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The United Kingdom has historically played a leading role in developing parliamentary democracy and in advancing literature and science. At its zenith in the 19th century, the British Empire stretched over one-fourth of the earth's surface. The first half of the 20th century saw the UK's strength seriously depleted in two world wars and the Irish Republic's withdrawal from the union. The second half witnessed the dismantling of the Empire and the UK rebuilding itself into a modern and prosperous European nation. As one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council and a founding member of NATO and the Commonwealth, the UK pursues a global approach to foreign policy. The UK is also an active member of the EU, although it chose to remain outside the Economic and Monetary Union. The Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, and the Northern Ireland Assembly were established in 1999. The latter was suspended until May 2007 due to wrangling over the peace process, but devolution was fully completed in March 2010.


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Military

Military branches
Army, Royal Navy (includes Royal Marines), Royal Air Force (2010)

Military service age and obligation
16-33 years of age (officers 17-28) for voluntary military service (with parental consent under 18); women serve in military services, but are excluded from ground combat positions and some naval postings; as of October 2009, women comprised 12.1% of officers and 9% of enlisted personnel in the regular forces; must be citizen of the UK, Commonwealth, or Republic of Ireland; reservists serve a minimum of 3 years, to age 45 or 55; 16 years of age for voluntary military service by Nepalese citizens in the Brigade of Gurkhas; 16-34 years of age for voluntary military service by Papua New Guinean citizens (2009)

Manpower available for military service
Males age 16-49 14,856,917
Females age 16-49 14,307,316 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service
Males age 16-49 12,255,452
Females age 16-49 11,779,679 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually
Male 383,989
Female 365,491 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures World Ranking: 53
2.7% of GDP (2005 est.)


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  United Kingdom (London):


  GPS points from United Kingdom (London)

Llisworney Vale Of Glamorgan The

Saltburn-by-the-sea United Kingdom (general)

Kerry Hill Wales

Mouse Water Scotland

Loch Eck Argyll And Bute



Kilmartin Scotland




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