/hamp"shear, -sheuhr/, n.
1. Also called Hants. a county in S England. 1,449,700; 1460 sq. mi. (3780 sq. km).
2. Also called Hampshire Down. one of an English breed of sheep having a dark face, ears, and legs, noted for the rapid growth of its lambs.
3. one of an English breed of black hogs having a broad band of white over the shoulders and front legs.

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Administrative (pop., 2001: 1,240,032), geographic, and historic county, south-central England.

It lies on the English Channel; Winchester is the county's administrative centre. The Test and Avon are major rivers. Evidence of prehistoric settlement ranging from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age exists in the area. Towns developed at Silchester and Winchester during the Roman occupation. The region suffered from attacks by the Norse, but during the Middle Ages it was comparatively peaceful and came to be known for its woolens. Portsmouth and Gosport form one of Britain's principal naval centres, and Southampton is a major passenger port.

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▪ breed of pig
 breed of pig developed in the United States from the Wessex Saddleback and other varieties first imported from England around 1825; in the late 20th century it was one of the predominant breeds in the U.S. The trim, fine-coated Hampshire is black with a white saddle, which includes the forelegs. Recent selection has improved the breed's growing ability, and its carcass is among the highest in quality and quantity of meat.

▪ breed of sheep
 breed of medium-wool, dark-faced, hornless sheep originating in Hampshire, England. It is large and blocky and, as a superior mutton breed, is noted for its early maturity. It is one of the most popular meat breeds in the United States, where it is raised extensively for market-lamb production in farming regions and for crossing with white-faced range ewes in the western range regions for the production of market lambs. The wool of Hampshire fleeces is strong, of medium fineness and length, and desirable for manufacturing purposes except for the occurrence of black fibres in a small percentage of fleeces.

      The Oxford, a breed popular in England and in the Great Lakes region of the U.S., was produced in the mid-19th century in Oxfordshire, England, by crossing Hampshires and Cotswolds.

      administrative, geographic, and historic county of south central England, bounded west by Dorset and Wiltshire, north by Berkshire, east by Surrey and West Sussex, and south by the English Channel. The administrative, geographic, and historic counties cover somewhat different areas. The administrative county comprises 11 districts: East Hampshire, Hart, New Forest, Test Valley, the boroughs of Basingstoke and Deane, Eastleigh, Fareham, Gosport, Havant, and Rushmoor, and the city of Winchester. The geographic county comprises the whole of the administrative county plus the cities of Portsmouth and Southampton, each of which is a unitary authority. The historic county covers the entire geographic county, the unitary authorities of Bournemouth and the Isle of Wight (Wight, Isle of), and the borough of Christchurch and parts of the district of East Dorset, which together form the eastern edge of the administrative county of Dorset.

      The county falls into four physical areas. A broad belt of rolling chalk downland, at times more than 800 ft (240 m) high, runs across the middle from east to west. Tertiary clays, sands, and gravels, often covered by heath and woodland, lie to the north and south. In the east The Weald (Weald, The), with its typical scarps and vales, crosses the county border. The oldest rocks occur in this Wealden area—Lower and Upper Greensands and Gault clays. The Solent (Solent, The), a narrow strait dividing the Isle of Wight from the mainland, marks the lower course of the ancient Frome or River Solent. Submergence along the coast resulted in former tributaries becoming the independent streams, which now drain most of the chalk and southern Tertiary areas.

      There is considerable evidence of prehistoric settlement in Hampshire, including extensive early Bronze Age settlement on the Isle of Wight. Remains of small Bronze Age farmsteads exist at Quarley, and most notable among Iron Age remains are hill forts such as those at Danebury and Hengistbury Head. Trade with the European continent during the late Bronze and early Iron Age apparently focused on Hengistbury Head and Christchurch. During the Roman occupation, urban settlements developed at Silchester (Calleva Atrebatum) and Winchester (Venta Belgarum), the focal points of the Roman road system in the area. There was a smaller settlement at Southampton (Clausentum). Villa sites are numerous in the northwest. There were potteries in the New Forest and an imperial weaving works at Winchester, but the most substantial remains are in the town walls of Silchester and the outer wall at Portchester Castle. The museum at Reading, in Berkshire, houses artifacts from Silchester.

      The county was invaded by Saxons and Jutes in the late 5th and early 6th centuries CE. It is first mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 755, when Hampshire formed the core of the powerful kingdom of Wessex, whose capital was Winchester. While it had suffered severely from attacks by Norsemen, during the late Middle Ages the county enjoyed a comparatively peaceful existence. In 1377, however, a French raid devastated Newport on the Isle of Wight. The few castles that were built include those at Odiham, Portchester, and Winchester. Medieval industries commonly included the manufacture of woollens, and Southampton was important for the export and import of wool and wine. The whole of the county remained in the episcopal see of Winchester from 676 until 1927, when the sees of Guildford and Portsmouth were created. Monastic remains are found at Beaulieu and Netley, in the great church of Romsey, and in Winchester cathedral.

      The county has always been agricultural, its main concerns now being dairying and the production of corn (maize). Market gardening is locally important, particularly between Southampton and Portsmouth. There is still a large acreage of woodland—for instance, in the New Forest, a former royal hunting ground. Portsmouth and Gosport form one of Britain's principal naval centres, while Southampton is a major passenger port. Petroleum is refined at Fawley. The tourist industry provides much employment, and resorts include Southsea and Hayling Island. Most larger towns have light industries such as engineering and brewing. Area, administrative county, 1,420 square miles (3,679 square km); geographic county, 1,456 square miles (3,770 square km). Pop. (2005 est.) administrative county, 1,240,103; geographic county, 1,651,703.

      county, west-central Massachusetts, U.S. It consists of a mountainous, forested region adjoining Quabbin Reservoir on the northeast and bisected north-south by the Connecticut River. Other watercourses include The Oxbow (lake), Tighe Carmody Reservoir, and the Westfield and Chicopee rivers. Parklands include East Branch, Middlefield, and D.A.R. state forests, as well as Holyoke Range and Skinner state parks.

      The county, created in May 1662, encompassed all of western Massachusetts until 1731. It was named for Hampshire, Eng. Amherst is the home of Amherst College (founded 1821), the University of Massachusetts (Massachusetts, University of) (founded 1863), and Hampshire College (founded 1965) and was the lifelong home of poet Emily Dickinson (Dickinson, Emily). Located nearby are Mount Holyoke College (founded 1837) in South Hadley and Smith College (founded 1871) in Northampton, the county seat.

      Principal manufactures are textiles, paper products, and optical instruments and lenses. Area 529 square miles (1,370 square km). Pop. (2000) 152,251; (2007 est.) 153,147.

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Universalium. 2010.

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