Nottinghamshire (pronounced or /ˈnɒtɪŋəmˌʃɪə/ (American/Irish pronunciation – or ); abbreviated Notts) is a county in the East Midlands of England, bordering South Yorkshire to the north-west, Lincolnshire to the east, Leicestershire to the south, and Derbyshire to the west. The traditional county town is Nottingham, though the county council is based in West Bridgford in the borough of Rushcliffe, at a site facing Nottingham over the River Trent.
The districts of Nottinghamshire are Ashfield, Bassetlaw, Broxtowe, Gedling, Mansfield, Newark and Sherwood, and Rushcliffe. The City of Nottingham was administratively part of Nottinghamshire between 1974 and 1998 but is now a unitary authority, remaining part of Nottinghamshire for ceremonial purposes.
As of 2011 the county is estimated to have a population of 785,800. Over half of the population of the county live in the Greater Nottingham conurbation (which continues into Derbyshire). The conurbation has a population of about 650,000, though less than half live within the city boundaries.
Nottinghamshire lies on the Roman Fosse Way, and there are Roman settlements in the county, for example at Mansfield. The county was settled by Angles around the 5th century, and became part of the Kingdom, and later Earldom, of Mercia. However, there is evidence of Saxon settlement at Oxton, near Nottingham, and Tuxford, east of Sherwood Forest. The name first occurs in 1016, but until 1568 the county was administratively united with Derbyshire, under a single Sheriff. In Norman times the county developed malting and woollen industries. During the industrial revolution canals and railways came to the county, and the lace and cotton industries grew. In the 19th century collieries opened and mining became an important economic sector, though these declined after the 1984-5 miners' strike.
Until 1610, Nottinghamshire was divided into eight Wapentakes. Sometime between 1610 and 1719 they were reduced to six – Newark, Bassetlaw, Thurgarton, Rushcliffe, Broxtowe and Bingham, some of these names still being used for the modern districts. Oswaldbeck was absorbed in Bassetlaw, of which it forms the North Clay division, and Lythe in Thurgarton.
Nottinghamshire is famous for its involvement with the legend of Robin Hood. This is also the reason for the numbers of tourists who visit places like Sherwood Forest, City of Nottingham and the surrounding villages in Sherwood Forest. To reinforce the Robin Hood connection, the University of Nottingham in 2010 has begun the Nottingham Caves Survey with the goal "to increase the tourist potential of these sites". The project "will use a 3D laser scanner to produce a three dimensional record of more than 450 sandstone caves around Nottingham".
Nottinghamshire was mapped first by Christopher Saxton in 1576, the first fully surveyed map of the county was by John Chapman who produced Chapman's Map of Nottinghamshire in 1774. The map was the earliest printed map at a sufficiently useful scale (one statute mile to one inch) to provide basic information on village layout and the existence of landscape features such as roads, milestones, tollbars, parkland and mills.