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The Humber ( ) is a large tidal estuary on the east coast of Northern England. It is formed at Trent Fallsmarker, Faxfleetmarker, by the confluence of the tidal River Ousemarker and the tidal River Trent. From here to the North Seamarker, it forms part of the boundary between the East Riding of Yorkshire on the north bank and North Lincolnshiremarker and North East Lincolnshiremarker on the south bank. Although the Humber is an estuary from the point at which it is formed, many maps show it as the River Humber.

Below Trent Falls, the Humber passes the junction with the Market Weighton Canal on the north shore, the confluence of the River Ancholmemarker on the south shore; between North Ferribymarker and South Ferribymarker and under the Humber Bridge; between Barton-upon-Humbermarker on the south bank and Kingston upon Hullmarker on the North bank (where the River Hullmarker joins), then meets the North Seamarker between Cleethorpesmarker on the Lincolnshire side and the long and thin (but rapidly changing) headland of Spurn Headmarker to the North. Ports on the Humber include Kingston upon Hullmarker (better known as simply Hull), Grimsbymarker, Imminghammarker, New Hollandmarker and Killingholmemarker.


The Humber is now only an estuary; but when the world sea level was lower during the Ice Ages, the Humber had a long freshwater course across the dry bed of the North Seamarker.

In the Anglo-Saxon period, the Humber was a major boundary, separating Northumbriamarker from the southern kingdoms. Indeed, the name Northumbria came from Anglo-Saxon NorĂ°hymbre (plural) = "the people north of the Humber". The Humber currently forms the boundary between the East Riding of Yorkshire, to the north and Northmarker and North East Lincolnshiremarker, to the south.

From 1974 to 1996 the areas now known as East Riding, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire constituted Humberside. For hundreds of years before that, the Humber lay between Lindsey and The East Riding of Yorkshire. "East Riding" is derived from "East Thriding", and likewise with the other Ridings. "Thriding" is an old word of Norse origin meaning a third part. Since the late 11th century, Lindsey had been one of the Parts of Lincolnshire.

The estuary's only crossing is the Humber Bridge, which was once the longest suspension bridge in the world. Now it is the fifth longest.

Graham Boanas, a Hull man, is believed to be the first man to succeed in wading across the Humber since ancient Roman times. The feat, in August 2005, was attempted to raise cash and awareness for the medical research charity, DebRA. He started his trek on the north bank at Boothferrymarker; four hours later, he emerged on the South bank at Whittonmarker. He is 6 feet 9 inches (205.74 cm) tall and took advantage of a very low tide. He replicated this achievement on the television programme Top Gear (Series 10 Episode 6) when he raced James May (who is driving a Alfa Romeo 159) across the Humber without using the Humber Bridge.

Two fortifications were built in the mouth of the river in 1914, the Humber Forts. Fort Paullmarker is further downstream. The Humber was once known as the Abus, for example in Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene.


This river's name is recorded in Anglo-Saxon times as Humbre (Anglo-Saxon dative) and Humbri (Latin genitive). Since its name recurs in the name of the "Humber Brook" near "Humber Court" in Herefordshiremarker or Worcestershire, the word humbr- may have been a word that meant "river", or something similar, in an aboriginal language that had been spoken in Englandmarker before the Celts migrated there (compare Tardebiggemarker).

The Humber features regularly in Geoffrey of Monmouth's 12th-century fictional chronicle Historia Regum Britanniae. According to Geoffrey, the Humber, invariably referred to by the Latin word for river, was named after "Humber the Hun" who drowned there while trying to invade in the earliest days of Britain's settlement.

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