Bristol, with an estimated population of 433,100 in 2009, is the largest city in South West England and the eighth largest in the UK. There are over 1,006,600 residents in the urban boroughs and it is the largest hub of culture, employment and education.Bristol received a Royal Charter in 1155 and was granted County status in 1373. From the 13th century, for half a millennium, it ranked among the top three English cities after London, alongside York and Norwich, until the rapid rise of Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester during the Industrial Revolution in the latter part of the 18th century.
It borders the counties of Somerset and Gloucestershire, and is also located near the historic cities of Bath to the south east and Gloucester to the north. The city is built around the River Avon, and it also has a short coastline on the Severn Estuary, which flows into the Bristol Channel.
Bristol is the largest centre of culture, employment and education in the region. 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 moved 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.