In a country where the favourite dish is an Indian curry and you can experience all 4 seasons on the same day, you would be forgiven for getting a little confused about the UK.
The United Kingdom includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Historically the country was a forerunner in the developing world and, at its peak during the 19th Century, had an empire that stretched across the globe.
They have led the way in science, literature and industry. However, the influence and power of Great Britain began to erode in the first half of the 20th Century with two world wars. This had its consequences in the gradual breakup of the Empire during the second half of the century since when, the UK has re modelled itself into a leading, wealthy European nation.
The UK is one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council which was created on 24th October 1945 and a founding member of NATO and the commonwealth. The UK takes a global stance in foreign policy.
Until June 2016, the UK played an active part in the European Parliament after joining in 1973 although they chose not to enter into the Economic and Monetary Union. Following a national referendum on June 23rd 2016, the UK narrowly voted to leave the EU (known as Brexit), transition to leave started from January 2021 although this will not be complete for some years. It is largely thought the vote to leave was driven by perceived ‘bureaucracy’ in Brussels, the centre of the European Parliament and concerns regarding immigration.
English is the main language spoken by approximately 98% of the population in the UK with numerous dialects. Accents can vary tremendously from south to north, even occasionally confusing Brits themselves.
There are some regional language speakers including Scottish Gaelic, Irish Gaelic and Welsh. The latter is one of the most widely spoken regional languages.
As a multi-national country, the UK has a number of other languages spoken across the country. The second most spoken, non-native language in the UK is Polish. The next commonly spoken languages come from India and Pakistan: Punjabi, Bengali and Gujarati. These are followed by Arabic, Chinese, Portuguese and French.