Foreland, North, and South Foreland, headlands of Kent, SE England, forming parts of the boundary of The Downs (a roadstead). South Foreland is 4 mi (6.4 km) NE of Dover, and North Foreland is near Margate. Both are chalk cliff formations, and both have lighthouses. The defeat (1666) of the Dutch under De Ruyter off the Forelands was an important battle in the history of British seapower.
Beveland, North, and South Beveland, peninsula developed from the above former islands, Zeeland prov., SW Netherlands, in the Scheldt estuary. As a result of Dutch plans for a delta to shut off most of Zeeland from the North Sea, South Beveland became a peninsula of the mainland; North Beveland was linked to the peninsula by way of Walcheren island. A shipping canal connecting the Belgian port of Antwerp with the Rhine River traverses South Beveland. Agriculture and livestock breeding are the economic mainstays. Dairying and the cultivation of sugar beets, are the principal activities on North Beveland, which also has factories for sugar extraction. South Beveland specializes in the growing of wheat, potatoes, sugar beets, and fruits and is also known for its fisheries and oyster culture. Wissenkerke, whose name derives from a beautiful 17th-century church, is the chief town of North Beveland; Goes, which has a 15th-century Gothic church, is South Beveland's principal urban center. Heavy fighting occurred in both areas during World War II.
Uist, North, and South Uist, islands, two of the Outer Hebrides, Western Isles council area, NW Scotland. North Uist (1985 est. pop. 3,300), is 18 mi (29 km) long and 13 mi (21 km) wide, with a much indented coast (Lochs Maddy, Eport, and others). The east is hilly and boggy, but the west has some fertile land. Lochmaddy is the chief town. Most of the inhabitants are crofters. South Uist (1985 est. pop. 4,600) is c.22 mi (35 km) long and 7 mi (11 km) wide, with Lochs Boisdale, Eynort, and Skiport indenting the east coast. A testing range for rockets was erected there in 1954. Lochboisdale is the leading town, and the village of Milton was the birthplace of the Jacobite heroine Flora Macdonald. North Uist and South Uist are separated from each other by Benbecula and several smaller islands; the main islands and two smaller ones are linked by bridges and causeways.
North, Christopher: see John Wilson.
North, Sir Dudley, 1641-91, English merchant and economist. Agent for the Turkey Company in Constantinople from 1662 to 1680, he returned to England a wealthy man and was commissioner of the customs and of the treasury under Charles II and James II. He was one of the earliest proponents of free trade in his pamphlets, Discourses upon Trade (1691; ed. by J. H. Hollander, 1935).
North, Frederick North, 8th Baron, 1732-92, British statesman, best known as Lord North. He entered Parliament in 1754 and became a junior lord of the treasury (1759), privy councilor (1766), and chancellor of the exchequer (1767). In 1770, North, who had proved himself an able parliamentarian, was appointed prime minister; the support of George III kept him in that office for 12 years. North was a capable administrator, who introduced financial reforms and began reform of the East India Company with the Regulating Act of 1772. However, he is chiefly remembered for his incompetent colonial policies. His stern response to the Boston Tea Party (see Intolerable Acts) helped unite the American colonists against England. After the outbreak of the American Revolution, North offered to resign, but since no acceptable replacement could be found, he remained in office until after news of the British surrender at Yorktown. In 1783 he formed a coalition with his former opponent, the Whig Charles James Fox, but George III secured its collapse by the defeat of Fox's East India bill. For the remainder of his career North supported the opposition against William Pitt, but he was forced to retire from active political life when his sight failed. He succeeded his father to the earldom of Guilford two years before his death.

See biography by A. C. Valentine (2 vol., 1967); C. R. Ritcheson, British Politics and the American Revolution (1954); C. D. Smith, The Early Career of Lord North the Prime Minister, 1754-1770 (1979).

North, Oliver Laurence, 1943-, American military officer, b. San Antonio, Tex. Raised in Philmont, N.Y., he entered the U.S. Marines, graduated from Annapolis (1968), served in the Vietnam War, and attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. In 1981 he was assigned to the National Security Council, and in 1983 he became the liaison to the Nicaraguan contras. In Nov., 1986, North emerged as the central figure in the Iran-contra affair. He was fired by President Reagan later that month. Under a grant of immunity he testified before Congress in July, 1987. He was convicted (1989) on criminal charges arising from the affair, but his conviction was later reversed on the grounds that immunized testimony had been used at his trial. In 1994, North was the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Virginia, but he lost the election. Since 1995 he has hosted radio and television programs. North has written Mission Compromised (2002), a semiautobiographical novel of Washington intrigue.

See his autobiography, Under Fire (1991).

North, Roger, 1653-1734, English biographer. A lawyer, he wrote excellent biographies of his brothers: Francis North, Lord Guilford, Keeper of the Great Seal (1742); Dudley North, a merchant (1744); and John North, master of Trinity College, Cambridge (1744). He is also noted for his Autobiography (1887).
North, Sir Thomas, 1535?-1601?, English translator. He is famous for his translation of Plutarch, entitled Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans (1579), which he made from the French of Jacques Amyot. This work, ornate but vivid, was a source for many of Shakespeare's plays, among them Antony and Cleopatra and Julius Caesar, and was a major influence in the development of Elizabethan prose.
Downs, North, and South Downs, parallel ranges of chalk hills, SE England. They rise to 965 ft (294 m) at Leith Hill, Surrey. The North Downs range, extending c.100 mi (160 km) from near Farnham, Surrey, to Dover, Kent, is cut by the Wey, Mole, Darent, Medway, and Stour rivers. The South Downs (c.65 mi/100 km long) extend from near Winchester, Hampshire, to Beachy Head, East Sussex, and are cut by the Arun, Adur, and Ouse rivers. The Weald lies between the two ranges in West Sussex and East Sussex (S) and Surrey and Kent (N). The Downs provide excellent pasturage for sheep; Southdown sheep are well known.

(born Feb. 15, 1861, Ramsgate, Isle of Thanet, Kent, Eng.—died Dec. 30, 1947, Cambridge, Mass., U.S.) British mathematician and philosopher. He taught principally at the University of Cambridge (1885–1911) and Harvard University (1924–37). His Treatise on Universal Algebra (1898) extended Boolean symbolic logic. He collaborated with Bertrand Russell on the epochal Principia Mathematica (1910–13), which attempted to establish the thesis of logicism. In Process and Reality (1929), his major work in metaphysics, he proposed that the universe consists entirely of becomings, each a process of appropriating and integrating the infinity of items provided by the antecedent universe and by God. His other works include “On Mathematical Concepts of the Material World” (1905), An Introduction to Mathematics (1911), Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Natural Knowledge (1919), The Concept of Nature (1920), Science and the Modern World (1925), and Religion in the Making (1926). He received the Order of Merit in 1945.

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Administrative (pop., 2001: 569,660) and geographic county, part of the historic county of Yorkshire, northern England. Its administrative seat is Northallerton. Prehistoric sites show evidence of a military Roman occupation. In the Middle Ages it was a peripheral region of England with numerous castles of the great landowning families. Monastic orders, including the Cistercians, grew wealthy from sheep farming. The area played a significant part in the Wars of the Roses and the English Civil Wars. The modern economy is mainly agricultural.

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(1783–1821) British-Canadian fur-trading company. Its operations were centred around the Lake Superior region and the valleys of the Red, Assiniboine, and Saskatchewan rivers. It later spread north and west to the Arctic and Pacific oceans. When its competitor, the Hudson's Bay Co., established a colony on the Red River (1811–12), North West workers destroyed the colony in the Seven Oaks Massacre. Hudson's Bay workers retaliated by destroying the North West post at Fort Gibraltar. The British government pressured the two companies to merge in 1821 as the Hudson's Bay Co.

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(1955–75) Protracted effort by South Vietnam and the U.S. to prevent North and South Vietnam from being united under communist leadership. After the First Indochina War, Vietnam was partitioned to separate the warring parties until free elections could be held in 1956. Ho Chi Minh's popular Viet Minh party from the north was expected to win the elections, which the leader in the south, Ngo Dinh Diem, refused to hold. In the war that ensued, fighters trained in the north (the Viet Cong) fought a guerrilla war against U.S.-supported South Vietnamese forces; North Vietnamese forces later joined the fighting. At the height of U.S. involvement, there were more than half a million U.S. military personnel in Vietnam. The Tet Offensive of 1968, in which the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese attacked 36 major South Vietnamese cities and towns, marked a turning point in the war. Many in the U.S. had come to oppose the war on moral and practical grounds, and Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson decided to shift to a policy of “de-escalation.” Peace talks were begun in Paris. Between 1969 and 1973 U.S. troops were withdrawn from Vietnam, but the war was expanded to Cambodia and Laos in 1970. Peace talks, which had reached a stalemate in 1971, started again in 1973, producing a cease-fire agreement. Fighting continued, and there were numerous truce violations. In 1975 the North Vietnamese launched a full-scale invasion of the south. The south surrendered later that year, and in 1976 the country was reunited as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. More than 2,000,000 people (including 58,000 Americans) died over the course of the war, about half of them civilians.

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officially Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Country, Southeast Asia. Area: 128,379 sq mi (332,501 sq km). Population (2005 est.): 82,628,000. Capital: Hanoi. The great majority of the population is Vietnamese; minorities include Chinese, Hmong, Thai, Khmer, and Cham. Languages: Vietnamese (official), French, Chinese, English, Khmer. Religions: Buddhism, new religions, traditional beliefs, Christianity. Currency: new dong. Vietnam is about 1,025 mi (1,650 km) long, 210–340 mi (340–550 km) wide at its widest parts, and 30 mi (50 km) wide at its narrowest part. Northern Vietnam is mountainous; Fan Si Peak, the country's highest mountain, rises to 10,312 ft (3,143 m). The Red River is the principal river. Southern Vietnam is dominated by the Mekong River delta. A long, relatively narrow coastal plain connects the two major river deltas. The densely forested Annamese Cordillera extends through west-central Vietnam. Northern Vietnam is rich in mineral resources, especially anthracite coal and phosphates. Some petroleum deposits exist off the southern coast. Significant food crops include rice, sugarcane, coffee, tea, and bananas. Food processing and fishing are important industries, as are the manufacture of steel and phosphates. Vietnam is a socialist republic with one legislative house; its head of state is the president, and its head of government is the prime minister.

A distinct Vietnamese group began to emerge circa 200 BC in the independent kingdom of Nam Viet, which was later annexed to China in the 1st century BC. The Vietnamese were under continuous Chinese control until the 10th century AD. The southern region was gradually overrun by Vietnamese from the north in the late 15th century. The area was divided into northern and southern dynasties in the early 17th century, and in 1802 these two parts were unified under a single dynasty. Following several years of attempted French colonial expansion in the region, the French captured Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) in 1859 and later the rest of the area, controlling it until World War II (see French Indochina). The Japanese occupied Vietnam in 1940–45 and allowed the Vietnamese to declare independence at the end of the war, a move the French opposed. The First Indochina War ensued and lasted until French forces with U.S. financial backing were defeated by the Vietnamese at Dien Bien Phu in 1954; evacuation of French troops followed. After an international conference at Geneva (April–July 1954), Vietnam was partitioned along latitude 17° N, with the northern part under the communist leadership of Ho Chi Minh and the southern part under the U.S.-supported former emperor Bao Dai; the partition was to be temporary, but the reunification elections scheduled for 1956 were never held. An independent South Vietnam (Republic of Vietnam) was declared, while the communists established North Vietnam (Democratic Republic of Vietnam). The activities of North Vietnamese guerrillas and procommunist rebels in South Vietnam led to U.S. intervention and the Vietnam War. A cease-fire agreement was signed in 1973 and U.S. troops withdrawn, but the civil war soon resumed; in 1975 North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam, and the South Vietnamese government collapsed. In 1976 the two Vietnams were united as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. From the mid-1980s the government enacted a series of economic reforms and began to open up to Asian and Western nations. In 1995 the U.S. officially normalized relations with Vietnam.

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ancient Mare Germanicum

Arm of the Atlantic Ocean. Extending south from the Norwegian Sea between Norway and the British Isles, it connects the Skagerrak (channel between Norway and Denmark) with the English Channel. It is about 600 mi (970 km) long and 350 mi (560 km) wide, with an average depth of 308 ft (94 m). Parts of the sea feature deep trenches, while others have excellent fishing, renowned fisheries, and extensive oil and natural gas deposits.

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Northern end of the Earth's geographic axis, located at latitude 90° N. It is the northern point from which all meridians of longitude start. Lying in the Arctic Ocean and covered with drifting pack ice, it has six months of constant sunlight and six months of total darkness each year. Robert E. Peary claimed to have reached the pole by dogsled in 1909, but that is now in dispute; Roald Amundsen and Richard E. Byrd claimed to have reached it by air in 1926. The geographic pole does not coincide with the magnetic North Pole, which in the early 21st century lay at about 82°45' N, 114°25' W, or with the geomagnetic North Pole, which is at about 79°45' N, 71°45' W.

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officially Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Country, East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean peninsula. Area: 47,399 sq mi (122,762 sq km). Population (2005 est.): 22,488,000. Capital: P'yŏngyang. Ethnically, the population is almost completely Korean. Language: Korean (official). Religions: Ch'ŏndogyo, traditional beliefs, Christianity, Buddhism. Foreign missionaries were expelled during World War II. Currency: won. North Korea's land area largely consists of mountain ranges and uplands; its highest peak is the volcanic Mount Paektu (9,022 ft [2,750 m]). North Korea has a centrally planned economy based on heavy industry (iron and steel, machinery, chemicals, and textiles) and agriculture. Cooperative farms raise crops such as rice, corn, barley, and vegetables. The country is rich in mineral resources, including coal, iron ore, and magnesite. It is a republic with one legislature; the head of state and government is the chairman of the National Defense Commission. For early history, see Korea. After the Japanese were defeated in World War II, the Soviet Union occupied Korea north of latitude 38° N; there the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was established as a communist state in 1948. Seeking to unify the peninsula by force, it launched an invasion of South Korea in 1950, initiating the Korean War. UN troops intervened on the side of South Korea, and Chinese soldiers reinforced the North Korean army in the war, which ended with an armistice in 1953. Led by Kim Il-sung, North Korea became one of the most harshly regimented societies in the world, with a state-owned economy that failed to produce adequate supplies of food and consumer goods for its citizens. Under his son and successor, Kim Jong Il, the country endured periods of severe food shortages from the late 1990s that caused widespread famine. Hopes that North Korea was seeking to end its long isolation—notably through meetings between Kim and the leaders of South Korea (2000) and Japan (2002)—have been tempered by concerns over its nuclear weapons program.

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Island (pop., 2006: 3,120,303), New Zealand. The smaller of the country's two principal islands, it is separated from South Island by the Cook Strait. It has an area of 44,702 sq mi (115,777 sq km). A large and growing majority of the population of New Zealand lives on North Island, concentrated in the cities of Wellington and Auckland.

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(1867–71) Union of the German states north of the Main River, formed after Prussia's victory in the Seven Weeks' War. The confederation recognized the individual states' rights but was effectively controlled by Prussia, whose king served as its president and whose chancellor was Otto von Bismarck. Its constitution served as a model for that of the German Empire, with which it merged in 1871.

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Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota, U.S.

State (pop., 2008 est.: 641,481), U.S. Situated in the north-central region, it is bordered by Canada and the U.S. states of Minnesota, South Dakota, and Montana. It covers 70,700 sq mi (183,112 sq km); its capital is Bismarck. The Missouri River crosses it; the Red River forms its eastern boundary. There is evidence of prehistoric inhabitation throughout the state. At the time of European contact, it was inhabited by various tribes of Native Americans. It became part of the U.S. with the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The northeastern corner was added by a treaty with Great Britain in 1818. In 1804–05 the Lewis and Clark Expedition wintered there among the Mandan people. In 1861 it became part of the Dakota Territory. Separated from South Dakota, it was admitted to the Union in 1889 as the 39th state. In the 20th century North Dakota's history was marked by the increasing mechanization of agriculture, the enlargement of farms, and the loss of a rural population. In the 1950s it became an oil-producing state, and in the 1960s air bases and missile sites were built there. Its larger cities include Fargo, Grand Forks, and Minot.

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National park, northwestern Washington, U.S. Established in 1968 to preserve mountain snowfields, glaciers, alpine meadows, and lakes in the northern part of the Cascade Range, it covers an area of 504,781 acres (204,278 hectares). The Ross Lake National Recreation Area separates the park into two sections, the northern unit extending to the Canadian border and the southern unit adjoining the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area.

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State (pop., 2000: 8,049,313), southern Atlantic region, U.S. Lying on the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Virginia, South Carolina, and Tennessee. It covers 52,671 sq mi (136,417 sq km); its capital is Raleigh. Ranges of the Appalachian Mountains, including the Great Smoky Mountains, are in the west; the Blue Ridge Mountains are in the east. Several Indian peoples inhabited the area before Europeans arrived. The coast was explored by Giovanni da Verrazzano in 1524, and the first English settlement in the New World was established at Roanoke Island in 1585. It formed part of the Carolina grant of 1663. A provincial congress in 1776 gave the first explicit sanction of independence by an American colony, and North Carolina was invaded by British troops in 1780. An original state of the Union, it was the 12th to ratify the Constitution. Its 18th-century agricultural economy based on slave labour continued into the 19th century. It seceded from the Union in 1861; following the American Civil War, it annulled the secession order and abolished slavery, and it was readmitted to the Union in 1868. In the 1940s its economy improved as some of the nation's largest military installations, including Fort Bragg, were located there. It has a large rural population but is also the leading industrial state of its region, and it has an expanding high technology industry in the Raleigh-Durham area. Products include tobacco, corn, and furniture.

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in full North Atlantic Treaty Organization

International military alliance created to defend western Europe against a possible Soviet invasion. A 1948 collective-defense alliance between Britain, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg was recognized as inadequate to deter Soviet aggression, and in 1949 the U.S. and Canada agreed to join their European allies in an enlarged alliance. A centralized administrative structure was set up, and three major commands were established, focused on Europe, the Atlantic, and the English Channel (disbanded in 1994). The admission of West Germany in 1955 led to the Soviet Union's creation of the opposing Warsaw Treaty Organization, or Warsaw Pact. France withdrew from military participation in 1966. Since NATO ground forces were smaller than those of the Warsaw Pact, the balance of power was maintained by superior weaponry, including intermediate-range nuclear weapons. After the Warsaw Pact's dissolution and the end of the Cold War in 1991, NATO withdrew its nuclear weapons and attempted to transform its mission. It involved itself in the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s. Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty stated that an attack on one signatory would be regarded as an attack on the rest. This article was first invoked in 2001 in response to the terrorist September 11 attacks against the U.S. Additional countries joined NATO in 1999 and 2004 to bring the number of full members to 26. In 2009 France announced its plan to rejoin NATO's integrated military command.

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in full North American Free Trade Agreement

Trade pact signed by Canada, the U.S., and Mexico in 1992, which took effect in 1994. Inspired by the success of the European Community in reducing trade barriers among its members, NAFTA created the world's largest free-trade area. It basically extended to Mexico the provisions of a 1988 Canada-U.S. free-trade agreement, calling for elimination of all trade barriers over a 15-year period, granting U.S. and Canadian companies access to certain Mexican markets, and incorporating agreements on labour and the environment. Seealso General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade; World Trade Organization.

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Continent, Western Hemisphere. The third-largest continent on earth, it lies mostly between the Arctic Circle and the Tropic of Cancer. It is almost completely surrounded by bodies of water, including the Pacific Ocean, the Bering Strait, the Arctic Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Area: 9,361,791 sq mi (24,247,039 sq km). Population (2001 est.): 454,225,000. Shaped like an inverted triangle, North America was apparently the first continent to achieve its current approximate size and shape. Its geologic structure is built around a stable platform of Precambrian rock called the Canadian Shield. To the southeast are the Appalachian Mountains and to the west are the younger and much taller Cordilleras. These mountains extend the length of the continent and occupy about one-third of the total land area. The Rocky Mountains constitute the eastern Cordillera. The highest point is Mount McKinley. The Mississippi River basin, including its major tributaries, the Missouri and Ohio, occupies more than one-eighth of the continent's total area. Generally temperate climatic conditions prevail. Arable land accounts for about one-eighth of the land area and forests for about one-third. English, the primary language of the U.S., predominates, followed by Spanish; French is spoken in parts of Canada. Most of the continent's population of European descent is found in the U.S. and Canada. Intermarriage between whites and Indians was common in Mexico, and mestizos constitute about three-fifths of the Mexican population. North America has a mixture of developed, partly developed, and developing economies, adequate reserves of most metallic resources, and the world's largest reserves of cadmium, copper, lead, molybdenum, silver, and zinc. It is the world's leading food producer, largely because of mechanized and scientific farming in the U.S. and Canada. Among the continent's democratically governed states are Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, and the U.S. The nations of North America have sought hemispheric unity as members of the Organization of American States, which also includes South American countries. They also sought stronger economic ties, and in 1992 Canada, the U.S., and Mexico signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which called for the elimination of most tariffs and other trade barriers between the three countries. The first inhabitants were American Indians, who migrated from Asia about 20,000 years ago. The greatest pre-Columbian civilizations were in Mesoamerica (see Mesoamerican civilization) and included the Olmec, Maya, Toltec, and Aztec, who were conquered by the Spanish. The continent long remained sparsely settled and undeveloped. Beginning in the 17th century it underwent a profound transformation with the coming of Europeans and the Africans they introduced as slaves. The style of life became Latin American south of the Rio Grande and Anglo-American to the north, with enclaves of French culture in Canada and Louisiana. Slavery, practiced in the 16th–19th centuries, added a significant minority culture of African origin, especially in the U.S. and the Caribbean (see West Indies). The huge industrial economy of the U.S., its abundant resources, and its military strength give the continent considerable global influence.

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(1867) Act of the British Parliament by which three British colonies—Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Canada—were united as “one Dominion under the name of Canada.” The act also divided the province of Canada into the provinces of Quebec and Ontario. It served as Canada's “constitution” until 1982, when it became the basis of the Canada Act.

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(born Feb. 15, 1861, Ramsgate, Isle of Thanet, Kent, Eng.—died Dec. 30, 1947, Cambridge, Mass., U.S.) British mathematician and philosopher. He taught principally at the University of Cambridge (1885–1911) and Harvard University (1924–37). His Treatise on Universal Algebra (1898) extended Boolean symbolic logic. He collaborated with Bertrand Russell on the epochal Principia Mathematica (1910–13), which attempted to establish the thesis of logicism. In Process and Reality (1929), his major work in metaphysics, he proposed that the universe consists entirely of becomings, each a process of appropriating and integrating the infinity of items provided by the antecedent universe and by God. His other works include “On Mathematical Concepts of the Material World” (1905), An Introduction to Mathematics (1911), Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Natural Knowledge (1919), The Concept of Nature (1920), Science and the Modern World (1925), and Religion in the Making (1926). He received the Order of Merit in 1945.

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The North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) (Urdu: śimāl maġribī sarhadī sūba ) is the smallest of the four main provinces of Pakistan. The NWFP is home to the majority Pashtuns (locally referred to as Pukhtuns) as well as other smaller ethnic groups. The province borders Afghanistan to the northwest, the Northern Areas to the northeast, Azad Kashmir to the east, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) to the west and south, and Pakistani Punjab and Islamabad Capital Territory to the southeast. The principal language is Pashto and the provincial capital is Peshawar. The Pakistan Peoples Party, to accommodate a demand by the Awami National Party, proposed the province be changed to Pakhtunkhwa.


The NWFP is largely located on the Iranian plateau along the peripheral junction between the Indian subcontinent and the Eurasian plate, and this has led to seismic activity in the past (see Kashmir Quake). The famous Khyber Pass links the province to Afghanistan, while the Kohalla Bridge in Circle Bakote is a major crossing point over the Jhelum river in the east. The province has an area of (28,773 square miles) or 74,521 km² of Pakistani territory and its districts include Hazara Division, home to the town of Havelian, the western starting point of the Karakoram Highway.

The capital and largest city of the province is Peshawar. Peshawar's is divided into various sections with the Old City being notable for its chai-khanas (or tea houses) and other ancient structures. Qissa Kahani Bazaar and other parts of Peshawar can remind visitors of an Arabian Nights tale with its myriad corridors and its multicultural vendors. The Afghan character of the city was enhanced by the refugees from Afghanistan and the burgeoning population of tribesmen who have flocked to the city from rural areas in search of employment.

Other main cities include Nowshera, Mardan, Mansehra, Charsadda, Ayubia, Nathia Gali and Abbottabad. The province's main districts include Dera Ismail Khan, Kohat, Bannu, Peshawar, Abbottabad and Mansehra.

The region varies in topography from dry rocky areas in the south to forests and green plains in the north. The climate can be extreme with intensely hot summers to freezing cold winters. Despite these extremes in weather, agriculture remains important and viable in the area. The hilly terrain of Swat, Kalam, Upper Dir, Naran and Kaghan is renowned for its beauty and attracts a great many tourists from neighbouring regions and from around the world. Swat-Kalam is also termed 'a piece of Switzerland' as there are many landscape similarities between it and the mountainous terrain of Switzerland.

It covers an area of . According to the 1998 census, the total population of N.W.F.P. was approximately 17 million out of whom 52% are males and 48% females. The density of population is 187 per km² and the intercensal change of population is of about 30%. Geographically the province could be divided into two zones: the northern one extending from the ranges of the Hindu Kush to the borders of Peshawar basin; and the southern one extending from Peshawar to the Derajat basin. The northern zone is cold and snowy in winters with heavy rainfall and pleasant summers with the exception of Peshawar basin, which is hot in summer and cold in winter. It has moderate rainfall. The southern zone is arid with hot summers and relatively cold winters and scantly rainfall. Its climate varies from very cold (Chitral in the north) to very hot in places like D.I. Khan. The major rivers that criss cross the province are Kabul River, Swat River, Chitral River, Panjgora River, Bara River, Karam River, Gomal River and Zob River.

Its snow-capped peaks and lush green valleys of unusual beauty attract tourists from far and wide while its art and architecture no less known than the historic Khyber Pass. Once the cradle of Gandhara civilization, the area is now known for its devout Muslims who zealously guard their religion and culture and the way of life that they have been following for centuries.


The climate of North-West Frontier province varies immensely for a region of its size, most of the many climate types found in Pakistan.

Chitral District

The north, comprising Chitral District, has a typically continental steppe climate, with average annual precipitation ranging from 100 mm (4 inches) per year in the far north to 585 mm (23 inches) in Drosh in the south. Most of this precipitation from frontal cloudbands during the winter and heavy thunderstorms in the spring. Of Chitral's average 420 mm (16.5 inches) of rainfall per year, 350 mm (13.8 inches) falls from December to May. At high elevations in the Hindukush, snowfall can be much heavier than this and consequently large glaciers are a prominent feature of the landscape. Snow also cuts off even Chitral town from the outside world for most of the year. Temperatures in the valleys vary from 40 °C (105 °F) in July to as low as -10 °C (15 °F) in January. In the previous few years flood have created problems in Mastuj tehsil.

Dir, Swat and Hazara

Further south, in the districts of Dir, Swat and Hazara, the climate becomes more typical of the Indian subcontinent, although a considerable proportion of the annual precipitation still comes from frontal cloudbands during the winter months.

The combination of a short but powerful (owing to orography) summer monsoon with frequent winter cloudbands gives a bimodal rainfall regime in central parts of NWFP. Dir and Hazara districts are some of the wettest places in Pakistan: annual rainfall at Dir averages 1475 mm (58 inches), of which 400 mm (15.75 inches) falls during the summer monsoon from July to September and twice that amount during the winter rainy season from December to April. At Abbottabad further east, the annual rainfall averages about 1195 mm (47 inches), but as much as 635 mm (25 inches) falls during the south-west monsoon. In Swat, rather more sheltered, the annual rainfall averages around 840 mm (33 inches), with about 430 mm (17 inches) expected between June and September. A similar climate to that of Dir, though drier, prevails in a small area around Parachinar in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

In all areas October and November are the driest months with rainfalls generally under 30 mm (1.2 inches) per month except in the most exposed areas.

Temperatures in this region are somewhat warmer than in Chitral, and even at in Abbottabad the heat and humidity can be oppressive during the monsoon season. In winter, most of Swat receives significant snowfall, but in Hazara temperatures usually are around 5 °C (41 °F).

Southern North-West Frontier Province

This region, south of the Himalaya/Hindukush foothills, has the typically hot and dry climate of much of Pakistan. Temperatures in summer are quite oppressively hot, and in the south around Mardan temperatures of 45 °C (113 °F) are not uncommon, whilst in Peshawar 40 °C (104 °F) is par for the course in summer. In winter, however, this region is both warmer and generally drier than the rest of NWFP, with temperatures being around 17 °C (62 °F) in Peshawar and over 20 °C (68 °F) in the extreme south of the province. Nights, however, can still be quite cold during the winter.

Southern NWFP experiences little (and very erratic) monsoonal rain, with Peshawar and Dera Ismail Khan both averaging around 115 mm (4.5 inches) of rain in July and August and almost nothing in June or September. Moreover, in many years no summer rain of significance occurs. In winter, rainfall usually peaks in March but Peshawar averages less than 250mm (10 inches) between December and May and Dera Ismail Khan less than 115 mm (4.5 inches). On certain mountain slopes such as around Kohat, winter rainfall may predominate, though this is unpredictable.

Demographics and society

Historical populations
Census Population Urban

1951 4,556,545 11.07%
1961 5,730,991 13.23%
1972 8,388,551 14.25%
1981 11,061,328 15.05%
1998 17,743,645 16.87%
The province has an estimated population of roughly 21 million that does not include the almost 1.5 million Afghan refugees and their descendants in the province. . The largest ethnic group are the Pashtuns who form about two-thirds of the population.

Pashto is the most pervasive language while Hindko is the second most commonly spoken indigenous language. Pashto is predominant in western and southern NWFP and is main language in most cities and towns including Peshawar. Hindkowans are most common in eastern NWFP, the Hazara Division, and especially in the cities of Abbottabad, Mansehra, and Haripur. Saraiki and Balochi-speakers live in the southeast of the province mainly in Dera Ismail Khan District. Bilingualism and trilingualism is common with Pashto and Urdu being the primary other languages spoken.

In most rural areas of the centre and south various Pashtun tribes can be found including the Yusufzai, Khattak, Marwat, Afridi, Shinwari, Orakzai, Bangash, Mahsud, Mohmand, Wazir, and Gandapur as well as numerous other smaller tribes. Further north, the prominent Pashtun tribes are, Swati, Tareen, Jadoon and Mashwani. There are various non-Pashtun tribes including Awan, Gujjar and Swati. The Awan are believed to be of Arabic origin and are recognisably different from the rest of Pashtun and non-Pushtun majority.

The mountainous extreme north includes Chitral District which is home to diverse Dardic ethnic groups such as the Khowar, Kohistani, Shina, Torwali, Kalasha and Kalami.

In addition, Afghan refugees, although predominantly Pashtun (including the Ghilzai and Durrani tribes), include hundreds of thousands of Persian-speaking Tajiks and Hazaras as well as other smaller groups found throughout the province.

Nearly all of the inhabitants of the NWFP are Muslim with a Sunni majority and significant minority of Shias and Ismailis. Many of the Kalasha of Southern Chitral still retain their ancient Animist/Shamanist religion.


Ancient history

Since ancient times the region has been invaded by numerous groups including Persians, Greeks, Scythians, Kushans, Huns, Arabs, Turks, Mongols, Mughals, Sikhs, and the British. Between 2000 and 1500 BC, the Aryans split off into an Iranian branch, represented by the Pakhtuns who came to dominate most of the region, an Indo-Aryan branch represented by the Hindkowans who populated much of the region before the time of the Pakhtuns and various Dardic peoples who came to populate much of the north. Earlier pre-Aryan inhabitants include the Burusho.

The Vale of Peshawar was home to the Kingdom of Gandhara from around the 6th century BC and later ancient Peshawar became a capital of the Kushan Empire. The region was visited by such notable historical figures as Darius II, Alexander the Great, Hiuen Tsang, Fa Hien, Marco Polo, Mountstuart Elphinstone, and Winston Churchill, among others.

Following the Mauryan conquest of the region, Buddhism became a major faith, at least in urban centers, as attested by recent archaeological and hermeneutic evidence. Kanishka, a prominent Kushan ruler was one of the prominent Buddhist kings.

The region of Gandhara has long been known as a major centre of Buddhist art and culture around the beginning of the Christian era. But until recently, the Buddhist literature of this region was almost entirely lost. Now, within the last decade, a large corpus of Gandharan manuscripts dating from as early as the 1st century A.D. has come to light and is being studied and published by scholars at the University of Washington. These scrolls, written on birch-bark in the Gandharan language and the Kharosthi script, are the oldest surviving Buddhist literature, which has hitherto been known to us only from later and modern Buddhist canons. They also institute a missing link between original South Asian Buddhism and the Buddhism of East Asia, which was exported primarily from Gandhara along the Silk Roads through Central Asia and thence to China.

Rural areas retained numerous Shamanistic faiths as evident with the Kalash and other groups. The roots of Pashtunwali or the traditional code of honour followed by the Pashtuns is also believed to have Pre-Islamic origins. Persian invasions left small pockets of Zoroastrians and, later, a ruling Hindu elite established itself briefly during the later Shahi period.

The Shahi era

During the early 1st millennium, prior to the rise of Islam, the NWFP was ruled by the Shahi kings. The early Shahis were Turkic Buddhist rulers and reigned over the area until 870 CE when they were overthrown and then later replaced . When the Chinese monk Xuanzang visited the region early in the 7th century CE, the Kabul valley region was still ruled by affiliates of the Shahi kings, who is identified as the Shahi Khingal, and whose name has been found in an inscription found in Gardez.

While the early Shahis were Central Asian and Turko-Tocharian in origin, the later Shahi kings of Kabul and Gandhara may have had links to some ruling families in neighbouring Kashmir and the Punjab. The Hindu Shahis are believed to have been a ruling elite of a predominantly Buddhist, Zoroastrian and Shamanistic population and were thus patrons of numerous faiths, and various artefacts and coins from their rule have been found that display their multicultural domain. The last Shahi rulers were eventually wiped out by their cousin tribes led by Mahmud of Ghaznavi who arrived from Afghanistan.

Arrival of Islam

Buddhism and Shamanism remained prominent in the region until Muslim Arabs and Turks conquered the area before the 2nd millennium CE. Over the centuries local Pashtun and Dardic tribes converted to Islam, while retaining some local traditions (albeit altered by Islam) such as Pashtunwali or the Pashtun code of honour. The NWFP became part of larger Islamic empires including the Ghaznavid Empire and the empire of Muhammad of Ghor and was nominally controlled by the Delhi Sultanate and the Ilkhanate Empire of the Mongols. Muslim technocrats, bureaucrats, soldiers, traders, scientists, architects, teachers, theologians and sufis flocked from the rest of the Muslim world to the region.

Pashtun nationalism

The NWFP was an important borderland that was often contested by the Mughals and Safavids of Persia. During the reign of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, the NWFP required formidable military forces to control and the emergence of Pashtun nationalism through the voice of local warrior poet Khushal Khan Khattak united some of the tribes against the various empires around the region. The area, as a predominantly Pashtun region, merged, following a loya jirga, with the Durrani Empire founded by Ahmad Shah Durrani in 1747.

British era

A series of conflicts known as the Anglo-Afghan wars during the imperialist Great Game between the United Kingdom and Russia, led to the eventual dismemberment of Afghanistan. The annexation of the region led to the demarcation of the Durand Line and administration as part of British South Asia. The Durand line is a term for the poorly marked border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. After fighting in two wars against Afghans, the British succeeded in 1893 in imposing the Durand line, dividing Afghanistan and what was then British India. Named for Sir Mortimer Durand, the foreign secretary of the British colonial government, it was agreed upon by representatives of both governments. While the Afghan side greatly resented the border and viewed it as a temporary development, the British viewed it as being a permanent settlement. One of the two representatives of the Afghan government was the revered Ahmadi Sahibzada Abdul Latif of Khost. The border was drawn intentionally to cut through the Pakhtun tribes.

The British, who had captured most of rest of South Asia without significant problems, faced a number of difficulties here. The first war with the Pashtuns resulted in a devastating defeat, with just one soldier coming back alive (out of a total of 14,800 people). Unable to enforce their writ in the region, they changed tactics and played a game of divide and rule, installing puppet Pashtun rulers and dividing the Pashtuns through artificially created regions and ruling indirectly so as to reduce the chance of confrontation. Despite this, occasional Pashtun attacks did take place, including the Siege of Malakand, well documented by Winston Churchill who was a war correspondent at the time.

The province was formed on November 9, 1901 as a Chief Commissioner province. The Chief Commissioner was the chief executive of the province. He ran the administration with the help of his principal advisers and civil servants better known as judicial and revenue commissioners.

The formal inauguration of the province took place five and half months later on April 26, 1902 on the occasion of the historical "Darbar" in Shahi Bagh in Peshawar held by Lord Curzon. The province of NWFP then comprised only five districts. They were Peshawar, Hazara District, Kohat, Bannu, and Dera Ismail Khan. The Malakand, which consisted of three princely states of Dir, Swat, Chitral was included in it. The NWFP also included the four tribal administered agencies, Khyber, Khurram, North Waziristan, and South Waziristan (now seven). The first chief commissioner of the NWFP was Harold Deane, a strong administrator, he was followed by Ross-Keppel in 1908, whose contribution as a political officer was widely known amongst the tribal/frontier people.

The NWFP was raised to a full-fledged Governor province in 1935. The decision was actually made in the Round Table Conference held in 1931. It was agreed upon in the conference that the NWFP would be raised to a governor province with its own Legislative Council. Therefore, on January 25, 1932, the Viceroy inaugurated NWFP Legislative Council. The first provincial elections were held in 1937 and independent candidate and noted landlord Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum Khan was elected as the provinces first Chief Minister.

After independence

During the early 20th century the so-called Red Shirts led by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan agitated through non-violence for the rights of Pakhtun areas. Following independence, the NWFP voted to join Pakistan in a referendum in 1947. However, Afghanistan's loya jirga of 1949 declared the Durand Line invalid, which led to border tensions with Pakistan. During the 1950s, Afghanistan supported a secessionist movement that failed to gain substantial support amongst the tribes of the NWFP. After President Ayub Khan eliminated Pakistan's provinces, President Yahya Khan, in 1969, abolished this "one unit" scheme and added Swat, Dir, Chitral and Kohistan to the new borders.

The Pashtunistan issue kept Pakistan and Afghanistan at odds for decades until the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Following the invasion over five million Afghan refugees poured into Pakistan, most residing in the NWFP (as of 2007 nearly 3 million remain). During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the NWFP served as a major base for supplying the Mujahideen who fought the Soviets during the 1980s.

The NWFP remained heavily influenced by events in Afghanistan and the civil war led to the rise of the Taliban, which had emerged in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan as a formidable political force that nearly took-over all of Afghanistan. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the NWFP became a frontline region again as part of the global War on Terror.


The Provincial Assembly of the North-West Frontier Province is unicameral and consists of 124 seats of which 2% are reserved for non-Muslims and 17% for women only.


There are 24 districts in NWFP.

Important cities


After suffering for decades due to the fallout of Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, today they are again being targeted for totally a reverse situation. Agriculture remains important and the main cash crops include wheat, maize, rice, sugar beets, as well as various fruits are grown in the province. Some manufacturing and high tech investments in Peshawar has helped improve job prospects for many locals, while trade in the province involves nearly every product known to man, as the bazaars in the province are renowned throughout Pakistan. Unemployment has been reduced due to establishment of industrial zones.

Numerous workshops throughout the province support the manufacture of small arms and weapons of various types. The province accounts for at least 78% of the marble production in Pakistan .


The trend towards higher education is rapidly increasing in the province and the NWFP is home to Pakistan's foremost engineering university (Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute), which is located in Topi, a town in Swabi district. The University of Peshawar is also a notable institution of higher learning. The Frontier Post is perhaps the province's best-known newspaper and addresses many of the various issues facing the local population.

This is a chart of the education market of North-West Frontier Province estimated by the government in 1998. Also see

Qualification Urban Rural Total Enrolment Ratio(%)
2,994,084 14,749,561 17,743,645
Below Primary 413,782 3,252,278 3,666,060 100.00
Primary 741,035 4,646,111 5,387,146 79.33
Middle 613,188 2,911,563 3,524,751 48.97
Matriculation 647,919 2,573,798 3,221,717 29.11
Intermediate 272,761 728,628 1,001,389 10.95
BA, BSc… degrees 20,359 42,773 63,132 5.31
MA, MSc… degrees 183,237 353,989 537,226 4.95
Diploma, Certificate… 82,037 165,195 247,232 1.92
Other qualifications 19,766 75,226 94,992 0.53

Major universities & colleges

Folk music

Pashto folk music is popular in NWFP and has a rich tradition going back hundreds of years. The main instruments are the Rubab, mangey and harmonium.

Khowar folk music is popular in Chitral and northern Swat. The tunes of Khowar music are very different from those of Pashto and the main instrument is the Chitrali Sitar.

A form of band music composed of clarinets (surnai) and drums is popular in Chitral. It is played at polo matches and dances. The same form of band music is also played in the neighbouring Northern Areas.

Social issues

The NWFP continues to have an image problem. Even within Pakistan it is regarded as a "radical state" due to the rise of Islamist parties to power in the province and purported support for the remnants of the Taliban who are believed by some to be hiding in the province. The plagues of sectarianism, terrorism and insurrection have not been a problem in the North-West Frontier and the local economy has met with significant gains in spite of hosting millions of Afghan refugees, many of who have been integrated into the local society.

Pashtuns within the NWFP have sought to rename the province Pakhtunkhwa, which translates to "Next to Pakhtuns" in Pashto. This has been opposed by the non-Pashtuns. The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, who until the elections of 2008, had a majority in the NWFP government, proposed Afghania as a compromise name.

See also


External links

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