United Kingdom

 

History of United Kingdom

United Kingdom Flag
Flag

The United Kingdom is a European region with a long and storied history. The first modern humans (Homo sapiens) arrived in the region during the Ice Age (about 35,000 to 10,000 years ago), when the sea levels were lower and Britain was connected to the European mainland. It is these people who built the ancient megalithic monuments of Stonehenge and Avebury.

Between 1,500 and 500 BCE, Celtic tribes migrated from Central Europe and France to Britain and mixed with the indigenous inhabitants, creating a new culture slightly distinct from the Continental Celtic one. This came to be known as the Bronze Age.

The Romans controlled most of present-day England and Wales, and founded a large number of cities that still exist today. London, York, St Albans, Bath, Exeter, Lincoln, Leicester, Worcester, Gloucester, Chichester, Winchester, Colchester, Manchester, Chester, and Lancaster were all Roman towns, as were all the cities with names now ending in -chester, -cester or -caster, which derive from the Latin word castrum, meaning "fortification".

Countries of the United Kingdom

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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is composed of four countries (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) united under one monarch and government.

  • England - The largest home nation, in terms both of size and, by far, population.
  • Scotland - The second largest home nation and occupies the northern third of Great Britain. The four archipelagos of Orkney, Shetland, and the Inner and Outer Hebrides are also part of Scotland.
  • Wales - Located within the largely mountainous western portion of Great Britain.
  • Northern Ireland - Located in the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, consisting of six of the nine counties of the ancient Irish province of Ulster.

Culture

The social structure of Britain acted as the main cultural role all through the history of British culture. In effect, the history of the country, the cultures of Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England have their own protected and unique traditions and symbolism.

The United Kingdom was formed as a Protestant Christian country. Other religions practiced in the country include Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Roman Catholicism and Sikhism. English is the official language and other existing languages in the country are Cornish, French, Irish, Gaelic, Scottish, German, Welsh, British Sign Language etc.

Football is the national sport of the country, which started in England. Other major sports originated in the country are badminton, billiards, boxing, curling, cricket, field hockey, golf, tennis, rugby, snooker, and squash.

In 20th century, English novel expand much greater range and terribly improved by immigrant writers and up to now the leading English literary form still continues. Famous novelists are Arthur Conan Doyle, C. S. Lewis, D. H. Lawrence, George Orwell, Ian Fleming, J. K. Rowling, J. R. R. Tolkien, Mary Shelley, Salman Rushdie and Virginia Woolf. Significant writers include Alexander Pope, Alfred Tennyson, Dylan Thomas, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, John Milton, Philip Larkin, Rudyard Kipling, T. S. Eliot and Ted Hughes.
The country has no national dress. In England, the national symbols which they considered are military uniforms like Beefeater or the Queen's Guard. While, kilt and Tam o'shanter in Scotland.

Music in the country includes rock music (rock bands are The Beatles, Black Sabbath, Duran Duran, The Rolling Stones, etc), electronic dance music (trip hop, acid house, drum and bass) and classical music (one of the world's major center is in London). The living musicians include Andrew Lloyd Webber, David Arnold, Harrison Birtwistle, James MacMillan, John Rutter, John Tavener and Oliver Knussen.

Weather and Climate

United Kingdom Climate
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The UK has a benign humid-temperate climate moderated by the North Atlantic current and the country's proximity to the sea. Warm, damp summers and mild winters provide temperatures pleasant enough to engage in outdoor activities all year round. Having said that, the weather in the UK can be changeable and conditions are often windy and wet. British rain is world renowned, but in practice it rarely rains more than two or three hours at a time and often parts of the country stay dry for many weeks at a time, especially in the East. More common are overcast or partly cloudy skies. It is a good idea to be prepared for a change of weather when going out; a jumper and a raincoat usually suffice when it is not winter. In summer temperatures can reach 30°C (86°F) in parts and in winter temperatures may be mild, eg: 10°C (50°F) in southern Britain and -2°C (28.4°F) in Scotland. Because the UK stretches almost 800 miles from end to end, temperatures can vary quite considerably between north and south. Differences in rainfall are also pronounced between the drier east and wetter west. Scotland and north-western England (particularly the Lake District) are often rainy and cold. Alpine conditions with heavy snowfall are common in the mountains of northern Scotland during the winter. The north-east and Midlands are also cool, though with less rainfall. The south-east and east Anglia are generally warm and dry, and the south-west warm but often wet. Wales and Northern Ireland tend to experience cool to mild temperatures and moderate rainfall, while the hills of Wales occasionally experience heavy snowfall. Even though the highest land in the UK rarely reaches more than 1,100m, the effect of height on rainfall and temperature is great.

Public Holidays

United Kingdom Public Holidays Year 2015
Holiday Date Countries
New Year's Day 1 January 2015 Thursday National
2nd January 2 January 2015 Friday Scotland
St Patrick's Day 17 March 2015 Tuesday Northern Ireland
Good Friday 3 April 2015 Friday National
Easter Monday 6 April 2015 Monday National except Scotland
Early May Bank Holiday 4 May 2015 Monday National
Spring Bank Holiday 25 May 2015 Monday National
Battle of the Boyne (Orangemen's Day) (Subtitute Day) 13 July 2015 Monday Northern Ireland
Summer Bank Holiday 3 August 2015 Monday Scotland
Summer Bank Holiday 31 August 2015 Monday National except Scotland
St. Andrew's Day 30 November 2015 Monday Scotland
Christmas Day 25 December 2015 Friday National
Boxing Day 26 December 2015 Saturday National
Boxing Day (Substitute Day) 28 December 2015 Monday National

Travel Advisory

We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in the United Kingdom. Always pay close attention to your personal security, and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security threats.