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THE BRITISH ISLES - RIVERS AND LAKES, RELIF, SEAS

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THE BRITISH

ISLES

is a geographical term that refers to the large group of Islands that surrounds and includes Great Britain and Ireland.






Great Britain is made up of three- countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Many years ago these were separate countries, each with its own language and government, but now they are united and English is spoken everywhere. Great Britain is the largest island in Europe. It is in the north-west of Europe.

Each country includes several small islands: the Is 313b17d le of Wight, the Scilly Isles (England), Anglesey (Wales) and the island groups of the Hebrides, Orkneys and Shetlands (Scotland). The Channel Islands in the English Channel and the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea are independent.

Ireland lies to the west of Great Britain. It is known as the Emerald Isle because of the greenness of its countryside. Ireland is shaped like a saucer, with mountains close to the coast and a flat plain in the centre. It consists of two separate countries: Eire, or the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland or

Ulster (part of the U.K).


RIVERS AND LAKES

The most famous English river is the Thames. It is 215 miles long. The Severn, the longest river in the United Kingdom, is 240 miles long. Other important rivers are the Trent, Mersey, Tyne, Tees, Forth and Clyde. Lakes can be found in the north of England (Lake District), in Scotland and in Ulster. The most beautiful lakes, like Loch Lomond and Loch Katrine, are in Scotland and the Lake District, where the most famous are Windermere and Derwentwater.

RELIF

British mountains are low; the highest, in Scotland, is Ben Nevis (4,406 ft/1343 m) followed by Snowdon in Wales (1085 m).

Other ranges are the Grampians in Scotland and the Cambrian mountains in Wales, The Highland

areas lie in the north and west and constitute most of Scotland and Wales. The Pennine chain I is a region of low mountains extending from the Cheviot Hills to the River Trent

SEAS

The British Isles are washed by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the North Sea to the north and east and the English Channel to the south. The lrish Sea separates Ireland from Great Britain.


CLIMATE

There are no extreme contrasts in temperature in Britain because of the current of

warm water flowing from the gulf of Mexico called the Gulf Stream. The climate is mainly temperate with variations between the high- lands and the lowlands: much of Scotland is cool in summer and cold in winter compared with most of England.

Average British temperatures do not rise above 32C in the summer and do not fall below -10C in the winter.

Britain has a reputation for being rainy; actually the total national rainfall average is about 1,100 mm annually, March to June tend to be the driest months, September to January the wettest, and drought conditions are infrequent, although they do occur and can cause problems for agriculture.






THE UNITED KINGDOM

The United Kingdom of Great Britain an Northern Ireland is the full title of what is often referred to as the United Kingdom, or U .K, or Britain. These are political names and include the countries of England, Scotland and Wales (Great Britain) and Northern Ireland (Ulster). The Republic of Ireland (Eire) is a separate country. The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not part of the United Kingdom, either; they have their own parliaments and legal systems although the British Government is responsible for their defence and international relations.


POPULATION

Within Europe only the Netherlands (Holland) has a higher density of population than England.

Historically speaking, the true Britons are descendents of the Celtic tribes who original1y carne; from the Iberian peninsula and settled in the western parts of the British Isles. The rest of the population is generally considered Anglo- Saxon in origin.

Nowadays Britain is a multiracial society. In fact, it has an ethnic: minority population of about 2.58 million (in 1991) corresponding to 4.7% of the total population.

About 45% of these people were actually born in Britain.

Most immigrants originated from the Commonwealth countries, such as the West Indies, India and Pakistan




RELIGION

There is complete religious freedom in England today, and a person can belong to any religion or none. Only the monarch must belong to the Church of England.

The Church of England, or Anglican Church, was founded in 1534, when king Henry VIII broke away from the supremacy of Rome and declared himself head of the new Church. The Monarch is the 'Supreme Governor' while the Archbishop of Canterbury is its spiritual head. The Roman Catholic Church has a large following and there are a number of so-called Free Churches, such as the Methodist, Baptist and Evangelist Churches.

The Jewish community is the second largest in Europe.

Immigration into Britain during the last fifty years has resulted in a substantial growth of non-Christian communities. There are now about 1.5 million Muslims, 500,000 Sikhs and 300,000 Hindus.




EXERCISES

1. Fill in the missmg words in the following sentences:

1. Great Britain is the largest island of the .......Isles

2. England is a country in the south of Great Britain..... Wales is in the ......... and Scotland is in the ...........

3. The English Channel separates Great Britain from.........

4. Ulster is in the north-east of......

5. The Thames flows through........

6. .........Ben Nevis, which is 4,406 ft high, is in .......

7. The Isle of Wight is in the English .........


2. Complete the sentences with the correct prepositions:


1. Great Britain is separated from France.... the English Channel.

2. The British Isles ore washed.... the Atlantic Ocean

3. Scotland is... the north ....Great Britain.

4. Ireland is.... the west ....Great Britain

5. The River Severn rises... Wales.

6. The Isle of Man is... Great Britain and Ireland.

3. Insert the following adjectives in the superlative form: famous, large, long, beautiful, high.

1. The Severn is the...... river in Great Britain.

2. The .........lakes are in Scotland.

3. Great Britain is the ....... island in Europe.

4. The Thames is the ........ river in the British Isles.

5. Ben Nevis is the ......... mountain in Great Britain.









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