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Devon ( DEV-ən, historically known as Devonshire DEV-ən-sheer, -shər) is a county in South West England, reaching from the Bristol Channel in the north to the English Channel in the south. It is bounded by Cornwall to the west, Somerset to the north-east and Dorset to the east. The county includes the districts of East Devon, Mid Devon, North Devon, South Hams, Teignbridge, Torridge and West Devon and the city of Exeter, its county town. The other two large urban areas Plymouth and Torbay are each geographically part of Devon, but are administered as unitary authorities. Combined as a ceremonial county, Devon's area is 6,707 km2 (2,590 square miles) and its population is about 1.2 million.
Devon derives its name from Dumnonia (the shift from m to v is a typical Celtic consonant shift). During the British Iron Age, Roman Britain and the early Middle Ages, this was the homeland of the Dumnonii Brittonic Celts. The Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain resulted in the partial assimilation of Dumnonia into the Kingdom of Wessex during the eighth and ninth centuries. The western boundary with Cornwall was set at the River Tamar by King Æthelstan in 936. Devon was later constituted as a shire of the Kingdom of England.
As well as agriculture, much of the economy of Devon is based on tourism. The comparatively mild climate, coastline and landscape make Devon a destination for recreation and leisure in England. Visitors are particularly attracted to the Dartmoor and Exmoor national parks; its coasts, including the resort towns along the south coast known collectively as the English Riviera; the Jurassic Coast and North Devon's UNESCO Biosphere Reserve; and the countryside including the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape.
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