Hampshire, Hants, or Southampton, maritime county (including the Isle of Wight), in South of England; bounded north by Berks, east by Surrey and Sussex, south by the English Channel, and west by Wilts and Dorset; greatest length (exclusive of the Isle of Wight), north to south, 46 miles; greatest breadth, east to west, 46 miles; 1,037,764 acres, population, 593,470. (The figures of acres and population include the Isle of Wight.) Hampshire is undulating, finely wooded, and fruitful. Its coast line is very inregular, the principal indentation being Southampton Water. From Surrey and Sussex, north-east to Wilts and Berks, two ranges of chalk hills, known as the North and South Downs, traverse the county. In the west is the New Forest, and in the south-east are the Forests of Bere and Waltham Chase. The Avon, Exe, Test, Itching, and Hamble are the chief rivers. The county is noted for its agriculture, the wheat of Hampshire being especially prized. Upon the Downs are reared large flocks of the variety of sheep known as "Hampshire Downs," or "short wools." Pig breeding, and the curing of bacon, have long been large and lucrative branches of the county's industry. The mineral resources are meagre; and, except in large coast towns, such as Portsmouth and Gosport, the manufactures also are unimportant. The shipping, however, is very extensive. Hampshire (with the Isle of Wight) comprises 38 hundreds, 12 liberties, 349 parishes, with parts of 3 others..."
(From a 19th Century Gazetteer)
Also see the entry for Hampshire in the The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868).