Over the Map of Great Britain

Over the Map of Great Britain

AJ – Maturitní otázka č. 4


The topic, I’m going to talk about now, is Over the Map of Great Britain. So, I would begin with the British Isles, of which Great Britain is an essential part.


The British Isles are a group of islands lying to the north-west off the coast of continental Europe. These Isles consist of two large islands - Great Britain and Ireland - and about 5,5 thousand smaller islands scattered around their coasts.

The British Isles cover an area of about 315 thousand sq. km and are occupied by two political units: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and theIrishRepublic(the Republic of Ireland).

Great Britain is the largest island of the British Isles and has also the highest population density of them. It comprises three parts: England, Scotland and Wales.

England occupies the largest area of Great Britain and is situated between Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. We should never talk about England and Great Britain as identical. We also must take into account, that Wales and Scotland aren't parts of England and so we shouldn't call the Welsh and Scotch English, but British. (The Welsh and Scotch might feel angry if we did.)

Ireland is the second largest island of the British Isles and comprises Northern Irelandand theIrishRepublic. Northern Ireland takes up about one-sixth of Ireland (and is a part of the U.K. whereas IrishRepublic is a self-governing country).

Some of adjacent islands to the BritishIslands are:

The Isle of Wight - an island off the south coast of England

The Isles of Scilly - a group of about 140 islands in the Antarctic Ocean off the south-west coast of England

Anglesey - an island off the north coast of Wales

The Isle of Man - an island in the Irish Sea

The Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney) - close to the coast of Normandy in France

The Hebrides - an archipelago fringing Western Scotland

The Orkneys

The Shetlands

It is obvious that the British Isles must have been connected with the European continent at one time. Proofs of this are the chalk cliffs which can be seen both at Dover and on the opposite French coast.

The British Isles are surrounded by several waters: the North Sea on to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The water between Ireland and England is called the Irish Sea. To the south, the North Sea is connected with the Atlantic Ocean by the English Channel.

The English Channel also separates the British Isles from the rest of Europe and in its the most narrow point (Dover-Calais) is only 33 km wide. On a clear day it is even possible to see across. If you want to go from France to Britain (or from Britain to France) you can get over the Channel on a ferryboat or through the train tunnel built beneath it.

One of the states occupying the British Isles is


It is a constitution monarchy consisting of Great Britain and Northern Ireland with total population about 56,5 million. It has one of the highest population densities in the world. The average density is about 227 persons per sq. km. (It is nearly twice more than in the CzechRepublic.)

The U.K. is divided into 91 counties. (E-39, S-33, W-13, NI-6)

The U.K. has also several dependences (d. = countries controlled by another country - they depend on that country): the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar ...

Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales)


Britain is well-provided with rivers. They are largely navigable and linked by numerous canals. For example the oldest canal - the ManchesterShip Canal- built in 1984 connecting the port of Liverpool with inland. Most of canals were built in Victorian Ages - during industrial revolution - for transporting goods. Nowadays they've been used for entertainment and relaxing. Boats sailing canals are called longboats.

Valuable are the estuaries of some rivers, through which the tides penetrate far inland and enable the big ships to reach the ports far off the coast. This can be said about estuaries of the Severn (Bristol), the Thames (London), the Mersey (Liverpool), the Humber (Hull), the Clyde (Glasgow) and the Forth (Edinburgh).

The most important rivers in England are the Thames (200 miles long) and the Severn(210 m). Scotland's important river is the Clydeand in Ireland it is the longest river in the British Isles (240 m) the Shannon.


Lakes are in Britain found in the Lake District, which is a mountainous area in North-West England and where is also the queen of English lakes - Derwentwater, and in the Scottish Highlands, where the lakes are called "lochs" and the best-known ones are Loch Lomond and Loch Ness.


We can roughly divide Britainlandscape into two regions - highland and lowland:

The highland area comprises:

English the Lake District, the Cheviot Hills (which together with the rivers Tweed and Solway form the Scottish border),and thePennines(known as the "backbone of England" and the longest range of mountains in England),

then the Welsh Cambrian, where is the second highest mountain in Britain - Snowdon (1085 m),

and eventually the whole of Scotland, where are two main mountains areas - the Scottish Highlands and the Southern Uplands separated from each other by the Midland Valley. In the part of the Southern Uplands called the Grampians is the highest peak of the British Isles - Ben Nevis (1367 metres).

The lowland area is the rest of Britain.


Every part of the United Kingdom has its own capital town.

London is the capital of England and also all U.K.(In Roman times was called Londinium.) It is also the political centre of the British Commonwealth, one of the world's banking, financial, commercial, industrial, cultural and historical centres, and one of the greatest ports. At the moment, London is one of the largest cities in the world, with over 7 million inhabitants.

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotlandand is known for its ancient castle and university.

Cardiff is the capital of Wales. It is one of the greatest coal-shopping ports in the world.

Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland. It's the most important seaport with the biggest shipyard in the U.K.

Other Important Towns and Cities

Glasgow - the most important industrial area in Scotland. It used to be the second largest town in the U.K., but has now been surpassed by Birmingham. Both Glasgow and Birmingham have more then 1 million inhabitants.

Leeds and Manchester are homes of the cotton industry. Manchester is also known for its newspaper publishing industry.

Oxford (lying at the upper part of the Thames) and Cambridge (lying on the river Cam) are seats of world-famous universities, dating back to 12th and 13th century.

Stratford-upon-Avon - the birthplace of William Shakespeare. He died there as well and is buried there (in the HolyTrinityChurch).

Canterbury - known due to writer Geoffrey Chaucer and his Canterbury Tales. (G.Ch. - "father of English poetry")

Liverpool and many others towns (Manchester) are known for their football clubs. Liverpool is also the Beatles hometown.

Every town in the U.K., that has a cathedral, is called city and it would be still city even if it had just a few inhabitants.

The British People and Languages

The British population is not uniform. It consist of the English, the Scots, the Welsh and the Northern Irish. They all can speak English (with regional dialects) as an official language but have also their own languages, utterly alien to English.

The present British nation is a mixture of several races which invaded Britain at various times. The first historically known races were the Celts, who came into Britain in two tribes - the Britons and the Gaels. The Britons have survived in Wales and their Celtic language is still spoken and taught there (a quarter of Welsh population can speak Welsh). Gaelic is still spoken by the Scots and Irish. (Irish form of Gaelic - Erase - is the first language of the IrishRepublic; English is the second language there.)

In the middle of the 5th century started coming into Britain the Germanic tribes. Their language was Anglo-Saxon. Later on, Anglo-Saxons mixed with the Normand French who invaded England in the 11th century. The mixture of the two languages with a proportion of Latin formed Modern English. Strictly speaking, Modern English is a Germanic language with many French words.

In the U.K. are also many ethnic minorities speaking their own languages (Hindi, Turkish, Greek, Cantonese ...)

The British System of Government

Great Britain is a constitutional monarchy with the sovereign - HM Queen Elizabeth II. - as a head of the state as well as the head of Church of England (Protestant), and the government. The sovereign isn't very powerful but his powers in government aren't strictly defined.

The government ("Her Majesty's Government") consists of two houses: the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The members of the House of Commons are elected by General Election and we can find there members of all political parties. The Prime Minister becomes a leader of the party, which won the general election (Tony Blair, the Labour Party). The members of the House of Lords are people who either inherited or got their titles.

The two main political parties in Britain are the Conservative Party and the Labour Party. Other parties are: the Social and Liberal Democrat Party, Communist Party of GB and the National Front (which is a neo-fascist group).

The Royal Family

The current British monarch is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II from the House of Hanover. Her husband is Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh. They have four children: Prince Charles the Prince of Wales, the eldest one, Princess Anne the Princess Royal, Prince Andrew the Duke of York and the youngest one Prince Edward.

Not long ago, the mother of the present Queen was living - her official title was Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

For about last two hundred years, the role of the monarch and the royal family has been mainly ceremonial and representative. They have little direct power and are not actively involved in the politics of the state.

For British society are very important and the majority of the nation like and admire them.

The official seat of the royal family is WindsorCastle near London, but when the Queen is in London her residence is BuckinghamPalace.

The Queen is also the official head of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

The British Climate

Thanks the warm Gulf Stream the British Isles have a mild climate. The temperature seldom reaches extremes of cold and heat. The winters are milder and the summers cooler then on the Continent.

Because of western winds bringing rainfall there are many showers, mists and fog in Britain.

Weather can change very rapidly within a couple of hours and therefore the weather forecasts are often complicated to create.

The natural resources

Britain is not very rich in natural resources, except for coal. It is the third in the world (after USA and Russia) in coal production. The most important coal-mining areas are:

a) Central England (York, Nottingham) - produces about 48%

b) North-East England(Newcastle) - coal has been mined here since the Middle Ages

c) Western England (Lancashire)

d) the Midlands (Stratford, Leicester, Warwick)

e) South Wales - produces anthracite

f) the Scottish Lowlands (between Edinburgh and Glasgow)

There are also some resources of iron ore, tin, copper, zinc, lead, china-clay, salt and limestone in Britain.

Economy – Industry & Agriculture

On one hand Britain doesn't have many natural resources but on the other hand it is one of the leading industrial countries. It has highly developed technology (HI-TEC), is strong in automobile, banking, chemical, electronics, shipbuilding, machinery and textile industry.

Only 1,5 % of labour force work in agriculture, 30% in manufacturing and engineering, and 59 % in services.

30 % of land is arable and the main agricultural products are grain, sugar beet, fruit an vegetables. Britain is famous for breeding cattle and sheep, as well. (In Britain live more sheep than people.)

The main Britain's trading partners are Germany, USA, France and the Netherlands.

Other Facts About Britain

Currency: 1 Pound (£) = 100 pence (p)

pozn.: Velká Británie a Irsko tvoří spojené království (ne, že spojené království je Anglie, Skotsko a Wales, a Severní Irsko je jako k tomu)

AJ – Maturitní otázka č. 4



essential = podstatný

to lie = ležet; gerundiální tvar = lying

to the north-west = na/v severozápadní

to consist of st. = skládat se z něčeho

scattered = rozptýlený

to be occupied by st. = být něčím zabraný

population = obyvatelstvo

density = hustota

population density = hustota zalidnění

to comprise st. = skládat se zněčeho, zahrnovat něco

to be situated = být umístěný

to take st. into account = brát něco na vědomost

to take up = zabírat

one-sixth = jedna šestina

whereas = kdežto

self-governing = samosprávný, autonomní

adjacent = přilehlý

Normandy = Normandie

archipelago = souostroví

fringing = lemující

the chalk cliffs = křídové útesy

European continent = evropský kontinent

to be connected by st. = být prostřednictvím něčeho spojen

to separate st. from st. = oddělit něco od něčeho

to get over st. = dostat se pře něco

to be divided into st. = být na něco rozdělen

constitution monarchy = konstituční monarchie

county = hrabství

dependency = závislé území

largely = převážně, zvelké části

navigable = splavný

linked = spojený

numerous = četný

canal = průplav

inland = vnitrozemí

Victorian Ages = viktoriánská doba

industrial revolution = průmyslová revoluce

estuary = ústí řeky

tide = příliv a odliv

to penetrate = proniknout, dostat se

to enable = umožnit

far off the coast = vzdálený od pobřeží

loch = jezero

roughly = zhruba

region = oblast

highland = vrchovina, vysočina

lowland = nížina

range of mountains = pohoří

peak = vrchol

Roman times = římská doba

seaport = námořní přístav, přístavní město

shipyard = loděnice

to surpass = přečit, překonat

inhabitant = obyvatel

cotton industry = průmysl zpracovávající bavlnu

newspaper publishing industry = průmysl vydávající noviny

upper = horní

birthplace = rodiště

poetry = poezie

uniform = jednotný

dialect = nářečí

utterly = naprosto, úplně

alien = odlišný, jiný

race = rasa

to invade sw.= vpadnout někam

various = různý

tribe = kmen

proportion = část, podíl

to form = vytvořit

ethnic= národnostní

minority = menšina

Hindi = hindština

Cantonese = kantonská čínština

sovereign = panovník

to define = přesně vymezit

political party = politická strana

fascist = fašistický, fašista

monarch = monarcha, panovník

ceremonial = formální, reprezentativní

representative = reprezentativní

to be involved in st. = být do něčeho zapleten

majority = většina

to admire = obdivovat

residence = sídlo, rezidence

climate = podnebí

the Gulf Stream = Golfský proud

mild = mírný

seldom = zřídka

extremes = extrémy (dva)

rainfall = množství srážek

rapidly = prudce, náhle, rychle

within = během

natural resources = přírodní zdroje

coal = uhlí

to mine = těžit

the Middle Ages = středověk

anthracite = antracit

iron ore = železná ruda

tin = cín

copper = měď

zinc = zinek

lead = olovo

china-clay = kaolín

limestone = vápenec

agricultue = zemědělství

machinery = stroje, strojní zařízení

labour force = pracovní síla

arable = obdělávatelný

grain = obilí

suger beet = cukrová řepa

dvakrát více než = twice more than

příslušníci národa jako celek (Češi) = the (Czech)

the British IslesGreat BritainEngland, Scotland, Wales

IrelandNorthern Ireland

the IrishRepublic (the Republic of Ireland)

adjacent islandsthe Isle of Wight

the Isles of Scilly


the Isle of Man

the Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney)

the Hebrides

the Orkneys

watersthe North Sea

the Atlantic Ocean

the Irish Sea

theEnglish Channel

dependenciesthe Isle of Man

the Channel Islands


canals the ManchesterShip Canal

rivers with valuable estuariesthe Severn (Bristol)

the Thames (London)

the Mersey (Liverpool)

the Humber (Hull)

the Clyde (Glasgow)

the Forth (Edinburgh)

important riversEnglandthe Thames

the Severn

Scotland  the Clyde

Ireland  the Shannon

lakesEngland  the Lake District – lakeDerwentwater

Scottish HighlandsLoch Lomond

Loch Ness

mountainsEngland the Lake District

the Cheviot Hills

the Pennines

Wales  the Cambrian (Snowdon)

Scotlandthe Scottish Highlands

the Southern Uplands – theGrampians (Ben Nevis)

capitalsEngland London

Scotland Edinburgh

Wales Cardiff

Northern IrelandBelfast

other townsGlasgow








tribesthe Celtsthe Britons with Celtic

the Gaels with Gaelic

the Germanic tribes with Anglo-Saxon

the Normand French

governmentofficial head but powerless: the sovereign

two partsthe House of Commons

the House of Lords

political partiesthe Labour Party

the Conservative Party

the Social and Liberal Democrat Party

Communist Party of GB

National Front (neo-fascist group)

the royal familyHer Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II.

Prince Phillip the duke of Edinburgh

Prince Charles the Prince of Wales

Princess Anne the Princess Royal

Prince Andrew the Duke of York

Prince Edward