The north-east's most populous city, Newcastle, rose from a settlement alongside Hadrian's Wall at the time of the Roman occupation of Britain, after which it became an important Anglo-Saxon town. The town was virtually destroyed in the 11th century when a local uprising against invading Normans was brutally crushed - it was only the strategic significance of it's location that kept the area settled - later William the Conqueror's son built a castle of wood there and Newcastle got it's name.
Over the following centuries the town grew into England's northern outpost in it's wars with the Scots, but when the Industrial Revolution hit, it was the region's plentiful coal seams and the city's docks that encouraged a boom in trade with the rest of the world, and shipbuilding also took off at this time.
Nowadays Newcastle is a vibrant city and although much of it's heavy industry has now gone, it has been massively redeveloped in recent years, and can boast the Norman Foster designed Sage music hall, the elegant Millennium Bridge which tilts to allow passing ships through, and it's older but by no means less iconic neighbour, the Tyne Bridge. The city is also famed for it's nightlife, with the bustling Quayside district at the heart of Newcastle's draw for the prospective reveler.
The city's best known sporting export would have to be it's Premiership team, Newcastle United, for whom some of English football's great names have played. Chris Waddle, Peter Beardsley and Alan Shearer have all donned the black and white stripes of Newcastle, but this season has not started well and fans of 'The Magpies' are hoping another England hero, Michael Owen, will help to turn the tide.
Apart from sportsmen the city has also been home to such renowned musicians as Sting and Dire Straits.