• poloha, rozloha, počet obyvatel
  • základní zeměpisné údaje včetně rozlišení pojmů UK, GB, England
  • průmysl
  • zemědělství
  • města a zajímavá místa (umět s mapou) Anglie, Skotska, Walesu, Sev. Irska
  • historie - významné osobnosti, důležité historické mezníky
  • politický systém - 3 základní části: legislativní, výkonná a soudní moc

Basic data

  • area: 244,982 sq km
  • population: 65 million (2017) – 83.7% English, 8.5% Scottish, 4.9% Welsh, 2.9% Irish
  • capital: London (more than 9 mil.)
  • other cities: Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Sheffield, Liverpool, Manchester, Edinburgh (capital of Scotland), Cardiff (Wales), Belfast (Northern Ireland)
  • currency: pound sterling = 100 pence
  • languages: English, Welsh, Gaelic (Scottish and Irish)
  • head of state: Queen Elizabeth II (since 1952)
  • head of government: Theresa May
  • islands: Great Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Hebrides, the Orkneys, the Shetlands, the Channel Islands and others
  • seas and oceans: the Atlantic Ocean, the Irish Sea, the Northern Sea
  • channel: English Channel (= La Manche)
  • rivers: the Thames, the Severn, the Clyde
  • lakes (in Scottish language it is "loch"): the Lake District, Loch Lomond, Loch Ness, the largest one is in the Northern Ireland: Lough Neagh (in Irish language a lake is “lough”)
  • mountains: the Pennines, the Scottish Highlands - the biggest mountain is Ben Nevis (1,342 metres), the Cumbrian Mountains (Snowdon)

The U.K. is traditionally connected with the Commonwealth countries, it belongs to G-8. It has very well-developed agricultural system - the main products are: wheat, barley, oats, flax, the animals kept on farms are cattle or sheep. Britain is rich in coal, iron, zinc and lead.

Places of interest

  1. Stratford-upon-Avon – the Shakespeare's birthplace
  2. Oxford, Cambridge - the oldest universities in the U.K.
  3. Canterbury - the seat of Archbishop and a magnificent cathedral
  4. York - the seat of Archbishop of the Anglican Church
  5. Hastings - a seaside resort, nearby village of Battle (William the Conqueror - 1066)
  6. Stonehenge - a megalithic monument, near Salisbury
  7. Bath - there are one of the oldest spas since the Romans built baths there
  8. Coventry - an industrial city, now manufacturing especially cars and bicycles
  9. Liverpool - an important port and the city of the Beatles and a well-known Steeplechase for horse racing
  10. Hadrian's Wall - a part of the Roman fortifications built between 122 and 126 AD to protect England's boundary
  11. Edinburgh - cultural centre of Scotland (an annual Festival of Music, Theatre and Dance)
  12. St. Andrews – an old university in Scotland and craddle of golf
  13. Balmoral Castle - the Queen´s summer place
  14. Giant´s Causeway - in Northern Ireland

canterburyedinburghedinburgh2stonehenge-tetraptych.jpg


History of the United Kingdom

1. The Earliest Times

  • Swanscombe Man (250,000 BC)
  • Homo Sapiens (35,000 BC)
  • Iberians (3,5000 - 3,000 BC) – circular settlements = henge – Stonehenge
  • Beaker People (2,000 BC) – beaker-shaped pottery

2. Celtic Britain (700 – 55 BC)

  • Celtic tribes: Goidels, Brythons, Cymri, Belgae
  • Celtic society: warriors, peasants, druids (Celtic priests), bards (poets)
  • introducing iron – skilful craftsmen

3. Roman Britain (55 BC – 5th century)

  • reasons for the Roman invasion: endangering Northern Gaul, want of slaves and gold
  • two Caesar’s invasions (55 and 54 BC) - unsuccessful
  • attempts to penetrate Britain economically – Roman traders
  • the actual conquest – Emperor Claudius (43 AD)
  • opposition – Queen Boadicea' s Revolt (59 – 60 AD)
  • conquest of whole England and Wales (80 AD)
  • building of protective walls: Antonine Wall (80 AD), Hadrian’s Wall (128 AD)
  • results of the conquest: the south – Romanized, the north – under military control
  • withdrawal of the Romans – 5th century AD
  • Roman heritage: a network of roads, new towns and cities, the coming of Christianity, remnants of Roman names in the language (street = strata via, town names – Leicester, Closter)

4. Anglo-Saxon Britain (5th – 11th centuries)

  • Germanic tribes: Angles – central and northern England (Northumbria, East Anglia, Mercia), Saxons – south and southwest England (Sussex, Wessex), Jutes – Kent
  • Anglo-Saxon civilization – village dwellers, wooden houses, pagan religion, agriculture, tribal organization
  • four kingdoms: Kent, Northumbria, Mercia, Wessex – 7th century
  • the growing role of Wessex – King Egbert (802 - 839)
  • Christian religion – St Augustine = Archbishop of Canterbury (601)
  • clash between the Roman and the Irish church – the Synod of Whitby (664)

5. Viking Invasions (9th – 11th centuries)

  • first Danish invasion → conquest of north-eastern England
  • the Dane law (878 – 975) – the rule of Danish Vikings
  • King Alfred the Great (871 – 900) stops the Danes (the battles of Ashdown and Erdington – 878)
  • re-conquest of the Dane law – King Edgar (959 – 975)
  • second Danish invasion (978) → the Scandinavian Empire under Canute (1016 – 35)
  • the Danish heritage – Danish words (Berwick, Deptford, Derby)

6. The Norman Conquest (1024 – 1070)

  • Edward the Confessor (1042 – 1066) – weak king, no heir → disputes
  • Harold chosen by the Anglo-Saxons had 2 competitors: Harald Hadraada (Norwegian king) and William the duke of Normandy
  • autumn 1066 – Norse and French invasions at the same time
  • defeat of the Norsemen at Stamford Bridge
  • Harold defeated by William near Hastings (October 13, 1066)
  • consequences of the conquest: French cultural influence, establishing a strong centralized feudal state

7. The Period of Feudalism (11th – 13th centuries)

  • William the Conqueror (1066 – 1087) – building strong castles, protecting the Scottish and Welsh border (the Marches), administrative reform (shires), the Doomsday Book, cooperation with the Church
  • Henry I (1100 – 1135) – established the Exchequer
  • the War of Succession (1135 – 1154) : Matilda × Stephen of Blois
  • Henry II (1154 – 1189) – struggle with the Church – the murder of Thomas Becket (1170), judicial reform (common law), military reform (scutage paid to hire mercenaries), invasion into Ireland (the Irish Pale)
  • Richard I (1189 – 1199) the Lion Heart: long absence of the king (fighting the Third Crusade), John’s rebellion (1192). the growing importance of town, growth of trade (wool trade with Flanders and Italy)
  • John I (1199 – 1216) the Lackland – loss of land in France, the baronial rebellion led by archbishop Stephen Langton, the Magna Carta (1215) – beginning of parliamentarism
  • Henry III (1216 – 1272) – the civil war (Simon de Montfort, 1264 – 1266), de Montfort´s Parliament (1265)
  • Edward I (1272 – 1307) – the Model Parliament, conquest of Wales (1285), failures in Ireland and in Scotland (Scottish leaders William Wallace, Robert Bruce)
  • Edward II (1307 – 1327) – defeated in Scotland –the Battle of Bannockburn (1314), deposed by Parliament

8. The Decay of Feudalism (14th – 15th centuries)

  • Edward III (1327 – 1377) – outbreak of Hundred Years War (1337 – 1453)
  • the first stage of the Hundred Years War (1337 – 1360) – the battles of Crécy (1346) and Poitiers (1356) – English victories, the Treaty of Brétigny (1360)
  • the second stage (1369 – 1375) – French success (Bernard du Guesclin), a truce (1375 – 1415)
  • the Peasant’s Revolt of 1381 (crisis in the feudal economy – decline in agriculture + growth of population)
  • the third stage (1380 – 1453):
    • Richard II (1377 – 1399) – attempts at a dictatorship
    • Henry IV (1399 – 1413) – roots of the Wars of the Roses
    • Henry V (1413 – 1422) – French defeat at Agincourt (1415), the Anglo-French Treaty of Troyes (1420)
    • Duke John of Bedford – the English advance in France (1422 – 1429)
    • French revival – Joan of Arc (1429 – 1431)
    • Battle of Chatillion (1453)
  • The Wars of the Roses (1455 – 1485):
  • Henry VI (1422 – 1461) – misgovernment, revolts
  • Lancastrian and Yorkers
  • Richard Mortimer of York – Yorkist victory at St Albans (1455)
  • Edward IV (1461 – 1483)
  • short Lancastrian rule – Henry VI for the second time (1470 – 1471)
  • Edward V (1483)
  • Richard III (1483 – 1485)
  • Henry Tudor – the Battle of Bosworth (1485) → became King Henry VII
  • consequences of the Wars of the Roses – enrichment of the crown, growth of trade and manufacturing, enclosures

9. Tudor Absolutism and Reformation in England (1485 – 1603)

  • the establishment of an absolute monarchy (1485 – 1509)
    • Henry VII (1485 – 1509)
    • unlimited authority of the King and his Privy Council
    • new nobility
    • judicial reform (the Court of the Star Chamber, Councils of Wales and of the North, Justices of the Peace)
    • state control over the economy
    • voyages of discovery
    • strict financial and foreign policy
  • the English Reformation (1509 – 1547)
    • Henry VIII (1509 – 1547)
    • balance of Power policy (Cardinal Woolsey)
    • Henry’s divorce – struggle with the Pope
    • Act of Supremacy (1534)
    • Thomas Moore executed
    • Act of Union – Wales incorporated (1536)
    • dissolution of monasteries
    • war with France (1543 – 1546) – formation of the Royal Navy
    • economic crisis
  • Protestant and Catholic Interludes (1547 – 1558)

Political system of the United Kingdom

  • official name is THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND
  • Monarchy: the Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state. In practice she reigns, but does not rule. She was born on 21 April 1926 (her birthday is officially celebrated in June), married Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh on 20 November 1947, acceded to the throne on 6 February 1952 and was crowned on 2 June 1953. Her official title is: "Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith". The Queen's eldest son - Prince Charles, Prince of Wales - is the heir to the throne. Next in the line of succession are, in order: Prince William of Wales, Prince George of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, Prince Henry of Wales, Andrew, Duke of York, Princess Beatrice of York, Princess Eugenie of York, Prince Edward etc.
  • Parliament: consist of the Sovereign, the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The Sovereign formally summons and dissolves Parliament and generally opens each new annual session with a speech from the throne.
  • The House of Lords is made up of hereditary and life peers, including the law lords, the Archbishops and 24 bishops.
  • The House of Commons is elected, consists of 650 Members of Parliament (523 for England, 38 for Wales, 72 for Scotland, 17 for N. Ireland). The chief officer of the House of Commons is the Speaker. A general election must be held every five years. 18 is the minimum voting age, candidates must be 21 or over.
  • There are two main parties: Labour Party and Conservative Party. The party which wins sufficient seats at a general election to command a majority of supporters in the House of Commons forms the Government - leading by the Prime Minister (Tony Blair - Labour Party).
  • Constitution: is not written as a single document
  • Four countries: England (London), Wales (Cardiff), Scotland (Edinburgh), Northern Ireland (Belfast). Each country has its own parliament