The United Kingdom popularly known as UK is made up of England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. The Kingdom has a long history and is considered a major player internationally especially in EU, UN and NATO. It however decided t stay out of the economic and monetary union. It is also imperative to understand that the kingdom has the third largest economy in Europe after Germany and France. The country’s geography is varied where cliffs along its coastline are eminent, highlands and lowlands, as well as many islands off the coast f Scotland. Its highest mountain is Ben Nevis, 1344m, which is in Scotland. United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, and parliamentary democracy constituted of two houses. The house of commons, which is the lower house, has 646 elected members. On the other hand, the upper house, popularly known as the House of Lords has 700 people. Both of these houses have legislative powers.
Fig 1.0 Map of the Great Britain
Of the four members of the United Kingdom, England has the largest population of 80%. Scotland has a 10% population while the rest is from Northern Ireland and Wales. It is also worthwhile to understand that the country hosts diverse immigrants communities especially from its former colonies in Africa, India, and Pakistan. The country has also produced great number of engineers and scientists such as Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton. Adam Smith, Shakespeare and Doris Lessing are other notable figures from the kingdom.
From the economic perspective, UK economy is among the largest in Europe. It enjoys service based economy although it has industrial and technological capacity. London is a recognized globally as financial services center. Agriculture in the country is intensive and highly mechanized thus increasing efficiency in European standards. The country’s agriculture produces 0ver 60% of food requirements with less than 2% labor force. Natural resources such as coal, gas and oil are also significant economic activities although the oil deposits are gradually declining. Though manufacturing is not very popular in UK, it is imperative to understand that it accounts for at least 10% of the total output. Britain’s economy has enjoyed the longest expansion period especially after the 1992 recession surpassing most of the western powers. The kingdom has also made major efforts in streamlining its military prowess to match other global powers.
The history of UK popularly known as the United Kingdom of Great Britain started in 1707 with the political union of England and Scotland forming the Great Britain. It is recorded as one of the most astonishing transformations in the European history. Another Act of Union was architected in 1800 where the kingdom of Ireland joined to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The formation of this union made Britain a great heavyweight in terms of global economy. Its contribution to the defeat of Germany, Italy and Japan in World War II was immense. They also became members of the commonwealth and great members of EU, UN and NATO.
Britain’s history has also been marked by war especially between 1700 and 1850 where a total of 137 wars and rebellions were eminent. The kingdom maintained a relatively large and expensive royal navy and a small standing army. It is also important to understand that the kingdom hired mercenaries and financed allies to field armies in times of need. However, the rising war costs forced the government to shift from agricultural and income financing to customs and excise taxes. To enable this financing, the government borrowed heavily from the banks and repaid these loans during peace time. Greta rise in taxes was evident as it rose to 20% of the national income (Williams, 73). As a result, the private sector became the beneficiaries of the increased economic growth. The increased d4emand for war supplies engineered the growth in the industrial sector particularly naval supplies, textiles and munitions that gave the union an advantage in international trade during the post-war years. It is also imperative to understand that the country experienced many wars with the war of 1812 with United States being one of the most notable war experiences.
The United Kingdom has a strong political history where monarchy and parliamentary democracy have taken the center stage. This set up made the monarch the head of state while prime mister of the Kingdom is the head of government. Devolution is also eminent with Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland having their governments. Executive powers are vested with her majesty s government with checks and balances from the monarch. Legislative work is in the two major houses, House of Lords and House of Commons, as well as the legislative assemblies of the member states.
The United Kingdom political system is multiparty with the two largest parties being the conservative party and the labor party. However, it is important to understand that the liberal party was another political party before the emergence of the labor party (Dent, 56). Coalition governments have also characterized British politics with the 1945 conservative-liberal Democrat coalition being the first coalition. The kingdoms constitution is uncodified made up of constitutional conventions, statutes and other elements such as EU laws.
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