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The county was named after the River Avon, which runs through the area. It was formed from parts of the historic counties of Gloucestershire and Somerset, together with the City of Bristol. In 1996, the county was abolished and the area split between four new unitary authorities: Bath and North East Somerset, City of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.
Bristol is the largest centre of culture, employment and education in the region making, a strategic location for a serviced office in Avon. Its prosperity has been linked with the sea since its earliest days. The commercial Port of Bristol was originally in the city centre before being relocated to the Severn Estuary at Avonmouth; Royal Portbury Dock is on the western edge of the city boundary. In more recent years the economy has depended on the creative media, electronics and aerospace industries, and the city centre docks have been regenerated as a centre of heritage and culture.
The county is connected by road on an east to west axis from London to West Wales by the M4 motorway, and on a north–southwest axis from Birmingham to Exeter by the M5 motorway. Also within the county is the M49 motorway, a short cut between the M5 in the south and M4 Severn Crossing in the west. The M32 motorway is a spur from the M4 to the city centre. The city is served by Bristol Airport (BRS).