Norfolk (nôrˈfək) [key], county (1991 pop. 736,700), 2,054 sq mi (5,320 sq km), E England. The county seat is Norwich. Administratively, Norfolk is divided into the districts of Great Yarmouth, North Norfolk, Broadland, Norwich, South Norfolk, Breckland, and King's Lynn and West Norfolk. The region is one of flat, fertile farmlands, with a long, low coast bordering on the North Sea and the Wash. The principal rivers are the Ouse, the Bure, the Yare and its tributary the Wensum, and the Waveney. A series of connected shallow lakes, known as the Broads, occupies the eastern portion of the county.
Norfolk produces cereal and root crops and supports extensive breeding of cattle and poultry. Fishing, the manufacture of agricultural machinery, and light industries are also important. Numerous vestiges of habitation dating from prehistoric times remain. After the Anglo-Saxon invasion of England, Norfolk became a part of the kingdom of East Anglia, the home of the "north folk" of that region (thus its name). In 1974, Norfolk was reorganized as a nonmetropolitan county, and a small area of NE East Suffolk was added to it.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.