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England Wikipedia



This article is about the country. For other uses, see England (disambiguation).
England
Flag
Anthem: Various


Predominantly "God Save the Queen"


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Location of  England  (dark green)– in Europe  (green & dark grey)– in the United Kingdom  (green)
Location of  England  (dark green)
– in Europe  (green & dark grey)

– in the United Kingdom  (green)
Capital


and largest city
London


51°30′N 0°7′W / 51.500°N 0.117°W / 51.500; -0.117
LanguagesEnglish, Cornish
Ethnic groups (2011)
  • 85.4% White
  • 7.8% Asian
  • 3.5% Black
  • 2.3% Mixed
  • 0.4% Arab
  • 0.6% Other
DemonymEnglish
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Area
 - Total130,395 km2


50,346 sq mi
Population
 - 2011 census53,012,456
 - Density407/km2


1,054.1/sq mi
GDP (nominal)2009 estimate
 - Total$2.68 trillion
 - Per capita$50,566
CurrencyPound sterling (GBP)
Time zoneGMT (UTC)
 - Summer (DST)BST (UTC+1)
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy (AD)
Drives on theleft
Calling code+44
Patron saintSaint George
Wikisource has original text related to this article:
England portal
England Listeni/ˈɪŋɡlənd/ is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west. The Irish Sea lies north west of England, whilst the Celtic Sea lies to the south west. The North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separate it from continental Europe. Most of England comprises the central and southern part of the island of Great Britain which lies in the North Atlantic. The country also includes over 100 smaller islands such as the Isles of Scilly, and the Isle of Wight.

The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but it takes its name from the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in 927 AD, and since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world. The English language, the Anglican Church, and English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, and the country's parliamentary system of government has been widely adopted by other nations. The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation.

England's terrain mostly comprises low hills and plains, especially in central and southern England. However, there are uplands in the north (for example, the mountainous Lake District, Pennines, and Yorkshire Dales) and in the south west (for example, Dartmoor and the Cotswolds). The former capital of England was Winchester until replaced by London in the 12th century. Today London is the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures.[nb 1] The population of over 53 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom, largely concentrated around London, the South East, and conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East and Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century. The Kingdom of England – which after 1284 included Wales – was a sovereign state until 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland through another Act of Union to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Contents

                Toponymy

                See also: Toponymy of England
                The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles". The Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Angeln peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first known use of "England" to refer to the southern part of the island of Great Britain occurs in 897, and its modern spelling was first used in 1538.

                The earliest attested mention of the name occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used. The etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars; it has been suggested that it derives from the shape of the Angeln peninsula, an angular shape.[dead link] How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe that was less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England (Sasunn); similarly, the Welsh name for the English language is "Saesneg".

                An alternative name for England is Albion. The name Albion originally referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus, specifically the 4th century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth. In it are two very large islands called Britannia; these are Albion and Ierne". But modern scholar consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written later in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion (Ἀλβίων) or insula Albionum has two possible origins. It either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover, the only part of Britain visible from the European Continent, or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, that is attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former presumably served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England, Lloegr, and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend.

                History

                Main article: History of England

                Prehistory and antiquity

                Main article: Prehistoric Britain
                Sun shining through row of upright standing stones with other stones horizontally on the top.


                Stonehenge, a Neolithic monument
                The earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximately 780,000 years ago. The oldest proto-human bones discovered in England date from 500,000 years ago. Modern humans are known to have first inhabited the area during the Upper Paleolithic period, though permanent settlements were only established within the last 6,000 years. After the last ice age only large mammals such as mammoths, bison and woolly rhinoceros remained. Roughly 11,000 years ago, when the ice sheets began to recede, humans repopulated the area; genetic research suggests they came from the northern part of the Iberian Peninsula. The sea level was lower than now, and Britain was connected by land bridge to both Ireland and Eurasia. As the seas rose, it was separated from Ireland 10,000 years ago and from Eurasia two millennia later.

                The Beaker culture arrived around 2500 BC, introducing drinking and food vessels constructed from clay, as well as vessels used as reduction pots to smelt copper ores. It was during this time that major Neolithic monuments such as Stonehenge and Avebury were constructed. By heating together tin and copper, both of which were in abundance in the area, the Beaker culture people made bronze, and later iron from iron ores. The development of iron smelting allowed the construction of better ploughs, advancing agriculture (for instance, with Celtic fields), as well as the production of more effective weapons.
                Painting of woman, with outstretched arm, in white dress with red cloak and helmet, with other human figures to her right and below her to the left.


                Boudica led an uprising against the Roman Empire
                During the Iron Age, Celtic culture, deriving from the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures, arrived from Central Europe. Brythonic was the spoken language during this time. Society was tribal; according to Ptolemy's Geographia there were around 20 tribes in the area. Earlier divisions are unknown because the Britons were not literate. Like other regions on the edge of the Empire, Britain had long enjoyed trading links with the Romans. Julius Caesar of the Roman Republic attempted to invade twice in 55 BC; although largely unsuccessful, he managed to set up a client king from the Trinovantes.

                The Romans invaded Britain in AD 43 during the reign of Emperor Claudius, subsequently conquering much of Britain, and the area was incorporated into the Roman Empire as Britannia province. The best-known of the native tribes who attempted to resist were the Catuvellauni led by Caratacus. Later, an uprising led by Boudica, Queen of the Iceni, ended with Boudica's suicide following her defeat at the Battle of Watling Street. This era saw a Greco-Roman culture prevail with the introduction of Roman law, Roman architecture, sewage systems, many agricultural items, and silk. In the 3rd century, Emperor Septimius Severus died at Eboracum (modern-day York), where Constantine was subsequently proclaimed emperor.

                There is debate about when Christianity was first introduced; it was no later than the 4th century, with probability lying much earlier. According to Bede, missionaries were sent from Rome by Eleutherius at the request of the chieftain Lucius of Britain in AD 180 to settle differences as to Eastern and Western ceremonials which were disturbing the church. There are traditions linked to Glastonbury claiming an introduction through Joseph of Arimathea, while others claim through Lucius of Britain. By 410, as the Empire declined, Britain was left exposed by the withdrawal of Roman army units, to defend the frontiers in continental Europe and partake in civil wars. At this time Celtic Christian monastic and missionary movements flourished: Patrick (5th-century Ireland); and in the 6th century Brendan (Clonfert), Comgall (Bangor), David (Wales), Aiden (Lindisfarne), and Columba (Iona). This period of Christianity was influenced by ancient Celtic culture in its sensibilities, polity, practices, and theology. Local "congregations" were centered in the monastic community, and monastic leaders were more like chieftains, as peers, rather than in the more hierarchical system of the Roman-dominated church (see Early Christian Christianity, Brendan Lehane, Constable, London: John Murray Ltd., 1968).

                Middle Ages

                Main article: England in the Middle Ages
                Studded and decorated metallic mask of human face.


                Replica of a 7th-century ceremonial helmet from the Kingdom of East Anglia, found at Sutton Hoo
                Roman military withdrawals left Britain open to invasion by pagan, seafaring warriors from north-western continental Europe, chiefly the Angles, Saxons and Jutes who had long raided the coasts of the Roman province and began to settle, initially in the eastern part of the country. Their advance was contained for some decades after the Britons' victory at the Battle of Mount Badon, but subsequently resumed, over-running the fertile lowlands of Britain and reducing the area under Brythonic control to a series of separate enclaves in the more rugged country to the west by the end of the 6th century. Contemporary texts describing this period are extremely scarce, giving rise to its description as a Dark Age. The nature and progression of the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain is consequently subject to considerable disagreement. Roman-dominated Christianity had in general disappeared from the conquered territories, but was reintroduced by missionaries from Rome led by Augustine from 597 onwards. Disputes between the Roman- and Celtic-dominated forms of Christianity ended in victory for the Roman tradition at the Council of Whitby (664), which was ostensibly about haircuts and the date of Easter, but more significantly, about the differences in Roman and Celtic forms of authority, theology, and practice (Lehane).

                During the settlement period the lands ruled by the incomers seem to have been fragmented into numerous tribal territories, but by the 7th century, when substantial evidence of the situation again becomes available, these had coalesced into roughly a dozen kingdoms including Northumbria, Mercia, Wessex, East Anglia, Essex, Kent and Sussex. Over the following centuries this process of political consolidation continued. The 7th century saw a struggle for hegemony between Northumbria and Mercia, which in the 8th century gave way to Mercian preeminence. In the early 9th century Mercia was displaced as the foremost kingdom by Wessex. Later in that century escalating attacks by the Danes culminated in the conquest of the north and east of England, overthrowing the kingdoms of Northumbria, Mercia and East Anglia. Wessex under Alfred the Great was left as the only surviving English kingdom, and under his successors it steadily expanded at the expense of the kingdoms of the Danelaw. This brought about the political unification of England, first accomplished under Æthelstan in 927 and definitively established after further conflicts by Eadred in 953. A fresh wave of Scandinavian attacks from the late 10th century ended with the conquest of this united kingdom by Sweyn Forkbeard in 1013 and again by his son Cnut in 1016, turning it into the centre of a short-lived North Sea empire that also included Denmark and Norway. However the native royal dynasty was restored with the accession of Edward the Confessor in 1042.
                King Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt, 1415.


                King Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt, fought on Saint Crispin's Day and concluded with an English victory against a larger French army in the Hundred Years' War.
                A dispute over the succession to Edward led to the Norman conquest of England in 1066, accomplished by an army led by Duke William of Normandy. The Normans themselves originated from Scandinavia and had settled in Normandy in the late 9th and early 10th centuries. This conquest led to the almost total dispossession of the English elite and its replacement by a new French-speaking aristocracy, whose speech had a profound and permanent effect on the English language.

                Subsequently the House of Plantagenet from Anjou inherited the English throne under Henry II, adding England to the budding Angevin Empire of fiefs the family had inherited in France including Aquitaine. They reigned for three centuries, proving noted monarchs such as Richard I, Edward I, Edward III and Henry V. The period saw changes in trade and legislation, including the signing of the Magna Carta, an English legal charter used to limit the sovereign's powers by law and protect the privileges of freemen. Catholic monasticism flourished, providing philosophers and the universities of Oxford and Cambridge were founded with royal patronage. The Principality of Wales became a Plantagenet fief during the 13th century and the Lordship of Ireland was given to the English monarchy by the Pope.

                During the 14th century, the Plantagenets and House of Valois both claimed to be legitimate claimants to the House of Capet and with it France; and the two powers clashed in the Hundred Years' War. The Black Death epidemic hit England; starting in 1348, it eventually killed up to half of England's inhabitants. From 1453 to 1487 civil war occurred between two branches of the royal family—the Yorkists and Lancastrians—known as the Wars of the Roses. Eventually it led to the Yorkists losing the throne entirely to a Welsh noble family the Tudors, a branch of the Lancastrians headed by Henry Tudor who invaded with Welsh and Breton mercenaries, gaining victory at the Battle of Bosworth Field where the Yorkist king Richard III was killed.

                Early Modern

                Painting of large bearded man with fur trimmed cloak, wearing a hat.


                King Henry VIII became Supreme Head of the Church of England
                During the Tudor period, the Renaissance reached England through Italian courtiers, who reintroduced artistic, educational and scholarly debate from classical antiquity. During this time England began to develop naval skills, and exploration to the West intensified.

                Henry VIII broke from communion with the Catholic Church, over issues relating to divorce, under the Acts of Supremacy in 1534 which proclaimed the monarch head of the Church of England. In contrast with much of European Protestantism, the roots of the split were more political than theological.[nb 2] He also legally incorporated his ancestral land Wales into the Kingdom of England with the 1535–1542 acts. There were internal religious conflicts during the reigns of Henry's daughters, Mary I and Elizabeth I. The former brought the country back to Catholicism, while the later broke from it again, more forcefully asserting the supremacy of Anglicanism.

                Competing with Spain, the first English colony in the Americas was founded in 1585 by explorer Walter Raleigh in Virginia and named Roanoke. The Roanoke colony failed and is known as the lost colony, after it was found abandoned on the return of the late arriving supply ship. With the East India Company, England also competed with the Dutch and French in the East. In 1588, during the Elizabethan period, an English fleet under Francis Drake defeated an invading Spanish Armada. The political structure of the island then changed in 1603, when the King of Scots, James VI, a kingdom which was a longtime rival to English interests, inherited the throne of England as James I—creating a personal union . He styled himself King of Great Britain, although this had no basis in English law. Under the auspices of King James VI and I the so-called Authorized King James Version of the Holy Bible was published in 1611. It has not only been ranked with Shakespeare's works as the greatest masterpiece of literature in the English language but also was the standard version of the Bible read by most Protestant Christians for four hundred years until modern revisions were produced in the 20th century.
                Painting of seated male figure, with long black hair wearing a white cape and breeches.


                The English Restoration restored the monarchy under King Charles II and peace after the English Civil War.
                Based on conflicting political, religious and social positions, the English Civil War was fought between the supporters of Parliament and those of King Charles I, sometimes known colloquially as Roundheads and Cavaliers respectively. This was an interwoven part of the wider multifaceted Wars of the Three Kingdoms, involving Scotland and Ireland. The Parliamentarians were victorious, Charles I was executed and the kingdom replaced with the Commonwealth. Leader of the Parliament forces, Oliver Cromwell declared himself Lord Protector in 1653, a period of personal rule followed. After Cromwell's death and the resignation of his son Richard as Lord Protector, Charles II was invited to return as monarch in 1660 in a move called the Restoration. It was now constitutionally established that King and Parliament should rule together, though Parliament would have the real power. This was established with the Bill of Rights in 1689. Among the statutes set down were that the law could only be made by Parliament and could not be suspended by the King, also the King could not impose taxes or raise an army without prior approval by Parliament. With the founding of the Royal Society in 1660, science was greatly encouraged.

                In 1666 the Great Fire of London gutted the City of London but it was rebuilt shortly afterwards with many significant buildings designed by Sir Christopher Wren. In Parliament two factions had emerged—the Tories and Whigs. Though the Tories initially supported Catholic king James II, some of them, along with the Whigs, deposed him in the Revolution of 1688 and invited Dutch prince William III to become monarch. Some English people, especially in the north, were Jacobites and continued to support James and his sons. After the parliaments of England and Scotland agreed, the two countries joined in political union, to create the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. To accommodate the union, institutions such as the law and national church of each remained separate.

                Late Modern and contemporary

                A stone factory stands against a vivid blue sky, its reflection mirrored in the waters below.


                Saltaire, West Yorkshire, is a model mill town from the Industrial Revolution, and a World Heritage Site.
                Under the newly formed Kingdom of Great Britain, output from the Royal Society and other English initiatives combined with the Scottish Enlightenment to create innovations in science and engineering, while the enormous growth in British overseas trade protected by the Royal Navy paved the way for the establishment of the British Empire. Domestically it drove the Industrial Revolution, a period of profound change in the socioeconomic and cultural conditions of England, resulting in industrialised agriculture, manufacture, engineering and mining, as well as new and pioneering road, rail and water networks to facilitate their expansion and development. The opening of Northwest England's Bridgewater Canal in 1761 ushered in the canal age in Britain. In 1825 the world's first permanent steam locomotive-hauled passenger railway—the Stockton and Darlington Railway—opened to the public.

                During the Industrial Revolution, many workers moved from England's countryside to new and expanding urban industrial areas to work in factories, for instance at Manchester and Birmingham, dubbed "Warehouse City" and "Workshop of the World" respectively. England maintained relative stability throughout the French Revolution; William Pitt the Younger was British Prime Minister for the reign of George III. During the Napoleonic Wars, Napoleon planned to invade from the south-east. However this failed to manifest and the Napoleonic forces were defeated by the British at sea by Lord Nelson and on land by the Duke of Wellington. The Napoleonic Wars fostered a concept of Britishness and a united national British people, shared with the Scots and Welsh.
                A cuboid granite cenotaph.


                The Cenotaph, Whitehall, is a memorial to members of the British Armed Forces who died during the two World Wars.
                London became the largest and most populous metropolitan area in the world during the Victorian era, and trade within the British Empire—as well as the standing of the British military and navy—was prestigious. Political agitation at home from radicals such as the Chartists and the suffragettes enabled legislative reform and universal suffrage. Power shifts in east-central Europe led to World War I; hundreds of thousands of English soldiers died fighting for the United Kingdom as part of the Allies.[nb 3] Two decades later, in World War II, the United Kingdom was again one of the Allies. At the end of the Phoney War, Winston Churchill became the wartime Prime Minister. Developments in warfare technology saw many cities damaged by air-raids during the Blitz. Following the war, the British Empire experienced rapid decolonisation, and there was a speeding up of technological innovations; automobiles became the primary means of transport and Frank Whittle's development of the jet engine led to wider air travel. Residential patterns were altered in England by private motoring, and by the creation of the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948. The UK's NHS provided publicly funded health care to all UK permanent residents free at the point of need, being paid for from general taxation. Combined, these changes prompted the reform of local government in England in the mid-20th century.

                Since the 20th century there has been significant population movement to England, mostly from other parts of the British Isles, but also from the Commonwealth, particularly the Indian subcontinent. Since the 1970s there has been a large move away from manufacturing and an increasing emphasis on the service industry. As part of the United Kingdom, the area joined a common market initiative called the European Economic Community which became the European Union. Since the late 20th century the administration of the United Kingdom has moved towards devolved governance in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. England and Wales continues to exist as a jurisdiction within the United Kingdom. Devolution has stimulated a greater emphasis on a more English-specific identity and patriotism. There is no devolved English government, but an attempt to create a similar system on a sub-regional basis was rejected by referendum.

                Governance

                Politics

                Main article: Politics of England
                Photograph of rectangular floodlight building, reflected in water. The building has multiple towers including one at each end. The tower on the right includes an illuminated clock face.


                The Palace of Westminster, the seat of the Parliament of the United Kingdom
                As part of the United Kingdom, the basic political system in England is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary system. There has not been a Government of England since 1707, when the Acts of Union 1707, putting into effect the terms of the Treaty of Union, joined England and Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. Before the union England was ruled by its monarch and the Parliament of England. Today England is governed directly by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, although other countries of the United Kingdom have devolved governments. In the House of Commons which is the lower house of the British Parliament based at the Palace of Westminster, there are 532 Members of Parliament (MPs) for constituencies in England, out of the 650 total.

                In the United Kingdom general election, 2010 the Conservative Party had won an absolute majority in England's 532 contested seats with 61 seats more than all other parties combined (the Speaker of the House not being counted as a Conservative). However, taking Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales into account this was not enough to secure an overall majority, resulting in a hung parliament. In order to achieve a majority the Conservative party, headed by David Cameron, entered into a coalition agreement with the third largest party, the Liberal Democrats, led by Nick Clegg. Subsequently the Labour Party leader, Gordon Brown was forced to step down as prime minister and leader of the Labour party, now led by Ed Miliband.
                Lines of men wearing large black bearskin hats and red tunics.


                Changing of the Queen's Guard at the royal residence, Buckingham Palace
                As the United Kingdom is a member of the European Union, there are elections held regionally in England to decide who is sent as Members of the European Parliament. The 2009 European Parliament election saw the regions of England elect the following MEPs: 23 Conservatives, ten Labour, nine UK Independence Party (UKIP), nine Liberal Democrats, two Greens and two British National Party (BNP).

                Since devolution, in which other countries of the United Kingdom—Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland—each have their own devolved parliament or assemblies for local issues, there has been debate about how to counterbalance this in England. Originally it was planned that various regions of England would be devolved, but following the proposal's rejection by the North East in a referendum, this has not been carried out.

                One major issue is the West Lothian question, in which MPs from Scotland and Wales are able to vote on legislation affecting only England, while English MPs have no equivalent right to legislate on devolved matters. This when placed in the context of England being the only country of the United Kingdom not to have free cancer treatment, prescriptions, residential care for the elderly and free top-up university fees, has led to a steady rise in English nationalism. Some have suggested the creation of a devolved English parliament, while others have proposed simply limiting voting on legislation which only affects England to English MPs.

                Law

                Main article: English law
                Ornate grey stone building.


                The Royal Courts of Justice
                The English law legal system, developed over the centuries, is the basis of common law legal systems used in most Commonwealth countries and the United States (except Louisiana). Despite now being part of the United Kingdom, the legal system of the Courts of England and Wales continued, under the Treaty of Union, as a separate legal system from the one used in Scotland. The general essence of English law is that it is made by judges sitting in courts, applying their common sense and knowledge of legal precedent—stare decisis—to the facts before them.

                The court system is headed by the Senior Courts of England and Wales, consisting of the Court of Appeal, the High Court of Justice for civil cases, and the Crown Court for criminal cases. The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is the highest court for criminal and civil cases in England and Wales. It was created in 2009 after constitutional changes, taking over the judicial functions of the House of Lords. A decision of the Supreme Court is binding on every other court in the hierarchy, which must follow its directions.

                Crime increased between 1981 and 1995, but fell by 42% in the period 1995–2006. The prison population doubled over the same period, giving it the highest incarceration rate in Western Europe at 147 per 100,000. Her Majesty's Prison Service, reporting to the Ministry of Justice, manages most prisons, housing over 85,000 convicts.

                Regions, counties, and districts

                Main article: Subdivisions of England
                See also: Regions of England, Counties of England and Districts of England
                image attribution
                Northumberland
                Durham
                Lancashire
                Cheshire
                Derbs.
                Notts.
                Lincolnshire
                Leics.
                Staffs.
                Shropshire
                Warks.
                Northants.
                Norfolk
                Suffolk
                Essex
                Herts.
                Beds.
                Bucks.
                Oxon.
                Glos.
                Somerset
                Wiltshire
                Berkshire
                Kent
                Surrey
                Hampshire
                Dorset
                Devon
                Cornwall
                Heref.
                Worcs.
                Bristol
                East Riding


                of Yorkshire
                Rutland
                Cambs.
                Greater


                London
                Not shown: City of London
                Tyne &


                Wear
                Cumbria
                North Yorkshire
                South


                Yorks.
                West


                Yorkshire
                Greater


                Manc.
                Merseyside
                East


                Sussex
                West


                Sussex
                Isle of


                Wight
                West


                Midlands
                The ceremonial counties
                The subdivisions of England consist of up to four levels of subnational division controlled through a variety of types of administrative entities created for the purposes of local government. The highest tier of local government were the nine regions of England: North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands, East, South East, South West, and London. These were created in 1994 as Government Offices, used by the British Government to deliver a wide range of policies and programmes regionally, but there are no elected bodies at this level, except in London, and in 2011 the regional Government offices were abolished. The same boundaries remain in use for electing Members of the European Parliament on a regional basis.

                After devolution began to take place in other parts of the United Kingdom it was planned that referendums for the regions of England would take place for their own elected regional assemblies as a counterweight. London accepted in 1998: the London Assembly was created two years later. However, when the proposal was rejected by the northern England devolution referendums, 2004 in the North East, further referendums were cancelled. The regional assemblies outside London were abolished in 2010, and their functions transferred to respective Regional Development Agencies and a new system of local authority leaders' boards.

                Below the regional level, all of England is divided into 48 ceremonial counties. These are used primarily as a geographical frame of reference and have developed gradually since the Middle Ages, with some established as recently as 1974. Each has a Lord Lieutenant and High Sheriff; these posts are used to represent the British monarch locally. Outside Greater London and the Isles of Scilly, England is also divided into 83 metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties; these correspond to areas used for the purposes of local government and may consist of a single district or be divided into several.

                There are six metropolitan counties based on the most heavily urbanised areas, which do not have county councils. In these areas the principal authorities are the councils of the subdivisions, the metropolitan boroughs. Elsewhere, 27 non-metropolitan "shire" counties have a county council and are divided into districts, each with a district council. They are typically, though not always, found in more rural areas. The remaining non-metropolitan counties are of a single district and usually correspond to large towns or sparsely populated counties; they are known as unitary authorities. Greater London has a different system for local government, with 32 London boroughs, plus the City of London covering a small area at the core, governed by the City of London Corporation. At the most localised level, much of England is divided into civil parishes with councils; they do not exist in Greater London.

                Geography

                Main article: Geography of England

                Landscape and rivers

                Blue lake between green hills.


                Skiddaw massif, seen from Walla Crag in the Lake District
                Geographically England includes the central and southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain, plus such offshore islands as the Isle of Wight and the Isles of Scilly. It is bordered by two other countries of the United Kingdom—to the north by Scotland and to the west by Wales. England is closer to the European continent than any other part of mainland Britain. It is separated from France by a 21-mile (34 km) sea gap, though the two countries are connected by the Channel Tunnel near Folkestone. England also has shores on the Irish Sea, North Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

                The ports of London, Liverpool, and Newcastle lie on the tidal rivers Thames, Mersey and Tyne respectively. At 220 miles (350 km), the Severn is the longest river flowing through England. It empties into the Bristol Channel and is notable for its Severn Bore tidal waves, which can reach 2 metres (6.6 ft) in height. However, the longest river entirely in England is the Thames, which is 215 miles (346 km) in length. There are many lakes in England; the largest is Windermere, within the aptly named Lake District.
                Green hills with trees in the foreground.


                Terrain of Dartmoor, Devon
                In geological terms, the Pennines, known as the "backbone of England", are the oldest range of mountains in the country, originating from the end of the Paleozoic Era around 300 million years ago. Their geological composition includes, among others, sandstone and limestone, and also coal. There are karst landscapes in calcite areas such as parts of Yorkshire and Derbyshire. The Pennine landscape is high moorland in upland areas, indented by fertile valleys of the region's rivers. They contain three national parks, the Yorkshire Dales, Northumberland, and the Peak District. The highest point in England, at 978 metres (3,209 ft), is Scafell Pike in Cumbria. Straddling the border between England and Scotland are the Cheviot Hills.

                The English Lowlands are to the south of the Pennines, consisting of green rolling hills, including the Cotswold Hills, Chiltern Hills, North and South Downs—where they meet the sea they form white rock exposures such as the cliffs of Dover. The granite Southwest Peninsula in the West Country includes upland moorland, such as Dartmoor and Exmoor, and enjoys a mild climate; both are national parks.

                Climate

                Main article: Climate of England
                England has a temperate maritime climate: it is mild with temperatures not much lower than 0 °C (32 °F) in winter and not much higher than 32 °C (90 °F) in summer. The weather is damp relatively frequently and is changeable. The coldest months are January and February, the latter particularly on the English coast, while July is normally the warmest month. Months with mild to warm weather are May, June, September and October. Rainfall is spread fairly evenly throughout the year.

                Important influences on the climate of England are its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, its northern latitude and the warming of the sea by the Gulf Stream. Rainfall is higher in the west, and parts of the Lake District receive more rain than anywhere else in the country. Since weather records began, the highest temperature recorded was 38.5 °C (101.3 °F) on 10 August 2003 at Brogdale in Kent, while the lowest was −26.1 °C (−15.0 °F) on 10 January 1982 in Edgmond, Shropshire.
                Climate data for England
                MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
                Average high °C (°F)7

                (45)
                7

                (45)
                10

                (50)
                12

                (54)
                16

                (61)
                19

                (66)
                21

                (70)
                21

                (70)
                18

                (64)
                14

                (57)
                10

                (50)
                7

                (45)
                14

                (57)
                Average low °C (°F)1

                (34)
                1

                (34)
                3

                (37)
                4

                (39)
                7

                (45)
                10

                (50)
                12

                (54)
                12

                (54)
                10

                (50)
                7

                (45)
                4

                (39)
                2

                (36)
                6

                (43)
                Precipitation mm (inches)83

                (3.27)
                60

                (2.36)
                64

                (2.52)
                59

                (2.32)
                58

                (2.28)
                62

                (2.44)
                63

                (2.48)
                69

                (2.72)
                70

                (2.76)
                92

                (3.62)
                88

                (3.46)
                87

                (3.43)
                855

                (33.66)
                Source: Met Office

                Major conurbations

                See also: List of places in England
                The Greater London Urban Area is by far the largest urban area in England and one of the busiest cities in the world. It is considered a global city and has a population larger than other countries in the United Kingdom besides England itself. Other urban areas of considerable size and influence tend to be in northern England or the English Midlands. There are fifty settlements which have been designated city status in England, while the wider United Kingdom has sixty-six.

                While many cities in England are quite large in size, such as Birmingham, Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle, Bradford, Nottingham and others, a large population is not necessarily a prerequisite for a settlement to be afforded city status. Traditionally the status was afforded to towns with diocesan cathedrals and so there are smaller cities like Wells, Ely, Ripon, Truro and Chichester. According to the Office for National Statistics the ten largest, continuous built-up urban areas are:
                RankUrban areaPopulationMajor localities
                1Greater London Urban Area9,787,426Greater London, divided into the City of London and 32 London boroughs including Croydon, Barnet, Ealing, Bromley
                2Greater Manchester Urban Area2,553,379Manchester, Salford, Bolton, Stockport, Oldham
                3West Midlands Urban Area2,440,986Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Dudley, Walsall, Aldridge
                4West Yorkshire Urban Area1,777,934Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Wakefield, Halifax
                5Liverpool Urban Area864,122Liverpool, St Helens, Bootle, Huyton-with-Roby
                6South Hampshire855,569Southampton, Portsmouth, Eastleigh, Gosport, Fareham, Havant, Horndean
                7Tyneside774,891Newcastle, North Shields, South Shields, Gateshead, Jarrow
                8Nottingham Urban Area729,977Nottingham, Beeston and Stapleford, Carlton, Long Eaton
                9Sheffield Urban Area685,368Sheffield, Rotherham, Rawmarsh, Killamarsh
                10Bristol Urban Area617,280Bristol, Kingswood, Mangotsfield, Stoke Gifford

                Economy

                Main article: Economy of England
                An aerial photograph of the City of London and its surrounding London boroughs.


                The City of London is the world's largest financial centre
                England's economy is one of the largest in the world, with an average GDP per capita of £22,907. Usually regarded as a mixed market economy, it has adopted many free market principles, yet maintains an advanced social welfare infrastructure. The official currency in England is the pound sterling, whose ISO 4217 code is GBP. Taxation in England is quite competitive when compared to much of the rest of Europe—as of 2014 the basic rate of personal tax is 20% on taxable income up to £31,865 above the personal tax-free allowance (normally £10,000), and 40% on any additional earnings above that amount.

                The economy of England is the largest part of the UK's economy, which has the 18th highest GDP PPP per capita in the world. England is a leader in the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors and in key technical industries, particularly aerospace, the arms industry, and the manufacturing side of the software industry. London, home to the London Stock Exchange, the United Kingdom's main stock exchange and the largest in Europe, is England's financial centre—100 of Europe's 500 largest corporations are based in London. London is the largest financial centre in Europe, and as of 2009[update] is also the largest in the world.
                A grey coloured car.


                The Bentley Mulsanne. Bentley is a well-known English car company.
                The Bank of England, founded in 1694 by Scottish banker William Paterson, is the United Kingdom's central bank. Originally established as private banker to the Government of England, since 1946 it has been a state-owned institution. The Bank has a monopoly on the issue of banknotes in England and Wales, although not in other parts of the United Kingdom. The government has devolved responsibility to the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee for managing the monetary policy of the country and setting interest rates.

                England is highly industrialised, but since the 1970s there has been a decline in traditional heavy and manufacturing industries, and an increasing emphasis on a more service industry oriented economy. Tourism has become a significant industry, attracting millions of visitors to England each year. The export part of the economy is dominated by pharmaceuticals, cars—although many English marques are now foreign-owned, such as Rolls-Royce, Lotus, Jaguar and Bentley—crude oil and petroleum from the English parts of North Sea oil along with Wytch Farm, aircraft engines and alcoholic beverages. Agriculture is intensive and highly mechanised, producing 60% of food needs with only 2% of the labour force. Two thirds of production is devoted to livestock, the other to arable crops.

                Science and technology

                Main articles: List of English inventions and discoveries and Royal Society
                Torso of man with long white hair and dark coloured jacket


                Sir Isaac Newton is one of the most influential figures in the history of science
                Prominent English figures from the field of science and mathematics include Sir Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, Robert Hooke, Robert Boyle, Joseph Priestley, J. J. Thomson, Charles Babbage, Charles Darwin, Stephen Hawking, Christopher Wren, Alan Turing, Francis Crick, Joseph Lister, Tim Berners-Lee, Paul Dirac, Andrew Wiles and Richard Dawkins. Some experts claim that the earliest concept of a metric system was invented by John Wilkins, the first secretary of the Royal Society, in 1668.

                As the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, England was home to many significant inventors during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Famous English engineers include Isambard Kingdom Brunel, best known for the creation of the Great Western Railway, a series of famous steamships, and numerous important bridges, hence revolutionising public transport and modern-day engineering. Thomas Newcomen's steam engine helped spawn the Industrial Revolution. The Father of Railways, George Stephenson, built the first public inter-city railway line in the world, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, which opened in 1830. With his role in the marketing and manufacturing of the steam engine, and invention of modern coinage, Matthew Boulton (business partner of James Watt) is regarded as one of the most influential entrepreneurs in history. The physician Edward Jenner's smallpox vaccine is said to have "saved more lives ... than were lost in all the wars of mankind since the beginning of recorded history."

                Inventions and discoveries of the English include: the jet engine, the first industrial spinning machine, the first computer and the first modern computer, the World Wide Web along with HTML, the first successful human blood transfusion, the motorised vacuum cleaner, the lawn mower, the seat belt, the hovercraft, the electric motor, steam engines, and theories such as the Darwinian theory of evolution and atomic theory. Newton developed the ideas of universal gravitation, Newtonian mechanics, and calculus, and Robert Hooke his eponymously named law of elasticity. Other inventions include the iron plate railway, the thermosiphon, tarmac, the rubber band, the mousetrap, "cat's eye" road marker, joint development of the light bulb, steam locomotives, the modern seed drill and many modern techniques and technologies used in precision engineering.

                Transport

                Main article: Transport in England
                Planes congregate by a building.


                London Heathrow Airport has more international passenger traffic than any other airport in the world.
                The Department for Transport is the government body responsible for overseeing transport in England. There are many motorways in England, and many other trunk roads, such as the A1 Great North Road, which runs through eastern England from London to Newcastle (much of this section is motorway) and onward to the Scottish border. The longest motorway in England is the M6, from Rugby through the North West up to the Anglo-Scottish border. Other major routes include: the M1 from London to Leeds, the M25 which encircles London, the M60 which encircles Manchester, the M4 from London to South Wales, the M62 from Liverpool via Manchester to East Yorkshire, and the M5 from Birmingham to Bristol and the South West.

                Bus transport across the country is widespread; major companies include National Express, Arriva and Go-Ahead Group. The red double-decker buses in London have become a symbol of England. There is a rapid rail network in two English cities: the London Underground; and the Tyne and Wear Metro in Newcastle, Gateshead and Sunderland. There are several tram networks, such as the Blackpool tramway, Manchester Metrolink, Sheffield Supertram and Midland Metro, and the Tramlink system centred on Croydon in South London.

                Rail transport in England is the oldest in the world: passenger railways originated in England in 1825. Much of Britain's 10,000 miles (16,000 km) of rail network lies in England, covering the country fairly extensively, although a high proportion of railway lines were closed in the second half of the 20th century. There are plans to reopen lines such as the Varsity Line between Oxford and Cambridge. These lines are mostly standard gauge (single, double or quadruple track) though there are also a few narrow gauge lines. There is rail transport access to France and Belgium through an undersea rail link, the Channel Tunnel, which was completed in 1994.

                England has extensive domestic and international aviation links. The largest airport is London Heathrow, which is the world's busiest airport measured by number of international passengers. Other large airports include Manchester Airport, London Stansted Airport, Luton Airport and Birmingham Airport. By sea there is ferry transport, both local and international, including to Ireland, the Netherlands and Belgium. There are around 4,400 miles (7,100 km) of navigable waterways in England, half of which is owned by the Canal and River Trust, however water transport is very limited. The Thames is the major waterway in England, with imports and exports focused at the Port of Tilbury in the Thames Estuary, one of the United Kingdom's three major ports.

                Healthcare

                Main article: Healthcare in England
                Birds I view of a large hospital.


                Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, an NHS hospital
                The National Health Service (NHS) is the publicly funded healthcare system in England responsible for providing the majority of healthcare in the country. The NHS began on 5 July 1948, putting into effect the provisions of the National Health Service Act 1946. It was based on the findings of the Beveridge Report, prepared by economist and social reformer William Beveridge. The NHS is largely funded from general taxation including National Insurance payments, and it provides most of its services free at the point of use, although there are charges for some people for eye tests, dental care, prescriptions and aspects of personal care.

                The government department responsible for the NHS is the Department of Health, headed by the Secretary of State for Health, who sits in the British Cabinet. Most of the expenditure of the Department of Health is spent on the NHS—£98.6 billion was spent in 2008–2009. In recent years the priva
                Source: Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/England )
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