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England*England flag
Basic facts
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The country
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Capital:London
Area:130,410 sq km; 50,352 sq miles
Population:49,495,000 (1998)
Urbanisation:Urban 89 per cent (1998 Estimate); Rural 11 per cent (1998 Estimate)
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Economy

Exports:Manufactured goods, machinery, fuels, chemicals, semi-finished goods, transport equipment, professional and scientific instruments, iron and steel products, foodstuff

Industry:Production machinery, including machine tools, electric power equipment, automation equipment, railway equipment, ships, aircraft and motor vehicles and parts; electronic and communications equipment, metals, chemicals, coal, petroleum, paper and paper products, food processing, textiles, clothing and other consumer goods

Agriculture:Principal crops: wheat, barley, potatoes, sugar beet, vegetables, fruits; livestock products: poultry, sheep, cattle, milk, meat, eggs, wool

Currency:1 pound sterling (), consisting of 100 pence

Natural resources:Coal, petroleum, natural gas, tin, limestone, iron ore, salt, clay, chalk, gypsum, lead, silica

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The people

Ethnic:White 94 per cent, Indian 2 per cent, Pakistani 1 per cent, Black and other 3 per cent

Language:English is the official language of the UK. There are considerable variations in regional accents throughout England. The influx of immigrants has also meant that many other languages are spoken among these communities.

Religion: In 1533, during the reign of Henry VIII, England broke from the Roman Catholic Church to form the Anglican Church, which became the established church of the country, of which the monarch is head. The Church of England no longer has any political power, although its archbishops and some bishops still sit in the House of Lords. There are about 27 million Anglicans in the UK, although relatively few attend church. Roman Catholics number more than 5 million, Presbyterians about 2 million, Methodists about 700,000 and Jews about 400,000. Numerous other religions are practised in England and in many cities there are significant Muslim and Hindu communities. Society is secular and religious education in schools now embraces a wide range of religions, not only Christianity.

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The history

Independence:

Government:England is the largest division of the UK, which has no written constitution. The constitutional arrangements are the result of acts of Parliament, common law, and precedent. Parliament's first bid for supremacy came in the 1642-1649 civil war and the subsequent execution of King Charles I. Oliver Cromwell then ruled as a dictator, but the monarchy was re-established upon his death. Uncontested parliamentary sovereignty dates from the Glorious Revolution of 1688, when the Catholic James II was ousted and the Protestant William and Mary were invited by Parliament to become joint monarchs. The monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II, is head of state, but elected officials govern through Parliament.

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