|Area: 98.64 kmē|
Coventry is a city and metropolitan borough, in the West Midlands region of England, UK. With a population of 305,000 (2006 estimate) Coventry is the eighth largest city in England and the eleventh largest in the UK. It is also the second largest city in the English Midlands by population, with residents and those born in the city styling themselves "Coventrians" or in the vernacular "Cov Kids". It is situated 95 miles (153 km) northwest of London and 19 miles (30 km) east of Birmingham and is notable for being further from the British coastline than any other British city.
Coventry is famous for its involvement in the British motor industry , its Cathedral and the legendary exploits of Lady Godiva. Over the years Coventry has developed an international reputation as Europe's major city of peace and reconciliation and holds an annual Peace Month. Coventry has two universities: Coventry University and the University of Warwick.
Coventry is traditionally believed to have been established in the year 1043 with the founding of a Benedictine Abbey by Leofric, Earl of Mercia and his wife Lady Godiva. Current evidence suggests that this abbey was probably in existence by 1022, therefore Leofric and Godiva most likely endowed it around 1043. In time, a market was established at the abbey gates and the settlement expanded.
By the 14th century Coventry had become an important centre of the cloth trade, and throughout the Middle Ages was one of the largest and most important cities in England. Coventry was granted city status in 1345, and later became a county in its own right.
Hostile attitudes of the cityfolk towards Royalist prisoners held in Coventry during the English Civil War are believed to have originated the phrase "sent to Coventry", which in Britain means "to be ostracised".
In the late 19th century Coventry became a major centre of bicycle manufacture, with the industry being pioneered by Rover. By the early 20th century bicycle manufacture had evolved into motor manufacture, and Coventry became a major centre of the British motor industry.
Coventry suffered severe bomb damage during World War II, most notoriously from a massive German air raid (the "Coventry Blitz") on 14 November 1940. This destroyed most of the historic city centre and Coventry's historic Cathedral. Aside from London and Plymouth, Coventry suffered more damage than any other British city during the Luftwaffe attacks, with huge firestorms devastating most of the city centre. The city was targeted due to its high concentration of armaments, munitions and engine plants which contributed greatly to the British war effort. Following the raids, the majority of Coventry's historic buildings could not be saved as they were in ruinous states or were deemed unsafe for any future use.
In the postwar years Coventry was largely rebuilt under the general direction of the Gibson Plan, gaining a new pedestrianised shopping precinct (the first of its kind in Europe) and the much-celebrated new St Michael's Cathedral in 1962 (incorporating the world's largest tapestry).
Coventry's motor industry boomed in during the 1950s and 1960s. But during the 1970s the British motor industry underwent decline and Coventry suffered badly as a result. By the early 1980s Coventry had one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. In recent years the city has recovered with newer industries locating there. Although the motor industry continues to decline.