United Kingdom

Two islands to the north-west of continental Europe. Highlighted are the larger island and the north-eastern fifth of the smaller island to the west.
Location of the  United Kingdom  (dark green)

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

and largest city
51°30′N 0°7′W / 51°30′N 0°7′W / 51.500; -0.117
Official language
and national language
Recognised regional languages [note 3]
Ethnic groups ( 2011)
Religion ( 2011)
  • British
  • Briton
Countries of the United Kingdom
Government Unitary parliamentary
constitutional monarchy
•  Monarch
Elizabeth II
Theresa May
Legislature Parliament
House of Lords
House of Commons
1535 and 1542
24 March 1603
1 May 1707
1 January 1801
5 December 1922
1 January 1973
• Total
242,495 km2 (93,628 sq mi) [4] ( 78th)
• Water (%)
• 2016 estimate
Increase 65,648,100 [5] ( 22nd)
• 2011 census
63,181,775 [6] ( 22nd)
• Density
270.7/km2 (701.1/sq mi) ( 50th)
GDP ( PPP) 2017 estimate
• Total
$2.880 trillion [7] ( 9th)
• Per capita
$43,620 [7] ( 25th)
GDP (nominal) 2017 estimate
• Total
$2,565 trillion [7] ( 6th)
• Per capita
$38,847 [7] ( 19th)
Gini (2014) Positive decrease 31.6 [8]
medium ·  33rd
HDI (2015) Increase 0.909 [9]
very high ·  16th
Currency Pound sterling [note 5] ( GBP£)
Time zone Greenwich Mean Time [note 6] ( UTC⁠)
• Summer ( DST)
British Summer Time ( UTC+1)
Date format dd/mm/yyyy ( AD)
Drives on the left
Calling code +44 [note 7]
ISO 3166 code GB
Internet TLD .uk [note 8]

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country in western Europe. 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. [10] Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state‍—‌the Republic of Ireland. [note 9] 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 and the 11th-largest in Europe. It is also the 21st-most populous country, with an estimated 65.5 million inhabitants. Together, this makes it the fourth-most densely populated country in the European Union (EU). [note 10] [11]

The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy. [12] [13] The monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 6 February 1952. The capital of the United Kingdom and its largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million, the fourth-largest in Europe and second-largest in the European Union. [14] Other major urban areas in the United Kingdom include the conurbations centred on Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester. The United Kingdom consists of four countriesEngland, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. [15] The last three have devolved administrations, [16] each with varying powers, [17] [18] based in their capitals, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, respectively. The nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the United Kingdom, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. [19]

Prior to the creation of the United Kingdom, Wales had already been conquered and annexed by the Kingdom of England. This meant that the united kingdom created in 1707 by the Treaty of Union between England and Scotland encompassed all of Great Britain. The Kingdom of Ireland then merged with this state in 1801 to form 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. [20] These are 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 sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP [21] and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. The UK is considered to have a high-income economy and is categorised as very high in the Human Development Index, ranking 16th in the world. It was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. [22] [23] The UK remains a great power with considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific and political influence internationally. [24] [25] It is a recognised nuclear weapons state and is seventh in military expenditure in the world. [26] The UK 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 EU and its predecessor, the European Economic Community (EEC), since 1973. However, on 23 June 2016, a non-binding referendum on the UK's membership of the EU resulted with 51.9% of UK voters favouring a leave, and now the country's prospective exit from the EU is being negotiated. The UK is also a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7 finance ministers, the G7 forum, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 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 referred to in the Acts as the "Kingdom of Great Britain", "United Kingdom of Great Britain" and "United Kingdom". [27] [28] [note 12] The term "United Kingdom" is found in informal use during the 18th century and the country was also occasionally referred to as the "United Kingdom of Great Britain" though its full official name, from 1707 to 1800, was merely "Great Britain", without a "long form". [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] 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. [34]

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. [35] [36] Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have devolved self-government. [37] [38] The British Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom. [15] 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". [39] [40] Northern Ireland is also referred to as a "province". [41] [42] With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice often revealing one's political preferences". [43]

The term "Britain" is often used as synonym for the United Kingdom. The term "Great Britain", by contrast, refers conventionally to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England, Scotland and Wales in combination. [44] [45] [46] However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole. [47][ not in citation given] [48] 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". [49] [50]

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. [51] 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; [52] or as being both. [53]

In 2006, a new design of British passport was introduced. Its first page shows the long form name of the state in English, Welsh and Scottish Gaelic. [54] 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. [55] 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
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
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
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