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posted on 02 May 2018

What is the U.K., Anyway?

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How can the U.K., a country composed of some islands in western Europe, become such a powerful country, with its language, English, as the global language today?


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Let's try to understand the U.K. from six perspectives:

  1. The U.K.: an overview.
  2. Two historical figures: Henry VIII and William Shakespeare.
  3. The British Empire.
  4. English, the global language today!
  5. The U.K. today.
  6. The U.K. tomorrow.

1. The U.K.: an overview

Below is an excerpt from Wikipedia - United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country in western Europe. Lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland, the UK includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands.[10] Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state‍—‌the Republic of Ireland.[note 9] Apart from this land border, the UK is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to its east, the English Channel to its south and the Celtic Sea to its south-south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the UK is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 21st-most populous country, with an estimated 65.5 million inhabitants in 2016.

2. Two historical figures: Henry VIII and William Shakespeare

Great nations make great individuals, and vice versa. The U.K. is no exception. Let's focus on two historical figures: Henry VIII and William Shakespeare.

2.1 Henry VIII

Below is an excerpt from Wikipedia - Henry VIII of England.

Henry VIII (28 June 1491 - 28 January 1547) was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. Henry was the second Tudor monarch, succeeding his father, Henry VII.

Henry is best known for his six marriages and, in particular, his efforts to have his first marriage, to Catherine of Aragon, annulled. His disagreement with the Pope on the question of such an annulment led Henry to initiate the English Reformation, separating the Church of England from papal authority. He appointed himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England and dissolved convents and monasteries. Despite his resulting excommunication, Henry remained a believer in core Catholic theological teachings.[2]

2.2 William Shakespeare

Below is an excerpt from Wikipedia - William Shakespeare.

William Shakespeare (/ˈʃeɪkspɪər/; 26 April 1564 (baptised) - 23 April 1616)[a] was an English poet, playwright and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist.[2][3][4] He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon".[5][b] His extant works, including collaborations, consist of approximately 39 plays,[c] 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems and a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.[7]

3. The British Empire

Below is an excerpt from Wikipedia - British Empire.

The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power.[1] By 1913, the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23% of the world population at the time,[2] and by 1920, it covered 35,500,000 km2 (13,700,000 sq mi),[3] 24% of the Earth's total land area.[4] As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.

The image below is worth more than 1,000 words.

Now, what was the key difference between British colonization and the colonization by the other European countries (e.g. France and Spain)? The British were here to stay!

British colonization has severe consequences. Two prominent examples:

  1. The American Revolution.
  2. 'The time for reconciliation is over': South Africa votes to confiscate white-owned land without compensation.

British colonization has a huge benefit for the U.K.: the establishment of English as the global language today!

4. English, the global language today!

The long video below tells you everything about English, the language.

In contrast, Chinese remains a regional language, despite the fact that it was, more than 1,000 years ago, almost as advanced as English today.

5. The U.K. today

The U.K. is deeply in trouble. Three examples:

  1. Diversity.
  2. Brexit.
  3. Democracy.

5.1 Diversity

Unlike the U.S., whose diversity is mostly natural after the indigenous people (i.e. American-Indians) were mostly wiped out, the diversity in the U.K. is mostly artificial, thanks to two factors:

  1. The British Empire, which allowed most, if not all, citizens of its colonies freely immigrating to the mother country.
  2. The E.U., which has resulted in an influx of eastern Europeans to the U.K.

Like in the U.S., the white majority in the U.K. blames immigrants for their misfortune. A simple analogy:

  1. In the U.S., we ended up with a President named Donald Trump, who won an overwhelming majority of the white votes.
  2. In the U.K., they ended up with Brexit, with many white folks blaming the E.U. (as they can no longer blame the British Empire) for immigrants.

5.2 Brexit

Brexit will prove to be a huge disaster for the U.K.! The video below offers one prominent perspective.

5.3 Democracy

The U.K., like the U.S., is paralyzed by democracy! For example, how could any government possibly let the voters decide on such a complex issue as Brexit? In analogy, will you ask your children to vote on your divorce [of a young marriage]?

Worse yet, knowing Brexit is likely to be suicidal, there is no way to correct it, such as via a second referendum! As a result, you will just march on, committing a suicide eventually!

6. The U.K. tomorrow

The U.K. faces an uncertain future.

Bad news: After plundering the world over the past few hundred years, the U.K. is almost back to where it was 400 years ago: a bunch of islands in western Europe, with many new and big domestic problems. Two examples:

  1. Religion: 400 years ago, it was Catholics vs. Protestants. Today, it is Christianity vs. Islam.
  2. Race: 400 years ago, it was English vs. Irish (and Scottish). Today, it is white vs. non-white and the British vs. eastern Europeans.

Good news: English has become the global language, which is significant in two major ways:

  1. The U.K. will never be as isolated as it was 400 years ago.
  2. I consider the U.K., together with China, to be the two greatest countries in human history. For more, read: The Greatest Countries in Human History.

More profoundly, the fortune of the U.K. will perhaps forever be tied with that of the U.S. For more, read: Civilizations: Past, Present, and Future.

7. Closing

I wish the best for the U.K.!

Now, please sit back and enjoy the long (yes, more than 4 hours), and very sophisticated, video below.

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