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Great Britian


Great Britain is the eighth largest island in the world. It is composed of three political divisions: Wales, Scotland, and England. The British flag, known as the Union Jack, is a combination of the English, Scottish, and Irish flags. It graphically represents the unity among the three areas.

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Country Background
Great Britain is a subsection of a bigger country called the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom includes Wales, Scotland, England, and Northern Ireland, an area in the northwest corner of the island of Ireland.

Great Britain used to be a huge power, with many colonies in its possession. The possessions that comprised the British Empire helped ensure Britain stable political and economic strength. Over time that strength has decreased, as colonies like Jamaica and Australia became independent nations. There remain some British dependencies, such as Gibraltar.

Geographically, the English Channel separates the United Kingdom from continental Europe. In 1926, Gertrude Ederle, an American Olympic medalist became the first woman to swim across the channel. Today, it is much easier to cross the channel. It is possible to take a ferry, a hovercraft, a train, or even your own car to the other side of the channel. The newest way to cross is through the Channel Tunnel.

The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, presided over by the British monarchy. The present monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who acts as head of state. A cabinet of senior officials actually governs the country according to a parliamentary system, headed by a prime minister. The Houses of Parliament, the seat of the British government, are in London at the Palace of Westminster. One of the towers on the Palace of Westminster boasts the well-known clock referred to as Big Ben. As the capital city of England, London is important politically, economically, and culturally.

Britain joined the European Union in 1973 when it was known as the European Economic Community. As a member of the European Union, Britain can trade goods and skills freely with other members of the Union.

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There is a lot more to learn about Great Britain!

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Coaches Notes

International Paralympic Committee
International Paralympic Committee

US Paralympics
US Paralympics

Canadian Paralympic Committee
Canadian Paralympic Committee



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