Bolton i/ˈboʊltən/ is a town in Greater Manchester, in the North West of England. Close to the West Pennine Moors, it is 10 miles (16 km) north west of the city of Manchester. Bolton is surrounded by several smaller towns and villages which together form the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton, of which Bolton is the administrative centre. The town of Bolton has a population of 139,403, whilst the wider metropolitan borough has a population of 262,400.
Historically a part of Lancashire, Bolton originated as a small settlement in the moorland known as Bolton le Moors. During the English Civil War the town was a Parliamentarian outpost in a staunchly Royalist region, and as a result Bolton was stormed by 3,000 Royalist troops led by Prince Rupert of the Rhine in 1644. In what became known as the Bolton Massacre, 1,600 residents were killed and 700 were taken prisoner.
Noted as a former mill town, Bolton has been a production centre for textiles since Flemish weavers settled in the area during the 15th century, developing a wool and cotton weaving tradition. The urbanisation and development of Bolton largely coincided with the introduction of textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution. It was a boomtown of the 19th century and at its zenith, in 1929, its 216 cotton mills and 26 bleaching and dying works made it one of the largest and most productive centres of cotton spinning in the world. The British cotton industry declined sharply after the First World War, and by the 1980s cotton manufacture had virtually ceased in Bolton.
Bolton has had notable success in sport; former Premier League football club Bolton Wanderers play home games at the Reebok Stadium (Reebok, the sportswear company, is based in the town) and The WBA World light-welterweight champion Amir Khan was born in the town. Bolton also has several notable cultural aspects, including The Octagon Theatre and the Bolton Museum and Art Gallery, as well as one of the earliest public libraries established after the Public Libraries Act 1850.