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What is Yorkshire?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 March 2014
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Yorkshire is a region in Northern England. Until 1974, it was its own county, the largest in England; it was subsequently divided for the purpose of smoother civil administration; the region is better known as Yorkshire and Humber today. This region of England has become well known outside its home country, thanks to its rich cultural traditions, which gave birth to things as varied as the Brontë sisters and Wensleydale cheese. Although it is no longer a county, its name is still used in a number of civic groups in this region of England, such as the Yorkshire Building Society.

This region of England has existed as a distinct cultural entity since at least the 800s, when it was invaded by Danish Vikings and known as the Kingdom of Jorvik. The Vikings took advantage of the remains of previous settlements, such as the established fort built by the Romans in Eboracum, which is now better known as York. It has become famous as one of the greenest parts of England, thanks to its high rainfall, and the sweeping Yorkshire Dales have become quite famous, thanks to numerous films set in the Dales and writing by people like James Alfred Wight, who wrote under the name of James Herriot in the 1970s.

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Major cities in Yorkshire include York itself, the city for which the region is named, along with Bradford, Leeds, and Sheffield. People sometimes refer to parts of Yorkshire as “ridings,” in reference to the historical division of the region into East, North, and West Riding. Geographically, this area is easy to identify, bordered by the Rivers Tees and Humber to the North and South, the North Sea to the East, and the Pennine Hills to the West.

At various times in history this region has been famous for the production of various agricultural products, and the region experienced an explosion of industrial production in the 19th century, thanks to abundant natural resources such as coal. It was also once a stronghold of wool production.

Some famous culinary exports of Yorkshire include the eponymous Yorkshire Pudding, Yorkshire Curd Tarts, ginger beer, and numerous beloved candies and chocolates. It is also the home of several prominent British sports teams, including football, rugby, and cricket teams from various parts of the region, and the region also produced a number of prominent citizens including David Bowie, Dame Judi Dench, and mythical figures like Robin Hood.

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