UNITED KINGDOM



United Kingdom 1580
Photo by: Bryce Newell

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

CAPITAL : London

FLAG : The Union Jack, adopted in 1800, is a combination of the banners of England (St. George's flag: a red cross with extended horizontals on a white field), Scotland (St. Andrew's flag: a white saltire cross on a blue field), and Ireland (St. Patrick's flag: a red saltire cross on a white field). The arms of the saltire crosses do not meet at the center.

ANTHEM : God Save the Queen.

MONETARY UNIT : The pound sterling (£) is a paper currency of 100 pence. Before decimal coinage was introduced on 15 February 1971, the pound had been divided into 20 shillings, each shilling representing 12 pennies (p) or pence; some old-style coins are still in circulation. Under the new system, there are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 pence and 1 and 2 pounds, and notes of 5, 10, 20, and 50 pounds. £1 = $1.59 (or $1 = £0.628; in May 2003).

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : Although the traditional imperial system of weights and measures is still in use (sample units: of weight, the stone of 14 pounds equivalent to 6.35 kilograms; of length, the yard equivalent to 0.914 meter; of capacity, a bushel equivalent to 36.37 liters), a changeover to the metric system is in progress.

HOLIDAYS : New Year's Day, 1 January; Good Friday; Easter Monday (except Scotland); Late Summer Holiday, last Monday in August or 1st in September (except Scotland); Christmas, 25 December; and Boxing Day, 1st weekday after Christmas. Also observed in Scotland are bank holidays on 2 January and on the 1st Monday in August. Northern Ireland observes St. Patrick's Day, 17 March; and Orangeman's Day, 12 July, commemorating the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

TIME : GMT.


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British Cultural Identities. Edited by Peter Childs and Mike Storry. New York: Routledge, 1997.

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Budge, Ian and David McKay (eds.). The Developing British Political System: The 1990's. 3rd ed. New York: Longman, 1993.

The Cambridge History of English Literature. 15 vols.

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The Columbia Companion to British History . Edited by Juliet Gardiner and Neil Wenborn. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.

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Darby, H. C., ed. A New Historical Geography of England After 1600. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978.

——. A New Historical Geography of England Before 1600. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978.

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Gagnon, Alain G. and James Tully, eds. Multinational Democracies. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

Glynn, Sean. Modern Britain: An Economic and Social History. New York: Routledge, 1996.

Halsey, A. H. (ed.). Trends in British Society Since 1900. New York: St. Martin's, 1972.

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