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Great Britain – OTHERS

1)    History
2)    National symbols
3)    Political system


    The first inhabitants came to Britain about 5000 BC. These people may built The Stonehenge and The Avebury. The Celts came from Europe in The Bronze Age about 800 BC.
    The Romans invaded Britain in 43 AD. They oppress the original inhabitants to the north, but the tribes were big problem for Romans, that’s why the emperor Hadrian ordered to build the Hadrian’s Wall in 122 AD.
    William of Normandy also known as William the Conqueror arrived to the south coast in the 11th century exactly in 1066 and he won in the battle of Hastings. The Norman aristocracy eventually joined with the Saxons. Britain was developed in isolation for a few next centuries.
    King Edward I. took the throne in 1272. Most of the areas were under his control, but the northern part was under rule of Llewellyn Gruffydd. He attacked him and killed him. Wales was united with England in 1284. When Edward’s son was born he was proclaimed The Prince of Wales. From this time this title is proclaimed to the first born son of the sovereign.
    The Hundred year’s war started in 1338 and finished in 1453. After this war new war begun. Two clans the Lancaster and York fought against each other. The war ended in 1485 when Henry VII. won in the Battle of Bosworth and he became the English king.
    One of the most important English kings was Henry VIII. He is very famous because of his six wives. He wanted to divorce with one of them, but the pope didn’t allow it. He established the English Church and made himself the head of the church in 1534.
    Mary Stuart, the last Scottish queen tried to reach the throne of England. But her plot was discovered and she was beheaded. Her son James VI. of Scotland became the English king as James I in 1603 and Scotland was united with England. He first used the name Great Britain.
    Ireland was united in 1801, but Irish didn’t enjoy it, because they didn’t have so much right as British had.
     Britain noticed the biggest economical growth under rule of Queen Victoria; it was a time of the Industrial Revolution. Britain became the world’s greatest power.
    Britain was concerned in the both World War. In the Second World War they fought against Hitler’s army under the guidance of Winston Churchill and they defended their independence.

At present Britain is one of the most advanced states in Europe.
National symbols

The British national flag – the Union Jack
    Unites the crosses of St. George, the patron saint of England (the big red cross on the white field), St. Andrew, the patron Saint of Scotland (the smaller diagonal cross on the white field), and St. Patrick, the patron Saint of Ireland (the diagonal white cross on a blue field). The flag has existed in its present form since 1801. Wales is not represented because when the flag first appeared it was already united with England, but its own symbol is the dragon.

The British national anthem is “God Save the Queen/King”
    The name of the British anthem is God Save the Queen or King. It depends on sovereign. It was a patriotic song, which is first presented in 1745 in London and it became the National anthem in the beginning of the 19th century. The words and tune are anonymous and they may date back to the 17th century. There is no authorized version of this anthem. During the times many verses were added to the song, but only the first verse is usually sung

The national emblem – The Royal Standard
    The Standard has four quarterings. Two is for England and there are three lions, one is for Scotland and there is also a lion. Ireland has one quartering with a harp. Wales is not represented in the Standard.

Political system
    United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy. The head of the state is the King or the Queen, who reigns, but doesn’t rule. The sovereign has only the representative function. But The Opening of Parliament can be done only by the sovereign. The Queen has also the right to assemble and dissolve the Parliament.
    The head of the government is the Prime Minister, who is the leader of the party which won the election and has the majority at the House of Commons. The Parliament consists of the House of Lords and the House of Commons.
    The House of Commons also called the Lower House has 650members, but there are only 370seats. They aren’t seat always together. The main work is to examine work of Government. The presiding member of the House of Commons is The Speaker, which is elected by other members. The front benches are for the members of Cabinet and other ministers.
    The second most successful party becomes the official opposition, which appoints the Shadow Cabinet.
    Members of The House of Lords also called Upper House are divided into four categories. Peers are the members who have their title hereditary. (About 800 hereditary Peers) The second category are the Life Peers, who were given this title. They made something important for the nation. (About 350-400) The third category are the Lords of Appeal, who are nine of the most senior judges. The last category are the Lords Spiritual. They are 26 the most senior bishops and archbishops of the Church of England.
    The speaker of the House is called Lord Chancellor, who sits on the special seat called Woolsack. The House is responsible to making and passing laws.

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