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United Kingdom

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1 United Kingdom on Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:17 am

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland[note 7] (commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK, or Britain) is a sovereign state[7][8] located off the northwestern coast of continental Europe. It is an island nation,[9] spanning an archipelago including Great Britain, the northeastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK with a land border[note 8] with another sovereign state, sharing it with the Republic of Ireland.[10][11] Apart from this land border, the UK is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, the English Channel, and the Irish Sea.
The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy and unitary state. It is a country[12][13] consisting of four countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.[14] It is governed by a parliamentary system with its seat of government in the capital city of London. There are three devolved national administrations of varying powers[15][16] in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh, the capitals of Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland respectively. The UK has three Crown Dependencies [17] and fourteen overseas territories that are not constitutionally part of the UK.[18] These territories are remnants of the British Empire, which at its height in 1922 encompassed almost a quarter of the world's land surface, the largest empire in history. As a result, British influence can still be observed in the language, culture and legal systems of many of its former colonies.

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