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The city of Brighton and Hove, situated on the seaside resort city in East Sussex, was formed in 1997 and 2001 by the merger of the towns of Brighton and of Hove resulting in a unitary authority, meaning it is responsible for all government functions or performs other additional functions within its borders which are generally performed by the national government.

The constituent seaside resort town of Brighton was important as far back as the Middle Ages as a fishing and agricultural settlement. Beginning in the latter half of the 17th century, a string of bad luck which lasted through into the 18th century caused a decrease in its importance as well as its population. The Great Storm of 1703 was a cyclone so destructive that it was declared by the Church of England that it was God's anger for the sins of the entire nation. Historians believe it was equal to a Category 2 hurricane. Hundreds of people drowned in the coastal plain of Somerset, and the storm toppled more than 2,000 chimneys just in London, some fifty miles away.

Further, the nearby seaport at Shoreham gained prominence, ironically in part due to the burgeoning population of Brighton, overtook the latter in prominence as it became the more significant port, causing Brighton economic losses as it declined in both population as well as significance as a fishing mecca. Brighton's population dwindled to 2,000 during that time.

Fortunately, the trend of bathing in and drinking seawater in order to cure illnesses and enhance health in general ushered in a revival of sorts. Beginning in 1730, many doctors sent patients to Brighton's shores in order to try for a cure there. This, coupled with the crowds of people visiting Brighton for recreational gave Brighton a new life. Indoor baths and spas sprung up, many opened by doctors. Fifty years later, the seashore town became a boarding site for boats headed for France.

Hove was also traditionally a seaside resort and fishing village which was encompassed by farmland. During the growth of Hove was spurred on by the development of Brighton.

The village was more isolated than settlements around it and around the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, it became a very popular location for smugglers and other illicit actors. In 1818, there was a furious battle on the beach between government agents and smugglers, which was ultimately won by the smugglers.

Today, Brighton and Hove is a service-based city with some of the components of that industry including tourism, entertainment, digital sciences, and electronics.


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