The United Kingdom, consisting of Great Britain (England, Wales, and Scotland ) and Northern Ireland , is twice the size of New York State. England, in the southeast part of the British Isles, is separated from Scotland on the north by the granite Cheviot Hills; from them the Penninechain of uplands extends south through the center of England, reaching its highest point in the Lake District in the northwest. To the west along the border of Wales—a land of steep hills and valleys—are the Cambrian Mountains, while the Cotswolds, a range of hills in Gloucestershire, extend into the surrounding shires.
Important rivers flowing into the North Sea are the Thames, Humber, Tees, and Tyne. In the west are the Severn and Wye, which empty into the Bristol Channel and are navigable, as are the Mersey and Ribble.
Sovereign: Queen Elizabeth II (1952)
Prime Minister: Gordon Brown (2007)
Land area: 93,278 sq mi (241,590 sq km); total area: 94,526 sq mi (244,820 sq km)
Population (2009 est.): 61,113,205 (growth rate: 0.3%); birth rate: 10.6/1000; infant mortality rate: 4.8/1000; life expectancy: 79.0; density per sq km: 652
Capital and largest city (2003 est.): London, 7,615,000 (metro. area), 7,429,200 (city proper)
Other large cities: Glasgow, 1,099,400; Birmingham, 971,800; Liverpool, 461,900; Edinburgh, 460,000; Leeds, 417,000; Bristol, 406,500; Manchester, 390,700; Bradford, 288,400
Monetary unit: Pound sterling (£)
Languages: English, Welsh, Scots Gaelic
Ethnicity/race: English 83.6%, Scottish 8.6%, Welsh 4.9%; Northern Irish 2.9%, black 2%, Indian 1.8%, Pakistani 1.3%, mixed 1.2%, other 1.6% (2001)
Religions: Christian (Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist) 71.6%, Muslim 2.7%, Hindu 1%, other 1.6%, unspecified or none 23.1% (2001)
Literacy rate: 99% (2003 est.)