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BRISTOL (/ˈbrɪstəl/ ( listen )) is a city and county in South West England with a population of 454,200 in 2017. The district has the 10th largest population in England, while the Bristol metropolitan area is the 12th largest in the United Kingdom. The city borders North Somerset and South Gloucestershire , with the cities of Bath and Gloucester to the south-east and north-east, respectively.

Iron Age hill forts and Roman villas were built near the confluence of the rivers Frome and Avon , and around the beginning of the 11th century the settlement was known as Brycgstow ( Old English "the place at the bridge"). Bristol received a royal charter in 1155 and was historically divided between Gloucestershire and Somerset until 1373, when it became a county of itself . From the 13th to the 18th century, Bristol was among the top three English cities after London in tax receipts. Bristol was surpassed by the rapid rise of Manchester , Liverpool and Birmingham in the Industrial Revolution .

Bristol was a starting place for early voyages of exploration to the New World. On a ship out of Bristol in 1497 John Cabot , a Venetian , became the first European since the Vikings to land on mainland North America. In 1499 William Weston , a Bristol merchant, was the first Englishman to lead an exploration to North America. At the height of the Bristol slave trade , from 1700 to 1807, more than 2,000 slave ships carried an estimated 500,000 people from Africa to slavery in the Americas. The Port of Bristol has since moved from Bristol Harbour in the city centre to the Severn Estuary at Avonmouth and Royal Portbury Dock .

Bristol's modern economy is built on the creative media, electronics and aerospace industries, and the city-centre docks have been redeveloped as centres of heritage and culture. The city has the largest circulating community currency in the U.K.- the Bristol pound , which is pegged to the Pound sterling. The city has two universities, the University of the West of England and the University of Bristol and a variety of artistic and sporting organisations and venues including the Royal West of England Academy , the Arnolfini , Spike Island , Ashton Gate and the Memorial Stadium . It is connected to London and other major UK cities by road, rail, sea and air by the M5 and M4 (which connect to the city centre by the Portway and M32 ), Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway mainline rail stations, and Bristol Airport .

One of the UK's most popular tourist destinations, Bristol was selected in 2009 as one of the world's top ten cities by international travel publishers Dorling Kindersley in their _Eyewitness _ series of travel guides. _ The Sunday Times _ named it as the best city in Britain in which to live in 2014 and 2017, and Bristol also won the EU\'s European Green Capital Award in 2015.

CONTENTS

* 1 Etymology

* 2 History

* 2.1 Middle Ages * 2.2 15th and 16th centuries * 2.3 17th and 18th centuries * 2.4 19th century * 2.5 20th century

* 3 Government

* 4 Geography and environment

* 4.1 Boundaries * 4.2 Greater Bristol * 4.3 Geography * 4.4 Climate * 4.5 Environment

* 5 Demography * 6 Economy and industry

* 7 Culture

* 7.1 Arts * 7.2 Architecture * 7.3 Sport * 7.4 Media * 7.5 Dialect * 7.6 Religion * 7.7 Bars and nightlife

* 8 Education, science and technology * 9 Transport * 10 Twin cities * 11 See also * 12 References * 13 Bibliography * 14 External links

ETYMOLOGY

The most ancient recorded name for Bristol is the archaic Welsh _Caer Odor_ (the fort on the chasm), which is consistent with modern understanding that early Bristol developed between the River Frome and Avon Gorge . It is most commonly stated that the Saxon name _Bricstow_ was a simple calque of the existing Celtic name, with _Bric_ (meaning a break) a literal translation of Odor, and the common Saxon suffix _Stow_ replacing Caer. Alternative etymologies are supported with the numerous orthographic variations in Medieval documents with Samuel Seyer enumerating 47 alternative forms.

The Old English form _Brycgstow_ is commonly used to derive the meaning _place at the bridge_. Utilizing another form, _Brastuile_, Rev. Dr. Shaw derived the name from the Celtic words _bras_ (quick, rapid), or _braos_ (a gap, chasm,) and _tuile_ (a stream). The poet Thomas Chatterton popularised a derivation from _Brictricstow_ linking the town to Brictric , the last king of Wessex. It appears that the form _Bricstow_ prevailed until 1204, and the _Bristolian \'L\' _ (the tendency for the local accent to add a letter L to the end of some words) is what eventually changed the name to _Bristol_.

HISTORY

Main articles: History of Bristol and Timeline of Bristol Robert Ricart\'s map of Bristol, drawn when he became common clerk of the town in 1478. At the centre, it shows the High Cross .

Archaeological finds, including flint tools believed to be between 300,000 and 126,000 years old made with the Levallois technique , indicate the presence of Neanderthals in the Shirehampton and St Annes areas of Bristol during the Middle Palaeolithic . Iron Age hill forts near the city are at Leigh Woods and Clifton Down , on the side of the Avon Gorge , and on Kings Weston Hill near Henbury . A Roman settlement, Abona, existed at what is now Sea Mills (connected to Bath by a Roman road ); another was at the present-day Inns Court . Isolated Roman villas and small forts and settlements were also scattered throughout the area.

MIDDLE AGES

Bristol was founded by 1000; by about 1020, it was a trading centre with a mint producing silver pennies bearing its name. By 1067 Brycgstow was a well-fortified _burh _, and that year the townsmen beat off a raiding party from Ireland led by three of Harold Godwinson 's sons. Under Norman rule, the town had one of the strongest castles in southern England. Bristol was the place of exile for Diarmait Mac Murchada , the Irish king of Leinster , after being overthrown. The Bristol merchants subsequently played a prominent role in funding Richard Strongbow de Clare and the Norman invasion of Ireland . Black and white etching showing the towers of St Stephen\'s Church , St Augustine the Less Church and Bristol Cathedral , published c.1850

The port developed in the 11th century around the confluence of the Rivers Frome and Avon , adjacent to Bristol Bridge just outside the town walls. By the 12th century Bristol was an important port, handling much of England's trade with Ireland, including slaves. The stone bridge built in 1247 was replaced by the current bridge during the 1760s. The town incorporated neighbouring suburbs and became a county in 1373, the first town in England to be given this status. During this period, Bristol became a shipbuilding and manufacturing centre. By the 14th century Bristol, York and Norwich were England's largest medieval towns after London. One-third to one-half the population died in the Black Death of 1348–49, which checked population growth, and its population remained between 10,000 and 12,000 for most of the 15th and 16th centuries.

15TH AND 16TH CENTURIES

During the 15th century Bristol was the second most important port in the country, trading with Ireland, Iceland and Gascony . It was the starting point for many voyages, including Robert Sturmy 's (1457–58) unsuccessful attempt to break the Italian monopoly of Eastern Mediterranean trade. New exploration voyages were launched by Venetian John Cabot , who in 1497 made landfall in North America. A 1499 voyage, led by merchant William Weston of Bristol, was the first expedition commanded by an Englishman to North America. During the first decade of the 16th century Bristol's merchants undertook a series of exploration voyages to North America and even founded a commercial organisation, 'The Company Adventurers to the New Found Land', to assist their endeavours. However, they seem to have lost interest in North America after 1509, having incurred great expenses and made little profit.

During the 16th century, Bristol merchants concentrated on developing trade with Spain and its American colonies. This included the smuggling of prohibited goods, such as food and guns, to Iberia during the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604) . Bristol's illicit trade grew enormously after 1558, becoming integral to its economy. West front of Bristol Cathedral

The original Diocese of Bristol was founded in 1542, when the former Abbey of St. Augustine (founded by Robert Fitzharding four hundred years earlier) became Bristol Cathedral . Bristol also gained city status that year. During the English Civil War in the 1640s the city was occupied by Royalists , who built the Royal Fort House on the site of an earlier Parliamentarian stronghold.

17TH AND 18TH CENTURIES

Growth of the city and trade came with the rise of England's American colonies in the 17th century. Bristol's location on the west side of Great Britain gave its ships an advantage in sailing to and from the New World, and the city's merchants made the most of it. The 18th century saw an expansion of England's role in the Atlantic trade in Africans taken for slavery to the Americas. Bristol and Liverpool became centres of the Triangular Trade . In the first side of the slavery triangle, manufactured goods were shipped to West Africa and exchanged for Africans; the enslaved captives were transported across the Atlantic to the Americas in the Middle Passage under brutal conditions. In the third side of the triangle, plantation goods such as sugar, tobacco, rum, rice, cotton and a few slaves (sold to the aristocracy as house servants) returned across the Atlantic. Some household slaves were baptised in the hope this would mean their freedom in England. The Somersett Case of 1772 clarified that slavery was illegal in England. At the height of the Bristol slave trade from 1700 to 1807, more than 2,000 slave ships carried a conservatively estimated 500,000 people from Africa to slavery in the Americas. The Seven Stars public house , where abolitionist Thomas Clarkson collected information on the slave trade, is still operating. (1879–1954) Portishead

_

Bristol to Exeter Line _

Portishead Pier

Bristol has two principal railway stations. Bristol Temple Meads (near the city centre) has First Great Western service which includes high-speed trains to London Paddington station and local, regional and CrossCountry trains. Bristol Parkway , north of the city centre, has high-speed First Great Western service to Swansea , Cardiff Central and London Paddington and CrossCountry service to Birmingham and the North East . Limited service to London Waterloo via Clapham Junction from Bristol Temple Meads is operated by South West Trains , and there are scheduled coach links to most major UK cities. Bristol Temple Meads station

The M4 motorway connects the city on an east-west axis from London to West Wales , and the M5 is a north–south west axis from Birmingham to Exeter. The M49 motorway is a shortcut between the M5 in the south and the M4 Severn Crossing in the west, and the M32 is a spur from the M4 to the city centre. The Portway connects the M5 to the city centre, and was the most expensive road in Britain when opened in 1926. Bristol Airport , Lulsgate

The runway, terminal and other facilities at Bristol Airport (BRS), Lulsgate , have been upgraded since 2001. Public transport in the city consists primarily of a FirstGroup (formerly the Bristol Omnibus Company) bus network . Other providers are Abus, Stagecoach West , Stagecoach South West , Wessex and Wessex Star, operated by Wessex for the two universities. Bristol's bus service has been criticised as unreliable and expensive, and in 2005 FirstGroup was fined for delays and safety violations. Port of Bristol

Private car use is high in the city, leading to traffic congestion costing an estimated £350 million per year. Bristol allows motorcycles to use most of the city's bus lanes and provides secure, free parking for them. Although the city council has included a light rail system in its local transport plan since 2000, it has not yet funded the project; Bristol was offered European Union funding for the system, but the Department for Transport did not provide the required additional funding. The most recent light rail proposal was put forward as part of a consultation produced by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership in November 2016, outlining potential light rail /tram routes from the city centre to Bristol Airport , the eastern and north west fringes of the city, and a route along the A4 road to Bath .

A new bus rapid transit system (BRT) called MetroBus , is currently under construction across Bristol, as of 2015, to provide a faster and reliable service than buses, improve transport infrastructure and reduce congestion. The Metro Bus rapid transit scheme will run on both bus lanes and segregated guided busways on three routes; Ashton Vale to Temple Meads (AVTM), North Fringe to Hengrove and South Bristol Link (SBL). MetroBus services are expected to start in 2017.

Several road-construction plans, including re-routing and improving the South Bristol Ring Road , are supported by the city council. Three park and ride sites serve Bristol. The city centre has water transport operated by Bristol Ferry Boats , Bristol Packet Boat Trips and Number Seven Boat Trips, providing leisure and commuter service in the harbour.

Bristol's principal surviving suburban railway is the Severn Beach Line to Avonmouth and Severn Beach . Although Portishead Railway\'s passenger service was a casualty of the Beeching cuts , freight service to the Royal Portbury Dock was restored from 2000 to 2002 with a Strategic Rail Authority rail-freight grant. The MetroWest scheme, formerly known as The Greater Bristol Metro, proposes to increase the city's rail capacity as well as the restoration of a further 3 miles (5 km) of track to Portishead (a dormitory town with one connecting road), despite concerns about insufficient funds to rebuild stations, is scheduled for completion by 2019. A further commuter rail line from Bristol Temple Meads to Henbury is due to open in 2021.

Bristol was designated as England's first "cycling city" in 2008 and is home to Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity. The city has urban cycle routes and links with National Cycle Network routes to Bath, London, Gloucester, Wales and South West England. Cycling trips have increased by 21% from 2001 to 2005.

TWIN CITIES

St Peter\'s ruined church in Castle Park , Bristol

Bristol was among the first cities to adopt town twinning after World War II. Twin towns include:

* Bordeaux , France (since 1947) * Hanover , Germany (since 1947; one of the first post-war twinnings of British and German cities) * Oporto , Portugal (since 1984) * Tbilisi , Georgia (since 1988) * Puerto Morazán , Nicaragua (since 1989) * Beira, Mozambique (since 1990) * Guangzhou , China (since 2001)

SEE ALSO

* Geography portal * Europe portal * United Kingdom portal * England portal * Bristol portal

* Bristol Pound * Buildings and architecture of Bristol * Healthcare in Bristol * Parks of Bristol * Subdivisions of Bristol * Atlantic history * Triangular trade * History of slavery

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EXTERNAL LINKS

* Visit Bristol, official tourism website * Bristol at DMOZ

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