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Essex: 51.766837, 0.475776

The county of Essex has a very long history, originating as one of the seven ancient kingdoms of the heptarchy which joined together to form the country of England in Anglo-Saxon times. Its name derives from the Old English Ēastseaxe, meaning ‘East Saxons’. The county is located just northeast of and adjacent to London and also borders Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Kent. Essex is also within the River Thames Gateway and hosts a long coastline with the North Sea.

This region was once ruled by the Celtic Trinovantes tribe who were subject to the Roman invasion of 55 BC. When the Romans returned about a century later, they became allies and Colchester (Camulodunum) was transferred from the Trinovantes to the Romans to become the capital of Roman Britain. The friendship was not long lived though when the Trinovantes joined the Iceni tribe in the famous large-scale revolt led by Boudicca, with the resultant Roman victory securing the country for the Roman Empire for several centuries. Upon the departure of the Romans, the region grew into the Saxon Kingdom of Essex and following the Norman Conquest, it became an English county in 1139 under Geoffrey de Mandeville, the first Earl of Essex. With such a rich history, it is not surprising that Essex is home to over 14,000 listed buildings, the earliest of which is the seventh century Saxon church of St Peter-on-the-Wall.

Even today, much of the county remains rural, aided by the enactment of the Metropolitan Green Belt Act in 1938. Industrial aspects of the economy are primarily based in the south, near the River Thames. Electronics, science and pharmaceuticals feature largely, along with Marconi (Telent plc) in Chelmsford and other major companies of international repute. Colchester has a long history as a garrison town and Southend-on-Sea is a well known seaside resort. Transport forms another important economic sector, with London’s Stansted Airport and several major ports. Especially since World War II, Essex has become home to many London commuters.

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