Yorkshire

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Yorkshire is a historic county of northern England and the largest in Great Britain. Because of its great size, over time functions have increasingly been undertaken by its subdivisions, which have been subject to periodic reform. Throughout these changes Yorkshire has continued to function as a recognised territory and cultural region. The name is familiar and well-understood across the United Kingdom and is in common use, featuring in the title of current areas of civil administration such as Yorkshire and the Humber.

Throughout much of history, Yorkshire has played a prominent role in Great Britain. The Brigantes, who were the largest Celtic Briton tribe held it as their heartland. The Romans made Eboracum, later to be named York, from which the county derives its name, the capital of Britannia Inferior, one of the provinces of Roman Britain. The area was an independent Viking kingdom known as Jórvík for around a century, before being taken by England. Most of the modern day large cities were founded during the Norman period.

The county covered just under 6,000 square miles (15,000 km²) in 1831 and the modern day Yorkshire and the Humber region has a population of around five million. Yorkshire is widely considered to be the greenest area in England, due to both the vast rural countryside of the Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors and some of the major cities, this has led to Yorkshire being nicknamed God's Own County.

The emblem of Yorkshire is the White Rose of the House of York, the most common flag representative of Yorkshire is the White Rose on a dark blue background. Yorkshire Day, held on August 1, is a celebration of the general culture of Yorkshire, ranging from its history to its own language.

The countryside of Yorkshire has acquired the common nickname of God's Own County. In recent times, North Yorkshire has displaced Kent to take the title Garden of England according to The Guardian. Yorkshire has three national parks, in the form of the Peak District, North York Moors and the Yorkshire Dales, and two designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty at Nidderdale and the Howardian Hills. The three designated Heritage Coast areas in Yorkshire are Spurn Point, Flamborough Head and coastal North York Moors. These areas of Yorkshire are noted for their scenic views with rugged cliffs such as the jet cliffs at Whitby, the limestone cliffs at Filey and the chalk cliffs at Flamborough Head.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds runs nature reserves such as the one at Bempton Cliffs with coastal wildlife such as the Northern Gannet, Atlantic Puffin and Razorbill. Spurn Point is a narrow, three mile (5 km) long sand spit. It is a National Nature Reserve owned by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and is noted for its cyclical nature whereby the spit is destroyed and re-created approximately once every 250 years. There are seaside resorts in Yorkshire with sand beaches; Scarborough is Britain's oldest seaside resort dating back to the spa town-era in the 17th century, while Whitby has been voted as the United Kingdom's best beach, with a "postcard-perfect harbour."

The native people of Yorkshire and their culture is an accumulated product of various different civilisations who have directly controlled its history, including; the Celts (Brigantes and Parisii), Romans, Angles, Norse Vikings and Normans amongst others. Centered on the town Richmond, around half of the historic North Riding had an additional infusion of Breton culture due to the Honour of Richmond. The people of Yorkshire are immensely proud of their county and local culture and it is sometimes suggested Yorkshiremen identify more strongly with their county than they do with their country. The Yorkshire people have their own distinctive dialect known as Tyke, which some have argued is a fully fledged language in its own right. The county has also produced a unique set of Yorkshire colloquialisms, which are in use in the county. Among Yorkshire's unique traditions is the Long Sword dance, a traditional dance not found elsewhere in England. The most famous traditional song of Yorkshire is On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at ("On Ilkley Moor without a hat"), it is considered the unofficial anthem of the county.

Foods associated with the county include: Yorkshire curd tart, a curd tart recipe with rosewater; Parkin, a sweet ginger cake which is different from standard ginger cakes in that it includes oatmeal and treacle; and Wensleydale cheese, a cheese associated with Wensleydale. The beverage ginger beer, flavoured with ginger, came from Yorkshire and has existed since the mid 1700s. Liquorice sweet was first created in Yorkshire by George Dunhill from Pontefract, who in the 1760s thought to mix the liquorice plant with sugar. Yorkshire and in particular the city of York played a prominent role in the confectionary industry, with chocolate factories or companies such as Rowntree's, Terry's and Thorntons inventing many of Britain's most popular sweets. Another traditional Yorkshire food includes pikelets which are similar to a crumpet but much thinner.

During the 1970s David Bowie, himself of a father from Tadcaster in North Yorkshire, hired three musicians from Hull in the form of Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder and Mick Woodmansey; together they recorded Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, an album that went on to become widely considered as one of the greatest and most influential of all time. In the following decade, Yorkshire had a very strong post-punk scene which went on to achieve wide spread acclaim and success, including; The Sisters of Mercy, The Cult, Gang of Four, The Human League, New Model Army, Soft Cell, Chumbawamba, The Wedding Present and The Mission. Pulp from Sheffield had a massive hit in the form of Common People during 1995, the song focuses on working-class northern life. The 2000s saw popularity of indie rock and post-punk revival bands from the area with the Kaiser Chiefs and the Arctic Monkeys, the latter of whom hold the record for the fastest-selling debut album in British music history with Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not.

The three most prominent British television shows filmed in (and based around) Yorkshire are sitcom Last of the Summer Wine, drama series Heartbeat, and soap opera Emmerdale, the latter two of which are produced by Yorkshire Television. Last of the Summer Wine in particular is noted for holding the record of longest-running comedy series in the world, from 1973 until present. Several noted films are set in Yorkshire, including Kes, This Sporting Life and Room at the Top. A comedy film set in Sheffield named The Full Monty, won an Academy Award and was voted the second best British movie of all-time by ANI. The county is also referenced in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life during a segment on birth where title card read, "The Miracle of Birth, Part II—The Third World". The scene opens into a mill town street, subtitled "Yorkshire". Monty Python also performed the Four Yorkshiremen sketch live, which first featured on At Last the 1948 Show.

Wording courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.org/

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