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United Kingdom

 

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Country

Identification

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Language(s)

English, Gaelic, Welsh

Religion(s)

Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist and other Christian denominations, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Jewish

Political System

Constitutional Monarchy

Parliament for the whole of the UK: House of Commons and House of Lords.

Parliament for Scotland, Assemblies for Wales and Northern Ireland

Special links to the Commonwealth, made up of the countries from the former British Empire

Currency

Pound Sterling

Geographical Information

Island, mostly hills and low mountains, plains in East and Southeast

Climate temperate and changeable, over 50% of days overcast

Typical Food and drinks

Cooked breakfast: fried egg, bacon, sausages.

Main meal is dinner (also called supper or tea). Lots of fast food consumed, e. g. fish and chips.

Sunday dinner (or lunch): Roast beef, Yorkshire Pudding, two kinds of vegetables.

Puddings (desserts) important part of the meal, generally heavy, often eaten with custard.

Favourite beverage is tea with a little cold milk.

Also popular: Ale (or bitter)

Holidays and Festivals

May Bank Holiday Monday

August Bank Holiday Monday

History

Stone Age settlements - Stonehenge

Celts, Romans, Anglo Saxons, Normans, Viking attacks.

Battles for kingship, Tudor and Stuart rulers

Cromwell’s Commonwealth, Restoration of the kings,

growth of the Empire, after World War I general strike,

after World War II loss of the Empire

Art and culture

Music: Henry Purcell, Benjamin Britten, The Beatles, Coldplay, underground urban music e.g. Ms Dynamite.

Architecture: Christopher Wren, Robert Adam, Basil Spence, Norman Foster, Richard Rogers

Literature: Henry Chaucer, William Shakespeare, Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, Charles Dickens, Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, Dylan Thomas, Ted Hughes, Harold Pinter

Films: Kenneth Branagh, David Lean

Painting: William Hogarth, Henry Raeburn, William Turner, Thomas Gainsborough, L.S. Lowry, Mary Fedden, Carol Owen

Dos and don´ts for visiting the country

Drive on the left.

Queueing very important.

Remarks about the weather must be taken seriously.

Calling Scots or Welsh "English" can be regarded as an insult.

Population and

% of foreign population /minorities

Population of GB: about 60 million

5,5 % belong to ethnic minorities, in London 20 %

Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Indians, African Asians (e.g. Ugandans), Chinese, West Indians, white foreigners.

Main Integration Problems

Class distinctions affect the entire British population including minorities, e.g. in education.

Racial segregation leads to isolation, fear, misunderstanding, distrust between different communities. This is exacerbated through racial prejudice in the police force.

Racial discrimination in the job market leads to social deprivation, poverty, crime.

Muslims experience more racial abuse, feel more insecure since 11th September.

 

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Latest update of this page: 2005-07-15 
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