Wight, Isle of


Wight, Isle of
Island and unitary authority (pop., 2001: 132,719), part of the historic county of Hampshire, in the English Channel off the southern coast of England.

Separated from mainland Hampshire by the Solent, the island has an area of 147 sq mi (381 sq km). Its main town is Newport. The backbone of the Isle of Wight is a chalk ridge that extends across its entire breadth, the thickest bed of chalk in the British Isles. The Needles are three detached masses of chalk that lie off the island's westernmost point and rise to about 100 ft (30 m). Three rivers, the Eastern Yar, the Medina, and the Western Yar, flow northward into the Solent. A major British maximum security prison is located at Parkhurst. Boatbuilding, marine engineering, and the aerospace, plastics, and electronics industries are economically important. The island's warm, sunny climate has made it a popular vacation spot.

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▪ island and unitary authority, England, United Kingdom
 island, unitary authority, and geographic country, part of the historic county of Hampshire, lying off the south coast of England, in the English Channel. The island is separated from the mainland by a deep strait known as the Solent (Solent, The). The Isle of Wight is a diamond-shaped island extending 22.5 miles (36 km) from east to west and 13.5 miles (22 km) from north to south. Administratively, the Isle of Wight comprises a unitary authority, with its administrative centre at Newport.

      The Isle of Wight's geology and scenery are varied. The backbone of the island is formed by a chalk ridge that extends across the entire breadth of the island, from Culver Cliff in the east to The Needles in the west. This ridge is the thickest bed of chalk in the British Isles. The Needles are three detached masses of chalk that lie off the island's westernmost point and rise to about 100 feet (30 metres). In the northern portion of the island, the chalk beds dip steeply beneath heavy soils that support oak woodlands. Southward, the chalk beds dip more gently, and there is a second range of downs in the extreme south of the island. The island's south coast is mostly cliffbound. Three rivers, the Eastern Yar, the Medina, and the Western Yar, flow northward into The Solent. The Medina almost bisects the island, and the Western Yar almost insulates the western Wight.

      There are traces of human occupation of the island from the earliest times, but the Early Bronze Age seems to have been the period of most intense prehistoric settlement. There are also Roman remains, Vespasian having annexed the island in 43 CE. The island was annexed to Wessex in 661 and subsequently bestowed on the king of Sussex. In 998 it was a headquarters of the marauding Danes. In 1377 the French so devastated the town of Newport (at the island's centre) that it lay uninhabited for two years. Charles I was imprisoned in Carisbrooke Castle in 1647–48 during the English Civil Wars. Osborne House, near Cowes, was a residence of Queen Victoria.

      The Isle of Wight has a warm, mild climate and is one of the sunniest areas in the British Isles. Newport, at the head of the Medina Estuary, is now the island's main town, and Cowes, at the Medina's mouth, is the principal port and an internationally famous yachting centre. There are many holiday resorts—notably Freshwater, Yarmouth, Ryde, Sandown-Shanklin, and Ventnor—and tourism is one of the island's main economic bases. Boatbuilding, marine engineering, and the aerospace, plastics, and electronics industries are also important economically, and fruits and vegetables are grown on the southern part of the island. A major British maximum security prison is at Parkhurst, a suburb of Newport. The island has gained notoriety as the site of a rock music festival. Area 147 square miles (381 square km). Pop. (2001) 132,712; (2005 est.) 140,000.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Wight,Isle of — Wight (wīt), Isle of An island in the English Channel off south central England. It is a popular resort area and yachting center. Queen Victoria often stayed at the Osborne House near Cowes. * * * …   Universalium

  • Wight, Isle of — see Isle of Wight …   Useful english dictionary

  • Wight, Isle of — geographical name island S England in English Channel capital Newport area 152 square miles (394 square kilometers) population 126,600 …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • WIGHT, ISLE OF —    an island in the S. of England, included in Hampshire, from which it is separated by the channel of the SOLENT (q.v.); it is of triangular shape, is 23 m. of utmost length, and about 14 m. of utmost breadth; it is traversed by a range of chalk …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Wight, Isle of — isl. off the S coast of England; 147 sq. mi …   Webster's Gazetteer

  • Isle of wight — Basisdaten Status Unitary Authority Zeremonielle Grafschaft Region South East England …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Wight — →↑Isle of Wight …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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  • Isle of Wight official football team — Infobox National football team Name = Isle of Wight Badge = Isle of Wight FA.gif FIFA Trigramme = Elo Rank = Nickname = Association = Isle of Wight Football Association Coach = Most caps = Top scorer = Home Stadium = St Georges Park, Newport… …   Wikipedia


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