Yorkshire traditionally extends from the River Tees in the north, from the Lancashire foothills of the Pennines in the west, from the North Sea to the east and from the River Humber to the south. It takes in roughly 10% of the entire area of England, and even given the decades of its boundaries being pushed back and itself being split, North Yorkshire is still the largest county in England.
Traditionally Yorkshire was divided into three 'Ridings' (a corruption of 'Thriddings' (Thirds)). The North Riding was the largest by far, and encompassed most of modern day North Yorkshire and some of what is modern day County Durham (including Middlesbrough) and north Lancashire. Its capital was York. The West Riding held the largest population by far, having as it did both industrial centres of Leeds and Sheffield within its boundaries. Its area approximates to the combined areas of modern-day West and South Yorkshire. The East Riding is what is commonly known today as Humberside, along with parts of Lincolnshire.
Being such a large county, Yorkshire's topography and population varies massively. North Yorkshire is predominantly still a rural area, with much of the population engaged in farming, but several medium-sized towns and cities which are mostly self-sufficient but also act as satellite towns in the commuter belts of Leeds and Middlesbrough. York is the largest city in the county, but other notable towns are Harrogate, Ripon, Northallerton, Thirsk, Scarborough, Selby and Skipton.
West Yorkshire is dominated by Leeds and its surrounding area, with all the trappings of the major modern city. However, several other large towns still prosper in the area, which is predominantly hilly and grew in the Industrial Revolution as mill towns. Bradford, Huddersfield and Wakefield are all large towns in their own right.
South Yorkshire is the smallest of the three, being dominated by Sheffield, England's fourth-largest city. Traditionally a mining area, South Yorkshire's notable towns include Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster.