Lancashire (/ˈlæŋkəʃər/ LAN-kə-shər, /-ʃɪər/ -sheer; abbreviated Lancs.) is a county in North West England. Lancashire is a historic, ceremonial and non-metropolitan county and the county boundaries differ between these different forms. Its county town is Lancaster. The non-metropolitan county was created by the Local Government Act 1972 and is administered by the Lancashire County Council and twelve district councils. Its administrative centre is Preston. The ceremonial county has a population of 1,449,300 and an area of 1,189 square miles (3,080 km2).

The Red Rose of Lancaster is the county flower of Lancashire, and a common symbol for the county.
"In Concilio Consilium"
("In Council is Wisdom")
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
RegionNorth West England
Time zoneUTC±00:00 (Greenwich Mean Time)
  Summer (DST)UTC+01:00 (British Summer Time)
Members of Parliament
Ceremonial county
Lord LieutenantCharles Kay-Shuttleworth[2]
High SheriffCatherine Penny[3] (2020–21)
Area3,079 km2 (1,189 sq mi)
  Ranked17th of 48
Population (mid-2019 est.)1,498,300
  Ranked8th of 48
Density487/km2 (1,260/sq mi)
Ethnicity89.7% White British
6.0% S. Asian
2.1% Other White
0.9% Mixed
0.7% E. Asian and Other
0.5% Black
2005 Estimates
Non-metropolitan county
County councilLancashire County Council
Admin HQPreston
Area2,903 km2 (1,121 sq mi)
  Ranked12th of 26
  Ranked4th of 26
Density422/km2 (1,090/sq mi)
ISO 3166-2GB-LAN
ONS code30

Districts of Lancashire
Unitary County council area
  1. City of Lancaster
  2. Wyre
  3. Blackpool
  4. Fylde
  5. City of Preston
  6. Ribble Valley
  7. South Ribble
  8. Hyndburn
  9. Burnley
  10. Pendle
  11. West Lancashire
  12. Chorley
  13. Blackburn with Darwen
  14. Rossendale

The historic County Palatine of Lancashire is still recognised today[4] and includes the large cities of Manchester and Liverpool as well as the Furness and Cartmel peninsulas in the Lake District, and an area of 1,909 square miles (4,940 km2). Many of these places still identify strongly with the county, with Lancashire still being used as part of the postal address. The historic county was subject to a significant boundary reform for administrative purposes in 1974. This created the current ceremonial county and removed Liverpool and Manchester, and most of their surrounding conurbations, to form the metropolitan and ceremonial counties of Merseyside and Greater Manchester.[5][full citation needed][6] The detached northern part of Lancashire in the Lake District, including the Furness Peninsula and Cartmel, was merged with Cumberland and Westmorland to form Cumbria. Administratively, Lancashire lost 709 square miles of land to other counties – about two fifths of its original area – although it did gain some land from the West Riding of Yorkshire. The historic county is celebrated in November on Lancashire Day.[7]

The history of Lancashire begins with its founding in the 12th century. In the Domesday Book of 1086, some of its lands were treated as part of Yorkshire. The land that lay between the Ribble and Mersey, Inter Ripam et Mersam, was included in the returns for Cheshire. Lancashire emerged as a major commercial and industrial region during the Industrial Revolution. Liverpool and Manchester grew into its largest cities, with economies built around the docks and the cotton mills respectively.[8] These cities dominated global trade and the birth of modern industrial capitalism. The county contained several mill towns and the collieries of the Lancashire Coalfield. By the 1830s, approximately 85% of all cotton manufactured worldwide was processed in Lancashire.[9] A number of towns and cities were major cotton mill towns during this time. Blackpool was a centre for tourism for the inhabitants of Lancashire's mill towns, particularly during wakes week.

Today, the county borders Cumbria to the north, Greater Manchester and Merseyside to the south, and North and West Yorkshire to the east; with a coastline on the Irish Sea to the west. The historic county's boundaries remain the same as those of the county palatine with Lancaster serving as the county town, and the Duke of Lancaster (i.e. the King) exercising sovereignty rights,[10] including the appointment of lords lieutenant in Greater Manchester and Merseyside.[11]

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