Within the borders of the historic county of Yorkshire are vast stretches of unspoilt countryside. This can be found in the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors and with the open aspect of some of the major cities. Yorkshire has sometimes been nicknamed "God's Own County" or "God's Own Country".
The emblem of Yorkshire is the White Rose of the English royal House of York, and the most commonly used flag representative of Yorkshire is the White Rose on a blue background, which after nearly fifty years of use, was recognised by the Flag Institute on 29 July 2008. Yorkshire Day, held annually on 1 August, is a celebration of the general culture of Yorkshire, ranging from its history to its own dialect.
Yorkshire is now divided between different official regions. Most of the county falls within Yorkshire and the Humber. The extreme northern part of the county, such as Middlesbrough, Redcar, Holwick and Startforth, falls within North East England. Following boundary changes in 1974, small areas in the west of the historic county form part of North West England.
Yorkshire or the County of York was so named as it is the shire (administrative area or county) of the city of York or York's Shire. "York" comes from the Viking name for the city, Jórvík. "Shire" is from Old English, scir meaning care or official charge. The "shire" suffix is locally pronounced /-ʃə/ "shuh", or occasionally /-ʃiə/, a homophone of "sheer".
Early inhabitants of Yorkshire were Celts, who formed two separate tribes, the Brigantes and the Parisi. The Brigantes controlled territory which later became all of the North Riding of Yorkshire and the West Riding of Yorkshire. The tribe controlled most of Northern England and more territory than any other Celtic tribe in England. That they had the Yorkshire area as their heartland is evident in that Isurium Brigantum (now known as Aldborough) was the capital town of their civitas under Roman rule. Six of the nine Brigantian poleis described by Claudius Ptolemaeus in the Geographia fall within the historic county. The Parisi, who controlled the area that would become the East Riding of Yorkshire, might have been related to the Parisii of Lutetia Parisiorum, Gaul (known today as Paris, France). Their capital was at Petuaria, close to the Humber Estuary. Although the Roman conquest of Britain began in 43 AD, the Brigantes remained in control of their kingdom as a client state of Rome for an extended period, reigned over by the Brigantian monarchs Cartimandua and her husband Venutius. Initially, this situation suited both the Romans and the Brigantes, who were known as the most militant tribe in Britain.
Queen Cartimandua left her husband Venutius for his armour bearer, Vellocatus, setting off a chain of events which changed control of the Yorkshire area. Cartimandua, due to her good relationship with the Romans, was able to keep control of the kingdom; however her former husband staged rebellions against her and her Roman allies. At the second attempt, Venutius seized the kingdom, but the Romans, under general Petillius Cerialis, conquered the Brigantes in 71 AD.