GREAT BRITAIN. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is situated on the British Isles

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is situated on the British Isles. It consists of four countries: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.

The North Sea, the Strait of Dover and the English Channel separate Great Britain from the continent. The western coast of Great Britain is washed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea.

The surface of the British Isles varies very much. The north of Scotland is mountainous and is called the Highlands. The south has beautiful valleys and plains and is called the Lowlands. There are numerous lakes in Scotland. The north and west of England are mountainous, but all the rest is a vast plain. Mountains are not very high.

There are a lot of rivers in Great Britain, but they are not very long. The Severn is the longest river; the Thames is the deepest, busiest, and most important one.

The mountains, the Atlantic Ocean and the warm waters of the Gulf Streаm influence the climate of the British Isles. It is mild the whole year round. It is not too hot in summer or too cold in winter. It often rains in England. Snow falls only in the North and West of the country.

The U.K. is one of the world's smaller countries. Its population is nearly 60 million people. The population lives mostly in towns and cities and their suburbs.

The U.K. is a highly developed industrial country. It is known as one of the world's largest producers and exporters of machinery, electronics, textile, aircraft and navigation equipment. One of the chief industries of the country is shipbuilding. The main industrial centers are Sheffield, Birmingham and Manchester. The U.K. has some mineral resources. Coal and oil resources are the most important of them.

Agriculture is an important sector in economy of the country. The British people grow wheat, fruit, vegetables, and oats. The U.K. buys more goods than sells. It has to import food products and raw materials from many countries of the world. Scotland is famous for its wool industry.

The U.K. is a constitutional monarchy. In law, the head of the state is the Queen. In practice, the Queen reigns, but does not rule. The country is ruled by the elected government with the Prime Minister at the head. The British Parliament consists of two chambers: the House of Lords and the House of Commons.

There are three main political parties in Great Britain: the Labour, the Conservative and the Liberal parties.

There are many universities, colleges, libraries, museums and theatres in the country. The most famous universities are Cambridge University, Oxford University, Glasgow University.

London is the capital of Great Britain. Its population is over 10 million.

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