Essex is a county in the East of England. The county town is Chelmsford, and the highest point of the county is Chrishall Common near the village of Langley, close to the Hertfordshire border, which reaches 482 feet.
The name Essex derives from the East Seaxe or East Saxons. The Kingdom of Essex was traditionally founded by Aescwine in 527 AD, occupying territory to the north of the River Thames, incorporating much of what would later become Middlesex and Hertfordshire, though its territory was later restricted to lands east of the River Lee. It is through this origin as one of the 'Saxon' kingdoms that Essex is specifically not part of the region known as East Anglia (the latter comprising Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire), settled by tribes calling themselves 'Anglian'. Colchester in the north east of the county is Britain's oldest recorded town, dating back to before the Roman conquest, when it was known as Camulodunon, and was sufficiently well-developed to have its own mint.
Essex County Council was formed in 1889. However, the County Borough of West Ham, and from 1915 the County Borough of East Ham, formed part of the county but were not under county council control. Southend-on-Sea also formed a county borough from 1914 to 1974. The boundary with Greater London was established in 1965 when the former area of the East Ham and West Ham county boroughs and of the Barking, Chingford, Dagenham, Hornchurch, Ilford, Leyton, Romford, Walthamstow and Wanstead and Woodford districts was transferred to form the London boroughs of Barking, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, and Waltham Forest; an area similar to that known as Metropolitan Essex.
Essex became part of the East of England Government Office Region in 1994 and was statistically counted as part of that region from 1999, having previously been part of the South East England region. In 1998 the districts of Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock separated from the shire county of Essex becoming unitary districts.
Wording courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.org/
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