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英美概况复习--the Great Britain

英美概况复习--the Great Britain

Unit One: The Country

1. Briefly discuss the international influence which the UK exercises on today’s world stage.

By the turn of the 20th century, the United Kingdom had built up a huge overseas empire, which at its height in 1922 encompassed almost a quarter of the world’s land surface, the largest empire in history. Today it has fourteen overseas territories, all remnants of the British Empire. British influence can continue to be observed in the language, culture and legal systems of many of its former colonies. Queen Elizabeth II remains the head of the Commonwealth of Nations and head of state of each of the Commonwealth realms.

It was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries, but the economic cost of two world wars and the decline of its empire in the latter half of the 20th century diminished its leading role in global affairs. The UK nevertheless remains a major power with strong economic, cultural, military and political influence worldwide. It is a developed country, with the fifth (nominal GDP) or sixth (PPP) largest economy in the world. It is a nuclear power and has the second or third highest defence spending in the world. It is a Member State of the European Union, holds a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, and is a member of the G8, NATO, OECD, World Trade Organization and the Commonwealth of Nations. The UK today pursues an active global approach to foreign policy, which invariably involves a close military and political relationship with the United States. Britain's global presence and influence is further amplified through its trading relations and its armed forces, which maintain approximately eighty military installations and other deployments around the globe.

2. Discuss the differences between the terms of “British Isles”, “United Kingdom”, “Great Britain”, and “England”.

(1) The British Isles

The British Isles is a geographically term which includes Great Britain, the whole of Ireland, and all the offshore islands, most notably the Isle of Man which has its own parliament and laws. Or, in detail, it is consists of the following islands:

Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales)

Ireland (the Republic of Ireland, a country west of England across the Irish Sea (not part of the United Kingdom)

Northern Ireland ( part of the United Kingdom)

The Orkney and Shetland Islands (islands off the northeast coast of Scotland)

The Isle of Man (an island in the Irish Sea)

Hebrides (including the Inner Hebrides, Outer Hebrides and Small Isles). All are islands off the northwest coast of Scotland.

The Isle of Wight (an island off the southern coast of England)

Isles of Scilly (an island off the southwest coast of England)

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