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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is situated on the British Isles. It consists of four parts: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. England, Wales and Scotland occupy the territory of Great Britain. Northern Ireland is situated in the northern part of Ireland. The territory of the United Kingdom is about 244000 square kilometers, it takes the 75th place among other countries in the world. Great Britain is separated from the continent by the North Sea, the English Chanel and the Atlantic Ocean. The mountains, the Atlantic Ocean and the warm waters of the Gulf Stream influence the climate of Great Britain. It is mild the whole year round. The terrain of Great Britain varies greatly. The northern and western parts of the country are mountainous and are called the Highlands. All the rest (south, east and center) is a vast plain which is called the Lowlands. The mountains are not very high. The highest regions are in Scotland and in the North Wales. The highest

peak in Scotland is Ben Nevis, 1343 m. In Wales the highest peak is Snowdon. There is also the Pennine chain in North England with some wild mountains for climbing.

The rivers are not long. The most important of them are the Severn, the Thames, and the Trent. The Thames flowing to the East is the busiest and the most beautiful river, the Severn flowing to the west is the longest river – about 200 miles, the Trent flowing to the north is the fastest. The are many beautiful lakes in the mountainous parts of the country. Here is Lake District which consists of 16 lakes or “lochs” as they call them. The largest lake is Windermere and the deepest one is Westwater. The most common trees in England are oak, ash and beech. Scotland has more pines and birch. The animal life is varies. There are several small lizards, snakes and frogs. The most numerous birds are blackbirds, sparrows and starling. Some birds are protected by law. They are partridges and pheasants.

The national emblem of England is the Red Rose, the national bird is the Robin Redbreast. The national emblem of Wales is the daffodil and leek. The national emblem of Scotland is the thistle. The national emblem of Northern Ireland is the shamrock. Great Britain is a highly developed industrial country. It is known as one of the world’s largest producers of machinery and electronics, chemicals and textiles, aircraft and navigation equipment. One of the chief industries of the country is shipbuilding. Seven percent of the population is engaged in farming.

The population is more then 57 million. About 80% of the population is urban. The largest cities in Great Britain are: London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Sheffield, Leeds, Nottingham, Liverpool, Bristle, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow. The largest ports of the country are: Belfast, London, Liverpool, Glasgow, Cardiff. The capital of the country is London. The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy. It has a monarch – a King or a Queen. The present British monarch is Queen Elizabeth the Second. She become Queen in 1952. The monarch has little power and reigns with the support of Parliament. British Parliament is the legislative body of the country. It consists of two Houses, the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Parliament and the monarch have different roles in the government of the country. In reality, the House of Commons has true power. It introduces new bills, which then go to the House of Lords for approval. Then the monarch signs them. The functions of the Queen are: to open the sessions of the Parliament, to head the commonwealth, to be Commander-in-Chief, to declare war, to make peace. The House of Commons is made up of 650 elected members of parliament. The party which has the majority in Parliament forms the government, and its leader usually becomes prime minister. The prime minister forms his or her Cabinet. The chairman of the House of Commons is the Speaker. The chairman of the House of Lords is the Lord Chancellor. He sits on a special place, called the woolsack. It means that wool made England rich. The members of the House of Lords are not elected, there are live peers. There are several political parties in Great Britain. They are the Conservative, the Liberal, the Labor, the Social Democratic and the Communist parties. The current Prime Minister, David Cameron, is the leader of the Conservative Party.

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