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Oxfordshire (short Oxon, from the Latinised form Oxonia) is a county in the South East of England, bordering on Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, and Warwickshire.
The county has a major tourism industry. The area is known for the concentration of motorsport companies and facilities. Oxford University Press has headed a concentration of print and publishing firms; the university is also linked to the concentration of local biotechnology companies.
The main centre of population is the city of Oxford. Other significant settlements are Bicester, Banbury, and Chipping Norton to the north of Oxford; Witney to the west; Thame and Chinnor to the east; and Abingdon, Wantage, Didcot and Henley-on-Thames to the south. Future population growth in the county is hoped to be concentrated around Banbury, Bicester, Didcot and Witney, near the South Midlands growth area.
The highest point of the county is Whitehorse Hill, in the Vale of White Horse, reaching 856 feet (261m).
The county of Oxfordshire was formed in the early years of the 10th century.
Historically the area has always had some importance, it has been good agricultural land resting between the main southern cities and Oxford (whose name came from Anglo-Saxon Oxenaford = "ford for oxen"). The area was part of the Cotswolds wool trade from the 13th century. The Great Western Railway reached Didcot in 1839. Morris Motors was founded in Oxford in 1912 and MG in Abingdon in 1929. The importance of agriculture as an employer has gone down in the 20th century; today less than one percent of the county's population are involved.
Towns and cities
- Abingdon (In Berkshire until 1974)
- Chipping Norton
- Didcot (In Berkshire until 1974)
- Faringdon (In Berkshire until 1974)
- Wallingford (In Berkshire until 1974)
- Wantage (In Berkshire until 1974)
Places of interest
- Blenheim Palace — UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway — A heritage railway operated with steam and diesel locomotives
- Cholsey and Wallingford Railway
- Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens
- Didcot Railway Centre — Museum of the Great Western Railway
- Kelmscott Manor — Home of William Morris
- River and Rowing Museum
- River Thames
- Rousham House and Gardens
- Wallingford Museum