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- 14. Velká Británie
14. Velká Británie
The official name of the UK is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The name “Great Britain” doesn’t stand for a country but for a land mass. Great Britain refers to only England, Scotland, and Wales. It is called “great” because it is the biggest island in the British Isles.
The United Kingdom is an insular country. Insular country means that a country is surrounded by water on all sides, being the only great power there. It also means that the country is isolated.
The English Channel (La Manche) separates the southern part of the United Kingdom from France. The North Sea separates it from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium.
The UK is located in the north-west of Europe. It shares a land border only with the Republic of Ireland. Otherwise, it is surrounded by the North Sea to the east, the Celtic Sea to the south-west, the English Channel to the south, and the Atlantic Ocean.
The north and the west of the country is mountainous, there are mountains such as the Cumbrian Mountains, the Pennines, or Dartmoor. The rest of the country is covered in the lowland. Ben Nevis (1345m) is the highest mountain in the United Kingdom. Two longest rivers are the Severn and the Thames. The Thames is also the deepest river in the United Kingdom.
The United Kingdom consists of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The countries have their own devolved governments. The four capitals are London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Belfast.
Most of the UK’s population is situated in England. There are several different nationalities living in the United Kingdom. 5 largest populations from overseas are Poland, India, Ireland, Pakistan, and Germany.
Great Britain is known for being always rainy and cloudy. The climate is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, therefore it is humid and temperate. In general, the weather is very changeable with frequent rainfall. The average temperature in the summer is 18°C and 5°C in the winter.
Industries in the UK are very important for the country’s economy. They also employ thousands of people every year.
Aerospace Industry- the wings for Airbus A380 and the A350 XWB are manufactured in the United Kingdom. UK’s aerospace industry is the fourth largest in the world.
Automotive Industry- the UK produces sports cars, such as Jaguar, Bentley, Land Rover, Aston Martin, Mini, Rolls-Royce.
The official head of state is the Queen Elizabeth II., however, the head of the government is the prime minister, currently Theresa May. The queen is the one who appoints the prime minister, and she has the power to dissolve the Parliament, but other than that her powers are more formal. The Prime Minister is responsible for the decision-making.
King Henry VIII- broke from Catholic Church and created the Church of England, making England a Protestant country
Winston Churchill- 2x Prime Minister, led the UK through WW2
Margaret Thatcher- first female Prime Minister, the nickname “Iron Lady” because she was tough and always stuck to her decisions
The flag of the UK is called the Union Jack. It is composed of the red cross of St. George (patron of England), underneath the red is the white Cross of St. Patrick (patron of Ireland), and underneath all is the blue Saltire of St. Andrew (patron of Ireland).
location- Scotland is located in the north, England in the south
language- English is not a native language to Scotland, therefore they have their own dialects and accents that might be hard to understand
legal systems- Scotland has its own, that differs from the English
There are numerous historical events that are important. Some of them would be for example the Act of Union or the Battle of Waterloo. The Act of Union happened in 1707. The Scottish Parliament and the English Parliament united into One Kingdom. The Battle of Waterloo happened in 1815. It was a battle, where British-led allied armies with Prussian commands defeated Napoleon Bonaparte and his French army.
Stonehenge is a world-famous stone monument, situated in Wiltshire, in the south of the UK. It is a circle of stones, that was built 5,000 years ago. The biggest stones are called “sarsens” and are up to 9 meters tall. The smaller ones are called “bluestones”. Stonehenge still remains a mystery, no one really knows, why it was built. Some theories say that it was used as a burial ground, complex for ceremonies, healing center, or an alien landing site.
The coastline of the UK is very long and rugged. There are many cliffs, islands, peninsulas, beaches, and bays. The cliffs offer a beautiful view of the ocean and the natural beauty.
Guy Fawkes Night- held on November 5th, people burn fires and do fireworks to celebrate the failure of the Gunpowder Plot- in 1605 group of Roman Catholic (including Guy Fawkes) tried to blow up the House of Parliament
Boxing Day- the day after Christmas, nowadays people like to go shopping, but originally people were watching sports, playing games, and just spent time with family
Poppy Day- paying homage to the ones who died during the WW1 and WW2, held in November, people wear red poppies
sense of humor- British humor is known around the world, they use a lot of sarcasm and irony
music- British music has influenced the whole music industry, iconic musicians such as The Beatles, Queen, David Bowie, Elton John, Rolling Stones
literature- many British writers have shaped literature, e.g. W. Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Ch. Dickens, G. Orwell, O. Wilde, J.K. Rowling
scientists- Darwin, Isaac Newton, A. Flemming, Stephen Hawking- all British
There are plenty of British sitcoms, they are usually classic and very funny with the typical British humor.
Typical British sitcoms include Mr. Bean, Red Dwarf, Monty Python, Black Books, The IT Crowd, etc.
There are many options for transportation. People in the UK can travel by car, bus, train, airplane, or they can even use the water transport. The British transport network is actually one of the most advanced in the world. In the bigger cities, such as London, the majority of people chooses to use metro for travelling.
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