Invasion of Tobago
The Invasion of Tobago was a French invasion of the British-held island of Tobago during the Anglo-French War. On May 24, 1781, the fleet of Comte de Grasse landed troops on the island under the command of General Marquis de Bouillé. By June 2, 1781, they had gained control of the island. In March 1781, France sent a large fleet consisting of 20 ships of the line and a convoy with 6,000 troops to the West Indies under the command of de Grasse, they arrived off the coast of Martinique on 28 April. The French drove off the British fleet led by Sir Samuel Hood, blocking Fort Royal. Hood and the British station commander Admiral George Brydges Rodney joined forces on May 11, 1781 between St. Kitts and Antigua to discuss the French threat. De Grasse met with Martinique's governor, Marquis de Bouillé, developed a plan for capturing Tobago; the French forces were to be divided, with one convoy accompanied by a small number of battle ships to head for Tobago, with the rest of the forces to land on St. Lucia as a diversion.
The forces used in the diversion would be withdrawn and sent to Tobago, reinforcing the first convoy. Led by de Bouillé and accompanied by de Grasse, the St. Lucia platoon withdrew from Martinique on May 8, 1781; the Tobago-bound platoon, led by Blanchelande and accompanied by two ships of the line and a number of frigates, departed on May 9, 1781. Bouillé's force, numbering between 1,200 and 1,500, landed at Gros Islet, a village at the northern tip of St. Lucia, early on May 10, they surprised the small British garrison there, taking about 100 prisoners and seizing military supplies. This prompted General Anthony St Leger, the island's lieutenant governor, to organise the defence of Castries and fortify the slopes of Morne Fortune above that port. Two nights the French troops reembarked on the transports, the fleet sailed off to the windward for several days before returning to Martinique on May 15. Troops numbering 3,000 were embarked, the fleet sailed for Tobago on May 25. Rodney was alerted to the landing, but rather than sailing his whole fleet to St. Lucia, he sailed for Barbados, detaching only a few smaller ships to the island's aid.
He was not informed of the French withdrawal from St. Lucia until he was en route to Barbados, which he reached on May 23. On May 24, the detachment of General Blanchelande arrived at Tobago. Under cover fire from the Pluton and the Experiment, his troops landed near the port of Scarborough, they overran the town's forts, Governor George Ferguson led his remaining forces into the hills. These forces, three to four hundred regulars and four to five hundred militia, established a strong position fortified by cannons on the interior ridge. Blanchelande decided to wait for reinforcements rather than attack the position. Rodney learned of the attack on Tobago on May 27, he detached Francis Samuel Drake and six ships of the line and some troops on May 29 to provide relief to Ferguson, only to learn on June 2 that de Grasse's fleet had arrived and chased Drake away. De Grasse had arrived at Tobago on May 30. De Grasse landed troops on both sides of the island the next day, Bouillé made a junction with Blanchelande outside the British line of defence.
They decided to attack the next day. With the arrival of French reinforcements, Ferguson decided to abandon his position, began a retreat that night; the French gave chase the following morning. It was a sweltering, hot day, both columns had men drop out due to the conditions. By the end of the day, Ferguson realised the situation was hopeless, opened negotiations for terms of surrender. Under the agreed terms, Ferguson's forces surrendered on June 2. Rodney learned of Ferguson's surrender on June 4, sailed out from Barbados; when he spotted de Grasse's fleet, the latter was sailing for Grenada with 24 ships of the line to Rodney's 20. When Ferguson reached London, he and Rodney engaged in a public war of words over Rodney's failure to relieve the island in a timely manner. De Grasse, after Rodney called off his chase, returned to Tobago, embarked some of the troops, returned to Martinique, he sailed in July for Cap-Français, where he was met by a dispatch from the North American fleet, whose news prompted him to sail north to support operations on the Chesapeake Bay that culminated in the pivotal Battle of the Chesapeake and Siege of Yorktown.
The island of Tobago remained in French hands under the terms of the 1783 Treaty of Paris that ended the war. De Grasse, François Joseph Paul; the Operations of the French fleet under the Count de Grasse in 1781-2 Colomb, Philip Howard. Naval warfare, its ruling principles and practice treated Lewis, Charles. Admiral de Grasse and American Independence Southey, Thomas. Chronological history of the West Indies: in Three Volumes Volume 2
Invasion of Trinidad (1797)
On February 18, 1797, a fleet of 18 warships under the command of Sir Ralph Abercromby invaded and took the Island of Trinidad. Within a few days the last Spanish Governor, Don José María Chacón surrendered the island to Abercromby. Effected as a result of the signing of the treaty of San Ildefonso in 1796 by the governments of Spain and France and by virtue of which both nations became allies, turning Spain automatically into enemy of Great Britain. In retaliation, this latter country sent a fleet to the Caribbean with the intention of invading the islands of Trinidad and Puerto Rico, obtaining the surrender of the first, but being repelled in the second. Spain an ally of Great Britain, had been defeated in the War of the Pyrenees against France in 1795 and forced to sign the Peace of Basel. An alliance convention between France and Spain was signed the following year in 1796. British forces in the Caribbean in 1796 had taken French colonies such as Saint Lucia and Dutch colonies in South America.
With the Spanish now at war with Great Britain, the general Ralph Abercromby thought it was right to render Spain's colonies an immediate object of attack. His first target was the Spanish island of Trinidad which being close proximity to Tobago, captured early in the war; the island had been Spanish since the third voyage of Christopher Columbus in 1498 and since 1777 was a province of the Captaincy General of Venezuela. On the 12th of February, an expedition, composed of four sail of the line, two sloops and a bomb-vessel, under the command of Rear-Admiral Henry Harvey, in Prince of Wales, having on board his ship Lieutenant-general Sir Ralph Abercromby, as the commanding officer of the troops to be employed, quit Port-Royal, Martinique. On the 14th the rear-admiral arrived at the port of rendezvous, the island of Carriacou, was there joined by another sail of the line, the 74-gun third-rate, two frigates, three sloops, several transports, containing the troops destined for the attack. On the 15th the squadron and transports again set sail, running between the islands of Carriacou and Grenada.
On the morning of the next day the whole flotilla arrived off Trinidad and steered for the Gulf of Paria. Just as the British squadron had passed through the Great Bocas channel, a Spanish squadron was discovered at anchor in Chaguaramus Bay, consisting of the following four sail of the line and one frigate: San Vincente, Arrogante, San Damaso, Santa Cecilia, all under the command of Rear-Admiral Don Sebastian Ruiz de Apodaca; the apparent strength of the battery on Gaspar Grande island, mounting 20 cannon and two mortars and might have disputed, the entrance to the enemy's anchorage, caused Hardy to order the transports, under the protection of Arethusa and Zebra, to anchor a little further up the gulf, at the distance of about five miles from the town of Port-d'Espagne, while Alarm and Victorieuse kept under sail between the transports and Port-d'Espagne, to prevent any vessels escaping from the latter. In the mean time, the rear-admiral, with his four sail of the line, anchored, in order of battle, within random-shot of the Spanish batteries and line-of-battle ships, to be prepared in case the ships, having all their sails set and appearing to be ready for sea, should attempt during the night to escape.
The British began to observe flames bursting out from one of the Spanish ships. In a short time three others were on fire and all four continued to burn with great fury until daylight; the Spanish had set the ships on fire as most the seamen were ashore. The San-Damaso escaped the conflagration and, without any resistance, was brought off by the boats of the British squadron; the Spaniards meanwhile, had abandoned Gaspar Grande and soon after daylight a detachment of the 14th Regiment of Foot occupied the island. In the course of the day the remainder of the troops landed about three miles from Port of Spain, without the slightest opposition, on the same evening entered the town itself; this led to the Spanish governor José María Chacón offering to capitulate. Abercromby made sir Thomas Picton governor of Trinidad as a British crown colony, with a French-speaking population and Spanish laws. On 17 April 1797, Sir Abercromby fleet invaded the island of Puerto Rico with a force of 6,000-13,000 men, which included German soldiers and Royal Marines and 60 to 64 ships.
Fierce fighting continued for the next days. Both sides suffered heavy losses. On Sunday, April 30 the British began their retreat from San Juan; the next year the British invasion force shared in the allocation of £40,000 for the proceeds of the ships taken at Trinidad and the property found on the island. The governor Picton held the island with a garrison he considered inadequate against the threats of internal unrest and of reconquest by the Spanish, he ensured order by vigorous action, viewed variously as rough-and-ready justice or as arbitrary brutality. During the peace negotiations many of the British inhabitants petitioned against the return of the island to Spain; the Treaty of Amiens temporarily ended hostilities between the United Kingdom. It was signed on 25 March 1802 by Joseph Bonaparte and Marquess Cornwallis as a "Definitive Treaty of Peace." The consequent peace laste
England is a country, part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to Scotland to the north-northwest; the Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south; the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world; the English language, the Anglican Church, English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, the country's parliamentary system of government has been adopted by other nations.
The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation. England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the west; the capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom concentrated around London, the South East, conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century; the Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles"; the Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Anglia peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea; the earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late-ninth-century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The term was used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was part of the English kingdom of Northumbria; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the Domesday Book of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but a few years the Chronicle stated that King Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its modern spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used; the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe, less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons to distinguish them from continental Saxons of Old Saxony between the Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England. An alternative name for England is Albion; the name Albion referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus the 4th-century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth.
In it are two large islands called Britannia. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins, it either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend; the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximate
A bitters is traditionally an alcoholic preparation flavored with botanical matter so that the end result is characterized by a bitter, sour, or bittersweet flavor. Numerous longstanding brands of bitters were developed as patent medicines, but now are sold as digestifs, sometimes with herbal properties, cocktail flavorings; the botanical ingredients used in preparing bitters have consisted of aromatic herbs, roots, and/or fruit for their flavour and medicinal properties. Some of the more common ingredients are cascarilla, gentian, orange peel, cinchona bark. Most bitters contain both water and alcohol, the latter of which functions as a solvent for botanical extracts as well as a preservative; the alcoholic strength of bitters varies across different brands and styles. The earliest origins of bitters can be traced back as far as the ancient Egyptians, who may have infused medicinal herbs in jars of wine; this practice was further developed during the Middle Ages, where the availability of distilled alcohol coincided with a renaissance in pharmacognosy, which made possible far more concentrated herbal bitters and tonic preparations.
Many of the various brands and styles of digestive bitters made today reflect herbal stomachic and tonic preparations whose roots are claimed to be traceable back to Renaissance era pharmacopeia and traditions. By the 19th century, the British practice of adding herbal bitters to Canary wine had become immensely popular in the former American colonies. By 1806, American publications referenced the popularity of a new preparation termed cocktail, described as a combination of “a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar and bitters.”Of the commercial aromatic bitters that would emerge from this period the most well known is Angostura bitters. In spite of its name, the preparation contains no medicinal bark from the angostura tree. In 1824, German physician Dr. Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert compounded a cure for sea sickness and stomach maladies, among other medicinal uses. Dr. Siegert subsequently formed the House of Angostura to sell the bitters to sailors. Another renowned aromatic bitters with 19th-century roots is Peychaud's Bitters, which were developed by apothecary Antoine Amédée Peychaud in New Orleans, is most associated with the Sazerac cocktail.
A broadly popular style of bitters that emerged from the period is orange bitters, the flavor of which ranges from dryly aromatic to fruity, is most made from the rinds of Seville oranges and various spices. Orange bitters are called for in older cocktail recipes. An early recipe for such bitters can be found in the The English and Australian Cookery Book: "Make your own bitters as follows, we can vouch for their superiority. One ounce and a half of gentian-root, one ounce and a half of lemon-peel, one ounce and a half of orange-peel. Steep these ingredients for about a month in a quart of sherry, strain and bottle for use. Bitters are a fine stomachic, but they must be used with caution." Bitters prepared from the tree bark containing the antimalarial quinine were included in historical cocktail recipes, which served to mask the intensely bitter flavor of this medicine. Trace quantities of quinine are still included as a flavoring in tonic water, used today in drinks with gin. Pioneering mixologist Jerry Thomas was responsible for an increase in the popularity of bitters in the United States when he released How to Mix Drinks or The Bon-Vivant's Companion in 1862.
Digestive bitters are consumed either neat or with ice at the end of a meal in many European and South American countries. Many, including popular Italian-style amaros and German-style Kräuter liquors, are used in cocktails as well; some notable examples of digestive bitters available today include: Cocktail bitters are used for flavoring cocktails in drops or dashes. In the United States, many cocktail bitters are classified as alcoholic non-beverage products; as alcoholic non-beverage products, they are available from retailers who do not sell liquor, such as supermarkets in many US states. Some notable examples of cocktail bitters include: Angostura bitters – from Venezuela in 1830 from Trinidad and Tobago Boker’s Bitters – called for in many cocktails in Jerry Thomas' drink guide, many believe he misspelled it as Bogart's bitters, it is essential to the Martinez cocktail. Peychaud's Bitters – from New Orleans, but now produced in Kentucky Amaro Digestif Flavored liquor Gentian Kräuterlikör Orange bitters Purl Shrub Swedish bitters
Venezuela the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, is a country on the northern coast of South America, consisting of a continental landmass and a large number of small islands and islets in the Caribbean Sea. The capital and largest urban agglomeration is the city of Caracas, it has a territorial extension of 916,445 km2. The continental territory is bordered on the north by the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Colombia, Brazil on the south and Tobago to the north-east and on the east by Guyana. With this last country, the Venezuelan government maintains a claim for Guayana Esequiba over an area of 159,542 km2. For its maritime areas, it exercises sovereignty over 71,295 km2 of territorial waters, 22,224 km2 in its contiguous zone, 471,507 km2 of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean under the concept of exclusive economic zone, 99,889 km2 of continental shelf; this marine area borders those of 13 states. The country has high biodiversity and is ranked seventh in the world's list of nations with the most number of species.
There are habitats ranging from the Andes Mountains in the west to the Amazon basin rain-forest in the south via extensive llanos plains, the Caribbean coast and the Orinoco River Delta in the east. The territory now known as Venezuela was colonized by Spain in 1522 amid resistance from indigenous peoples. In 1811, it became one of the first Spanish-American territories to declare independence, not securely established until 1821, when Venezuela was a department of the federal republic of Gran Colombia, it gained full independence as a country in 1830. During the 19th century, Venezuela suffered political turmoil and autocracy, remaining dominated by regional caudillos until the mid-20th century. Since 1958, the country has had a series of democratic governments. Economic shocks in the 1980s and 1990s led to several political crises, including the deadly Caracazo riots of 1989, two attempted coups in 1992, the impeachment of President Carlos Andrés Pérez for embezzlement of public funds in 1993.
A collapse in confidence in the existing parties saw the 1998 election of former coup-involved career officer Hugo Chávez and the launch of the Bolivarian Revolution. The revolution began with a 1999 Constituent Assembly, where a new Constitution of Venezuela was written; this new constitution changed the name of the country to Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. The sovereign state is a federal presidential republic consisting of 23 states, the Capital District, federal dependencies. Venezuela claims all Guyanese territory west of the Essequibo River, a 159,500-square-kilometre tract dubbed Guayana Esequiba or the Zona en Reclamación. Venezuela is among the most urbanized countries in Latin America. Oil was discovered in the early 20th century, today, Venezuela has the world's largest known oil reserves and has been one of the world's leading exporters of oil; the country was an underdeveloped exporter of agricultural commodities such as coffee and cocoa, but oil came to dominate exports and government revenues.
The 1980s oil glut led to a long-running economic crisis. Inflation peaked at 100% in 1996 and poverty rates rose to 66% in 1995 as per capita GDP fell to the same level as 1963, down a third from its 1978 peak; the recovery of oil prices in the early 2000s gave. The Venezuelan government under Hugo Chávez established populist social welfare policies that boosted the Venezuelan economy and increased social spending, temporarily reducing economic inequality and poverty in the early years of the regime. However, such populist policies became inadequate, causing the nation's collapse as their excesses—including a uniquely extreme fossil fuel subsidy—are blamed for destabilizing the nation's economy; the destabilized economy led to a crisis in Bolivarian Venezuela, resulting in hyperinflation, an economic depression, shortages of basic goods and drastic increases in unemployment, disease, child mortality and crime. These factors have precipitated the Venezuelan Migrant Crisis where more than three million people have fled the country.
By 2017, Venezuela was declared to be in default regarding debt payments by credit rating agencies. In 2018, the country's economic policies led to extreme hyperinflation, with estimates expecting an inflation rate of 1,370,000% by the end of the year. Venezuela is a charter member of the UN, OAS, UNASUR, ALBA, Mercosur, LAIA and OEI. According to the most popular and accepted version, in 1499, an expedition led by Alonso de Ojeda visited the Venezuelan coast; the stilt houses in the area of Lake Maracaibo reminded the Italian navigator, Amerigo Vespucci, of the city of Venice, Italy, so he named the region Veneziola, or "Little Venice". The Spanish version of Veneziola is Venezuela. Martín Fernández de Enciso, a member of the Vespucci and Ojeda crew, gave a different account. In his work Summa de geografía, he states that the crew found indigenous people who called themselves the Veneciuela. Thus, the name "Venezuela" may have evolved from the native word; the official name was Estado de Venezuela, República de Venezuela, Estados Unidos de Venezuela, a
Angostura bitters is a concentrated bitters based on gentian and spices, by House of Angostura in Trinidad and Tobago. It is used for flavouring beverages or, less food; the bitters were first produced in the town of Angostura, hence the name, but do not contain angostura bark. The bottle is recognisable by its distinctive oversized label.'Angostura' is Spanish for'narrowing', the town of Angostura having been located at the first narrowing of the Orinoco River. The recipe was developed as a tonic by a German, Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert, surgeon general in Simón Bolívar's army in Venezuela. Siegert began to sell it in 1824 and established a distillery for the purpose in 1830. Siegert was based in the town of Angostura and used locally available ingredients aided by botanical knowledge of the local Amerindians; the product was sold abroad from 1853, in 1875 the plant was moved from Ciudad Bolivar to Port of Spain, where it remains. Angostura won a medal at the Weltausstellung 1873 Wien; the medal is still depicted on the oversized label, along with reverse which shows Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria in profile.
The exact formula is a guarded secret, with only one person knowing the whole recipe, passed hereditarily. Angostura bitters are concentrated and may be an acquired taste. Angostura bitters are a key ingredient in many cocktails. Used to help with upset stomachs of the soldiers in Simón Bolívar's army, it became popular in soda water and was served with gin; the mix stuck in the form of a pink gin, is used in many other alcoholic cocktails such as long vodka, consisting of vodka, Angostura bitters, lemonade. In the United States, it is best known for its use in whiskey cocktails: the Old Fashioned, made with whiskey, bitters and water, the Manhattan, made with rye whiskey and sweet vermouth. In a Pisco Sour a few drops are sprinkled for aroma and decoration. In a Champagne Cocktail a few drops of bitters are added to a sugar cube. In Hong Kong, Angostura bitters are included in the local Gunner cocktail. Though not in the classic recipe, bartenders sometimes add more flavour to the Mojito cocktail by sprinkling a few drops of Angostura bitters on top.
Bitters can be used in "soft" drinks. In Malawi, bitters are added to a mix of crushed ice, ginger ale and Sprite to make a'rock shandy'. Angostura Bitters Drink Guide, a promotional booklet of 1908, was reprinted in 2008 with a new introduction by Ross Bolton. Among certain bartending communities shots of Angostura are taken as the'bartender's handshake' either during or after the shift is done; the largest purveyor of Angostura bitters in the world is Nelsen's Hall Bitters Pub on Washington Island off the northeast tip of Door Peninsula in Door County, Wisconsin. The pub began selling shots of bitters as a stomach tonic for medicinal purposes under a pharmaceutical license during Prohibition in the United States; the practice, which helped the pub to become the oldest continuously-operating tavern in Wisconsin, remained a tradition after the repeal of Prohibition. As of 2018, the pub hosts a Bitters Club, incorporates bitters into food menu items, sells upwards of 10,000 shots per year. Angostura bitters are alleged to have restorative properties.
Angostura bitters is incorrectly believed to have poisonous qualities because it is associated with angostura bark, although not toxic, during its use as a medicine was adulterated by unscrupulous sellers, who padded out the sacks of bark with cheaper, poisonous Strychnos nux-vomica or copalchi bark. Since 2007, Angostura has produced Angostura Orange, an orange bitters. There was a shortage of Angostura bitters in 2009. There were incorrect rumours of a product recall, or that production of the bitters had stopped at the plant in Trinidad; the shortage was the subject of many news articles and blogs in the cocktail industry. Gentian Meinhard's Bitters Official Angostura Bitters website
The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K