The name “England” is derived from the Old English word Englaland, which means “land of the Angles”. The Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in England during the Early Middle Ages.
|Official language||English (de facto)|
|Area||130,395 km2, 50,346 sq mi|
|Population||~ 41.5 million|
|Currency||Pound sterling (GBP)|
England is a country in the United Kingdom. It shares its borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west and the North Sea to the east. The English Channel to the south separates it from continental Europe. Most of Englandcomprises the central and southern part of Great Britain in the North Atlantic. The country also includes over 100 smaller islands such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.
The city of London is England’s capital and its largest city. London is also the largestmetropolitan area in the United Kingdom and by most measures the largest urban zone in the European Union. In July 2007 London had an official population of 7,556,900 within the boundaries of Greater London, making it the most populous municipality in the European Union.
SOCIETY AND CULTURE
Due to England’s dominant position within the United Kingdom and its larger population, English culture is often difficult to differentiate from the rest of the cultures of the United Kingdom.
With over 51 million inhabitants, England is the most populous country in the United Kingdom, accounting for 84% of the combined total. With a density of 395 people per square kilometre, it is the second most densely populated country in the European Union after Malta. The English are a British people – genetic evidence suggests that 75–95%descend in the paternal line from prehistoric settlers who originally came from the IberianPeninsula. There is a significant Norse element, as well as a 5% contribution from Angles and Saxons.
English people traditionally speak the English language, a member of the West Germanic language family. The modern English language evolved from Old English, with lexical influence from Norman-French, Latin, and Old Norse. Cornish, a Celtic language originating in Cornwall, is currently spoken by about 3,500 people. Because of the 19th century geopolitical dominance of the British Empire and the post-World War II hegemony of the United States, English has become the international language of business, science, communications, aviation, and diplomacy.
Christianity is the most widely practised religion in England. Today about 71.6% of English people identify themselves as Christians. The largest form practised in the present day is Anglicanism, dating from the 16th century Reformation period. The religion regards itself as both Catholic and Reformed. Since the 1950s, Eastern religions have began to appear due to foreign immigration; Islam is the most common of these accounting for around 3.1% in England. Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism are next in line totalling 2% combined. Around 14.6% claim to have no religion.
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
As part of the United Kingdom, the basic political system in England is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary system. There has not been a Government of England since 1707. At this time, the Acts of Union joined England and Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. Before the union England was ruled by its monarch and the Parliament of England. Today England is governed directly by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. In the House of Commons, which is the lower house of the British Parliament based at the Palace of Westminster, there are 532 Members of Parliament (MPs) in England, out of the 650 total. They represent their constituencies.
England’s economy is one of the largest in in the world, with an average GDP per capita of £22,907. England is a leader in the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors and in key technical industries, particularly aerospace, the arms industry, and the manufacturing side of the software industry. London, home to the London Stock Exchange, is England’s financial centre. Tourism has become a significant industry, attracting millions of visitors to England each year. The export part of the economy is dominated by pharmaceuticals, automobiles, crude oil and petroleum, aircraft engines and alcoholic beverages. Agriculture is intensive and highly mechanised.