England is a diverse country with wonderful people. Thirst Missions desires to come alongside the local church and make a difference throughout the country by bringing amazing groups to serve, encourage, and share Jesus Christ’s message and love. We pray that you’ll fall in love with the people, the land, the history, and the beauty of this incredible country for yourself.
Location: Western Europe, northwest of France
Area: 50,346 square miles (about half the size of California)
Largest City: London, 12 million
England’s Population: 51.4 million
Coastline: 4,920 miles
Climate: Temperate; moderated by prevailing southwest winds over the North Atlantic Current; more than half of the days are overcast
Terrain: Mostly rugged hills and low mountains; level to rolling plains in east and southeast
Elevation extremes: Highest peak – Scafell Pike (979m), lowest elevation – Fenland (-4m)
Natural resources: Coal, petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, lead, zinc, gold, tin, limestone, salt, clay, chalk, gypsum, potash, silica sand, slate, arable land
- England is 74 times smaller than the USA, 59 times smaller than Australia and 3 times smaller than Japan. England is however 2.5 times more populous than Australia, and 1.5 times more populous than California.
- The highest temperature ever recorded in England was 38.5°C (101.3°F ) in Brogdale, Kent, on 10 August 2003.
- The Slimbridge Wildlife & Wetlands Trust is the world’s largest and most diversified wildfowl centre. It has the largest collection of swans, geese, and ducks on Earth, and is the only place where all six species of Flamingo can still be observed.
- Mother Shipton’s Cave near Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, is England’s oldest recorded tourist attraction. Its owner, Charles Slingsby, fenced off the site in 1630 and started charging visitors to gape at this so-called petrifying well. The mineral-rich water from this uncanny spring has the ability to give objects a stone-like appearance after a prolonged exposure.
- French was the official language of England for about 300 years, from 1066 till 1362.
- Public schools in England are in fact very exclusive and expensive (£13,500/year in average) private schools. Ordinary schools (which are free), are called state schools.
- The English class system is not determined by money, but by one’s background (family, education, manners, way of speaking). Many nouveau-riches, like pop-stars or football players, insist on their still belonging to the lower or middle class.
- Oxford University once had rules that specifically forbade students from bringing bows and arrows to class.
- The world’s largest second-hand book market can be found at Hay-on-Wye, a small village at the border of England and Wales. The village is also famous for proclaiming itself independent from the UK in 1977.
- One of England’s quaintest traditional events is the cheese rolling competition in Brockworth, Gloucestershire.
- Silburry Hill, in the English county of Wiltshire, is the largest man-made earthen mound in Europe. It was built about 4750 years ago.
- The stone circle at Avebury is the largest in the world. It was built between 5300 and 4600 years ago and covers 11 ha (28 acres). The outer circle is surrounded by a bank and ditch long of 1.5 km (1 mile).
- The so-called British Imperial system of measurement (English units in the USA) has its roots in Roman units. The Romans also counted in feet, which they divided in 12 inches (unciae in Latin, from which the English word is derived). 5 feet made a pace, and 1000 paces (mille passus) became a mile in English. The Roman gallon was the congius (worth 0.92 U.S. gallons). The word pint comes from Latin picta (“painted”), via the Old French pinte, and corresponded to a painted mark on a vessel indicating this measure. Other units like the pound only evolved in the Middle Ages.
- Colchester in Essex is the oldest recorded town in Britain, as well as the first Roman town and Roman capital of Britain.
- The Fossdyke, connecting the River Trent at Torksey to Lincoln, is the oldest canal in Britain. It was built by the Romans around 120 CE and is still navigable today.
- Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest royal residence in the world still in use. It was originally constructed in 1070 and rebuilt in stone in 1170.
- Berkeley Castle is the oldest English castle still inhabited by the family who built it. The founder of the Berkeley family was Robert Fitzharding (c. 1095–1170). He started building the present castle from 1153.
- Winchester was the first capital of England, from 827 to 1066. Winchester Cathedral, completed in 1070, has the longest nave of any medieval cathedral in Europe.
- York Minster is Britain’s largest medieval cathedral, has the largest Gothic nave in the country, and the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the world.
- The first building in the world to overtake the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt was Lincoln Cathedral, completed in 1280. Had its spired not been destroyed by a storm in 1549, it would have remained the highest construction ever built in the world until 1884, when the Washington Monument was erected.
- The county of Kent is home to England’s oldest church (St Martin’s in Canterbury), oldest school (the King’s School, established in 600, also in Canterbury), and oldest brewery (Shepherd’s Neame Brewery in Faversham, founded in 1698).
- Founded in 1534, Cambridge University Press is the world’s oldest printing and publishing house, and the second largest university press in the world.
- The national anthem of the United States (“The Star-Spangled Banner”) was composed by an Englishman, John Stafford Smith (1750-1836) from Gloucester.
- During the first three decades of the 19th century, West Cornwall produced two thirds of the world’s copper. The smelting of copper ore was subsequently transferred to Swansea, in South Wales, which became the global centre for the trade during most of the century.
- It is in England that the first postage stamps appeared. The first Penny Post was invented by entrepreneur William Dockwra in the 1680’s for delivery of packets within London.
- The custom of afternoon tea was devised in 1840 by Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford, who felt the need for an extra meal between lunch and dinner. She began inviting her friends to join her, and the custom quickly spread around British society and throughout the British Empire. Britain’s first tea room was opened in 1864 by the Aerated Bread Company at London Bridge.
- In 1884, Charles Parsons invented the steam turbine, which made cheap and plentiful electricity possible. In 1894 he launched the first steam turbine-powered boat, the Turbinia, by far the fastest ship in the world at the time.
- The statue of Anteros on Piccadilly Circus (1892) was the world’s first statue to be cast in aluminium.
- The world’s first drive through safari park opened at Longleat House (Wiltshire) in 1966.
The United Kingdom has historically played a leading role in developing parliamentary democracy and in advancing literature and science. At its zenith in the 19th century, the British Empire stretched over one-fourth of the earth’s surface. The first half of the 20th century saw the UK’s strength seriously depleted in two world wars and the Irish Republic’s withdrawal from the union.
The second half witnessed the dismantling of the Empire and the UK rebuilding itself into a modern and prosperous European nation. As one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council and a founding member of NATO and the Commonwealth, the UK pursues a global approach to foreign policy. The Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, and the Northern Ireland Assembly were established in 1999.
The UK was an active member of the EU from 1973 to 2016, although it chose to remain outside the Economic and Monetary Union. However, frustrated by a remote bureaucracy in Brussels and massive migration into the country, UK citizens on 23 June 2016 narrowly voted to leave the EU. The so-called “Brexit” will take years to carry out but could be the signal for referenda in other EU countries where skepticism of EU membership benefits is strong.
Type of Government: Parliamentary Democracy
Parliamentary System: Bicameral (House of Commons and House of Lords)
Administrative Division: 9 regions divided in 82 counties (including 35 shires, 7 metropolitan counties and 40 unitary authorities)
Head of State: Queen Elizabeth II (since 1952)
Prime Minister: David Cameron (since 2010)
Monetary unit: Pound Sterling (£, GBP)
Fiscal Year: 1 April – 31 March
GDP (nominal): US $2.2 trillion (2006)
GDP per capita at PPP: US $44,000 (2006)
GDP – real growth rate: 1.1% (UK, 2009)
Inflation (consumer prices): 3.8 % (UK, 2009)
Unemployment: 7.9 % (UK, 2009)
Public Debt (% of GDP) : 47.5 (UK, 2008 – CIA)
Main Industries: Banking and finance, steel, transport equipment, oil and gas, coal, tourism
Main Exports: Beverages, chemicals, food, fuels, manufactured goods, tobacco
Main Trading Partners: Germany, USA, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Ireland
Military branches: Army, Royal Navy (includes Royal Marines), Royal Air Force (2013)
Military service age and obligation: 16-33 years of age (officers 17-28) for voluntary military service (with parental consent under 18); no conscription; women serve in military services including some ground combat roles; the UK’s Defense Ministry is expected to further ease existing women’s restrictions by the end of 2016; must be citizen of the UK, Commonwealth, or Republic of Ireland; reservists serve a minimum of 3 years, to age 45 or 55; 17 years 6 months of age for voluntary military service by Nepalese citizens in the Brigade of Gurkhas; 16-34 years of age for voluntary military service by Papua New Guinean citizens (2016)
.5 – England is about half the size of California
53 Million – Number of people who live in England
2 – Shakespeare is the second-most quoted author in English (after the authors of the Bible)
400,000 – Number of “hidden homeless” people in London (squatters, couch surfers, etc)
1670 – Year the Hudson’s Bay Company was founded (it’s the oldest chartered company in the world)
3 – London is the only city to host the Olympics three times in the modern era: 1980, 1948, and 2012
230+ – Languages spoken in London
22 – Brits drink 22 times more tea per capita than Americans
2,400 – Age, in years, of Colchester, England (formerly the capital of Roman Britannia)
16.4 – Years it would take to eat dinner at each restaurant in London if you ate at a new one each night
19 – Number of teams in the British Premier League (soccer is the most popular sport in England)
*used info from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_England