TileMission, or barrel, roof tiles
A tile is a manufactured piece of hard-wearing material such as ceramic, clay, stone, porcelain or even glass. Tiles are generally used for covering roofs, floors, and walls, or other objects such as tabletops. The word is derived from the French word tuile, which is, in turn, from the Latin word tegula, meaning a roof tile composed of baked clay. Less precisely, the modern term can refer to any sort of construction tile or similar object, such as rectangular counters used in playing games (see tile-based game).
Tiles are often used to form wall and floor coverings, and can range from simple square tiles to complex mosaics. Tiles are most often made from ceramic, with a hard glaze finish, but other materials are also commonly used, such as glass, slate, and reformed ceramic slurry, which is cast in a mould and fired.
Roof tilesFancy Japanese roof tiles The largest (6000 m²)
wooden shingle roof
in Europe: Zakopane, Poland
Roof tiles are designed mainly to keep out rain, and are traditionally made from locally available materials such as clay, slate, or wood (wooden tiles are called shingles). Modern materials such as concrete and plastic are also used. Some clay tiles have a waterproof glaze.
Because of their long history, a large number of shapes (or "profiles") of roof tiles have evolved. These include:
Roof tiles are 'hung' from the framework of a roof by fixing them with nails. The tiles are usually hung in parallel rows, with each row overlapping the row below it to exclude rainwater and to cover the nails that hold the row below.
There are also roof tiles for special positions, particularly where the planes of the several pitches meet. They include ridge, hip and valley tiles.
Floor tiles6"x6" porcelain floor tiles
These are commonly made of ceramic, clay, porcelain or stone. Clay tiles may be painted and glazed. Small mosaic tiles may be laid in various patterns. Floor tiles are typically set into mortar consisting of sand, cement and oftentimes a latex additive for extra strength. The spaces between the tiles are nowadays filled with sanded or unsanded floor grout, but traditionally mortar was used.
See Laying tile
Wall tilesTilework on the wall of the Bond Street tube station
While ancient Roman building bricks were broader and thinner than modern ones and are therefore usually called tiles, the term wall tile is normally applied to finishing tiles. These are usually ceramic, but other materials such as mirrored glass or polished metal can be used. Wall tiles are usually glazed, and are often patterned by painting or embossing. Pictorial tiles, consisting of many tiles that the installer assembles like a jigsaw puzzle to form a single large picture, are available.
Modern wall tiles are fixed to a wall using a synthetic bonding agent tile adhesive for dry areas, or a cement-based mortar for areas prone to moisture, such as bath or shower walls. The spaces between the tiles are filled with a fine cement called unsanded grout. The excess grout is scraped off with a hard rubber block called a float immediately after applying; further, the grout is wiped again with a moist sponge before it completely hardens. The sponging provides added moisture to strengthen the grout as it cures. Finally, a cloth is rubbed over the wall tile to remove any haze which may remain from residual grout.
Decorative tileworkAncient mosaic in the British Museum. Typical tilework on buildings in Santarém, Portugal.
Decorative tilework typically takes the form of mosaic upon the walls, floor, or ceiling of a building. Although decorative tilework was known and extensively practiced in the ancient world (as evidenced in the magnificent mosaics of Pompeii and Herculaneum), it perhaps reached its greatest expression during the Islamic period.
Some places, notably Portugal, have a tradition of tilework on buildings that continues today.
In the United States, decorative tiles were in vogue, especially in southern California, in the 1920s and 1930s. Prominent among art tile makers during this period was Ernest A. Batchelder.
Islamic tileworkTilework of Hazrat Masoumeh shrine, Qom. First constructed in the late 8th century.
Perhaps because of the tenets of Moslem law (sharia) which disavow religious icons and images in favor of more abstract and universal representations of the divine, many consider decorative tilework to have reached a pinnacle of expression and detail during the Islamic period. Palaces, public buildings, and mosques were heavily decorated with dense, often massive mosaics and friezes of astonishing complexity. As both the influence and the extent of Islam spread during the Middle Ages this artistic tradition was carried along, finding expression from the gardens and courtyards of Málaga in Moorish Spain to the mosaics of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.
The mathematics of tiling
Certain shapes of tiles, most obviously rectangles, can be replicated to cover a surface with no gaps. These shapes are said to tessellate (from the Latin tessera, 'tile'). For detailed information on tilings see the tessellation page.
History of tiles
Tiles were developed as a product of earthenware pottery, either as an alternative use for fragments of broken pottery (called potsherds) or as an independent invention. Tiles have been used in construction for at least 4000 years, by the Romans, Greeks, Babylonians, Phoenicians and many other cultures.
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Tiles have been used in construction for at least 4000 years, by the Romans, Greeks, Babylonians, Phoenicians and many other cultures.
Certain shapes of tiles, most obviously rectangles, can be replicated to cover a surface with no gaps. It originated under Charles II of England as the "Sport of Kings" - and is a royal pastime to this day. As both the influence and the extent of Islam spread during the Middle Ages this artistic tradition was carried along, finding expression from the gardens and courtyards of Málaga in Moorish Spain to the mosaics of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. Thoroughbred racing is also very popular in England. Palaces, public buildings, and mosques were heavily decorated with dense, often massive mosaics and friezes of astonishing complexity. The Wimbledon Championships are international tennis events held in Wimbledon in south London every summer and are seen as the most prestigious of the tennis calendar. Perhaps because of the tenets of Moslem law (sharia) which disavow religious icons and images in favor of more abstract and universal representations of the divine, many consider decorative tilework to have reached a pinnacle of expression and detail during the Islamic period. Every four years the British and Irish Lions (comprising the best players from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland) tour other countries.
Batchelder. England is the current holder of the Rugby Union World Cup. Prominent among art tile makers during this period was Ernest A. In Rugby League the UK plays as one nation - Great Britain - whilst in union it is represented by the four nations. In the United States, decorative tiles were in vogue, especially in southern California, in the 1920s and 1930s. Rugby League originates from and is generally played in the North of England, whilst Rugby Union is played all over Britain. Some places, notably Portugal, have a tradition of tilework on buildings that continues today. Both forms of rugby are national sports.
Although decorative tilework was known and extensively practiced in the ancient world (as evidenced in the magnificent mosaics of Pompeii and Herculaneum), it perhaps reached its greatest expression during the Islamic period. British teams are generally successful in European Competitions, including the following European Cup/UEFA Champions League winners: Liverpool (five times), Manchester United (twice), Nottingham Forest (twice), Aston Villa and Celtic. Decorative tilework typically takes the form of mosaic upon the walls, floor, or ceiling of a building. Clubs compete in national leagues and competitions and some go on to compete in European competitions. Finally, a cloth is rubbed over the wall tile to remove any haze which may remain from residual grout. The UK also hosts many world-renowned football clubs, such as Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal in England and Rangers and Celtic in Scotland. The sponging provides added moisture to strengthen the grout as it cures. The English and Northern Irish football associations have confirmed participation in this team while the Scottish FA and the Welsh FA have declined to participate.
The excess grout is scraped off with a hard rubber block called a float immediately after applying; further, the grout is wiped again with a moist sponge before it completely hardens. However, a united team will probably take part in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, as these are hosted in London. The spaces between the tiles are filled with a fine cement called unsanded grout. It is because of this unique four-team arrangement that the UK currently does not compete in football events at the Olympic Games. Modern wall tiles are fixed to a wall using a synthetic bonding agent tile adhesive for dry areas, or a cement-based mortar for areas prone to moisture, such as bath or shower walls. Instead, the home nations compete individually as England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Pictorial tiles, consisting of many tiles that the installer assembles like a jigsaw puzzle to form a single large picture, are available. The national sport of the UK is association football, but the UK does not compete as a nation in any major football tournament.
Wall tiles are usually glazed, and are often patterned by painting or embossing. A great number of major sports originated in the United Kingdom, including football, golf, cricket, rugby, tennis and boxing. These are usually ceramic, but other materials such as mirrored glass or polished metal can be used. Recent rock bands to emerge as great talents are the Kaiser Chiefs (all ex-temporary teachers from Leeds), Franz Ferdinand and the Arctic Monkeys. While ancient Roman building bricks were broader and thinner than modern ones and are therefore usually called tiles, the term wall tile is normally applied to finishing tiles. The United Kingdom is also associated with music from the Caribbean, with a large number of Jamaicans and other Caribbean nationals being present in the UK. See Laying tile
The spaces between the tiles are nowadays filled with sanded or unsanded floor grout, but traditionally mortar was used. In the mid to late 1990s, the Britpop phenomenon saw bands such as Oasis, Blur, Radiohead and Coldplay gain international fame. Floor tiles are typically set into mortar consisting of sand, cement and oftentimes a latex additive for extra strength. The UK was at the forefront of punk rock music in the 1970s with bands such as the Sex Pistols and The Clash, and the subsequent rebirth of heavy metal with bands such as Motörhead and Iron Maiden. Small mosaic tiles may be laid in various patterns. The UK was, with the US, one of the two main contributors in the development of rock and roll, and the UK has provided some of the most famous rock stars, including The Beatles, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, The Who, and many others. Clay tiles may be painted and glazed. Various British TV formats have been exported to other nations, notably Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, The Weakest Link and The Office.
These are commonly made of ceramic, clay, porcelain or stone. Popular programmes in the UK include the three major soaps - EastEnders, Coronation Street and Emmerdale - as well as the comedy news quiz Have I Got News For You and Reality TV shows such as Big Brother. They include ridge, hip and valley tiles. The other main television networks are ITV, Channel 4, Five and Sky Television. There are also roof tiles for special positions, particularly where the planes of the several pitches meet. The BBC is the oldest and perhaps the most respected broadcasting network on the globe, with the BBC World Service radio channel and its news output held in particularly high regard. The tiles are usually hung in parallel rows, with each row overlapping the row below it to exclude rainwater and to cover the nails that hold the row below. George Frideric Handel spent most of his composing life in England.
Roof tiles are 'hung' from the framework of a roof by fixing them with nails. Gilbert), Ralph Vaughan Williams and Benjamin Britten in the 19th and 20th. These include:. S. Because of their long history, a large number of shapes (or "profiles") of roof tiles have evolved. Notable composers from the United Kingdom have included William Byrd, John Taverner, William Lawes, John Dowland, Thomas Tallis, and Henry Purcell from the 16th and early 17th centuries, and, more recently, Sir Edward Elgar, Sir Arthur Sullivan (most famous for working with librettist Sir W. Some clay tiles have a waterproof glaze. Important poets include Lord Byron, Robert Burns, Lord Tennyson and William Blake.
Modern materials such as concrete and plastic are also used. Rowling. Roof tiles are designed mainly to keep out rain, and are traditionally made from locally available materials such as clay, slate, or wood (wooden tiles are called shingles). Wells, Charles Dickens, and J.K. . G.
Tiles are most often made from ceramic, with a hard glaze finish, but other materials are also commonly used, such as glass, slate, and reformed ceramic slurry, which is cast in a mould and fired. S. Tiles are often used to form wall and floor coverings, and can range from simple square tiles to complex mosaics. Tolkien, C. Less precisely, the modern term can refer to any sort of construction tile or similar object, such as rectangular counters used in playing games (see tile-based game). R. The word is derived from the French word tuile, which is, in turn, from the Latin word tegula, meaning a roof tile composed of baked clay. R.
Tiles are generally used for covering roofs, floors, and walls, or other objects such as tabletops. Playwright William Shakespeare is arguably the most famous writer in the history of the English language; other well-known writers from the United Kingdom include the Brontë sisters (Charlotte, Emily, and Anne), Jane Austen, William Thackeray, J. A tile is a manufactured piece of hard-wearing material such as ceramic, clay, stone, porcelain or even glass. Britain's other languages are also spoken by small groups across the world, including Welsh in Argentina  and Gaelic in Canada. Mission or barrel tiles are semi-cylindrical tiles made by forming clay around a log and laid in alternating columns of convex and concave tiles. It is taught as a second language more than any other around the world. These result in a ridged pattern resembling a ploughed field. The English language has spread to all corners of the world (primarily because of the British empire and the influence of the United States) and is referred to as a "global language".
Pantiles - with an S-shaped profile, allowing adjacent tiles to interlock. The United Kingdom contains many of the world's leading universities, including the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Manchester and the University of London (which incorporates, amongst others, University College London and the LSE), and has produced many great scientists and engineers including Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Isambard Kingdom Brunel; the nation is credited with many inventions including the locomotive, vaccination, television, the railway, and both the internal combustion and the jet engine. Roman tiles - flat in the middle, with a concave curve at one end at a convex curve at the other, to allow interlocking. The United Kingdom has the largest number of Hindi-speaking peoples outside of the Indian subcontinent. This profile is suitable for stone and wooden tiles, and most recently, solar cells. Recent immigrants, especially from the Commonwealth, speak many other languages, including Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali, and Cantonese. Flat tiles - the simplest type, which are laid in regular overlapping rows. Celtic dialectal influences from Cumbric persisted in Northern England for many centuries, most famously in a unique set of numbers used for counting sheep.
The other indigenous languages include the Celtic languages; Welsh, the closely related Irish and Scots Gaelic, and the Cornish language; as well as Lowland Scots, which is closely related to English; Romany; and British Sign Language (Northern Ireland Sign Language is also used in Northern Ireland). Although Celtic languages persist in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, the predominant language is English, which is a West Germanic language descended from Old English, featuring a large amount of borrowings from Norman French. The pre-Celtic, Celtic, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, and Norse influences were blended on Great Britain under the Normans, Scandinavian Vikings who had lived in Northern France. Contemporary Britons are descended mainly from the varied ethnic stocks that settled there before the eleventh century.
A group of islands close to continental Europe, the British Isles have been subject to many invasions and migrations, especially from Scandinavia and the continent, including Roman occupation for several centuries. Reforms to the nature of the church's relationship to the state have been ongoing, especially concerning the nature of the House of Lords and the appointment of a fixed amount of the lordships going to Lords Spiritual, Bishops of the Church of England. During his reign, England broke ties with the Roman Catholic Church and established the Church of England as the official religion of England. Anglicanism is the state religion that has been established in England since 1534 during the reign of King Henry VIII.
The Church of England and the Church of Scotland function as the official national religions in their respective countries, but most religions found in the world are represented in the United Kingdom. Education is mandatory from ages five to sixteen. The United Kingdom's high literacy rate (99%) is attributable to universal public education introduced for the primary level in 1870 and secondary level in 1900 (except in Scotland where it was introduced in 1696). Almost one-third of the population lives in England's prosperous south-east and is predominantly urban and suburban--with about 7.2 million in the capital of London.
Its overall population density is one of the highest in the world. At the April 2001 census, the United Kingdom's population was 58,789,194, the third-largest in the European Union (behind Germany and France) and the twenty-first largest in the world. The Blair government has put off the question of participation in the Euro system, citing five economic tests that would need to be met before they recommend that the UK adopts the Euro, and hold a referendum. Tourism is also important: with over 24 million tourists a year, the United Kingdom is ranked as the sixth major tourist destination in the world, between China (33) and Austria (19.1).
Industry continues to decline in importance, although the UK is still Europe's largest manufacturer of armaments, petroleum products, personal computers, televisions, and mobile telephones. Services, particularly banking, insurance and business services, account for by far the largest proportion of GDP. 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 state. Agriculture is intensive, highly mechanised, and efficient by European standards, producing about 60% of food needs with only 1% of the labour force.
Over the past three decades, the government has greatly reduced public ownership by means of privatisation programmes, and has contained the growth of the Welfare State. The United Kingdom, a leading trading power and financial centre, has an essentially capitalist economy, the fourth largest in the world in terms of market exchange rates and the sixth largest by purchasing power parity (PPP) exchange rates. In total it is estimated that the UK includes around 1098 small islands, some being natural and some being crannogs, a type of artificial island which was built in past times using stone and wood, gradually enlarged by natural waste building up over time. Lough Neagh, the largest body of water in the British Isles, by surface area (388 square kilometres), can be found in Northern Ireland.
The province is home to one of the UK’s World Heritage Sites, the Giant's Causeway, which consists of more than 40,000 six-sided basalt columns up to 40 feet (12 m) high. The main cities are Belfast ('Beal Feirste' in Irish) and Londonderry / Derry ('Doire' in Irish). Northern Ireland, making up the north-eastern part of Ireland, is mostly hilly. The largest and capital city is Cardiff, located in South Wales.
North of the mainland is the island of Anglesey. Wales is mostly mountainous, the highest peak being Snowdon at 1085 metres (3,560 ft) above sea level. The largest city is Glasgow. The capital city is Edinburgh, the centre of which is a World Heritage Site.
A multitude of islands west and north of Scotland are also included, notably the Hebrides, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands. There are many long and deep-sea arms, firths, and lochs. Scotland's geography is varied, with lowlands in the south and east and highlands in the north and west, including Ben Nevis, the UK's highest mountain at 1344 metres (4,408 ft). There is no peak in England that is 1000 metres (3,300 ft) or greater.
Near Dover, the Channel Tunnel links the United Kingdom with France. The largest urban area is Greater London. The main rivers and estuaries are the Thames, Severn and the Humber Estuary. The lower limestone hills of the Isle of Purbeck, Cotswolds, Lincolnshire and chalk downs of the Southern England Chalk Formation.
Most of England consists of rolling lowland terrain, divided east from west by more mountainous terrain in the Northwest (Cumbrian Mountains of the Lake District) and north (the upland moors of the Pennines) and limestone hills of the Peak District by the Tees-Exe line. Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq (Granby, No-Fly-Zones, Desert Fox and Telic) may all be taken as precedent - indeed the last true war in which the British military fought alone was the Falklands War of 1982, in which military action was initiated by Argentina and the UK was fighting a defensive, rather than offensive, campaign. Despite the United Kingdom's wide ranging capabilities, recent pragmatic defence policy has a stated assumption that any large operation would be undertaken as part of a coalition. The Royal Navy is the second largest navy in the World in terms of gross tonnage.
The UK's Special Forces, principally the SAS, provide elite commandos trained for quick, mobile, military responses; often where secrecy or covert operations are required. This puts total active duty military troops in the 190,000 range, currently deployed in over 80 countries. The 36,810-member Royal Navy is in charge of the United Kingdom's independent strategic nuclear arm, which consists of four Trident Ballistic Missile Submarines, while the Royal Marines provide infantry units for amphibious assault and for specialist reinforcement forces in and beyond the NATO area. The British Army had a reported strength of 103,780 in 2004, including approximately 7,600 women, and the Royal Air Force a strength of 49,280.
Its global power projection capabilities are second only to those of the United States Armed Forces. The United Kingdom fields one of the most powerful and comprehensive military forces in the World. They are active and regular participants in NATO and other coalition operations. The British Armed Forces are charged with protecting the United Kingdom and its overseas territories, promoting the United Kingdom's wider security interests, and supporting international peacekeeping efforts.
Their Commander-in-Chief is the Queen and they are managed by the Ministry of Defence. The armed forces of the United Kingdom are known as the British Armed Forces or Her Majesty's Armed Forces, officially the Armed Forces of the Crown. Also sometimes associated with the United Kingdom, though not constitutionally part of the United Kingdom itself, are the Crown dependencies (the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey, and the Isle of Man) as self-governing possessions of the Crown, and a number of overseas territories under the sovereignty of the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland is divided into 26 Districts.
Wales consists of 22 Unitary Authorities, styled as 10 County Boroughs, 9 Counties, and 3 Cities. Scotland consists of 32 Council Areas. Although at one point it was intended that each or some of these regions would be given its own regional assembly, the plan's future is uncertain, as of 2004, after the North East region rejected its proposed assembly in a referendum. Each region is made up of counties and unitary authorities, apart from London, which consists of London boroughs.
Although all four have historically been divided into counties, England's population is an order of magnitude larger than the others so in recent years it has for some purposes been divided into nine intermediate-level Government Office Regions. The Laws in Wales Act 1535 incorporated Wales and England into England and Wales for legal purposes. The well-received resurgence in Celtic (Welsh, Scottish, Irish and Cornish) cultures and languages, as well as 'regional' politics and development, contribute to the forces pulling against the unity of the state, however, outwith the special case of Northern Ireland (where, arguably, crisis is the natural state) there is at present little sign of any imminent crisis. The contradictions this places upon the state may yet prove to be considerable, where the largest constituent country England seeks no separate legislature and is therefore governed according to the balance of parties across the whole of the United Kingdom (see West Lothian Question).
However, increased autonomy and devolved executive and legislative powers within the state, with both Scotland and Wales now possessing a legislature and government alongside that for the United Kingdom as a whole, have not reduced support for independence. Though 'nationalist' (as opposed to 'unionist') tendencies have shifted over time in Scotland and Wales, with the Scottish National Party founded in 1934 and Plaid Cymru (the Party of Wales) in 1925, a serious political crisis threatening the integrity of the United Kingdom as a state has not occurred since the 1970s. Independence for the Republic of Ireland in 1922 provided only a partial solution to what had been termed in the 19th Century the 'Irish Question', and competing demands for a united Ireland or continued union with Great Britain have brought civil strife and political instability up to the present day. Though many in the United Kingdom consider themselves 'British' as well as 'Welsh', 'English', 'Scottish' or 'Irish' (and increasingly also 'Afro-Caribbean', 'Indian' or 'Pakistani'), there has long been a widespread sense of separate national identities in the nations of Wales and Scotland and amongst the Catholic community in Northern Ireland.
The Liberal Democrats are the third major party in the UK parliament and actively seek a reform of the electoral system to address the dominance of the two-party system. Though coalition and minority governments have been an occasional feature of Parliamentary politics, the first-past-the-post electoral system used for general elections tends to maintain the dominance of these two parties, though each has in the past century relied upon a third party to deliver a working majority in Parliament. Since the 1920s, the two largest political parties in British politics have been the Labour Party and Conservative Party. The Church of England is the established church of the state in England.
The House of Lords has 724 members (though this number is not fixed), constituted of hereditary peers, life peers, and bishops of the Church of England. The House of Commons has 646 members who are directly elected from single-member constituencies based on population. The House of Commons is the more powerful of the two houses. It is bicameral, composed of the elected House of Commons and the unelected House of Lords, whose members are mostly appointed.
It is the ultimate legislative authority in the United Kingdom, according to the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty. Parliament is the national legislature of the United Kingdom. The current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II who acceded to the throne in 1952 and was crowned in 1953. Support for a British republic usually fluctuates between 15% and 25% of the population, with roughly 10% undecided or indifferent .
Although the abolition of the monarchy has been suggested several times, the popularity of the monarchy remains strong in spite of recent controversies. An Act of Parliament does not become law until it has been signed by the Queen (being given Royal Assent), although no monarch has refused to assent to a bill that has been approved by Parliament since Queen Anne in 1708. The monarch is an integral part of Parliament (as the "Crown-in-Parliament") and theoretically gives Parliament the power to meet and create legislation. In the United Kingdom the monarch has extensive theoretical powers, but his or her role is mainly, though not exclusively, ceremonial.
The current Prime Minister is Tony Blair of the Labour Party, who has been in office since 1997. The Prime Minister is chosen as the MP who can command a majority in the House of Commons - usually the leader of the largest party or, if there is no majority party, the largest coalition. The British system of government has been emulated around the world - a legacy of the United Kingdom's colonial past - most notably in the other Commonwealth Realms. Ministers do not, however, legally have to come from Parliament, though that is the modern day custom.
The majority of cabinet members will be from the House of Commons, the rest from the House of Lords. The government is answerable chiefly to the House of Commons and the Prime Minister is drawn from this chamber of Parliament by constitutional convention. While the monarch is Head of State and holds all executive power, it is the Prime Minister who is the head of government. The UK is one of the few countries in the world today that does not have a codified constitution, relying instead on customs and separate pieces of constitutional law.
These ministers are drawn from and are responsible to Parliament, the legislative body, which is traditionally considered to be "supreme" (that is, able to legislate on any matter and not bound by decisions of its predecessors). The cabinet, including the Prime Minister, and other ministers collectively make up Her Majesty's Government. The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, with executive power exercised on behalf of the Queen by the Prime Minister and other cabinet ministers who head departments.
It has not chosen to adopt the Euro as domestic political opinion runs strongly against such a move, whilst the government itself has not seen fit to advance membership based on a judgement of the economic costs and benefits in doing so. The attitude of the present government towards further integration is conservative, with the official opposition favouring a return of some powers and competencies to the UK. The UK has been a member of the European Union since 1973. The second half witnessed the dismantling of the Empire and the UK rebuilding itself into a modern and prosperous nation.
The first half of the 20th century saw the UK's strength seriously depleted from the effects of World War I and World War II. At its zenith, the British Empire stretched over one quarter of the Earth's surface and encompassed a third of its population - making it the largest empire in history. The United Kingdom, the dominant industrial and maritime power of the 19th century, played a leading role in developing Western ideas of property, liberty, capitalism and parliamentary democracy—to say nothing of its part in advancing world literature and science. Independence for the now Republic of Ireland in 1922 brought the partition of the island of Ireland, with six of the nine counties of the province of Ulster remaining within the UK, which changed to the current name in 1929 in recognition.
The Act of Union 1800 united the Kingdom of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland, which had been gradually brought under English control between 1169 and 1691, to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. With the Act of Union 1707, the independent states of England and Scotland, having been in personal union since 1603, agreed to a political union as the Kingdom of Great Britain. Wales, under the control of English monarchs from the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284, became part of the Kingdom of England by the Laws in Wales Act 1535. Scotland and England have existed as separate political entities since the 9th century.
The present United Kingdom is the latest of several unions formed over the last 840 years. . The UK is also one of the major nuclear weapon states. It is one of the more populous member states of the European Union and a founding partner of both the UN (with a permanent seat on the Security Council) and NATO.
The UK has a highly developed economy, the fourth-largest in the world. The UK has close relationships with the fifteen other Commonwealth Realms, which share the same monarch as head of state. The UK has several overseas territories, including Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands, and has sovereignty over the Crown dependencies of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The United Kingdom, often confusingly referred to as "Britain", is a constitutional monarchy and a "unitary state", composed by the political union of four constituent entities: the three constituent countries of England, Scotland, and Wales on the island of Great Britain, and the province of Northern Ireland on the island of Ireland.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (usually shortened to the United Kingdom, or the UK) is a country and state situated in the British Isles, off the north-western coast of mainland Europe, with a land border with the Republic of Ireland and otherwise surrounded by the North Sea, the English Channel, the Celtic Sea, the Irish Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean. Name changed to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 1927.
See British postal codes. Postal code: LN NLL, LLN NLL, LNN NLL, LLNN NLL, LNL NLL or LLNL NLL. Voltage: 230V (except in Northern Ireland 220V) , 50 Hz; Power connector: 3 rectangle pins. Thousands are separated (formal) by a comma: 10,000, but younger people sometimes use: 10 000.
Decimal separator is a full stop: 123.45. 29/2/04 or 29/02/04), other styles are DD.MM.YY or DD-MM-YY. 29/2/2004 or 29/02/2004) or DD/MM/YY (ex. Date format: DD/MM/YYYY (ex.
Cellular technology: GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS. Cellular frequency: GSM 900, GSM 1800, UMTS 2100. Cornish: An Rywvaneth Unys a Vreten Veur hag Iwerdhon Glédh
Irish: Ríocht Aontaithe na Breataine Móire agus Tuaisceart na hÉireann. Scottish Gaelic: An Rìoghachd Aonaichte na Breatainn Mhòr agus Eirinn a Tuath. Welsh: Teyrnas Unedig Prydain Fawr a Gogledd Iwerddon.