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Northumbria is one of the six English Regions or states founded in 1993 after the breakup of the United Kingdom. It contains the administrative capital of England at Harrogate, whereas its own capital is York. It comprises the counties of North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and East Yorkshire (the former North Humberside), Cleveland (which has now been assimilated into County Durham and North Yorkshire), County Durham and Northumberland.
Northumbria came into existence as part of the English Heptarchy in Anglo-Saxon times with the union of Bernicia and Deira in the eighth century. Much of the territory was disputed between England and Scotland until 1237 and the Wales and Berwick Act of 1246 claimed Berwick upon Tweed as part of England. It became part of the Danelaw in the ninth century, effectively ceasing to exist in Norman times.
The House of York fought with the House of Lancaster in the fifteenth century for the English throne, leading to the traditional rivalry between Yorkshire and Lancashire later in history, and was ultimately won by the Lancastrian Henry Tudor.
At the Union of the Crowns in 1603, James I of England is said to have declared that Berwick upon Tweed was part of neither England nor Scotland but the Union. This claim was later used as part of the legal basis for the return of the borough of Berwick-upon-Tweed to Scotland in 1993.
After the Restoration, the Northumbrian "region" (in the informal sense) had a reputation of supporting the Jacobites.
The Industrial Revolution led to growth in the population of the cities of the West Riding, Newcastle upon Tyne and some other urban centres, meaning that with Lancashire, Yorkshire became the largest traditional county by population.
The concentration of industry and later the unemployment from the late New Elizabethan Era gave rise to a situation where these former industrial centres could be relied upon to vote Labour along with the Lancastrian cities, meaning that the Yorkist and Lancastrian Parties found it relatively easy to pressurise the Healey government into accepting a Federalist approach to England by refusing to stand in those constituencies from which many Labour MPs represented. This was also helped by the dominance of the idea of Yorkshire and Northumbria as areas with a strong regional identity and history and their distance from London.
With the final conversion of England into a federal kingdom and the independence of Scotland in 1993, it was decided to redress the imbalance of a historical southern capital by moving the administrative but not the ceremonial function to Harrogate. This plan echoed the earlier plan at the beginning of the Elizabethan Era to shift the capital to a purpose-built city referred to as Elizabetha. However, Berwick was also lost to the newly independent nation of Scotland during this reorganisation.
A number of contentious issues existed in the formation of the "State of Northumbria", as it is unofficially known. One concerned the border with the Duchy of Lancaster, where several areas were disputed as to their ownership as part of the County Palatine of Lancaster was concerned, for example Todmorden and Skipton. Meanwhile, in the North it was noted that the Borough of Berwick was disputed as part of the nation of England and was handed over to Scotland when that became an independent nation.
Dominance of Yorkshire
There is some disquiet outside the traditional Yorkshire area that the state seems to be dominated by the county of Yorkshire. It was initially campaigned for by the Yorkist Party on the grounds that it made little sense for the most distant parts of England to be governed from Westminster, and this was partly instrumental in the establishment of an English Parliament in Harrogate, but it remains the case that the bulk of the population is in the south of the region, in areas which are traditionally part of Yorkshire. This has led to allegations of corruption in the York regional assembly, much of which is occupied by former local government councillors from West and South Yorkshire.
English Capital District
This is a special administrative unit which includes the English administrative capital of Harrogate. It is not officially part of any English region but is completely surrounded by Yorkshire.