The UK was the world's first industrialized country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Industrial Revolution started in the United Kingdom, in the early 17th century, wherein British merchants, shippers, and bankers developed an overwhelming advantage over other nations allowing the UK to dominate international trade in the 19th century. Over the later years, as other nations industrialized, coupled with economic decline after two world wars, UK began to lose its competitive advantage and heavy industry declined, by enormous degrees, throughout the 20th century. However, London is now one of the three "command centers" of the global economy (alongside New York City and Tokyo) and is the world's largest financial center alongside New York.
The UK is a unitary state (central government holds power) under a constitutional monarchy. Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state of UK as well as monarch of fifteen other independent Commonwealth countries (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, etc.). The British royal family comprises the monarch of the United Kingdom and her close relations. Members and relatives of the British royal family historically represented the monarch in various places throughout the British Empire, sometimes for extended periods as viceroys, or for specific ceremonies or events.
Fun Fact #1: The Queen of the UK, Elizabeth II, has visited more than 116 counties of the world, although she does not have a passport.
Fun Fact #2: Windsor Castle, built in 1080, is not only the oldest royal residence in Britain - but it’s also the largest royal home in the world.
Fun Fact #3: Stonehenge, located in the south of England, was believed to be created around 3000 B.C. and is older than the Pyramids of Egypt.