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The United Kingdom (also known as Britain) is a nation in Northern Europe which is the hub of an empire which was once the largest the world had ever seen.
The United Kingdom was originally formed out of the union of the Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland in 1801. England already had a large colonial empire but with Scots and Irish support it was given a whole new lease of life. It expanded its colonies in North America, Southern Africa and Oceania. A massive population growth in Great Britain itself may have had something to do with this.
The colony of Canada expanded with the aid of the Hudson's Bay Company which also went on to create Columbia out of various colonies in Western North America. The Cape Colony subdued various Boer Republics as well as expanding and creating the colony of Rhodesia. In Oceania, the colonies of Australia, New Zealand and New Guinea all prospered. In India, the British Raj held power on most of the subcontinent.
The UK continued to directly control the affairs of its colonies throughout the rest of the 19th century and the early 20th century. However various wars and the nationalism spreading across Africa lead to the decay of the once great empire. A few smaller colonial remnants still linger today as links to the mother country. This helps to alleviate, Britain's terrible overpopulation problem, with the homeless and the unemployed being given a chance to travel to a colony of the empire for free.
In the 1980's, Ireland gained independence after many years of insurgency and violence, Great Britain relinquished its hold on its first and oldest colony.
Great Britain remains a powerful nation with great influence on the international scene. It retains ties to its former colonies through the Commonwealth of Nations and especially to those who are Commonwealth realms.
Britain has a wide number of serious social problems. Thanks to immigration back to the UK from a number of colonies and the active encouragement of Indians, Caribbeans and Chinese to come to Britain to provide a cheap workforce, in combination with new medicines and industry that heightened the standard of living, the population exploded. Now in 2010 the country has a population of 90,000,000. This has lead to widespread unemployment and various far-right groups like the BNP and the paramilitary National Front terrorise the streets. In recent years, a number of new towns and cities have been constructed across the sparsely populated areas of Wales and Scotland to alleviate the problem. The Scottish Highlands have been nicknamed 'New Manchuria' because of the sudden appearance of widespread Chinese populations.
Industry is still an important aspect of the British economy, though less so in recent years. Its colonial possessions offer a sizeable income in terms of reducing unemployment and poverty as well as through tourism. Agriculture is less important though Great Britain does acquire more food from its colonies. Britain is more powerful in terms of finance. The City is one of the largest financial centres in the world with a massive concentration of banks and corporations.