Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the United Kingdom's aerial warfare force. Formed towards the end of the First World War on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world. Following victory over the Central Powers in 1918 the RAF emerged as, at the time, the largest air force in the world. Since its formation, the RAF has taken a significant role in British military history. In particular, it played a large part in the Second World War where it fought its most famous campaign, the Battle of Britain; the RAF's mission is to support the objectives of the British Ministry of Defence, which are to "provide the capabilities needed to ensure the security and defence of the United Kingdom and overseas territories, including against terrorism. The RAF describes its mission statement as "... an agile and capable Air Force that, person for person, is second to none, that makes a decisive air power contribution in support of the UK Defence Mission". The mission statement is supported by the RAF's definition of air power.
Air power is defined as "the ability to project power from the air and space to influence the behaviour of people or the course of events". Today the Royal Air Force maintains an operational fleet of various types of aircraft, described by the RAF as being "leading-edge" in terms of technology; this consists of fixed-wing aircraft, including: fighter and strike aircraft, airborne early warning and control aircraft, ISTAR and SIGINT aircraft, aerial refueling aircraft and strategic and tactical transport aircraft. The majority of the RAF's rotary-wing aircraft form part of the tri-service Joint Helicopter Command in support of ground forces. Most of the RAF's aircraft and personnel are based in the UK, with many others serving on operations or at long-established overseas bases. Although the RAF is the principal British air power arm, the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm and the British Army's Army Air Corps deliver air power, integrated into the maritime and land environments. While the British were not the first to make use of heavier-than-air military aircraft, the RAF is the world's oldest independent air force: that is, the first air force to become independent of army or navy control.
Following publication of the "Smuts report" prepared by Jan Smuts the RAF was founded on 1 April 1918, with headquarters located in the former Hotel Cecil, during the First World War, by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. At that time it was the largest air force in the world. After the war, the service was drastically cut and its inter-war years were quiet, with the RAF taking responsibility for the control of Iraq and executing a number of minor actions in other parts of the British Empire; the RAF's naval aviation branch, the Fleet Air Arm, was founded in 1924 but handed over to Admiralty control on 24 May 1939. The RAF developed the doctrine of strategic bombing which led to the construction of long-range bombers and became its main bombing strategy in the Second World War; the RAF underwent rapid expansion prior to and during the Second World War. Under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan of December 1939, the air forces of British Commonwealth countries trained and formed "Article XV squadrons" for service with RAF formations.
Many individual personnel from these countries, exiles from occupied Europe served with RAF squadrons. By the end of the war the Royal Canadian Air Force had contributed more than 30 squadrons to serve in RAF formations approximately a quarter of Bomber Command's personnel were Canadian. Additionally, the Royal Australian Air Force represented around nine percent of all RAF personnel who served in the European and Mediterranean theatres. In the Battle of Britain in 1940, the RAF defended the skies over Britain against the numerically superior German Luftwaffe. In what is the most prolonged and complicated air campaign in history, the Battle of Britain contributed to the delay and subsequent indefinite postponement of Hitler's plans for an invasion of the United Kingdom. In the House of Commons on 20 August, prompted by the ongoing efforts of the RAF, Prime Minister Winston Churchill eloquently made a speech to the nation, where he said "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few".
The largest RAF effort during the war was the strategic bombing campaign against Germany by Bomber Command. While RAF bombing of Germany began immediately upon the outbreak of war, under the leadership of Air Chief Marshal Harris, these attacks became devastating from 1942 onward as new technology and greater numbers of superior aircraft became available; the RAF adopted night-time area bombing on German cities such as Hamburg and Dresden, developed precision bombing techniques for specific operations, such as the "Dambusters" raid by No. 617 Squadron, or the Amiens prison raid known as Operation Jericho. Following victory in the Second World War, the RAF underwent significant re-organisation, as technological advances in air warfare saw the arrival of jet fighters and bombers. During the early stages of the Cold War, one of the first major operations undertaken by the Royal Air Force was in 1948 and the Berlin Airlift, codenamed Operation Plainfire. Between 26 June and the lifting of the Russian blockade of the city on 2 May, the RAF provided 17% of the total supplies delivered du
England is a country, part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to Scotland to the north-northwest; the Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England 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, 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 Palaeolithic 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, since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world; the English language, the Anglican Church, English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, the country's parliamentary system of government has been adopted by other nations.
The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation. England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the west; the capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom concentrated around London, the South East, conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century; 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. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland 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. The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles"; the Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Anglia peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea; the earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late-ninth-century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The term was used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was part of the English kingdom of Northumbria; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the Domesday Book of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but a few years the Chronicle stated that King Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its modern spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used; the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe, less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons to distinguish them from continental Saxons of Old Saxony between the Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England. An alternative name for England is Albion; the name Albion referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus the 4th-century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth.
In it are two large islands called Britannia. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins, it either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend; the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximate
Airspeed Limited was established to build aeroplanes in 1931 in York, England, by A. H. Tiltman and Nevil Shute Norway; the other directors were Lord Grimthorpe and Alan Cobham. Amy Johnson was one of the initial subscribers for shares. Airspeed Ltd. was founded by designer Hessell Tiltman. In his autobiography, Slide Rule: Autobiography of an Engineer, Norway gives an account of the founding of the company and of the processes that led to the development and mass production of the Oxford, he received the Fellowship of the Royal Aeronautical Society for his innovative fitting of a retractable undercarriage to aircraft. The AS.1 Tern, the first British high performance glider was built to get publicity by setting British gliding records and hope to attract more capital. It could fly in two or three months while setting up the design office and workshop in half of an empty bus garage in York. In 1932, Airspeed produced the AS.4 Ferry, a three-engined, ten-passenger biplane designed for Sir Alan Cobham.
In March 1933, the firm moved to Portsmouth where the Corporation gave generous terms for a factory building built to Airspeed's requirements on their airport. The first Airspeed Courier was flown from here in 1933, followed by the first of a twin-engined development of the Courier, the Airspeed Envoy in 1934. Both the Courier and the Envoy were made in small numbers. In the same year, a long-range racing version of the Envoy, the AS.8 Viceroy, was developed for the England-Australia MacRobertson Air Race. In 1934 the firm became Airspeed Limited, made a public issue of shares, was associated with the Tyneside ship builder Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson Limited in August 1934. In 1934 six Couriers had been sold to an operating company for a hire purchase deposit of £5 each; the managing director Neville Shute wrote that they could come back to Airspeed and as an "obsolescent type" might not be so easy to sell again. He got a reputation as "unscrupulous" for resisting the auditors' attempt to write them down on the books, as with growing talk of war civil aircraft of any size would "sell immediately".
As the six were worth nearly twenty thousand pounds, writing them down to half that would add £10,000 to their loss and making the firm's proposed share issue a unattractive investment. And Shute could see from his office the four hundred workers in the "shop" with families depending on their jobs. In 1936 most of their unsold Couriers and Envoys were sold and found their way to the Spanish Civil War, their demonstration Envoy was sold to the Spanish Nationalists for £6000. In 1935 the sole Airspeed Viceroy was nearly sold to Ethiopia for use against Italian forces. In 1934 Shute negotiated with Anthony Fokker for a licencing agreement with Fokker, he worked "at all hours and in strange places". "his efficient legal advisor and secretary could not tell us where he was".. In 1935 Airspeed signed a manufacturing licencing agreement for the Douglas DC-2 and several Fokker types, with Fokker to be a consultant for seven years. Airspeed considered making the Fokker D. XVII fighter for Greece, who wanted to buy from Britain for currency reasons.
Shute and a Fokker representative "who was well accustomed to methods of business in the Balkans" spent three weeks in Athens but did not close the deal. Shute recommended reading his novel Ruined City to find out, and after a year the drift to war and their Air Ministry contracts meant that Dutchmen could not go to the Airspeed factory or board meetings. All Airspeed aeroplanes under manufacture or development in 1936 were to use a Wolseley radial aero engine of about 250 horsepower, under development by Nuffield, the Wolseley Scorpio; the project was abandoned in September 1936 after the expenditure of about two hundred thousand pounds when Lord Nuffield got the fixed price I. T. P. contract papers and decided to deal only with the War Office and the Admiralty, not the Air Ministry. According to Nevil Shute Norway it was a advanced engine, so its loss was a major disaster for Airspeed, but when he asked Lord Nuffield to retain the engine, Nuffield said "I tell you, Norway... I sent that I. T. P.
Thing back to them, I told them they could put it where the monkey put the nuts!" Shute wrote that the loss of the Wolseley engine due to the over-cautious high civil servants of the Air Ministry was a great loss to Britain. Shute said that "admitting Air Ministry methods of doing business... would be like introducing a maggot into an apple.. Better to stick to selling motor vehicles for cash to the War Office and the Admiralty who retained the normal methods of buying and selling." In June, 1940, formal announcement was made that the de Havilland Aircraft Co. Ltd. had completed negotiations for the purchase from Swan and Wigham Richardson, Ltd. of that firm's holding of Airspeed ordinary shares. Airspeed retained its identity as a separate company though as a wholly owned subsidiary of de Havilland. Around 1943 to reduce the risk of Luftwaffe bombing, a new dispersed design office was opened at Fairmile Manor in Cobham, Surrey. Airspeed's most productive p
Armstrong Whitworth Argosy
For the 1950s transport, see Armstrong Whitworth AW.660 Argosy The Armstrong Whitworth Argosy was a British three-engine biplane airliner built by Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft, operated by Imperial Airways from 1926 to 1935. The Armstrong Whitworth A. W.154 Argosy stemmed from a declaration by Imperial Airways that all its aircraft would be multi-engine designs, on the grounds of safety. They were intended to replace the older single-engine de Havilland aircraft that Imperial Airways had inherited from its constituent companies Daimler Airway; the first example flew in March 1926, following an initial order for three Argosys from Imperial Airways. An improved Mk. II version was introduced in 1929; the Argosy was used on European routes, with the fleet named after cities. The first passenger flight was from London to Paris on 16 July 1926. Argosies implemented the world's first named air service, the luxury'Silver Wing' service from London to Paris, using Argosy City of Birmingham. Two seats were removed and replaced with a bar, a steward was in attendance.
In April 1931 Edward, Prince of Wales and his brother Prince George flew home from Paris–Le Bourget Airport in City of Glasgow, which landed specially in Windsor Great Park. Three Argosys were lost during service with Imperial Airways, one being written off in a forced landing near Aswan, one during a training accident, both in 1931, with no injuries in either accident. On 28 March 1933, the City of Liverpool caught fire over Belgium, causing a crash in which all three crew and twelve passengers were killed. Argosys continued in service with Imperial Airways until 1935, with the last example, City of Manchester, being used for joy-riding by United Airways Ltd of Stanley Park Aerodrome, merged into British Airways Ltd, it continued in use with British Airways until December 1936. Argosy Mk I:Three-engined airliner. Powered by three 385 hp Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar IIIA radial piston engines. Fitted with Jaguar IVA engines. Three constructed. Argosy Mk II:Three-engined airliner. Powered by three 420 hp Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar IVA radial piston engines.
Four constructed. United KingdomBritish Airways Ltd Imperial Airways United Airways Ltd Data from British Civil Aircraft since 1919. General characteristics Crew: 2 Capacity: 20 passengers Length: 64 ft 6 in Wingspan: 90 ft 0 in Height: 19 ft 0 in Wing area: 1,890 sq ft Empty weight: 12,090 lb Max takeoff weight: 19,200 lb Powerplant: 3 × Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar IVA 14-cylinder radial engines, 420 hp eachPerformance Maximum speed: 110 mph Cruise speed: 90 mph Range: 405 mi Time to altitude: 4.5 min to 3,000 ft Related development Handley Page H. P.42Aircraft of comparable role and era Armstrong Whitworth Atalanta Armstrong Whitworth Ensign de Havilland DH.34 de Havilland Hercules de Havilland Albatross Vickers Vulcan Related lists Civil air transport Notes Bibliography Newsreel footage of Armstrong Whitworth Argosy in flight Armstrong Whitworth Argosy Mk. I illustration in May 1927 Popular Mechanics article
Nevil Shute Norway was an English novelist and aeronautical engineer who spent his years in Australia. He used his full name in his engineering career and Nevil Shute as his pen name to protect his engineering career from any potential negative publicity in connection with his novels, which included On the Beach and A Town Like Alice. Born in Somerset Road, Middlesex, he was educated at the Dragon School, Shrewsbury School and Balliol College, Oxford. Shute's father, Arthur Hamilton Norway, became head of the Post Office in Ireland before the First World War and was based at the main post office in Dublin in 1916 at the time of the Easter Rising. Shute himself was commended for his role as a stretcher-bearer during the rising. On 13 June 1915 his elder brother, Fredrick Hamilton Norway, aged 19, was wounded at Epinette, near Armentières, was evacuated to Wimereux where he died, on 4 July, with his parents by his side, he was buried at Pas-de-Calais. Shute attended the Royal Military Academy, but because of his stammer was unable to take up a commission in the Royal Flying Corps, instead serving in the Great War as a soldier in the Suffolk Regiment.
An aeronautical engineer as well as a pilot, he began his engineering career with the De Havilland Aircraft Company. Dissatisfied with the lack of opportunities for advancement, he took a position in 1924 with Vickers Ltd. where he was involved with the development of airships, working as Chief Calculator on the R100 airship project for the Vickers subsidiary Airship Guarantee Company. In 1929 he was promoted to Deputy Chief Engineer of the R100 project under Barnes Wallis and when Wallis left the project he became the Chief Engineer; the R100 was a prototype for passenger-carrying airships that would serve the needs of Britain's empire. The government-funded but developed R100 made a successful 1930 round trip to Canada. While in Canada it made trips from Montreal to Ottawa and Niagara Falls; the fatal 1930 crash in France of its government-developed counterpart R101 ended British interest in dirigibles. The Secretary of State for Air, Lord Thomson, was killed in the crash along with several senior figures in the airship development program.
The R100 was grounded and subsequently scrapped. Shute gives a detailed account of the development of the two airships in his 1954 autobiographical work, Slide Rule, his account is critical of the R101 design and management team, hints that senior team members were complicit in concealing flaws in the airship's design and construction. In The Tender Ship, Manhattan Project engineer and Virginia Tech professor Arthur Squires used Shute's account of the R100 and R101 as a primary illustration of his thesis that governments are incompetent managers of technology projects. In 1931, with the cancellation of the R100 project, Shute teamed up with the talented de Havilland trained designer A. Hessell Tiltman to found the aircraft construction company Airspeed Ltd. A site was available in a former trolleybus garage on York. Despite setbacks, including the usual problems of a new business, Airspeed Limited gained recognition when its Envoy aircraft was chosen for the King's Flight. With the approach of war, a military version of the Envoy was developed, to be called the Airspeed Oxford.
The Oxford became the standard advanced multi-engined trainer for the RAF and British Commonwealth, with over 8,500 being built. For the innovation of developing a hydraulic retractable undercarriage for the Airspeed Courier, his work on R100, Shute was made a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society. On 7 March 1931, Shute married a 28-year-old medical practitioner, they had two daughters and Shirley. By the outbreak of the Second World War, Shute was a rising novelist; as war seemed imminent he was working on military projects with his former boss at Vickers, Sir Dennistoun Burney. He was commissioned into the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve as a sub-lieutenant and ended up in what would become the Directorate of Miscellaneous Weapons Development. There he was a head of engineering, working on secret weapons such as Panjandrum, a job that appealed to the engineer in him, he developed the Rocket Spear, an anti-submarine missile with a fluted cast iron head. After the first U-boat was sunk by it, Charles Goodeve sent him a message concluding "I am pleased as it substantiates the foresight you showed in pushing this in its early stages.
My congratulations."His celebrity as a writer caused the Ministry of Information to send him to the Normandy Landings on 6 June 1944 and to Burma as a correspondent. He finished the war with the rank of lieutenant commander in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserves. Shute's first novel, Stephen Morris, was written in 1923, but not published until 1961, his first published novel was Marazan, which came out in 1926. After that he averaged one novel every two years through the 1950s, with the exception of a six-year hiatus while he was establishing his own aircraft construction company, Airspeed Ltd, his popularity grew with each novel, but he became much more famous after the publication of On the Beach in 1957. Shute's novels are written in a simple readable style, with delineated plot lines. Where there is a romantic element, sex is referred to only obliquely. Many of the stories are introduced by a narrator, not a character in the story; the most common theme in Shu
An aircraft is a machine, able to fly by gaining support from the air. It counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines. Common examples of aircraft include airplanes, airships and hot air balloons; the human activity that surrounds aircraft is called aviation. The science of aviation, including designing and building aircraft, is called aeronautics. Crewed aircraft are flown by an onboard pilot, but unmanned aerial vehicles may be remotely controlled or self-controlled by onboard computers. Aircraft may be classified by different criteria, such as lift type, aircraft propulsion and others. Flying model craft and stories of manned flight go back many centuries, however the first manned ascent – and safe descent – in modern times took place by larger hot-air balloons developed in the 18th century; each of the two World Wars led to great technical advances. The history of aircraft can be divided into five eras: Pioneers of flight, from the earliest experiments to 1914.
First World War, 1914 to 1918. Aviation between the World Wars, 1918 to 1939. Second World War, 1939 to 1945. Postwar era called the jet age, 1945 to the present day. Aerostats use buoyancy to float in the air in much the same way, they are characterized by one or more large gasbags or canopies, filled with a low-density gas such as helium, hydrogen, or hot air, less dense than the surrounding air. When the weight of this is added to the weight of the aircraft structure, it adds up to the same weight as the air that the craft displaces. Small hot-air balloons called sky lanterns were first invented in ancient China prior to the 3rd century BC and used in cultural celebrations, were only the second type of aircraft to fly, the first being kites which were first invented in ancient China over two thousand years ago. A balloon was any aerostat, while the term airship was used for large, powered aircraft designs – fixed-wing. In 1919 Frederick Handley Page was reported as referring to "ships of the air," with smaller passenger types as "Air yachts."
In the 1930s, large intercontinental flying boats were sometimes referred to as "ships of the air" or "flying-ships". – though none had yet been built. The advent of powered balloons, called dirigible balloons, of rigid hulls allowing a great increase in size, began to change the way these words were used. Huge powered aerostats, characterized by a rigid outer framework and separate aerodynamic skin surrounding the gas bags, were produced, the Zeppelins being the largest and most famous. There were still no fixed-wing aircraft or non-rigid balloons large enough to be called airships, so "airship" came to be synonymous with these aircraft. Several accidents, such as the Hindenburg disaster in 1937, led to the demise of these airships. Nowadays a "balloon" is an unpowered aerostat and an "airship" is a powered one. A powered, steerable aerostat is called a dirigible. Sometimes this term is applied only to non-rigid balloons, sometimes dirigible balloon is regarded as the definition of an airship.
Non-rigid dirigibles are characterized by a moderately aerodynamic gasbag with stabilizing fins at the back. These soon became known as blimps. During the Second World War, this shape was adopted for tethered balloons; the nickname blimp was adopted along with the shape. In modern times, any small dirigible or airship is called a blimp, though a blimp may be unpowered as well as powered. Heavier-than-air aircraft, such as airplanes, must find some way to push air or gas downwards, so that a reaction occurs to push the aircraft upwards; this dynamic movement through the air is the origin of the term aerodyne. There are two ways to produce dynamic upthrust: aerodynamic lift, powered lift in the form of engine thrust. Aerodynamic lift involving wings is the most common, with fixed-wing aircraft being kept in the air by the forward movement of wings, rotorcraft by spinning wing-shaped rotors sometimes called rotary wings. A wing is a flat, horizontal surface shaped in cross-section as an aerofoil. To fly, air must generate lift.
A flexible wing is a wing made of fabric or thin sheet material stretched over a rigid frame. A kite is tethered to the ground and relies on the speed of the wind over its wings, which may be flexible or rigid, fixed, or rotary. With powered lift, the aircraft directs its engine thrust vertically downward. V/STOL aircraft, such as the Harrier Jump Jet and F-35B take off and land vertically using powered lift and transfer to aerodynamic lift in steady flight. A pure rocket is not regarded as an aerodyne, because it does not depend on the air for its lift. Rocket-powered missiles that obtain aerodynamic lift at high speed due to airflow over their bodies are a marginal case; the forerunner of the fixed-wing aircraft is the kite. Whereas a fixed-wing aircraft relies on its forward speed to create airflow over the wings, a kite is tethered to the ground and relies on the wind blowing over its wings to provide lift. Kites were the first kind of aircraft to fly, were invented in China around 500 BC.
Much aerodynamic research was done with kites before test aircraft, wind tunnels, computer modelling programs became available. The first heavier-than-air craft capable of controlled free-flight were gliders. A glider designed by Geo
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