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Cornwall is a historic county and ceremonial county in South West England. It is recognised as one of the Celtic nations, and is the homeland of the Cornish people. Cornwall is bordered to the north and west by the Atlantic Ocean, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, with the River Tamar forming the border between them. Cornwall forms the westernmost part of the South West Peninsula of the island of Great Britain. The southwesternmost point is Land's End and the southernmost Lizard Point. Cornwall has a population of 568,210 and an area of 3,563 km2 (1,376 sq mi).The county has been administered since 2009 by the unitary authority, Cornwall Council. The ceremonial county of Cornwall also includes the Isles of Scilly, which are administered separately.
The administrative centre of Cornwall is Truro, its only city. Cornwall was formerly a Brythonic kingdom and subsequently a royal duchy. It is the cultural and ethnic origin of the Cornish diaspora. The Cornish nationalist movement contests the present constitutional status of Cornwall and seeks greater autonomy within the United Kingdom in the form of a devolved legislative Cornish Assembly with powers similar to those in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In 2014, Cornish people were granted minority status under the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, giving them recognition as a distinct ethnic group. Recent discoveries of Roman remains in Cornwall indicate a greater Roman presence there than once thought. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, Cornwall (along with Devon, parts of Dorset and Somerset, and the Scilly Isles) was a part of the Brittonic kingdom of Dumnonia, ruled by chieftains of the Cornovii who may have included figures regarded as semi-historical or legendary, such as King Mark of Cornwall and King Arthur, evidenced by folklore traditions derived from the Historia Regum Britanniae.
The Cornovii division of the Dumnonii tribe were separated from their fellow Brythons of Wales after the Battle of Deorham in 577 AD, and often came into conflict with the expanding English kingdom of Wessex. The regions of Dumnonia outside of Cornwall (and Dartmoor) had been annexed by the English by 838 AD. King Athelstan in 936 AD set the boundary between the English and Cornish at the high water mark of the eastern bank of the River Tamar. From the Early Middle Ages, language and culture were shared by Brythons trading across both sides of the Channel, resulting in the corresponding high medieval Breton kingdoms of Domnonée and Cornouaille and the Celtic Christianity common to both areas.
Tin mining was important in the Cornish economy from the High Middle Ages, and expanded greatly in the 19th century when rich copper mines were also in production. In the mid-19th century, tin and copper mines entered a period of decline and china clay extraction became more important. Mining had virtually ended by the 1990s. Fishing and agriculture were the other important sectors of the economy, but railways led to a growth of tourism in the 20th century after the decline of the mining and fishing industries. Since the late 2010s there have been hopes of a resurgence of mining in Cornwall after the discovery of 'globally significant' deposits of lithium to help power the electric car revolution. Cornwall is noted for its geology and coastal scenery. A large part of the Cornubian batholith is within Cornwall. The north coast has many cliffs where exposed geological formations are studied. The area is noted for its wild moorland landscapes, its long and varied coastline, its attractive villages, its many place-names derived from the Cornish language, and its very mild climate. Extensive stretches of Cornwall's coastline, and Bodmin Moor, are protected as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Tourism is estimated to contribute up to[clarification needed] 24% of Cornwall's gross domestic product. In 2011 tourism brought £1.85 billion into the Cornish economy. Cornwall's unique culture, spectacular landscape and mild climate make it a popular tourist destination, despite being somewhat distant from the United Kingdom's main centres of population. Surrounded on three sides by the English Channel and Celtic Sea, Cornwall has many miles of beaches and cliffs; the South West Coast Path follows a complete circuit of both coasts. Other tourist attractions include moorland, country gardens, museums, historic and prehistoric sites, and wooded valleys. Five million tourists visit Cornwall each year, mostly drawn from within the UK. Visitors to Cornwall are served by the airport at Newquay, whilst private jets, charters and helicopters are also served by Perranporth airfield; nightsleeper and daily rail services run between Cornwall, London and other regions of the UK. Cornwall has a tourism-based seasonal economy. Newquay and Porthtowan are popular destinations for surfers. In recent years, the Eden Project near St Austell has been a major financial success, drawing one in eight of Cornwall's visitors in 2004. In the summer of 2018, due to the recognition of its beaches and weather through social media and the marketing of travel companies, Cornwall received about 20 per cent more visitors than the usual 4.5 million figure. The sudden rise and demand of tourism in Cornwall caused multiple traffic and safety issues in coastal areas.
In October 2021, Cornwall was shortlisted for the UK City of Culture 2025.
Other industries include fishing, although this has been significantly re-structured by EU fishing policies (as of 2010 the Southwest Handline Fishermen's Association has started to revive the fishing industry).
Agriculture, once an important part of the Cornish economy, has declined significantly relative to other industries. However, there is still a strong dairy industry, with products such as Cornish clotted cream.
Mining of tin and copper was also an industry, but today the derelict mine workings survive only as a World Heritage Site. However, the Camborne School of Mines, which was relocated to Penryn in 2004, is still a world centre of excellence in the field of mining and applied geology and the grant of World Heritage status has attracted funding for conservation and heritage tourism. China clay extraction has also been an important industry in the St Austell area, but this sector has been in decline, and this, coupled with increased mechanisation, has led to a decrease in employment in this sector, although the industry still employs around 2,133 people in Cornwall, and generates over £80 million to the local economy. In March 2016, a Canadian company, Strongbow Exploration, had acquired, from administration, a 100% interest in the South Crofty tin mine and the associated mineral rights in Cornwall with the aim of reopening the mine and bringing it back to full production. Work is currently ongoing to build a water filtration plant in order to dewater the mine.