It grew from three villages on the banks of the River Wear, Monkwearmouth, Bishopwearmouth and Sunderland, sundered from the monastic estates around Monkwearmouth.
Sunderland was for a while the biggest shipbuilding town in the world.
The 18th century former parish church of Bishopwearmouth is now Sunderland Minster.
Wearmouth Bridge, over the Wear, was opened in 1929.
Sir Henry Irving made his stage debut in Sunderland in 1856.
The last witch burning in England was at Sunderland in 1722.
Among those born in Sunderland were Kate Adie, TV war reporter; James Bolam, actor; Henry Havelock, military commender; Joseph Swann, light bulb inventor; and Bob Willis, England cricketer.