The England You Never Knew

By: Ashish K Arora

Many people are familiar with the England they see on television andthe news media but there are some interesting facts about this European countythat are little known and might surprise you.

England, even though it isregarded as a large country, is less than half the size of America. It ishalf as small as Australiaand thirty percent smaller than Japan.It holds almost three times as many people as Australiaand twice as many as the state of California.London has atotal population of over twelve million people. It is the largest city in allof Europe and was once the biggest city in theworld. With all these people living here, it is no surprise that Englandconsumes more tea than any other place in the world. Its tea consumption far surpassesthat of Japan!

From the beginning of the 11th century through the 14thcentury, the rulers of Englandspoke French.? Richard the Lionheart, oneof England's most famouskings, spoke no English, hated the weather and spent only 6 months of histen-year-reign in England.? Still, his English subjects loved him andalmost beggared themselves to collect an enormous ransom to free him fromcaptivity in Austria.

The English school system is another oddity.? While there's now a reasonably good stateschool system in place, the well-bred and the well-off still send theirchildren to Public Schools – which are actually private and extremely costly –as they have done for centuries.? In thepast, these schools were the jumping board into England's famous universities.? Now anyone who can pass the entry exam willearn a place, but Oxford University still has arule that forbids its students to bring their bows and arrows to class withthem!

And if you consider that Londonis one of the largest cities in the world, one of the largest financial centersin the world and has – in London Heathrow – one of the busiest internationalairports in the world – would it then amaze you to learn that English policeofficers go about their duties unarmed? How totally unique is that?

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