Plymouth i/ˈplɪməθ/ is a city and unitary authority area on the south coast of Devon, England, about 190 miles (310 km) south-west of London. It is situated between the mouths of the rivers Plym to the east and Tamar to the west, where they join Plymouth Sound. Since 1967, the City of Plymouth has included the suburbs of Plympton and Plymstock, which are on the east side of the River Plym.
Plymouth's history goes back to the Bronze Age, when its first settlement grew at Mount Batten. This settlement continued to grow as a trading post for the Roman Empire, until the more prosperous village of Sutton, the current Plymouth, surpassed it. In 1620, the Pilgrim Fathers left Plymouth for the New World and established Plymouth Colony – the second English settlement in what is now the United States of America. During the English Civil War the town was held by the Parliamentarians and was besieged between 1642 and 1646.
Throughout the Industrial Revolution, Plymouth grew as a major commercial shipping port, handling imports and passengers from the Americas, while the neighbouring town of Devonport grew as an important Royal Naval shipbuilding and dockyard town. In 1914 the three neighbouring and independent towns, viz., the county borough of Plymouth, the county borough of Devonport, and the urban district of East Stonehouse were merged to form a single County Borough. The new, merged town took the name of Plymouth which, in 1928, achieved city status. The city's naval importance later led to its targeting and partial destruction during World War II, an act known as the Plymouth Blitz. After the war the city centre was completely rebuilt.
Today the city is home to around 250,000 people, making it the 19th most populous city in the United Kingdom. It is governed locally by Plymouth City Council and is represented nationally by three MPs. Plymouth's economy is still strongly influenced by shipbuilding, but has become a more service-based economy since the 1990s. It has the ninth largest university in the United Kingdom by number of students, the University of Plymouth, and the largest operational naval base in Western Europe – HMNB Devonport. The city has ferry links to France and Spain.
Famous quotes containing the word plymouth:
“In clear weather the laziest may look across the Bay as far as Plymouth at a glance, or over the Atlantic as far as human vision reaches, merely raising his eyelids; or if he is too lazy to look after all, he can hardly help hearing the ceaseless dash and roar of the breakers. The restless ocean may at any moment cast up a whale or a wrecked vessel at your feet. All the reporters in the world, the most rapid stenographers, could not report the news it brings.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)