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The city was founded in 71 AD, when the Ninth Legion conquered the Brigantes and constructed a wooden military fortress on flat ground above the River Ouse close to its confluence with the River Foss.
The fortress, whose walls were rebuilt in stone by the VI legion based there subsequent to the IX legion, covered an area of 50 acres (20 ha) and was inhabited by 6,000 legionary soldiers.
In the Middle Ages, York grew as a major wool trading centre and became the capital of the northern ecclesiastical province of the Church of England, a role it has retained.
In the 19th century, York became a hub of the railway network and a confectionery manufacturing centre.
During his stay 207–211 AD, the Emperor Severus proclaimed York capital of the province of Britannia Inferior, and it is likely that it was he who granted York the privileges of a 'colonia' or city.
Constantius I died in 306 AD during his stay in York, and his son Constantine the Great was proclaimed Emperor by the troops based in the fortress.
In 314 AD a bishop from York attended the Council at Arles to represent Christians from the province.
While the Roman colonia and fortress were located on high ground, by 400 AD the town was victim to occasional flooding from the Rivers Ouse and Foss and the population reduced.
The name Eboracum became the Anglian Eoforwic in the 7th century: a compound of Eofor-, from the old name, and -wic a village probably by conflation of the element Ebor- with a Germanic root *eburaz (boar); by the 7th century the Old English for 'boar' had become eofor.The site of the principia (HQ) of the fortress lies under the foundations of York Minster, and excavations in the undercroft have revealed part of the Roman structure and columns.The Emperors Hadrian, Septimius Severus and Constantius I all held court in York during their various campaigns.In recent decades, the economy of York has moved from being dominated by its confectionery and railway-related industries to one that provides services.The University of York and health services have become major employers, whilst tourism has become an important element of the local economy.