About the United Kingdom
Time: The United Kingdom is on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Current time
Background: Great Britain, the dominant industrial and maritime power of the 19th century played a leading role 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 strengths 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. A member of the EU, it chose to remain outside the EMU.
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.
Independence: England has existed as a unified entity since the 10th century; the union between England and Wales was enacted under the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284; in the Act of Union of 1707, England and Scotland agreed to permanent union as Great Britain; the legislative union of Great Britain and Ireland was implemented in 1801, with the adoption of the name the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland; the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921 formalized a partition of Ireland; six northern Irish counties remained part of the United Kingdom as Northern Ireland and the current name of the country, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, was adopted in 1927.
Economy – Overview: The UK, a leading trading power and financial centre, deploys an essentially capitalistic economy, one of the quartet of trillion dollar economies of Western Europe. Over the past two decades it has greatly reduced public ownership and contained the growth of social welfare programs. Agriculture is intensive, highly mechanised and efficient by European standards, producing about 60% of food needs with only 1% of the labour force. The UK has large coal, natural gas and oil reserves; primary energy production accounts for 10% of GDP, one of the highest shares of any industrial nation. Services, particularly banking, insurance and business services, account for the largest portion of GDP whilst industry have declined in importance.