Archaeological evidence suggests that Mesolithic people settled in the region of York between 8000 and 7000 BC.
By the time of the Roman conquest of Britain, the area was occupied by a tribe known to the Romans as the Brigantes. The Brigantian tribal area initially became a Roman client state, but later its leaders became more hostile and the Roman Ninth Legion was sent north of the Humber into Brigantian territory. The Roman city was founded in 71 AD, when the Ninth Legion conquered the Brigantes and constructed a wooden military fortress on flat ground above the River Ouse close to its confluence with the River Foss. The fortress, whose walls were rebuilt in stone by the VI legion based there subsequent to the IX legion, covered an area of 50 acres (20 ha) and was inhabited by 6,000 legionary soldiers. The site of the principia (HQ) of the fortress lies under the foundations of the York Cathedral, and excavations in the undercroft have revealed part of the Roman structure and columns.
By the fourth century, York was an important Roman city. Roman Emperor Constantine the Great was proclaimed Emperor at York in 306 AD.The Emperors Hadrian, Septimius Severus, and Constantius I all held court in York during their various campaigns. Constantius I died in 306 AD during his stay in York, and his son Constantine the Great was proclaimed Emperor by the troops based in the fortress. In 314 AD a bishop from York attended the Council at Arles to represent Christians from the province. While the Roman colonia and fortress were on high ground, by 400 AD the town was victim to occasional flooding from the Rivers Ouse and Foss, and the population declined. York continued to decline in the post-Roman era, and was taken and settled by the Angles in the 5th century.
The king of Northumbria converted to Christianity in 627 and at this point, York became the most progressive, learned, center in all of England. Reclamation of parts of the town was initiated in the 7th century under King Edwin of Northumbria, and York became his chief city.The first wooden church was built in York for the baptism of Edwin in 627, according to the great Christian scholar and leader, the Venerable Bede. Edwin ordered the small wooden church be rebuilt in stone; however, he was killed in 633, and the task of completing the stone minster fell to his successor Oswald. In the following century, Alcuin of York came to the cathedral school of York. He had a long career as a teacher and scholar, first at the school at York now known as St Peter's School, founded in 627 AD, and later as Charlemagne's leading advisor on ecclesiastical and educational affairs. Through the influence of Alcuin, the Christian scholars of York converted much of Northern Europe to Christianity.
In 866, Vikings raided and captured York. As a thriving Anglo-Saxon metropolis and prosperous economic hub, York was a clear target for the Vikings. Led by Ivar the Boneless and Halfdan, Scandinavian forces attacked the town on All Saints' Day. Launching the assault on a holy day proved an effective tactical move – most of York's leaders were in the cathedral, leaving the town vulnerable to attack and unprepared for battle. After it was conquered, the city was renamed from the Saxon Eoforwic to Jorvik. It became the capital of Viking territory in Britain, and at its peak boasted more than 10,000 inhabitants. This was a population second only to London within Great Britain. Jorvik proved an important economic and trade centre for the Vikings. Norse coinage was created at the Jorvik mint, while archaeologists have found evidence of a variety of craft workshops around the town's central Coppergate area. These demonstrate that textile production, metalwork, carving, glasswork and jewellery-making were all practised in Jorvik. Materials from as far afield as the Persian Gulf have also been discovered, suggesting that the town was part of an international trading network. Under Viking rule the city became a major river port, part of the extensive Viking trading routes throughout northern Europe. The last ruler of an independent Jórvík, Eric Bloodaxe, was driven from the city in 954 AD by King Eadred in his successful attempt to complete the unification of England.
(Wikipedia in addition to my own comments-WHF)
REQUIRED READING FOR THE WHOLE ACADEMIC YEAR
Powers and Thrones,
This new history of the Middles Ages has just appeared from the best-selling author Dan Jones. It is perfect for us. The organization and the coverage is excellent. It reads well and is a pleasure. The cost of it is about 20$ from Amazon, either hardcover or paperback. If you prefer the lighter paperback then choose it, but the hardcore will endure better. Please use our link on this page to buy from Amazon because we get credit($) for each purchase.