/bris"tl/, n.
1. a seaport in Avon, in SW England, on the Avon River near its confluence with the Severn estuary. 420,100.
2. a city in central Connecticut. 57,370.
3. a city in NE Tennessee, contiguous with but politically independent of Bristol, Virginia. 23,986.
4. a town in E Rhode Island. 20,128.
5. a city in SW Virginia. 19,042.
6. a town in SE Pennsylvania, on the Delaware River. 10,876.
7. Bristol, Tennessee, and Bristol, Virginia, considered as a unit.

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City and unitary authority (pop., 2001: 380,615), southwestern England.

Lying at the confluence of the Rivers Avon and Frome, the city received its first charter in 1155. Long a centre of commerce, it was the point of departure in 1497 of John Cabot in his search for a route to Asia. During the 17th–18th centuries it prospered in the triangular trade (rum, molasses, and slaves) between West Africa and the West Indian and American plantation colonies. Though Bristol suffered a decline in trade in the early 19th century, it soon rebounded with the coming of the railway. It suffered severe damage from bombing in World War II but was rebuilt. Today it is an important shipping centre, especially for oil and food products.

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      city, coextensive with the town (township) of Bristol, Hartford county, central Connecticut, U.S., on the Pequabuck River. The area, part of Farmington or Tunxis Plantation, was settled in 1727 and became known as New Cambridge. Renamed for Bristol, England, it was organized as a town in 1785. Bristol borough (incorporated 1893) was chartered as a city and consolidated with the town in 1911. During the American Revolution Bristol was the centre of considerable Tory activity, and a cave on Chippens Hill was called the “Tory's Den.” Bristol became known for clock making (begun 1790 by Gideon Roberts), and the American Clock and Watch Museum is located there. The city is also the home of the New England Carousel Museum, the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN (ESPN, Inc.)), and Lake Compounce (opened 1846), the oldest continuously operated amusement park in the United States. Industries produce precision springs, ball bearings, and electronic products. Bristol includes Forestville, a manufacturing village. Pop. (1990) 60,640; (2000) 60,062.

 city and unitary authority, southwestern England. The historic centre of Bristol and the sections of the city north of the River Avon are part of the historic county of Gloucestershire, while the areas south of the Avon lie within the historic county of Somerset. Bristol lies about 120 miles (190 km) west of London at the confluence of the Rivers Avon (Avon, River) (Bristol Avon) and Frome. Just west of the city, the Avon flows into the estuary of the River Severn, which itself empties into Bristol Channel of the Atlantic Ocean, about 8 miles to the northwest. Bristol is a historic seaport and commercial centre. Area 42 square miles (110 square km). Pop. (2001) 380,615.

      The medieval town of Bristol was incorporated in 1155. The harbour was improved in 1247 by diverting the Frome to the west and building a stone bridge at the point of its former confluence with the Avon. During the reign of Edward III (1327–77) Bristol imported raw wool from Ireland and manufactured woolen cloth, which it sold to Spain and Portugal in return for sherry and port wine. By the 16th century Bristol had become a major port, a manufacturing town, and a distribution centre for both overseas and inland trade. The city also played a notable part in maritime history: from its port John Cabot sailed in 1497 on his voyage to North America. In 1552 the Society of Merchant Venturers was incorporated in the city; its hall, along with a number of other historic buildings, was destroyed by German bombing during World War II. Bristol was a Royalist stronghold during the English Civil Wars until it was captured by the Parliamentarians in 1645.

      During the later 17th and the 18th centuries Bristol prospered as a processing centre for sugar and tobacco imported from Britain's colonies in the Americas, to whom it supplied textiles, pottery, glass, and other manufactured goods. The import of Jamaican sugar and cacao from West Africa led to the creation of the “sugar houses” of Bristol and to chocolate manufacture. By the 19th century, however, the rise of the Lancashire cotton industry, together with the limitation on shipping imposed by the Avon Gorge below Clifton, led to the loss of much of Bristol's trade to Liverpool.

      In 1809 tidal waters of the Avon and the Frome were diverted to create a floating, or tideless, harbour with a constant water depth. The engineer John Loudon McAdam (McAdam, John Loudon) improved Bristol's roads (c. 1815) with his technique of laying raised-stone surfaces (macadamizing), and the Bristol roads became a model for road improvements throughout Great Britain. Bristol served as the launching point in 1838 for Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Great Western, the second steamship to cross the Atlantic. The coming of the railway in 1841, followed by dock extensions at Avonmouth and Portishead, led to a revival of Bristol's trade, and a suspension bridge across the Avon Gorge, designed by Brunel and completed in 1864, further encouraged traffic.

The contemporary city
      The destruction of a large part of the city centre during World War II provided an opportunity for replanning. Postwar reconstruction included the Council House (1956), other modern public structures, and a new shopping centre in Broadmead. The Royal Portbury Dock has been added to the port complex, whose imports now include refined petroleum products, animal foodstuffs, and forest products. Bristol's exports consist mainly of manufactured goods from the West Midlands, notably automobiles, tractors, and machinery. 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 centre of southwestern England.

      Bristol is also an education centre, its schools including Bristol Grammar School, the Cathedral School, and Queen Elizabeth's Hospital, all founded in the 1500s; Colston's School (1708); and Clifton College, founded in the residential suburb of Clifton in 1862. The University of Bristol, founded as University College in 1876, was established in 1909.

      The most striking ecclesiastical building in Bristol to survive the war is the church of St. Mary Redcliffe, a 14th-century structure whose grandeur of proportion and majestic Perpendicular Gothic design have made it one of the most celebrated parish churches in England. Bristol's cathedral church, which originated as the abbey church of St. Augustine (founded 1142), is famous for its Norman chapter house and gateway. Other notable buildings to escape destruction are St. Mark's, or the Lord Mayor's Chapel; a Dominican priory associated with William Penn and the early history of the Society of Friends (Quakers); the New Room in Broadmead, the first Methodist chapel in the world and headquarters of that faith's founder, John Wesley, after 1739; Broadmead Baptist Chapel, also associated with the early Nonconformist movement in Bristol; and the Theatre Royal, built in 1766.

      borough (town), Bucks county, southeastern Pennsylvania, U.S., on the Delaware River, just northeast of Philadelphia. The settlement was laid out in 1697 as Buckingham near the site of William Penn (Penn, William)'s home and was renamed in about 1700 for Bristol, England. It served as the Bucks county seat until 1726, when the seat moved to Newton. Bristol developed with the establishment (1714) of ferry service to Burlington, New Jersey, and the construction of the King's Highway from Philadelphia to Morrisville. Its Bath Springs made it a popular spa (1775–1822) for Philadelphians. During the American Revolution, American troops were quartered in Bristol in December 1776; the Episcopal church was used as a stable, and the Friends Meeting House became a hospital. Construction of the Delaware Canal (1832) and the Pennsylvania Railroad (Pennsylvania Railroad Company) (which reached Bristol in 1834) brought a short-lived prosperity. Significant industrial growth began in the 1870s with textile mills.

      The town is now primarily residential with service industries; detergents are made locally. Nearby Historic Fallsington is a restoration of colonial-style buildings as well as other buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries. Pennsbury Manor, a reconstruction of Penn's home, is 5 miles (8 km) northeast. Inc. 1720. Pop. (1990) 10,405; (2000) 9,923.

      town (township) and seat of Bristol county, eastern Rhode Island, U.S., on a peninsula between Narragansett Bay and Mount Hope Bay 13 miles (21 km) southeast of Providence city. It is connected (south) to Rhode (Aquidneck) Island (Rhode Island) by Mount Hope Bridge and includes the villages of Beach Terrace and Bristol. The town was incorporated in 1681 by Plymouth colony from land acquired in 1676, near the end of King Philip's (Indian) War (King Philip's War) (1675–76), and was named for Bristol, England. Metacom (Philip), Wampanoag leader of the war, was killed nearby in August 1676. Bristol was under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts until 1746, when it was annexed to Rhode Island. During the American Revolution it was attacked by the British and partially destroyed on October 7, 1775, and May 25, 1778. Bristol Harbor, an active centre of privateering and the triangular trade (rum, molasses, and slaves) in the 18th century, is now used largely by pleasure craft. The town was the site of the Burnside Rifle Company, established in 1853 by Ambrose E. Burnside (Burnside, Ambrose Everett) (an American Civil War general and governor of Rhode Island) and later incorporated into the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company. The Herreshoff Boatyard (closed 1945) was the construction site for eight consecutive successful America's Cup defenders (racing yachts); the site is now a marine museum with the America's Cup Hall of Fame.

      Bristol serves as a suburban residential area for Providence. Its industries include boatbuilding (sailboats and yachts) as well as the manufacture of plastics, textiles, machinery, and rubber goods. Roger Williams University, founded in Providence in 1919, established a Bristol campus (now its main campus) in 1969.

      Colonial landmarks include the Joseph Reynolds House, headquarters (1778) of General Lafayette (Lafayette, Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier, marquis de), French ally in the American Revolution; the Bosworth House, oldest house in Bristol (1680); and the Deputy-Governor Bradford House (c. 1760) on Mount Hope. American Indian and Eskimo artifacts are displayed at the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology (founded 1955). Bristol's annual Fourth of July parade is thought to be the oldest in the country; its first observance of the day was in 1785. Area 10 square miles (26 square km). Pop. (1990) 21,625; (2000) 22,469.

      city, on the border of Virginia (Washington county) and Tennessee (Sullivan county), U.S., in an extension of the Shenandoah Valley. Although physically, culturally, and economically unified, it comprises two separate cities, each with its own government, public schools, utilities, and post office.

      In 1771 a trading post and fort were built on the site, a former Cherokee village, to serve westward travelers over the Wilderness Road blazed by frontiersman Daniel Boone (Boone, Daniel). The town, named for Bristol, England, prospered after 1856, when the Norfolk and Western and the Southern railways were linked, thus connecting the Eastern Seaboard and the Mississippi River valley. The Virginia community, previously called Sapling Grove, was incorporated (1856) as the town of Goodson. Both communities received city charters in 1890 under the name of Bristol. A bitter state boundary dispute raged within the community until finally, in 1901, the line was placed along the centre of State Street, the main thoroughfare.

      Manufactures include electronic equipment, metal goods, textiles, and pharmaceuticals. Bristol is the seat of Virginia Intermont College (1884), Sullins College (1870), and King College (1867). Bristol Caverns, South Holston Dam and Lake, and Steele Creek Park are nearby. The first commercial recordings of country music were made in Bristol in the late 1920s, and in 1998 the U.S. Congress officially declared the city to be the birthplace of country music for its role in popularizing the genre. Pop. (1990) city (Virginia), 18,426; city (Tennessee), 23,421; Johnson City–Kingsport–Bristol MSA, 436,047; (2000) city (Virginia), 17,367; city (Tennessee), 24,821; Johnson City–Kingsport–Bristol MSA, 480,091.

      county, southeastern Massachusetts, U.S., bordered to the south by Buzzards Bay and to the west by Rhode Island. It consists of a rolling coastal lowland and includes a few islands in the bay. The main watercourses are the Taunton, Achushnet, Ten Mile, Westport, and Warren rivers, while North and South Watuppa ponds are the largest lakes. Parklands include Borderland and Massasoit state parks and Freetown State Forest.

      Bristol was created from Plymouth colony in June 1685 and named for Bristol, Eng. The county seat is the city of Taunton. Other cities are Attleboro, known for jewelry making; Fall River, known for producing textiles; and New Bedford, which has long been a prominent fishing port. Wheaton College was founded in Norton in 1834. The county's early industries of whaling and shipbuilding gave way to cotton milling in the mid-19th century.

      Textiles continue to be a prominent industry along with electronic components, jewelry, and primary metal industries. The southern coast supports resort communities. A large number of county residents are of Portuguese ancestry. Area 556 square miles (1,440 square km). Pop. (2000) 534,953; (2007 est.) 543,024.

      county, eastern Rhode Island, U.S. It is located on a peninsula bordered by Massachusetts to the northeast, Mount Hope Bay to the southeast, and Narragansett Bay to the southwest. The county was formed in 1746 and named for Bristol, Eng. There is no county seat, but the main towns are Barrington, Bristol, and Warren. Bristol is one of the smallest counties in the United States. The main industries include the manufacture of ships, textiles, and luggage. Area 25 square miles (64 square km). Pop. (2000) 50,648; (2007 est.) 50,079.

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Universalium. 2010.

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