Note: A former county in southwestern England; it was formed in 1974 from parts of north Somerset and Gloucestershire and it was replaced by various unitary councils in 1996. The area is comprised of low-lying basin bordered by Cotswold Hills to the east and Mendip Hills to the south. The area was ccupied by prehistoric peoples and Romans ca. 1st century CE; became part of Saxon kingdom of Wessex in the 7th century. Local industries include dairying, food-processing, and aircraft construction.