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Great Britain has a very good geographical position as it lies on the crossways of the sea routes from Europe to other parts of the world. The sea connects Great Britain with most European countries such as the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and a lot of other countries.
England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Great Britain is washed all around by water. It is washed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea in the west and the eastern coast is washed by the North Sea. The southern coast is washed by the English Channel. The narrowest part of the Channel, the Straight of Dover, is only 32 kilometers wide.
The British Isles have no high mountains. Scotland is a mountainous country. Here there is the main chain of mountains which is called the Grampians and its highest peak is Ben Nevis which is 4 400 feet high. Mountains which separate Scotland and England are called the Cheviot Hills. In England the Pennine Chain runs down from the north through the centre. In Wales there are the Cambrian Mountains. Its peak Snowdon is in the North Wales. Ireland is covered with mountains and hills.
The British Isles have a lot of rivers, but they are not very long. The longest river is the Severn which flows south-west into the Irish Sea. The other important rivers are the Thames in England on which London stands and the Clyde in Scotland where Glasgow is situated. Many rivers in England and Scotland are joined by canals. There are a lot of lakes in Great Britain and the most famous lakes are in the Lake District in the north-west of England. There are no great woods on the British Isles now. Historically the most famous forest is Sherwood Forest in the east of England. It was the home of Robin Hood.
The climate of the British Isles is not very cold in winter and never very hot in summer. The rivers do not freeze in winter and snow never lies on the ground for long. In winter thick fogs cover Britain. The British Isles are warmed by the Gulf Stream, as a result the temperature in Britain is higher than in Moscow and St. Petersburg which are between the same parallels. It often rains in Great Britain in all seasons. The mild and damp climate is very good for agriculture.
Great Britain has a highly developed industry. It is rich in coal, iron and other metals. The main industrial centres are London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and Bristol. Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield make up the industrial area called the “Black Country” situated in the middle of the country near coalfields. Its centre is Birmingham which is called the “City of 1500 Trades”. Sheffield is the city of steel. Manchester is a chief cotton manufacturing city. Liverpool is the first port exporting the products of the “Black country”. Bristol is a large port and the centre of aircraft and food industry. In Scotland Glasgow is the largest shipbuilding and mining centre. New industries are developing in the regions which were agricultural and the old industrial centres have developed new branches of industry – electronics, wireless, chemical industry and others.
At the head of the state there is the Queen but in practice state power is in the hands of the Parliament and, to be more precise, in the hands of the Prime Minister. The Parliament has two Houses: the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The members of the House of Lords are not elected. The Commons are elected. The Prime Minister is the leader of the party which has the majority of seats in the House of Commons.

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