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Chester was founded as a "castrum" or Roman fort with the name Deva Victrix in the reign of the Emperor Vespasian in 79 AD.
One of the main army camps in Roman Britain, Deva later became a major civilian settlement.
After the Roman troops withdrew, the Romano-British established a number of petty kingdoms. Deverdoeu was a Welsh name for Chester as late as the 12th century (cf Dyfrdwy, Welsh for the river Dee).
Another, attested in the 9th century History of the Britons traditionally attributed to Nennius, is .
In 689, King Æthelred of Mercia founded the Minster Church of West Mercia on what is considered to be an early Christian site: it is known as the Minster of St John the Baptist, Chester (now St John's Church) which later became the first cathedral.
Chester played a significant part in the Industrial Revolution which began in the North West of England in the latter part of the 18th century.
The city village of Newtown, located north east of the city and bounded by the Shropshire Union Canal was at the very heart of this industry.
The large Chester Cattle Market and the two Chester railway stations, Chester General and Chester Northgate Station, meant that Newtown with its cattle market and canal, and Hoole with its railways were responsible for providing the vast majority of workers and in turn, the vast amount of Chester's wealth production throughout the Industrial Revolution.
It has a number of medieval buildings, but some of the black-and-white buildings within the city centre are Victorian restorations.
The Industrial Revolution brought railways, canals, and new roads to the city, which saw substantial expansion and development – Chester Town Hall and the Grosvenor Museum are examples of Victorian architecture from this period.