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Hampshire is a county on the south coast of England. Major settlements include Southampton, Winchester, Basingstoke[?], Andover[?], Aldershot[?], Portsmouth, and Farnborough. The latter three have strong military associations with the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force respectively.

The short form of the name is "Hants". The county has in the past been called "Southamptonshire" and appears as such on some Victorian maps. Hampshire County Council is based in Winchester, a historic city that was once the capital of the ancient kingdom of Wessex.

Southampton and Portsmouth are both major ports. There is an international airport with its own rail station between Southampton and Eastleigh.

Hampshire is a popular holiday area, with tourist attractions including its many seaside resorts, the maritime area in Portsmouth, and the motor museum at Beaulieu. The New Forest[?] lies within the borders, as does a large chunk of the South Downs - there are plans to make both of these areas into national parks.

The Isle of Wight was part of the county until 1974 when it became a separate county; at the same time the border with Dorset was changed so that Bournemouth was in Dorset rather than Hampshire.

Since 1997, the cities of Portsmouth and Southampton have been administered as unitary authorities rather than by Hampshire County Council, and are officially no longer part of the county. However, most residents still refer to the older borders, which are used for postal addresses, sports teams etc.

The 2001 census gave the population of Hampshire (in its new 1997 borders) as 1.24 million; the population including Portsmouth and Southampton was around 1.6 million.

Towns and villages

Places of interest

External link

Hampshire is also a village in the State of Illinois in the United States of America; see Hampshire, Illinois.

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