|Area: 40.70 kmē|
The city of Cambridge is an old English university town and the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire. It lies approximately 50 miles (80 km) north-northeast of London and is surrounded by a number of smaller towns and villages. It is also at the heart of the high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen and is one of the major constituent parts of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc.
Cambridge is best known for the University of Cambridge, which includes the renowned Cavendish Laboratory, King's College Chapel, and the Cambridge University Library. The Cambridge skyline is dominated by the last two, along with the chimney of Addenbrooke's Hospital in the far south of the city and St John's College Chapel tower in the north.
According to the 2001 census, the population was 108,863 (including 22,153 students).
Settlements have existed around the area since before the Roman Empire. The earliest clear evidence of occupation, a collection of hunting weapons, is from the Late Bronze Age, starting around 1000 BC. There is further archaeological evidence through the Iron Age, a Belgic tribe having settled on Castle Hill in the 1st century BC.
The first major development of the area began with the Roman invasion of Britain in about AD 40. Castle Hill made Cambridge a useful place for a military outpost from which to defend the River Cam. It was also the crossing point for the Via Devana which linked Colchester in Essex with the garrisons at Lincoln and the north. This Roman settlement may have been called Durolipons.
The settlement remained a regional centre during the 350 years after the Roman occupation, until about AD 400. Roman roads and walled enclosures can still be seen in the area.
After the Romans had left, Saxons took over the land on and around Castle Hill. Their grave goods have been found in the area. During Anglo-Saxon times Cambridge benefited from good trade links across the otherwise hard-to-travel fenlands. By the 7th century, however, visitors from nearby Ely reported that Cambridge had declined severely. Cambridge is mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as Grantebrycge. This is the earliest known reference to a bridge at Cambridge.
The arrival of the Vikings in Cambridge was recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 875. Viking rule, the Danelaw, had been imposed by 878. The Vikings' vigorous trading habits caused Cambridge to grow rapidly. During this period the centre of the town shifted from Castle Hill on the left bank of the river to the area now known as the Quayside on the right bank. After the end of the Viking period the Saxons enjoyed a brief return to power, building St. Benet's church in 1025. It still stands in Bene't Street.
Great St Mary's Church marks the centre of Cambridge, whilst the Senate House on the left is the centre of the University. Gonville and Caius College is in the background.In 1068, two years after his conquest of England, William of Normandy built a castle on Castle Hill. Like the rest of the new kingdom, Cambridge fell under the control of the King and his deputies. The distinctive Round Church dates from this period. By Norman times the name of the town had mutated to Grentabrige or Cantebrigge (Grantbridge), while the river that flowed through it was called the Granta.
Over time the name of the town changed to Cambridge, while the river Cam was still known as the Granta - indeed the river is still often known as the Granta to this day. The Welsh language name of the town remains Caergrawnt (roughly analogous to Grantchester, which is also the name of a village near Cambridge). It was only later that the river became known as the Cam, by analogy with the name Cambridge. The University, formed 1209, uses a Latin adjective cantabrigiensis (often contracted to "Cantab") to mean "of Cambridge", but this is obviously a back-formation from the English name.