Shropshire (shrŏpˈshĭr, –shər) [key], county (1991 pop. 401,600), 1,348 sq mi (3,491 sq km), W England; administratively, Shropshire is a unitary authority (since 2009). It is also sometimes called Salop. The adminstrative center is Shrewsbury. The terrain to the north and east of the Severn, Shropshire's principal river, is level; toward the Welsh border and the south the land is hilly. The county is chiefly agricultural, but there are metal-products, engineering, electronics-manufacturing, and food-processing industries.
The ancient Watling Street and Offa's Dyke cross the county. In Anglo-Saxon times Shropshire was a part of the kingdom of Mercia. After the Norman Conquest it became an important part of the Welsh Marches and was the scene of much border conflict. There are ruins of many medieval castles and old monastic remains. The quiet beauty of the countryside is depicted in A. E. Housman's Shropshire Lad. Telford and Wreken, in E Shropshire, has been administratively independent of the county since 1998.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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