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Canterbury is a cathedral city situated in the county and district of Kent on the River Stour. It is consistently listed among the most visited cities in the United Kingdom.

In 597 AD, Pope Gregory the Great selected St. Augustine to lead a mission to Canterbury in order to re-establish Christianity in southern England. He and the monks he led built an abbey outside the walls of the city, and in 602, he rededicated a deserted Catholic church in Canterbury. The next year, Canterbury became the seat of the first archbishop. Shortly thereafter, the town began to flourish as it attracted craftsmen from all over. Wool and leather were made in Canterbury. In the year 630, a mint was established there in order to produce the silver coins of the realm.

In the latter half of the 8th century, the Vikings, whom the English called Danes, began periodically raiding settlements in England, mostly along the coast, and in the late 9th century, the raids became larger in scale and more frequent. They raided Canterbury twice, in 842 and again in 851. Many people were killed in those raids, but the villagers prevailed both times. Then, in 1011, the Vikings returned and laid siege to Canterbury. After 20 days of battle, the burning of the cathedral and most of the houses, and the kidnapping and subsequent murder of the Archbishop, the Danes prevailed and captured Canterbury. One of the Vikings, Thorkell the Tall and a handful of his men, defected. having become disillusioned by the murder of the Archbishop of Canterbury. They commandeered 45 Viking ships and joined the English King as mercenaries.

This is the city which Thomas Becket served as the Archbishop of Cathedral from 1162 until he was murdered in 1170. After his murder, Canterbury became the site of great importance.

It is also the destination of the pilgrims in Geoffrey Chaucer in his book, The Canterbury Tales, a classic written in the 14th century.

The 18th century found Canterbury reduced to a quiet market town, tough it did have paper making and leather production industries. In World War II, Canterbury experienced bombing rates repeatedly, with 115 people killed due to German bombings.


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