Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough of Greater Manchester, England. In 2009, its population was estimated to be 483,800, making it the seventh-most populous local authority district in England. Manchester lies within one of the UK’s largest metropolitan areas; the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester had an estimated population of 2,600,100, the Greater Manchester Urban Area a population of 2,240,230, and the Larger Urban Zone around Manchester, the second-most-populous in the UK, had an estimated population in the 2004 Urban Audit of 2,539,100.
Manchester is situated in the south-central part of North West England, fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south and the Pennines to the north and east. The recorded history of Manchester began with the civilian vicus associated with the Roman fort of Mamucium, which was established c. AD 79 on a sandstone bluff near the confluence of the rivers Medlock and Irwell. Historically, most of the city was a part of Lancashire, although areas south of the River Mersey were in Cheshire. Throughout the Middle Ages Manchester remained a manorial township, but began expanding “at an astonishing rate” around the turn of the 19th century as part of a process of unplanned urbanisation brought on by a boom in textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution. The urbanisation of Manchester largely coincided with the Industrial Revolution and the Victorian era, resulting in it becoming the world’s first industrialised city. As the result of an early-19th century factory building boom, Manchester was transformed from a township into a major mill town, borough and was later granted honorific city status in 1853.
Manchester was the site of the world’s first railway station, hosted the first meeting of the Trades Union Congress and is where scientists first split the atom and developed the first programmable computer. It is known for its music scene and its sporting connections. Manchester was the host of the 2002 Commonwealth Games, and its sports clubs include two Premier League football teams, Manchester City and Manchester United, both of whom hold English football blue ribbon competitions of the FA Cup and the Premier League respectively. Manchester is the third-most visited city in the United Kingdom by foreign visitors and the most visited in England outside London.