York is a city in Yorkshire, a large northern English county covering the North York Moors and the Yorkshire Wolds, stretching to a hilly zone in the west called the Pennines. The city is located in an area of fertile land in the east where two rivers, the Ouse and the Foss, meet.
In the first century, the Romans founded a fort called Eboracum, which later became a city in the Roman province of Britannia. When the Roman Empire fell, the Angles, a Germanic people, moved in and changed the Roman name to the Old English Eoforwic. In 866, the Vikings raided from Scandinavia, made it their capital in Britain and gave it the Norse name Jorvik. The city expanded, only to be crushed again with the Norman conquest of Britain in 1066.
York prospered in the later medieval period. The walls were built, encircling virtually the entire city. A breathtaking cathedral, commonly called York Minster, was completed in 1472, after several centuries of building. Trade with Europe boomed, York merchants imported wine from France, cloth, wax, canvas, and oats from the Low Countries, timber and furs from the Baltic, and exported grain and wool. While the city suffered a period of economic decline in Tudor times, it remained a social and cultural hub throughout the 17th and 18th centuries.
STEAM AND SWEETS
In 1839, York became the headquarters and works of the North Eastern Railway. This important line linking the English and Scottish capitals was instrumental in the expansion of York’s chocolate industry. By 1900, confectionery and the railway had become York’s two main industries.
Today, while the chocolate industry is now foreign-owned, the railway continues to play a major role in the city’s fortunes, bringing thousands of visitors a year up from London or down from Edinburgh in just two hours.