Canterbury Cathedral in Kent has been the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the Church of England, since the conversion of England to Christianity by Saint Augustine began in the 6th century. Rochester Cathedral is also located in Kent, in Medway. It is the second-oldest Cathedral in England, with Canterbury Cathedral being the oldest. Between London and the Strait of Dover, which separates it from mainland Europe, Kent has seen both diplomacy and conflict, ranging from the Leeds Castle peace talks of 1978 and 2004 to the Battle of Britain in World War II.
England relied on the county's ports to provide warships through much of its history; the Cinque Ports in the 12th–14th centuries and Chatham Dockyard in the 16th–20th centuries were of particular importance. France can be seen clearly in fine weather from Folkestone and the White Cliffs of Dover. Hills in the form of the North Downs and the Greensand Ridge span the length of the county and in the series of valleys in between and to the south are most of the county's 26 castles.
Because of its relative abundance of fruit-growing and hop gardens, Kent is known as 'The Garden of England'. The title was defended in 2006 when a survey of beautiful counties by the UKTV Style Gardens channel put Kent in fifth place, behind North Yorkshire, Devon, Derbyshire and Gloucestershire.
Kent's economy is greatly diversified. Haulage, logistics, and tourism are major industries; major industries in north-west Kent include aggregate building materials, printing and scientific research. Coal mining has also played its part in Kent's industrial heritage. Large parts of Kent are within the London commuter belt and its strong transport connections to the capital and the nearby continent makes Kent a high-income county. Twenty-eight per cent of the county forms part of two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty: the North Downs and The High Weald.
The name Kent is believed to be of British Celtic origin and was known in Old English as Cent, Cent lond, Centrice (all pronounced with a hard “C” as “Kent-”). In Latin sources Kent is mentioned as Cantia, Canticum. The meaning is explained by some researchers as "coastal district," or "corner-land, land on the edge" (compare Welsh cant "bordering of a circle, tire, edge," Breton cant "circle"). If so, the name could be etymologically related to the placename Cantabria, historically a Celtiberian-speaking coastal region in pre-Roman Iberia, today a province of Spain.