Wales is a country, part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, the Bristol Channel to the south, it had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area of 20,779 km2. Wales has over 1,680 miles of coastline and is mountainous, with its higher peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon, its highest summit; the country has a changeable, maritime climate. Welsh national identity emerged among the Britons after the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the 5th century, Wales is regarded as one of the modern Celtic nations. Llywelyn ap Gruffudd's death in 1282 marked the completion of Edward I of England's conquest of Wales, though Owain Glyndŵr restored independence to Wales in the early 15th century; the whole of Wales was annexed by England and incorporated within the English legal system under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542. Distinctive Welsh politics developed in the 19th century. Welsh liberalism, exemplified in the early 20th century by Lloyd George, was displaced by the growth of socialism and the Labour Party.
Welsh national feeling grew over the century. Established under the Government of Wales Act 1998, the National Assembly for Wales holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters. At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, development of the mining and metallurgical industries transformed the country from an agricultural society into an industrial nation. Two-thirds of the population live in South Wales, including Cardiff, Swansea and the nearby valleys. Now that the country's traditional extractive and heavy industries have gone or are in decline, Wales' economy depends on the public sector and service industries and tourism. Although Wales shares its political and social history with the rest of Great Britain, a majority of the population in most areas speaks English as a first language, the country has retained a distinct cultural identity and is bilingual. Over 560,000 Welsh language speakers live in Wales, the language is spoken by a majority of the population in parts of the north and west.
From the late 19th century onwards, Wales acquired its popular image as the "land of song", in part due to the eisteddfod tradition. At many international sporting events, such as the FIFA World Cup, Rugby World Cup and the Commonwealth Games, Wales has its own national teams, though at the Olympic Games, Welsh athletes compete as part of a Great Britain team. Rugby union is seen as an expression of national consciousness; the English words "Wales" and "Welsh" derive from the same Germanic root, itself derived from the name of the Gaulish people known to the Romans as Volcae and which came to refer indiscriminately to all non-Germanic peoples. The Old English-speaking Anglo-Saxons came to use the term Wælisc when referring to the Britons in particular, Wēalas when referring to their lands; the modern names for some Continental European lands and peoples have a similar etymology. In Britain, the words were not restricted to modern Wales or to the Welsh but were used to refer to anything that the Anglo-Saxons associated with the Britons, including other non-Germanic territories in Britain and places in Anglo-Saxon territory associated with Britons, as well as items associated with non-Germanic Europeans, such as the walnut.
The modern Welsh name for themselves is Cymry, Cymru is the Welsh name for Wales. These words are descended from the Brythonic word combrogi, meaning "fellow-countrymen"; the use of the word Cymry as a self-designation derives from the location in the post-Roman Era of the Welsh people in modern Wales as well as in northern England and southern Scotland. It emphasised that the Welsh in modern Wales and in the Hen Ogledd were one people, different from other peoples. In particular, the term was not applied to the Cornish or the Breton peoples, who are of similar heritage and language to the Welsh; the word came into use as a self-description before the 7th century. It is attested in a praise poem to Cadwallon ap Cadfan c. 633. In Welsh literature, the word Cymry was used throughout the Middle Ages to describe the Welsh, though the older, more generic term Brythoniaid continued to be used to describe any of the Britonnic peoples and was the more common literary term until c. 1200. Thereafter Cymry prevailed as a reference to the Welsh.
Until c. 1560 the word was spelt Kymry or Cymry, regardless of whether it referred to the people or their homeland. The Latinised forms of these names, Cambrian and Cambria, survive as lesser-used alternative names for Wales and the Welsh people. Examples include the Cambrian Mountains, the newspaper Cambrian News, the organisations Cambrian Airways, Cambrian Railways, Cambrian Archaeological Association and the Royal Cambrian Academy of Art. Outside Wales, a related form survives as the name Cumbria in North West England, once a part of Yr Hen Ogledd; the Cumbric language, thought to
Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight is a county and the largest and second-most populous island in England. It is in the English Channel, between 2 and 5 miles off the coast of Hampshire, separated by the Solent; the island has resorts that have been holiday destinations since Victorian times, is known for its mild climate, coastal scenery, verdant landscape of fields and chines. The island has been home to the poets Swinburne and Tennyson and to Queen Victoria, who built her much-loved summer residence and final home Osborne House at East Cowes, it has a maritime and industrial tradition including boat-building, sail-making, the manufacture of flying boats, the hovercraft, Britain's space rockets. The island hosts annual music festivals including the Isle of Wight Festival, which in 1970 was the largest rock music event held, it has well-conserved wildlife and some of the richest cliffs and quarries for dinosaur fossils in Europe. The isle was earlier a kingdom in its own right. In common with the Crown dependencies The British Crown was represented on the island by the Governor of the Isle of Wight until 1995.
The island has played an important part in the defence of the ports of Southampton and Portsmouth, been near the front-line of conflicts through the ages, including the Spanish Armada and the Battle of Britain. Rural for most of its history, its Victorian fashionability and the growing affordability of holidays led to significant urban development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Part of Hampshire, the island became a separate administrative county in 1890, it continued to share the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire until 1974, when it was made its own ceremonial county. Apart from a shared police force, there is now no administrative link with Hampshire, although a combined local authority with Portsmouth and Southampton was considered, this is now unlikely to proceed; until 1995 the island had a governor. The quickest public transport link to the mainland is the hovercraft from Ryde to Southsea. During the last Ice Age, sea levels were lower and the Solent was part of a river flowing south east from current day Poole Harbour towards mid-Channel.
As sea levels rose, the river valley became flooded, the chalk ridge line west of the Needles breached to form the island. The Isle of Wight is first mentioned in writing in Geography by Ptolemy. Bronze Age Britain had large reserves of tin in the areas of Cornwall and Devon and tin is necessary to smelt bronze. At that time the sea level was much lower and carts of tin were brought across the Solent at low tide for export on the Ferriby Boats. Anthony Snodgrass suggests that a shortage of tin, as a part of the Bronze Age Collapse and trade disruptions in the Mediterranean around 1300 BC, forced metalworkers to seek an alternative to bronze. During Iron Age Britain, the Late Iron Age, the Isle of Wight would appear to have been occupied by the Celtic tribe, the Durotriges - as attested by finds of their coins, for example, the South Wight Hoard, the Shalfleet Hoard. South eastern Britain experienced significant immigration, reflected in the genetic makeup of the current residents; as the Iron Age began the value of tin dropped and this greatly changed the economy of the Isle of Wight.
Trade however continued. Julius Caesar reported that the Belgae took the Isle of Wight in about 85 BC, recognised the culture of this general region as "Belgic", but made no reference to Vectis; the Roman historian Suetonius mentions. The Romans built no towns on the island, but the remains of at least seven Roman villas have been found, indicating the prosperity of local agriculture. First-century exports were principally hides, hunting dogs, cattle, silver and iron. Ferriby Boats and Blackfriars Ships were important to the local economy. During the Dark Ages the island was settled by Jutes as the pagan kingdom of Wihtwara under King Arwald. In 685 it was invaded by Caedwalla. In 686 Arwald was defeated and the island became the last part of English lands to be converted to Christianity, added to Wessex and becoming part of England under King Alfred the Great, included within the shire of Hampshire, it suffered from Viking raids, was used as a winter base by Viking raiders when they were unable to reach Normandy.
Both Earl Tostig and his brother Harold Godwinson held manors on the island. Starting in AD 449 the 5th and 6th centuries saw groups of Germanic speaking peoples from Northern Europe crossing the English Channel and setting up home. Bede's Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum identifies three separate groups of invaders: of these, the Jutes from Denmark settled the Isle of Wight and Kent. From onwards, there are indications that the island had wide trading links, with a port at Bouldnor, evidence of Bronze Age tin trading, finds of Late Iron Age coins; the Norman Conquest of 1066 created the position of Lord of the Isle of Wight. Carisbrooke Priory and the fort of Carisbrooke Castle were founded. Allegiance was sworn to FitzOsbern rather than the king. For nearly 200 years the island
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland known internationally as the UK Parliament, British Parliament, or Westminster Parliament, domestically as Parliament, is the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and the overseas territories. Parliament is bicameral but has three parts, consisting of the Sovereign, the House of Lords, the House of Commons; the two houses meet in the Palace of Westminster in the City of Westminster, one of the inner boroughs of the capital city, London. The House of Lords includes two different types of members: the Lords Spiritual, consisting of the most senior bishops of the Church of England, the Lords Temporal, consisting of life peers, appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister, of 92 hereditary peers, sitting either by virtue of holding a royal office, or by being elected by their fellow hereditary peers.
Prior to the opening of the Supreme Court in October 2009, the House of Lords performed a judicial role through the Law Lords. The House of Commons is an elected chamber with elections to 650 single member constituencies held at least every five years under the first-past-the-post system; the two Houses meet in separate chambers in the Palace of Westminster in London. By constitutional convention, all government ministers, including the Prime Minister, are members of the House of Commons or, less the House of Lords and are thereby accountable to the respective branches of the legislature. Most cabinet ministers are from the Commons, whilst junior ministers can be from either House. However, the Leader of the House of Lords must be a peer; the Parliament of Great Britain was formed in 1707 following the ratification of the Treaty of Union by Acts of Union passed by the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland, both Acts of Union stating, "That the United Kingdom of Great Britain be represented by one and the same Parliament to be styled The Parliament of Great Britain".
At the start of the 19th century, Parliament was further enlarged by Acts of Union ratified by the Parliament of Great Britain and the Parliament of Ireland that abolished the latter and added 100 Irish MPs and 32 Lords to the former to create the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927 formally amended the name to the "Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", five years after the secession of the Irish Free State in 1922. With the global expansion of the British Empire, the UK Parliament has shaped the political systems of many countries as ex-colonies and so it has been called the "Mother of Parliaments". However, John Bright – who coined the epithet – used it in reference to the political culture of "England" rather than just the parliamentary system. In theory, the UK's supreme legislative power is vested in the Crown-in-Parliament. However, the Crown acts on the advice of the Prime Minister and the powers of the House of Lords are limited to only delaying legislation.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was created on 1 January 1801, by the merger of the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland under the Acts of Union 1800. The principle of ministerial responsibility to the lower House did not develop until the 19th century—the House of Lords was superior to the House of Commons both in theory and in practice. Members of the House of Commons were elected in an antiquated electoral system, under which constituencies of vastly different sizes existed. Thus, the borough of Old Sarum, with seven voters, could elect two members, as could the borough of Dunwich, which had completely disappeared into the sea due to land erosion. Many small constituencies, known as pocket or rotten boroughs, were controlled by members of the House of Lords, who could ensure the election of their relatives or supporters. During the reforms of the 19th century, beginning with the Reform Act 1832, the electoral system for the House of Commons was progressively regularised.
No longer dependent on the Lords for their seats, MPs grew more assertive. The supremacy of the British House of Commons was reaffirmed in the early 20th century. In 1909, the Commons passed the so-called "People's Budget", which made numerous changes to the taxation system which were detrimental to wealthy landowners; the House of Lords, which consisted of powerful landowners, rejected the Budget. On the basis of the Budget's popularity and the Lords' consequent unpopularity, the Liberal Party narrowly won two general elections in 1910. Using the result as a mandate, the Liberal Prime Minister, Herbert Henry Asquith, introduced the Parliament Bill, which sought to restrict the powers of the House of Lords; when the Lords refused to pass the bill, Asquith countered with a promise extracted from the King in secret before the second general election of 1910 and requested the creation of several hundred Liberal peers, so as to erase the Conservative majority in the House of Lords. In the face of such a threat, the House of Lords narrowly passed the bill.
The Parliament Act 1911, as it became, prevented the Lords from blocking a money bill, allowed them to delay any other bill for a maximum of three sessions, after which it could become law over their objections. However, regardless of the Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949, t
Shropshire is a county in the West Midlands of England, bordering Wales to the west, Cheshire to the north, Staffordshire to the east, Worcestershire and Herefordshire to the south. Shropshire Council was created in 2009, a unitary authority taking over from the previous county council and five district councils; the borough of Telford and Wrekin has been a separate unitary authority since 1998 but continues to be included in the ceremonial county. The county's population and economy is centred on five towns: the county town of Shrewsbury, culturally and important and close to the centre of the county; the county has many market towns, including Whitchurch in the north, Newport northeast of Telford and Market Drayton in the northeast of the county. The Ironbridge Gorge area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, covering Ironbridge, Coalbrookdale and a part of Madeley. There are other historic industrial sites in the county, such as at Shrewsbury, Broseley and Highley, as well as the Shropshire Union Canal.
The Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty covers about a quarter of the county in the south. Shropshire is one of England's most rural and sparsely populated counties, with a population density of 136/km2; the Wrekin is one of the most famous natural landmarks in the county, though the highest hills are the Clee Hills and the Long Mynd. Wenlock Edge is another significant geological landmark. In the low-lying northwest of the county overlapping the border with Wales is the Fenn's, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses National Nature Reserve, one of the most important and best preserved bogs in Britain; the River Severn, Great Britain's longest river, runs through the county, exiting into Worcestershire via the Severn Valley. Shropshire is landlocked and with an area of 3,487 square kilometres is England's largest inland county; the county flower is the round-leaved sundew. The area was once part of the lands of the Cornovii, which consisted of the modern day counties of Cheshire, north Staffordshire, north Herefordshire and eastern parts of Powys.
This was a tribal Celtic iron age kingdom. Their capital in pre-Roman times was a hill fort on the Wrekin. Ptolemy's 2nd century Geography names one of their towns as being Viroconium Cornoviorum, which became their capital under Roman rule and one of the largest settlements in Britain. After the Roman occupation of Britain ended in the 5th century, the Shropshire area was in the eastern part of the Welsh Kingdom of Powys, it was annexed to the Angle kingdom of Mercia by King Offa in the 8th century, at which time he built two significant dykes there to defend his territory against the Welsh or at least demarcate it. In subsequent centuries, the area suffered repeated Viking incursions, fortresses were built at Bridgnorth and Chirbury. After the Norman conquest in 1066, major estates in Shropshire were granted to Normans, including Roger de Montgomerie, who ordered significant constructions in Shrewsbury, the town of which he was Earl. Many defensive castles were built at this time across the county to defend against the Welsh and enable effective control of the region, including Ludlow Castle and Shrewsbury Castle.
The western frontier with Wales was not determined until the 14th century. In this period, a number of religious foundations were formed, the county falling at this time under the Diocese of Hereford and that of Coventry and Lichfield; some parishes in the north-west of the county in times fell under the Diocese of St. Asaph until the disestablishment of the Church in Wales in 1920, when they were ceded to the Lichfield diocese; the county was a central part of the Welsh Marches during the medieval period and was embroiled in the power struggles between powerful Marcher Lords, the Earls of March and successive monarchs. The county contains a number of significant towns, including Shrewsbury and Ludlow. Additionally, the area around Coalbrookdale in the county is seen as significant, as it is regarded as one of the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution; the village of Edgmond, near Newport, is the location of the lowest recorded temperature in England and Wales. Shropshire is first recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle annal for 1006.
The origin of the name is the Old English Scrobbesbyrigscīr, which means "Shrewsburyshire". The name may, therefore, be derived indirectly from a personal name such as Scrope. Salop is an old name for Shropshire used as an abbreviated form for post or telegrams, it is thought to derive from the Anglo-French "Salopesberia", it is replaced by the more contemporary "Shrops" although Shropshire residents are still referred to as "Salopians". Salop however, is used as an alternative name for the county town, which shares the motto of Floreat Salopia; when a county council for the county was first established in 1889, it was called Salop County Council. Following the Local Government Act 1972, Salop became the official name of the county; the name was not well-regarded locally however, a subsequent campaign led by a local councillor, John Kenyon, succeeded in having both the county and council renamed as Shrops
Norfolk is a county in East Anglia in England. It borders Lincolnshire to the northwest, Cambridgeshire to the west and southwest, Suffolk to the south, its northern and eastern boundaries are the North Sea and, to the north-west, The Wash. The county town is Norwich. With an area of 2,074 square miles and a population of 859,400, Norfolk is a rural county with a population density of 401 per square mile. Of the county's population, 40% live in four major built up areas: Norwich, Great Yarmouth, King's Lynn and Thetford; the Broads is a network of lakes in the east of the county, extending south into Suffolk. The area is not a national park, it has similar status to a national park, is protected by the Broads Authority. Norfolk was settled in pre-Roman times, with camps along the higher land in the west, where flints could be quarried. A Brythonic tribe, the Iceni, inhabited the county from the 1st century BC to the end of the 1st century AD; the Iceni revolted against the Roman invasion in AD 47, again in 60 led by Boudica.
The crushing of the second rebellion opened the county to the Romans. During the Roman era roads and ports were constructed throughout the county and farming was widespread. Situated on the east coast, Norfolk was vulnerable to invasions from Scandinavia and Northern Europe, forts were built to defend against the Angles and Saxons. By the 5th century the Angles, after whom East Anglia and England itself are named, had established control of the region and became the "north folk" and the "south folk", hence, "Norfolk" and "Suffolk". Norfolk and several adjacent areas became the kingdom of East Anglia, which merged with Mercia and with Wessex; the influence of the Early English settlers can be seen in the many place names ending in "-ton" and "-ham". Endings such as "-by" and "-thorpe" are common, indicating Danish place names: in the 9th century the region again came under attack, this time from Danes who killed the king, Edmund the Martyr. In the centuries before the Norman Conquest the wetlands of the east of the county began to be converted to farmland, settlements grew in these areas.
Migration into East Anglia must have been high: by the time of the Domesday Book survey it was one of the most densely populated parts of the British Isles. During the high and late Middle Ages the county developed arable woollen industries. Norfolk's prosperity at that time is evident from the county's large number of medieval churches: out of an original total of over one thousand, 659 have survived, more than in the whole of the rest of Great Britain; the economy was in decline by the time of the Black Death, which reduced the population in 1349. By the 16th century Norwich had grown to become the second-largest city in England, but over one-third of its population died in the plague epidemic of 1579, in 1665 the Great Plague again killed around one-third of the population. During the English Civil War Norfolk was Parliamentarian; the economy and agriculture of the region declined somewhat. During the Industrial Revolution Norfolk developed little industry except in Norwich, a late addition to the railway network.
In the 20th century the county developed a role in aviation. The first development in airfields came with the First World War. For the local army regiments the Royal Norfolk Regiment and the Norfolk Yeomanry please click on the links. During the Second World War agriculture intensified, it has remained intensive since, with the establishment of large fields for growing cereals and oilseed rape. Norfolk's low-lying land and eroded cliffs, many of which are composed of chalk and clay, make it vulnerable to weathering by the sea; the most recent major erosion event occurred during the North Sea flood of 1953. The low-lying section of coast between Kelling and Lowestoft Ness in Suffolk is managed by the British Environment Agency to protect the Broads from sea flooding. Management policy for the North Norfolk coastline is described in the "North Norfolk Shoreline Management Plan" published in 2006, but has yet to be accepted by local authorities; the Shoreline Management Plan states that the stretch of coast will be protected for at least another 50 years, but that in the face of sea level rise and post-glacial lowering of land levels in the South East, there is an urgent need for further research to inform future management decisions, including the possibility that the sea defences may have to be realigned to a more sustainable position.
Natural England have contributed some research into the impacts on the environment of various realignment options. The draft report of their research was leaked to the press, who created great anxiety by reporting that Natural England plan to abandon a large section of the Norfolk Broads and farmland to the sea to save the rest of the Norfolk coastline from the impact of climate change. In 1998 Norfolk had a Gross Domestic Product of £9,319 million, which represents 1.5% of England's economy and 1.25% of the United Kingdom's economy. The GDP per head was £11,825, compared to £13,635 for East Anglia, £12,845 for England and £12,438 for the United Kingdom. In 1999–2000 the county had an unemployment rate of 5.6%, compared to 5.8% for England and 6.0% for the UK. Data from 2017 provided a useful update on the county's economy; the median hourly gross pay was £12.17 and the median weekly pay was £496.80. The employm
Oxfordshire is a county in South East England. The ceremonial county borders Warwickshire to the north-west, Northamptonshire to the north-east, Buckinghamshire to the east, Berkshire to the south, Wiltshire to the south-west and Gloucestershire to the west; the county has major education and tourist industries and is noted for the concentration of performance motorsport companies and facilities. Oxford University Press is the largest firm among a concentration of publishing firms; as well as the city of Oxford, other centres of population are Banbury, Bicester and Chipping Norton to the north of Oxford. The areas south of the Thames, the Vale of White Horse and parts of South Oxfordshire, are in the historic county of Berkshire, as is the highest point, the 261 metres White Horse Hill. Oxfordshire's county flower is the snake's-head fritillary. Oxfordshire was recorded as a county in the early years of the 10th century and lies between the River Thames to the south, the Cotswolds to the west, the Chilterns to the east and the Midlands to the north, with spurs running south to Henley-on-Thames and north to Banbury.
Although it had some significance as an area of valuable agricultural land in the centre of the country, it was ignored by the Romans, did not grow in importance until the formation of a settlement at Oxford in the 8th century. Alfred the Great was born across the Thames in Vale of White Horse; the University of Oxford was founded in 1096, though its collegiate structure did not develop until on. The university in the county town of Oxford grew in importance during the Middle Ages and early modern period; the area was part of the Cotswolds wool trade from the 13th century, generating much wealth in the western portions of the county in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. Morris Motors was founded in Oxford in 1912, bringing heavy industry to an otherwise agricultural county; the importance of agriculture as an employer has declined in the 20th century though. Nonetheless, Oxfordshire remains a agricultural county by land use, with a lower population than neighbouring Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, which are both smaller.
Throughout most of its history the county was divided into fourteen hundreds, namely Bampton, Binfield, Bullingdon, Dorchester, Langtree, Pyrton, Ploughley and Wootton. The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, the main army unit in the area, was based at Cowley Barracks on Bullingdon Green, Cowley; the Vale of White Horse district and parts of the South Oxfordshire administrative district south of the River Thames were part of Berkshire, but in 1974 Abingdon, Faringdon and Wantage were added to the administrative county of Oxfordshire under the Local Government Act 1972. Conversely, the Caversham area of Reading, now administratively in Berkshire, was part of Oxfordshire as was the parish of Stokenchurch, now administratively in Buckinghamshire. Oxfordshire includes parts of three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. In the north-west lie the Cotswolds, to the south and south-east are the open chalk hills of the North Wessex Downs and wooded hills of the Chilterns; the north of the county contains the ironstone of the Cherwell uplands.
Long-distance walks within the county include the Ridgeway National Trail, Macmillan Way, Oxfordshire Way and the D’Arcy Dalton Way. Northernmost point: 52°10′6.58″N 1°19′54.92″W, near Claydon Hay Farm, Claydon Southernmost point: 51°27′34.74″N 0°56′48.3″W, near Thames and Kennet Marina, Playhatch Westernmost point: 51°46′59.73″N 1°43′9.68″W, near Downs Farm, Westwell Easternmost point: 51°30′14.22″N 0°52′13.99″W, River Thames, near Lower Shiplake The central part of Oxfordshire contains the River Thames with its flat floodplains. The Thames Path National Trail parallels the river as it crosses Oxfordshire, continuing towards London. There are many smaller rivers that feed into the Thames such as the Thame, Windrush and Cherwell; some of these rivers have trails running along their valleys. The Oxford Canal follows the Cherwell from Banbury to Kidlington. Oxfordshire contains a green belt area that envelops the city of Oxford, extends for some miles to afford a protection to surrounding towns and villages from inappropriate development and urban growth.
Its border in the east extends to the Buckinghamshire county boundary, while part of its southern border is shared with the North Wessex Downs AONB. It was first drawn up in the 1950s, all the county's districts contain some portion of the belt; this is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Oxfordshire at current basic prices published by the Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British pounds sterling. The Oxfordshire County Council, since 2013 under no overall control, is responsible for the most strategic local government functions, including schools, county roads, social services; the county is divided into five local government districts: Oxford, Vale of White Horse, West Oxfordshire and South Oxfordshire, which deal with such matters as town and country planning, waste collection, housing. In the 2016 European Union referendum, Oxfordshire was the only English cou
Hampshire is a county on the southern coast of England. The county town is the city of Winchester, its two largest cities and Portsmouth, are administered separately as unitary authorities. First settled about 14,000 years ago, Hampshire's history dates to Roman Britain, when its chief town was Winchester; when the Romans left Britain, the area was infiltrated by tribes from Scandinavia and mainland Europe, principally in the river valleys. The county was recorded in the 11th century Domesday Book, divided into 44 hundreds. From the 12th century, the ports grew in importance, fuelled by trade with the continent and cloth manufacture in the county, the fishing industry, a shipbuilding industry was established. By the 16th century, the population of Southampton had outstripped that of Winchester. By the mid-19th century, with the county's population at 219,210 in more than 86,000 dwellings, agriculture was the principal industry and 10 per cent of the county was still forest. Hampshire played a crucial military role in both World Wars.
The Isle of Wight left the county to form its own in 1974. The county's geography is varied, with upland to 286 metres and south-flowing rivers. There are areas of downland and marsh, two national parks: the New Forest, part of the South Downs, which together cover 45 per cent of Hampshire. Hampshire is one of the most affluent counties in the country, with an unemployment rate lower than the national average, its economy derived from major companies, maritime and tourism. Tourist attractions include the national parks and the Southampton Boat Show; the county is known as the home of writers Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, the childhood home of Florence Nightingale and the birthplace of engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Hampshire takes its name from the settlement, now the city of Southampton. Southampton was known in Old English as Hamtun meaning "village-town", so its surrounding area or scīr became known as Hamtunscīr; the old name was recorded in the Domesday book as Hantescire, from this spelling, the modern abbreviation "Hants" derives.
From 1889 until 1959, the administrative county was named the County of Southampton and has been known as Southamptonshire. Hampshire was the departure point of some of those who left England to settle on the east coast of North America during the 17th century, giving its name in particular to the state of New Hampshire; the towns of Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Portsmouth, Virginia take their names from Portsmouth in Hampshire. The region is believed to have been continuously occupied since the end of the last Ice Age about 12,000 BCE. At this time, Britain was still attached to the European continent and was predominantly covered with deciduous woodland; the first inhabitants were Mesolithic hunter-gatherers. The majority of the population would have been concentrated around the river valleys. Over several thousand years, the climate became progressively warmer, sea levels rose. Notable sites from this period include Bouldnor Cliff. Agriculture had arrived in southern Britain by 4000 BCE, with it a neolithic culture.
Some deforestation took place at that time, although during the Bronze Age, beginning in 2200 BCE, this became more widespread and systematic. Hampshire has few monuments to show from these early periods, although nearby Stonehenge was built in several phases at some time between 3100 and 2200 BCE. In the late Bronze Age, fortified hilltop settlements known as hillforts began to appear in large numbers in many parts of Britain including Hampshire, these became more and more important in the early and middle Iron Age. By this period, the people of Britain predominantly spoke a Celtic language, their culture shared much in common with the Celts described by classical writers. Hillforts declined in importance in the second half of the second century BCE, with many being abandoned. Around this period, the first recorded invasion of Britain took place, as southern Britain was conquered by warrior-elites from Belgic tribes of northeastern Gaul - whether these two events are linked to the decline of hillforts is unknown.
By the Roman conquest, the oppidum at Venta Belgarum, modern-day Winchester, was the de facto regional administrative centre. Julius Caesar invaded southeastern England in 55 and again in 54 BCE, but he never reached Hampshire. Notable sites from this period include Hengistbury Head, a major port; the Romans invaded Britain again in 43 CE, Hampshire was incorporated into the Roman province of Britannia quickly. It is believed their political leaders allowed themselves to be incorporated peacefully. Venta became the capital of the administrative polity of the Belgae, which included most of Hampshire and Wiltshire and reached as far as Bath. Whether the people of Hampshire played any role in Boudicca's rebellion of 60-61 CE is not recorded, but evidence of burning is seen in Winchester dated to around this period. For most of the next three centuries, southern Britain enjoyed relative peace; the part of th