The United Kingdom has historically played a leading role in developing parliamentary democracy and in advancing literature and science.
The first half of the 20th century saw two World Wars seriously deplete the UK's strength and the Irish Republic withdraw from the union. The second half witnessed the dismantling of the Empire and the UK rebuilding itself into a modern and prosperous European nation.
As one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council and a founding member of NATO and the Commonwealth of Nations, the UK pursues a global approach to foreign policy.
Temperate; moderated by prevailing southwest winds over the North Atlantic Current; more than one-half of the days are overcast
White 87.2%, Black/African/Caribbean/black British 3%, Asian/Asian British: Indian 2.3%, Asian/Asian British: Pakistani 1.9%, mixed 2%, other 3.7% (2011 est.)
It is considered rude to wave one's hand or to call when summoning a waiter at a restaurant.
Fish and chips; roast beef with Yorkshire pudding
High-income, diversified non-EU European economy; fifth-largest importer and exporter globally; after 2016 EU Brexit, increased quantitative easing avoided economic decline; 10% GDP contraction from COVID-19; global financial and diplomacy leader