England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. It is the largest country of British Isles.
The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, and since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world. The English language, the Anglican Church, and English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, and the country's parliamentary system of government has been widely adopted by other nations. The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation.
England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains, especially in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the north (for example, the Lake District and Pennines) and in the west (for example, Dartmoor and the Shropshire Hills). The capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom, largely concentrated around London, the South East, and conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, and Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century.
The Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland (through another Act of Union) to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Read more...
The Kennet and Avon Canal is a canal in southern England. The name may refer to either the route of the original Kennet and Avon Canal Company, which linked the River Kennet at Newbury to the River Avon at Bath, or to the entire navigation between the River Thames at Reading and the Floating Harbour at Bristol, including the earlier improved river navigations of the River Kennet between Reading and Newbury and the River Avon between Bath and Bristol.
The River Kennet was made navigable to Newbury in 1723, and the River Avon to Bath in 1727. The canal between Newbury and Bath opened in 1810 and is 57 miles (92 km) long. The two river navigations and the canal total 87 miles (140 km) in length. In the later 19th century and early 20th century the canal fell into disuse following competition from the Great Western Railway, who owned the canal. In the latter half of the 20th century the canal was restored, largely by volunteers, and today is a popular heritage tourism destination, for boating, canoeing, fishing, walking and cycling. It is also important for wildlife conservation.
Pubs are strongly associated with England, traditionally serving English food and beers.
The Anglo-Saxon Ingwaz Rune
Portrait of King George IV, Thomas Lawrence.
Population of England and Wales by administrative areas. Their size shows their population, with some approximation. Each group of squares in the map key is 20 % of total number of districts.
Clarks was founded in 1825 and has since become a popular shoe brand internationally, seen as specialists in school shoes for children.
Alfred Hitchcock is often regarded as the greatest British filmmaker. He was described as "a straightforward middle-class Englishman who just happened to be an artistic genius."
Family-sized meat pie made by Sweeney & Todd of Reading
Edward Elgar is one of England's most celebrated classical composers.
Centre Court at Wimbledon. First played in 1877, the Wimbledon Championships is the oldest tennis tournament in the world.
Life expectancy at birth in England and Wales 2012 to 2014. Lighter colours indicate longer life expectancy.
Mo Farah is the most successful British track athlete in modern Olympic Games history, winning the 5000 m and 10,000 m events at two Olympic Games.
The frontage of Warwick School, one of the oldest independent schools in England
First played in 1877, the Wimbledon Championships is the oldest tennis tournament in the world.
The Christmas Pantomime 1890, UK. Pantomime plays a prominent role in British culture during the Christmas and New Year season.
The Examination and Trial of Father Christmas (1686), published after Christmas was reinstated as a holy day in England
William Hogarth's depiction of a scene from Shakespeare's The Tempest is an example of how English literature influenced English painting in the 18th century
Henry Singleton The Ale-House Door c. 1790
Countries where English has official status or is widely spoken
The Beatles are the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed band in popular music.
26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English poet
, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language
and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England
's national poet
and the "Bard
" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays
, 154 sonnets
, two long narrative poems
, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language, and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18 he married Anne Hathaway, who bore him three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592 he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part owner of the playing company the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his sexuality, religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others.
Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1590 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the sixteenth century. Next he wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest examples in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights. Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime, and in 1623 two of his former theatrical colleagues published the First Folio, a collected edition of his dramatic works that included all but two of the plays now recognised as Shakespeare's.