and largest city
|Official languages||English (de facto)[note 1]|
|Recognised regional languages||Cornish|
|Ethnic groups (2009
|87.5% White, 6.0% South Asian, 2.9% Black, 1.9% Mixed race, 0.8% Chinese, 0.8% Other|
|Government||Non-devolved state within a constitutional monarchy|
|Legislature||Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|130,395 km2 (50,346 sq mi)|
• 2015 estimate
|407/km2 (1,054.1/sq mi)|
|GDP (nominal)||2010 estimate|
• Per capita
|Currency||Pound sterling (GBP)|
|Time zone||GMT (UTC0)|
• Summer (DST)
|Date format||dd/mm/yyyy (AD)|
|Drives on the||left|
|Patron saint||Saint George|
|ISO 3166 code||GB-ENG|
|Internet TLD||.uk[note 2]|
England is one of the four countries which make up the United Kingdom. To the west of England is Wales and to the north is Scotland. All three countries are on the island of Great Britain and are part of the UK.
About 54.8 million people live in England (2015 estimate). The capital city of England is London, which is also the biggest city in the country. Other large cities in England include Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, and Leeds.
Geography[change | change source]
England is the largest part of the island of Great Britain, and it is also the largest constituent country of the United Kingdom. Scotland and Wales are also part of Great Britain (and the UK), Scotland to the north and Wales to the west. To the east and south, and part of the west, England is bordered by sea. France is to the south, separated by the English Channel. The Channel Tunnel, (Chunnel) under the English Channel, connects England to northern France (and the rest of mainland Europe). Ireland is a large island to the west, divided into Northern Ireland which is part of the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland.
London is the largest city and the capital. Other large cities are Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Bristol, Nottingham and Liverpool. The longest river in England is the River Severn. Other large rivers are the Thames (which runs through London), the Trent and the Humber.
History[change | change source]
England was named after a Germanic tribe called the "Angles", who settled in Central, Northern, and Eastern England in the 5th century. A related tribe called the "Saxons" settled in the south of England. That is why that period of English history is called "Anglo-Saxon". For the majority of this time, England did not exist as a united country. The Anglo-Saxons lived in many small kingdoms, which slowly united. The later countries of England and Wales were formed from the earlier Roman Britain.
England became one country in 937. The first King of England was Athelstan, but he lost a lot of land to Danish invaders, who formed their own country in the East and North. Many villages and towns in this area (particularly in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire), still have Danish names, and use some Danish-based words. At one time Wessex (in the West of England) was the only English kingdom left. After many battles, King Alfred the Great of Wessex became king of the whole of England, and the old kingdoms (Mercia, Northumberland, etc.) just became provinces, called "Earldoms" governed by an "Earl". Soon after Alfred died, the king of Denmark (Knut or Canute) ruled England.
England soon had an English king again. When King Edward the Confessor died, Harold (the Earl of Wessex) became king. William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy (today part of northern France), said that Harold Godwinson had promised to make William the king, so he invaded England and fought King Harold at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
William won, and then became king of England. The kings of England spoke French for the next 300 years (The present ruler, Queen Elizabeth II is a descendant of William, but not very directly). England took over the country of Wales in the 13th century. There were many wars, often against France and Scotland.
For many centuries the religion of England was Roman Catholicism. The bishops (church leaders) of England and all their churches obeyed the pope and the church in Rome, Italy. During the Protestant Reformation many of the bishops did not agree with this. In the 1530s, the Pope told King Henry VIII that he could not divorce his wife. King Henry VIII created the Church of England (a "Protestant" church) so that he could divorce his wife, and made it the official church in England. For the next 200 years, there was fighting over whether the King (or Queen) of England should be "Roman Catholic" or "Protestant".
Queen Elizabeth I was Henry's second daughter. She was a powerful queen who ruled for more than 40 years. When Queen Elizabeth I died, she had no children, and in 1603 James VI of Scotland (the son of Mary, Queen of Scots) became King James I of England. He called his two countries "Great Britain", but they were still separate countries with their own parliaments and laws, even though they were in personal union.
James' son, Charles I and the English Parliament fought each other in the English Civil War (Scotland and Ireland were involved as well, but the story is complicated!). Oliver Cromwell became leader of the Parliamentary Army (the "Roundheads") and defeated the Royalist Army (the "Cavaliers"). King Charles was beheaded in 1649 and Oliver Cromwell became dictator ("Lord Protector"). When Cromwell died, his son Richard was not strong enough to rule, and King Charles II, the son of Charles I, was invited to come to England and be king in 1660.
When King Charles II died, his brother James II was the next king. A lot of people did not like James because he was Roman Catholic. England was invaded by William of Orange (ruler of part of the Netherlands and husband of Mary, the daughter of King James). Many people welcomed William because he was a Protestant. James left the country without a fight and Parliament asked William and Mary to become King and Queen together. When Mary II of England died, William ruled alone. Queen Mary's sister Anne became the next queen. While she was queen, England and Scotland were officially joined as one country. This was called the Acts of Union 1707. It also merged their separate parliaments. The parliament in London now included Scottish Members of Parliament ("MPs"), and was called the Parliament of Great Britain.
The United Kingdom was formed in 1800, when the Irish Parliament merged with the British one. Later Ireland fought against this merging and the Republic of Ireland, which is not quite the whole island called Ireland, became a separate country. The rest of the island, Northern Ireland, is now the only part of Ireland still in the UK. England is the only country of UK not to have its own government, Parliament or Assembly, but to be Governed by Parliament of the United Kingdom which it has a majority of seats in.
Language[change | change source]
The English language is a West Germanic language spoken in many countries around the world. With around 380 million native speakers, it is the second most spoken language in the world, as a native language. As many as a billion people speak it as a second language. English is an influence on, and has been influenced by many different languages. Some people in England speak other languages including Welsh. The English language was force onto the other nations of the UK, which spoke different languages before the government in London tried to stop the cultures in other UK countries.
Climate[change | change source]
All of Great Britain has an oceanic climate. Even though it is only 360 miles (600 km) long, England has many kinds of weather. There can be a temperature difference of 5-10°c between the north and the south (the north is generally colder), and there is often snow in the north before there is in the south. There is more rain in the north because there are more mountains. The North Atlantic current of the Gulf Stream brings moist, warm air to the country and lots of rain.
English culture[change | change source]
Sport[change | change source]
The English football team won the World Cup in 1966. They came close in Italy 1990, closely losing in the semi-final against West Germany on penalties. In the 2006 World Cup they got to the quarter finals, then lost to Portugal after penalty kicks. In the 2010 FIFA World Cup, they were knocked out in the second round, losing 4-1 to the Germany national football team.
English people invented:
People from England[change | change source]
There are many well known English people. Here are just a few of them:
- William Shakespeare, English playwright
- Sir Isaac Newton, the scientist who discovered gravity
- Charles Dickens, 19th century author
- Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web
- The Beatles, musicians, who came from the city of Liverpool
- Sir Winston Churchill, former prime minister, and led the country during World War II
- King Henry VIII, King of England during the 16th century
- Queen Victoria, Queen for most of the 19th century
- John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church
- Charles Darwin, naturist, well known for work on evolution
- Led Zeppelin, rock band
- The Rolling Stones, rock band
- Diana, Princess of Wales (1961-1997).
- Margaret Thatcher, UK Prime Minister, 1979-1990
- David Beckham, footballer
- Alan Shearer, footballer
- Geoff Hurst, footballer
- Tim Henman, tennis player
- Ronnie O'Sullivan, snooker player
- Theresa May, current UK Prime Minister
- Jessica Ennis, athlete
- Adele, singer
- Mo Farah, athlete
- Wayne Rooney, footballer
- Lewis Hamilton, Formula 1 driver and world champion 2008 & 2014
- Amy Winehouse, singer
- Robbie Williams, singer and member of Take That
- Jacqueline Wilson, author
- J.K. Rowling, author
Related pages[change | change source]
Notes[change | change source]
References[change | change source]
- Marden 2003, p. 460.
- Brewer 2006, p. 340.
- Office for National Statistics (2009). "Population Estimates by Ethnic Group (experimental)". neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
Other websites[change | change source]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to England.|