The United Kingdom has always been a powerful nation that has influenced the world as we know it today. Although everyone knows where it is on the map and its capital, London, is one of the most popular metropolises in the whole world, most people do not have basic historical, political or common knowledge about this significant and influential group of countries in the northern part of Europe.
A trip to any of the countries that make up the United Kingdom can give you a better understanding of the rich and complex history in that part of the world. You should be warned, however, that you need more than just a few days in order to truly get to know such an intricate destination. Hiring a car from Enjoy Travel will help you save some time so that you can visit as many attractions and significant sites as possible while you also take in the stunning natural landscapes.
Before getting to the actual place, are you ready to learn some interesting things about the United Kingdom?
Fact 1: Its name
The names United Kingdom and Great Britain are often used interchangeably to refer to the northern islands. This is not correct, however. Each name includes a different group of countries. When we say ‘United Kingdom’ – or as the official name goes, ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’, we mean England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. On the other hand, the term ‘Great Britain’ includes England, Scotland and Wales – meaning all the countries that make up the UK except for Northern Ireland.
There is one more name that is worth mentioning; Have you heard about the British Isles? The British Isles are England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland – the whole of Ireland – and the Isle of Man.
Fact 2: Government of the UK
For many centuries, monarchs and kings were the ones that had all the power, and they ruled the country. Nowadays, there are still kings, queens and a whole royal family who function as a political symbol, but they have no power over the decision making and the strategic politics that are followed. This type of political system is called a parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy. It is the Prime Minister with the help of the Cabinet that actually rules the country.
Fact 3: Brexit
Although the UK belongs to the European continent, it is not a member of the European Union (EU). It joined the European Union in 1973, but after a referendum in 2016, 52% of the population voted to leave the EU. After four years of negotiations, the UK and the EU reached a deal about the rules that would regulate their new relationship.
Fact 4: Commonwealth
The United Kingdom used to be an empire that expanded throughout the world as British colonists went to unexplored places in the world and settled thereby forcing their own habits and principles to the indigenous people of each region. Fifty-four of those former British colonies have made up the Commonwealth of Nations. They are self-governed, but Queen Elizabeth is the Head of the Commonwealth.