Hampshire (//, /-/ (listen); abbreviated to Hants) is a county in South East England on the English Channel coast. The county town is Winchester, England's former capital city. Its two largest cities, Southampton and Portsmouth, are administered separately as unitary authorities and the rest of the county is governed by a combination of Hampshire County Council and non-metropolitan borough councils.
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Time zone||UTC±00:00 (Greenwich Mean Time)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+01:00 (British Summer Time)|
|Members of Parliament||List of MPs|
|Lord Lieutenant||Nigel Atkinson|
|High Sheriff||Revd Susan Colman (2020–21)|
|Area||3,769 km2 (1,455 sq mi)|
|• Ranked||9th of 48|
|Population (mid-2019 est.)||1,844,245|
|• Ranked||6th of 48|
|Density||489/km2 (1,270/sq mi)|
|County council||Hampshire County Council|
|Area||3,679 km2 (1,420 sq mi)|
|• Ranked||7th of 26|
|• Ranked||3rd of 26|
|Density||376/km2 (970/sq mi)|
Districts of Hampshire
Unitary County council area
First settled about 14,000 years ago, Hampshire's history dates to Roman Britain, when its chief town was Winchester, then known as Venta Belgarum. The county was recorded in the 11th century Domesday Book, divided into 44 hundreds. From the 12th century, the ports grew in importance, fuelled by trade with the continent, wool and cloth manufacture, fishing and large shipbuilding industries. By the 16th century, the population of Southampton had outstripped that of Winchester. By the mid-19th century, with the county's population at 219,210 (double that at the beginning of the century) in more than 86,000 dwellings, agriculture was the principal industry and 10 per cent of the county was still forest. Hampshire played a crucial military role in both World Wars. The borders of the ceremonial county were created by the Local Government Act 1972 (enacted 1974). Historically part of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight was made a separate ceremonial county and the towns of Bournemouth and Christchurch were administered as part of the ceremonial county of Dorset.
The county's geography is varied, with upland to 286 metres (938 ft) and mostly south-flowing rivers. There are areas of downland and marsh and two national parks: the New Forest and part of the South Downs, which together cover 45 per cent of Hampshire.
Hampshire is one of the most affluent counties in the country, with an unemployment rate lower than the national average. Its economy mainly derives from major companies, maritime, agriculture and tourism. Tourist attractions include seaside resorts, national parks, the National Motor Museum and the Southampton Boat Show. The county is known as the home of writers Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. Hampshire is also the childhood home of Florence Nightingale and the birthplace of engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.