Background Information of the British Isles
What is the difference between British Isles(不列颠群岛), Britain, United Kingdom
and England? These terms (术语) are familiar(熟悉), but puzzling to us Chinese.
The British Isles are made up of two large islands: One is Britain and the other Ireland. Britain, or Great Britain, is the larger of the two islands, and is divided into three parts: England, Scotland and Wales.
The United Kingdom (UK) is the short for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. UK consists of Scotland, Wales and England (i.e. the whole of Britain), and also about one-sixth of Ireland, i.e., the northern part. The rest of Ireland which is called the republic of Ireland is another country.
England is the largest, and generally speaking, the richest section. Its capital is London, which is also the capital of the UK. London lies on the River Thames. Much of England is rather flat, although there are hills in the northeast and in the center of the country. English people tend to use the words “England” and “English” when they
mean “Britain” and “British”. This sometimes annoys (惹恼) the Scots and the Welsh.
Scotland lies in the north of the UK, with its capital Edinburgh. Scotland has many lakes and mountains , and is famous for its beautiful countryside. The Scots in particular (尤其) are very proud of their nationality; they have their own legal system (法律制度), and some of their internal(内部的)affairs are managed by special
Scottish departments, though they have no separate parliament(议会).
Wales lies to the east of England. Its capital is Cardiff. Everyone there can speak English, but the first language in north Wales is Welsh. The Welsh, too, do not regard themselves as English, and have a culture and even a language of their own. Ireland became part of the UK in 1801, but it soon grew discontented, and for forty years the “Irish question” became the greatest headache of the British Parliament. At last, after much bloodshed(流血), Ireland divided itself into two: Northern Ireland and
the republic of Ireland. Northern Ireland , with its capital Belfast, is part of the UK. The Republic of Ireland is a separate country, with Dublin as its capital. The Republic of Ireland does not regard itself as British. It is still discontented, as it resents;怨恨；
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the existence of Northern Ireland, and wants the whole of Ireland to be a republic. The UK is a small country. Its population is over 58 million. About 80% of the population live in cities. More than 80 % of the people are the English people, and the rest are the Scottish, the Welsh, the Irish, the Jews and others. There are many famous cities in the UK, such as London, Belfast, Manchester, oxford, and Liverpool. Among them Manchester is home of the football club Manchester United. Oxford is a university city. Liverpool is home of the Beatles, a famous group of pop singers. The UK is famous for beer, Fish and Chips, football(Manchester United), London Bridge, the Tower of London, Big Ben, Stone henge, ancient stone cross, old castles, Scottish kilts, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, the Beatles, Greenwich Mean Time(GMT), Cambridge, Oxford, English language, fog, River Thames, Hyde Park, etc.
Although the UK lost its status as a superpower after the middle of the 20th century, it is still a very important country and over the past fifty years the English language, has become one of the most important languages in the world. The UK is still one of the richest countries in the world and one of the seven largest economies in the world. The UK is a member of the Group of Eight(G8),which consists of: France, the United States, Britain, Germany, Japan, Italy, Canada and Russia. Japan and the UK are island states. The United States, Canada and Russia belong to the largest countries in the world. France, Italy and Germany are neither island countries nor belong to the largest countries.
English is the most important language of the Internet. On websites where people from different countries meet and talk to each other, they all use English, even though their mother tongue could be Spanish, Russian or Chinese.
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