The United Kingdom - A Country File

Understand the basics of the UK's geography, history, economy and people at a glance...

The United Kingdom (UK) is situated off the northwest coast of mainland Europe and is made up of Great Britain (which includes the countries of England and Scotland), Wales, which is a principality, the province of Northern Ireland and several small islands.

London is the capital of the UK, however Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each have their own capitals; Edinburgh in Scotland, Cardiff in Wales and Belfast in Northern Ireland.

The UK does not have a de jure official language, although English is the main language used. In Wales, both English and Welsh have equal status, with Welsh being spoken by over 20 percent of the population. In Scotland, Scottish Gaelic, Scots and Scottish English are the primary languages. In Northern Ireland, there are approximately 110,000 Irish speakers.

The resident population of the United Kingdom is approximately 64 million.