Britain is composed of Great Britain (England, Wales, and Scotland) and Northern Ireland. Its full name is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and it is a member of the European Community.
The largest of the British Isles is called Great Britain. The second one comprises Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. Western Scotland is separated from the main land by the Hebrides archipelago and Orkney and Shetland are placed on the North East.
The Isle of Man in the Irish Sea and the Channel Isles are self-governing and they do not belong to the United Kingdom.
Britain has an area of 242,500 sq. km and its climate is a mild temperate one. The daily weather is mainly influenced by depressions moving fast across the Atlantic being subject to frequent changes but to few temperature extremes. The average annual rainfall is fairly well distributed between 1,600 mm in the mountainous areas and less than 800 mm over central and eastern regions. The driest months are from March to June and the wettest ones from September to January.
The population of United Kingdom was, at mid 1990 - of around 57,411 million people with a density of 242,534 persons per sq km.
1.1.2. Northern Ireland
Lough Neagh, the largest fresh water lake in Britain is the centre of Northern Ireland, many of the important towns lying in its valley, including the capital Belfast that stands at the mouth of the river Lagan. The Mourne Mountains, rising sharply in the southeast, include the highest peak of Slieve Donard. The population is mainly descendents of Scots or English settlers who crossed to north - eastern Ireland mainly in the seventeenth century; most of them are Protestants, British by culture and tradition and committed to maintaining the constitutional link with the British Crown. Almost a third of them are Roman Catholic, Irish by culture and history, in favour union with the Irish Republic.
1.2. Dependent territories and Commonwealth
The 14 dependent territories are mostly self-governed, having their own legislature and civil service. The motherland of Britain is responsible for their defence, security, external affairs, civil service and judiciary. They are:
- British Antarctic Territory
- British Indian Ocean Territory
- British Virgin Islands
- Falkland Island
- Hong Kong
- Pitcairn, Ducie, Henderson, Oeno
- St. Helena and St. Helena Dependencies (Ascension and Tristan de Cunha)
- South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
- Turks and Caicos Island
They do not have natural resources and some of them are not inhabited by permanently such as British Antarctic, British Indian Ocean, South Georgia and South Sandwich Island.
Some of them are still claimed by the governments of other countries such as the Falkland Island, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands by Argentina and Gibraltar by Spain.
According to the agreement concluded in 1984 between Britain and the People's Republic of China, Britain was responsible for the administration of Hong Kong until 1997. Since then Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China but it has maintained the social system of capitalism for 50 years and it enjoys the autonomous status.
There are also some territories belonging to the voluntary association of Commonwealth that also recognize the British Queen as their head. The association has 50 countries with over 1,500 million people of all races and faiths.
Most of the territories associated in Commonwealth belonged to the British Empire previously, but they were granted their independence. Some of them are republics but there are also national monarchies. After having abolished its policy of apartheid, South Africa rejoined the Organisation.
Commonwealth is supported by the member states, promotes co-operations among professional national association, and encourages professional training, information and technical exchange.
Australia is an island continent situated in the southern hemisphere. It is bounded on the west by the Indian Ocean and on the east by the Coral Sea and the Tasmanian Sea of the South Pacific Ocean. Almost 40% of its territory is north of the Tropic Capricorn. The land extremities are Steep Point (Western Australia), Cape Byron (New South Wales) in the east, Cape York (Queensland) in the North and South East. Cape Tasmania in the South. Australia's totals area is 2,967,741 square miles. This is almost the size of the United States excluding Alaska and Hawaii, and half as large again as Europe excluding Russia and the former Soviet countries.
Australia is the fattest of the continents. Almost three quarters of the land mass is a vast ancient plateau, averaging about 1000 ft. above sea level. Another large part is lowland of less than 500 ft. The third structural division is a highland belt, featuring a chain of elevated plateaus known as the Great Dividing Lange. The dominating structural division, the Great Western Plateau emerges from Western Australia's coastal plains to cover almost the whole of the State. It is mostly formed of very old and hard rocks, with a few higher table lands and ridges such as the Kimberley's region and Hamersley, MacDonnell and Musgrave Ranges. The few other outcrops interrupting the flat monotony of the plateau are significant more for geological phenomena than for their topographical importance. Such structures include Ayers Rock, a high monolith six miles in circumference rising from the central Australian Desert to a height of 1100 ft. It is sometimes referred to as "largest pebble in the world" A good deal of the Great Western Plateau is practically desert - sand ridges, "gibber" plains of pebbles or barren land with grass and spiky bushes.
East of the plateau and stretching from the Gulf of Carpentaria in the north to Eastern South Australia and the shores of Western Victoria is the great lowland belt known as the Central Eastern Lowlands that formed, sometimes, then floor of sea.
The Eastern Highlands, or Great Dividing Range, extends from Cape York in Queensland to the southern seaboard of Tasmania. The rugged south-eastern area, known as the Australian Alps, is somewhat higher and many of the peaks exceed 6ooo ft., the highest peak being Mount Kosciusko (7310 ft).
The Eastern Highlands provide the highest points in Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania. They are Mount Bartle Frere (5287 ft); Mount Bogong (6516 ft); Mount Ossa (5305 ft) in Tasmania wet and wild central west.
Because of its global sitting and physical features, Australia has a well-varied climate, generally without severe extremes. Over inland areas the extremes range of temperature is 70 to 90 F. On the north coast and the Queensland coast the Extreme range is about 60F.
The traditional white Christmas of European and northern hemisphere countries is unknown in Australia, which celebrates
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