Bristol, city, England
Points of interest in Bristol include the 14th-century church of St. Mary Redcliffe, known for its fine architecture; a 14th-century cathedral (rebuilt 1868–88) with a Norman chapter house and gateway; the Merchant Venturers' Almshouses; University Tower; and some notable examples of Regency architecture. The Clifton suspension bridge, spanning the Avon and the scenic Avon Gorge, connects Bristol with Leighwoods. Bristol has a famous university.
Bristol has been a trading center since the 12th cent. First chartered as a city in 1155, it became a separate county by order of Edward III in 1373, the first provincial town to receive this honor, and it remains a ceremonial county under the Lieutenancies Act. During the reign of Edward III the manufacture of woolen cloth was developed. The cloth was exported chiefly to Ireland, Spain, and Portugal.
The explorers John Cabot and his son Sebastian (to whom there is a monument on Brandon Hill) sailed to Newfoundland and America from Bristol in the late 15th and early 16th cent. In the 18th cent. Bristol was active in the colonial triangular trade: English goods went to Africa; African slaves to the West Indies; and West Indian sugar, rum, and tobacco to Bristol. The port declined during the late 18th and early 19th cent. because of competition from Liverpool, the end of slave trading, and the decline of the West Indian trade.
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