The city was founded in or around AD 71 when the 5,000 men of the ninth legion marched from Lincoln and set up camp here. Their mission was to conquer the Brigantes, a native tribe who occupied swathes of Britain from the Humber up to the Scottish lowlands.
The legion built a great fortress where the rivers Ouse and Foss met. Eboracum, as the Romans called York, was born. A civilian settlement soon followed, across the river from the military base.
Not only did the Romans create York, for the next three centuries they turned it into a centre of world importance. One emperor was acclaimed in the city, and two died here.
Even after the Roman Empire faded the city remained at the centre of the military, political, economic and social affairs of whole of the north for more than a thousand years. Today that legacy remains in the administration of the Church which still has York as its northern headquarters.