Canterbury is a city located on the banks of the River Stour in Kent.
The area has been inhabited since Paleolithic times, many items including Neolithic and Bronze Age have been found. The first recorded inhabitants of Canterbury were the Cantiaci, a Celtic tribe who occupied most of Kent.
The Romans captured the settlement in the 1st century AD and rebuilt it in the Roman style, including temples, a forum and public baths. They also built an earthen bank and wall around around the city with seven gates.
After the Romans left England, the Anglo-Saxons took over the town. Augustine arrived in 597 to convert King Æthelberht to Christianity and Canterbury was chosen as the religious centre. An abbey and cathedral were built and Augustine became the first Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Archbishop Thomas Becket was
killed in 1170 and pilgrims from all over came to visit his shrine. This pilgrimage gave Geoffrey Chaucer a basis for his collection of stories, The Canterbury Tales.
The black death affected Canterbury in 1348 with over 7,000 deaths. The Dissolution of the Monasteries closed six religious sites including the abbey. The shrine to Thomas Becket in the cathedral was demolished, ending all the pilgrimages.
During the English Civil War in 1647, riots broke out when Canterbury's puritan mayor banned church services on Christmas Day. The rioters' trial the following year led to a Kent revolt against the Parliamentarian forces, contributing to the start of the second phase of the war. However, Canterbury surrendered peacefully to the Parliamentarians after their victory at the Battle of Maidstone.
Hospitals and barracks were set up all around the city during the First World War. During the Second World War 10,450 bombs were dropped during 135 raids killing 115 people and over 1,000 building were destroyed.