The United Kingdom remains as one most powerful and influential not to mention the richest countries in the world. Their early beginnings helped shaped countries surrounding them; it’s amazingly rich and yet controversial but very impressive story to tell. It’s great that it inspired most children’s bedtime stories and modern day films.
There are so many interesting stories and facts surrounding these great nations. Here are some of the little-known facts about the United Kingdom and the rest of Great Britain and more of England’s history.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) comprises of the UK including Great Britain and north-eastern part of Ireland and many smaller islands. Great Britain consists of three countries; England, Scotland, and Wales. To the west, Ireland comprises of Northern Ireland, the Irish Republic and many offshore islands with the largest lying just off Scotland.
The UK is a huge country measuring 242, 500 square km or 93,600 square mi. Interesting enough, it just 113 km or 70 mi from the sea. The longest mainland distance is from Land’s End in Cornwall to John O’Groats in Caithness that stretches about 870 mi. People regularly walk the distance for charitable causes.
Because its proximity to the sea Scotland is known to have a famous monster called Loch Ness Monster that fascinates many people. Referred to as Nessie, it’s suspected to dwell in Loch Ness, the largest lake in the region. Even though it’s considered as mythological, many claimed to have witnessed the monster over the past decades.
But during ancient times, the British Empire was the most extensive in the world. At one point in time, it ruled an estimate ¼ of the world’s total population and expands about ¼ of the earth’s total land area. From the northern part of Ireland to south of the globe, in New Zealand, the British Empire ruled for centuries.
As there are many countries in the UK, accents vary from one place to another. How vast is the UK? The accents noticeably change every 40 km or 25 mi. The UK has more cities than in any part of the world despite its relatively small area compared to some countries. There are 69 official cities around the UK; 5 in Northern Ireland, 6 in Wales, 7 in Scotland, and 51 in England.
In the ancient times, there are two universities in the UK, Oxford and Cambridge, two of the most prestigious university in the world. They remain so until 1832, but their reputation remains very high to this day. Now, there are more than 100 universities around the United Kingdom. From the well-known ‘red-brick’ universities scattered in major cities to specialist colleges that have upgraded to university status over the years.
Education was not the only one that the UK contributed to humanity. The UK brought several famous sports to the world like rugby, soccer, and polo. The British are known to be passionate about these sports and the nations under them.
Another prominent structure in the UK, Stonehenge is older than the Pyramids. The famous tourist attraction located in the south of England was built around 3000 B.C.
The UK was the first ever country to use postage stamps. In May 1840, the first stamp used was known as the Penny Black. Today, many collectible stamps have Queen Elizabeth drawn to it and using it upside down is considered as treason.
Oldest Castle in the world
The Windsor Castle located in the English county of Berkshire is the oldest royal residence in the world. Queen Elizabeth and the rest of the royal family still lives and use the castle for formal occasions. Queen Elizabeth II does not hold a passport but had visited 116 countries in the world. She doesn’t need one as she herself officially issues passports for British citizens.
Prince Charles is the distant relative of the notorious Romanian ruler, Vlad the Impaler according to the Romanian National Tourist Office. Vlad the Impaler ruled during the 15th century and inspired Bram Stoker to write the famous Dracula novel.
His daughter-in-law, Kate Middleton is related to another famous person. She was the 8th cousin seven times removed to the first President of the United States, George Washington.
It’s true; the British do love their tea. They consume more than 165 million cups of tea each day – 20 times more than what the Americans drink. But it’s not the only thing that the British are peculiar of, 85% of the British people want their food free from pesticide. The date came from the leading organic food campaign, the Soil Association.
It might be a surprise for some people but the UK has the largest Indian restaurant in the world – more than the actual restaurants in Indian cities like Mumbai and Delhi.
The biggest collections of books
With a history as extensive as the UK, is appropriate enough to have all the recordings of it. Rightly so, the British Library in King’s Cross London has more than 170 million books in its catalog. But a trip to the UK is really complete without first knowing J.K. Rowling and the wizarding world of Harry Potter. Rowling is the first billionaire author and sold more than 400 million copies of the Harry Potter series which was translated over 50 languages around the world. She once lost her billionaire status due to her many charitable causes.
One can tour the UK, as there are lots of tourist attractions and interesting structures that has deep historical roots. But whatever happens don’t you die in the Houses of Parliament as it’s against their law.