Do you know which sports were invented in the UK? Do you know what is the difference between the UK and Britain and England? Well, we have put together some interesting bits about the United Kingdom for a quick read to increase your general knowledge…
- The United Kingdom of Great Britain came into being on the 1st May 1707, when the respective parliaments of England and Scotland passed the Acts of Union, uniting the two kingdoms. In 1801, the addition of Ireland brought about the name change of the United Kingdom.
- The United Kingdom, or the UK, includes England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, and while all those inhabitants may be called British (or English, Welsh, Scottish, or Irish, respectively), Britain does not include Northern Ireland.
- British natives are actually hybrids like most other nations really; thanks to successive waves of invaders, they are made up of Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxon-Jute-Frisian, Danes, Norse, and Norman. Since the Norman invasion in 1066 up until today, there have been even more waves of folk from all over the world settling in the British Isles.
- The British Isles are actually a collection of over 6,000 islands. ‘Great Britain’ is not a country in itself but a landmass, known as ‘Great’ because it is the largest island in the British Isles.
- Sports such as rugby, soccer, golf, cricket, and boxing, were all actually invented in the United Kingdom!
- The distance between England and France is only 21 miles (34 kilometers), making them historic rivals and partners. Today the two countries are connected by the Channel Tunnel which began operating in 1994. In 1988, when the construction of the tunnel began, it was the most expensive construction project ever proposed, at £5.5 billion (in 1985 prices) and finally amounted to £9 billion (or $21 billion, in 1994 prices!). The tunnel is at 75m (250ft) deep below the seabed at its lowest point and 115m (380ft) below sea level. Astounding!
- For over 300 years, French was actually the official language of the nation! On the same topic of languages in the UK, over 300 languages are spoken in London, which is more than any other place in the world.
- The capital city of England, thought to be the capital of the UK too, is London, where roughly 9 million out of the entire population of the UK (around 67,618,656 people) live. In terms of area, the whole of the United Kingdom is actually smaller than the state of Oregon.
- The UK has a large amount of natural resources such as iron, limestone, clay, gypsum, coal, and lead.
- Boxing Day was first celebrated in Scotland on the day after Christmas, commemorating the day in which servants received gifts from their employers. Today it is a national holiday across the UK.