Southampton is a harbour town on England's south coast in the county of Hampshire.
The settlement began life in Roman times, when it was known as Clausentum. By the 8th Century AD it had become known as Hamwic, and later Hamtun, meaning fortified place. In 1014, Canute was proclaimed King in Southampton, and even though Winchester became the capital when William the Conqueror became King, Southampton remained an important city because of its' strategic position between Winchester and Normandy.
Southampton's place in the maritime history of Great Britain, Europe and the world is well-known. It was from here that, in 1415, King Henry V left for his famous victory at at the Battle of Agincourt; in 1558, ships set sail from Southampton to defeat the Spanish Armada, and in 1620, the Mayflower left here for the New World.
In more recent times, Southampton saw the launch of the ill-fated Titanic in 1912, while during World War II, several million troops set sail from here to take part in the D-Day landings. Southampton's Civic Centre, built in the 1930s, also holds the distinction of being the first in the world to bear that name.