Hampshire, county (1991 pop. 1,511,900), 1,503 sq mi (3,893 sq km), S central England. Winchester is the county town. The county is divided into the administrative districts of Basingstoke and Deane, Winchester, East Hampshire, Eastleigh, Fareham, Gosport, Hart, Havant, New Forest, Rushmoor, and Test Valley. The terrain is undulating and is crossed by two chalk downs, rising in places to more than 800 ft (244 m). The principal rivers are the Test, the Itchen, and the Avon.
Hampshire is an agricultural county, devoted to corn production and dairy farming. Market gardening is also significant. There is oil refining at Fawley and aircraft engineering at Farnborough. Gosport, Southampton, and Portsmouth are three of Britain's leading ports; the last two, although historically part of the county, are now administratively separate. Evidence of prehistoric and Roman settlement is found in the county. Hampshire was once part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex and has numerous historical and literary associations.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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