Administrative (pop., 2001: 552,655), geographic, and historic county, eastern England. Greatly enlarged in the government reorganization in 1974, Cambridgeshire now includes part of the former county of Huntingdonshire and the Isle of Ely; the county seat is Cambridge. Prehistoric tracks ring the fens; drainage was begun by the Romans. Major structures include Ely Cathedral and the buildings of the University of Cambridge. Cambridgeshire is crossed by two major rivers, the Nen and the Ouse, with its tributary the Cam.
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Cambridgeshire was recorded in the Domesday Book as "Grantbridgeshire" (or rather Grentebrigescire). Covering a large part of East Anglia, Cambridgeshire today is the product of several local government unifications. In 1888 when county councils were introduced, two were set up, following the traditional division of Cambridgeshire into the area in the south around Cambridge, and the liberty of the Isle of Ely. In 1965, these two administrative counties were merged to form Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely. Under the Local Government Act 1972 this merged with the county to the west, Huntingdon and Peterborough (which had been created in 1965 by the merger of Huntingdonshire with the Soke of Peterborough - a part of Northamptonshire which had its own county council). The resulting county was called simply Cambridgeshire.
Since 1998 the City of Peterborough has been a separately administered area, as a unitary authority, but is associated with Cambridgeshire for ceremonial purposes such as Lieutenancy, and functions such as policing and the fire service.
The Cambridgeshire Regiment (or Fen Tigers) county based army unit fought in South Africa, WWI and WWII.
Due to its flat terrain and proximity to the continent, a large amount of RAF and USAAF bases were built for Bomber Command in WW2. In recognition of this, the only American WW2 burial ground in England is located in Madingley Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial. Most English counties have nicknames for people from that county, such as a Tyke from Yorkshire and a Yellowbelly from Lincolnshire; the traditional nickname for people from Cambridgeshire is 'Cambridgeshire Camel' or 'Cambridgeshire Crane', referring to the wildfowl which were once abundant in the fens.
Original historical documents relating to Cambridgeshire are held by Cambridgeshire Archives and Local Studies.
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AWG plc is based in Huntingdon. The RAF has a few bases in the Huntingdon and St Ives area. Most of Cambridgeshire is agricultural. Close to Cambridge is the so-called Silicon Fen area of high-technology (electronics, computing and biotechnology) companies. ARM Limited is based in Cherry Hinton.
As well as those born in the county there are many notable people from, or associated with, Cambridgeshire who moved there, particularly due to the presence of Cambridge University.
Cambridgeshire lays claim to Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell, Prime Minister John Major, businessmen Henry Royce and Peter Boizot, social reformers Octavia Hill and Thomas Clarkson, and economist John Maynard Keynes. Scientists include Brian J. Ford and Stephen Hawking, and Nobel laureate Harold Kroto. John Clare, Samuel Pepys and Douglas Adams are all famous literary figures who hail from Cambridgeshire, as does Jeffrey Archer.
In entertainment, cartoonist Ronald Searle, comedian Rory McGrath, television presenter Sarah Cawood, and radio sports presenter Adrian Durham are all from Cambridgeshire. Paul Nicholas, Richard Attenborough and Warwick Davis are all associated with film, while musicians include Andrew Eldritch, lead singer of The Sisters of Mercy; Andy Bell, lead singer for Erasure; David Gilmour, Roger Waters and Roger Keith "Syd" Barrett of Pink Floyd; Don Airey, keyboardist in the rock band Deep Purple; trombonist Don Lusher; Keith Palmer, of dance music band The Prodigy; Nigel Sixsmith, founding member of The Art Of Sound and well known Keytar player; and Matt Bellamy. Athletes Joe Bugner, Sir Jack Hobbs, and Marty Scurll are also from the county.