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Royal Arms of England
Royal Arms
Location of England (dark green) – in Europe (green & dark grey) – in the United Kingdom (green)
Location of England (dark green)

– in

Christianity (official)
  • 36.7% No religion
  • 6.7% Islam
  • 1.8% Hinduism
  • 0.9% Sikhism
  • 0.5% Judaism
  • 0.6% Other
  • 6.0% Not stated
  • Demonym(s)English
    GovernmentPart of a constitutional monarchy, direct government exercised by the government of the United Kingdom
    • Monarch
    Charles III
    Parliament of the United Kingdom
    • House of Commons533 MPs (of 650)
    12 July 927
    1 May 1707
    • 2021 census
    Neutral increase 56,489,800[2]
    • Density
    434/km2 (1,124.1/sq mi)
    GVA2021 estimate
     • Total£1.76 trillion[3]
     • Per capita£31,138

    England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom.[4] It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest and the Celtic Sea area of the Atlantic Ocean to the southwest. It is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

    The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Paleolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century and has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century.[5]


    English language, the Anglican Church, and English law, which collectively served as the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world, developed in England, and the country's parliamentary system of government has been widely adopted by other nations.[6] The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation.[7] England is also home to the two oldest institutions of higher learning in the English-speaking world, the University of Cambridge, founded in 1209, and the University of Oxford, founded in 1096, both of which are routinely ranked among the most prestigious universities globally.[8]

    England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains, especially in the centre and south. Upland and mountainous terrain is mostly restricted to the north and west, including the Lake District, Pennines, Dartmoor and Shropshire Hills. The capital is London, whose greater metropolitan population of 14.2 million as of 2021 represents the United Kingdom's largest metropolitan area. England's population of 56.3 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom,[9] largely concentrated around London, the South East, and conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, and Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century.[10]

    The Kingdom of England, which after 1535 included Wales, ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain.[11] In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland through another Act of Union to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1922, the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.[12]


    The name "England" is derived from the

    Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense.[15]

    The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by

    Arthurian legend. Albion is also applied to England in a more poetic capacity,[20]
    though its original meaning is the island of Britain as a whole.


    Prehistory and antiquity

    View of the ramparts of the developed hillfort of Maiden Castle, Dorset
    , as they look today

    The earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximately 780,000 years ago. The oldest proto-human bones discovered in England date from 500,000 years ago.[21] Modern humans are known to have inhabited the area during the Upper Paleolithic period, though permanent settlements were only established within the last 6,000 years.[22] After the

    ice sheets began to recede, humans repopulated the area; genetic research suggests they came from the northern part of the Iberian Peninsula.[23] The sea level was lower than the present day and Britain was connected by land bridge to Ireland and Eurasia.[24]
    As the seas rose, it was separated from Ireland 10,000 years ago and from Eurasia two millennia later.


    Beaker culture arrived around 2,500 BC, introducing drinking and food vessels constructed from clay, as well as vessels used as reduction pots to smelt copper ores.[25] It was during this time that major Neolithic monuments such as Stonehenge and Avebury were constructed. By heating together tin and copper, which were in abundance in the area, the Beaker culture people made bronze, and later iron from iron ores. The development of iron smelting allowed the construction of better ploughs, advancing agriculture (for instance, with Celtic fields), as well as the production of more effective weapons.[26]

    During the

    invade twice in 55 BC; although largely unsuccessful, he managed to set up a client king from the Trinovantes

    Painting of woman, with outstretched arm, in white dress with red cloak and helmet, with other human figures to her right and below her to the left.
    Boudica led an uprising against the Roman Empire

    The Romans invaded Britain in 43 AD during the reign of Emperor

    Roman architecture, aqueducts, sewers, many agricultural items and silk.[30] In the 3rd century, Emperor Septimius Severus died at Eboracum (now York), where Constantine was subsequently proclaimed emperor a century later.[31]

    There is debate about when Christianity was first introduced; it was no later than the 4th century, probably much earlier. According to

    decline of the Roman Empire, Britain was left exposed by the end of Roman rule in Britain and the withdrawal of Roman army units, to defend the frontiers in continental Europe and partake in civil wars.[33] Celtic Christian monastic and missionary movements flourished: Patrick (5th-century Ireland) and in the 6th century Brendan (Clonfert), Comgall (Bangor), David (Wales), Aiden (Lindisfarne) and Columba (Iona). This period of Christianity was influenced by ancient Celtic culture in its sensibilities, polity, practices and theology. Local "congregations" were centred in the monastic community and monastic leaders were more like chieftains, as peers, rather than in the more hierarchical system of the Roman-dominated church.[34]

    Middle Ages

    Studded and decorated metallic mask of human face.
    Replica of the 7th-century ceremonial Sutton Hoo helmet from the Kingdom of East Anglia

    Council of Whitby (664), which was ostensibly about tonsures (clerical haircuts) and the date of Easter, but more significantly, about the differences in Roman and Celtic forms of authority, theology, and practice.[34]

    During the settlement period the lands ruled by the incomers seem to have been fragmented into numerous tribal territories, but by the 7th century, when substantial evidence of the situation again becomes available, these had coalesced into roughly a dozen kingdoms including

    Denmark and Norway. However, the native royal dynasty was restored with the accession of Edward the Confessor
    in 1042.

    King Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt, fought on Saint Crispin's Day and concluded with an English victory against a larger French army in the Hundred Years' War

    A dispute over the succession to Edward led to the Norman Conquest in 1066, accomplished by an army led by Duke William of Normandy.[40] The Normans themselves originated from Scandinavia and had settled in Normandy in the late 9th and early 10th centuries.[41] This conquest led to the almost total dispossession of the English elite and its replacement by a new French-speaking aristocracy, whose speech had a profound and permanent effect on the English language.[42]

    Subsequently, the House of Plantagenet from Anjou inherited the English throne under Henry II, adding England to the budding Angevin Empire of fiefs the family had inherited in France including Aquitaine.[43] They reigned for three centuries, some noted monarchs being Richard I, Edward I, Edward III and Henry V.[43] The period saw changes in trade and legislation, including the signing of the Magna Carta, an English legal charter used to limit the sovereign's powers by law and protect the privileges of freemen. Catholic monasticism flourished, providing philosophers, and the universities of Oxford and Cambridge were founded with royal patronage. The Principality of Wales became a Plantagenet fief during the 13th century[44] and the Lordship of Ireland was given to the English monarchy by the Pope.

    During the 14th century, the Plantagenets and the House of Valois both claimed to be legitimate claimants to the House of Capet and with it France; the two powers clashed in the Hundred Years' War.[45] The Black Death epidemic hit England; starting in 1348, it eventually killed up to half of England's inhabitants.[46] From 1453 to 1487 civil war occurred between two branches of the royal family – the Yorkists and Lancastrians – known as the Wars of the Roses.[47] Eventually it led to the Yorkists losing the throne entirely to a Welsh noble family the Tudors, a branch of the Lancastrians headed by Henry Tudor who invaded with Welsh and Breton mercenaries, gaining victory at the Battle of Bosworth Field where the Yorkist king Richard III was killed.[48]

    Early modern

    Queen Elizabeth I

    During the

    Elizabeth I. The former took the country back to Catholicism while the latter broke from it again, forcefully asserting the supremacy of Anglicanism. The Elizabethan era is the epoch in the Tudor age of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I ("the Virgin Queen"). Historians often depict it as the golden age in English history. Elizabethan England represented the apogee of the English Renaissance and saw the flowering of art, poetry, music and literature.[52] The era is most famous for its drama, theatre and playwrights. England during this period had a centralised, well-organised, and effective government as a result of vast Tudor reforms.[53]

    Competing with

    Dutch and French in the East. During the Elizabethan period, England was at war with Spain. An armada sailed from Spain in 1588 as part of a wider plan to invade England and re-establish a Catholic monarchy. The plan was thwarted by bad coordination, stormy weather and successful harrying attacks by an English fleet under Lord Howard of Effingham. This failure did not end the threat: Spain launched two further armadas, in 1596 and 1597
    , but both were driven back by storms.

    Union with Scotland

    The political structure of the island changed in 1603, when the

    King of Great Britain, although this had no basis in English law.[56] Under the auspices of James VI and I the Authorised King James Version
    of the Holy Bible was published in 1611. It was the standard version of the Bible read by most Protestant Christians for four hundred years until modern revisions were produced in the 20th century.

    English Restoration restored the monarchy under King Charles II and peace after the English Civil War

    Based on conflicting political, religious and social positions, the

    Restoration. With the reopening of theatres, fine arts, literature and performing arts flourished throughout the Restoration of ''the Merry Monarch'' Charles II.[58] After the Glorious Revolution of 1688, it was constitutionally established that King and Parliament should rule together, though Parliament would have the real power. This was established with the Bill of Rights in 1689. Among the statutes set down were that the law could only be made by Parliament and could not be suspended by the King, also that the King could not impose taxes or raise an army without the prior approval of Parliament.[59] Also since that time, no British monarch has entered the House of Commons when it is sitting, which is annually commemorated at the State Opening of Parliament by the British monarch when the doors of the House of Commons are slammed in the face of the monarch's messenger, symbolising the rights of Parliament and its independence from the monarch.[60] With the founding of the Royal Society
    in 1660, science was greatly encouraged.

    In 1666, the

    Whigs. Though the Tories initially supported Catholic king James II, some of them, along with the Whigs, during the Revolution of 1688 invited Dutch Prince William of Orange to defeat James and ultimately to become William III of England. Some English people, especially in the north, were Jacobites and continued to support James and his sons. Under the Stuart dynasty England expanded in trade, finance and prosperity. Britain developed Europe's largest merchant fleet.[62] After the parliaments of England and Scotland agreed,[63] the two countries joined in political union, to create the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707.[55] To accommodate the union, institutions such as the law and national churches of each remained separate.[64]

    Late modern and contemporary

    Georgian period
    from the Terrace of Somerset House looking towards St. Paul's, c. 1750

    Under the newly formed Kingdom of Great Britain, output from the Royal Society and other

    English initiatives combined with the Scottish Enlightenment to create innovations in science and engineering, while the enormous growth in British overseas trade protected by the Royal Navy paved the way for the establishment of the British Empire. Domestically it drove the Industrial Revolution, a period of profound change in the socioeconomic and cultural conditions of England, resulting in industrialised agriculture, manufacture, engineering and mining, as well as new and pioneering road, rail and water networks to facilitate their expansion and development.[65] The opening of Northwest England's Bridgewater Canal in 1761 ushered in the canal age in Britain.[66] In 1825 the world's first permanent steam locomotive-hauled passenger railway – the Stockton and Darlington Railway – opened to the public.[66]

    multi-storey square industrial buildings beyond a river
    The Battle of Trafalgar was a naval engagement between the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets of the French and Spanish Navies during the Napoleonic Wars.[67]

    During the

    Britishness and a united national British people, shared with the English, Scots and Welsh.[72]

    London became the largest and most populous metropolitan area in the world during the Victorian era, and trade within the British Empire – as well as the standing of the British military and navy – was prestigious.[73] Technologically, this era saw many innovations that proved key to the United Kingdom's power and prosperity.[74] Political agitation at home from radicals such as the Chartists and the suffragettes enabled legislative reform and universal suffrage.[75] Samuel Hynes described the Edwardian era as a "leisurely time when women wore picture hats and did not vote, when the rich were not ashamed to live conspicuously, and the sun really never set on the British flag."[76]

    Power shifts in east-central Europe led to World War I; hundreds of thousands of English soldiers died fighting for the United Kingdom as part of the

    decolonisation, and there was a speeding-up of technological innovations; automobiles became the primary means of transport and Frank Whittle's development of the jet engine led to wider air travel.[78] Residential patterns were altered in England by private motoring, and by the creation of the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948. The UK's NHS provided publicly funded health care to all UK permanent residents free at the point of need, being paid for from general taxation. Combined, these prompted the reform of local government in England in the mid-20th century.[79]

    Since the 20th century, there has been significant population movement to England, mostly from other parts of the

    common market initiative called the European Economic Community which became the European Union. Since the late 20th century the administration of the United Kingdom has moved towards devolved governance in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.[82] England and Wales continues to exist as a jurisdiction within the United Kingdom.[83] Devolution has stimulated a greater emphasis on a more English-specific identity and patriotism.[84] There is no devolved English government, but an attempt to create a similar system on a sub-regional basis was rejected by referendum.[85]



    England is part of the United Kingdom, a

    government of England since 1707, when the Acts of Union 1707, putting into effect the terms of the Treaty of Union, joined England and Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.[63] Before the union England was ruled by its monarch and the Parliament of England. Today England is governed directly by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, although other countries of the United Kingdom have devolved governments.[87] In the House of Commons which is the lower house of the British Parliament based at the Palace of Westminster, there are 532 Members of Parliament (MPs) for constituencies in England, out of the 650 total.[88] As of the 2019 United Kingdom general election, England is represented by 345 MPs from the Conservative Party, 179 from the Labour Party, seven from the Liberal Democrats, one from the Green Party, and the Speaker of the House, Lindsay Hoyle

    Since devolution, in which other countries of the United Kingdom – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – each have their own devolved parliament or assemblies for local issues, there has been debate about how to counterbalance this in England. Originally it was planned that various regions of England would be devolved, but following the proposal's rejection by the North East in a 2004 referendum, this has not been carried out.[85]

    One major issue is the

    free top-up university fees,[90] has led to a steady rise in English nationalism.[91] Some have suggested the creation of a devolved English parliament,[92] while others have proposed simply limiting voting on legislation which only affects England to English MPs.[93]



    legal precedentstare decisis – to the facts before them.[96]

    The court system is headed by the Senior Courts of England and Wales, consisting of the

    Court of Appeal, the High Court of Justice for civil cases, and the Crown Court for criminal cases.[97] The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is the highest court for criminal and civil cases in England and Wales. It was created in 2009 after constitutional changes, taking over the judicial functions of the House of Lords.[98] A decision of the Supreme Court is binding on every other court in the hierarchy, which must follow its directions.[99]


    Secretary of State for Justice is the minister responsible to Parliament for the judiciary, the court system and prisons and probation in England.[100] Crime increased between 1981 and 1995 but fell by 42% in the period 1995–2006.[101] The prison population doubled over the same period, giving it one of the highest incarceration rates in Western Europe at 147 per 100,000.[102] His Majesty's Prison Service, reporting to the Ministry of Justice, manages most prisons, housing 81,309 prisoners in England and Wales as of September 2022.[103]


    The subdivisions of England consist of up to four levels of subnational division controlled through a variety of types of administrative entities created for the purposes of local government.

    Outside the London region, England's highest tier is the 48

    British monarch locally.[104] Some counties, such as Herefordshire
    , are only divided any further into civil parishes. The royal county and Berkshire and the metropolitan counties different types of status to other ceremonial counties.

    The second tier is

    shire counties
    . In 1974, all ceremonial counties were two tier and with the metropolitan county-tier phased out, the 1996 reform separated the ceremonial county and county-tier.

    England is also divided into local government districts.


    At the community level, much of England is divided into

    councils; in Greater London only one, Queen's Park, exists as of 2014 after they were abolished in 1965 until legislation allowed their recreation
    in 2007.


    From 1994 until the early 2010s England was divided into regions, a

    with the regional structure outside London abolished.

    Ceremonially the region is divided between the


    Landscape and rivers

    Blue lake between green hills.
    Skiddaw massif, seen from Walla Crag in the Lake District

    Geographically, England includes the central and southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain, plus such offshore islands as the

    to the west by Wales. England is closer than any other part of mainland Britain to the European continent. It is separated from France (Hauts-de-France) by a 21-mile (34 km)[109] sea gap, though the two countries are connected by the Channel Tunnel near Folkestone.[110] England also has shores on the Irish Sea, North Sea
    and Atlantic Ocean.

    The ports of London,

    Severn Bore (a tidal bore), which can reach 2 metres (6.6 ft) in height.[112] However, the longest river entirely in England is the Thames, which is 215 miles (346 km) in length.[113]

    The Malvern Hills located in the English counties of Worcestershire and Herefordshire. The hills have been designated by the Countryside Agency as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

    There are many

    lakes in England; the largest is Windermere, within the aptly named Lake District.[114] Most of England's landscape consists of low hills and plains, with upland and mountainous terrain in the north and west of the country. The northern uplands include the Pennines, a chain of uplands dividing east and west, the Lake District mountains in Cumbria, and the Cheviot Hills, straddling the border between England and Scotland. The highest point in England, at 978 metres (3,209 ft), is Scafell Pike in the Lake District.[114] The Shropshire Hills are near Wales while Dartmoor and Exmoor are two upland areas in the south-west of the country. The approximate dividing line between terrain types is often indicated by the Tees–Exe line.[115]

    In geological terms, the Pennines, known as the "backbone of England", are the oldest range of mountains in the country, originating from the end of the

    national parks, the Yorkshire Dales and the Peak District. In the West Country, Dartmoor and Exmoor of the Southwest Peninsula include upland moorland supported by granite, and enjoy a mild climate; both are national parks.[117]


    cliffs of Dover. This also includes relatively flat plains such as the Salisbury Plain, Somerset Levels, South Coast Plain and The Fens


    England has a

    maritime climate: 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.[118] The weather is damp relatively frequently and is changeable. 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 are May, June, September and October.[118]
    Rainfall is spread fairly evenly throughout the year.

    Important influences on the climate of England are its proximity to the

    Edgmond, Shropshire.[120]

    Nature and wildlife

    A Eurasian wren, the most numerous species of bird in England[121]
    Red deer in Richmond Park. The park was created by Charles I in the 17th century as a deer park.[122]

    The fauna of England is similar to that of other areas in the British Isles with a wide range of vertebrate and invertebrate life in a diverse range of habitats.[123]

    National Trust, and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. There are 229 NNRs in England covering 939 square kilometres (363 square miles). Often they contain rare species or nationally important populations of plants and animals.[124]

    The Environment Agency is a non-departmental public body, established in 1995 and sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with responsibilities relating to the protection and enhancement of the environment in England.[125] The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is the minister responsible for environmental protection, agriculture, fisheries and rural communities in England.[126]

    England has a

    coniferous forests (mainly plantations) which also benefit certain forms of wildlife. Some species have adapted to the expanded urban environment, particularly the red fox, which is the most successful urban mammal after the brown rat, and other animals such as common wood pigeon, both of which thrive in urban and suburban areas.[127]

    Red squirrels are now confined to upland and coniferous-forested areas of England, mainly in the north, south west and Isle of Wight. England's climate is very suitable for lagomorphs and the country has rabbits and brown hares which were introduced in Roman times.[128] Mountain hares which are indigenous have now been re-introduced in Derbyshire. The fauna of England has to cope with varying temperatures and conditions, although not extreme they do pose potential challenges and adaptational measures. English fauna has however had to cope with industrialisation, human population densities amongst the highest in Europe and intensive farming, but as England is a developed nation, wildlife and the countryside have entered the English mindset more and the country is very conscientious about preserving its wildlife, environment and countryside.[129]

    Major conurbations


    English Midlands.[130] There are 50 settlements which have designated city status in England
    , while the wider United Kingdom has 66.

    While many cities in England are quite large, such as Birmingham, Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle, Bradford, Nottingham, population size is not a prerequisite for city status.[131] Traditionally the status was given to towns with diocesan cathedrals, so there are smaller cities like Wells, Ely, Ripon, Truro and Chichester.


    The City of London is the financial capital of the United Kingdom and one of the largest financial centres in the world.[132]

    England's economy is one of the largest and most dynamic in the world, with an average

    Taxation in England is quite competitive when compared to much of the rest of Europe – as of 2014 the basic rate of personal tax is 20% on taxable income up to £31,865 above the personal tax-free allowance (normally £10,000), and 40% on any additional earnings above that amount.[135]

    The economy of England is the largest part of the UK's economy,[136] which has the 18th highest GDP PPP per capita in the world. England is a leader in the chemical[137] and pharmaceutical sectors and in key technical industries, particularly aerospace, the arms industry, and the manufacturing side of the software industry. London, home to the London Stock Exchange, the United Kingdom's main stock exchange and the largest in Europe, is England's financial centre, with 100 of Europe's 500 largest corporations being based there.[138] London is the largest financial centre in Europe, and as of 2014 is the second largest in the world.[139]


    state-owned institution.[140] The bank has a monopoly on the issue of banknotes in England and Wales, although not in other parts of the United Kingdom. The government has devolved responsibility to the bank's Monetary Policy Committee for managing the monetary policy of the country and setting interest rates.[141]

    England is highly industrialised, but since the 1970s there has been a decline in traditional heavy and manufacturing industries, and an increasing emphasis on a more

    crude oil and petroleum from the English parts of North Sea oil along with Wytch Farm, aircraft engines and alcoholic beverages.[142] The creative industries accounted for 7 per cent GVA in 2005 and grew at an average of 6 per cent per annum between 1997 and 2005.[143]

    Most of the UK's £30 billion

    GKN Aerospace, an expert in metallic and composite aerostructures involved in almost every civil and military fixed and rotary wing aircraft in production, is based in Redditch.[146]

    F35 Joint Strike Fighter – the world's largest single defence project – for which it designs and manufactures a range of components including the aft fuselage, vertical and horizontal tail and wing tips and fuel system. It also manufactures the Hawk, the world's most successful jet training aircraft.[146]

    Rolls-Royce PLC is the world's second-largest aero-engine manufacturer. Its engines power more than 30 types of commercial aircraft, and it has more 30,000 engines currently in service across both the civil and defence sectors. With a workforce of over 12,000 people, Derby has the largest concentration of Rolls-Royce employees in the UK. Rolls-Royce also produces low-emission power systems for ships; makes critical equipment and safety systems for the nuclear industry and powers offshore platforms and major pipelines for the oil and gas industry.[146][147] The pharmaceutical industry plays an important role in the economy, and the UK has the third-highest share of global pharmaceutical R&D expenditures.[148]

    Much of the UK's space industry is centred on

    Reaction Engines Limited, the company planning to build Skylon, a single-stage-to-orbit spaceplane using their SABRE rocket engine, a combined-cycle, air-breathing rocket propulsion system is based in Culham. The UK space industry was worth £9.1bn in 2011 and employed 29,000 people. It is growing at a rate of 7.5 per cent annually, according to its umbrella organisation, the UK Space Agency. In 2013, the British Government pledged £60 million to the Skylon project: this investment will provide support at a "crucial stage" to allow a full-scale prototype of the SABRE
    engine to be built.

    Agriculture is intensive, highly mechanised and efficient by European standards, producing 60% of food needs with only 2% of the labour force.[149] Two-thirds of production is devoted to livestock, the other to arable crops.[150] The main crops that are grown are wheat, barley, oats, potatoes, sugar beets. England retains a significant, though much reduced fishing industry. Its fleets bring home fish of every kind, ranging from sole to herring. It is also rich in natural resources including coal, petroleum, natural gas, tin, limestone, iron ore, salt, clay, chalk, gypsum, lead, and silica.[151]

    Science and technology

    Torso of man with long white hair and dark coloured jacket
    Sir Isaac Newton is one of the most influential figures in the history of science

    Prominent English figures from the field of science and mathematics include Sir

    Joseph Lister, Joseph Priestley, Thomas Young, Christopher Wren and Richard Dawkins. Some experts claim that the earliest concept of a metric system was invented by John Wilkins, the first secretary of the Royal Society, in 1668.[152]

    England was a leading centre of the

    steam engine helped spawn the Industrial Revolution.[155]

    The Father of Railways, George Stephenson, built the first public inter-city railway line in the world, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, which opened in 1830. With his role in the marketing and manufacturing of the steam engine, and invention of modern coinage, Matthew Boulton (business partner of James Watt) is regarded as one of the most influential entrepreneurs in history.[156] The physician Edward Jenner's smallpox vaccine is said to have "saved more lives ... than were lost in all the wars of mankind since the beginning of recorded history."[157]

    Sir Isaac Newton.[158]