General information: Great Britain, the most influential industrial and maritime power of the 19th century, played a leading role in the development of parliamentary democracy, as well as literature and science. At its height, the British Empire covered one quarter of the world’s surface. In the first half of the XX century. Britain’s power was noticeably weakened as a result of two world wars. In the second half of the century, the empire collapsed and Great Britain turned into a modern prosperous European country. As one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, a founding member of NATO and the British Commonwealth of Nations, Great Britain sets and solves global problems in its foreign policy. There is currently an ongoing debate in the UK about the optimal degree of integration with continental Europe. As a member of the EU, it at the same time prefers to remain outside the framework of the European Monetary Union. An important problem in the UK is also the implementation of constitutional reform. In 1999 regional assemblies with various powers began to operate in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Location: Western Europe, British Isles, including the northern part (one sixth of the total area) of the island of Ireland, located between the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea to the northwest of France.
Geographic coordinates: 54° 00′ N. latitude, 2° 00′ W
Reference map: Europe.
Area: total: 244,820 square kilometers; land surface area: 241,590 km2; water surface area: 3,230 km2; note: includes Rockall Island and Shetland Islands.
Comparative area: slightly smaller than the state of Oregon.
Land borders: general: 360 km; with neighboring states: with Ireland 360 km.
Coastline: 12,429 km.
Maritime claims: continental shelf: defined in the list of continental shelves or in accordance with the boundaries established by agreements; zone of exclusive right to fish: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: temperate; moderated by southwesterly winds prevailing over the North Atlantic Current; more than half of the days of the year are cloudy.
Relief: hills and low mountains prevail; hilly plains in the east and southeast.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Fenland -4 m; highest point: Mount Ben Nevis 1,343 m.
Natural resources: coal, oil, natural gas, tin, limestone, iron ore, salt, clay, chalk, gypsum, lead, quartz, arable land.
Land use: arable land: 25%; cultivated land: 0%; pastures: 46%; forests and plantations: 10%; others: 19% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 1,080 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural hazards: no data available.
Current environmental issues: reduction of greenhouse gas emissions continues (compliance with the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol for a reduction of 12.5% compared to 1990 levels has been achieved, there is hope to reduce emissions even more); the amount of solid waste is increasing, the processing of which is very limited.
International agreements on environmental protection: contributor: Air Pollution, Air Pollution – Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution – Sulfur 1994, Air Pollution – Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctica – Environmental Protection Protocol, Conservation of Marine Life in Antarctica, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Change Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Change, Hazardous Waste, Law of the Sea, Marine Pollution, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Marine Pollution from Ships, Tropical Timber 1983, Tropical Timber 1994, Wetlands, Whaling; signed but not ratified: Air Pollution – Persistent Organic Pollutants, Kyoto Protocol.
Note to the section “Geography”: Great Britain is located near the busy shipping lanes of the North Atlantic; only 35 km separate it from France, and now these countries are connected by a tunnel under the English Channel; due to the extremely indented coastline, not a single point of the territory is more than 125 km from the tide line.
Population: 59,647,790 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 18.89% (male 5,778,415; female 5,486,114); 15 to 64 years old: 65.41% (male 19,712,932; female 19,304,771); over 65: 15.7% (male 3,895,921; female 5,469,617) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 0.23% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 11.54 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 10.35 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: 1.07 people /1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male/female; under 15: 1.05 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 1.02 male/female; over 65: 0.71 male/female; for the general population: 0.97 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 5.54 deaths/1000 births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 77.82 years; men: 75.13 years; women: 80.66 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 1.73 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 0.11% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 31,000 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: 450 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: British; adjective: British.
Ethnic groups: English 81.5%, Scottish 9.6%, Irish 2.4%, Welsh 1.9%, All-Steran 1.8%, West Indian, Indian, Pakistani and other 2.8%.
Believers: Anglicans 27 mpn, Catholics 9 million, Muslims 1 million, Presbyterians 800,000, Methodists 760,000, Sikhs 400,000, Hindus 350,000, Jews 300,000 (1991 est.).
Language(s): English, Welsh (about 26% of the population of Wales), Scottish Gaelic (about 60,000 in Scotland).
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who have completed five or more grades; for the general population: 99% (1978 est.); men: no data; women: no data.
conventional long form: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland;
Common short form: UK; abbreviation: UK.
State structure: constitutional monarchy. See politicsezine.com to know more about United Kingdom Political System.
Administrative division: Oma, Straban, Fermana; Scotland – 32 territorial councils: Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Ergil and Bute, Scottish Borderlands, Clackmannanshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee City, East Ayrshire, East Dumbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfushire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow, Highland, Inverclyde, Midlothian, Moray, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Orkney, Perth and Kinross, Renfushire, Shetland, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dumbartonshire, Eilean Ciar (Western Isles), West Lothian; Wales – 11 municipal counties, 9 counties*, 2 towns and counties**: Angsley Island*, Blenau Gwent, Bridget, Caerphilly, Cardiff**, Ceredigion*, Carmanthenshire*, Conwy, Denbigshire*, Flintshire*, Gwynedd, Merthyr -Tydwill, Monmouthshire*, Knif Port Topboat, Newport, Pembrokeshire*, Powys*, Rhontha Cynon Tuff, Swansea**, Thorfaen,
Dependent Territories: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Isle of Jersey, Isle of Man, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Terke and Caicos Islands.
Independence: England has existed as a united state since the 10th century; the union between England and Wales was concluded under the Treaty of Rudlan in 1284; under the Act of Union of 1707, England and Scotland were united under the name of Great Britain; in 1801 a parliamentary union was concluded between Great Britain and Ireland and the name of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was adopted; the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 formalized the partition of Ireland; the six northern Irish counties remained part of the United Kingdom as Northern Ireland, in 1927 the current name of the country was adopted: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
National holiday: Queen’s Birthday (celebrated on the second Saturday of June).
Constitution: unwritten; partly statutes, partly common law and custom.
Legal system: common law tradition with early influence from Roman law and modern influence from continental law; judicial review of acts of Parliament is not allowed; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; UK courts and law are increasingly subject to decisions on appeal in the courts of the European Union.
Suffrage: from 18 years old; universal.
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952) heir to the throne, Prince CHARLES (son of the Queen, born 14 November 1948);
head of the government: Prime Minister Anthony (Tony) BLAIR (Anthony C. L. (Tony) BLAIR) (since May 2, 1997);
Government: cabinet of ministers appointed by the prime minister; elections: not held; hereditary monarchy; the prime minister is the leader of the majority party in the House of Commons (it is assumed that there is no majority party as such, and the prime minister leads the coalition that secures the majority, or at least the coalition that is not rejected by the majority).
Legislature: bicameral Parliament consists of the House of Lords (consisting of approximately 500 life members, 92 hereditary peers and 26 clergy) and the House of Commons (659 seats; members of the house are directly elected for a five-year term, the house may be dissolved earlier); elections: House of Lords – not elected (some proposals for further reforms involve elections); House of Commons – last held 1 June 2001 (next to be held in May 2006); election results: House of Commons – distribution of votes between parties – NA; seat distribution by party – Labor 412, Conservatives and Unionists 166, Liberal Democrats 52, others 29; note: in 1998 Elections to the Parliament of Northern Ireland were held (due to unresolved disputes between parties, the transfer of powers from London to Northern Ireland took place only at the end of 1999, and in February 2000 there was a return to direct control from London); in 1999 elections were held for the Scottish Parliament and the new Welsh Assembly.
Judiciary: House of Lords (highest court of appeal; several Lord Justices are appointed by the monarch for life); Supreme Courts of England, Wales, Northern Ireland (includes Courts of Appeal, High Courts, Crown Courts); Court of Session of Scotland and Court of Justice (Criminal Court of Scotland).
Political parties and leaders: Conservative and Unionist Party (William HAGUE); Democratic Unionist Party (Northern Ireland) (Teacher Ian PAISLEY [Rev. Ian PAISLEY]); Labor Party (Anthony [Tony] Blair); Liberal Democratic Party (Charles KENNEDY); Scottish National Party (John SWINNEY); Sinn Féin (Northern Ireland) (Gerry ADAMS); Social Democratic and Labor Party (SDLP) (Northern Ireland) (John HUME); Ulster Unionist Party (Northern Ireland) (David TRIMBLE).
Political pressure groups and their leaders: Movement for Nuclear Disarmament; Confederation of British Industry; National Farmers Union; Trade Union Congress.
Participation in international organizations: AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, С, CCC, CDB (non-regional), CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECA (associate), ECE, ECLAC, EIB, ESA, ESCAP, EU, FAO, G-5, G-7, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, MONUC, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, SPC, UN, UN Security Council, UNAMSIL, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UNTAET, UNU, UPU, WCL, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO, ZC.
Diplomatic representation in the USA: chief of mission: Ambassador Sir Christopher J. R. MEYER; office: 3100 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008; phone:  (202) 588-6500; fax:  (202) 588-7870; consulates general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco; consulates: Dallas, Denver, Miami, Orlando, San Juan and Seattle.
US Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador Philip Lader; embassy: 24/31 Grosvenor Square, London, W. 1A1AE; mailing address: PSC 801, Box 40, FPO AE 09498-4040; phone:  (171) 499-9000; fax:  (171) 409-1637; consulates general: Belfast, Edinburgh.
Flag Description: blue and red cross of St. George (patron saint of England) with white edges, superimposed on a diagonal red cross of St. Patrick (patron saint of Ireland), which is superimposed on a diagonal white cross of St. Andrew (patron saint of Scotland); also known as the Union Flag, or the Union Jack; its design and colors (especially blue) became the basis for a number of flags, including those of other members of the Commonwealth and their constituent areas (states or provinces), as well as British overseas territories.