The Countries Whose Language I am Learning topic
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The Countries Whose Language I am Learning topic
United Kingdom (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) is situated on the British Isles and is separated from the European continent by the North Sea, and the English Channel. The country has a mild and rainy climate. The population of United Kingdom is more than 65 million people. It is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The largest cities of United Kingdom are London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Bristol, Leeds and Edinburgh. United Kingdom is an industrialized country. Major industries include iron and steel engineering (including motor vehicles and aircraft), textiles, plastics, cotton, chemicals, electronics, wool, shipbuilding, food products, coal and natural gas. The chief agricultural products are wheat, barley, oats, potatoes, sugar beet, milk and meat.
United Kingdom comprises England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. It includes four nations: English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish people differ sometimes in their way of life, customs, values and traditions.
England occupies southern part of United Kingdom. The principal mountains are The Pennines and The Cheviot Hills, the Cambrian Mountains in the Lake District and the Cornish Heights. England has about 47 million inhabitants in 50 000 square plain. The country is divided into 39 districts. Lancashire, Yorkshire, Warwickshire, Hampshire, Kent, Cheshire, Durham, Essex and Sussex are the largest and the most populated.
England is highly industrialized. The development of industry started during the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century. An important invention was the steam engine by James Watt. The most famous industrial cities are Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle upon Tyne, Sheffield, and Birmingham. New modern industries have developed. Manchester used to be a major industrial and commercial centre. Now it has variety of industries, particularly engineering. Newcastle upon Tyne is the centre of industry based on coal, iron, steel and shipbuilding. Birmingham has developed light engineering. Brighton, Bournemouth and Torquay are the most famous towns of the coast.
England has a very rich architecture. Many cathedrals, castles were built there. The English countryside is remarkable for its green fields and trees because there are no extremes in climate. The most famous cities in England are Brighton, Bournemouth and Torquay.
Wales is a largely mountainous country. The oldest son of the English monarch and the successor to the English throne is given the title "Prince of Wales". The highest mountain in the north, Snowdon, is 1100 metres above sea level. This region is called Snowdonia.
The majority of people live in the coal - mining and industrial region of the south around Cardiff, the capital of Wales, and Swansea. There are two languages spoken in Wales-English and Welsh. The Welsh people love music and poetry. The annual competitive festival of choral singing is known as the National Eisteddfod of Wales.
Scotland, situated to the north of England, also includes Orkneys, Shetlands, Hebrides and other islands. Scotland is a wonderful country. Scotland has more than 5 million inhabitants. They speak English with regional accent and the ancient Scottish language. Scotland is a country of hills, lakes (called lochs), and swift rivers. The most beautiful part of Scotland is the region known as the Highlands. The highest peak is Ben Nevis, 1.380 metres high. The most famous lakes are Loch Lomond and Loch Ness where the mythical monster lives. There are four big cities in Scotland - Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen. Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It has become the international centre of music and drama. Edinburgh is also famous for the engineering, printing and electronic industries. Glasgow, situated on the river Clyde, is known all over the world for its shipbuilding.
Scotland has its own law and education system. There are also special traditions in Scotland, such as playing the bagpipes and wearing kilts, which are typical pleated knee-length tartan skirts. Special meals which are prepared only in Scotland, one of them is haggis (a kind of sausage made of heart, liver and lungs of a sheep). Scotland has many whisky distilleries and Scottish whisky is world-famous.
Northern Ireland (known also as Ulster) is a part of United Kingdom. The people speak English. The capital city of Northern Ireland is Belfast. Chief exports of Northern Ireland are ships, aircraft, linen textiles and agriculture products.
The Irish Republic became independent in 1922. The Irish Republic is also known as Eire. It is almost totally Catholic. The life of people and the politics of Northern Ireland are dominated by religious and economic problems.
THE HISTORY OF UNITED KINGDOM
Among the first inhabitants of United Kingdom were Celts. The Roman occupation began in the 1st century A.D. and lasted for four centuries. The Germanic tribes of Angles, Saxons and Jutes invaded Britain in the 5th century. In 1066 the Norman army lead by William the Conqueror invaded the country. In 1215 Magna Charta laid the foundations for parliamentary government. Henry VIII, during his reign the English Church separated from Rome and he himself became the head of the Church of England in 16th century. The Puritan Republic was established in the 16th century. Oliver Cromwell became the Lord Protector. The 18th century was a period of the Industrial Revolution. During the reign of Queen Victoria in the years 1837-1901 Britain dominated the world industrially, commercially and militarily. In 1945 20% of the economy was nationalized by a Labour government, which introduced free health care and education. Since 1979 the Conservatives have attempted to make Britain more competitive by privatising industry.
THE SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT
The United Kingdom of United Kingdom and Northern Ireland is a constitutional monarchy. The present sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II., has no real political power. The United Kingdom is actually governed by the Cabinet, which is headed by the Prime Minister. The supreme legislative body is Parliament. It consists of the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The House of Commons has 630 members elected for 5 years. The House of Lords consists of some 1000 members, including hereditary and life peers and 26 Lords Spirituals. The U.K. constitution is not written. Britain's most important political parties are the Conservative party and the Labour party.
The union of England, Scotland and Ireland is symbolized by the British national flag, called the Union Jack.
London is the capital of both England and the United Kingdom. It lies on the river Thames and covers an area of 1.580 square kilometres. Almost 8 million people live there. It is the seat of the Monarch, the Parliament, the Government and the Supreme Court. There are many important museums, galleries, theatres, historical buildings and parks in London. The Prime Meridian of the World runs across Greenwich in the east of London.
The Celts settled the territory of today’s London about 800 B.C., but even earlier the site had been inhabited in the Stone Age. Although the place had been occupied by the Romans about 55 B.C., only later, about 43 A.D. they established Roman Londonium. When the Romans left the island in the 5th century, it remained the capital of the Britons. During the reign of Norman Kings /William the Conqueror was the first/ the royal court moved from Winchester, the former capital, to London for ever. The 17th century brought much suffering to London. In 1665 more than 75.000 people died from a plague epidemic and a year later, the Great Fire of London destroyed four fifths of the city. During the following decades hectic building activity rebuilt the whole city. Sit Christopher Wren was appointed the main architect. He constructed about 50 churches including his masterpiece St. Paul´s Cathedral.
The river Thames has been used continuously as a highway since prehistoric times. The Port of London is considered to be one of the best in the world, but its importance as a reloading and transfer place has been falling. Docks, one flourishing and busy, have decayed. The latest means of London transport are river buses which run on the Thames between Chelsea and Docklands and City Airport. There are 5 airports in the London area. The largest of them are Heathrow and Gatwick. London is also the most significant highway and railway junction in the British Isles. There is a rail connection to all parts of the island from 15 central stations. The quickest and cheapest way to get around central London is by underground, often called the tube. It transports over 760 million passengers a year. There are also red double-deckers, black taxis and long distance buses called coaches which depart from Victoria Coach Station.
London is divided into 3 parts: the City, the East End and the West End.
The City is the oldest part in the east. The East End is the part where many immigrant groups live. The West End has everything from shops, theatres, great parks and the famous Trafalgar Square which any Londoners think of as the centre of their city. Near the West End is Westminster, where Buckingham Palace, Parliament and the Government of England are located.
The City of London covers approximately 1 square mile. It is the oldest part of London and its borders are unchanged since Norman times. The City of London is headed by the Lord Mayor. He enters his office with a ceremonial procession in November called the Lord Mayor’s show. Now it is home to the financial district.
Tales of torture, treasure and treason make Tower of London the capital’s top tourist attraction. William the Conqueror began to build the massive fortress the White Tower to impress the people of London. The Tower served till the 16th century as a royal home, a prison, an execution site and an observatory. Not it is a museum where tourists go to see an arsenal of weapons, the Crown Jewels or the prison where many famous prisoners were kept. The Tower is guarded by the Yeomen Warders /Beefeaters/ who still wear the uniform of Tudor times. Six ravens are kept in the Tower to protect the whole kingdom. The legend says that the kingdom will cease to exist when the ravens leave the Tower.
Next to the Tower stands Tower Bridge, the most famous bridge of London which is raised in the middle to allow sips to pass up the river. It takes 90 seconds to raise.
The largest and best-known church of the City is St. Paul’s Cathedral. Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece was completed after 35 years in 1711. It is built in the Baroque style. This cathedral has seen many important occasions: Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral service or the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1981. Britain’s heroes are buried there: Admiral Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Christopher Wren himself. His simple epitaph says: ´Reader if you seek a monument, look around you.´
The City of London is one of the major banking centres of the world. The banks of many nations are there: the Bank of England and the Stock Exchange.
The Houses of Parliament were built in Gothic Style in 1835 and are situated on the bank of the Thames. The original Palace was destroyed by fire used to be a residence of the kings until the 16th century. Now they are the political centre of the United Kingdom, the home of the British Parliament. The Houses of Parliament became the seat of Parliament in 1547. United Kingdom with its House of Commons and House of Lords is the oldest democracy in the world today. About 98 metres above the Parliament rises the clock tower called Big Ben. It is not really the name of the clock, it is the name of the bell /named after Sir Benjamin Hall/. The strike of Big Ben is known world-wide because it is used by the BBC as the time signal.
Facing the Houses of Parliament, just across Parliament Square, is the most important church in the country Westminster Abbey, where monarchs are crowned and heroes buried. The history of Westminster Abbey goes back to the 11th century. Almost all coronations since William the Conqueror have been held tee and many British kings and queens are buried there.
Not far from the Houses of Parliament is Buckingham Palace, the London home of the kings and queens of United Kingdom. It was built in 1703 by the Duke of Buckingham. Outside Buckingham Palace the changing of the guard takes place. The royal family occupies the north wing of the Palace and the Royal Standard is flown when the Queen Elizabeth II is in residence.
The most famous street which stretches from Parliament Square to Trafalgar Square is called Whitehall. It is also a castle - the former residence of the kings with mounted guards in front of it. Now some important ministries are in Whitehall itself 10 Downing Street - the home of the Prime Minister.
The West End
Trafalgar Square is said to be the largest in London and it is the place of political demonstrations and busy traffic. It originated in the 19th century and its name commemorates the naval victory of Admiral Horatio Nelson over the French and Spanish fleet in 1805. In the middle of the square there is Nelson’s Column with a five-metre tall statue of Lord Nelson at the top.
Piccadilly Circus is the centre of entertainment. There are many night clubs, theatre, cinemas and restaurants. The most beautiful view of the square is at night when it is lit by many colourful advertisements. In the centre of the Circus at the top of the fountain stands Eros, the Greek God of love, built by Lord Shaftsbury, a famous philanthropist.
The East End
With its ports, docks and many industries is the home of poorer people and foreign immigrants, there are a lot of block of flats there, and it is not as beautiful and clean as the West End.
The Royal Observatory is Greenwich was established 300 years ago. The Zero Meridian of longitude passes through it.
London has a large number of parks and gardens. The best-known are the following ones: St. James’s Park, Buckingham Palace Gardens, Hyde Park, Regent‘s Park and Kensington Gardens. All major parks were once royal gardens. St. James’s Park is situated near Buckingham Palace. It is the smallest but the oldest of London‘s royal parks. An architect John Nash created in the 19th century a lake with small islands which are the home of many water birds. While St. James’s Park is the oldest, Hyde Park is the most popular among tourists. It has its attractions, e.g. a little lake /the Serpentine/ and there is a Speaker’s Corner, the place where everybody can speak publicly without fear of being arrested for their opinions. Regent’s Park is perhaps London’s most elegant part with its attractive gardens, lakes and a zoo. Buckingham Palace Gardens are bordered in the east by royal residence. The Kensington Gardens are very beautiful with the Victorian Gothic Albert Memorial and a big cultural centre. The visitor of London is never far away from a park. London‘s parks play a very important role in helping to form the city‘s character.
The West End is famous for shops and entertainment. There are well known streets of Piccadilly, Bond Street, Regent‘s Street, Barnaby Street and Oxford Street. In the West End we can find most of London’s theatres, cinemas and nightclubs. One of the most interesting streets of London, where especially young people like to wander, is Barnaby Street. It is full of shops offering the latest fashion. Oxford Street is probably London’s most well-known shopping street famous for its large department stores such as Selfridges, John Lewis and Marks and Spencer. Bond Street is famous for its galleries, antiques and jewellery shops. Covent Garden is the famous fruit and vegetable market. Soho also represents a spectacular shopping and entertainment area where you can find many Chinese, Indian and Italian restaurants as well as ´adult´ entertainment.
Harrods claims to be the largest department store in Europe. Its distinctive terracotta-clad five-storey building dates from the early 1900s. It houses over 320 departments, over 4000 people work there, and an average day’s takings exceed one million pounds.
In the centre of the West End, there is a Chinatown marked by beautiful Chinese gateways. London’s Chinatown is attractive place for tourists who like to taste traditional Chinese food in its typical restaurants. London’s East End used to be a slum in the 19th century. It is historically associated with the Cockney dialect. This area was heavily bombed during World War 2 and then it was rebuilt again.
London is also a cultural centre of Britain. It is the home of British Television and Radio and the place where almost all national newspapers are issued. Fleet Street used to be the centre of journalists. Now most dailies and magazines have moved to the Docklands. London is famous as a musical centre. Major classical music centres are the Royal Albert Hall and the Royal Festival Hall. Pop and rock fans can visit Wembley Arena. The National Theatre is located on the south bank of the Thames. It consists of three theatres from which the Olivier Theatre is the largest one. It was named after the famous actor and director Sir Lawrence Olivier. On the northern side of Trafalgar Square there is the National Gallery built in the classic style. It contains Britain‘s best-known collection of paintings including those by Raphael, Rubens, Van Dyck, El Greco and others. Just behind the National Gallery there is the National Portrait Gallery in which portraits of British monarchs can be seen. The Tate Gallery is another big gallery containing modern art. It is situated not far from the Houses of Parliament. Among the most famous London museums, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the British Museum should be mentioned. The British Museum is a treasure house of the arts and achievements of the world´ civilizations. It was founded in 1753 and shows the works of man from all over the world from prehistoric to modern times. The biggest attractions are the Egyptian department, which contains one of the richest collections of ancient Egyptian art and an important array of relics from ancient Greece. The Museum´s most famous possession is the Rosetta Stone that was used by scholars to find the key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs. Thousands of visitors visit Madam Tussaud‘s Museum every year. Waxworks of famous people from all the world can be found there.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
200 acres of garden history, mystery and romance
Twenty-five years ago, Heligan’s historic gardens were unknown and unseen; lost under a tangle of weeds. It was only the chance discovery of a door in the ruins that led to the restoration of this once great estate. Today, The Lost Gardens have been put back where they belong: in pride of place among the finest gardens in Cornwall.
History & Restoration
At the end of the nineteenth century Heligan’s thousand acres were at their zenith, but only a few years later bramble and ivy were already drawing a green veil over this “Sleeping Beauty”. The outbreak of WW1 was the start of the estate’s demise as its workforce went off to fight in the trenches; many sadly never to return. This was a story played out in many of the large estates throughout Britain’s war period.
Unlike many other estates, however, the gardens and land at Heligan were never sold or developed. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1970s that Heligan House itself was eventually sold and split into private apartments.
After decades of neglect, the devastating hurricane of 1990 should have consigned the now lost gardens to a footnote in history.
Instead, events conspired to bring us here and the romance of their decay took a hold on our imaginations. Our discovery of a tiny room, buried under fallen masonry in the corner of one of the walled gardens, was to unlock the secret of their demise. A motto etched into the limestone walls in barely legible pencil still reads “Don’t come here to sleep or slumber”, with the names of those who worked there signed under the date – August 1914. We were fired by a magnificent obsession to bring these once glorious gardens back to life in every sense and to tell, for the first time, not tales of lords and ladies but of those “ordinary” people who had made these gardens great, before departing for the Great War.
England’s got a lot of beautiful gardens and places connected with nature to visit, this is my most favourite, although now I don’t even have plan to go there, certainly I would like to visit it.
When you visit UK, you are pleasantly surprised by the natural politeness of people of all classes. People are never tired of saying "Thank you“, Excuse me" or "Pardon". While discussing they do not use imperative at all, but the phrases like "May I ask you?", "Will you be so kind?", "I do not think you are quite right…"
Another feature of British manners is self-discipline. People wait in queues at bus stops or elsewhere in a quiet and discipline manner. They do not speak loudly, English people also hate showing off in manners, dress or speech. They do not express unambiguous views not to evoke the conflict of views of other persons. They often criticise their government or their way of life but do not like the same to be done by others, especially by foreigners.
English people are said to be stuffy and conservative. They stick to their old traditions and habits. They keep various royal ceremonies for centuries, and some laws too - they have no written constitution. In addition to the well-known fact that they still use their traditional system of weights and measurements, they drive on the left and they still mostly wear traditional school uniforms.
The English are known for their good table manners. When you are invited to dinner, never let your host wait for you long. The hostess will be pleased if you bring her a box of chocolates or a bunch of flowers or have sent them next day. You can also send a thank card. Never clink glasses when drinks are served before meals. It will be considered impolite if you yourself are entertained and do not talk to your neighbours on your right and left. Make your food last till the other have nearly finished eating so that you all finish at the same time.
The British are very fond of animals. Almost every family has a pet - a dog, a cat or a canary. Some people seem to love animals more than people. Lonely old people keep a pet as a friend or even as if it were their own child. When they die, they leave all their money to their dog or to the local animal home where lost animals are cared for. There are many pet shops selling special food, toys and even clothes for animals.
The English are fond of sports. They are encouraged to go in for sports and games from the primary school up to the university. The word “sport” means some indoor or outdoor activity for fun. A game is a sport with rules and it is played by two or more teams or by two or more players. Favourite English sports are horse riding, horseracing, swimming, rowing, running, jumping. Favourite games are football (soccer), rugby, golf, cricket, tennis and others. The British spend a lot of time at home. They like living in a family house with a small garden. Gardening is a favourite hobby there. England is the “kingdom of private life” with the saying “My house - my castle”. When an Englishman is at home, he relaxes, devotes to his hobbies, to his family and does not think of problems at work.
Kissing is not common as a form of greeting unless you know someone well. It is especially unusual between men, who usually shake hands and just say “Hello” without touching. People usually kiss on one cheek only.
Unless you know someone well, it's impolite to ask them how much they earn or how much they paid for something.
Punctuality is important. If you arrange to meet someone, try not to be more than a few minutes late. In shops and at bus stops, go to the back of the queue and wait. If you “jump the queue”, other people will angrily tell you to wait your turn. On trains, especially underground trains, people tend to sit in silence and read. If you try to start a conversation with the person next to you, don't be surprised if you don't get much of response.
The weather is not something you argue about seriously. You must never contradict anybody when discussing the weather. The most common greeting is: “Nice day isn’t it?” even if the weather is awful. You should answer without hesitation: “Isn’t it lovely?”
“Do you fancy a cuppa?” is one of the first things you hear when you come to England. Or perhaps you will hear “Would you like a cup of tea?” They both mean the same. The trouble with tea is that originally it was quite a good drink but a group of British scientists found the way of spoiling it. One this refreshing, aromatic, oriental beverage was successfully transformed into colourless and tasteless gargling water. If an Englishman invites you “to tea” be careful. When he says “tea” perhaps he means soup, meat and vegetables or cheese all served together with a pot of tea at 6 o’clock p.m. Or perhaps he means a cup of tea and one or two cakes or biscuits served between 3 o’clock and 5 o’clock in the afternoon. One is usually a huge meal, the other a snack.
The British are said to be reserved in manners, dress and speech. Their insularity, conservatisms and sticking to traditions are often pointed to. They are famous for their politeness, self-discipline, reliability, and for their specific sense of humour. They are never seen to be in a hurry and are seldom nervous. These features of British manners are often pointed to as typical but it does not mean that all the British people actually are what they are said to be. Many of the British are not insular, conservative or sticking to traditions at all. There are big differences in manners between individuals even within one nation. It is similar with customs and habits.
Many traditional British customs and habits have changed as the way of life has changed. It is not true to say that it is a custom in all British families to eat bacon, eggs, sausages and tomatoes for breakfast. Some families start the day with the traditional breakfast but most of British people think it is time consuming or even unhealthy and have cornflakes, toast and jam.
It is not true to say that British women stay at home and work in their household. The role of women has changed over the last years and many British women have their occupation and now they make up two fifth of the workforce. On the other hand there are habits and customs which characterize most of British people. It is true that the British rarely shake hands when they meet, expect when being introduced to someone for the first time. It is becoming more common for young people to kiss on the cheek when they meet or say goodbye.
They like to spend their free time outdoors. During weekends they often go for a picnic and have their meals in the open air. Most of the British like to spend their summer holidays at the seaside. There have been many changes in the life-style of the British families over the last decades, which have been caused especially by socio-economic factors.
Housing - In the traditional British family several generations from grandparents to grandchildren lived together under one roof. Today only the parents and dependent children live in the same house. The grandparents and independent children live apart. When a young couple decides to get married they have the opportunity to buy a house or flat and to set up their own home. A bank lends them money which is paid back in monthly payments. In most cases young couples prefer to live alone rather than to remain in the home of their parents. In order to meet the cost of buying one's own home many British women work now. The change of the traditional status of women has had a great effect on the children and on the way of life of the family. Young British families are much concerned with the quality of life and they carefully plan the size of their family according to their material and financial resources. The husband and the wife share the housework and also the responsibility for their children's education. Modern devices in the household make their life more comfortable and save their time. Shopping is usually done in large food supermarkets once a week.
Most of British children attend state schools. If their school is several miles from their home a special bus picks them up every day.
The most popular evening amusements of the British are watching TV, videos, visiting friends, going to the cinema, theatre, restaurant or a pub. Young people in Britain have their individual interests, their own lifestyle and a special young culture. Those who leave school at 16 and get their first job are independent. They have their own money to spend on games, clothes or entertainment. The teenagers who stay at school until the age of 18, preparing to go to college or university, also take a job in a shop or baby-sitting to have some more pocket money to spend on tickets to concerts, food, clothes, magazines or cosmetics. Saturday night is the favourite night of the week for going out to parties or to a disco with friends. The cinema is more popular than the theatre with young people.
The entry of eight European countries together with Cyprus and Malta in the European Union on 1st May 2004 was a historical achievement ending centuries of division. European Union means a stronger, democratic and more stable continent, with a single market providing economic benefits for all of 450 million citizens. The European Union has come a long way since the original six member states joined forces to create the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951 (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxemburg, Netherlands) and the European Economic Community in 1957. In 1973 the European Union underwent its first enlargement process when accepting Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom as members. Later, in 1982 Greece joined in and in 1986 Portugal and Spain became members. In 1995, three more countries entered the Union – Austria, Sweden and Finland. In the meantime, the European Union had created a single market and a single currency and had expanded its economic and social agenda to foreign and security policy as well.
The enlargement from fifteen to twenty-five was the biggest in the Union history. The ten newcomers, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, joined formally on 1 May 2004, the culmination of a long process of preparation and negotiation.
The economic impact of enlargement will be significant with a bigger and more integrated market boost and economic growth for new and current member alike. The newcomers benefit from investments from firms based in Western Europe and from access to EU funding for the regional and social development. Bulgaria and Romania joined the Union in 2007. An application for membership, submitted by Croatia in February 2003, was accepted and ten years later on 1st July 2013 became a member, thus Croatia is the newest member.
Brexit is the popular term for the prospective withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.
In a referendum on 23rd June 2016, 51.9% of the participating UK electorate voted to leave the EU. On 29th March 2017, the UK government invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union. The UK is thus due to leave the EU on 29th March 2019.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced that the UK would not seek permanent membership of the single market or the customs union after leaving the EU and promised to repeal the European Communities Act of 1972 and incorporate existing European Union law into UK domestic law. A new government department, the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU), was created in July 2016, with Eurosceptic David Davis appointed its first Secretary of State. Negotiations with the EU officially started in June 2017.
The United States of America is a federation with a total area of about 9 and 1/2 million square kilometres. It extends to over more than one third of the North American continent and is the fourth largest country in the world after Russia, Canada and China.
Christopher Columbus discovered America on the 12th of October 1492. Thinking he had landed in India, he named the Native Americans Indians. Next important moment was on the 4th of July 1776 when Declaration of Independence was adopted and the USA became independent of England. The leader of American army was George Washington and he was elected the first President of the USA. The 4th July has become a national holiday.
The United States can be divided into six main regions: New England, the Middle Atlantic, the South, the Midwest, the Southwest, and the West. The country has many rivers, large lakes and numerous mountain ranges. It extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east, to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and to the Gulf of Mexico in the south. The terrain consists of high mountains in the west, low mountains in the east, and a large fertile plain in the middle. There are hot deserts in the southwest and cold tundra in Alaska.
Government - The USA is a federation of 50 states. The capitol is Washington DC (District of Columbia) and the head of state is the President. The President is elected for a four-year term and he can serve a maximum of two four-year terms in office. His seat is in the White House. Congress is the legislative body and it consists of: the House of Representatives, the Senate
The US flag - The US national flag is known as the „ Stars and Stripes“. It has 13 white and red stripes in memory of the 13 original states that formed the USA in 1776. In that year they got their independence from Britain. There are also 50 white stars in a blue field in the upper left corner. They represent the 50 states of the union.
American dream - The „American dream“ means many different things to many different people. For some people it is the freedom of religion without feeling threatened, for others it is the dream of becoming rich and happy, for others it is living in a country where life, liberty and love are the foundation of the national life.
The United States is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. It has a diverse, technologically advanced economy. However, agriculture still plays an important part in the economy of many states.
The population of the United States is very diverse. Immigration throughout its history has created a society of many ethnic groups. Each group has brought its unique contribution to the great “melting pot“ of American society.
- New England (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut)
- geographic information - hilly, rocky countryside
- major cities – Boston
- economy and industries - agriculture (potatoes), fishing, technology, finance
- climate - rainy in summer, heavy snow in winter
- people - liberal, value privacy
- places of interest - Cape Cad, Martha‘s Vineyard, and Nantucket are popular summer resorts in Massachusetts
Boston is a historical city. The American Revolution started here with the famous “Tea Party“ in 1773. The city has many skyscrapers and specializes in finance, fishing, manufacturing shoes and electrical equipment.
- The Middle Atlantic (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland)
- geographic information - hills, rivers, valleys
- major cities - Baltimore, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC
- economy and industries - government, finance, food processing, manufacturing, fashion,
- climate - humid, milder temperatures
- people - liberal, fast-paced life, population centre of the United States
- places of interest - Niagara Falls, Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and the White House In Washington DC, the Statue of Liberty, Radio City Music Hall, Central Park…
Washington DC is the capital of the United States of America. It has two universities and is the home of the President of the nation.
New York City is the largest city in the United States. The oldest part of the city, Manhattan Island, was bought from the Native People in 1626. They built a small Dutch town and called it New Amsterdam. Many skyscrapers on Manhattan have from 60 to 80 floors. New York grew very quickly. It became a centre of trade and manufacturing. In 1886 one of the most famous landmarks of NY appeared on the scene — the Statue of Liberty was erected in the NY harbour. New immigrants would wait to see this famous statue and know they had arrived in a land of freedom and liberty. The Empire State Building, built in 1931, has 102 floors and was, at one time, the tallest building in the world. Today New York covers an area of approximately 780 square kilometres. The population of the City of New York (the central area) is about one million. However, the population of Greater New York - the metropolitan area - is about 20,000,000. It is the largest city of the United States.
The city is divided into five boroughs (districts). They are: Manhattans, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island. About 43 per cent of the people are white; 25 per cent are black, and 24 per cent are Hispanic. There are many interesting streets (they run east to west) and avenues (running north to south). One of the most famous avenues is called Broadway with many famous theatres and concert halls. Philadelphia wan the first capital of the United States. The Declaration of Independence was signed here in 1776. It has many industries producing machinery and chemicals.
- The South (Virginia, Florida, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia,, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana)
- geographic information - hilly, Appalachian Mountains
- major cities - Nashville, Atlanta, New Orleans
- economy and industries - agriculture (tobacco, cotton), tourism, fruit (oranges) in Florida
- climate - hot in summer, humid, mild winters
- people - conservative, traditional values, many large Christian churches, “snowbirds“ and retired people In Florida
- Places of interest - Walt Disney World in Orlando, Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral in Florida.
- The Midwest (Missouri, Ohio, Nebraska, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Kansas)
- geographic information - rolling hills, prairie lands, Great Lakes
- major cities - Chicago, Detroit, St Louis
- economy and industries - agriculture, heavy industry (large machinery), coal mining
- climate - humid, temperature extremes (cold in winter and hot in summer)
- people liberal in the cities, conservative in rural areas, very family oriented in the plains
- Places of interest - Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Four famous faces stare out of the face of a granite cliff the faces are those of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt - au former presidents of the US.
Chicago is the third largest city in America. It has many museums, galleries, theatres and concert halls
The Great lakes, which create a natural border with Canada, are a valuable shipping highway into the heart of the continent. Lake Superior is the largest body of fresh water in the world. The other lakes are Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario.
Niagara Falls, connecting Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, is one of the most spectacular sights in the world. The word Niagara comes from the Native Peoples and means “the thunder of water. “
- The Southwest (Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona)
- geographic information - flat desert, plateaus, Grand Canyon
- major cities - Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, Los Vegas
- economy and industries - agriculture, cattle ranching, oil,
- climate - hot, dry, little ram,
- people - conservative, Hispanics, Native Americana, proud Texans
- Places of interest - Las Vegas is the casino capital of America. Yellowstone National Park,
- The West (Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, California, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii)
- geographic information - hilly, green forests in the Northwest, mountainous and flat pastures in Colorado, barren plains in Alaska, volcanic islands in Hawaii, scenic mountains and deserts and fertile valleys In California
- major cities - Denver, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Honolulu
- economy and industries - tourism, ranching, agriculture (fruits and vegetables in California, apples in Washington), defence, entertainment, technology (Silicon Valley)
- climate - mild, very rainy in the Northwest, dry with extreme temperatures In Colorado, dry and sunny in California, cold with snow In Alaska, and tropical paradise in Hawaii
- people - generally more private, liberal!, very independent in Alaska, cowboys in Montana, many Hispanics and Asians in California, many are more carefree and wealthy
- Places of interest - Disneyland in Los Angeles Los Angeles is the second largest city in America. It is a large industrial (computers), commercial, and recreational entertainment centre it is home to Hollywood and the world-famous motion picture industry.
The National Parks of the United States
There are 25 National parks which are large areas set aside for wildlife and recreation. Many of these parks have restaurants, hotels, camp sites, well-marked trails and places of special interest. Yellowstone National Park is the largest and best known park In the US. There are many forms of natural beauty including the famous geyser called “Old Faithful“ which erupts about every 110 minutes. There many wild animals here as well, including bears and wild buffalo.
Yosemite National Park is located in California and is one of the loveliest parks in the USA. It has high cliffs, pine woods and waterfalls. It has largo sequoias trees.
Grand Canyon National Park was created by the Colorado River which has out a deep canyon in Rocky Mountains. The canyon is 1,800 meters deep and 320 kilometers long.
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