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Wales is essentially an upland country, about a quarter being more than 300m above sea level. Extensive tracts of high plateau and shorter stretches of mountain ranges are deeply bisected by a series of river valleys which typically radiate from the centre of the upland area. The lower lying ground is largely confined to the relatively narrow coastal belt and the floors or lower slopes of the river valleys. The longest rivers are the Dee, Severn and Wyes, which fall to the lowlands of the English border.

The total population of Wales is estimated at more than 2.9 million representing about five percent of the total British population. The land area represents nine percent of the area of Britain.

Welsh is a language belonging to the Celtic family, its nearest cousins being Cornish (now almost extinct) and Breton. The oldest living language of Britain and among the oldest in Europe, Welsh has a rich and varied literature, stretching from medieval times to the present day, particularly distinguished by the poetic tradition. The Welsh language is used widely in everyday speech and also in education, the media, public administration and culture.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland, with a population of more than 1.6 million, consists of six of the nine counties of the Old Irish Province of Ulster. Just over 50 percent of the people regard themselves as Protestants and just under 40 percent as Roman Catholics, according to the last census. The remainder belongs to religious minorities or chooses not to identify their beliefs. The population is expected to grow to 1.75m by 2025.

Most Protestants are descendants of Scots or English settlers who crossed to north-eastern Ireland, mainly in the 17th century; they are mostly British by culture and tradition and committed to maintaining the Union with Great Britain. The Roman Catholic population is mainly Irish by culture and history, the majority favouring a united Ireland.

Nature has been generous to Northern Ireland, endowing it with a rich landscape of mountains and glens, rolling drumlin hills and island-studded lakes. Although compact in size, it has a rich variety of scenery and cultural attractions, a rapidly growing economy and a first class environment for living as well as doing business.

The people are hospitable, friendly and warm - characteristics obscured by television images and news reports over the past three decades. Northern Ireland people have a passion for life and thanks to the strong education system, have a can-do attitude as well as being highly skilled and easily motivated.

Long recognized for producing a wealth of talented individuals who have made a real impact on the world stage, Northern Ireland is proud of its sense of social responsibility and generous nature.


Theme “Physical Face, Rivers and Lakes”

_ England:


1. The Pennines - "the backbone of England", forms a watershed separating the west-flowing
and east-flowing rivers of England; the highest point - Cross Fell (893m);

2. the Cheviot Hills - form a natural border between England and Scotland; the highest point - the Cheviot (816m);

3. the Cumbrian Mountains - famous for the Lake District: the highest point - Scafell (978m).


1. Salisbury Plain;

2. The South-West Lowlands and Uplands (600m);

3. The Midland Plains.


1. The Thames (332km), The Trent (274km), The Ouse, the Humber, the Tees, the Tyne (flow into the North Sea);

2. The Mersey, the Eden (flow into the Irish Sea).

Lakes (Lake District):

{ Windermere - the largest in England;

{ Grasmere;

{ Ullswater

{ Hawswater etc.


_ Wales:


1. The Cambrian Mountains - famous for the Snowdon resort; the highest point - the Snowdon (1085m).


1. The Severn (350m) - the longest in GB, begins in Wales, flows through England (flows into the Irish Sea);

2. The Wye (flows into the Irish Sea).


_ Scotland:


1. The Highlands - take up 50% of the territory of Scotland but only 15% of the population lives here. The Highlands consist of 3 parts:

• the Northern Highlands;

• the Glen More Depression;

• the Grampian Mountains - contains the highest peak of the British Isles - Ben Nevis (1347m);

2. The Central Lowlands/the Midland Valley- take up only 15% of the territory of Scotland but 15% of the population lives here;

3. The Southern Uplands.


1. The Clyde (flows into the Irish Sea);

2. The Tweed, the Forth, the Dee, the Tay (flow into the North Sea).


{ Loch Lomond - the largest in GB;

{ Loch Ness - the longest in the British Isles, famous for its monster;


_ Northern Ireland:


1. The Antrim Mountains - comprise the famous Giant's Causeway;

2. The Sperrin Mountains;

3. The Mourne Mountains.


1. The Shannon (384m) - the longest on the British Isles;


{ Lough Neagh - the largest in the British Isles.



Theme “Flora and Fauna”

General Overlook.

The fact that Great Britain has such a small area means that the number of species that can evolve is severely limited because there is not enough land mass to support extensive animal diversity. The environment and the ecology is also very young due to the appearance of an Ice Age, which means that there has been much less time for such diversity to develop.

In most of Great Britain there is a temperate climate which receives high levels of precipitation (âûïàäåíèå îñàäêîâ) and medium levels of sunlight. Further northwards, the climate becomes colder and coniferous (õâîéíûé) forests appear replacing the largely deciduous (ëèñòâåííûé) forests of the south.

The seasonal changes that occur across the country mean that plants have to cope with many changes linked to levels of sunlight, and this has led to a lack of plant diversity. Ultimately this has limited animal speciation and diversification because there are fewer edible types of vegetation in the habitats found on the island.

Since the mid eighteenth century, Great Britain has gone through industrialization and increasing urbanization. Statistics suggests that 100 species have become extinct in the UK during the 20th century. This has had a major impact on local animal populations. Song birds in particular are becoming more scarce and habitat loss has affected larger mammalian species.

Some species have however adapted to the expanding urban environment, particularly the Red Fox, which is the most successful urban mammal after the Brown Rat.

Animal and plant world.

With its mild climate and varied soils, the United Kingdom has a diverse pattern of natural vegetation. Originally, oak forests probably covered the lowland, except for the fens and marsh areas, while pine forests and patches of moorland covered the higher or sandy ground. Over the centuries, much of the forest area, especially on the lowlands, was cleared for cultivation. Today only about 9% of the total surface is wooded. Fairly extensive forests remain in east and north Scotland and in southeast England.

P Oak

P Elm are the most common trees in England

P Ash

P Beech

Pine and birch are most common in Scotland. Almost all the lowland outside the industrial centers is farmland, with a varied seminatural vegetation of grasses and flowering plants. Wild vegetation consists of the natural flora of woods, fens and marshes, cliffs, chalk downs, and mountain slopes, the most widespread being the heather, grasses, gorse, and bracken of the moorlands.

The fauna is similar to that of northwestern continental Europe, although there are fewer species.

ö Some of the larger mammals

õ Wolf

õ Bear are extinct

õ Boar

õ Reindeer



ö But red and roe deer are protected for sport.

ö Common smaller mammals are foxes, hares, hedgehogs, rabbits, weasels, stoats, shrews, rats, and mice; otters are found in many rivers, and seals frequently appear along the coast.

ò There are few reptiles and amphibians.

ó Roughly 230 species of birds reside in the United Kingdom, and another 200 are migratory.

Most numerous are

ÿ chaffinch

ÿ blackbird

ÿ sparrow

ÿ starling

The number of large birds is declining, however, except for game birds — pheasant, partridge, and red grouse — which are protected. With the reclamation of the marshlands, waterfowl are moving to the many bird sanctuaries.

ô The rivers and lakes abound in

ô Salmon

ô Trout

ô Perch

ô Pike

ô Roach

ô Dace

ô Grayling

ñ There are more than 21,000 species of insects

Theme “Climate and Weather”

Weather - a state of atmosphere over a short period of time.

Climate - average weather conditions over a long period of time.

The weather in the British Isles is changeable (due to the vicinity of the sea), the seasonal contrasts are very small.

The climate of the British Isles is mild all through the year, there is little sunshine and a lot of rain.

Reasons for Such Type of Climate:

1. The Gulf Stream (the North Atlantic warm current);

2. The Continental Shelf (shallow water gets warm during the day and never gets too cold during the night).


1. West winds - moist winds, bring a lot of rain.

2. North and North-West winds - bring heavy snowfalls.

3. Continental East winds - bring warm and dry air in summer and cold weather in winter.


The Permines get the majority of the rainfall.

Average annual rainfall - 1100mm, in the west - 2000mm, in the east - 700mm. The driest months - March - June, the wettest - October - January.


Winters are never too cold, summers are never too hot.

The warmest months - July and August, the coldest - January and February.


Season Average Temperature Normal Temperature
winter +3 - +5 °C -10 °C
summer +12 - +17°C +25 - +30 °C



Theme “Mineral Resources”

The UK used to be a country of considerable amount of mineral resources (coal, iron ore, copper, lead, tin, etc.) but in the course of the last hundred years most of the deposits have been worked out. At the present moment the UK imports lots of raw materials (iron, zink, nickel, chrome, copper, etc.) forest and half of its food.

Ìàjor Resources:

1. Coal (not as important now as it was before, it is replaced by oil and uranium) - was used as a fuel. Deposits: Yorkshire, Lancashire, Newcastle, Central Scotland (Glasgow) and Southern Wales (the Cambrian Mountains).

2. Oil and Gas - usually occur together; are used as fuel and in chemical industry. Oil and natural gas were discovered in the 1950s on the Shelf in the North Sea. Since then many platforms have been built in the North Sea to take oil and natural gas ashore through the submarine pipelines.

3. Iron Ore - usually found in the areas of major coal basins.

4. Non-metallic Minerals:

4 Common Rocks/Granite - used in house-building and road-making; deposits - Devon, Cornwall;

4 Clay – used for the production of bricks;

4 Chalk - used in cement industry; deposits - the Thames, the Humber;

4 Salt - used for the production of chemicals, textile, in soap-making;

4 Sand and Gravel - found in the north of England and in Central Scotland.


1. Units 1-5 in "How do you do, Britain?" by L. S Baranovski, D. D. Kozikis.

2. Chapter 1 in "British Studies" by D. D. Kozikis, G. I. Medvedev.

3. Topics for reports:

. The Channel Tunnel;

. The Giant's Causeway;

. The Isle of Man (other islands);

. Loch Ness;

. Stonehenge.


. Tests

Geographical position of the UK


Ïîäãîòîâèòåëüíûé âîïðîñíèê

Answer the questions.

1) Which is correct the UK, Great Britain, England when we speak about the country?

2) What is the capital of the British Isles?

3) Where are the British Isles situated?

4) What do the British Isles consist of?

5) What are the largest islands in the British Isles?

6) What does Great Britain consist of?

7) What does the UK consist of?

8) Is Northern Ireland a separate island?

9) Is Ireland and island?

10) Is Scotland part of Great Britain?

11) How many countries are there in the British Isles?

12) What are the capitals of all parts of the UK?

13) What is the British Isles washed by?

14) What is the territory of the British Isles?

15) What is the territory of Great Britain?

16) How many kilometers is Great Britain long?

17) What separates Great Britain from Europe?

18) How is the narrowest part of the English Channel called?

19) What are the two constituent parts of the Irish Sea?

20) What islands are situated in the Irish sea?

21) What is the highest peak in the UK?

22) What is the “Continental Shelf”?

23) What regions can Scotland be divided into?

24) What does the word “loch” mean? What lochs do you know?

25) Where are the Cumbrian, Cambrian and Grampian mountains situated?

26) What is “the backbone” of England?

27) What mountains separate England from Scotland?

28) How can rivers in the UK be characterized?

29) What is the largest river in the UK?

30) What is the largest river in Great Britain?

31) What is the largest lake in the British Isles?

32) What is the largest lake in Great Britain?

33) What is the highest point of the Pennines, Cambrian, Grampian?

34) What mountains are situated in Northern Ireland?

35) What are the capital cities of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Irish Republic?

36) Why is the geographical position of the UK advantageous?

37) What are the disadvantages of the geographical position of the country?

38) Where is Land’s End situated?

39) Where is the Giant’s Causeway?

40) What is the climate of the British Isles?

41) What is the average precipitation in the different parts of the UK?

42) What factors influence the climate of the UK?

43) What is the difference between climate and weather?

44) What is the annual average temperature in the UK?

45) What is the normal temperature in the UK in winter?

46) What is the normal temperature in the UK in summer?

47) How do the winds influence the climate?

48) What is the Gulf Stream? What is its influence?

49) What is the influence of the sea?

50) What influences the distribution of temperature and precipitation?

51) What mineral resources are imported into the country?

52) What mineral resources are exported from the UK?

53) Where are the major coal basins?

54) Where is the foundation of oil and gas?

55) Where is the iron ore extracted?



Test I

I. Choose the right variant.

  1. The British Isles consist of … islands.

a. 50 000 b. 5 000 c.15 000

2. Politically the BI are divided into … countries

a. two b. three c.four

3. Wales is ….

a. a part of Great Britain b. a part of England c. an island

4. The lowland areas are situated …of GB.

a. in the north b. in the south and east c. in the west and north

5. The climate of the UK is influenced by…

a. the relief and geographical position b.moist winds c. the weather

6. The UK imports…

a. chrome, manganese b. oil and gas c. non-ferrous metals

7. Today the UK is self- sufficient in…

a. nickel and chrome b. non-ferrous metals c. oil

8. Most coal comes from…

a. Eastern coasts of Scotland b. Yorkshire and Midlands c. the Irish sea

9. The population of the UK is…

a. 50 mln. b. 60 mln. c. 16 mln.

10. Small seasonal contrasts are the result of the effect of …

a. the relief b. the seas c. moist winds

II. Match the geographical name with the definition.

1. The Shannon a. short form of the Irish Republic
2. The Sperrin b. the North Atlantic Drift that influences the climate of The UK
3. Lough Neagh c. the longest river in the BI situated in Ireland
4. The Orkney d. The narrowest part of the English Channel
5. The Strait of Dover e. The islands situated in the north of Great Britain
6. Eire f. the range of mountains in Northern Ireland
7. the Gulf Stream g.the largest lake in the BI situated in Northern Ireland

III. Match the name of the mountains and its highest peak.

1.Cumbrian a. Snowdon

2.Pennines b.Ben Nevis

3.Cambrian c. Cross Fell

4.Cheviot Hills d. Scaffel

5. Grampian e. Cheviot


IV. Give short answers to the questions.

1. What parts does the UK consist of?

2. Where is Great Britain situated?

3. What is Great Britain washed by?

4. What is the climate of the UK?

5. What is the highest peak of the UK?

6. What is the largest river in GB?

7. What is the territory of G. B.?

8. What minerals is GB rich in?

9. What is the backbone of England?

10. What mountains serve as a natural borderland between England and Scotland?


Theme “History of the British Isles”


1. Early History of the British Isles: Iberians, Celts

2. Roman Invasion

3. Anglo-Saxon Invasion

4. Vikings' Raids

5. Norman Conquest

6. Great Britain: Unification of England, Wales and Scotland. Colonisation of Ireland.

7. Modern Population of the UK: Ethnic Composition, National and Linguistic Differences.


Theme “History of the British Isles”

Part 1

Early History of the British Isles: Iberians, Celts

Britain has not always been an island. In prehistoric times it was joined to the rest of Europe.

50 000 B.C. - the first settlers arrived. They looked similar to modern people but were shorter and had a lifespan of 30 years.

10 000 B.C. - a new group of people (hunters, gatherers, fishers) arrived. The followed the herds of deer that provided them with food and clothes.

5 000 B.C. - at the end of the Ice Age the low-lying lands became covered with water, the English Channel appeared and Britain became an island. It was heavily forested.

3 000 B.C. - the Iberians/Neolithic (New Stone Age) People/Megalithic (Big Stone) People crossed the English Channel in small boats. They came from the Iberian Peninsula (territory of present-day Spain). They settled in Ireland and in the west of Great Britain (present-day Wales).

They lived in stone huts, knew the art of grinding and polishing the stone making the edges and points of it sharp. They are also referred to as "the Battle Axe People" as they invented a kind of battle axe made of stone. It is said that the Iberians started the construction of the Stonehenge (for details see Unit 9 in "How do you do, Britain?" by D.D. Kozikis). They also erected so-called "barrows" - burial mounds made of earth and stone (collective graves).

2 400 B.C. - the "Beaker Folk" came from the east of Europe and settled in the south-east of Britain. They are known for their fine pottery (beakers).

They were round-headed, strongly built and taller than the Iberians. They are also known for the first individual graves furnished with pottery and bronze tools that began to replace the stone ones.

1 000 B.C. - the Picts came from somewhere on the Continent and settled mainly in Scotland. Some scientists distinguish them as a separate group of Celtic origin that came independently, others think they were just a mixture of the Iberians and the Celts that arrived later.

The Picts were short, dark-hared, aggressive, covered all over with paintings and tatoos (that's why the Romans called them "Pictus", i.e. "painted" (see "Brave Heart").

The language of the Picts is a mystery. The scientists can easily split it into words and read but cannot decode it (cannot get the meanings of the words and the message of the texts).

700 B.C. - the Celts arrived from Central Europe pushing the local inhabitants into the territory of present-day Wales, Scotland and Ireland. They were tall, red-hared and blue-eye. There were 2 main Celtic tribes that settled in the British Isles:


Tribe Scots Britons
Place of Settlement first they settled in Ireland and then moved to Scotland and intermixed with the Picts settled in the south-east of England
  The Gaelic Branch The Britonnic Branch
Celtic Languages 1. Irish/Erse (Ireland) 1. Breton (Brittany, modern France)
  2. Scotch Gaelic (the Scottish Highlands) 2. Welsh (Wales)
  3. Manx (dead; the Isle of Man) 3. Cornish (dead; Cornwall)


The Celts also had their own ancient alphabet called Ogham.

The Celts were technologically advanced. They knew the how to work iron.

Celtic Life:

1. The Celts were successive farmers. They introduced more advanced ploughing methods that made it possible to farm on heavier (solid) soils.

2. The Celts built hill-forts - protected towns/economic centres.

3. The Celts introduced money in the form of iron bars, later (a Roman borrowing) - coins.

4. The Celts wore knee-length trousersand checked cloaks fastened by pins (that explains the origin of the Scottish tartan). They were careful about cleanliness and neatness. However poor, stated the Romans, they were never seen ragged or dirty.

5. Social system:

• kings;

• warriors (Druids);

• free farmers.

The Druids were simultaneously priests and warriors. They could not read or write but they memorised religious teachings, tribal laws, history and medicine. They had no temples and met in the forests among trees, on hills and by rivers. Everything in the natural world possessed its spirit for the Celts (they were pagans). Some scientists presume that the Stonehenge was a Druids' place of worship.

6. There existed the equality of the sexes in the Celtic society - there were women-worriers, women-queens, etc.

7. Linguistic traces: there are a lot of place-names of the Celtic origin in the British Isles, e.g. Torr ("high rock"), Llanelly (llan - "church"), Pylle ("creek"), Avon ("water"), Ouse ("water"), York, Kent, London (llyn - "lake", dyn - "fort"), etc.


Theme “History of the British Isles”

Part 2

Roman Invasion

55 B.C. - Julius Caesar attacked Britain.


• economic - Britain was an important food producer due to its mild climate + it was rich in raw materials (tin ore, corn, slaves) + Britain provided slaves for the Roman army;

• political - the Romans fought with the Celts of Gaul on the continent who found shelter in Britain and were supported by the Celts of Britain.

Soon after his arrival, Julius Caesar left Britain with many slaves and riches.

43 A.D. - Emperor Claudius conquered Britain and it became a province of the Roman Empire. The only area that caused much trouble was Caledonia (Scotland). The Romans spent more than 100 years trying to conquer it and failed. Finally, they decided to build a wall - Hadrian's Wall - to keep pot the Celtic raiders from the north and to mark the border.

Roman Life:

. The Romans brought reading and writing skills and the Latin language to the British Isles. But only town-dwellers spoke the language of the Romans while in the villages the Celts used their Celtic dialects.

. The Romans established towns as centres of administration and civilisation. There were 3 types of towns:

8 coloniae - towns with the Roman settlers only;

8 municipia - towns with mixed population (the Romans and the Celts);

8 civitas - towns with the Celtic population only administrated by the Romans.

The Romans established London as the most important trading centre.

3. The Romans built roads that continued to be used long after the Romans left Britain.

4. Linguistic traces: there are a lot of place-names of the Roman origin in the British Isles, e.g. with the endings -castra ("castle") (Chester, Lancaster, Leicester), -wich (Norwich, Greenwich), -port (Devonport), etc.

The Roman control came to an end as the Roman Empire began to collapse. The Romans were gradually leaving the country going back home to protect the Empire. The left romanised Celt alone to fight the Scots in the north, the Irish in the west and the Anglo-Saxons that started to arrive from the mainland.

410 A.D. - the last Roman soldiers left Britain.


Theme “History of the British Isles”

Part 3

Anglo-Saxon Invasion

5th c. A.D. (430) - the Germanic tribes started to arrive to Britain. The were 3 powerful tribes that came in 3 waves:

Wave 1st 2nd 3rd
Tribe Jutes or/and Frisians Saxons Angles
Place of Origin Northern Denmark or Scandinavia/the Netherlands Germany Southern Denmark
Place of Settlement   Kent, Isle of Wight Sussex Essex Wessex East Anglia Mercia Northumbria

These Germanic tribes pushed the Celts to Cornwall, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

The 3 tribes were very close in speech, customs and traditions and gradually merged into one nation called the Anglo-Saxons.

The first historian who started to record the history of the Germanic tribes on the British Isles and is considered to be the first English historian is Bede the Venerable, an English monk, who wrote "The Ecclesiastical History of the English People".

Anglo-Saxon Life:

1. The Anglo-Saxons proved to be good farmers. They introduced a more advanced plough than the Celts had. They cut down forests and drained the wet lands to make then more suitable for farming.

Kingdom Wessex (9th c.) Mercia (8th c.) Northumbria (8th c.)
King Alfred the Great (871-899) Offa (757-796) -
  Description • flourishing of culture and learning; • Alfred translated himself from Latin into West Saxon the books in geography, history and philosophy; • Alfred started to write "The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle"; • Alfred founded the English Fleet. • Offa was a wise king and a warrior; • Offa promoted trade (there were found a lot of ancient coins with his image on them); • Offa built an earth wall called Offa's Dyke along the border with Wales to keep out the troublesome Celts. • Northumbria was the centre of the English culture in the 8th c. • Probably Beowulf (a famous Anglo-Saxon epic) was written in Northumbrian and then copied in West Saxon.

2. The Anglo-Saxons established a number of kingdoms that are still used today as county names (Essex, Wessex, Sussex, East Anglia, Mercia, etc.) These kingdoms fought with the Celtic ones (e.g. the famous legend of the Celtic king Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table (see details in "How do you do, Britain?" by D.D. Kozikis, Unit 29, p.202). The most powerful kingdoms were:


3. Government:

The Anglo-Saxons created the institutions that made the English state strong for the next 500 years:

Witan - a body of senior warriors and churchmen to whom a king would turn for advice or support. This group of people was a formal institution that issued laws and charters and even had the right to choose kings, so their support was very important (today the Queen still has the Privy Council - a group of experts in different fields that help the monarch to deal with difficult issues);

The Anglo-Saxons divided the land into new administrative areas - "shires" (Saxon word) (=counties Norman word). In each shire there was an appointed local administrator - "shire reeve" (later shortened to sheriff (today this word has the meaning of the head of a local police department in the USA). Shires were further subdivided into "hundreds", and hundreds - into villages. Each hundred had a "manor" (town-hall). The local officials were called "alderman" (today this word has the meaning of an elected officer in a local government in the USA) that also acted as judges. In the "manors" the taxes were paid, the justice was administered and the Anglo-Saxon army ("fyrd") was assembled;

4. The Anglo-Saxons class system was as follows:

à kings;

à lords;

à soldiers;

à workers.

5. The Anglo-Saxons helped to spread Christianity.

Nobody knows how Christianity first reached Britain but the Celts were already Christians when the Anglo-Saxons came. Some scientists say that the Celts were converted to Christianity by the Romans but other sustain that the Celts became Christians well before Christianity was accepted by the Roman Emperor Constantine.

Anyway, the official date of the adoption of Christianity in England is 597, when Pope Gregory the Great sent a monk called Augustine to England and he established the centre of Christianity and religion in Canterbury (the capital of Kent, because the wife of the king of Kent was from Europe and already a Christian; Canterbury is still the principle religious centre of the UK).

There were 2 religious forces working together to spread Christianity in the British Isles:

8 The Celtic Christian Church - brought Christianity to common people/villagers;

8 The Roman Catholic Church - worked with the upper classes of society, gave support to kings (the power of a king who got the God's Approval was unquestionable) and kings supported the church (the church became one of the major powers of the country).

The consequences of the adoption of Christianity in England:

4 unification of the country;

4 promotion of learning and culture ("minsters" (=monasteries) opened schools, monks worked as scribes and rewrote books, etc.).

6. The Anglo-Saxons developed trade with Europe (largely due to the fact that they accepted Christianity and the Roman Church). They exported: wool, cheese, hunting dogs, pottery, metal goods. They imported: wine, fish, pepper, jewelry, etc.

7. Linguistic traces:

• names of the days of the week (after the Germanic gods): Tuesday (Tig - the god of war), Wednesday (Wodin - the supreme God, the god of kings), Thursday (Thor - god of storm), Friday (Frei/Frigga - the goddess of nature and love);

• place-names of the Anglo-Saxon origin, e.g. with the endings -ing ("family") (Reading, Hastings), -ham ("farm") (Birmingham, Nottingham), -ton ("settlement") (Southampton, Kingston), etc.


Theme “History of the British Isles”

Part 4

Vikings' Raids

The 8th - 9th c. witnessed the arrival of the Danes/Vikings/Norsemen/ Scandinavians to the British Isles. The term "Vikings" means "pirates" or "people of the sea inlets". They came from Norway and Denmark first only raided the British Isles.

In 865 they realised that the quarrelling Anglo-Saxon kingdoms could not keep them out and they invaded Britain.

King Alfred of Wessex was the only one who held out against the Vikings. He was a military genius, a great strategist, a brave warrior and a wise statesman. He turned villages into fortified towns and founded the English Fleet to fight the Vikings at sea.

878 - the Treaty of Wedmore was signed by the Vikings and king Alfred. According to the treaty England was divided into 2 parts:

ê Wessex (the territory that was ruled by Alfred);

ê Danelaw (the Vikings' territory where they built walled settlements called "burghs" (compare Edinburgh, etc.).

In Danelaw the Danes and the English soon intermarried and intermixed.

10th c. - the Vikings renewed their raids moving westwards. The Saxon kings preferred to give them the "Danegeld" (the money to make the Vikings stay away) rather than fight with them.

11th c. - king Canute (the leader of the Danish Vikings) became king of England and England became a part of the Northern Empire (comprised Norway and Denmark) for a short period. But after his death in 1035 England regained political independence under Edward the Confessor (a Saxon).

Edward was brought up in France and had a lot of French advisors and favourites. He was very religious (that's why he was called the Confessor) and built a church almost in every village of the country, the most famous being that of Westminster in London. The rumour has it that probably he appointed William, the Duke of Normandy, his successor. Edward died in 1066.



Theme “History of the British Isles”

Part 5

Norman Conquest

After the death of Edward the Confessor the Anglo-Saxons proposed their own king - Harold Godwinson (of Wessex) but William (who was supposedly appointed the successor of Edward) did not want to give up the English throne. So he assembled a big army and went to England.

1066 - the Battle of Hastings took place. William won the battle and got the name of William the Conqueror. He became king of England and was crowned in Westminster Abbey. Since then all kings and queens of England have been crowned there.

The Normans (north men) were actually the Vikings who settled in Northern France and soon started to speak French and became Christians.

Norman Life:

1. William introduced military feudalism and centralisation of the power, i.e.:

• All the land was owned by the king and was his personal property;

• The vassals (Norman nobles) got lots of land from William in return for the military and other services ("homage") and loyalty. Soon 4 000 Saxon lords were replaced by 200 Norman ones.

"Oath of Salisbury" - William made all landowners (lords) to take an oath of fealty directly to him so that they could not unite against him and challenge his power. The lords were not allowed also to keep big armies - so they were unable to fight with each other or against the king. Thus England became one and indivisible.

2. William introduced the system of primogeniture - a system according to which the eldest son inherited all the lands and riches of his father after his death.

3. Domesday Book (1086) - William wanted to know exactly how much land and wealth he owned to be able to know how much he could ask in tax. So he ordered a census to be held to collect all the necessary information. This information was registered in the so-called Domesday Book that was actually the first census in England and in Europe.

4. During the period of the Norman rule the linguistic situation in England was as follows:

. English was the language of common people who lived in villages;

. French was the official language of the country - the language of the administration, of the king's court, of the law courts, of the army, of the school, the language of the townspeople;

. Latin was the language the church and learning.


Theme “History of the British Isles”

Part 6

Great Britain: Unification of England, Wales and Scotland. Colonisation of Ireland.


Wales was the 1st to be conquered by England. The Welsh tribes were constantly fighting with one another. That's why they were so weak and could not fight back the English.

William the Conqueror allowed his lords to win the land in Wales by conquest. During the 11th -13th c. the Normans raided Wales and intermixed with the Welsh. Thus soon they were well integrated in the Welsh society though the newcomers never felt safe in Wales because of the Welsh opposition.

Thanks to the Normans who started the invasion of Wales, it did not cause much trouble to Edward I to conquer Wales in the 1284 (13th c). But the Welsh did not want to be rules by an English king. They wanted a Prince of Wales who would satisfy the 3 conditions. He should:

4 be born in Wales;

4 be of royal blood;

4 not speak English or French.

Edward I gave them one - his baby son. Edward brought his pregnant wife to Wales, so his son was born in Wales, in Caernarfon Castle (the first condition). Surely he was of royal blood (the second condition) and did not speak neither English nor French as far as he was just born and did not speak any language yet (the third condition). Thus, thanks to the wisdom of Edward, in 1301 his son became the first Prince of Wales. The ceremony took place in Caernarfon Castle and was called "Investiture". Since that time the eldest son of a ruling king or queen has usually been made Prince of Wales (now - William).

The Welsh continued to struggle for independence but in the 15th c. the English throne passed to Henry VII of the Welsh House of Tudor. In the 16th c. his son Henry VIII brought Wales under the English Parliament which meant the complete loss of independence.


Scotland remained independent for quite a long time. The Scottish were more persistent than the Welsh in their opposition. The most famous opposition leaders were William Wallace (13th c. ("Brave Heart")) and Robert Bruce (14th c).

The Scottish allied with the French to be able to resist the English.

In 1603, when Queen Elizabeth I of England died childless, the throne passed to James (Stuart) the 6th of Scotland. He became James I of England and struggled to unite the two countries. Nevertheless, Scotland continued to be independent during the 17th c.

In 1707, during the reign of Queen Anne, the final unification took place and England, Wales and Scotland became known as Great Britain (a political notion at that time, but not any more - now this is only the name of the largest island of the British Isles).


Ireland was the land of monasteries and the Celtic culture. It was divided into 5 kingdoms, one of them called Ulster (present-day Northern Ireland). It has never been invaded either by the Romans or by the Anglo-Saxons, but the Vikings often raided Ireland (they founded the city of Dublin).

1169 (13th c.) - Ireland was conquered by the Normans, but they governed mostly the east of the country.

16th c. - Henry VIII persuaded the Irish Parliament to recognise him as king of Ireland. Thus Ireland became the first English colony (did not border on England).

"Plantation of Ulster" - the lands in Ulster were sold to the English and Scottish merchants who were Protestants (unlike the native population who were Catholics) and soon formed the majority of the population in Ulster. The protestants being the majority were privileged (work places, governments, etc.). This fact laid foundation for the war between the Protestants and the Catholics in the region.

1801 - George the 3 rd united Ireland and Great Britain.

1918 - the Republicans won the elections in Ireland => they formed their own Parliament in Dublin, announced that Ireland was a republic and started guerrilla against the British in Ireland.

1921 - the British agreed to the independence of Southern Ireland but kept Northern Ireland for themselves. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland appeared on the political map of the world.


Theme “Modern Population of the UK: Ethnic Composition, National and Linguistic Differences”

The English nation was formed as a result of the amalgamation of the native population (the Celts) and the invaders (the Anglo-Saxons, the Danes, the Normans).

Growth of Population:

Since 1801 censuses have been held every 10 years in the British Isles.

1086 - Domesday Book - 2 million people in England.

18th ñ - Great Britain (England , Wales , Scotland) - 6.5 million people.

1901 - Great Britain and Ireland (united) - 38.2 million people

Data of the latest (2001) Census in the UK: UK - 59.8 million people England - 50 million people (84%) Scotland - 5 million people (8%) Wales - 3 million people (5%) Northern Ireland - 1.8 (3%)

Since 1951 the population has grown by 17% (small growth). The UK is the 18th in the world in terms of population size.



J male - 29.6 million

J female - 30.2 million


_ urban-89%

_ rural-11%


ß 35-39 years - 50%

ß 60 years and over - 21%

ß 85 years and over - 2%

ß under 16 years - 20% (aging nation - the number of elderly people surpasses that of children)

education :

¨ secondary education - 89%

¨ post-secondary education - 4.8%

¨ bachelor's degree - 4.9%

¨ higher degrees - 0.6%

rates (per 1 000 people):

8 birth rate - 13.1 % (world average – 25 %)

8 death rate -11.3 % (world average - 9.3 %)

8 natural increase rate - 1.8 % (world average - 15.7 %)

8 marriage rate - 6.1 %

8 divorce rate - 3.0 %


1. Ñhristians - 80%:

P Roman Catholics - 21 %

P Anglicans (England) - 20%

P Presbyterians (Scotland)- 14%

P Methodists (Wales) - 5%

P Baptists - 3%

P Northern Ireland: Protestants - 60%, Catholics - 40%

2. Muslims - 11% (one of the largest Muslim communities in the world, 600 mosques and prayer centres)

3. Sikhs - 4%

4. Hindus - 2% (150 Hindu temples)

5. Jews - 1%

6. Buddhists - 0.8%

Ethnic Composition

White people - 91% (British + Italians, Greeks, Spaniards, Portuguese, etc. (immigrants from Europe))

Ethnic minorities - 9%:

1. Caribbean and African black people;

2. Indians;

3. Pakistanis and Bangladeshis;

4. Other immigrants from the former colonies of the British Empire and other Asian countries. The minorities bring their languages (Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Cantonese, etc.) and culture (cuisine, folklore, crafts, dances, music, etc.) with them => restaurants, festival, exhibitions, etc.


Internal migration - from Wales, Scotland, Ireland to England. The population in the southern areas (England, London (satellite towns, e.g. Greater London)) continues to grow, in the northern - declines.

Before the Second World War - immigration from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa. Late 1930s - immigration of the Jews and Poles (as a result of fascist persecutions). After 1960s - immigration from the poorer Commonwealth countries (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc.).

Linguistic Situation UK:

English is the national and the official language of the UK. It belongs to the Indo-European family of languages, Germanic group of language, West Germanic subgroup (together with German, Dutch, Afrikaans, Frisian, Luxembourgish and Yiddish).

In March, 2001 the UK ratified the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages which means that it agreed to support indigenous minority languages (the Celtic Languages of the British Isles) and allows the immigrants to use their native languages (Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Cantonese, etc.) as well as English.


Scotch Gaelic belongs to the Celtic group of languages and is spoken by 70 000 people mainly in the Hebrides. It is promoted in schools and on the radio.


Welsh belongs to the Celtic group of languages. 20% of the population of Wales are able to communicate in Welsh. In the rural areas it remains the 1st and the only language spoken.

The Welsh Language Act (1993) provides for the equal position of the Welsh and English languages in Wales.

The Welsh Language Board is a group of people who promote the use of Welsh:

P Welsh is used on TV, radio and in newspapers;

P Welsh is taught to all children at school;

P Road signs in Wales are bilingual;

P Welsh can be used for business and in court.

Northern Ireland:

Irish Gaelic belongs to the Celtic group of languages. 142 000 people in Northern Ireland are able to communicate in Irish. It is promoted in such key areas as education, justice, public services, media and cultural policies.



1. Units 6-11 in "How do you do, Britain?" by L. S Baranovski, D. D. Kozikis.

2. Chapter 2 in "British Studies" by D. D. Kozikis, G. I. Medvedev, only p. 23-29.

3. Topics of the reports:

. King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table;

. King Alfred the Great;

. Edward the Confessor;

. William the Conqueror;

. Elizabeth the First;

. Elizabeth the Second;

. Henry the Eighth;

. Mary of Scots



¨ Additional Material

Text for Reading and Discussion

The importance of not being English

Talking about Britain we should say that “there's no such thing as the British, only English, Irish, Welsh and Scots.” Ethnic minority communities apart, there is considerable truth in his remark. The sense of difference is more than 1,000 years old and dates from when Anglo-Saxon invaders from the European continent drove the Celtic people out of what we now call England and into what we now call Ireland, Scotland and Wales. In fact, almost one in five of today's British is not English.

The English habit of considering Wales and Scotland to be extensions of England is an old one. Since 1945 there has been a growing dislike in the Celtic countries of the habit of defining the “island race” as English, a growing sense of difference, and a desire to have more control over their own affairs. The English, for their part, have sometimes felt resentful that, as the wealthiest member of the United Kingdom, England subsidises the others.

Northern Ireland

Nowhere has the sense of conflict with the English been stronger than in Northern Ireland, where the population is composed of Protestants and Catholics. The Protestants do not feel English, though some would call themselves British and almost all claim Ulster (as most Protestants prefer to call Northern Ireland) as an integral part of Britain. The Catholic population feels more Irish than British and most would prefer to be more clearly separate from Britain, or at any rate with closer links with the Irish Republic. Today there are approximately 900,000 Protestants and 680,000 Catholics in Northern Ireland. There are 3,5 million Irish south of the border, in the Republic, with whom many Catholics feel an affinity. Both communities, and the people of the Republic, have felt great frustration with British policy.

England's involvement with Ireland has been an unhappy one. English adventurers colonized parts of Ireland over 800 years ago. In the sixteenth century England brought Ireland under systematic rule. When England became Protestant, Ireland did not. In order to strengthen its hold on the most rebellious part, Ulster, London encouraged English and Scottish Protestant settlers, or 'Planters'. These took the best land and soon outnumbered the indigenous people of Ulster. The English deliberately tried to destroy Irish language, culture and Catholicism.

Inspired by the American and French Revolutions, the Irish began their long struggle to be free.

The Irish finally forced England to concede independence in 1921. Ulster's Protestants warned that they would fight rather than be part of a Catholic-dominated Irish state. Partly to avoid that risk, but also because of its strong political and economic interests in Ulster, London persuaded the Irish to accept independence with the exception of six of the nine counties of historic Ulster where the Protestants were 67 per cent of the population.

London allowed the Northern Irish to govern themselves, wishing to benefit economically while being rid of the “Irish problem”. It was a profoundly short-sighted arrangement, and neglected the fact that every generation since the Planters had seen outbreaks of sectarian violence. Northern Ireland became controlled by a Protestant community. Every election for the Northern Irish government at Stormont was about Ulster's future - whether it should remain part of the United Kingdom. The Protestants excluded the Catholic minority from political power. They also excluded them from local government and exercised gross discrimination in housing and employment. London ignored these glaring abuses of basic rights.

With the decline of shipbuilding in the early 1960s, Northern Ireland became one of the poorest parts of the United Kingdom. The poverty was not equally shared. Catholics were significantly disadvantaged and their anger grew. In the autumn of 1968 Catholics, supported by many Protestants, demonstrated on the streets, demanding civil rights, basically fair participation in political and economic life.

In January 1972 British troops shot dead 13 unarmed demonstrators. “Bloody Sunday” confirmed in many minds that Britain was basically hostile to the Catholic community. Later that year the Stormont government was suspended and the province was brought under direct rule from London. Almost 500 people died in 1972 as a result of sectarian violence. Troop violence and confrontations, IRA bombs, sectarian killings, and intercommunal tension leading to the flight of minority groups from mixed areas all helped to make the ordeal appear intractable.

From 1972 until 1985 London tried to foster the middle ground among the peaceable majority of both communities. But its efforts were undermined.

Behind the historical record, social and economic factors continue to influence events. One of the most important of these has been the voluntary and involuntary segregation of the two communities. Within a year of the outbreak of the troubles, walls and wire-mesh fences were erected to separate the warring communities. Mixed communities separated as the pressures of sectarian identity outweighed individual neighbourliness. In many cases mixed areas became battlegrounds for the youths of both groups. Many threatened families and individuals fled their homes out of fear. However, much of the segregation is also voluntary. Where Catholics become a majority Protestants tend to leave, feeling more secure in still predominantly Protestant areas. Yet housing in mixed middle-class areas of Belfast is in great demand by both communities.

Education has always been segregated, and barely 10 per cent of children attend integrated schools. Much of the resistance to integration has been because the Catholic Church has strong views regarding education. Yet generally speaking Catholic children tend to perform more poorly than their Protestant counterparts. Integration might remove this difference, thereby improving parity of career opportunity. According to opinion polls, more than half of both communities believe that integrated schooling and residential areas should be encouraged by government. But what most people wish and what they do remains in contradiction.

Another crucial factor has been the high level of unemployment, affecting the Catholic community most. In 1976 London legislated against employment discrimination. Within the public sector (apart from the security forces) Catholics are now proportionately represented. The police force remains 92 per cent Protestant. But in the private sector the situation reflects continuing disparity. Progress can be slow. Unemployment remains about twice as high among Catholics than among Protestants. In 1995 unemployment stood at 18 per cent for Catholics and 8 per cent for Protestants, but male unemployment revealed a sharper disparity, 23 per cent for Catholics and 9 per cent for Protestants.

Unemployment in both communities has a political as well as an economic consequence. Young men with few prospects, little education and peer group or gender pressure are the easiest to recruit into paramilitary forces. In the words of one young man, 'In riots, people say you're a coward if you wouldn't throw a brick.' Throwing stones or bricks becomes meaningful in terms of male identity. Some start as early as eight or nine years old.

While political leaders struggle to find a mutually acceptable and durable political settlement, another dynamic is at work. Less than a decade ago the higher Catholic birth rate seemed offset by higher Catholic emigration, and any decisive demographic change seemed half a century away. That equation has radically changed, although at first this was unnoticed. In fact the Cathoiic population has increased from 34 per cent in 1969 to approximately 43 per cent by the early 1990s. The Catholic population is also significantly younger, and 52 per cent of under-16-year-olds in the Province are now Catholic. Meanwhile the Protestant community is ageing, with over 30 per cent of them over the age of 70. Part of this accelerating change has been caused by the relatively recent flight of the young Protestant middle class to England, for both work and also for university study, after which few return.

The shifting balance is already evident from election results. Sixty per cent of the territory of the Province, virtually all the territory west of Lough Neagh, is now under Nationalist control. Protestants tend to move eastwards. Protestants have a sense of diminishing political power.

Today Catholics feel more confident. Due to the Report, published by an international commission which investigated the feelings and aspirations of the ordinary people of Northern Ireland, “The Catholic political future is vibrant, active, with a dynamic civil society - they have, for example, a profusion of political groups. The Protestant community, by comparison, is apolitical. Outside the public life of the churches, civil society barely exists.” lacked.

If the Catholic population was openly determined upon integration with the Republic, Unionists might have greater grounds for fear. However, it is uncertain what the Catholic majority really wants. Catholic opinion has always been a spectrum from those concerned solely with civil rights to those wanting union with the Republic. This ambivalence about a desirable outcome also exists in the Republic. It is also true that the decline in influence of the Catholic Church in the Republic makes the idea of a united Ireland seem less threatening to most Protestants than it did. Thus, while remaining part of the United Kingdom for the time being, an increasing degree of Irishness is more acceptable than it once was. Given the way in which the European Union has developed, the way forward may be for a political entity independent of both, but in close relationship with the United Kingdom and the Republic.




Wales was conquered by the English 700 years ago and incorporated into a single political and administrative system with England in the 16th century. However, the Welsh sense of difference survived. A cultural self-consciousness was awakened in the mid-nineteenth century, through a revival of literature in Welsh and the literary and music festivals, eisteddfods, for which Wales became famous. It was also awakened through higher education which emphasized Welsh identity. From 1900 onwards identity was also expressed through rugby football, which became a sport of national importance. Welsh society in the nineteenth century was divided between the dominant Anglo-Welsh culture of the rich land-owning class, and the culture of the ordinary, mainly Welsh-speaking people. Dissent from the Anglo-Welsh and from mainstream English life has remained a vital aspect of Welsh identity. Until the Second World War its religious expression was through “non-conformism”, attendance at Methodist and Baptist chapels rather than at Anglican churches. Political dissent was expressed through support for Labour.

The London government responded by delegating some administrative responsibility, with the appointment in 1964 of a Secretary of State for Wales. It also used the Royal Family as a symbol of British unity. In 1969 Prince Charles was invested as Prince of Wales at a ceremony in Caernarvon Castle. The ceremony had been invented in 1911 to channel Welsh national feeling back to loyalty to the United Kingdom. The castle, however, had been built by the English King Edward I in his conquest of the Welsh, and inside its walls he had proclaimed his own baby son Prince of Wales in 1284. Not surprisingly, some Welsh found the ceremony symbolic of English rule, not Welsh identity.

The following year Plaid Cymru, the Welsh National Party founded in 1925, attracted 11 per cent of the Welsh vote and won three parliamentary seats in the 1974 election. Yet when asked by referendum in 1979 whether they wanted the proposed legislative devolution and the creation of a Welsh Assembly in Cardiff, the Welsh overwhelmingly rejected it - only 11.8 per cent were for it, and 46.5 per cent against.

Labour dominates Wales politically. As part of its strategy for devolved government, in 1997 Labour held a referendum in Wales on the proposed establishment of an elected Welsh assembly. This time the vote was in favour. The Welsh Assembly, to be located in Cardiff, will not be a law-making body, but will enjoy the powers already delegated by Westminster to the Secretary of State for Wales.

There are only 2.9 million Welsh, and they have struggled to maintain their identity in the second half of the twentieth century. They have had to do this not only against the political might of London but also the erosion of Welsh culture through English radio and television. For example, the use of the Welsh language. At the end of the nineteenth century over 50 % still spoke Welsh as their first language. Since then the decline has been dramatic:

Speakers of Welsh as a first language

Because of fears that the language might disappear completely, Welsh language study has become compulsory in Welsh schools, and there is now Welsh medium radio and television. As a result 19 % still use Welsh, mainly in the north-west and mid-Wales and many more over a wide area now understand it. The survival o

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