Großbritannien   
United Kingdom of Great Britain
and Northern Ireland - England


Kingdom in northwest Europe comprising England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. After the accession of the Tudor dynasty (1485), Britain became unified and began to develop into a world power. British overseas expansion began in the late 16th century, and in the following 200 years, Britain emerged as the dominant European naval and colonial power, supplanting the Spanish and Dutch. After its victory in the Napoleonic wars, Britain was the dominant world power, building an empire that, by 1900, included large areas throughout the world. Although victorious in World War I, Britain suffered severe losses in manpower and resources. The postwar period saw the loss of Ireland (1921) and the development of nationalism in India. During World War II, Britain again suffered terribly. For a year following the fall of France (June 1940), Britain was the only major power to stand against Germany. After Germany's invasion of Russia (June 1941) and Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor (December 1941), it gained powerful allies but continued to bear the brunt of German air attacks. Britain emerged from World War II again victorious, but battered and exhausted. Industrial growth has continued, although it has lost its former predominant economic position. The two decades following World War II saw the dissolution of the empire, and Britain's overseas dominion today mostly consists of small scattered island possessions in the West Indies and in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. Britain issued the world's first regular adhesive postage stamp in 1840.

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