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Cornwall

Cornwall is a ceremonial county and unitary authority of England, United Kingdom, forming the tip of the south-western peninsula of Great Britain. It is bordered to the north and west by the Atlantic Ocean, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar.

Taken with the Isles of Scilly, Cornwall has a population of 534,300, and covers an area of 3,563 km2 (1,376 square miles). The administrative centre and only city is Truro.

The area now known as Cornwall was first inhabited in the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods. It continued to be occupied by Neolithic and then Bronze Age peoples, and later (in the Iron Age) by Celts. There is little evidence that Roman rule was effective west of Exeter and few Roman remains have been found.

Cornwall was afterwards part of the Brythonic (Celtic) area of Dumnonia, separated from Wales after the Battle of Deorham, often coming into conflict with the expanding English kingdom of Wessex before King Athelstan in 936 AD set the boundary between English and Cornish people at the Tamar.

Historically tin mining was important in the Cornish economy, becoming significant during the middle ages and expanding greatly during the 19th century when rich copper mines were also in production. In the mid-nineteenth century, however, the tin and copper trades entered a period of decline. Subsequently china clay extraction became more important and metal mining had virtually ended by the 1990s.

Traditionally fishing (particularly of pilchards), and agriculture (particularly of dairy products and vegetables), were the other important sectors of the economy. The railways led to the growth of tourism during the 20th century and it is now of greater importance economically than the other industries.

Today, Cornwall's economy struggles after the decline of the mining and fishing industries, and has become more dependent on tourism. The area is noted for its wild moorland landscapes, its extensive and varied coastline and its very mild climate.

Cornwall is recognised as one of the Celtic nations by many Cornish people, residents and organisations.

It retains a distinct cultural identity, reflecting its history, and modern use of the revived Cornish language has increased. Some people question the present constitutional status of Cornwall, and a nationalist movement seeks greater autonomy within the United Kingdom in the form of a devolved legislative assembly, and greater recognition of the Cornish people as a national minority.

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