UK

Article

December 7, 2021

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (commonly known as the United Kingdom, UK or Britain while Great Britain is an older name for the sovereign state), is a sovereign state. consisting of islands located on the northwest coast of the European continent. The country includes the island of Great Britain, the northeastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another independent state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, the English Channel and the Irish Sea. Britain is an island state. The United Kingdom is both a unitary state and a federation governed by a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary system with a seat of government in the capital, London. It is a country in its own right, and consists of four constituent countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. There are three decentralized national administrations with different powers, located in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh (the respective capitals of Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland). There are three Crown Dependencies and fourteen overseas territories adjacent to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland without constituting constitutional elements. These are remnants of the British Empire, which at its height in 1922 covered almost a quarter of the earth's land area and was - along with the Russian Empire, the Roman Empire, the Soviet Union and the Mongol Empire - one of the largest empires in history. British influence can still be observed in the language, culture and legal system of many of its former territories. The United Kingdom is an industrialized country and has the world's seventh largest economy by nominal gross domestic product and has the seventh largest economy by purchasing power parity. It was the world's first industrialized country and the world's foremost great power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Britain is still considered a great power with economic, cultural, military, scientific and political influence. It is a recognized nuclear power and its military spending is the fifth or sixth largest among the countries of the world. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth, the G7, the G20, the OECD, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization, NATO and the United Nations (and a permanent member of its Security Council).

Etymology

The name Great Britain originally refers to the main island and comes from the Latin Britannia, which was used about the archipelago even before the birth of Christ, while the main island of Great Britain was called Albion. During the Middle Ages, the main island came to be called Britannia major, in contrast to Britannia minor, Brittany in France which was populated by people from Great Britain. In everyday speech and also in the Swedish mass media, the name Great Britain is used as an abbreviation or instead of the full name United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. To call the whole sovereign state as England is, however, to be regarded as wrong. In official language according to the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or when the European Union's documents are formulated in Swedish, however, it is the entire long name form, or alternatively the short form United Kingdom, that applies. Instead, Britain has another real meaning, referring only to England, Scotland and Wales, which also constituted its own state formation before the current union was established. In a context where the United Kingdom does not automatically refer to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland or even the United Kingdom, everyday use of the term becomes problematic as it leads to various forms of delimitation problems where it is difficult to know what context is actually meant when the name United Kingdom occurs.

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