Sussex has three main geographic sub-regions, each oriented approximately east to west. In the southwest is the fertile and densely populated coastal plain. North of this are the rolling chalk hills of the South Downs, beyond which is the well-wooded Sussex Weald.
In 1974, the Lord-Lieutenant of Sussex was replaced with one each for East and West Sussex, which became separate ceremonial counties. Sussex continues to be recognised as a geographical territory and cultural region. It has had a single police force since 1968 and its name is in common use in the media. In 2007, Sussex Day was created to celebrate the county's rich culture and history. Based on the traditional emblem of Sussex, a blue shield with six gold martlets, the flag of Sussex was recognised by the Flag Institute in 2011. In 2013, Secretary of State for Communities and Local GovernmentEric Pickles formally recognised and acknowledged the continued existence of England's 39 historic counties, including Sussex.
The earliest known usage of the term South Saxons (Latin: Australes Saxones) is in a royal charter of 689 which names them and their king, Noðhelm, although the term may well have been in use for some time before that. The monastic chronicler who wrote up the entry classifying the invasion seems to have got his dates wrong; recent scholars have suggested he might have been a quarter of a century too late.