United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is situated on
the British Isles [`ailz] – a large group of islands lying off the
north-western coasts of Europe and separated from the continent by
the English Channel and the Strait of Dover [`douvз]
in the south and the North Sea in the east.
British Isles consist of two large islands – Great Britain and
Ireland, and a lot of small islands, the main of which are the Isle
of Wight [wait] in the English Channel, Anglesea [`æŋglsi:] and the
Isle of Man in the Irish Sea, the Hebrides [`hebridi:z] – a group
of islands off the north-western coast of Scotland, and two groups of
islands lying to the north of Scotland: the Orkney [`o:kni] Islands
and the Shetland [`∫etlзnd]
the territory of the United Kingdom is divided into four parts:
England, Scotland (including the Orkney and Shetland Islands), Wales
and Northern Ireland. The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands between
Great Britain and France are largely self-governing, and are not part
of the United Kingdom.
The total area of the United
Kingdom is 242. 000 square kilometres.
main areas of high land are in Scotland, Wales and Cumbria
In the centre
England there is a range of hills called Pennines [`penainz], which
are also known as the “backbone of England”. Nearly the whole of
Wales is occupied by the Cumbrians [`kλmbriзnz].
The highest mountains are in Scotland and Wales: Ben Nevis is 1. 343
metres and Snowdon [`snowdon] is 1. 085 meters.
rivers of Britain are short, the water level in them is always high.
The rivers seldom freeze in winter. Many of them are joined together
by canals [kз`nælz].
This system of rivers and canals provided a good means of cheap
inland water transport.
most important rivers are the Severn [`sevзn],
the Thames, the Tyne [tain], the Trent [trent], the Mersey [`mз:zi]
and the Clyde [klaid].
lakes are rather small and have no outlets. They afford [з`fo:d]
limited ,eco`nomic possibilities in the system of navigable
water ways. But most of them are famous for their unique beauty and
Britain is rich in coal. There are rich coal basins [`beisnz] in
South Wales, North Wales and near Glasgow. Among other mineral
resources there is iron, tin (олово),
Great Britain is situated in
the temperate [`temprit] zone of Europe. The nature of Great Britain
is greatly affected by the sea: there is no place situated more than
100–120 km from the seashore, in the northern parts only 40–60
climate is generally mild and temperate. Prevailing winds are
south-westerly and as these winds blow from the Atlantic they are
mild in winter and cool in summer. Due to the prevalence [`prevзlзns]
of mild south-west winds and the Gulf Stream, which flows from the
Gulf of Mexico, Great Britain has warmer winters than any other
`district in the same latitude.
mild winters mean that snow is a regular feature of the higher areas
only. Occasionally, a whole winter goes by in lower-lying parts
without any snow at all.
popular belief that it rains all the time in Britain is simply not
true. The image [`imidg] of a wet foggy land was created two
thousand years ago by the invading [in`veidiŋ] Romans. In fact,
London gets no more rain in a year than most other major European
cities, and less than some.
The amount of rain falls on a
town in Britain depends on where it is. The wettest part of Britain
are the areas where high mountains lie near the west coast: the
western Highlands of Scotland and Lake `District and North Wales.
Autumn and winter are the wettest seasons, except in the Thames
district, where most rains fall in the summer.
its mild climate and varied [`veзrid]
soils, Britain has a rich natural vegetation [,vedgi`tei∫n]. When
the islands were first settled, oak forests probably covered the
greater part of the lowland. Now woodlands occupy only about 7 per
cent of the surface of the country. The greatest density [`densiti]
of woodland occurs in the north and east of Scotland, in some parts
of south-east England and on the Welsh border. The most common trees
are oak, beech (бук),
and in Scotland also pine and birch.
of countryside England is agricultural land, about a third of which
is arable [`ærзbl]
and the rest is pasture [`pa:st∫з]
the disappearance of forest, many forest animals, including the wolf,
the bear, the boar, the deer and the Irish elk [elk] –
have become practically extinct [iks`tiŋkt] –
There are foxes in most rural [`ruзrзl]
areas, and otters [`otзz]
are found along many rivers and streams. Of smaller animals there are
mice, rats, hedgehogs, moles, squirrels, hares, rabbits and weasels
[`wi:zlz] – ласки.
are a lot of birds, including many song-birds. Blackbirds, sparrows
and starlings –
are probably most common. There are many sea-birds, which nest round
Early History of Great Britain
Men have lived in Britain for
at least 250 000 years. Early men lived in caves and hunted animals
for food. Gradually they learned to grow corn and breed domestic
animals. They made primitive tools and weapons of stone.
three thousand years BC the British Isles were inhabited
[in`hæbitid] by a people, who came to be known as the Iberians
[ai`biзriзnz] because some of their descendants are still found in
the north of Spain (the
people were religious. Some temples
which they built stand in many parts of England and Scotland. They
are just circles of great stones standing vertically. The greatest of
them is Stonehenge
[`stounhendg]. It was built on Salisbury
some time between 3050 and 2300 BC. It is one of the most famous and
in the world. One of its mysteries is how it was built at all with
the technology of the time (the stones come from over 200 miles away
in Wales). Another is its purpose. It appears to function as a kind
and it was used by the Druids
[`dru:idz], the Celtic priests, for ceremonies marking the passing of
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The Celtic Period
500–600 BC new peoples from the Continent arrived in Britain. They
were called the Celts. They introduced Iron Age cultures into the
than one Celtic tribe
Britain. Celtic tribes called the Picts
[`penitreitid] into the mountains of North; some Picts as well as
tribes of Scots crossed over to Ireland and settled there. Later the
Scots returned to the larger island and settled in the North beside
the Picts. They came in such large numbers that in time the name of
Scotland was given to that country. Powerful Celtic tribes, the
held most of the country, and the southern half of the island was
named Britain after them. Most of the Iberians were slain in the
conflict; some of them were driven westwards into the mountains of
what is now Wales and the others probably mixed with the Celts.
Celts did not write down the events themselves. Other peoples (the
Greeks and the Romans) who knew them described them in their books.
The earliest writer from whom we have learned much about the Celts
was the famous Roman general Julius
[`d3u:ljзs `si:zз]. He tells us that the Celts were tall and
blue-eyed. They wore long flowing moustaches but no beards. They
lived in tribes, and were ruled by chiefs whom all the tribesmen
[`traibzmзn] obeyed. The chiefs were military leaders and some of
them were very powerful. The military leaders of the largest tribes
were sometimes called kings.
Celts had no towns; they lived in villages. They were acquainted with
the use of copper, tin and iron and they kept large herds
[hз:dz] of cattle and sheep which formed their chief wealth. They
also cultivated crops, especially corn (зерно,
of the Celtic tribes were quite large and fighting was common among
them. In war-time the Celts wore skins and painted their faces with a
blue dye to make themselves look fierce. They were armed with swords
and spears and used chariots
[`t∫æriзts] on the battle-field.
[`wз:∫ipt] Nature. They were polytheistic
They believed that the sky, the sun, the moon, the earth and the sea
were ruled by beings like themselves, but much more powerful. They
also believed in many nameless spirits who lived in the rivers, the
lakes, mountains and thick forests. Some plants, such as the
and the oak-tree, were considered sacred
The Celts sacrificed
[`sækrifaist] animals and human beings to their gods. Sometimes
were placed into a great wicker
basket and burnt, sometimes they were slain with knives.
Celts believed in another life after death. They were taught by
priests called Druids [`dru:idz], that their souls passed after death
from one body to another. The druids lived near groves of oak-trees
which were considered to be sacred places. No one was allowed to come
near without permission. The druids were very important and powerful,
sometimes, more powerful than the chiefs. They often acted as
They were also teachers and doctors.
women were also considered to be very important. There were women
prophets, and women warriors
[`woriзz] who trained young men in arms; some women were made
[`traibзl] chiefs and called queens.
tribal – племенной,
– вторгаться, захватывать
– древние бритты
– Юлий Цезарь
– приносить в жертву
– корзина из ивовых прутьев
The Roman Period
In the year 55 BC the Romans
under Julius Caesar [`d3u:ljзs `si:zз] first landed in Britain.
Their aim was to assess
[з`ses] the wealth of the country with a view to absorbing
[з`bso:biŋ] it later into the Empire
[`empaiз]. Caesar expected to conquer Britain easily. In fact, it
was not easy work, for the Britons fought bravely. But the Romans had
better arms and armour
[`a:mз], and were much better trained. The Britons could not stop
them. Having stayed in Britain some time, the Romans left and did not
appear on the British shores for about a hundred years. Then, in 43
AD, the Roman Emperor
[`klo:djзs] sent 40 000 men to invade Britain. He decided to make
Britain a Roman province
[`provins]. But there was a lot of hard fighting to be done before
Britain was conquered. By the year 49 AD most of Lowland England was
under Roman control. The last serious resistance
[ri`zistзns] of the Celts came in 61 AD, when Boadicea
[`bu:dikз || bu:`dikз]),
queen of Iceni
let her people in revolt
The revolt was suppressed and the queen took prison.
Roman province of Britannia
[bri`tænjз] covered most of present-day England and Wales. But the
North of Scotland was not occupied by Romans. The Romans imposed
[im`pouzd] their own way of life and culture, making use of the
existing Celtic aristocracy
[,æris`tokrзsi] to govern and encouraging this ruling class to
adopt Roman dress and Roman language (Latin).
Romans founded the first cities, including Londinium
(London); they built roads from one town to another, many of these
roads are still in use today. The Romans remained in Britain for
three hundred and fifty years, but despite their long occupation of
the country, they left very little behind. Most of their villas
[`vilзz], temples, cities and roads were soon destroyed. Almost the
only lasting reminder of their presence are place-names like Chester
which include variants of the Roman word “castra” (which means ‘a
410, when Roman power all over the world was fast declining and when
Rome wanted all the soldiers at home, the Roman army went away.
Roman soldiers left Britain the Celts remained independent but not
long. From the middle of the 5th
century they had to defend the country against the attacks of
tribes from the Continent. In the 5th
century first the Jutes
[d3u:ts] and then other Germanic tribes – the Saxons
and the Angles
began to migrate
[mai`greit] to Britain.
In 449 the
Jutes landed in Kent and this was the beginning of the conquest. The
British natives fought fiercely against the invaders and it took more
than a hundred and fifty years for the Angles, the Saxons and the
Jutes to conquer the country. The final refuge
[`refju:d3] of the Celts was Cornwall
[`ko:nwзl] and Wales and the northern part of the island (Scotland)
where the Celts were still living in tribes, later on some
independent states were formed. The Celts of Ireland remained
By the end
of the 6th
and the beginning of the 7th
century several kingdoms were formed on the territory of Britain
conquered by the Germanic tribes. Kent was set up by the Jutes in the
south-east. In the southern and the south-eastern part of the country
the Saxons formed a number of kingdoms – Sussex
[`wesiks] and Essex
[`esiks]. The Angles founded Northumbria
[no:`θΛmbriз] in the north, Mercia
[`mз:∫iз] in the middle and East
[`i:st`æŋgliз] in the east. These kingdoms were hostile
[`hostail] to one another and they fought constantly for supreme
power in the country.
the Saxons and the Angles were closely akin
[з`kin] in speech and customs, and they gradually merged
[`mз:d3d] into one people, which was called the Anglo-Saxons.
Anglo-Saxons disliked towns and cities, they preferred to live in the
countryside. They introduced new farming methods and founded the
thousands of small villages which formed the basis of English society
for the next thousand or so years. In their villages they bred cows,
sheep and pigs. They ploughed
the fields and grew wheat, rye or oats for bread and barley for beer.
Anglo-Saxons were tall, strong men, with blue eyes and long blond
hair. They were dressed in tunics
[`tju:niks] and cloaks which they fastened with a brooch above the
right shoulder. On their feet they wore rough leather shoes. Their
usual weapons were a spear and a shield. Some rich men had iron
swords, which they carried at their left side. The women wore long
dresses with wide sleeves. Their heads were covered with a hood.
Anglo-Saxons were pagans
[`peigзnz] when they came to Britain. Christianity
spread throughout Britain from two different directions during the
centuries. It came directly from Rome when
St. Augustine [з`gΛstin]
in 597 and established
[is`tæbli∫t] his headquarters
[`hed`kwo:tзz] at Canterbury[`kæntзbзri]
the south-east of England. But Christianity had already been
introduced into Scotland and northern England from Ireland, which had
become Christian more than 150 years earlier. Although Roman
[i`ventjuзli] took over the whole of the British Isles, the Celtic
Scotland and Ireland for several hundred years.
– св. Августин
century Britain experienced another wave of Germanic invasions
These invaders, known as Vikings
[`no:smзn] or Danes
came from Scandinavia
Danes were the same Germanic race as the Anglo-Saxons themselves.
They still lived in tribes. They were still pagans. They worshipped
the god of War, Thor
[θo:] and the other old gods whom the Anglo-Saxons had forgotten.
Danes were well armed – with swords, spears, daggers
[`bætlæks] and bows. They were bold and skilful seamen. Their ships
were sailing-boats but they were also provided with oars
The sails were often striped red and blue and green. At the prow
[prau] of the ship there was usually a carved dragon’s head which
rose high out of the water.
793 the Danes carried out their first raids on Britain. Their
earliest raids were for plunder
[`plΛndз] only. They came in spring and summer (in three or four
ships) and returned home for the winter. Every year they went to
different places, thus all the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms faced the same
dangerous enemy. In later years large Danish [`deini∫] fleets (more
than three hundred ships) brought large armies to conquer and settle
in the new lands. They didn’t go home for the winter but they made
large well-guarded camps, from which the Danes made many raids upon
the villages in the area.
The Danish raids were
successful because the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms had neither a regular
army nor a fleet in the North Sea to meet them. Soon the Danes
conquered Northumbria, Mercia and East Anglia. Only Wessex was left
to face the enemy.
had united the small Anglo-Saxon kingdoms and under the reign of King
(871–899) became the centre of resistance against the invaders.
Alfred, who became known in English history as Alfred the Great,
managed to raise an army and built the first British fleet. He made
new rules for the army, in which every free man had to serve and to
come provided with the proper weapons. Many places which could be
easily attacked by the enemy were fortified
Earthen walls were built around them. These walls were protected by
fighting men who owned lands in the neighborhood.
a result of all these measures, the Anglo-Saxons won several
victories over the Danes. The Danes left Wessex and a part of Mercia.
They settled in the north-eastern part of England, a region that was
from that time called the Danelaw,
because it was ruled according to the law of the Danes.
the end of the 10th
century the Danish invasions were resumed
[ri`zju:md]. The Anglo-Saxon kings were unable to organize any
effective resistance and they tried to buy off the Danes. The
Anglo-Saxon kings gave them money to leave them in peace. The result
was that they came again in greater numbers the following year to
demand more. In order to make this payment to the Danes in 991 the
government imposed a heavy tax called Danegeld
or Dane money.
the beginning of the 11th
century England was conquered by the Danes once more. The Danish King
[kз`nu:t] (1017–1035) became king of Denmark, Norway and England.
He made England the centre of his power. But he was often away from
England in his kingdom of Denmark and so he divided the country into
four parts called earldoms
They were Wessex, Mercia, Northumbria and East Anglia. An earl
[`з:l] was appointed by the king to rule over each great earldom. To
win the support of the big Anglo-Saxon lords, Canute promised to rule
according to the old Anglo-Saxon laws. He sent back most of his
Danish followers to their own country. He usually chose Anglo-Saxon
nobles for the high posts of earls and other royal officials. He
became a Christian and sent monks
[mΛŋks] from Canterbury to convert
subjects in Scandinavia to Christianity too. Supported by the
Anglo-Saxon lords Canute ruled in England till he died. After the
death of Canute his kingdom split up and soon afterwards an
Anglo-Saxon king came to the throne (1042) and the line of Danish
kings came to an end.
норманны, древние скандинавы
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... GreatBritain is divided into Lowland Britain and Highland Britain. Lowland Britain ... Sheffield, Bristоl, Leeds, Edinburgh. GreatBritain is a constitutional monarchy. The ... GreatBritain is divided into Lowland Britain and Highland Britain. Lowland Britain ...
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