Great Britain lies on the Atlantic coast of Western Europe, separated from France by only 34 km (21 miles) of water. It is made up of three countries, England, Scotland and Wales. Great Britain with Northern Ireland forms the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The capital of the United Kingdom is London, in England. The capital of Wales is Cardiff, and the Scottish capital is Edinburgh.
Great Britain's largest island neighbor is Ireland. This is mainly occupied by the independent Republic of Ireland. The remainder is Northern Ireland which is a part of the United Kingdom. Many small islands are also linked with the United Kingdom.
Although a small island. Great Britain has a remarkable variety of landscapes. To the north and west are highlands - the mountains of Scotland, Cumbria and Wales, and the Pennine Chain. To the east are flat plains, and in the south are lowlands broken by low ranges of hills. To the Southwest are the bleak moors of Devon and Cornwall.
The continent of Europe extends out below the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, in the form of a continental shelf. Great Britain is perched on this shelf, surrounded by the shallow waters of the North Sea, the Irish Sea and the English Channel.
A warm ocean current, the Gulf Stream, washes Britain's western shores. This water heats up and cools down very slowly. Britain therefore enjoys warmer winters and cooler summers than other countries at the same latitude. The west of the island has a higher rainfall and slightly milder climate that the east.
Britain has been many centuries in the making. The Romans conquered most part of Britain, but were unable to subdue the independent tribes in the West and the North. Other invaders were Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Vikings and Normans. England waged numerous colonial wars and was the empire for many centuries. England was the first country were capitalism was established.
Great Britain is a highly developed industrial country. It is known as one of the largest producers and exporters of machinery, electronics, textile, aircraft and navigation equipment. One of the chief industries of the country is shipbuilding.
The UK is a constitutional monarchy. The powers of the British; Queen are limited by the Parliament. The British Parliament consists of the sovereign, the House of Lords and the House of Commons.