Защита окружающей среды
Изучение иностранных языков
Здоровый образ жизни
Куда пойти учиться
Kingdom of Great Britain
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland consists of
England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. All these parts of the country
are represented in Parliament in London. England is noted for its "high-tech"
and car industries. Scotland is a land of mountains, lakes and romantic
castles. Wales is famous for its high mountains and pretty valleys, factories
and coal mines, music and myths. Northern Island, with farming land, is
The UK lies on the British Isles. The English Channel and the Strait of Dover
separate Britain from the continent. The climate on the British Isles is
temperate. The Gulf Stream makes the climate warmer in winter and cooler in
summer. There is much humidity in the air of England. Britain is known as a
foggy country. Geographically Great Britain is divided into Lowlands,
Midlands, and Highlands.
The history of the UK dates back to the ancient times. From the sixth to the
third centuries BC, the British Isles were invaded by Celtic tribes. They came
from central Europe, and settled in southern England. The Celts were pagans.
Their priests, known as Druids, had all education in their hands. They
administered justice, and made a disobedient layman an outlaw.
In AD 43, the Romans invaded southern Britain. It became a Roman colony called
Britannia. The Romans set up their capital in London and built such cities as
Bath, Chester and York. The Roman invasion was not peaceful. In AD 60, the
Iceni, a tribe led by Queen Boadicea, destroyed three cities, including
London. In AD 122, Emperor Hadrian built a long wall to defend the border
between England and Scotland. In the fourth century the Roman Empire was
collapsing and the Roman legions left Britain.
From about AD 350 the Saxons, Jutes and Angles began invading south-east
England. The native people could not stop the new enemy. The Celts fled north
and west taking their ancient arts and languages with them. Celtic languages
have disappeared from most of Europe, but are still spoken in parts of Wales,
Ireland and Scotland. The Anglo-Saxons were converted to Christianity by Saint
Augustine of Rome in AD 597. As Christianity spread, churches and monasteries
were built in England.
About AD 790, the Vikings started to invade England. The north and east of
England were settled by the Danes. The Vikings were excellent traders and
navigators. They traded in silk and furs as far as Russia. In 1016, England
became part of the Scandinavian empire under king Cnut. In 1066 England was
conquered by the Normans. William Duke of Normandy, known as William the
Conqueror, won the battle of Hastings and became King of England. William I
established a strong, centralised country under military rule. The Normans
built castles all over England to control England better. Norman power was
absolute, and the language of the new rulers, Norman French, had a lasting
effect on English. Since 1066, England has never been invaded.
For many centuries this country was known simply as England. It had a strong
army and navy. It waged numerous colonial wars.
Great Britain is a constitutional monarchy. The Queen is the head of State,
but her power is limited by Parliament. The branches of government are: the
legislative, the executive and the judiciary. The legislature is the supreme
authority. It comprises two chambers - the House of Lords and the House of
Commons - together with the Queen in her constitutional role. The executive
consists of the central Government - that is the Prime Minister, Cabinet, and
other ministers. The judiciary determines common law and interprets statutes
and is independent of both the legislature and the executive.
The Government derives its authority from the elected House of Commons. The
Government is formed by the political party in power. The second largest party
becomes Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition with its own leader and 'Shadow
Cabinet'. In Great Britain there is no written constitution, only customs,
traditions and precedents.
London is the capital of the UK. It was founded by the Romans in the 1st
century AD. In the 11-th century it became the capital of England. In 1215 its
citizens won the right to elect their Lord Mayor. The town experienced
tremendous growth in trade and population during the late 16th and early 17th
centuries. After the Great Fire of 1666 which destroyed three-quarters of
London, the town began its extensive building. London became the main centre
not only of the country but of the growing British Empire. During the 19-th
century London expanded into the suburbs. As a result of it new forms of
transport were developed, including the underground railway system. During
World War II London was heavily bombed. The reconstruction that followed was
of mixed quality. Replacement of industrial enterprises and docks made London
a centre of international trade, finance and tourism.
Today Greater London consists of 33 separate boroughs, including the City, the
West End, and the East End. The City is the financial centre of the UK. The
Bank of England, the Royal Exchange, and the Stock Exchange are located here.
The West End is noted for its historical places and parks. These are
Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral, Houses of Parliament, Buckingham
Palace, the principal government offices, New Scotland Yard, the Tate Gallery,
and the National Gallery. The most celebrated parks are Kensington Gardens
with the Victorian Gothic Albert Memorial; Hyde Park, with its famous
Speakers' Corner; and Regent's Park, home of the Zoological Gardens and
Regent's Canal. The West End is the area of wealth and goods of high quality.
London's East End is historically associated with the Cockney dialect. It was
an infamous slum during the 19th century. The port of London until recently
was in the East End. The area of docks played an important part in the
London's major cultural institutions also include the British Museum, which
houses collections of antiquities, prints, and manuscripts and the national
library; the Victoria and Albert Museum of decorative arts; and the music and
arts complex located on the South Bank of the Thames.
Westminster is now the political centre of London, but originally it was a
sacred place. King Edward the Confessor built a great abbey church here. It
was consecrated in 1065. In 1245 Henry III replaced it with the present abbey
church in the pointed Gothic style of the period. Since William the Conqueror,
every British sovereign has been crowned in the abbey. Many kings and queens
are buried here. There are memorials to eminent men and women. But the most
popular ones are those to writers, actors and musicians in Poets' Corner. The
grave of the "Unknown Warrior", whose remains were brought from Flanders in
1920, is in the centre of the west nave.
Alongside the Abbey Edward the Confessor ordered to construct a palace. The
Palace of Westminster was the royal residence and also the country's main
court of law. Parliament met here since the 16-th century until the 19-th
century. The present Houses of Parliament, the seat of the legislative body of
the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, were built after the
old palace burnt down in 1834. On the corner next to Westminster Bridge stands
St. Stephen's Tower, which houses the famous tower clock. A light at the top
of the tower at night indicates that parliament is sitting.
Saint Paul's Cathedral was designed in a classical Baroque style by Sir
Christopher Wren. It was constructed between 1675 and 1710. Many famous
persons are buried in the Cathedral.
Trafalgar Square was named for Lord Nelson's naval victory in the Battle of
Trafalgar. In the centre of the square is Nelson's Column that includes his
high statue. At the corners of the column are four sculptured lions. Trafalgar
Square is the site of the National Gallery. Traditionally political meetings
are held here. Each December a large Christmas tree sent from Norway is
erected in Trafalgar Square.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has always played an
important role in world politics.
- What is the name of the Queen of Great Britain?
- The name of the British Queen is Elizabeth II. She ascended the British
throne in 1953.
- What parties are there in Great Britain?
- In Great Britain there are two major political parties - the Conservative
party and the Labour party. The Labour party is in power now in Great Britain.
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair who is usually called simply Tony Blair is the
Prime Minister. He became Prime Minister as a result of the May 1, 1997
- Can you name the capitals of the parts of Great Britain?
- London is the capital of England. The centre of government of Scotland is
Edinburgh. It is large and busy. The principal city of Wales is Cardiff. It
has plenty of industry. Belfast is the seat of government of Northern Ireland.
It is a large industrial city with many fine buildings and a big port.
- What do you know about Big Ben?
- Big Ben is a tower clock. It is famous for its accuracy and for its 13-ton
bell, designed by Edmund Beckett, Baron Grimthorpe. Big Ben is housed in the
tower at the eastern end of the Houses of Parliament. The clock was named
after Sir Benjamin Hall, commissioner of works at the time of its installation
in 1859. Originally applied only to the bell, eventually it came to indicate
the clock itself.
- What is the Tower of London notable for?
- Many important events in the history of Great Britain are connected with the
Tower of London. It has served as citadel, palace, prison, mint, and
menagerie. Now it is a museum. In 1078 William the Conqueror built the White
Tower to defend the city. The Tower is famous for its illustrious prisoners.
Many great people lost their heads on the executioner's block. The Yeoman
Warders known as 'Beefeaters' guard the Tower. They wear traditional Tudor
- What are the principal rivers in England?
- The Thames and Severn are the principal rivers in England. The Severn is the
longest river. The Thames is the most important one. It should be said that a
hundred years ago, the Thames was crowded with ships, leaving for Java, New
Zealand and New York, but now people travel by air, and Heathrow, London's
main airport, is one of the busiest in the world.
- What are the main rivers in other parts of the UK?
- The Clyde, Spey, and Tweed are the main rivers in Scotland. The major rivers
in Northern Ireland are the Barm, Erne, and Foyle. The Dee, Tywi, and Teifi
are the main rivers in Wales.
- What is the highest mountain in the United Kingdom?
- Ben Nevis is the highest point in the United Kingdom. It is located in the
Northern Highlands in Scotland.
- Is the United Kingdom rich in mineral resources?
- The United Kingdom has very few mineral resources. The ancient tin mines of
Cornwall and the iron-ore deposits of north-central England, which helped to
build the Industrial Revolution, were exhausted or uneconomical to work by the
late 20th century. Since the early 1950s the output of coal steadily declined.
Recently deposits of oil and natural-gas have been found in the British sector
of the North Sea.
- What ethnic groups constitute the population of Great Britain?
- The English, Scots, Irish, and Welsh constitute the population of Great
Britain. Since the early 1950s Commonwealth immigrants, particularly from
India, the West Indies, Pakistan, and Bangladesh have increased the population
of the country.
- What do you know about the educational system in Britain?
- In Great Britain education is compulsory and free, in state-supported
schools, between the ages of 5 and 16. General education may lead to technical
or commercial study or to higher education. Internationally prominent
universities include those of Oxford, which was founded in the 12-th century,
and Cambridge, which was founded in the 13-th century. Today the educational
system is primarily administered by elected local education officials.
Поиск по сайту