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Chelmsford has been an important location for electronics companies, such as the Marconi Company, since the industry was born; it is also the location for a number of insurance and financial services organisations, and until 2015 was the home of the soft drinks producer Britvic.
Basildon is home to New Holland Agriculture's European headquarters, and Brentwood is home to the Ford Motor Company's British HQ.
Its territory was later restricted to lands east of the River Lea.
Colchester in the north-east of the county is Britain's oldest recorded town, dating from before the Roman conquest, when it was known as Camulodunum and was sufficiently well-developed to have its own mint.
A few Essex parishes have been transferred to other counties.
Before 1889, small areas were transferred to Hertfordshire near Bishops Stortford and Sawbridgeworth.
Originally recorded in AD 527, Essex occupied territory to the north of the River Thames, incorporating all of what later became Middlesex (which probably included Surrey) and most of what later became Hertfordshire.
Colchester is a garrison town, and the local economy is helped by the Army's personnel living there.