York, city and unitary authority (2011 pop. 198,051), N England, at the confluence of the Ouse and Foss rivers. It is located at the historical junction of the three ridings of Yorkshire. York, a rail center, is especially noted for the manufacture of cocoa, chocolate, and confections. Instrument making, printing, and light engineering are among its other industries. Tourism is central to the area's economy.

York was a British settlement occupied by the ancient Brigantes. As Eboracum it was an important military post of the British province of the Roman Empire. Emperor Hadrian visited York in 120 and had an earthen rampart built to keep out the Picts and the Celts. The emperors Septimus Severus (211) and Constantius I (306) died there, and Constantine I was proclaimed emperor at York in 306. The city became a significant center in the Kingdom of Northumbria. In the 7th cent., St. Paulinus, the first archbishop of York, was consecrated. The city's archbishopric is the ecclesiastical center of N England, second only to Canterbury in importance. In the 8th cent., York was one of the most famous educational centers in Europe. Alcuin was born there and became the headmaster of St. Peter's School, one of the oldest public schools in England. York was the Viking city of Jorvik from 867–1067.

The Cathedral of St. Peter, commonly known as York Minster, occupies the site of the wooden church in which King Edwin was baptized by St. Paulinus on Easter Day in 627. The edifice dates partly from the Norman period. Many other notable medieval structures remain in York. The ancient portion of the city is enclosed by walls dating in part from Norman times, but mainly from the 14th cent. Four of the gates, including Micklegate and Monk Bar, still stand. The Univ. of York was founded in 1963. The York Plays (see miracle play) reached their height in the 15th cent. and were revived at the Yorkshire Festival of 1951.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: British and Irish Political Geography