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Dorset Beaches

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Map of the UK

United Kingdom

Flag of the UK Background: Great Britain, the dominant industrial and maritime power of the 19th century, played a leading role in developing parliamentary democracy and in advancing literature and science. At its zenith, the British Empire stretched over one-fourth of the earth's surface. The first half of the 20th century saw the UK's strength seriously depleted in two World Wars. The second half witnessed the dismantling of the Empire and the UK rebuilding itself into a modern and prosperous European nation. The UK currently is weighing the degree of its integration with continental Europe. A member of the EU, it chose to remain outside of the EMU for the time being. Constitutional reform is also a significant issue in the UK. Regional assemblies with varying degrees of power opened in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland in 1999.

Location: Western Europe, islands including the northern one-sixth of the island of Ireland between the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea, northwest of France

Total: 244,820 sq km
Land: 241,590 sq km
Water: 3,230 sq km
Note: includes Rockall and Shetland Islands

Land Boundaries:
Total: 360 km

Border Countries:
Ireland 360 km

Coastline: 12,429 km

Elevation Extremes:
Lowest Point: Fenland -4 m
Highest Point: Ben Nevis 1,343

Population: 59,511,464 (July 2000 est.)

Ethnic Groups: English 81.5%, Scottish 9.6%, Irish 2.4%, Welsh 1.9%, Ulster 1.8%, West Indian, Indian, Pakistani, and other 2.8%

Languages: English, Welsh (about 26% of the population of Wales), Scottish form of Gaelic (about 60,000 in Scotland)

Information courtesy of the CIA World Factbook.

Copyright © 1992-2012 Adam Bartlett.