Belfast is the major city of Northrn Ireland, situated where the River Lagan meets the inlet known as the Belfast Lough.
The first castle was built by the Anglo-Norman baron John de Courcy, on the site of an earlier fort.
But the town started to develop seriously when Sir Arthur Chichester received a grant of land in the vicinity in 1603. The town that he founded was granted its charter in 1613.
In the 19th century, Belfast became known for heavy engineering and for shipbuilding, notably Harland and Wolff.
During the 20th century, the unrest known as "the troubles", involving the polarisation of Protestants and Catholics, largely affected Belfast. But this seems to be a thing of the past now.
Among the prominent people born in Belfast are Gerry Adams, politician; Derek Bell, harpist; George Best, Northern Ireland footballer; Danny Blanchflower, Northern Ireland footballer; Kenneth Branagh, actor; Gerry Fitt, politician; James Galway, flautist; Chaim Herzog, President of Israel; Alex Higgins, snooker player; Lord Kelvin, physicist; Cecil Day Lewis, poet; C. S. Lewis, author; Mar6y McAleese, President of the Republic of Ireland; Louis MacNeice, poet; Brian Mawhinney, politician; Brian Moore, novelist; Van Morrison, rock singer; and Ruby Murray, pop singer.