC News. 9 March 2008. Retrieved 2 April 2008.
- "About ECB". England and Wales Cricket Board. No date. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- McLaughlin, Martyn (4 August 2009). "Howzat happen? England fields a Gaelic-speaking Scotsman in Ashes". The Scotsman (Edinburgh). Retrieved 30 December 2010.
- "Uncapped Joyce wins Ashes call up". BBC Sport. 15 November 2006. Retrieved 30 December 2010.
- "Glamorgan". BBC South East Wales. August 2009. Retrieved 30 December 2010.
- Ardener, Shirley (2007). Professional identities: policy and practice in business and bureaucracy. New York: Berghahn. p. 27. ISBN 978-1-84545-054-0.
- "Official Website of Rugby League World Cup 2008". Archived from the original on 16 October 2007.
- Louw, Jaco; Nesbit, Derrick (2008). The Girlfriends Guide to Rugby. Johannesburg: South Publishers. ISBN 978-0-620-39541-0.
- "Triple Crown". RBS 6 Nations. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
- "Tracking the Field". Ipsos MORI. Archived from the original on 5 February 2009. Retrieved 17 October 2008.
- "Links plays into the record books". BBC News. 17 March 2009.
- Chowdhury, Saj (22 January 2007). "China in Ding's hands". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
- "Lawn Tennis and Major T.Gem". The Birmingham Civic Society. Archived from the original on 18 August 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2010.
- Gould, Joe (10 April 2007). "The ancient Irish sport of hurling catches on in America". Columbia News Service (Columbia Journalism School). Retrieved 17 May 2011.
- "Shinty". Scottishsport.co.uk. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Welsh dragon call for Union flag". BBC News. 27 November 2007. Retrieved 17 October 2008.
- "Britannia on British Coins". Chard. Retrieved 25 June 2006.
- Baker, Steve (2001). Picturing the Beast. University of Illinois Press. p. 52. ISBN 0-252-07030-5.
- Hitchens, Peter (2000). The Abolition of Britain: from Winston Churchill to Princess Diana. Second ed. San Francisco, Calif.: Encounter Books. xi, 332 p. ISBN 1-893554-18-X
- Lambert, Richard S. (1964). The Great Heritage: a History of Britain for Canadians. House of Grant, 1964 (and earlier editions and/or printings).
|Find more about United Kingdom at Wikipedia's sister projects|
|Definitions and translations from Wiktionary|
|Media from Commons|
|Quotations from Wikiquote|
|Source texts from Wikisource|
|Textbooks from Wikibooks|
|Travel guide from Wikivoyage|
|Learning resources from Wikiversity|
- Official website of HM Government
- Official website of the British Monarchy
- Official Yearbook of the United Kingdom statistics
- The official site of the British Prime Minister's Office
- General information
- United Kingdom from the BBC News
- United Kingdom entry at The World Factbook
- United Kingdom from UCB Libraries GovPubs
- United Kingdom on the Open Directory Project
- United Kingdom Encyclopædia Britannica entry
- United Kingdom from the OECD
- United Kingdom at the EU
- Wikimedia Atlas of United Kingdom
- Geographic data related to United Kingdom at OpenStreetMap
- Key Development Forecasts for the United Kingdom from International Futures