Hampshire (/ˈhæmpʃər/, /-ʃɪər/ (listen); abbreviated to Hants)[lower-alpha 1] is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in western South East England on the coast of the English Channel. Home to two major English cities on its south coast, Southampton and Portsmouth, Hampshire is the 9th-most populous county in England. The county town of Hampshire is Winchester, located in the north of the county. The county is bordered by Dorset to the south-west, Wiltshire to the north-west, Berkshire to the north, Surrey to the north-east, and West Sussex to the south east. The county is geographically diverse, with upland rising to 286 m (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.

Coordinates: 51°03′27″N 1°18′27″W
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
RegionSouth East
Time zoneUTC±00:00 (Greenwich Mean Time)
  Summer (DST)UTC+01:00 (British Summer Time)
Members of ParliamentList of MPs
PoliceHampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary
Ceremonial county
Lord LieutenantNigel Atkinson
High SheriffLady Edwina Grosvenor [1] (2022–23)
Area3,769 km2 (1,455 sq mi)
  Ranked9th of 48
Population (2021)1,844,245
  Ranked6th of 48
Density489/km2 (1,270/sq mi)
Non-metropolitan county
County councilHampshire County Council
Admin HQWinchester
Area3,679 km2 (1,420 sq mi)
  Ranked7th of 26
  Ranked3rd of 26
Density376/km2 (970/sq mi)
ISO 3166-2GB-HAM
ONS code24
GSS codeE10000014
Unitary authorities

Districts of Hampshire
Unitary County council area
  1. Test Valley
  2. Basingstoke and Deane
  3. Hart
  4. Rushmoor
  5. City of Winchester
  6. East Hampshire
  7. New Forest
  8. City of Southampton
  9. Eastleigh
  10. Fareham
  11. Gosport
  12. City of Portsmouth
  13. Havant

Settled about 14,000 years ago, Hampshire's recorded history dates to Roman Britain, when its chief town was Venta Belgarum (now Winchester). The county was recorded in Domesday Book as divided into 44 hundreds. From the 12th century, the ports settlements grew due to increasing trade with the European mainland resulting from the wool and cloth, fishing, and shipbuilding industries. This meant by the 16th century, Southampton had become more populous than Winchester. In 20th century conflicts, including World War One and Two, Hampshire played a crucial military role due to its ports.

At present, the county is divided into 13 non-metropolitan districts. Southampton and Portsmouth are unitary authorities and 7 hold borough status. This means that with the exceptions of Southampton and Portsmouth, the county is locally governed by a combination of the County Council and non-metropolitan district councils. In 1974, the Isle of Wight was made a separate ceremonial county from Hampshire and the towns of Bournemouth and Christchurch were transferred to Dorset.

Hampshire is the home of Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Florence Nightingale, and the birthplace of Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

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