Devon is a farming and pastoral county (for beef and dairy cattle) with some fishing off the coastal towns. Devon
clotted cream and West Country cider are notable products. Considerable woolen and tin industries and export trade flourished from the 12th to the 18th cent. Woolen goods are still manufactured, along with lace, pottery, and marine fixtures; clay is mined. Quiet and picturesque with a mild climate, Devon is a popular tourist and vacation center.
The county was occupied in Paleolithic times; numerous habitation sites and ceremonial centers have been excavated (see Kent's Cavern). Exeter was the westerly outpost of Roman occupation. Devon was incorporated into Wessex early in the 8th cent. by King Ine. In Elizabethan times the county reached its greatest maritime importance, and its name is associated with Walter Raleigh, Francis Drake, John Hawkins, and Richard Grenville. From Plymouth, many colonists sailed for America. In 1974, Devonshire Co. was reorganized as the nonmetropolitan county of Devon.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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