The United Kingdom (UK) is a state formed by the historic countries of England, Wales and Scotland, plus Northern Ireland. It is known as the birthplace of modern parliamentary democracy and the Industrial Revolution.
His Majesty, King Charles III, ascended the throne in September 2022, following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. In September 2015, she became the longest reigning monarch in Britain, thus surpassing the record of her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria.
Thus, at the age of 73, King Charles is the oldest person to ascend the throne. He is also head of state of several independent Commonwealth countries. Therefore, as a constitutional monarch, his role in the legislative process is basically ceremonial.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Area: 242,945 square kilometers
Population: 67.7 million
Languages: English, also Scots, Ulster Scots, Scottish Gaelic, Irish, Welsh, Cornish
Life Expectancy: 79 years (men) and 83 years (women)
Many people of the UK are descended from Celtic migrants from central Europe who arrived possibly as early as 1000 BC. Other ancestors of the citizens were Roman invaders, who arrived in 43 AD and Viking warriors, who landed in 793 AD.
Finally, after World War II in 1945, thousands of refugees from other war-torn European countries settled in the UK. Then, in the 1950s and 1960s, people from places that the UK once ruled as colonies - such as Jamaica in the Caribbean, Nigeria in Africa, and India in Asia - came to the country to work.
Over 80% of the people of the UK live in England
London, the capital of England and the United Kingdom, is home to just under nine million people. Almost half of the UK population is Christian, with the majority belonging to Protestant churches. Today, the country is also home to large and growing communities of Muslims, Hindus, and Jews.
The UK is known throughout the world for its sports and literature. This is because soccer, rugby, cricket, boxing and golf were all invented in the UK. And the UK has produced many notable writers, including William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Jane Austen. J.K. Rowling, the writer of the Harry Potter series, and J.R.R. Tolkien, the writer of The Lord of the Rings series, are both from the UK.
About 5,000 years ago, much of the United Kingdom was covered by dense forests. Over time, these forests were cleared by farmers and land developers - today, only about 13% of the UK's land is forest.
The UK is a populous country with few really wild places. Therefore, the most successful wildlife species are those that can live alongside people, including smaller mammals such as hedgehogs, hares, and badgers. The ruffed deer, which is native to the country, and the red deer are the largest mammals found in the UK.
The Scottish Highlands, largely untouched by humans, are home to animals such as the Scottish wildcat, pine martens, and golden eagles. Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland is home to some 20 species of waterfowl, including ducks, gulls, geese and swans.