United Kingdom

EU-United Kingdom (orthographic projection).svg
EU-United Kingdom.svg
Location of the  United Kingdom  (dark green)

– in Europe  (green & dark grey)
– in the European Union  (green)

Capital
and largest city
London
51°30′N 0°7′W / 51°30′N 0°7′W / 51.500; -0.117
Official language
and national language
English
Recognised regional or minority languages[note 3]
Ethnic groups (2011)
Religion (2011[6][7])
Demonym
Countries of the United Kingdom
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary
constitutional monarchy
• Monarch
Elizabeth II
Theresa May
LegislatureParliament
House of Lords
House of Commons
Formation
1535 and 1542
24 March 1603
1 May 1707
1 January 1801
5 December 1922
1 January 1973
Area
• Total
242,495 km2 (93,628 sq mi)[8] (78th)
• Water (%)
1.34
Population
• 2017 estimate
Increase 66,040,229[9] (22nd)
• 2011 census
63,181,775[10] (22nd)
• Density
270.7/km2 (701.1/sq mi) (50th)
GDP (PPP)2017 estimate
• Total
$2.914 trillion[11] (9th)
• Per capita
$44,117[11] (25th)
GDP (nominal)2017 estimate
• Total
$2.624 trillion[11] (5th)
• Per capita
$39,734[11] (19th)
Gini (2014)Positive decrease 31.6[12]
medium · 33rd
HDI (2017)Increase 0.922[13]
very high · 14th
CurrencyPound sterling[note 5] (GBP£)
Time zoneUTC (Greenwich Mean Time[note 6])
• Summer (DST)
UTC+1 (British Summer Time)
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy (AD)
Driving sideleft[note 7]
Calling code+44[note 8]
ISO 3166 codeGB
Internet TLD.uk[note 9]

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK)[14] or Britain,[note 10] is a sovereign country lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands.[15] Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state‍—‌the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to its east, the English Channel to its south and the Celtic Sea to its south-south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

The sovereign state is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy.[16][17] The monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.[18] The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million.[19] Other major urban areas in the UK include the conurbations centred on Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow and Liverpool.

The United Kingdom consists of four countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.[20] Their capitals are London, Belfast, Edinburgh, and Cardiff respectively. Apart from England, the countries have devolved administrations,[21] each with varying powers.[22][23] The nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation.[24] The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.[note 11] There are fourteen British Overseas Territories,[25] the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, 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 fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a "very high" Human Development Index, ranking 14th in the world. It was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries.[26][27] The United Kingdom remains a great power with considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific and political influence internationally.[28][29] It is a recognised nuclear weapons state and is sixth in military expenditure in the world.[30] It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946. It has been a leading member state of the European Union (EU) and its predecessor, the European Economic Community (EEC), since 1973; however, a referendum in 2016 resulted in 51.9% of UK voters favouring leaving the European Union, and the country's exit is being negotiated. The United Kingdom is also a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Interpol and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

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 described in the Acts as the "Kingdom of Great Britain", "United Kingdom of Great Britain" and "One Kingdom".[31][32][note 12] The term "United Kingdom" is found in use as a description, but not a name, during the 18th century, and the country has occasionally been referred to in later centuries as the "United Kingdom of Great Britain" although its full official name, from 1707 to 1800, was simply "Great Britain", without a "long form".[33][34][35][36][37] The Acts of Union 1800 united the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" was adopted.[38]

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 they are not sovereign states.[39][40] Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have devolved self-government.[41][42] The British Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom.[20] Some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom, also refer to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as "regions".[43][44] Northern Ireland is also referred to as a "province".[45][46] With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice often revealing one's political preferences".[47]

The term "Great Britain" refers conventionally to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England, Scotland and Wales in combination.[48][49][50] However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole.[51] 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. Additionally, the United Kingdom's Olympic team competes under the name "Great Britain" or "Team GB".[52][53]

The term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain,[54][55][56] and as a synonym for the United Kingdom.[57][56] Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain[58] and the British Government, although accepting that both terms refer to the United Kingdom, preferring, in most cases, to use the term UK rather than Britain.[59] While the UK Permanent Committee on Geographical Names (whose definitions are the "authoritative geographical names of the United Kingdom") lists "United Kingdom" and "UK or U.K." as shortened and abbreviated geopolitical terms for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but does not list "Britain",[60] it has been used "informally" by government websites.[61]

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 United Kingdom citizenship and matters to do with nationality.[62] People of the United Kingdom 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;[63] or as being both.[64]

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.[65] However, it is usually abbreviated to "DU" for the mutated form "Y Deyrnas Unedig". In Scottish Gaelic, the long form is "Rìoghachd Aonaichte Bhreatainn is Èireann a Tuath" and the short form "Rìoghachd Aonaichte".

Other Languages
Адыгэбзэ: Британиэшхуэ
Аҧсшәа: Британиа Ду
aragonés: Reino Unito
armãneashti: Britania Mari
arpetan: Royômo-Uni
অসমীয়া: যুক্তৰাজ্য
asturianu: Reinu Xuníu
Avañe'ẽ: Tavetã Joaju
azərbaycanca: Böyük Britaniya
Bahasa Banjar: Britania Raya
Bân-lâm-gú: Liân-ha̍p Ông-kok
башҡортса: Бөйөк Британия
беларуская: Вялікабрытанія
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Вялікабрытанія
Bikol Central: Reyno Unido
буряад: Ехэ Британи
català: Regne Unit
Чӑвашла: Аслă Британи
Chamoru: Reinu Unidu
chiShona: United Kingdom
davvisámegiella: Ovttastuvvan gonagasriika
emiliàn e rumagnòl: Régn Unî
español: Reino Unido
estremeñu: Reinu Uníu
فارسی: بریتانیا
Fiji Hindi: United Kingdom
føroyskt: Stóra Bretland
français: Royaume-Uni
furlan: Ream Unît
galego: Reino Unido
贛語: 英國
गोंयची कोंकणी / Gõychi Konknni: युनायटेड किंगडम
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Yîn-koet
한국어: 영국
Hausa: Birtaniya
hornjoserbsce: Zjednoćene kralestwo
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: তিলপারাজ্য
Bahasa Indonesia: Britania Raya
interlingua: Regno Unite
Interlingue: Reyatu Unit
ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ/inuktitut: ᑐᓗᐃᑦ ᓄᓈᑦ
íslenska: Bretland
italiano: Regno Unito
kalaallisut: Tuluit Nunaat
къарачай-малкъар: Уллу Британия
kaszëbsczi: Wiôlgô Britanijô
қазақша: Ұлыбритания
kernowek: Ruwvaneth Unys
Kinyarwanda: Ubwongereza
Kreyòl ayisyen: Wayòm Ini
кырык мары: Кого Британи
Ladino: Reyno Unido
لۊری شومالی: بريتانيا
latgaļu: Lelbrytaneja
Lëtzebuergesch: Vereenegt Kinnekräich
Ligure: Regno Unïo
Livvinkarjala: Yhtys Kuningaskundu
la .lojban.: ritygu'e
lumbaart: Regn Ünì
Malti: Renju Unit
مازِرونی: بریتانیا
Bahasa Melayu: United Kingdom
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Ĭng-guók
Mirandés: Reino Ounido
монгол: Их Британи
Dorerin Naoero: Ingerand
Nedersaksies: Verienigd Keuninkriek
日本語: イギリス
Napulitano: Gran Vretagna
Nordfriisk: Feriind Kiningrik
Norfuk / Pitkern: Yunitid Kingdum
norsk nynorsk: Storbritannia
Nouormand: Rouoyaume Unni
occitan: Reialme Unit
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Birlashgan Qirollik
Pangasinan: Reino Unido
پنجابی: برطانیہ
Papiamentu: Reino Uni
Перем Коми: Ыджыт Бритму
ភាសាខ្មែរ: សហរាជាណាចក្រ
Piemontèis: Regn Unì
Tok Pisin: Yunaitet Kingdom
português: Reino Unido
qırımtatarca: Büyük Britaniya
reo tahiti: Paratāne
Ripoarisch: Jrußbritannie
rumantsch: Reginavel Unì
русиньскый: Велика Брітанія
саха тыла: Улуу Британия
ᱥᱟᱱᱛᱟᱲᱤ: ᱥᱮᱞᱮᱫ ᱫᱤᱥᱟᱹᱢ
Gagana Samoa: Peretānia
Sesotho sa Leboa: United Kingdom
sicilianu: Regnu Unitu
Simple English: United Kingdom
словѣньскъ / ⰔⰎⰑⰂⰡⰐⰠⰔⰍⰟ: Вєлика Британїꙗ
Sranantongo: Ingriskondre
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Ujedinjeno Kraljevstvo
Basa Sunda: Britania
Taqbaylit: Legliz
tarandíne: Regne Aunìte
татарча/tatarça: Бөекбритания
тоҷикӣ: Британия
lea faka-Tonga: Pilitānia
ᏣᎳᎩ: ᎩᎵᏏᏲ
Tsetsêhestâhese: United Kingdom
ᨅᨔ ᨕᨘᨁᨗ: United Kingdom
українська: Велика Британія
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: بۈيۈك بېرىتانىيە
Vahcuengh: Yinghgoz
vèneto: Regno Unìo
vepsän kel’: Sur' Britanii
Volapük: Regän Pebalöl
文言: 英國
Winaray: Reino Unido
吴语: 英国
Xitsonga: United Kingdom
粵語: 英國
žemaitėška: Jongtėnė Karalīstė
中文: 英国
ГӀалгӀай: Великобритани
Lingua Franca Nova: Rena Unida