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Devon ( DEV-ən, historically also known as Devonshire -sheer, -shər) is a ceremonial county in South West England. It is bordered by the Bristol Channel to the north, Somerset and Dorset to the east, the English Channel to the south, and Cornwall to the west. The city of Plymouth is the largest settlement, and the city of Exeter is the county town.
The county has an area of 6,707 km2 (2,590 sq mi) and a population of 1,194,166. The largest settlements after Plymouth (264,695) are the city of Exeter (130,709) and the seaside resorts of Torquay and Paignton, which have a combined population of 115,410. They all are located along the south coast, which is the most populous part of the county; Barnstaple (46,619) and Tiverton (22,291) are the largest towns in the north and centre respectively. Devon contains ten districts; eight are part of a two-tier non-metropolitan county also called Devon, and the districts of Plymouth and Torbay are part of unitary authority areas.
During the Iron Age, Roman and the early medieval periods the county was the homeland of the Dumnonii Celtic Britons. The Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain resulted in the partial assimilation of Dumnonia into the kingdom of Wessex during the eighth and ninth centuries, and the western boundary with Cornwall was set at the Tamar by king Æthelstan in 936.
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