|Dutch name: Zuidholland a province of the SW Netherlands, on the North Sea: lying mostly below sea level, it has a coastal strip of dunes and is drained chiefly by distributaries of the Rhine, with large areas of reclaimed land; the most densely populated province in the country, intensively cultivated and industrialized. Capital: The Hague. Pop: 3 440 000 (2003 est). Area: 3196 sq km (1234 sq miles)|
district, administrative and historic county of Lincolnshire, east-central England, occupying an area of reclaimed marshland within the Fens. It borders the Wash, a shallow bay of the North Sea, to the northeast. The dry flatlands in the north along the Wash were formed as islands of silt interspersed with marshes when large stretches of silt penned in by glaciers of the Pleistocene Epoch piled up on the shores of a shallow inland sea. Flat plains of peat farther inland were formed as plants decayed on the shallow sea bottom. Throughout the Middle Ages piecemeal encroachment upon the edges of the silt land took place for agricultural use, but the whole expanse of peat land remained virtually undrained until the mid-17th century. Spalding, an ancient market town and now the administrative centre of the district, is a headquarters for the now elaborate drainage and flood-control system of the Fens.
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