The 2001 UK foot and mouth crisis harmed the farming community severely.Since then some parts of the agricultural industry have begun to diversify and recover, with a strong local food sector and many artisan producers.However, there are references to "Defenascire" in Anglo-Saxon texts from before 1000 AD (this would mean "Shire of the Devonians"), Kents Cavern in Torquay had produced human remains from 30–40,000 years ago.
This suggests the Anglo-Saxon migration into Devon was limited rather than a mass movement of people.
The border with Cornwall was set by King Æthelstan on the east bank of the River Tamar in 936 AD.
The Romans held the area under military occupation for around 350 years.
Later, the area began to experience Saxon incursions from the east around 600 AD, firstly as small bands of settlers along the coasts of Lyme Bay and southern estuaries and later as more organised bands pushing in from the east.
Devon became a frontier between Brittonic and Anglo-Saxon Wessex, and it was largely absorbed into Wessex by the mid 9th century.
A genetic study carried out by the University of Oxford & University College London discovered separate genetic groups in Cornwall and Devon, not only were there differences on either side of the Tamar, with a division almost exactly along the modern county boundary dating back to the 6th Century but also between Devon and the rest of Southern England, and similarities with the modern northern France, including Brittany.
The western boundary with Cornwall was set at the River Tamar by King Æthelstan in 936.
Devon was constituted as a shire of the Kingdom of England thereafter.
The arrival of William of Orange to launch the Glorious Revolution of 1688 took place at Brixham.
Devon has produced tin, copper and other metals from ancient times.
The City of Exeter is the county town; seven other districts of East Devon, Mid Devon, North Devon, South Hams, Teignbridge, Torridge, and West Devon are under the jurisdiction of Devon County Council; Plymouth and Torbay are each a part of Devon but administered as unitary authorities. Devon derives its name from Dumnonia, which, during the British Iron Age, Roman Britain, and Early Medieval was the homeland of the Dumnonii Brittonic Celts.