Yorkshire, the largest county of England, bordering on Durham, the North sea, the estuary of the Humber, and the counties of Lincoln, Nottingham, Derby, Chester, Lancaster, and Westmoreland; area, 6,066 sq. m. It is divided into the North, East, and West Ridings (Anglo-Saxon, trithing or thriding, a third), each with its own government and officers; and there was formerly another small division called the "ainsty" of York, near the centre of the shire, which has been incorporated with the West Riding; pop. in 1871, of the North Riding, 291,589; East Riding, 269,505; West Riding, 1,831,223; city of York, 43,796; total, 2,436,113. With the exception of the part lying between Bridlington bay and Spurn head, the coast is high and bold, rising generally between 70 and 300 ft., and in one spot reaching 893 ft. Besides the harbors afforded by the rivers Tees and Humber and their estuaries, the most important are those of Scarborough and Whitby. The greater part of the drainage of the county flows into the Humber by the river Ouse; and of the remainder a small portion flows by the Ribble to the Irish sea, and by the Tees and other streams to the North sea.
An extensive valley extends from the N. part of the county to the Humber at the south, and is enclosed on the E. and W. sides by moorlands, which on the E. side are from 20 to 30 m. broad, and in some places reach the height of 1,200 or 1,400 ft., while on the west the country gradually increases in elevation, the loftiest point, Bow Fell in the Pennine chain, being 2,911 ft. above the sea. In the S. part of the E. side the moors, here called wolds, gradually become lower, and do not extend to the coast, but between them and the sea there is a large alluvial tract called Holderness. The central valley, as it descends from the north, becomes gradually wider, and at length flat and swampy as it approaches the Humber. The vale of York, the districts of Holderness and Cleveland, and several other extensive tracts, are exceedingly fertile; but a large part.of the wolds is barren, or yields but scanty crops. Coal, iron, copper, lead, freestone, limestone, and alum are all found. Great attention is paid to the breeding of horses, horned cattle, and sheep.
The iron works at Low Moor, Rotherham, and Bowling are on a very large scale; and the manufacture of hardware, cutlery, and plated ware is carried on most extensively, more particularly at Sheffield. The manufactures are almost wholly confined to a district of about 40 by 20 m. in the West Riding, and include cotton, woollens, linen, and silk. Numerous railway lines intersect the county. The capital is York, and the other important towns are Sheffield, Leeds, Huddersfield, Barnsley, Hull, Whitby, Bradford, Scarborough, Halifax, Doncaster, Pontefract, Great Preston, Ripon, Tadcaster, Wakefield, and Thirsk.