Independence Day is the most important American holiday. United States of America were born on July 4, 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was signed and America started the fight for freedom from British rule.
Before this date, the King of England, George III, ruled the thirteen colonies in America.
In 1767, the British government placed new taxes on tea and paper that the colonists imported from abroad. The colorists got angry and refused to pay. George III sent soldiers to keep order.
In 1772, a group of colonists dressed up as Indians threw 542 chests of tea belonging to the East India Company into the waters of Boston harbor – it was so called Boston tea party. King George didn’t think it was funny and closed Boston harbor until the tea was paid for.
Category Archive: страноведение
Skye is located off Scotland’s northwest coast, some 184 km from Glasgow. The island measures 77 km in length and 38 km at its widest. The largest island in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides, Skye covers an area of 1,740 sq km, about half the size of the state of Rhode Island in the USA. Skye’s landscape is dominated by the spectacular Black Cuillin Hills, which an English journalist H. V. Morton (1892-1979) described in his book In Search of Scotland. “Imagine Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries frozen in stone and hung up like a colossal screen against the sky. It seems as if Nature when she hurled the Coolins up… said: ‘I will make mountains which shall be the essence of all that can be terrible in mountains.”
Visitors to Britain are often surprised by the strange behaviour of its inhabitants. The British like forming queues. They queue up when waiting for a bus, theatre tickets, in shops… A well-known writer George Mikes, a Hungarian by birth, joked: ‘An Englishman, even if he is alone, forms an orderly queue of one’.
So one of the worst mistakes is to get on a bus without waiting your turn. The British are very sensitive to such behaviour and they may get really annoyed with queue-jumpers -people who don’t wait their turn in the queue.
Drivers in cars can become quite aggressive if they think you are jumping the queue in a traffic jam. Newspapers often publish angry articles about people who pay money to bypass a hospital waiting list in order to get an operation more quickly.
The British, especially the English, are more reserved than the people of many other countries. They don’t like to show their emotions. They usually don’t easily get into conversation with strangers. They don’t like personal questions (for example, how much money they earn or about their family life). They take more time to make friends. They would like to know you better before they ask you home. So don’t be upset if your English friends don’t invite you home. It doesn’t mean they don’t like you!
The first, the longest, the tallest
The first Metro line went into service on May 15, 1935, between Sokolniki and Gorki Park. The 11.6-kilometre line served 13 stations. The longest line in Moscow today is the Кaluzhsko-Rizhskay line, from Medvedkovo to Bitsevsky Park. It takes 58 minutes and 30 seconds to travel the 38 km. The Moscow Metro is the busiest underground system in the world. Each day, it carries 9 million passengers, twice as many as either the London Underground or the Paris Metro.
The first railroad station in Moscow was the Nikolayevskiy, later renamed the Leningradskiy, built in 1849. The first rail line between Moscow and St Petersburg was inaugurated in 1851.
Every nation and every country has its own traditions. In Britain traditions play a more important part in the life of the people than in other countries.
The English are very proud of their traditions and carefully keep them. When you come to England you’re struck at once by quite a number of customs. Some ceremonies are rather formal, such as the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, Trooping the Colour, the State opening of Parliament, the Ceremony of the Keys. Sometimes you will see a group of cavalrymen riding on black horses through the streets of London. They wear red uniforms, shining helmets, long black boots and long white gloves. These men are Life Guards. Their special duty is to guard the King or the Queen of Great Britain, and very important guests of the country.
Sport plays a very important part in people’s lives in Britain. About 29 million people over the age of 16 regularly take part in sport or exercise. Walking is the most popular recreation. For many people sport is the main form of entertainment. There are a lot of sport programmes on TV. Every newspaper devotes several pages to sport.
The British are one of the best in the world in different sports. The importance of sport is recognized by the Government. Every local authority has a duty to provide and maintain playing fields and other facilities, which are very cheap to use (sometimes they are free).
Such sporting occasions as the Cup Final, the Derby, the Boat Race are regarded as the event, rather than the sport itself. They are watched on television by millions of people. These annual sporting occasions are available to all TV channels. Sometimes such events are accompanied by strong traditions. For example, Wimbledon is not just a tennis tournament. It means summer fashions, strawberries and cream, garden parties. Wimbledon is a middle-class event, and British tennis fans would never allow themselves to be treated like football fans.
Most countries have a national drink. In England it is beer, and the «pub» is a peculiarly English institution.
The pub is the place where people can meet and talk in a friendly atmosphere. It is quite different from bars or cafes in other countries. In cafes people drink coffee and get out. The atmosphere is rather formal. But in pubs there is a general atmosphere of warmth and cosiness.
Every pub has a sign outside with its name. («The Pig and Whistle», «The Bull», «The Duke of Cambridge», etc.). All pubs have one distinctive feature: there is no waiter service there. If you want something you have to go and ask for it at the bar. People usually sit at tables and chat in a small room, called the «bar», but the same term is used for the great counter of wood, where people stand and have their drinks.