England

England is the largest, the most populous, and the most densely populated of the nations that make up the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The name "England" is derived from "Engla-lond" or "land of the Angles". It is often incorrectly used as a synonym for Great Britain or the United Kingdom by some, which is inaccurate and can be offensive. Other terms for England include "Blighty", from the Hindustani "bila yati" meaning "foreign"; "this Green and Pleasant Land", from William Blake's poem Jerusalem. "Albion" was used by writers such as Pliny the Elder and Ptolemy in the 1st century, in reference to the white (Latin: "alba") cliffs of Dover.

England
(In Detail) ()
Royal motto: Dieu et mon droit (God and my right)
Official languageNone, English is de facto
CapitalLondon
Area
 - Total
Ranked 1st UK
130,395 km²
Population
 - Total (2001)
 - Density
Ranked 1st UK
49,138,831
377/km²
Unification9th Century by
Egbert of Wessex
CurrencyPound Sterling
Time zoneUTC+0
National anthemsGod Save the Queen
Unofficial:
Land of Hope and Glory
Jerusalem

Table of contents
1 History
2 Politics
3 Subdivisions
4 Geography
5 Economy
6 Demographics
7 Culture
8 Miscellaneous Topics
9 External links

History

Main article: History of England

Egbert of Wessex (d.839) is often regarded as the first king of all England, though his true title was Bretwalda (High King). School histories of England tend to begin with the accession of William the Conqueror in 1066.

Politics

Main article: Politics of England

England, as a significant political entity, ceased to exist with the Act of Union 1707, which created the Kingdom of Great Britain. All of Great Britain has been ruled by the government of the United Kingdom between that date and 1999, when the first elections to the newly created Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly left England as the only nation in the Union with no representative body.

There are calls by some for an English Parliament but the current Labour government favours the establishment of regional governments, claiming that England is too large to be governed as a sub-state entity. In some regions, notably the south-west and south-east there is little interest, but in the north of England there is some support. Referenda will take place on this issue, possibly some time in 2004, and consideration has still to be given to what powers regions would be granted, and what impact this may have on the powers of counties or central government. Considerable disquiet was caused when changes were made to the system of counties in 1889.

Unlike the other nations of the Kingdom, there is very little call for independence of England from the UK. This is overwhelmingly due to its dominance in the Union. Those groups that do campaign for such a thing tend to be right-wing organisations.

Subdivisions

Main article: Subdivisions of England

Historically, the highest level of local government in England was the county. These divisions had emerged from a range of units of old, pre-unification England, whether they were Kingdoms, such as Essex and Sussex; Duchies, such as Yorkshire, Cornwall and Lancashire or simply tracts of land given to some noble, as is the case with Berkshire.

These counties all still exist in, or near to their original form as the traditional counties. In many places, however, they have been heavily modified or abolished outright as administrative counties. This came about due to a number of factors.

The fact that the counties were so small meant, and still means, that there was no regional government able to co-ordinate an overarching plan for the area. This was especially true in the metropolitan areas surrounding the cities, as the county lines were usually drawn up before the industrial revolution and the mass urbanisation of the country.

The solution was the creation of large metropolitan counties centred on cities. These were later broken up, with several other counties, into unitary authorities, unifying the county and district/borough levels of government.

London is a special case, and is the one Region which currently has a representative authority as well as a directly elected mayor. The thirty-two London boroughs remain the local form of government in the city.

Other than Greater London, the official Regions are:

The Regions hold very little power owing to their lack of accountability - regional authority is placed in the hands of unelected representatives of various interests. When, as seems likely, several Regions opt to replace these QUANGOs with elected assemblies, Local government in England will remain as variable and, some might say, confusing as ever.

Geography

Main article: Geography of England

England comprises most of the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain. It is bordered to the north by Scotland and to the west by Wales.
Most of England consists of rolling terrain, but the country is more mountainous in the north. The dividing line between terrain types is usually indicated by the Tees-Exe line.

The Channel Tunnel near Dover links England to the European mainland.

Major rivers:

Major cities: List of towns in England

Economy

Main article: Economy of England

Demographics

Main article: Demographics of England

England is both the most populous and the most ethnically diverse country in the United Kingdom with around 49 million inhabitants, of which roughly a tenth are from non-White ethnic groups.

This population is made up of immigrants who have arrived over millennia. The principal waves of migration have been in c. 600 BC (Celts), the Roman period (garrison soldiers from throughout the Empire), 350-550 (Angles, Saxons, Jutes), 800-900 (Vikings, Danes), 1066 (Normans), 1650-1750 (European refugees and Huguenots), 1880-1940 (Jews), 1950-1985 (Caribbeans, Africans, South Asians), 1985-present (East Europeans, Kurds, refugees).

The general prosperity of England has also made it a destination for economic migrants particularly from Ireland and Scotland. This diverse ethnic mix continues to create a diverse and dynamic language that is widely used internationally.

Generally, an English person is someone who lives in England regardless of their racial origin. However, some people (including many south Asians and whites) use the label as only referring to those people of Anglo-Saxon origin - preferring to instead use "British" as a racially neutral label. This is only possible due to the somewhat hazy distinction that many people in the country make between "England" and "Britain".

See also Population of England - historical population estimates

Culture

Main article: Culture of England

Miscellaneous Topics

External links

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