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
A cookie is a baked or cooked food, small and sweet. It contains flour and some type of oil or fat, it may include other ingredients such as raisins, chocolate chips, etc. In most English-speaking countries except for the United States and Canada, crisp cookies are called biscuits. Chewier biscuits are sometimes called cookies in the United Kingdom; some cookies may be named by their shape, such as date squares or bars. Cookies or biscuits may be mass-produced in factories, made in small bakeries or homemade. Biscuit or cookie variants include sandwich biscuits, such as custard creams, Jammie Dodgers and Oreos, with marshmallow or jam filling and sometimes dipped in chocolate or another sweet coating. Cookies are served with beverages such as milk, coffee or tea. Factory-made cookies are sold in convenience stores and vending machines. Fresh-baked cookies are sold at bakeries and coffeehouses, with the latter ranging from small business-sized establishments to multinational corporations such as Starbucks.
In most English-speaking countries outside North America, including the United Kingdom, the most common word for a crisp cookie is biscuit. The term cookie is used to describe chewier ones. However, in many regions both terms are used. In Scotland the term cookie is sometimes used to describe a plain bun. Cookies that are baked as a solid layer on a sheet pan and cut, rather than being baked as individual pieces, are called in British English bar cookies or traybakes, its American name derives from the Dutch word koekje or more its informal, dialect variant koekie which means little cake, arrived in American English with the Dutch settlement of New Netherland, in the early 1600s. According to the Scottish National Dictionary, its Scottish name derives from the diminutive form of the word cook, giving the Middle Scots cookie, cooky or cukie, it gives an alternative etymology: like the American word, from the Dutch koekje, the diminutive of koek, a cake. There was much trade and cultural contact across the North Sea between the Low Countries and Scotland during the Middle Ages, which can be seen in the history of curling and golf.
Cookies are most baked until crisp or just long enough that they remain soft, but some kinds of cookies are not baked at all. Cookies are made in a wide variety of styles, using an array of ingredients including sugars, chocolate, peanut butter, nuts, or dried fruits; the softness of the cookie may depend on. A general theory of cookies may be formulated this way. Despite its descent from cakes and other sweetened breads, the cookie in all its forms has abandoned water as a medium for cohesion. Water in cakes serves to make the base as thin as possible, which allows the bubbles – responsible for a cake's fluffiness – to better form. In the cookie, the agent of cohesion has become some form of oil. Oils, whether they be in the form of butter, vegetable oils, or lard, are much more viscous than water and evaporate at a much higher temperature than water, thus a cake made with butter or eggs instead of water is far denser after removal from the oven. Oils in baked cakes do not behave. Rather than evaporating and thickening the mixture, they remain, saturating the bubbles of escaped gases from what little water there might have been in the eggs, if added, the carbon dioxide released by heating the baking powder.
This saturation produces the most texturally attractive feature of the cookie, indeed all fried foods: crispness saturated with a moisture that does not sink into it. Cookie-like hard wafers have existed for as long as baking is documented, in part because they deal with travel well, but they were not sweet enough to be considered cookies by modern standards. Cookies appear to have their origins in 7th century AD Persia, shortly after the use of sugar became common in the region, they spread to Europe through the Muslim conquest of Spain. By the 14th century, they were common in all levels of society throughout Europe, from royal cuisine to street vendors. With global travel becoming widespread at that time, cookies made a natural travel companion, a modernized equivalent of the travel cakes used throughout history. One of the most popular early cookies, which traveled well and became known on every continent by similar names, was the jumble, a hard cookie made from nuts and water. Cookies came to America through the Dutch in New Amsterdam in the late 1620s.
The Dutch word "koekje" was Anglicized to "cookie" or cooky. The earliest reference to cookies in America is in 1703, when "The Dutch in New York provided...'in 1703...at a funeral 800 cookies...'"The most common modern cookie, given its style by the creaming of butter and sugar, was not common until the 18th century. Cookies are broadly classified according to how they are formed, including at least these categories: Bar cookies consist of batter or other ingredients that are poured or pressed into a pan and cut into cookie-sized pieces after baking. In British English, bar cookies are known as "tray bakes". Examples include brownies, fruit squares, bars such as date squares. Drop cookies are made from a soft dough, dropped by spoonfuls onto the baking sheet. During baking, the mounds of dough flatten. Chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, rock cakes are popular examples of drop cookies; this may include thumbprint cookies, for which a small central depression is created with a thumb or small spoon before baki