East Riding of Yorkshire

East Riding of Yorkshire, district and unitary authority (2011 pop. 334,200), NE England. The district extends from the Yorkshire Wolds (N) to the River Humber (S) and from the North Sea (E) to the River Durwent (W). Beverley is the administrative center. The East Riding's two distinctive geographic features are the Yorkshire Wolds, an upland area of chalk hills rising from the white cliffs at Flamborough Head to c.800 ft (240 m), and the Humber Wetlands, consisting of land in the Humber basin lying below 33 ft (10 m) above sea level.

The name of the district derives from one of the three divisions, or ridings, of the historic county of Yorkshire. The Battle of Stamford Bridge, fought in 1066 in what is now the district's west, was a victory for King Harold and signaled the fall of the Vikings in England, but it also foreshadowed the Norman Conquest. Sparsely populated during the Middle Ages, the region was largely devoted to sheep pasturing until the 18th cent., when drainage and improvements in farming practices greatly increased agricultural production. In 1889 Yorkshire's East Riding became a separate county. The county was dissolved in 1974, with most of its territory becoming the northern portion of the county of Humberside. Humberside was dissolved in 1996 and the East Riding largely was reestablished, as a unitary authority and ceremonial county (the latter including Hull).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: British and Irish Political Geography