England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Its mainland is on the central and southern part of the island of Great Britain in the North Atlantic. England shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; and adjoins the Irish Sea to the north-west, the Celtic Sea to the south-west and the North Sea to the east. The English Channel separates it from continental Europe. In addition to the mainland, England includes over 100 smaller islands, including the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. England's population is about 51 million, around 84% of the United Kingdom.
England has been settled by humans of various cultures for over 29,000 years, but it takes its name from the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes who settled Great Britain during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in AD 927, and after the Age of Discovery has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world. England was where the English language, the Anglican Church and English law, which forms the basis of the common law legal systems of countries around the world, developed. The innovations that came from England have been widely adopted by other nations, such as its parliamentary system, which is the world's oldest. During the 18th century England underwent the Industrial Revolution and became the first country in the world to industrialise. Its Royal Society laid the foundations of modern experimental science.
Most of England is lowland, but there are upland regions in the north (such as the Lake District, Pennines and Yorkshire Moors) and in the south and south west (such as Dartmoor, the Cotswolds, and the North and South Downs). London, a global city and England's capital, is the largest metropolian area in the United Kingdom and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. The population of England is concentrated in London and the South East, as well as the conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East and Yorkshire, which developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century.
The Kingdom of England (which included Wales) was a sovereign state until 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union, put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, and resulted in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland that created the united Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1800, Great Britain was united with Ireland through another Act of Union 1800 to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1922 the Irish Free State was established as a separate dominion, but the Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act in 1927 reincorporated into the kingdom six Irish counties to officially create the current United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Geographically England comprises the central and southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain, plus such offshore islands as the Isle of Wight and the Isles of Scilly. It is bordered by two fellow countries of the United Kingdom— to the north by Scotland and to the west by Wales. England is closer to the European Continent than any other part of mainland Britain. It is separated from France by a 34-kilometre (21 mi) sea gap, though the two countries are connected by the Channel Tunnel near Folkestone. As England is on an island, is it surrounded by the water of the Irish Sea, North Sea and Atlantic Ocean. The most important rivers in England, because of their ports of London, Liverpool and Newcastle, are the tidal rivers Thames, Mersey and Tyne. The tides raise the level of water in their estuaries and enable ships to enter the ports. The longest river running through England is the Severn, which is 354 kilometres (220 mi) long and empties into the Bristol Channel; it is also notable for the Severn Bore tidal waves which can reach 2 metres (6.6 ft) in height. However, the longest river entirely in England is the Thames, which is 346 kilometres (215 mi) long. There are many lakes in England but the majority are in the aptly named Lake District; the largest of which is Lake Windermere, it is known by the nickname "Queen of Lakes".
The Pennines which are known as the backbone of England, are the oldest range of mountains in the country originating from the end of the Paleozoic Era around 300 million years ago. The total length of the Pennines is 400 kilometres (250 mi), peaking at Cross Fell in Cumbria. The material which they are made up of itself is mostly sandstone and limestone, but also coal. There are karst landscapes in calcite areas such as parts of Yorkshire and Derbyshire. The Pennines landscape is high moorland in upland areas, indented by fertile valleys of the region's rivers. They contain three national parts, the Yorkshire Dales, Northumberland and the Peak District. The highest point in England is Scafell Pike in Cumbria which is 978 metres (3,210 ft) high. Straddling the border between England and Scotland are the Cheviot Hills. The English Lowlands are to the south of the Pennines, consisting of green rolling hills, including the Cotswold Hills, Chiltern Hills, North and South Downs—where they meet the sea they form white rock exposures such as the cliffs of Dover. The granitic Southwest Peninsula in the West Country provides upland moorland, such as Dartmoor and Exmoor, which flourish with a mind climate; both are national parks.
England has a temperate maritime climate meaning that it is mild with temperatures not much lower than 0 °C (32 °F) in winter and not much higher than 32 °C (90 °F) in summer. The weather is damp relatively frequently and is subject to change. The coldest months are January and February, the latter particularly on the English coast, while July is normally the warmest month. Months with mild to warm weather with least rainfall are May, June, September and October. The biggest influences on the climate of England comes from the proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, its northern latitude and warming of the waters around the Gulf Stream. England receives quite a significant proportion of rainfall during the year, with autumn and winter being the wettest time—geographically the Lake District receives more rain than anywhere else in the country.