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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,often known as UK, United Kingdom or Britain, is a sovereign state positioned off the north western coast of continental Europe. It is an island but also includes, Great Britain, the northeastern part of the island of Ireland, and many small islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK with a land border, shared with the Republic of Ireland. The rest of the UK is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, the English Channel and the Irish Sea. The largest island, Great Britain, is now linked to France by the Channel Tunnel.

The United Kingdom has a monarchy and forms one state unitary consisting of four countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Governed by a parliamentary system with its government in London, the capital. However, three devolved national administrations of varying powers are based in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh, the capitals of Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. The Channel Island bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey, and the Isle of Man are Crown Dependencies, they are therefore constitutionally tied to the British monarch but are not part of the UK. In addition the UK has fourteen overseas territories that are not constitutionally part of the UK. These territories are remains of the British Empire, which in 1922 included almost a quarter of the world's land surface, the largest empire in history. British influence is still noticable in the language, culture and legal systems of many of its former colonies.

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