UNITED STATES 40,234,652-72,065,000 1 678,000 2
CANADA 12,134,745 1 609,000 4
AUSTRALIA 9,031,100 1 1,300,000 4
HONG KONG 3,400,000 3 4
NEW ZEALAND 2,425,278 1 217,000 4
SPAIN 236,669 4
CHILE 700,000 1
FRANCE 400,000 4
IRELAND 291,000 4
ARGENTINA 250,000 1
BRITISH OVERSEAS TERRITORIES 247,899 3
SOUTH AFRICA 1,600,000 750,000 4
PERU 150,000 1
GERMANY 115,000 2
CYPRUS 59,000 2
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES 240,000 2
PAKISTAN 47,000 2
SWITZERLAND 45,000 2
NETHERLANDS 44,000 2
ISRAEL 44,000 2
THAILAND 51,000 2
PORTUGAL 41,000 2
CHINA 36,000 2
NORWAY 34,279 1
TURKEY 34,000 2
INDIA 32,000 2
KENYA 29,000 2
BARBADOS 27,000 2
ITALY 26,000 2
SAUDI ARABIA 26,000 2
JAMAICA 25,000 2
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO 25,000 2
GREECE 24,000 2
JAPAN 15,496 2
SWEDEN 39,989 2
1. People who identify of full or partial British ancestry born into that country.
2. UK-born people who identify of British ancestry only. 3. British citizens by way of residency in the British overseas territories ; however, not all have ancestry from the United Kingdom. 4. British citizens or nationals.
BRITISH PEOPLE, or BRITONS, are the citizens of the United Kingdom , British Overseas Territories , and Crown dependencies , and their descendants. British nationality law governs modern British citizenship and nationality, which can be acquired, for instance, by descent from British nationals. When used in a historical context, "British" or "Britons" can refer to the Celtic Britons , the indigenous inhabitants of Great Britain and Brittany , whose surviving members are the modern Welsh people , Cornish people and Bretons .
Although early assertions of being British date from the Late Middle Ages , the creation of the united Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707 triggered a sense of British national identity. The notion of Britishness was forged during the Napoleonic Wars between Britain and the First French Empire , and developed further during the Victorian era . The complex history of the formation of the United Kingdom created a "particular sense of nationhood and belonging" in Great Britain and Ireland; Britishness became "superimposed on much older identities", of English , Scots , Welsh and Irish cultures, whose distinctiveness still resists notions of a homogenised British identity. Because of longstanding ethno-sectarian divisions, British identity in Northern Ireland is controversial, but it is held with strong conviction by Unionists .
Modern Britons are descended mainly from the varied ethnic groups that settled in the British Isles in and before the 11th century: Prehistoric , Brittonic, Roman , Anglo-Saxon , Norse and Normans . The progressive political unification of the British Isles facilitated migration, cultural and linguistic exchange, and intermarriage between the peoples of England, Scotland and Wales during the late Middle Ages, early modern period and beyond. Since 1922 and earlier, there has been immigration to the United Kingdom by people from what is now the Republic of Ireland , the Commonwealth , mainland Europe and elsewhere; they and their descendants are mostly British citizens, with some assuming a British, dual or hyphenated identity.
The British are a diverse, multinational and multicultural society, with "strong regional accents, expressions and identities". The social structure of the United Kingdom has changed radically since the 19th century, with a decline in religious observance, enlargement of the middle class , and particularly since the 1950s increased ethnic diversity . The population of the UK stands at around 62.5 million, with a British diaspora of around 140 million concentrated in Australia , Canada , South Africa , Hong Kong , New Zealand , United States , Ireland , France and Spain .
* 1 History of the term
* 2 History
* 3 Geographic distribution
* 4 Culture
* 4.1 Cuisine * 4.2 Languages * 4.3 Literature * 4.4 Media and music * 4.5 Religion * 4.6 Sport * 4.7 Visual art and architecture * 4.8 Political culture
* 5 Classification * 6 See also
* 7 Sources
* 7.1 References * 7.2 Bibliography
* 8 Further reading
HISTORY OF THE TERM
Further information: Britain (place name) See also: Glossary of names for the British
The earliest known reference to the inhabitants of Britain may have come from 4th century BC records of the voyage of Pytheas , a Greek geographer who made a voyage of exploration around the British Isles . Although none of his own writings remain, writers during the time of the Roman Empire made much reference to them. Pytheas called the islands collectively αἱ Βρεττανίαι (_hai Brettaniai_), which has been translated as the _Brittanic Isles_, and the peoples of what are today England , Wales , Scotland and the Isle of Man of _Prettanike_ were called the Πρεττανοί (_Prettanoi_), _Priteni_, _Pritani_ or _Pretani_.
The group included Ireland , which was referred to as _Ierne_ (_Insula sacra_ "sacred island" as the Greeks interpreted it) "inhabited by the different race of _Hiberni_" (_gens hibernorum_), and Britain as _insula Albionum_, "island of the Albions". The term _Pritani_ may have reached Pytheas from the Gauls , who possibly used it as their term for the inhabitants of the islands.
Greek and Roman writers, in the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD, name the inhabitants of Great Britain and Ireland as the _Priteni _, the origin of the Latin word _Britanni_. It has been suggested that this name derives from a Gaulish description translated as "people of the forms", referring to the custom of tattooing or painting their bodies with blue woad made from _ Isatis tinctoria _. Parthenius , a 1st-century Ancient Greek grammarian, and the _ Etymologicum Genuinum _, a 9th-century lexical encyclopaedia, mention a mythical character Bretannus (the Latinised form of the Ancient Greek _Βρεττανός_) as the father of Celtine , mother of Celtus, the eponymous ancestor of the Celts .
By 50 BC Greek geographers were using equivalents of _Prettanikē_ as a collective name for the British Isles . However, with the Roman conquest of Britain the Latin term _ Britannia _ was used for the island of Great Britain, and later Roman-occupied Britain south of Caledonia , although the people of Caledonia and the north were also the self same Britons during the Roman period, the Gaels arriving four centuries later. Following the end of Roman rule in Britain , the island of Great Britain was left open to invasion by pagan , seafaring warriors such as Germanic -speaking Anglo-Saxons and Jutes from Continental Europe , who gained control in areas around the south east, and to Middle Irish -speaking people migrating from what is today Northern Ireland to the north of Great Britain (modern Scotland ), founding Gaelic kingdoms such as Dál Riata and Alba , which would eventually subsume the native Brittonic and Pictish kingdoms and become Scotland.
In this sub- Roman Britain , as Anglo-Saxon culture spread across southern and eastern Britain and Gaelic through much of the north, the demonym "Briton" became restricted to the Brittonic-speaking inhabitants of what would later be called Wales , Cornwall , North West England ( Cumbria ), and parts of Scotland such as Strathearn , Morayshire , Aberdeenshire and Strathclyde . In addition the term was also applied to Brittany in what is today France and Britonia in north west Spain , both regions having been colonised by Britons in the 5th century fleeing the Anglo-Saxon invasions. However, the term Britannia persisted as the Latin name for the island. The _ Historia Brittonum _ claimed legendary origins as a prestigious genealogy for Brittonic kings , followed by the _ Historia Regum Britanniae _ which popularised this pseudo-history to support the claims of the Kings of England .
During the Middle Ages , and particularly in the Tudor period , the term "British" was used to refer to the Welsh people and Cornish people . At that time, it was "the long held belief that these were the remaining descendants of the Britons and that they spoke 'the British tongue '". This notion was supported by texts such as the _ Historia Regum Britanniae _, a pseudohistorical account of ancient British history, written in the mid-12th century by Geoffrey of Monmouth . The _Historia Regum Britanniae_ chronicled the lives of legendary kings of the Britons in a narrative spanning 2000 years, beginning with the Trojans founding the ancient British nation and continuing until the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain in the 7th century forced the Britons to the west, i.e. Wales and Cornwall , and north, i.e. Cumbria , Strathclyde and northern Scotland. This legendary Celtic history of Great Britain is known as the Matter of Britain . The Matter of Britain, a national myth , was retold or reinterpreted in works by Gerald of Wales , a Cambro-Norman chronicler who in the 12th and 13th centuries used the term British to refer to the people later known as the Welsh.
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Between the 8th and 11th centuries, "three major cultural divisions" had emerged in Great Britain: the English , the Scots and the Welsh , the earlier Brittonic Celtic polities in what are today England and Scotland having finally been absorbed into Anglo-Saxon England and Gaelic Scotland by the early 11th century. The English had been unified under a single nation state in 937 by King Athelstan of Wessex after the Battle of Brunanburh . Before then, the English (known then in Old English as the _Anglecynn_) were under the governance of independent Anglo-Saxon petty kingdoms which gradually coalesced into a Heptarchy of seven powerful states, the most powerful of which were Mercia and Wessex . Scottish historian and archaeologist Neil Oliver said that the Battle of Brunanburh would "define the shape of Britain into the modern era", it was a "showdown for two very different ethnic identities – a Norse Celtic alliance versus Anglo Saxon. It aimed to settle once and for all whether Britain would be controlled by a single imperial power or remain several separate independent kingdoms, a split in perceptions which is still very much with us today". However, historian Simon Schama suggested that it was Edward I of England who was solely "responsible for provoking the peoples of Britain into an awareness of their nationhood" in the 13th century. Scottish national identity , "a complex amalgam" of Gaelic , Brittonic , Pictish , Norsemen and Anglo-Norman origins, was not finally forged until the Wars of Scottish Independence against the Kingdom of England in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. Medieval tapestry showing King Arthur , a legendary ancient British ruler who had a leading role in the Matter of Britain , a national myth used as propaganda for the ancestral origins of the British Royal Family and their British subjects .
Though Wales was conquered by England, and its legal system replaced by that of the Kingdom of England under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542 , the Welsh endured as a nation distinct from the English , and to some degree the Cornish people , although conquered into England by the 11th century, also retained a distinct Brittonic identity and language. Later, with both an English Reformation and a Scottish Reformation , Edward VI of England , under the counsel of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset , advocated a union with the Kingdom of Scotland , joining England, Wales, and Scotland in a united Protestant Great Britain. The Duke of Somerset supported the unification of the English, Welsh and Scots under the "indifferent old name of Britons" on the basis that their monarchies "both derived from a Pre-Roman British monarchy".
Following the death of Elizabeth I of England in 1603, the throne of England was inherited by James VI, King of Scots, so that the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland were united in a personal union under James VI of Scotland and I of England , an event referred to as the Union of the Crowns . King James advocated full political union between England and Scotland, and on 20 October 1604 proclaimed his assumption of the style "King of Great Britain", though this title was rejected by both the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland , and so had no basis in either English law or Scots law .
UNION AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF BRITISHNESS
Main articles: Treaty of Union and Britishness See also: Acts of Union 1707 and History of the formation of the United Kingdom Further information: Napoleonic Wars , Royal Navy , and British Empire On 12 April 1606, the Union Flag representing the personal union between the Kingdoms of England and Scotland was specified in a royal decree. The St George\'s Cross and St Andrew\'s saltire were "joined together ... to be published to our Subjects."
Despite centuries of military and religious conflict, the Kingdoms of England and Scotland had been "drawing increasingly together" since the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century and the Union of the Crowns in 1603. A broadly shared language, island, monarch, religion and Bible (the Authorized King James Version ) further contributed to a growing cultural alliance between the two sovereign realms and their peoples. The Glorious Revolution of 1688 resulted in a pair of Acts of the English and Scottish legislatures—the Bill of Rights 1689 and Claim of Right Act 1689 respectively—which ensured that the shared constitutional monarchy of England and Scotland was held only by Protestants. Despite this, although popular with the monarchy and much of the aristocracy, attempts to unite the two states by Acts of Parliament in 1606, 1667, and 1689 were unsuccessful; increased political management of Scottish affairs from England had led to "criticism", and strained Anglo-Scottish relations.
While English maritime explorations during the Age of Discovery gave new-found imperial power and wealth to the English and Welsh at the end of the 17th century, Scotland suffered from a long-standing weak economy. In response, the Scottish kingdom, in opposition to William II of Scotland (III of England) , commenced the Darien Scheme , an attempt to establish a Scottish imperial outlet—the colony of New Caledonia—on the isthmus of Panama . However, through a combination of disease, Spanish hostility, Scottish mismanagement and opposition to the scheme by the East India Company and the English government (who did not want to provoke the Spanish into war) this imperial venture ended in "catastrophic failure" with an estimated "25% of Scotland's total liquid capital" lost.
The events of the Darien Scheme, and the passing by the English Parliament of the Act of Settlement 1701 asserting the right to choose the order of succession for English, Scottish and Irish thrones, escalated political hostilities between England and Scotland, and neutralised calls for a united British people. The Parliament of Scotland responded by passing the Act of Security 1704 , allowing it to appoint a different monarch to succeed to the Scottish crown from that of England, if it so wished. The English political perspective was that the appointment of a Jacobite monarchy in Scotland opened up the possibility of a Franco-Scottish military conquest of England during the Second Hundred Years\' War and War of the Spanish Succession . The Parliament of England passed the Alien Act 1705 , which provided that Scottish nationals in England were to be treated as aliens and estates held by Scots would be treated as alien property, whilst also restricting the import of Scottish products into England and its colonies (about half of Scotland's trade). However, the Act contained a provision that it would be suspended if the Parliament of Scotland entered into negotiations regarding the creation of a unified Parliament of Great Britain , which in turn would refund Scottish financial losses on the Darien Scheme.
UNION OF SCOTLAND AND ENGLAND
Despite opposition from within both Scotland and England, a Treaty of Union was agreed in 1706 and was then ratified by the parliaments of both countries with the passing of the Acts of Union 1707 . With effect from 1 May 1707, this created a new sovereign state called the "Kingdom of Great Britain ". This kingdom "began as a hostile merger", but led to a "full partnership in the most powerful going concern in the world"; historian Simon Schama stated that "it was one of the most astonishing transformations in European history".
After 1707, a British national identity began to develop, though it was initially resisted, particularly by the English. The peoples of Great Britain had by the 1750s begun to assume a "layered identity": to think of themselves as simultaneously British and also Scottish, English, or Welsh. _ The Battle of Trafalgar _ by J. M. W. Turner (oil on canvas, 1822–1824) combines events from several moments during the Napoleonic Wars ' Battle of Trafalgar —a major British naval victory upon which Britishness has drawn influence.
The terms North Briton and South Briton were devised for the Scots and the English respectively, with the former gaining some preference in Scotland, particularly by the economists and philosophers of the Scottish Enlightenment . Indeed, it was the "Scots played key roles in shaping the contours of British identity"; "their scepticism about the Union allowed the Scots the space and time in which to dominate the construction of Britishness in its early crucial years", drawing upon the notion of a shared "spirit of liberty common to both Saxon and Celt ... against the usurpation of the Church of Rome". James Thomson was a poet and playwright born to a Church of Scotland minister in the Scottish Lowlands in 1700 who was interested in forging a common British culture and national identity in this way. In collaboration with Thomas Arne , they wrote _Alfred _, an opera about Alfred the Great 's victory against the Vikings performed to Frederick, Prince of Wales in 1740 to commemorate the accession of George I and the birthday of Princess Augusta . " Rule, Britannia! " was the climactic piece of the opera and quickly became a "jingoistic " British patriotic song celebrating "Britain's supremacy offshore". An island country with a series of victories for the Royal Navy associated empire and naval warfare "inextricably with ideals of Britishness and Britain's place in the world".
Britannia , the new national personification of Great Britain, was established in the 1750s as a representation of "nation and empire rather than any single national hero". On Britannia and British identity, historian Peter Borsay wrote:
Up until 1797 Britannia was conventionally depicted holding a spear, but as a consequence of the increasingly prominent role of the Royal Navy in the war against the French, and of several spectacular victories, the spear was replaced by a trident... The navy had come to be seen...as the very bulwark of British liberty and the essence of what it was to be British.
From the Union of 1707 through to the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, Great Britain was "involved in successive, very dangerous wars with Catholic France", but which "all brought enough military and naval victories ... to flatter British pride". As the Napoleonic Wars with the First French Empire advanced, "the English and Scottish learned to define themselves as similar primarily by virtue of not being French or Catholic". In combination with sea power and empire, the notion of Britishness became more "closely bound up with Protestantism", a cultural commonality through which the English, Scots and Welsh became "fused together, and remain so, despite their many cultural divergences".
The neo-classical monuments that proliferated at the end of the 18th century and the start of the 19th, such as The Kymin at Monmouth , were attempts to meld the concepts of Britishness with the Greco-Roman empires of classical antiquity . The new and expanding British Empire provided "unprecedented opportunities for upward mobility and the accumulations of wealth", and so the "Scottish, Welsh and Irish populations were prepared to suppress nationalist issues on pragmatic grounds". The British Empire was "crucial to the idea of a British identity and to the self-image of Britishness". Indeed, the Scottish welcomed Britishness during the 19th century "for it offered a context within which they could hold on to their own identity whilst participating in, and benefiting from, the expansion of the Empire". Similarly, the "new emphasis of Britishness was broadly welcomed by the Welsh who considered themselves to be the lineal descendants of the ancient Britons – a word that was still used to refer exclusively to the Welsh". For the English, however, by the Victorian era their enthusiastic adoption of Britishness had meant that, for them, Britishness "meant the same as 'Englishness'", so much so that "Englishness and Britishness" and "'England' and 'Britain' were used interchangeably in a variety of contexts". Britishness came to borrow heavily from English political history because England had "always been the dominant component of the British Isles in terms of size, population and power"; Magna Carta , common law and hostility to continental Europe were English factors that influenced British sensibilities.
UNION WITH IRELAND
The political union in 1800 of the predominantly Catholic Kingdom of Ireland with Great Britain, coupled with the outbreak of peace with France in the early 19th century, challenged the previous century's concept of militant Protestant Britishness. The new, expanded United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland meant that the state had to re-evaluate its position on the civil rights of Catholics, and extend its definition of Britishness to the Irish people . Like the terms that had been invented at the time of the Acts of Union 1707, "West Briton " was introduced for the Irish after 1800. In 1832 Daniel O\'Connell , an Irish politician who campaigned for Catholic Emancipation , stated in Britain's House of Commons :
The people of Ireland are ready to become a portion of the British Empire , provided they be made so in reality and not in name alone; they are ready to become a kind of West Briton if made so in benefits and justice; but if not, we are Irishmen again.
Ireland, from 1801 to 1923 , was marked by a succession of economic and political mismanagement and neglect, which marginalised the Irish, and advanced Irish nationalism . In the forty years that followed the Union, successive British governments grappled with the problems of governing a country which had as Benjamin Disraeli , a staunch anti-Irish and anti-Catholic member of the Conservative party with a virulent racial and religious prejudice towards Ireland put it in 1844, "a starving population, an absentee aristocracy, and an alien Church, and in addition the weakest executive in the world". Although the vast majority of Unionists in Ireland proclaimed themselves "simultaneously Irish and British", even for them there was a strain upon the adoption of Britishness after the Great Famine .
War continued to be a unifying factor for the people of Great Britain: British jingoism re-emerged during the Boer Wars in southern Africa . The experience of military, political and economic power from the rise of the British Empire led to a very specific drive in artistic technique, taste and sensibility for Britishness. In 1887, Frederic Harrison wrote:
Morally, we Britons plant the British flag on every peak and pass; and wherever the Union Jack floats there we place the cardinal British institutions—tea, tubs, sanitary appliances, lawn tennis, and churches.
The Catholic Relief Act 1829 reflected a "marked change in attitudes" in Great Britain towards Catholics and Catholicism. A "significant" example of this was the collaboration between Augustus Welby Pugin , an "ardent Roman Catholic" and son of a Frenchman, and Sir Charles Barry , "a confirmed Protestant", in redesigning the Palace of Westminster —"the building that most enshrines ... Britain's national and imperial pre-tensions". Protestantism gave way to imperialism as the leading element of British national identity during the Victorian and Edwardian eras , and as such, a series of royal, imperial and national celebrations were introduced to the British people to assert imperial British culture and give themselves a sense of uniqueness, superiority and national consciousness. Empire Day and jubilees of Queen Victoria were introduced to the British middle class , but quickly "merged into a national 'tradition'".
See also: British nationality law Further information: Immigration to the United Kingdom since 1922 A famous First World War -era recruitment poster , stressing the concept of British national identity
The First World War "reinforced the sense of Britishness" and patriotism in the early 20th century. Through war service (including conscription in Great Britain), "the English, Welsh, Scots and Irish fought as British". The aftermath of the war institutionalised British national commemoration through Remembrance Sunday and the Poppy Appeal . The Second World War had a similar unifying effect upon the British people, however, its outcome was to recondition Britishness on a basis of democratic values and its marked contrast to Europeanism . Notions that the British "constituted an Island race, and that it stood for democracy were reinforced during the war and they were circulated in the country through Winston Churchill 's speeches, history books and newspapers".
At its international zenith, " Britishness joined peoples around the world in shared traditions and common loyalties that were strenuously maintained". But following the two world wars, the British Empire experienced rapid decolonisation . The secession of the Irish Free State from the United Kingdom meant that Britishness had lost "its Irish dimension" in 1922, and the shrinking empire supplanted by independence movements dwindled the appeal of British identity in the Commonwealth of Nations during the mid-20th century.
Since the British Nationality Act 1948 and the subsequent mass immigration to the United Kingdom from the Commonwealth and elsewhere in the world, "the expression and experience of cultural life in Britain has become fragmented and reshaped by the influences of gender, ethnicity, class and region". Furthermore, the United Kingdom's membership of the European Economic Community in 1973 eroded the concept of Britishness as distinct from continental Europe . As such, since the 1970s "there has been a sense of crisis about what it has meant to be British", exacerbated by growing demands for greater political autonomy for Northern Ireland , Scotland , and Wales .
The late 20th century saw major changes to the politics of the United Kingdom with the establishment of devolved national administrations for Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales following pre-legislative referendums . Calls for greater autonomy for the four countries of the United Kingdom had existed since their original union with each other, but gathered pace in the 1960s and 1970s. Devolution has led to "increasingly assertive Scottish, Welsh and Irish national identities", resulting in more diverse cultural expressions of Britishness, or else its outright rejection: Gwynfor Evans , a Welsh nationalist politician active in the late 20th century, rebuffed Britishness as "a political synonym for Englishness which extends English culture over the Scots, Welsh and the Irish". Britons gathered in Whitehall to hear Winston Churchill 's victory speech on 8 May 1945
Britishness, to me, is an overarching political and legal concept: it signifies allegiance to the laws, government and broad moral and political concepts—like tolerance and freedom of expression—that hold the United Kingdom together.
Gordon Brown , Prime Minister of the United Kingdom , initiated a debate on British identity in 2006. Brown's speech to the Fabian Society 's Britishness Conference proposed that British values demand a new constitutional settlement and symbols to represent a modern patriotism, including a new youth community service scheme and a British Day to celebrate. One of the central issues identified at the Fabian Society conference was how the English identity fits within the framework of a devolved United Kingdom. An expression of Her Majesty\'s Government 's initiative to promote Britishness was the inaugural Veterans\' Day which was first held on 27 June 2006. As well as celebrating the achievements of armed forces veterans, Brown's speech at the first event for the celebration said:
Scots and people from the rest of the UK share the purpose—that Britain has something to say to the rest of the world about the values of freedom, democracy and the dignity of the people that you stand up for. So at a time when people can talk about football and devolution and money, it is important that we also remember the values that we share in common.
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* Adams, Ian (1993). _Political Ideology Today_ (2nd ed.). Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0-7190-3347-6 . * Cunliffe, Barry (2005). _Iron Age communities in Britain: an account of England, Scotland and Wales from the seventh century BC until the Roman conquest_ (4th ed.). Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-34779-2 . * Gottlieb, Julie V.; Linehan, Thomas P. (2004). _The Culture of Fascism: Visions of the Far Right in Britain_. I.B.Tauris. ISBN 978-1-86064-799-4 . * McLean, Iain (2001). _Rational Choice and British Politics_. Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-829529-4 . * Woodward, Kath (2000). _Questioning Identity: Gender, Class and Nation_. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-22287-7 .
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