|Capital||London 51°30′N 0°7′W|
|Government||Parliamentary democracy under constitutional monarchy Unitary state with devolved legislatures|
|Monarch||Queen Elizabeth II|
|Area Total||243,610 km2 (80th) 94,060 sq mi|
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain is a sovereign state located off the north-western coast of continental Europe. The country includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. The 1707 Acts of Union declared that the Kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain" though the new state is also referred to in the Acts as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and the United Kingdom. The term United Kingdom is found in informal use during the 18th century and the country was occasionally referred to as the "United Kingdom of Great Britain”. The UK remains a great power with considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific and political influence internationally. It is a recognized nuclear weapons state and its military expenditure ranks fourth in the world.
The UK has a partially regulated market economy. Based on market exchange rates the UK is today the sixth-largest economy in the world and the third-largest in Europe after Germany and France, having fallen behind France for the first time in over a decade in 2008. The UK service sector makes up around 73% of GDP. London is one of the three "command centers" of the global economy. The Industrial Revolution started in the UK with an initial concentration on the textile industry, followed by other heavy industries such as shipbuilding, coal mining and steelmaking. The empire was exploited as an overseas market for British products, allowing the UK to dominate international trade in the 19th century. As other nations industrialized, coupled with economic decline after two world wars, the United Kingdom began to lose its competitive advantage and heavy industry declined, by degrees, throughout the 20th century. Manufacturing remains a significant part of the economy but accounted for only 16.7% of national output in 2003.
The United Kingdom is a unitary state under a constitutional monarchy. Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state of the UK as well as monarch of fifteen other independent Commonwealth. The Constitution of the United Kingdom thus consists mostly of a collection of disparate written sources, including statutes, judge-made case law and international treaties, together with constitutional conventions. The UK has a parliamentary government based on the Westminster system that has been emulated around the world: a legacy of the British Empire. The UK is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, a member of NATO, the Commonwealth of Nations, G7, G8, G20, the OECD, the WTO, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, and is a member state of the European Union. The UK is said to have a "Special Relationship" with the United States and a close partnership with France—the "Entente cordiale"—and shares nuclear weapons technology with both countries. The UK is also closely linked with the Republic of Ireland; the two countries share a Common Travel Area. Britain's global presence and influence is further amplified through its trading relations, foreign investments, official development assistance and military engagements.
Major exports of United Kingdom : Petroleum oils, refined (4%), Electronic integrated circuits (3%), Cars (3%), Turbojets, turbo propellers and other gas turbines (3%), Aircraft, spacecraft & launch vehicles (3%)
Major imports of United Kingdom : Cars (6%), Gold (5%), Petroleum oils, crude (5%), Petroleum oils, refined (4%), Medicaments, packaged (3%)
Major trade partners of United Kingdom (exports) : United States (13%), Germany (11%), France (7%), Netherlands (7%), Belgium-Luxembourg (6%)
Major trade partners of United Kingdom (imports) : :Germany (13%), China (9%), United States (8%), Netherlands (7%), France (6%)