A city in southwestern England. The historic center is in the county of Gloucestershire. Bristol lies 120 miles west of London at the confluence of the Rivers Avon (Bristol Avon) and Frome. It is a historic seaport and commercial center. During the later 17th and the 18th centuries, Bristol prospered as a processing center for sugar and tobacco imported from Britain’s colonies in the Americas. The import of Jamaican sugar and cacao from West Africa led to the creation of the “sugar houses” of Bristol and to chocolate manufacture. The 19th century led to the loss of much of Bristol’s trade to Liverpool.The destruction of a large part of the city center during World War II provided an opportunity for replanning. Bristol’s exports consist mainly of manufactured goods from the West Midlands. Local industries include the refining of sugar, cocoa and chocolate making, wine bottling, and the making of fine glass (Bristol “blue”), porcelain, and pottery. The locality’s most notable industry today is aircraft design and construction at Filton. The construction of the Severn Bridge on the city’s northern outskirts and the completion of the M4 motorway to South Wales greatly enhanced Bristol’s position as the principal distribution center of southwestern England. The most striking ecclesiastical building in Bristol to survive the war is the church of St. Mary Redcliffe (14th century).
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