Devon is a large county in South West England, bordering on Cornwall to the west, Dorset and Somerset to the east. Devon is unique among English counties, in that it has two non-contiguous coastlines. Both parts of the Devon coastline are part of the South West Coast Path.
The name Devonshire was once common but is now rarely used, although it does feature in some names and titles (such as the Duke of Devonshire), and is still to be seen on signposts in the county.
As part of a 2002 marketing campaign, the plant conservation charity Plantlife chose the Primrose as the county flower.
Devon was one of the first areas of England settled following the end of the last ice age. Dartmoor is thought to have been settled by Mesolithic hunter-gatherer peoples from about 6000 BC. The name "Devon" derives from the name given by the Romans to the Celtic people who inhabited the south western peninsula of Britain at the time of the Roman invasion c. 50AD , known as the Dumnonii, thought to mean 'Deep Valley Dwellers'. The Romans held the area under military occupation for approximately 25 years. Later the area became a frontier between Brythonic Dumnonia and Anglo-Saxon Wessex, and some historians claim that this resulted in the effective conquest of Devon by Wessex by 715 and its formal annexation around 805. However, this is a matter of controversy. Later William of Malmesbury claimed "that the Britons and Saxons inhabited Exeter aequo jure" ("as equals") in 927.
By the ninth century, the major threat to Saxon control of Devon came not from the native British but from Viking raiders, and sporadic incursions continued until the Norman Conquest. A few Norse place names remain as a result, for example Lundy Island, though the Vikings' most lasting legacy is probably the move of the cathedral from Crediton to Exeter.
Devon has also featured in most of the civil conflicts in England since the Norman conquest, including the Wars of the Roses, Perkin Warbeck's rising in 1497, the Prayer Book Rebellion of 1549, and the English Civil War. Perhaps most notably, the arrival of William of Orange to launch the Glorious Revolution of 1688, took place at Brixham.
Devon has produced tin, copper and other metals from ancient times. Devon's tin miners enjoyed a substantial degree of independence through Devon's stannary parliament, which dates back to the twelfth century. The last recorded sitting was in 1748.
Devon is also known for its mariners, such as Sir Francis Drake, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, Sir Richard Grenville and Sir Walter Raleigh, and as the childhood home of psychology pioneer Raymond Cattell.
Like its neighbouring county to the west, Cornwall, Devon is disadvantaged economically compared to other parts of southern England, due to the decline of traditional industries such as fishing, mining and farming. Consequently, most of Devon has qualified for the European Community Objective 2 status. The epidemic of Foot and Mouth (Hoof and Mouth) disease in 2001 harmed the farming community severely.
The attractive lifestyle of the area is drawing in new industries which are not heavily dependent upon geographical location; Dartmoor, for instance, has recently seen a significant rise in the percentage of its inhabitants involved in the financial services sector. Devon is one of the rural counties, with the advantages and problems characteristic of these. text Courtesy of Wikipedia